Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Better off mad



Better Mad with the rest of the World than Wise alone. So say politicians. If all are so, one is no worse off than the rest, whereas solitary wisdom passes for folly. So important is it to sail with the stream. The greatest wisdom often consists in ignorance, or the pretence of it. One has to live with others, and others are mostly ignorant. "To live entirely alone one must be very like a god or quite like a wild beast," but I would turn the aphorism by saying: Better be wise with the many than a fool all alone. There be some too who seek to be original by seeking chimeras.

Baltasar Gracian - The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

Perhaps we are better off mad with the rest of the world, but it would be reassuring to have the option. Is democracy supposed to sort that out?

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Support your local curmudgeon

...for they were either politicians or reporters, which, of course, comes to the same thing.
Ford Madox Ford – The Good Soldier (1915)

Almost every morning I use the  iPad to run a quick check on news headlines. I used to rely on Ceefax for my daily fix but those days are gone forever. I don’t usually read past the headlines apart from an occasional yen to get some detail, but an outline is usually enough.

I also find myself skipping from headline to comments and if there are no comments I move on. In other words, I’m hardly ever interested in what the average journalist has to say about a story. Only if the story is written by a tough-minded curmudgeon am I likely to read it and there aren’t many of those around, especially in the mainstream media.

Which finally leads to the point of this post, because in my experience there is something important about unyielding scepticism. We are stuck with a major social dilemma where mainstream opinion has to be – well mainstream. Otherwise it could not fulfil its social function, its need to suck up to the establishment and foster political correctness. Fear shapes behaviour, which is why the news is mostly alarmist. Doom and gloom rules the newsroom. Always has.

As a species we are not particularly intelligent and accept the most absurd garbage if it is socially acceptable to do so. A sharply critical outlook is required to detect the garbage but here’s the rub. Detecting garbage ought to be a positive and respected social skill, a welcome addition to the tools of social discourse. Unfortunately it isn’t, because it can’t be, because socially cohesive consensus would flounder if critical analysis were to be valued as a welcome corrective to the garbage and to the establishment viewpoint.

Support your local curmudgeon.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Night Is Music Night: Hear My Song

JD presents another five singer-songwriters...

Gram Parsons, "In My Hour Of Darkness":


Gene Clark:


Tim Hardin:


Tim Buckley:


Tim Buckley:



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Monday, July 18, 2016

The Reunification Of Britain & The Struggle Against Empires

"As the UK straps itself back together post-Referendum, deeper issues come to the surface" - latest article on Talkmarkets, here:

http://www.talkmarkets.com/content/news/the-reunification-of-britain--the-struggle-against-empires?post=100591


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A kingdom within a kingdom



Most who have written on the emotions, the manner of human life, seem to have dealt not with natural things which follow the general laws of nature, but with things which are outside the sphere of nature: they seem to have conceived man in nature as a kingdom within a kingdom. For they believe that man disturbs rather than follows the course of nature, and that he has absolute power in his actions, and is not determined in them by anything else than himself. They attribute the cause of human weakness and inconstancy not to the ordinary power of nature, but to some defect or other in human nature, wherefore they deplore, ridicule despise, or, what is most common of all,  abuse it: and he that can carp in the most eloquent or acute manner at the weakness of the human mind is beheld by his fellows as almost divine.

Baruch Spinoza – Ethics (1677)

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Night Is Music Night: Singer-songwriters

JD has some singer songwriters for you:

 During those far off days of the 1960s there emerged the cult of the singer-songwriter. Some became famous while others wrote songs for other people and remained in the background. Not all of them were good but some of them were very good indeed and remain a lasting influence on musicians, even today. Here is some of that exceptional talent singing their own songs-

Harry Nilsson made this song famous, but here is the the man who wrote it - Fred Neil: 



Steve Goodman:



Tim Buckley:



One of the seminal groups of the sixties were The Byrds. Of the three original members, Jim McGuinn with those famous granny glasses and the distinctive sound of his 12 string Rickenbacker seemed to draw most of the attention and Crosby was just a superfluous appendage but Gene Clark was undoubtedly their heart and soul; he wrote most of their songs:



Fred Neil again with one of his most beautiful songs:



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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Smart beer



Sounds like an updated way of rediscovering bland. Or it that too cynical?

Could we eventually brew politics this way, or would that be too democratic?

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

UK In Chaos Post-EU Referendum

Latest article on TalkMarkets, here:

http://www.talkmarkets.com/content/news/uk-in-chaos-post-eu-referendum?post=99728


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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.