Spring's here. Though it feels more like summer what with temps in the 80s. That's degrees Fahrenheit. But it doesn't look like summer what with no leaves on the trees. Not a bit like last year when all the melting snow then rain turned my back yard into a temporary pond. Six inches deep in some spots.
At any rate, winter is over. For now. Bet it won't last. Nine months from now, we'll probably see it all again. It's like clockwork. Or calendarwork. Yet as witnessed by the last few years, no two winters are exactly the same, weather-wise.
In my experience, there's usually at least one winter snow late March-early April. I'm gambling that won't happen this year. I put up the window screens and returned the paint to the garage. That's unused paint in cans which I store in the house for the winter. Let paint freeze and it can go bad. Not that it rots, just becomes unusable. Don't know why, just does.
Anyway, I'll leave you with one final thought. Though not a thought of my own.
"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
1/20/12 Nothing Like a Good Blab Posting
"Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
An old one-liner from Henny Youngman. But true all the same. I mean, would you stick your hand in the fire if it didn't hurt? Maybe some would, but their hand would still get burnt to a crisp and then where are you? The problem of sticking your hand in the fire is not the pain, but losing your hand. Pain is the warning signal that maybe you shouldn't be doing that.
It's like another old gag line, "Pain hurts." Good thing it does. Better some pain to make you stop than painless self-destruction. Pain is your body's way of saying, "Hey, cut it out!" It's mother nature's corporal punishment for doing stupid things.
Now this may seem like belaboring the obvious, but the same sort-of idea applies to all sorts of things. Better to have a warning signal that something is wrong than letting things fail catastrophically. That's what the idiot lights on the dashboard are for. Though they might be more effective if they sent an electric shock through the seat.
People tend to think things work a certain way and will keep on working that way. "Ignore it. It'll go away." And so people often tend to ignore warning signs. Or cover them up. Like a bit of black tape over the check engine light. That's like painkillers for cars.
I thought there was going to some kind of lesson in all this, but it eludes me. Like looking for a hidden meaning that just isn't there. Which leads to my segue, as contrived as it might be, to a quote from Sigmund Freud about dream symbolism.
"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Though that reminds me of another line about cigars from the final episode of Cheers, "There's nothing like a good cigar. And this is nothing like a good cigar." So everywhere it says 'cigar' you can put in 'Blab posting'.
9/21/11 If I Were Delusional, How Would I Know?
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
—Philip K. Dick
"If a thousand men believe a foolish thing, it's still a foolish thing."
"There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe them."
"The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind."
"Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day."
8/30/11 I Think Therefore I am, Though Thinking Doesn't Make it so
The picture above is my own version of something I saw recently on Zero Hedge. I thought it was pretty funny and so reprised it. Whether this is a quote or a saying or just plain plagierism I leave for the reader to decide. But since I didn't originate the basic idea I'm filing it under Quotes and Sayings.
Whatever the case, there's no denying it is what it is. Why? Because it is. Is that it? It is.
7/15/11 You Can Quote Me Quoting Them
And now, a few quotes without any commentary. Just a little food for thought, as they say.
"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."
"The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression."
"The sole condition required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it. Thus the science of despotism, which was once so complex, is simplified, and reduced, as it were, to a single principle."
—Alexis de Tocqueville
"I was born in a free country, but now it is a democracy."
4/26/11 More Ugly Truth
"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
And how much money have we been voting ourselves? Quite a lot actually. A lot more than we have, or are willing to come up with. That shortfall is the deficit you've no doubt heard people talking of. In 2010 the deficit was $1,400,000,000,000.
But that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The United States government (USG) has been running deficits for a while now. In other words, add up all the deficits USG has never repaid and you get the debt, which is a good deal more than the deficit. How much more? Here's a chart. Scroll down to see how much debt USG owes.
Quite a scroll, eh? This is only what USG has borrowed, not what it has promised people it will provide via Social Security, Medicare, and so on. These promises are expected to grow faster than the amount of money people make and pay taxes on. Which already doesn't cover spending.
One way or another something's got to give. And someday it will. What and when is anyone's guess. It's as much politics as economics and folks have a hard time predicting one let alone both. Which leads us to our parting, bonus quote:
"The mystery of government is not how Washington works, but how to make it stop."
4/2/11 Government Kool-Aid
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."
Official government figures are a funny thing. For instance, if the price of food, gas and housing go up, it doesn't count as inflation. At least not in the official statistics, despite your having to pay more in the real world where it does count. Yeah, there's theory and there's practice.
Not only do they cherry pick the data for inflation, they do it for unemployment, too. If you've been out of work, can't find a job and just give up looking, you're no longer unemployed. According to the government anyway. Statistically you don't exist. So take heart, while you may be jobless at least you're not unemployed.
You gotta love the way government figures things. They're so... optimistic. But no matter how optimistic you are a glass that's half full is still half empty, too. Though if you're the government you could claim the empty half has quit trying and so doesn't count.
But where it gets real fun is when the government economists take all these questionable figures and insert them into their formulas to determine what their policies should be. From this they expect to get the correct answer. Oh well, it works in theory anyway. Is it any wonder economics is called the dismal science?
3/16/11 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth
"The good ended happily and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means."
—Miss Prism from 'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde
To own up, that's one of the things I like about reading detective stories and murder mysteries. The good guys win and the bad guys get caught. Well, usually. Anyway, I like it when wrongdoing is punished. And with fiction the author is in control of the outcome so that's usually the case.
That's not true with history where the author has no control of the outcome. What happened happened. Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes they lose. Except there is one thing about that — who decided who were the good guys and who were bad guys? That's something historians can, if not control, at least influence the reader about.
Ask yourself, was Alexander the Great a brave, conquering hero or a reckless, subjugating villain. How about Napoleon, or Ghengis Khan? Didn't all try to conquer the world by force of arms? Is your feeling about each different? I imagine Mongolians view Ghengis Khan a lot differently than Russians do. I guess it all depends on which side you were on.
They say history is written by the winners. Face it, winners don't like to admit they might be history's bad guys. Which raises the question, how much of history is just the facts and how much is partisan spin.
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."