Saturday, May 31, 2014

Share the Road With a Friend


BETTER YET, GET OUT AND HELP IT CROSS THE ROAD WITHOUT GETTING SQUASHED. Took this this morning at Montgomery Bell State Park outside of White Bluff where I'm staying until I leave for Wyoming in a few. Don't know what it is but these little creatures are out crossing roads all over the place right now.

Yet my favorite time is late summer here when the bright orange persimmon fruits drop from the trees. These little terrapins go crazy gathering under the trees to scarf  these sweet, squashy persimmons down into their little turtle bellies as fast as they can before winter sets in.....terrapins having a persimmon convention...  Click pic above for the full photo op. Below, yummy, ripe persimmons on the ground in the woods in late summer/early fall:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beautiful Shag Bark Hickory In the Forest Primeval And Several Links

THIS UNIQUE HARDWOOD TREE IS ONE OF THE EASIEST TO SPOT AND IDENTIFY, EVEN IN WINTER because of its shaggy bark.  Indigenous to most eastern U.S. forests,  it's another one of my favorite trees.

In other news,  Janet Yellen is the new head of the Federal Reserve and some people and pundits think she is in way over her head.  To wit,  John Tamny writes today at RealClearMarkets about her misunderstanding of the definition and cause of inflation:
Fed Chairman Janet Yellen has fraudulent definition of inflation. As the Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath reported last week, Yellen "has argued consistently in recent months that labor markets are abundant with slack that will hold inflation and wages down." Translated, your prosperity is seen as a problem by Yellen who is charged with keeping inflation down, particularly if most people are working. Like her predecessor in Ben Bernanke, Yellen believes that tight labor markets are inflationary.

At first glance, and only if we ignore the certain truth that inflation is a monetary phenomenon, Yellen seemingly has a point. Tight labor markets in the U.S. could lead to rising wages and prices that some might deem 'inflation.' But given a second pass, a more reasonable reaction is horror that Yellen occupies such a powerful seat
Tamny consistently calls for the lessening of the FED's powers and over-reach. I couldn't agree more.

If you, like me,  like living debt-free and investing in companies with little or no long-term debt,  then you might enjoy knowing the 26 U.S. companies with no debt.  Not surprising at all,  Facebook (FB) leads the list.  Then there's VISA (V) ---you know the company that makes a fortune off our  willingness to go into credit card debt and stay there.  

 Wish there were more news that I thought interesting enough to blog about....too much focus on celebrity nonsense these days. So, guess I'll wait until something I find interesting comes along.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014


May God bless our veterans---past, present and future---and all those who honor them today and everyday.  God bless America.

MORE @ yesterday's Tennessean

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pastor Lon Solomon Preaches on Philemon, Titus, 1 & 2 Timothy----And the Importance of Finishing Well


CONTINUING HIS SERIES ON THE EPISTLES OF PAUL in the New Testament, Solomon talks on some of Paul's last pastoral letters while he was imprisoned in Rome, awaiting execution.

This series has taught me so much about the Apostle Paul and living the Gospel in everyday life. Hope you're being edified also.

Friday, May 23, 2014

In Tennessee, Tulip Poplars Reign Mightest Among Hardwood Trees

POPLAR TREES OR TULIP POPLARS ARE THE STATE TREE OF TENNESSEE. Its early spring blossoms look like a beautiful tulip with colors of cream, orange and limesh green. Is anything more beautiful?

One of the most stunning aspects of this tree is how straight it stands even and especially into maturity.  The bark above is also beautiful  and easy to identify as a poplar.

Will be back later to talk a little about the amazing----at least to me---places some of my readers are from. Who knew? Certainly not I.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Music City: The Unrepentant, Impolitic, Irrepressible Mark Cuban


CUBAN WAS IN NASHVILLE YESTERDAY to speak at the GrowCo conference for entrepreneurs sponsored by Inc. magazine.  I was not there, nor have I ever considered myself a big Cuban fan,  but read about his talk in today's Tennessean and kind of liked it.  Promising to give his audience the full Mark Cuban, he apologized in advance for any unseemly things he might be about to say.

After skimming his Q and A in the paper,  I thought it would be fun to pull out a few of his quotes,  then make my own comments in parentheses following them.  So be're about to get bits of the full Mark Cuban followed by my own comments which I will call the full Webutante:

Q:  On owning the Mavericks:

A: Everybody thinks we're in the basketball business.  It's an NBA game; we're not in the basketball business. We're in the business of creating unique experiences.

Q: On his relationship with NBA Commissioner David Stern:  

A:  We get along great.  And the few things we didn't agree on,  he had the authority to fine me on.

Q: On whether or not he will vote to oust  Clippers owner Donald Sterling:

A: You'll find out.  I know how I'm going to vote, but I'm not ready to comment on it.

(Does anyone really think for even a moment that Cuban will vote to oust Sterling?  Cuban is a free market libertarian for goodness sake and my money is on Cuban standing up and saying NO!  to Sterling's ouster, if it's even legal to begin with---which I doubt.  There are going to be such major lawsuits that come from this case,  I predict this situation will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with Sterling ultimately prevailing.)

Q: On how to keep bigotry out of the NBA:

A: You don't.  There's no law against stupid.

( I couldn't agree with Cuban more.  In my opinion,  Sterling is a very unsavory character on many levels....just looking at his photos gives me the willies.  Yet,  I have the right to self-sensor and delete him from my computer screen,  not think about his wayward womanizing lifestyle, and best of all, not patronize his NBA team, letting the financial chips fall where they may. Beyond that,  there's not much else I or we can or should do about Sterling.  I refuse to squander my time or emotional energy on the likes of  him.  Why let him be anything more than a short-term source of outrage?)

Q: On stupidity in general

A:  I'm the one guy who says don't force the stupid people to be quiet----I want to know who the morons are....

(I agree.  No matter how hard we try, we will never legislate stupidity, bigotry, racism and misogyny out of society or the marketplace.  We live in a fallen world, and until it's one day renewed and made right, we try to make it otherwise at our great peril.  And we also risk substantially curtailing our First Amendment rights, not to mention our property rights for the illusion of never being offended.  Bigoted people who are forced to be too quiet don't stop thinking what they think. It never works. We got to rememer that dirtbags will be dirtbags and there's often nothing we can do about it but walk away....)

Q:  On bigotry in general

A. I know I'm prejudiced and I know I'm bigoted in a lot of different ways.  If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street,  I'll move to the other side of the street.  If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos,  I'll move back to the other side of the street.  None of us have pure thoughts;  we all live in glass houses.

(My thoughts exactly. Anyone who thinks they have pure and all-good, politically correct thoughts is kidding themselves.  Call it discrimination or just preferences,  I reserve the right to pick and choose my thoughts, my friends and where and what I do with my time and energies.  Mark Cuban nails it for me.)

Q:  On how to fix the national economy

A:  Until you fix the student loan bubble, we don't have a chance.  Everything else is shifting lawn chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

(Amen, brother Cuban.  Well-said.  Thank you for bringing your political incorrectness to Music City, a place in dire need of your frankness today.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mature Trees---Why They Matter Even More To A Growing City Like Nashville



I AM TRULY BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN GRACIOUSLY, GENEROUSLY INVITED BY A GOOD FRIEND TO LIVE AS A GUEST IN THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE HOME  OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE even as the wholesale destruction of our quality of life and some of the property at my condo continues to be bulldozed, jackhammered and blasted almost out of existence.

We have a boundary dispute with our next-door neighbors at Abe's Garden which is now beginning to wind its way---shepherded by the very finest of lawyers---through the legal process, so I will keep my focus on real, indigenous tree stands, why they are so vitally important to the quality-of-life in a city like Nashville and why the loss of such a stand as ours presents almost irreparable damage to us, our land and the surrounding environment on which it stood.

 Here in no specific order is a list of things our native trees accomplish for us:


If a photo is worth a thousand words, then I rest  my case with the photo below taken yesterday along the edge of our disputed land.  Last year our boundary trees gave shade and moisture to our yard.  The fecundity of our soil was world class.  This year, the soil is drying out, parched and drawn and it's just May.  Indeed without the big trees we've lost, our land is going through a mini-climate change quickly,  before our very eyes.  All soil needs a mixture of sun and shade and without it, it's like living in a convection oven.

Below,  our once succulent lawn and grass is now drying up.  It's like a mini dust bowl in our own back yard, and it's just May:


If you've lived with a beautiful, functional stand of old-growth trees as wind break that are suddenly mowed down by monster CATS , you quickly experience a new level of harsh wind and weather which were formerly shielded and softened by those big trees. BTW, stands of trees are much more effective any single large tree for accomplishing this wind breaking. Often what happens when a single big tree is left by itself, as trees around it are taken down, is that the wind eventually and effectively topples and unearths it sooner or later.


One of the most, if not THE most important benefit of a stand of trees in the city such as we had, is to protect soil stability and lessen soil erosion and flash flooding. Now that most of our boundary trees have been destroyed, we will no longer have this stability and the riparian lands downstream of us will flood more quickly, for longer and with greater destruction. This true in the country, but especially urgent in the city that has increasing areas of pavement, concrete and development that speeds up runoff and flooding.


One of the things most over-looked when old to medium growth tree stands are mowed down is the loss of the treasure of wildlife habitat in the city.

We've fed and enjoyed watching all kinds of wildlife here over the years including squirrels, chipmunks, little foxes, wild turkeys and all manner of birds and songbirds. No, it's not Jackson Hole with moose, grizzlies and elk often in our backyards, but it's still been a joy to share our boundary woodland and live in harmony with nature with all these little critters. We are grieving their loss and ours.


What more can be added to this. Noise now vibrates at unheard levels....and the loss of trees and the soft sounds of the wind only magnifies the blasting, jackhammering and general noises at the construction site.


I can tell you the air quality of our neighborhood with the loss of our wonderful woodland is unbearable at times.  With respiratory issues since birth,  I can no longer live in my condo, with the ongoing, diminished air quality.  Even though I am affected in a more obvious way,  everyone suffers when trees can no longer act as natures own air filtration system, especially in a big city.  Anyone who thinks that mowing down these kinds of trees and tree stands is OK and can be mitigated by the planting of ornamentals is not living in the real world.

And wouldn't you know, the very people who think they can mitigate destroying big tree stands by easily planting fast-growing ornamentals are the very people who admonish everyone else about reducing our carbon footprints.

Below is our neighbors new wildlife species.

And speaking of CATS, Caterpillar stock gets slammed today

Sunday, May 18, 2014

John 10: 1-21, The Good Shepard and His Sheep


 10 “VERY TRULY I TELL YOU Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”


This reading from John 10 is from today's readings at One Year Bible blog which I link to on my sidebar.  I am now reading through the Bible in one year for the eighth year, and it literally saves my life and sanity when I am going through difficult times and feel like a lost sheep who's wandered off from my Good Shepherd.  The Word of God is sharp, active and alive and I am happy to say I can't live without it anymore.  Hope you will consider checking out this wonderful site, if you haven't already.

Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Running Wild In the New Bond Bull Market

FORGET THE STOCK MARKET AND WATCH THE RUNNING OF THE WILD, NEW BULL MARKET IN BONDS. May very well be a harbinger of a major downturn in stocks, since the bond market is usually smarter and more prescient than anything else. It's caused by what's going on in Europe, and is sending investors to bonds here. Anyway, it's the wild, new bull market that everybody's watching. URGENT: BONDS CATCHING FIRE as stocks slide downhill.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Chilling Staging, Posing and Crafting of President Obama's Image and How Big Media Outlets Take the Bait

THE INDEPENDENT WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS IS LOSING ACCESS AS NEVER BEFORE and it's likely never coming back.  Social media assures the good ole days of capturing authenticity in historic events is almost over.  Crafting image is the chimera we are now expected to believe is true as real accountability becomes an endanged species..

This is well worth watching just in case you believe everything you see in photo ops.

 SOURCE: REASON TV via Keith Koffler

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


Below:  Every believing mother's song and earnest daily, hourly prayer:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

@ Carpi Diem: Mencken Timeless Quotations Worth Pondering

MARK PERRY WRITES TODAY AT HIS SITE THAT THESE QUOTES..... are from H.L. Mencken (pictured above), who is often regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the early 20th century. Here are some of the “Sage of Baltimore’s” timeless quotes on politics, democracy, government and elections. (A version of this post originally appeared on CD on January 18, 2013.)
1. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
Recent examples of political hobgoblins: Campus sexual assault, the 23% gender pay gap, global warming /climate change extreme weather, insider trading, bullying, fracking, energy exports, and income inequality.
2. Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.
3. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
4. Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
5. Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
6. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
7. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
8. If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
9. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
10. All government, of course, is against liberty....

See more links at Carpe Diem

Friday, May 9, 2014

You've Heard of the Black Box....Now Here's the Blackie Box

IT'S BEEN A LONG, BUSY AND EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE WEEK AS I go back and forth from city to country. I commute with sacks and boxes---plastic containers from Targee for clothes, shoes and personal accouterments, sacks for groceries and everything else. Today I lugged a wicker 'business' box with mail and reading material I need to tackle after a good night's sleep.

Alas,  I forgot that as soon as any new box of any size, shape or genre enters the house and my guest room in it,  it becomes fodder for cat creativity and reckless can abandon.  A cat spa of sorts.  Before I could say lickity-split this afternoon,  Blackie made haste to morph my business box stacked with catalogs, mail of all kinds and newsletters into his personal cat futon.  Last week it was a flat box from a mail order company in London I donated to the cat cause.

I and my personal effects are no match for cats that have a higher purpose and squatters rights in this house.  OK, for now,  cause I'm just too tired to try to displace Blackie by brute force or cat treats....but tomorrow......tomorrow.  I'll fight for my rights!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What's So Special About Big Trees In the City?


THE QUICK, SNAKY ANSWER IS, If I told you, I'd probably have to kill you. Still, I'll be back to talk about real trees, along with real life principles in the city and beyond. Remember, relationships are always better based on real nature and natural principles....and I don't mean ornamental, unnatural little  computer-rendered trees and nature from all over the place rendered by computer techies who are pasty and pale and connented with falseness sold to us as real.

I'll be back..

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday, Ever So Briefly


LIFE HAS BEEN MORE HECTIC THAN USUAL NOW THAT I'M LIVING IN THE COUNTRY OUTSIDE NASHVILLE FOR NOW. I'm staying at a good friend's home which is surrounded by beautiful, mature  hardwood trees--- most gorgeous oaks I've ever seen---and adorable, adoring cats. Above is one of my best friends who creeps up on the bed with me in the middle-of -the-night, before waking me up at the crack of dawn.

Anyway,  Sunday has mostly gotten away from me this week and I don't have much to post.  Nonetheless,  I'm currently reading a terrific new book on C.S. Lewis called  If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis---Exploring  the Ideas of C.S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life, by Alister McGrath.  Think I'll use it for several future Sunday posts, but for now will just take several quotes from chapter headings and call it a day this week.

So, without further ado, here are a couple of Lewis' quotes I find thought-provoking:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ---from Is Theology Poetry?

For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.---from The Abolition of Man

I may add to this post more on Monday, but first a good night's sleep.  Thanks for coming by.