Current Thoughts Blog by Hari Seldon
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One of my all-time favorite bands is The Moody Blues.  The band was at their creative peak over a 7 album stretch (Days of Future Passed up through Seventh Sojourn) with each member contributing strong songs to the album mixes.  Think about 7 classic albums in a span of 6 years from 1967 to 1972.

Many of their songs hit me and when I hear them I get lost in the moment.  Listening on Pandora at work today Our Guessing game came on.  It's from the album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour which is a good album but not their best. This track features Ray Thomas near his prime, with introspective lyrics and a strong vocal performance.  The other highlight of the track is Justin Hayward's lead guitar riffs which are excellent throughout the entire album, such a warm tone that is instantly recognizable as his.
I've been reflective lately and I love this part of the song which struck just the right chord with me today:

Standing in the town
Looking at people, counting their frowns
Unhappy faces, hurrying around
So blind they cannot see
All of the things
The way life ought to be
And with tomorrow what will they make of me

It leaves me so much to explain
That's the start of our guessing game

There are times when I think that I've found the truth
There are times when I know that I'm wrong
And the days when I try to hide my fears
Bless the days when I'm feeling strong

(Lyrics: Ray Thomas from The Moody Blues) 
 

I love this song.  So intense and doubly so in concert.  I don't know why but I've been reflecting on seeing them live on the album release a couple years back and this song along with Time Flies were definitely highlights.

I Drive the Hearse (from The Incident)

When this freedom stains my coat
With the winter in my throat
When I'm lost I dig the dirt
When I fall I drive the hearse

Silence is another way of saying what I wanna say
Lying is another way of hoping it will go away
And you we're always my mistake

Given time I fix the roof
Given cash I speak the truth

And silence is another way of saying what I wanna say
Lying is another way of hoping it will go away
And you we're always my mistake

When I'm down I drive the hearse

When this boredom wears me out
Then the sky begins to cloud
Sleeping with my ball and chain
When she cries I take the blame

Pride is just another way of trying to live with my mistakes
Denial is a better way of getting through another day

And silence is another way of saying what I wanna say
Lying is another way of hoping it will go away
And you we're always my mistake

When I'm down I drive the hearse

written by Steven Wilson - Porcupine Tree

They expect to live as beneficiaries of a prosperous Western society without making any contribution to the productivity necessary to sustain it.

Mark Steyn on the Oakland Occupy protesters

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/282280

 "Meanwhile the Liberals had been elected.  Traditionally opposed to war and foreign adventure, they were confident that good intentions could keep the peace."

Barbara W. Tuchman ~ The Guns of August (p.46)

 

It's interesting that over 100 years later, this brief reference to England in 1905 by Tuchman would still hold relevance in our modern era.  World War I was the war to end all wars, yet only 30 years later Chamberlain would declare "Peace in our time" after being hoodwinked by Hitler.  The folly of good intentions would continue throughout the 20th century with useful idiots proclaiming that all that is necessary was to "imagine" peace or to give peace a chance.

The truth of course is that it takes only one party to break a peace and initiate hostilities and typical aggressors will play on the good intentions of those who wish against all reason that peace is attainable if only they give in a little more or pretend the danger is not real.  George Orwell has a few interesting thoughts on the subject:

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

“The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. . . . [I]t is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality.”

Good intentions are fine, but as long as there are dangerous aggressors willing to commit violence, we will need Orwell's rough men on our side.


Well, I finally finished Anathem last Friday.  It's a lengthy novel at nearly 1000 pages, filled with an entire history of another world.  Although the characters and situations are interesting, I must confess it didn't grab me nearly the way that Cryptonomicon or Snow Crash did.

I wanted to like the monastery like setting and the convents and such, but it just didn't go anywhere.  It reminded me of the type of description Tolkien used in Lord of the Rings.  Not the great stuff, just all the detail along the way.  The problem was that the destination didn't have the payoff and the events along the way just didn't build up with tension as they did in Crytonomicon.

 

Stephenson is a great author and the book is intelligent and deep, and well written,  it's just not that compelling from a story standpoint.  The characters are likable enough, but they aren't enough to drive the plot and unfortunately this feels like the slow parts of Fellowship of the Ring, lots of scenery and promise of excitement yet to come, but not enough of them to make the whole journey worth it.

3/5 stars.

Anyone else read it?  What are your thoughts?

"A liberal is someone who reaches into your shower and adjusts the water temperature for you."

- William F. Buckley

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.


This is known as "bad luck."

 

Robert Heinlein

from The Algebraist p.180-181 by Iain M. Banks

 

The little man looked at him for a moment.  'Mr. Taak' he said, sitting back sounding patient.  'I've inspected your profile.  You're not stupid.  Misguided, idealistic, naive, certainly, but you are not stupid.  You must know how societies work.  You must at least have an inkling.  They work on force, power, and coercion.  People don't behave themselves because they are nice.  That's the liberal fallacy.  People behave themselves because if they don't, they'll be punished.  All this is known, it isn't even debatable.  Civilisation after civilisation, society after society, species after species, all show the same pattern.  Society is control: control is reward and punishment.  Reward is being allowed to partake in the fruits of that society and, as a general but not unbreakable rule, not being punished without cause.

Remember the Roman Emperor who said he wished humanity had a single neck so he could cut it? People have laughed at him for centuries but we'll have the last laugh. We've accomplished what he couldn't accomplish. We've taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash.  We found the magic word.  Collectivism.  Look at Europe, you fool.  Can't you see past the guff and recognize the essence?  One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all.  The individual held as evil, the mass--as God.  No motive and no virtue permitted--except that of service to the proletariot.  That's one version.  Here's another.  A country dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the State is all.  The individual held as evil, the race--as God.  No motive and no virtue is permitted--except that of service to the race.  Am I raving or is this the cold reality of two continents already?  Watch the pincer movement.  If you're sick of one version, we push you into the other.  We get you coming and going.  We've fixed the coin.  Heads--collectivism, and tails---collectivism.  Fight the doctrine which slaughters the individual with a doctrine which slaughters the individual.  Give up your soul to a council--or give it up to a leader.  But give it up, give it up, give it up.

{Ellsworth Toohey to Peter Keating}  Ayn Rand from The Fountainhead

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