Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

The People of Tomorrow

Posted by Ron Coleman on January 21, 2009

Jack over at the The Missal has some thoughts about the Obama Era and the people who live in it.

Posted in Heart and spirit, Politics and Poker, Style | 1 Comment »

Caption contest.

Posted by Ron Coleman on January 4, 2009


Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman

First prize: A trip to northern New Jersey, home of so many special environmental spots.

Second prize: Two trips here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Good night 2008

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 31, 2008

Phoenix eve

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman

What a year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Blawg Review #191

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 22, 2008

For all the talk about illumination, there was nothing light about writing this week’s Blawg Review, which is up now over at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®.

Posted in Blogophilia, Lex scripta, Narcissus Rex | Leave a Comment »

Transformed by the light

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 21, 2008

I wouldn’t necessarily hire Paul Greenberg as the rabbi for our shul, but he’s done a nice bit of work with this — appreciating Chanukah, and getting a pretty good grip on what it isn’t, from a perspective that should be appreciated across the Judeo-Christian spectrum:

In the glow of the candles, the heroic feats of the Maccabees have become transmuted into acts of divine intervention. The blessing over the candles recited each night of the holiday goes: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old.” Miracles, not victories.

At Passover, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told with the same moral attached: It is He who delivered us, not we who freed ourselves. Freedom is a gift from God, not men.

Chanukah isn’t even mentioned in the Old Testament. The swashbuckling stories of battles and victories have been relegated to the Apocrypha. A mere military victory rates only a secondary place in the canon. The victory is to be celebrated not for its own sake but for what it reveals.

One more violent confrontation has been lifted out of history and entered the realm of the sacred. A messy little guerrilla war in the dim past of a forgotten empire has become something else, something that partakes of the eternal.

The central metaphor of all religious belief — light — reduces all the imperial intrigue and internecine warfare of those tumultuous times to shadowy details. And that may be the greatest miracle of Chanukah: the transformation of the oldest and darkest of human activities, war, into a feast of illumination.

Hat tip to Lux Libertas.

Posted in Faith and Works, Heart and spirit, Oppression, Past is prologue | Leave a Comment »

Gored oxen, oxen and Gores

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 21, 2008


The real question, given the way the press covered for John Edwards, Barack Obama, et al. is whether the press would cover a Watergate if it happened under a Democratic administration.

They would.  Have we forgotten Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?  The Clintons felt from almost Day One that the press was their bitter enemy, but with Monicagate the dogs were loosed.  While overall, cultural elites swooned over Clinton — churning out several thinly-disguised valentines in Hollywood, naming him (how embarrassing now!) our First Black President, and of course running down the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy when the time came for that — “the press,” which we now call the mainstream press , went in for the kill once their cheese was moved by Matt Drudge.

Media on media on media

Media on media on media

It’s not a paradox.  The MSM will never forgive a Republican for being elected to audience, and will pull out the stops to do everything they can to insure that it doesn’t happen again.  Democrats do get a honeymoon, and no matter how badly received their efforts are they will always receive, for example, the endorsement of the New York Times — as bad as they are, after all, they’re not Republicans.

But within that limiting principle, their ambition, especially when Election Day is close by in the rear view mirror, overrides their loyalty to the individual.  After all, if you bring down Bill Clinton, what do you get?  A Pulitzer, editorial tenure for life, book contracts and hefty speaking fees — and, hey, President Al Gore.

What’s not to like?

Posted in Medialites, Politics and Poker | 4 Comments »

Don’t even mention Queens

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 18, 2008


Here’s a map in case you need help visualizing “the area” Caroline needs to win over as she ventures off Manhattan Island:

Northern Territory

Northern Territory

Actually I here she’s very big in Schenectady.

Posted in Politics and Poker | 5 Comments »


Posted by Ron Coleman on December 17, 2008

Victoria Pynchon on today’s post at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®:

“hiLARious!!! your year’s best!”

She could be right, I don’t know.  There are some really good ones.  (And some really good MasterCard, uh, cards, too.)

Imagine how good the blog must have been last year!

Posted in Lex scripta, Narcissus Rex | 2 Comments »

Flat-footed spam comment of the day

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 16, 2008

You have to love it:

A new comment on the post #848 “Likelihood of Success” is waiting for your approval

Author : Backlink Tool (IP: ,
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Nice articles here. Should put more articles about white teeth and teeth whitening methods.

Posted in Blogophilia, Nuvo-Techno, Sisyphus | 4 Comments »


Posted by Ron Coleman on December 16, 2008

Today is Beethoven’s birthday!  (Hat tip to Schroeder!)  I posted this piece on Dean’s World on October 6, 2006:

Tortured muse

Tortured muse

New York’s NPR affiliate, WNYC, had a powerful item on this morning about the piano concertos of Beethoven, which represent, I learned, a self-standing volume of the canon of classical music all their own. It is part of their Beethoven Festival. It was informative and evocative to say the least (regrettably, if there is a link to an online version of the program, I can’t find it).

What is it about Beethoven — the music, the man, the concept — that resonates so powerfully? The melodrama of the tortured genius fighting Fate itself to create the world’s most brilliant and innovative music, even as he loses the ability to hear it performed, is irresistable. I learned this morning that Beethoven was such a leading-edge pianist himself that the technical demands he made on the still-new technology of the pianoforte instrument, where he did most of his composing, dragged piano makers into a new era of quality and responsiveness. Beethoven used his piano sonatas as studies for his orchestral and chamber works, so he needed the piano to be able to “sing” and represent as complete a range of musical and vocal performance possible.

But the ringing irony of all remains the storyline too good for literature: The brilliant composer who at the end of his career could not hear the real-world realization of one of history’s most gifted muses. Beethoven, they say, did not work in the manner ascribed to Mozart, seemingly acting as God’s musical scribe, taking Divine dictation “effortlessly” (an absurd concept) like a musical Prometheus. Beethoven tore up his soul and tortured his heart — and those many of those around him — to bring his muse to life.

True, a genius hears, in his own world, more sound than even he can bring to life — sometimes all too much. And the world was in Beethoven’s time, and is now, full of true horror on a far more prosaic plane than his. But if we ever let our eyes wander heavenward, the thought of the artistic tragedy of Beethoven is sometimes just too much to contemplate.

Posted in Ars Longa, Heart and spirit, Sisyphus | 1 Comment »