Saturday, October 29, 2016
Just as for the Stoics, it would be reductive to claim that Buddhism enjoins us to renounce all desire. The desire it proposes to abolish is that which is created by attachment, while it actually encourages the noble desire to improve ourselves, to progress in the path of compassion, the impulse towards the good.
-Frederic Lenoir, as extracted from Happiness: A Philosopher's Guide
"That our language is in perpetual danger of corruption cannot be denied; but what prevention can be found? The present manners of the nation would deride authority, and therefore nothing is left but that every writer should criticize himself."
Friday, October 28, 2016
One of the finance industry’s biggest failings is many blindly assume absolute brilliance is all they need when it’s really a relative game. There are plenty of smart people who are terrible investors because they can’t admit their own limitations. Intelligence is never in short supply on Wall Street, but the correct temperament is.
-Ben Carlson, as culled from here
Thursday, October 27, 2016
.....................................................ventured out to the newly refurbished Thirty One West (formerly known locally as the Crystal Ballroom) last night. Leo Kottke was the attraction. Great guitarist with a super endearing stage presence. We really enjoyed the evening. If you get a chance to see Leo play, do.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Mornings start at different times. In summer I wake up pretty early, sometimes as early as seven. It's later in the winter - when the days are shorter, I sleep longer. I might not get up until eleven. Maybe that happens to everyone. It used to be worse. I used to have real trouble getting up in the winter, and even when I did, I might stay in bed for hours. These days it's a little easier to start the day, not matter what the season.
-Brian Wilson, i am Brian Wilson: a memoir
............I am also a history major. Nothing in my readings of history lead me to be hopeful about the next 228 years. Hang on people. It will be an interesting ride:
We have had imperfect candidates for a long time. Often we even elect them to the highest office. So far at least, the inertia of our constitutional system has kept our electoral mistakes manageable. We’ve had a good political run surviving 228 years of imperfect leaders. I’m going to adopt the optimistic view that we’ll survive this next President, and hopefully the next 228 years as well.
The “Washington gridlock” we all claim to hate may be our best insurance against candidates we don’t like. The system, by design, stymies the Executive branch, and that’s a good thing. I’m frightened by this election, but I’m trying to take the long view. I will certainly vote.
-quoth The Banker
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
But his principal achievement was that he never took himself too seriously: he performed high-risk philosophical manoeuvres with unflagging good humour, and was always willing to concede that his hard-won theoretical convictions might turn out to be ridiculous foibles. If you are upset by abstract arguments, he said, then you should get out a bit more and engage with “common life”, and after a while you will be able to relax as you watch them all “vanish like smoke”.
-Written about David Hume, as culled from Jonathan Ree's book review of Anthony Gottlieb's The Dream of Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Philosophy
In February 1910, Sandburg wrote an article for the Milwaukee Social-Democratic Herald to commemorate Abraham Lincoln's birthday. The short piece was revealing for three reasons: it affirmed Sandburg's commitment to the working class; it portrayed Lincoln, who became Sandburg's lifelong obsession, as a socialist, at least in spirit; and it marked the first appearance of a new byline. No pseudonym this time concealed his political history; no Americanization masked his Swedish roots. He became, once and for all, Carl Sandburg. At the same time, he tried to wrest Lincoln away from the Republicans, to make him a symbol of hope for "the common people - the working class." "Let us not forget" he wrote:
Abraham Lincoln was a shabby, homely man who came from
among those who live shabby homely lives.
He came into life sad - down in the sad world of labor - labor
burdened and tragic and exploited.
He never forgot the tragic, weary underworld from which he
came - the world of labor, the daily lives of toil, deprivation and
monotony. Against these things he fought. He struggled for
more - more food and books and better conditions - for the
-Penelope Niven, Carl Sandburg: A Biography
“This mean humorless philosophy which says everybody should agree on absolutely everything is not good.” He continued, “When the word moderation becomes a dirty word we have some soul searching to do.”
-George H. W. Bush, as culled from here
Monday, October 24, 2016
I asked professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was
trying to fool with them.
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women
and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.
-Carl Sandburg, Happiness
The next half year would be the most tedious in Bobby's twenty year public life, working for the blandest of ex-presidents. Herbert Hoover is best remembered for two violations of the public good: He ushered in a Great Depression that he seemed incapable of ending, and he rigorously enforced Prohibition at a troubled time when Americans thirsted for a stiff drink. But Presidents Truman and Eisenhower recognized that the mining engineer turned politician knew more than anybody else about efficiency, and they enlisted him to run a blue-ribbon panel aimed at making the government more productive. It was for that noble purpose - in the form of the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government - that Bobby signed up in the summer of 1953.
-Larry Tye, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon
.....................but there are those who believe one of the main drivers for the development of language in us humans was the ability for name calling:
Luther had already called Henry "a pig, a dolt, and a liar." Henry has already replied the Luther was "an ape, a drunkard, and a lousy little friar." Gentlemen did not then confine themselves to logical arguments. Defenders of the faith felt no constraints upon their pens or their tongues in face of opposing argument. And as these ever more acrimonious verbal conflagrations were joined, bonfires of Luther's writings, as well as of Wyclif's increasingly archaic translations, were being lit across the land.
-Thomas Cahill, Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World. The setting is circa 1523. Luther being Martin Luther. Henry being Henry VIII, then King of England. Wyclif being John Wycliffe, who translated parts of the bible into vernacular English in the late 1300's.
Carver paced the control room, watching over the front forty. The towers were spread out before him in perfect neat rows. They hummed quietly and efficiently and even with all he knew, Carver had to marvel at what technology had wrought. So much in so little space. Not a stream but a swift and torrid river of data flowing by him every day. Growing in front of him in tall steel stalks. All he needed to do was to reach in, to look and to choose. It was like panning for gold.
But it was easier.
He checked the overhead temperature gauges. All was perfect in the server room. He lowered his eyes to the screens on the workstations in front of him. His three engineers worked in concert on the current project. A attempted breach thwarted by Carver's skill and readiness. Now the reckoning.
-Michael Connelly, The Scarecrow