Saturday, December 10, 2016
Once upon a time in the mid-eighth century, an intrepid young man named Abd al-Rahman abandoned his home in Damascus, the Near Eastern heartland of Islam, and set out across the North African desert in search of a place of refuge. Damascus had become a slaughterhouse for his family, the ruling Umayyads, who had first led the Muslims out of the desert of Arabia into the high cultures of the Fertile Crescent. With the exception of Abd al-Rahman, the Umayyads were eradicated by the rival Abbasids, who seized control of the great empire called the "House of Islam." This sole survivor was undoubtedly too young - he was in his late teens or early twenties - to be terrified at the odds against him, nor was his flight westward, towards what was the farthest frontier of the Islamic territories, as arbitrary or hopeless as it might have seemed. The prince's mother was a Berber tribeswoman from the environs of today's Morocco, which Arab conquerors had reached some years before. From this place, which the Muslims called the Maghrib, the "Far West," the descendants of the Prophet and his first followers had brought women such as Abd al-Rahman's mother back east as brides or concubines for the highest-ranking families, to expand and enrich the bloodlines.
-Maria Rosa Menocal, The Ornament Of The World: How Muslims, Jews, And Christians Created A Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
.....................................................just have to be repeated:
"Narcissistic self-immolation is the ideal form of suicide for an industry distrusted by the public but thirsty for post-election content."
-David Uberti, as culled from 86 pieces of journalism wisdom published in the month since the election.
Friday, December 9, 2016
“If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self interest”
-attributed to John Glenn
................the problem of high priced Washington, D. C. real estate: move federal offices elsewhere. Senator Robert Byrd was the master at this, as a trip of any length through West Virginia will make evident. Glenn Reynolds is pushing the idea. Now Matt Yglesias is jumping on the bandwagon. If shrinking is impossible (probably not Yglesias's first choice), dispersal might be a great option. Real estate is mighty affordable here in Central Ohio. I love the part where Yglesias encourages Donald Trump to "take a little time to think bigger." As they say, read the whole thing. A wee excerpt follows:
Thursday, December 8, 2016
“Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience -- to appreciate the fact that life is complex.”
-attributed to Scott Peck
....................................look it up your ownself.
I’m great at multitasking; I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.
More samples here. Thanks Ray.
Having the White House alternate between two wealthy, familiar political families may reassure corporate lobbies, Wall Street banks, and billionaire donors, but it turns out that this modified version of hereditary monarchy has very little appeal among American voters.
The voters, we have learned, have a different conception of democracy than the donor class. Ordinary Americans think of elections not as chances to passively ratify the candidates already chosen by party elites, but as opportunities to choose the candidates they prefer. Where this populist idea of genuine voter power came from is not clear, but it now seems to be widespread.
-Michael Lind, as excerpted from here
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
"After years of working with students at both ends of the achievement spectrum, I now have a distinctly different view of school reform. The problem, I think, is not only the schools but also the students themselves. Here's why: learning is hard. True, learning is fun, exhilarating, and gratifying - but it is also often daunting, exhausting, and sometimes discouraging. By and large, students who no longer want to learn, who don't think they can learn, and who don't see any point in learning simply won't - no matter how wonderful the school or teacher...
To help chronically low-performing but intelligent students, educators and parents must first recognize that character is at least as important as intellect."
"Underachievement among American youth is often blamed on inadequate teachers, boring textbooks, and large class sizes. We suggest other reasons for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline...We believe that many of America's children have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gain, and that programs that build self-discipline may be the royal road to building academic achievement."
-Angela Lee Duckworth, as excerpted from Martin E. P. Seligman's Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
There is no "cause" of emotions except from within. To see this fact results in empowerment, autonomy, and release from the illusion of victimhood.
Inner peace automatically arises out of our willingness to give up certain positionalities, such as judging others and making them "wrong". Willingness stems from a forgiving, understanding position. Judgmentalism does not really solve anything but instead adds to the problem. Making others wrong results in a world of lose-lose.
-David R. Hawkins, as extracted from Healing and Recovery
Scrutinize the Scorpion constellation
and see where a hook of stars
ends with a lonely star.
Go to the grey sea horizon
and ask for a message
and listen and wait.
See whether the conundrums
of a heavy land fog
either sing or talk.
Let only a small cry come
in behalf of a clean sunrise:
the sun performs so often.
Speak to the branches of spring
and the surprise of blossoms:
they too hope for a good year.
Search the first winter snowstorm
for a symphonic arrangement:
it is always there.
Take an alphabet of gold or mud and spell
as you wish any word: kiss me, kill me,
love, hate, ice, thought, victory.
Read the numbers on your wrist watch
and ask: is being born, being loved,
being dead, nothing but numbers?
-Carl Sandburg, Almanac
From the wondrous APOD:
Explanation: If Scorpius looked this good to the unaided eye, humans might remember it better. Scorpius more typically appears as a few bright stars in a well known but rarely pointed out zodiacal constellation. To get a spectacular image like this, though, one needs a good camera, color filters, and a digital image processor. To bring out detail, the above image not only involved long duration exposures taken in several colors, but one exposure in a very specific red color emitted by hydrogen that brings out great detail. The resulting image shows many breathtaking features. Vertically across the image left is part of the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Visible there are vast clouds of bright stars and long filaments of dark dust. Jutting out diagonally from theMilky Way in the image center are dark dust bands known as the Dark River. This river connects to several bright stars on the right that are part ofScorpius' head and claws, and include the bright star Antares. Above and right of Antares is an even brighter planet Jupiter. Numerous red emission nebulas and blue reflection nebulas are visible throughout the image. Scorpius appears prominently in southern skies after sunset during the middle of the year.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
"When the cravingness, desiringness, obsession, compulsion, and addiction to the wantingness and cravingness of this physicality dissipate, we are at peace."
-David R. Hawkins, Healing and Recovery
...............................will get old and tired soon, but for now, it's kind of fun to watch. Piers Morgan has the story:
Since the election, Trump has continued to Tweet away. He's called for Hamilton to be boycotted and flag-burning to be criminalised, and every time the same 10-part pattern unfolds and the whole thing starts again.
Each episode followed a familiar 10-part pattern:
1) Trump posts an inflammatory, highly opinionated tweet.
2) The media goes nuts.
3) Trump’s tweet then dominates the news all day.
4) The media demands he stops tweeting because it’s ‘un-presidential.’
5) Trump ignores them.
6) Conventional politicians demand he stops tweeting because it’s un-presidential.’
7) Trump ignores them too.
8) Trump wakes up next morning to every paper and cable news show talking about his tweet.
9) Trump chuckles to himself.
10) Trump tweets again.