Saturday, September 28, 2019

Control................................


While you don't control external events, you retain the ability to decide how you respond to those events.  You control what every external event means to you personally.
     This means the difficulty in front of you right now.  You'll find, if you approach it right, that this trump card is plenty.

-Ryan Holiday, from today's entry in The Daily Stoic

An environmental catastrophe....


....................is likely in our future.  As a betting man, I would wager a large sum that it won't be man-made:

     In about 2200 B.C., a major volcanic eruption somewhere far to the north spewed enormous quantities of fine ash into the atmosphere.  If historic eruptions are any yardstick, the debris veiled the sun for months on end, bringing unseasonal cold.  Unfortunately for Ur's lords, the eruption coincided with the beginning of a 278-year drought cycle that affected huge areas of the eastern Mediterranean world and is clearly visible in ice cores from the Greenland ice sheet and the high Andes.  With catastrophic abruptness, the moist Mediterranean westerlies faltered.  Winter rainfall plummeted.  The Euphrates and Tigris floods, starved of rain and snowfall in the distant Anatolian highlands, failed as well.
     The drought turned the once-fertile northern Habur plains by the Euphrates into a near desert.

-Brian Fagan,  The Long Summer:  How Climate Changed Civilization





Fifty years ago........................


Frankie Laine......................................You Gave Me A Mountain

Friday, September 27, 2019

Don't ask..............................



Afterthoughts................................



A priority................................


About climate change....................


If you are worried about rising sea levels, don’t be. The smartest and richest people in the world are still buying property on the beach. They don’t see the problem. And if sea levels do rise, it will happen slowly enough for people to adjust.

-Scott Adams, from this love letter

thanks Chris

Fifty years ago.................................


Glen Campbell......................Where's The Playground Susie

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The complexity of sociality..................


Many people think about conversation and connection as two different strategies for accomplishing the same goal of maintaining their social life.  This mind-set believes that there are many different ways to tend important relationships in your life, and in our current modern moment, you should use all tools available—spanning from old-fashioned face-to-face talking, to tapping the heart icon on a friend's Instagram post.
     The philosophy of conversation-centric communication takes a harder stance.  It argues that conversation is the only form of interaction that in some sense counts toward maintaining a relationship.  This conversation can take the form of a face-to-face meeting, or it can be a video chat or a phone call—so long as it matches Sherry Turkle's criteria of involving nuanced analog cues, such as the tone of your voice or facial expressions.  Anything textual or non-interactive—basically all social media, email, text, and instant messaging—doesn't count as conversation and should be categorized as mere connection. . . .The socializing that counts is real conversation, and text is no longer a sufficient alternative. . . .
     To be clear, conversation-centric communication requires sacrifices.  If you adopt this philosophy, you'll almost certainly reduce the number of people with whom you have an active relationship.  Real conversation takes time, and the total number of people for which you can uphold this standard will be significantly less than the total number of people you can follow, retweet, "like," and occasionally leave a comment for on social media, or ping with the occasional text.  Once you no longer count the latter activities as meaningful interaction, your social circle will seem at first to contract.
     This sense of contraction, however, is illusory. . . .

Our sociality is simply too complex to be outsourced to a social network or reduced to instant messages and emojis.

-Cal Newport,  Digital Minimalism:  Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Micro blogging.............................


................................Sensory Dispensary has changed venues.   Catch up with Scott here.

A simple, one-page return, flat tax anyone?....


Mankiw attempts to inform our politicians that writing tax law is difficult, it also tends to unleash the The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Fifty years ago......................


Clarence Carter..................................................Snatching It Back

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Spare yourself..........................


     When King Pyrrhus was undertaking his expedition into Italy, Cyneas, his wise counselor, wanting to make him feel the vanity of his ambition, asked him:  "Well, Sire, to what purpose are you setting up this great enterprise?"  "To make myself master of Italy," he immediately replied.  "And then," continued Cyneas, "when that is done?" "I shall pass over into Gaul and Spain," said the other.  "And after that?"  "I shall go and subdue Africa; and finally, when I have brought the world under my subjection, I shall rest and live content and at my ease."  "In God's name, Sire,"  Cyneas then retorted, "tell me what keeps you from being in that condition right now, if that is what you want.  Why don't you settle down at this very moment in the state you say you aspire to, and spare yourself all the intervening toil and risks?"

          Because he does not know the bounds of gain,
          And where true pleasure stops, and starts to wane.
                                                             Lucretius

     I will conclude this piece with this old line that I think is singularly fine and to the purpose:  Each man's character shapes his fortune [Cornelius Nepos].

-The Complete Essays of Montaigne, Essay 42  Of the inequality that is between us

the innumerable flutterings..................


It is a thorny undertaking, and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as that of our mind, to penetrate the opaque depths of its innermost folds, to pick out and immobilize the innumerable flutterings that agitate it.

-Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

     Writing had got Montaigne through his "mad reveries" crisis;  it now taught him to look at the world more closely, and increasingly gave him the habit of describing inward sensations and social encounters with precision.  He quoted Pliny on the idea of attending to such elusive fragments:  "Each man is a good education to himself, provided he has the capacity to spy on himself from close up."   As Montaigne the man when about his daily life on the estate, Montaigne the writer walked close behind him, spying and taking notes.

Sarah Bakewell,  How To Live—Or—A Life Of Montaigne: In One Question And Twenty Attempts At An Answer

A calling.............................


     You have every right to be happy.  Dostoevsky said through Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov, "Anybody who is completely happy can be sure he's doing God's will on earth."  We are called to be happy, not only for our own sake, but you're called to be happy for everybody's sake.  How much more help I could have been to my anorexic daughter if I had been happy, at peace, whole, a rock, instead of a haggard, anxiety-ridden, doom-ridden cripple.

-Frederick Buechner,  The Remarkable Ordinary

Fifty years ago.......................


Gladys Knight & The Pips.....................................Cloud Nine

Monday, September 23, 2019

Opening paragraphs....................


Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.  His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller v.  His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal.  The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down - from high flat temples - in a point on his forehead.  He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.

-Dashiell Hammett,  The Maltese Falcon

Most people don't write like this anymore.  Have to read a few more chapters before deciding whether that is our loss -  or gain.

If only..........................


...............................................our elites were more elite:

In a remarkable Washington Post opinion piece, he now professed to advocate a “more active role by government and regulators,” to balance the “freedom for people to express themselves” online with the protection of society “from broader harms.”  Zuckerberg included “harmful content” and political ads as categories of digital speech in need of regulation.  . . .

The effect, I suspect, will be the exact opposite of the reactionary dream.  In wild and seedy digital gathering-places, far from any pretense of idealism, political discussion will inevitably grow more unfettered, more divisive, more violent.  The attempt to impose Victorian standards of propriety on the information sphere will end by converting it into a vicious and unending saloon brawl.  No matter how revolting the web appears at present – it can always get worse.

-from this essay by the always interesting Martin Gurri

Fifty years ago.....................


The Rascals...................................................................Real Thing

Unfolding.........................


     Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
     Say not, "I have found the path of the soul."  Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
     For the soul walks upon all paths.
     The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
     The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

-Kahlil Gibran, from his discourse on Self-Knowledge in The Prophet

One of my favorite seasons..............


Autumn is right up there with Winter, Spring and Summer!


Sunday, September 22, 2019

"The biggest moment of anyone's life"...




more than you ever wanted to know about Rock Paper Scissors may be found here

On connection and solitude............


The pianist Glenn Gould once proposed a mathematical formula for this cycle, telling a journalist:  "I've always had a sort of intuition that for every hour you spend with other human beings you need X number of hours alone.  Now what that X represents I don't really know . . . but it's a substantial ratio."

-Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism:  Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

As best you can......................


     And, of course, Jesus says that the greatest commandment is this:  loving God and loving our neighbors.  I don't know what it means to love God—really, I'm not all that good at it—but I think one of the things it means is, just as in the case of loving anybody else, you stop and watch and wait.  Listen for God, stop and watch and wait for him.  To love God means to pay attention, be mindful, be open to the possibility that God is with you in ways that, unless you have your eyes open, you may never glimpse.  He speaks words that, unless you have your ears open, you may never hear.  Draw near to him as best you can.

-Frederick Buechner,  The Remarkable Ordinary

Verse..........................


19.  When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from harming others, then all living creatures will cease to feel enmity in his presence.

-Patanjali, How To Know God:  The Yoga Aphorisms Of Patanjali

Fifty years ago........................


Peter, Paul and Mary.....................................................Day Is Done

Gratitude......................


     Without exception, I begin every day of my life with an expression of gratitude.  As I look in the mirror to begin my daily ritual of shaving, I say, "Thank you, God, for life, for my body, for my family and loved ones, for this day, and for the opportunity to be of service.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

-Wayne Dyer,  Inspiration:  Your Ultimate Calling