Monday, December 30, 2019

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


The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies.  Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras poised, their breath rising like steam.  Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders, gloved fingers wiping lenses clear.  From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watchers filled the waiting time be snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen.

-Robert Galbraith,  The Cuckoo's Calling

Being exposed to other folk's reading lists is one of the side benefits to this blogging gig.  Patrick Rhone offers his 2019 list here.   I like " a good whodunnit", so I took his advice and started in on Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series. So far, amazingly good.  Not ashamed to say that part of the lure being Galbraith is J. K. Rowling.  Doesn't matter what you call her, she can flat out write.  Thanks Patrick.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

No limits.........................

via























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


Our meeting was not contrived.  Not by me, not by Ed, not by any of the hidden hands supposedly pulling at his strings.  I was not targeted.  Ed was not put up to it.  We were neither covertly nor aggressively observed.  He issued a sporting challenge.  I accepted it.  We played.  There was no contrivance, no conspiracy, no collusion.  There are events in my life - only a few these days, it's true - that admit of one version only.  Our meeting was such an event.  My telling of it never wavered in all the times they made me repeat it.

-John Le Carré,  Agent Running In The Field

we make it so.......................


"It's not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it.  Life is long enough, and it's given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well.  But when it's poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it's employed to no good end, we're finally driven to see that it has passed by before we recognized it passing.  And so it is—we don't receive a short life, we make it so."

-Seneca,  De Brevitate Vitae, from the 12/26 entry in The Daily Stoic

In the background......................


Richie Havens....................................his album grace of the sun

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The psychology of prediction...........


     As the new year looms and the prediction industry gears up, you might consider reading this Morgan Housel essay with 12 noteworthy points on the subject. 

"But prediction is hard. Either you know that or you’re in denial about it.  A lot of the reason it’s hard is because the visible stuff that happens in the world is a small fraction of the hidden stuff that goes on inside people’s heads. The former is easy to overanalyze; the latter is easy to ignore."

If you say so.......................


A supernova remnant:























Explanation: What has this supernova left behind? As little as 2,000 years ago, light from a massive stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) first reached planet Earth. The LMC is a close galactic neighbor of our Milky Way Galaxy and the rampaging explosion front is now seen moving out - destroying or displacing ambient gas clouds while leaving behind relatively dense knots of gas and dust. What remains is one of the largest supernova remnants in the LMC: N63A. Many of the surviving dense knots have been themselves compressed and may further contract to form new stars. Some of the resulting stars may then explode in a supernova, continuing the cycle. Featured here is a combined image of N63A in the X-ray from the Chandra Space Telescope and in visible light by Hubble. The prominent knot of gas and dust on the upper right -- informally dubbed the Firefox -- is very bright in visible light, while the larger supernova remnant shines most brightly in X-rays. N63A spans over 25 light years and lies about 150,000 light years away toward the southern constellation of Dorado.

Otherwise.............................


       via

Test time.................................



In the background.....................


Stan Getz.................and his album What The World Needs Now

The world's first blogger............


     We labor only to fill out memory, and leave the understanding and the conscience empty.  Just as birds sometimes go in quest of grain, and carry it in the beak without tasting it to give a beakful to their little ones, so our pedants go pillaging knowledge in books and lodge it only on the end of their lips, in order merely to disgorge it and scatter it to the winds.
      It is wonderful how appropriately this folly fits my case.  Isn't it doing the same thing, what I do in most of this composition?  I go about cadging from books here and there the sayings that please me, not to keep them, for I have no storehouses, but to transport them into this one, in which, to tell he truth, they are no more mine than in their original place.  We are, I believe, learned only with present knowledge, not with past, any more than with future.

-Michel De Montaigne, from his essay Of Pedantry, from The Complete Works

Friday, December 27, 2019

Everything...........................














"Only be training ourselves to calm down and listen can we begin to recognize the word of God in everything, even the most mundane utterances of life."

-The Monks of New Skete:  In the Spirit of Happiness

About the future......................


"Remember, there's no greatness in the future.  Or clarity.  Or insight.  Or happiness.  Or peace.  There is only this moment.

-Ryan Holiday,  Stillness Is The Key

Love thy neighbour.......................






















     We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour.  Hence he comes to us clad in all the careless terrors of nature;  he is as strange as the stars, as reckless and indifferent as the rain.  He is Man, the most terrible of the beasts.  That is why the old religions and the old scriptural language showed so sharp a wisdom when they spoke, not of one's duty to humanity, but one's duty towards one's neighbour.  The duty towards humanity may often take the form of some choice which is personal or even pleasurable.  That duty may be a hobby;  it may even be a dissipation.  We may work in the East End because we are peculiarly fitted to work in the East End, or because we think we are;  we may fight for the cause of international peace because we are very fond of fighting.   The most monstrous martyrdom, the most repulsive experience, bay be the result of choice or a kind of taste.  We may be so made as to be particularly fond of lunatics or specially interested in leprosy.  We may love negroes because they are black or German Socialists because they are pedantic.  But we have to love our neighbor because he is there—a much more alarming reason for a much more serious operation.  He is the sample of humanity which is actually given us.  Precisely because he may be anybody he is everybody.  He is a symbol because he is an accident.

-G. K. Chesterton, from his 1905 essay On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of the Family

Thursday, December 26, 2019

In the background


Earlier Fleetwood Mac........................the Mystery To Me album

And I don't even watch the news...........


And the question arose...........


........................................................"How much should we know?"  And the answer gently wafted by, " Not so much."





















Explanation: Beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6744 is nearly 175,000 light-years across, larger than our own Milky Way. It lies some 30 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Pavo and appears as only a faint, extended object in small telescopes. We see the disk of the nearby island universe tilted towards our line of sight in this remarkably detailed galaxy portrait, a telescopic view that spans an area about the angular size of a full moon. In it, the giant galaxy's elongated yellowish core is dominated by the light from old, cool stars. Beyond the core, grand spiral arms are filled with young blue star clusters and speckled with pinkish star forming regions. An extended arm sweeps past a smaller satellite galaxy (NGC 6744A) at the lower right. NGC 6744's galactic companion is reminiscent of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud.

      "The simplicity of the universe is very different from the simplicity of a machine.  He who sees moral nature out and out, and thoroughly knows how knowledge is acquired and character formed is a pedant.  The simplicity of nature is not that which may easily be read, but is inexhaustible.  The last analysis can no wise be made.  We judge of a man's wisdom by his hope, knowing that the perception of the inexhaustibleness of nature is an immortal youth.  The wild fertility of nature is felt in comparing our rigid names and reputations with our fluid consciousness."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his 1841 Spiritual Laws essay


Plus, it's not difficult....................


"If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters."

-Epictetus

In the background...................


The Rippingtons...........................................Deep Powder

Marcus says........................


". . . nothing can be good for a man unless it helps to make him just, self-disciplined, courageous, and independent; and nothing bad unless it has the contrary effect."

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Eight, 1.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas........................




O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
All chains shall he break, everyone is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Whether I am on it, or not..........


“To ensure that there are as few interruptions as possible, immense quantities of electricity are deployed to keep everything running with precision and perfection and permanence.  2 percent of America’s electricity now goes to keeping the Internet cool, to keeping the link unbroken, for America and for the world.”


-Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

Now here's...........................


...........................................................a tradition worth emulating.

He recommends keeping score......

     
     One thing I find helpful is growing old.  It's a slow process, but totally worth it compared to dying.  Oldsters such as myself have vastly more experience than the young at being simultaneously wrong and also surprised about it.  In time, we come to understand how easy it is to be confident in our opinions and yet spectacularly wrong.  Or at least we do if we have been keeping score.  And that's exactly what I recommend doing.  Make a mental note every time you find yourself being wrong about something you thought you couldn't possibly be wrong about.  Focusing on your track record can prime you to understand that there can be lots of different explanations for a set of facts, and you can't always think of them all

-Scott Adams,  Loserthink:  How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America

In the background........................


Enya..........................................................A Day Without Rain

Monday, December 23, 2019

Engage........................


Lose this day loitering—twill be the same story
To-morrow—and the next more dilatory;
Each indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days,

Are you in earnest? sieze this very minute—
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and then the work will be completed!

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,  Lose This Day Loitering

recurrence to the harmony..................


11.  When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help.  Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Six

Face to face............................


In human relations, risk avoidance means the avoidance of accountability, the refusal to stand judged in another’s eyes, the refusal to come face to face with another person, to give oneself in whatever measure to him or her, and so to run the risk of rejection. Accountability is not something we should avoid; it is something we need to learn. Without it we can never acquire either the capacity to love or the virtue of justice. Other people will remain for us merely complex devices, to be negotiated in the way that animals are negotiated, for our own advantage and without opening the possibility of mutual judgment. Justice is the ability to see the other as having a claim on you, as being a free subject just as you are, and as demanding your accountability. To acquire this virtue you must learn the habit of face-to-face encounters, in which you solicit the other’s consent and cooperation rather than imposing your will. The retreat behind the screen is a way of retaining control over the encounter, while minimizing the need to acknowledge the other’s point of view. It involves setting your will outside yourself, as a feature of virtual reality, while not risking it as it must be risked, if others are truly to be encountered. To encounter another person in his freedom is to acknowledge his sovereignty and his right: it is to recognize that the developing situation is no longer within your exclusive control, but that you are caught up by it, made real and accountable in the other’s eyes by the same considerations that make him real and accountable in yours.

-Roger Scruton, from this New Atlantis essay, Hiding Behind The Screen

Just because..............................


August Burns Red...........................................Carol Of The Bells

Sunday, December 22, 2019

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


Despite evidence to the contrary, we all use our brains.  but most of us have never learned how to think effectively.  I'm not talking about IQ or other measures of intelligence, which matter in their own way, of course.  I'm talking about thinking as a learned skill.  We don't teach thinking in schools, and you can see the results of that nearly every day.  If you use social media, or you make the mistake of paying attention to to ther people's opinions in any form, you are probably seeing a lot of absurd and unproductive reasoning that I call loserthink.
     Loserthink isn't about being dumb, and it isn't about being underinformed.  Loserthink is about unproductive ways of thinking.  You can be smart and well informed while at the same time being a flagrant loserthinker.  That is not only possible; it's the normal situation.  My observation, after several decades on this planet, is that clear thinking is somewhat rare.  And there's a reason for that.  No matter how smart you are, if you don't have experience across multiple domains, you're probably not equipped with the most productive ways of thinking.

-Scott Adams,  LOSERTHINK:  How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America

Can't have too much Emerson..............


"The farmer imagines power and place are fine things.  But the President has paid dear for his White House."

"Every act rewards itself . . ."

"Every opinion reacts on him who utters it."

"a man often pays dear for a small frugality."

"If you are wise, you will dread a prosperity which only loads you with more.  Benefit is the end of nature.  But for every benefit you receive, a tax is levied.  He is great who confers the most benefits."

"The law of nature is, Do the thing, and you shall have the power:  but they who do not the thing have not the power."

"it is impossible to get any thing without its price. . ."

"On the other hand, the law holds with equal sureness for all right action.  Love, and you shall be loved."

"The good are befriended even by weakness and defect.  As no man had ever a point of price that was not injurious to him, so no man ever a defect that was not somewhere made useful to him."

"The soul is."

"There can be no excess to love; none to knowledge; none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense.  The soul refuses limits, and always affirms an Optimism, never a Pessimism."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, all quotes lifted from his 1841 essay, Compensation

the rare and supremely agreeable condition....


     Altogether it takes 7 billion billion billion (that's 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 7 octillion) atoms to make you.  No one can say why those 7 billion billion billion have such an urgent desire to be you.  They are mindless particles, after all, without a single thought or notion between them.  Yet somehow for the length of your existence, they will build and maintain all the countless systems and structures necessary to keep you humming, and to make you you, to give you form and shape and let you enjoy the rare and supremely agreeable condition known as life.
     That's a much bigger job than you realize.  Unpacked, you are positively enormous.  Your lungs, smoothed out, would cover a tennis court, and the airways within them would stretch nearly from coast to coast.  The length of all your blood vessels would take you two and a half times around the earth.  The most remarkable part of all is your DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid).  You have a meter of it packed into every cell, and so many cells that if you formed all the DNA in your body into a single strand, it would stretch ten billion miles, to beyond Pluto.  Think of it: there is enough of you to leave the solar system.  You are int the most literal sense cosmic.

-Bill Bryson, The Body:  A Guide for Occupants

In the background.............


Sir Colin Davis.........Moussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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


John Coltrane................................................My Favorite Things



Purists might note that this was recorded in 1963.  It was also released on the Selflessness album in 1969.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

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


Wilson Pickett................................................................Hey Jude

Friday, October 18, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Highly recommended...................




     "On the whole, I disliked school, sitting in class, receiving instruction;  information seemed to go in one ear and out the other.  I could not be passive—I had to be active, learn for myself, learn what I wanted, and in the way that suited me best.  I was not a good pupil, but I was a good learner, and in the Willesden library—and all the libraries that came later—I roamed the shelves and stacks, and had the freedom to select whatever I wanted, to follow paths that fascinated me, to become myself.  At the library I felt free—free to look at the thousands, tens of thousands, of books; free to roam and to enjoy the special atmosphere and the quiet companionship of other readers, all, like myself, on quests of their own."

Oliver Sacks, excerpted from the chapter "Libraries" in Everything In Its Place:  First Loves and Last Tales

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


Johnny Taylor................................Take Care Of Your Homework

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Monday, October 7, 2019

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Saturday, October 5, 2019

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


Joe Tex..................................................................That's The Way

Friday, October 4, 2019

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

I don't claim expertise..................


..............but it amazes me that people don't give changes in that fiery ball in the sky more credit for our climate,  92.96 million miles away or not:



image via

Fun with the language...............


............................................................with Rick & Morty:



thanks Connor

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


Neil Young with Crazy Horse...……….Down By The River


Sunday, September 29, 2019

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

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A guru-level reminder..........

.....................................................from Bill Murray:

Step seven: Remember that you are you and no one else is.
The night’s final question was “What’s it like being you?” Murray responded with a guru-level reminder about the importance of being present, which we’ll reprint in full and embed in audio form below.
I think if I’m gonna answer that question, because it is a hard question, I’d like to suggest that we all answer that question right now, while I’m talking. I’ll continue. Believe me, I won’t shut up. I have a microphone. But let’s all ask ourselves that question right now. What does it feel like to be you? What does it feel like to be you? Yeah. It feels good to be you, doesn’t it? It feels good, because there’s one thing that you are—you’re the only one that’s you, right? So you’re the only one that’s you, and we get confused sometimes—or I do, I think everyone does—you try to compete. You think, Dammit, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people; I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard. If I can just feel, just think now: How much do you weigh? This is a thing I like to do with myself when I get lost and I get feeling funny. How much do you weigh? Think about how much each person here weighs and try to feel that weight in your seat right now, in your bottom right now. Parts in your feet and parts in your bum. Just try to feel your own weight, in your own seat, in your own feet. OK? So if you can feel that weight in your body, if you can come back into the most personal identification, a very personal identification, which is: I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now. Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom. Up and down from your top to your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile, that makes you want to feel good, that makes you want to feel like you could embrace yourself.
So what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.

Thanks Chris

About all this connectivity.......


Solitude Deprivation:

         A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with
         your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.  

. . . this prioritization of communication over reflection becomes a source of serious concern.  For one thing, when you avoid solitude, you miss out on the positive things it brings you:  the ability to clarify hard problems, to regulate your emotions, to build moral courage, and to strengthen relationships.  If you suffer from chronic solitude deprivation, therefore, the quality of your life degrades.

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

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


The Beatles.................................................All You Need Is Love

Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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


      The world had changes.  Paradise had changed.  Most significantly for Jesse Stone, his life had been turned upside down.  He was a man wise enough to know that live comes with only one guarantee—that it would someday end.  As a Robbery-Homicide detective for the LAPD and as the longtime chief of the Paradise PD he had seen ample proof of that solitary guarantee written in blood, in wrecked bodies, and in grief.  It wasn't that long ago that his fiancee's murder had given Jesse all the proof he could ever need.  He remembered an old Hebrew proverb about how people's planning for their futures was God's favorite joke.  Still, at an age when most men were steeped in haunting regrets of what could have been and what they might have done, Jesse had been given the most unexpected gift a loner like him could receive.  Cole Slayton, Jesse's son, had arrived in town just as Paradise was shedding its old skin and transforming itself into the place Jesse was currently seeing through the night-darkened windows of his latest Ford Explorer.

Reed Farrel Coleman, Robert B. Parker's The Bitterest Pill

Count me among those who like it when the estate of a dead author hires a living author to continue the lives of the dead author's characters.  Coleman writes nothing like Parker, as evidenced by the opening paragraph, but he writes well.  Hope his sixth effort with Jesse Store is as enjoyable as his first five.

On sugar highs and meaningful glows.....


The sugar high of convenience is fleeting and the sting of missing out dulls rapidly, but the meaningful glow that comes from taking charge of what claims your time and attention is something that persists.

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

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


The Beatles.......................................................All Together Now

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

the fleeting illusion of permanence.......


................................that is the origin of all our suffering.















-Carlo Rovelli,  The Order of Time

Thanks Tony

Fetters.................................


     Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.
     These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
     And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
     And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

-Kahlil Gibran,  On Freedom, The Prophet

Wonderful! We can only hope.................


........................................................that this is true.


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


The Beatles.............................................................Hey Bulldog

Monday, September 16, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Freedom 101......................


1.  Stop worrying about what others think: that’s an instant path to freedom.

-Nicholas Bate

Still learning........................

























via

Many truths................................


There are a few things that are so obviously true, and true for everyone, that no one argues about them. But most stuff isn’t black or white. Most of the stuff we argue about usually have many truths – several “right” answers depending on the person and situation – and we’re actually arguing over the other person not having the same goals, needs, risks, and wants as you do. It’s a mess. And the only thing worse than thinking everyone who disagrees with you is wrong is the opposite: being persuaded by the advice of those who need or want something you don’t.

This is common in finance. You can count the number of things that are certain on one hand, so the “right” answer to most finance questions is just however much uncertainty you want to accept, which is not only different for everyone but constantly changing for everyone. People don’t agree on a lot of big investing points because they shouldn’t.

-Morgan Housel, as he starts this blog post


To quote a well-known blogger..........


"The 21st century isn't turning out the way I'd hoped":

“Within a very few years, every vulnerable public building, sports stadium or city center will have to install some kind of drone defense,” James Adams writes at Spectator USA.

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


The Beatles.................................................................Sea of Time

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Taking Kurt's.........................


.........................................................................advice:

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

-Henry Louis Mencken