Saturday, May 18, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019
Thursday, May 16, 2019
So, yes, work your ass off and get some semblance of economic stability. But take notes on the things that give you joy and satisfaction, and start investing in those things. Pay attention to things that bring you joy that don't involve mind-altering substances or a lot of money.
-Scott Galloway, The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning
"We do indeed live in a golden age of mediocrity, as is evident from the people we choose as celebrities."
Some of us history majors remember the day when Richard Nixon nominated G. Harold Carswell for a seat on the Supreme Court. Some pesky senator suggested that Carswell was "mediocre." The great Kansan senator, Roman Hruska, replied: "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos." A wonderful moment in American history.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
In fact, you'd need to squint pretty hard to view my life as a framework for happiness. I grew up an unremarkable kid in California in the seventies, skinny and awkward. I got mediocre grades, and didn't test well either. I applied to UCLA and was rejected, which didn't seem like a big deal—my father assured me that "Someone with my street smarts doesn't need college." I had no street smarts, just a father with a new family who didn't want to pay for college. He did, however, secure me a job installing shelving. The job paid $15 to $18 an hour, which seemed like a lot of money. I could buy a nice car, my only real goal at the time.
During twelfth grade, we'd walk into Westwood Village and get ice cream. My friends would shoplift. I'd head home when my friends started shoving Peter Frampton shirts into their pants—not because I was more ethical than them, but because my single mother couldn't handle a call from the LAPD to come get me. Walking back from Westwood Village I crossed Hilgard Avenue, where UCLA sororities lined the street. It was homecoming week, and there were thousands of young women standing in front of their houses singing songs and generally looking like a cross between a Norman Rockwell painting and a late-night Cinemax movie.
At that moment, I decided I needed to go to college and went home to write another letter to UCLA admissions. I told them the truth: "I am a native son of California, raised by an immigrant single mother who is a secretary, and if you don't let me in, I'm going to be installing shelving for the rest of my life." They admitted me nine days before classes started. My mom told me that, as the first person to attend college on either side of the family, I could now "do anything."
Scott Galloway, The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning
Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?
Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.
Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though
all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.
-Mary Oliver, Landscape, from here
Not too many people can point to a specific day when they sat down with a book and got up cured of the stupidities of youth. I can. I was 19. The book was Four Essays on Liberty. The author was Isaiah Berlin. He died last week at 88.
-Charles Krauthammer, from his 1997 essay Thank You, Isaiah Berlin, as found in this latest collection of Krauthammer's writings.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Fifty years of relative peace and prosperity in the West; and still my apprehension that the reckoning will come. For the starch required to defend a civilization — the clarity of mind and earnestness of purpose — has been washed away.
-From this David Warren post
Thinking about Warren's "starch", I am reminded for some reason of this Thomas Jefferson quote: "Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!".
Ron Chernow (quoted here) wrote about America's strange national amnesia concerning its history. By not knowing the many ugly parts of our history, we miss out on all overcoming, the change and growth of consciousness. I'm betting there is a lot more starch.
Monday, May 13, 2019
..................in 2009 that the single-family housing construction business would not recover for more than ten years, I a) wouldn't have believed you, or b) acted differently if I had believed you.
source (and enlargeable image) here
Have I told you lately that we have lovely wooded building sites available at very reasonable prices?
Sunday, May 12, 2019
“From my own being, and from the dependency I find in myself and my ideas, I do, by an act of reason, necessarily infer the existence of a God, and of all created things in the mind of God.”
image (enlargeable) via
It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question “What is reality?”, to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That’s all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven’t been able to define reality any more lucidly.
-Philip K. Dick
.....................................................recognizing Richard Feynman.
"The man happy in his work is not the narrow specialist, nor the well-rounded man, but the man who is doing what he loves to do. You must fall in love with some activity."