Saturday, April 15, 2023

Sounds fun.......................

   more book humor here



We don't have to understand nature to appreciate it.  This is true of all things.  Simply be aware of moments when your breath gets taken away by something of great beauty.

-Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

things not understood............

 Our appetite is irresolute and uncertain:  it does not know how to keep anything or enjoy anything in the right way.  Man, thinking that it is the fault of these things, fills and feeds himself on other things that he does not know and does not understand, to which he applies his desires and his hopes, and which he holds in honor and reverence; as Caesar says, 'it happens by a common vice of nature that we trust more, and fear more violently, things to us unseen, hidden, and unknown'.

-Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 53

Can I get an Amen........................?

  more fun here

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


 . . . consider submerging yourself in the canon of great works.  Read the finest literature, watch the masterpieces of cinema, get up close to the most influential paintings, visit architectural landmarks.  There's no standard list; no one has the same measures of greatness.  The "canon" is continually changing, across time and space.  Nonetheless, exposure to great art provides an invitation.  It draws us forward, and opens doors of possibility.

     If you make the choice of reading classic literature every day for a year, rather than reading the news, by the end of that time period you'll have a more honed sensitivity for recognizing greatness from books than from the media.

     This applies to every choice we make.  Not just with art, but with the friends we choose, the conversations we have, even the thoughts we reflect on.  All of these aspects affect our ability to distinguish good from very good, very good from great.  They help us determine what's worthy of our time and attention.

-Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Monday, April 10, 2023


 There’s no need to sign up for the endless uphill battle of marketing against a positive trend. Sell something you believe in, to people who are eager to believe in it as well.

You’ll do your best work on behalf of an audience and a cause that deserves it, appreciates it and applauds it. If it’s just a job, you’ve sacrificed your best energy for a paycheck.

Pick your client, pick your future.

-Seth Godin, from here

We're a strange breed.....................

  Consider the state of social media, where people frequently go in order to find something to be angry about, so that they can express their anger in ways that would typically be forbidden but are permissible in cases only of having been wronged. Had the social media user not sought out an example of someone doing something offensive or outrageous, they wouldn’t have anger to discharge, but it seems to me that acquiring anger and the right to discharge it is precisely the point. (Cable TV also offers you lots of reasons to get pissed off at people and yell at them.)

-Elizabeth Bruenig, from this longish essay on forgiveness


dangerously certain....................

      In the National Assembly, in its two and a half years, Robespierre made some five hundred speeches, usually too long to be convincing, and too argumentative to be eloquent; but the masses of Paris, learning of their tenor, loved him for them.  He opposed racial or religious discrimination, proposed emancipation of the blacks, and became, till his final months, the tribune and defender of the people.  He accepting the institution of private property, but wished to universalize small-scale ownership as an economic basis for a sturdy democracy.  He called inequality of wealth "a necessary and incurable evil," rooted in the natural inequality of human ability.  In this period he supported the retention of the monarchy, properly limited; an attempt to overthrow Louis XVI, he thought, would lead to such chaos and bloodshed as would end in a dictatorship more tyrannical than a King.

     Not till near his end did he seem to doubt the full identity of his judgment with the popular will.  His mind was weaker than his will; most of his ideas were borrowed from his reading, or from the catchwords that filled the revolutionary air; he died too young to have acquired sufficient experience of life, or knowledge of history, to check his abstract or copular conceptions with patient perception or impartial prospective.  He suffered severely from our common failing—he could not get his ego out of the way of his eyes.  The passion of his utterance convinced himself; he became dangerously certain and ludicrously vain.  "That man," said Mirabeau, "will go far, he believes all that he says."  He went to the guillotine.

-Will & Ariel Durant, The Age of Napoleon

the limits of moderation.............

 Mirabeau begged the deputies to retain the King as a bulwark against social disorder and mob rule.  He pictured Louis XVI as a man of good heart and generous intentions, occasionally confused by shortsighted counselors; and he asked, prophetically:

    "Have these men studied, in the history of any people, how revolutions commence and how they are carried out?  Have they observed by what a fatal chain of circumstances the wisest men are driven far beyond the limits of moderation, and by what terrible impulses an enraged people is precipitated into excesses at the very thought of which they would have shuddered."

The delegates followed his advice, for they too felt the groundswells emanating from the sidewalks of Paris.  But instead of meeting a measured loyalty with substantial concessions to the Third Estate, Louis outraged radicals and liberals alike by dismissing Necker a second time, replacing him with the Queen's uncompromising friend Baron de Breteuil, and making the warrior de Broglie minister for war.  The chips were down.

-Will & Ariel Durant, The Age of Napoleon

She makes it sound like...................

 ...................there is something wrong with "rootedness:"

We struggle now to update our ideas of home and place for a new unbounded era, naturally wishing to shed outdated notions of stasis and rootedness.

-Maggie Jackson, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age


Michael Wade offers a quick look at "how" and "what."  Raymond Reddington, providing some of the most amazing TV ever, ignores the question "how", and answers with "WHY."