Tuesday, October 17, 2023

On the benefits of risk taking......

 Over time, however, beginning in the 1960s and accelerating in the 1980s, the implicit understanding shifted from that of children as competent, responsible, and resilient to the opposite, as advice focused increasingly on children’s needs for supervision and protection. Rutherford noted, as have other reviewers, that in some respects—such as freedom to choose what they wear or eat—children have gained autonomy over the decades. What has declined specifically is children’s freedom to engage in activities that involve some degree of risk and personal responsibility away from adults.

My thesis is that it’s not just the kids. 

-from this Riskophilia essay

Monday, October 16, 2023


 Wesco continues to try more to profit from always remembering the obvious than from grasping the esoteric. … It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent. There must be some wisdom in the folk saying, `It’s the strong swimmers who drown.’

-Charlie Munger, from here

by way of

On moral questions......................

     There has never been any question before the American public, whether political or economic, religious or military, which did not resolve itself, soon or late, into a moral question.  Even so dull a row as that over the currency produced its vast crop of saints and succubi, of martyrs and Pontius Pilates, of crimes, heathenries and crowns of thorns.  Nor has there ever been any surcease of that spiritual eagerness which lay at the bottom of the original Puritan's moral obsession; the American has remained, from the very beginning, a man genuinely interested in the eternal mysteries, and fearful of missing their correct solution. 

-H. L. Mencken, from his July 19, 1916 column in the Baltimore Evening Sun

Life its ownself.........................

 12.  Change your objective.  The goal is not to feel "good" all the time, it's to be able to express a healthy range of emotions without suppressing or suffering.

-Brianna Wiest, as culled from 101 Essays that will Change the way You Think

Worth remembering......................

 Economic sanctions against Russia failed just as 70 years of sanctions on North Korea, 60 years of sanctions on Cuba, and 40 years of sanctions on Iran all failed. One big reason is dictators really don’t care about their economies because they get rich — Fidel Castro reportedly died a billionaire. In fact, the worse the economy, the more powerful the dictator because poverty forces reliance on the government for sustenance.

-Don Surber, from here

not-so-subtle downsides.............

 There are a million ways to get rich, most of which involve exploiting specific niches and one-off opportunities, to say nothing of luck. Universal rules about how to get rich are hard to come by.

But losing money, or losing happiness when you have money, or becoming a slave to your money – those stories tend to have common denominators. They are so common you can call them laws.

-Morgan Housel, from this post



Scientists say the moon grows 1 1/2 inches

farther away every year.  I'll fight

this cosmic terrorism hand to hand.

Earth touched Moon

with his shadow, and Moon

blushed.  Everyone saw it.

-Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

image via

Not Me..............................

      The God with whom you are having problems, or whom you hate or ridicule, is not the God we are talking about.

     When we talk about goodness, an animating intelligence in the universe and in our hearts or a pervasive positive unity or presence, we are not talking about an old bearded guy in the sky, Parvati, or a Jewish Palestinian baby.  We are talking about a higher power, a power that might be called Not Me, a kindness, a patience, a hope, which is everywhere, even in our annoying, self-centered, fraudulent selves.

     The lower powers—greed, hatred, addiction, ignorance—are easy to connect with and describe, but a higher power is not easily defined.  It can't be controlled, manipulated, or appropriated.  It opens us and heals us and brings us together, and turns hearts of stone into human hearts.  Anytime you are experiencing love, you are experiencing the God we are talking about.  But as novelist David James Duncan says, "God" is the "worst nickname ever."

-Anne Lamott, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope


      We picked up our oyster loaves and once again were out on the pier eating lunch together.  He sat at the very end of the dock on the crapping pier and tossed sticks to the dogs, who gallivanted into the shallow water to retrieve them.  They swam back to the pier, shook the water from their fur, and dropped the sticks at our feet, waiting for the next toss.  After several more throws, they sensed a change in mood and swam off toward the beach, leaving my father and me alone.

     "It's getting worse, Jim," he said flatly.  "It's the scariest thing I have ever been through in my life."  I didn't know what to say.  I was in tears but couldn't speak.  Saying I was sorry just didn't feel like enough.  My dad sensed this immediately and changed the topic.  "You know why I chose to fly instead of go to sea?"

      There it was, the question that had been nagging at me all these years.  Now, on the end of the pier near the end of his lucid days, I was going to get the answer.  "Why?" I asked.

     "Because it was what I wasn't supposed to do.  Looks like you have made a career out of that, doing what you're not supposed to do.  I'm proud of you, boy."

-Jimmy Buffett, A Pirate Looks at Fifty