Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Michael Blumenthal

April is National Poetry Month! This is a new one for me and I already love it. 

Be Kind
   by Michael Blumenthal

Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind—but
because it’s good for the soul, and,
what’s more, for others...

Read the rest:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ron Finley

“I saw a kid walking down the street listening to music when he came face to face with one of my giant Russian Mammoth sunflowers,” Mr. Finley said. “He said, ‘Yo, is that real?’ ”

“He thought it was a prop or something. That’s what I want on my streets. Flowers so big and magnificent, they’ll blow a kid’s mind.”

from Urban Gardening: An Appleseed With Attitude NYTimes May 3, 2013

Thursday, April 6, 2017

James Dewey Watson

To succeed in science, you have to avoid dumb people [...] you must always turn to people who are brighter than yourself.

(Good advice for any pursuit! --Ed.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Jeremy Clarkson

Let me introduce you to a car we hate very much: the Volkswagen Beetle. It appeals to both Nazis and hippies and we are neither.

--The Grand Tour (2016)

Saturday, April 1, 2017


"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Marie Kondo

It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.

-from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (p118)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Victoria Sweet

My goal was fixed: I would walk to Compostela ─no matter what. And with my goal fixed, without self-doubt and the minute-by-minute attention to frustrations and disappointments, I discovered something. Underneath the surface actions, events, and partying of the path was silence. Even when it was noisy, that silence was underneath activity. That quiet was solid and always accessible. I could depend on it; I could return to it at any time, in any emergency. It was the quiet of pilgrimage, and it was worth the meseta.*

. . . .

Except for us, the cathedral was empty. The monk took us through another side door into the dark cloister. A charcoal brazier was on the stones, and the monk gestured for us to sit down around it. Then he handed out black cards and told us they would symbolize the sins we wanted to get rid of. Is worry a sin? I asked myself. I sure would like to get rid of it. I decided that it was. Worry about the future seemed uncharitable somehow, toward God, after everything I'd experienced on the pilgrimage─so many days I'd worried would be bad had turned out so well! And so many days when my good anticipations had turned out so bad! I didn't know whether worry was a sin, but I threw it in the brazier.

*high plateau in Northern Spain

-from God's Hotel, p332-333

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Yuval Noah Harari

Ignorance by itself is not too dangerous. If you combine it with power, this is a toxic mix. 

Friday, February 10, 2017


D: I came across an article* from Rutgers Today published in 2014. Apparently, researchers concluded that the overall success rate of a marriage is higher if the wife is happy. If the husband is happy, it doesn't contribute much to the marriage, but if the wife is happy it could mean everything. When she's happy, she does more to make everyone happy. Her happiness overflows. If he's happy or unhappy, it doesn't really matter because men tend to think about themselves first anyway, so their mood doesn't have an outward pouring and affect everyone in the same way.
N: Um, I hope they didn't waste money paying those researchers.
D: What do you mean?
N: This is not news. There's a reason for the saying, "Happy wife, happy life."
D: Is this really something everyone already knows?
N: And its companion phrase, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
D: That's true.
N: I know.

*I was cataloging a newly arrived book (Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu) at the library last night and flipped through so I could give it the appropriate call number. The article was referenced in the end notes of the book.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Malene Rydahl

According to Professor Bjornskov, there are a number of basic universal factors that contribute to a nation's happiness: a democratic political system, a certain level of national prosperity, a functioning judicial system, and the absence of war. He estimates that thirty to forty countries meet these criteria. Once this foundation is in place, other factors influence the level of happiness, in particular trust in others and the freedom (or possibility) to choose one's own way in life.

--Happy as a Dane (2017)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dalai Lama XIV and Desmond Tutu

It helps no one if you sacrifice your joy because others are suffering. We people who care must be attractive, must be filled with joy, so that others recognize that caring, that helping and being generous are not a burden, they are a joy. Give the world your love, your service, your healing, but you can also give it your joy. This, too, is a gift.

--from The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV and Desmond Tutu

Edith Wharton

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.

Rebecca Solnit

Joy doesn't betray but sustains activism. When you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.

--from Hope in the Dark

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Joe Biden

"The president and I have concluded that there's no value in making that ad hominem argument," he told me of Obama. "It gets you nowhere."

 "Question a man's judgment, not his motives," Mansfield instructed.

"It's one thing to say: 'I think the proposal on the following is a serious mistake. I think it's gonna do the following damage.' It's another thing to say, 'The guy's a fucking idiot, and he is an egomaniac who's a whatever.' "

 "It's like a Rubik's cube trying to figure this guy out," Biden sighed. "We have no freakin' idea what he's gonna do."

"Family has been central for us — that's our baseline," Obama told me. "We both feel freer to do what we think is right because if it doesn't work out, our families will still love us."

He has little patience with Democrats who want to move either left or right. " 'We gotta move to the center,' 'We gotta move to those white guys,' 'We gotta move to those working-class people' or 'We gotta double down on the social agenda.' " It's a false choice, he said: "They are totally compatible. I have never said anything to the A.C.L.U. that I wouldn't say to the Chamber of Commerce."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alan Lightman

I don't know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of things so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of trees and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away. All that we see around us, including our own bodies, is shifting and evaporating and one day will be gone.