Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Researchers at Northwestern University have found that people who'd just watched a comedy video were better at solving a word puzzle than subjects who'd watched clips from a horror film or a lecture on physics. It seems a part of the brain activated by laughter and lightheartedness is especially well suited to helping us find clever solutions to our problems.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
To tackle a prep list at eight a.m. and have it knocked out by four p.m., black Sharpie line crossing out each item on the To-Do list:
6 quarts aioli brown brisket butcher salmon toast walnuts
As it turns out, I did not.
To stand at the prep table with other cooks who were just doing mundane things like fixing the car over the weekend, cleaning the house, and shuttling kids to doctor's appointments felt newly satisfying and meaningful enough. I liked these people and their lives. But more to the point, I came to understand that I liked People and Life. After sitting around for too long in those leather chairs, I welcomed the intense pressure of getting a dinner for 200 plated quickly, and came to see that there was a rush and a method in that that I hadn't quite known to what extent I liked and needed in my life. And I will admit, spending that chilly hour cleaning out a cluttered walk-in and putting impeccable order to it is still, 30 years later, my favorite part of kitchen life. I bring my mother's compulsion for concrete order with me wherever I go.
--Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (2011)
Thursday, December 1, 2011
-from Bird by Bird, c. 1994
-from Bird by Bird, c. 1994
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
--speaking about her book The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today (2007)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
The main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
--David Treuer, Ojibwe novelist, on working to record and preserve the Ojibwe language
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
There is a Buddhist saying, "No resistance, no demons."
p197 in Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
from Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
from Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
Monday, September 26, 2011
These findings may suggest that for people who practice meditation or prayer, the focus becomes less on the self as a distinct entity from the external world, and more on connection between the two. This reflects the idea discussed earlier where shifting attention from inside to outside is at least part of what quells unhappiness.
--"Eat, Smoke, Meditate," on Forbes.com (9/21/2011)
--New York Times (9/18/2011) on the release of her new album, Metals.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Broken for You, p.271
Monday, September 12, 2011
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,
between "green thread"
and "broccoli," you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."
Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend
and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,
and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing
that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds
of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder
or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,
but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,
—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
This is interesting enough for me.
-excerpt from "Modern Love" in Getting Over Tom, a collection of short stories, c. 1994
Friday, August 26, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
of reasoning, a lot of recognition of objects, remembering names in
just a few hundredths of a second. But the emotional part of our
brains works very differently, and there is precious little evidence
that this is going to change. Tasks that have to do with empathy and
imagination, with slow-growing qualities like love and fidelity and
ethics, will continue to develop in their own sweet time.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Let us learn the revelation of all nature and thought;
that the Highest dwells within us,
that the sources of nature are in our own minds.
As there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the heavens,
so there is no bar or wall in the soul where we, the effect, cease, and God, the cause, begins.
I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.
There is deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is accessible to us.
Every moment when the individual feels invaded by it is memorable.
It comes to the lowly and simple;
it comes to whosoever will put off what is foreign and proud;
it comes as insight;
it comes as serenity and grandeur.
The soul’s health consists in the fullness of its reception.
For ever and ever the influx of this better and more universal self is new and unsearchable.
Within us is the soul of the whole;
the wise silence,
the universal beauty,
to which every part and particle is equally related;
the eternal One.
When it breaks through our intellect, it is genius;
when it breathes through our will, it is virtue;
when in flows through our affections, it is love.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
* * *
Creating your life's work doesn't come from choosing safety and comfort over growth. It comes from choosing and taking those actions that help you get to where you want to go. Learn to embrace your challenges with love rather than avoiding them. Start by doing something that is a slight reach for you; take on a slightly more challenging project than you normally tackle, or learn a new skill. When you do things that make you reach, the rewards are great.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
--from the preface of Leaves of Grass
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Colin: Do you know what? That may be the reason I did the movie.
60: You have no shame?
Colin: [Nods]. I'm sorry. If one thing has come out of 60 Minutes, it's that we have discovered, we have unveiled the fact that Colin Firth has no shame. I am such a drag queen. It's one of my primary driving forces in life. You cannot dangle a spandex suit and a little bit of mascara in front of me and not just have me go weak at the knees.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite 'The Constitution,' they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago. ... The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave. 'We the People' no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of 'liberty,' 'justice,' and 'equality,' and who strived to better them.
--His was the dissenting voice at the 1987 bicentennial celebration of the Constitution while other speakers praised the document and the founding fathers' foresight.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
There are many, many thickeners out there, but flour, cornstarch, and quick-cooking tapioca are probably the most popular and each for good reason. Cornstarch has a nice smooth texture and no real flavor, but it can lead to an occasional murky color with berry pies and its thickening power is compromised with high acidity fruit like cherries. Quick-cooking tapioca will never result in a cloudy filling and soaks up really juicy fruit better than anything we've tried. However, it is a little temperamental in the sense that it really needs high heat to activate completely. Make sure to give your pies a good ten minute does of heat at 400 F if you're using this thickener. Flour is an easy thickener in that you generally always have it on hand and it works beautifully. It can lead to a gummy, cloudy filling with delicate summer berries though. We reserve using flour as a thickener for heartier fruits like apples and pears.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
--from The Writer's Almanac for June 8, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
--in a letter to John Adams, March 31, 1776
On June 4, 1919, Congress approved the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the vote.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
--Commander Pott in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
My own anxiety is less about the cerebrum than about the soul, and is best summed up not by a neuroscientist but by a novelist. In Meg Wolitzer's charming new tale, "The Uncoupling," there is a wistful passage about the high-school cohort my daughter is about to join. Wolitzer describes them this way: "The generation that had information, but no context. Butter, but no bread. Craving, but no longing."
from: The New York Times Magazine, The Twitter Trap, May 22, 2011. Bill Keller is the executive editor of The New York Times.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
A: Distraction. I work in the design industry, which one might assume is a creative field but is actually like any other form of cubicle prostitution. Writing is an escape from filling out time sheets, making type larger, and explaining to clients that animated gifs will not work on business cards.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
--Mohammad Mahallati, presidential scholar in Islamic studies at Oberlin College
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
By that I mean don't imagine conversations that you plan to have, and don't replay in your head conversations you've had.It's impossible to clear your mind of all thoughts. But I find it somewhat easy to switch off the language center of my brain. What happens after that is a flow of images, starting with ones that make some sense to my current life, quickly followed by randomness, then sleep. It usually takes less than a minute.
Let's say something is bugging you, or fascinating you, and the thought is keeping you awake. I'll bet that in those situations you're obsessed with the verbal elements of your problem. You're imagining what you will say to someone, or how you will explain yourself, or maybe what words someone else chose when annoying you. To fall asleep, don't abandon the troublesome topic, because you probably can't. Just picture the situation in images alone. That will satisfy the part of you that can't let go of the problem while putting you on the sleep trajectory.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
One size fits all. The shape or coloration
of the god or high heaven matters less
than that there is one, somehow, somewhere, hearing
the hasty prayer and chalking up the mite
the widow brings to the temple. A child
alone with horrid verities cries out
for there to be a limit, a warm wall
whose stones give back an answer, however faint.
Strange, the extravagance of it—who needs
those eighteen-armed black Kalis, those musty saints
whose bones and bleeding wounds appall good taste,
those joss sticks, houris, gilded Buddhas, books
Moroni etched in tedious detail?
We do; we need more worlds. This one will fail.
From Americana and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
His favorite sorts of stories are the ones where there's "a cheerful embracing of life ... and a curiosity about the world," stories that "reassert the fact that we live in a world where joy and empathy and pleasure are all around us, there for the noticing," stories that "make the world seem like an exciting place to live." He said, "I come out of them feeling like a better person — more awake and more aware and more appreciative of everything around me. That's a hard thing for any kind of writing to accomplish."
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
from The Secret Garden (1911)
One of the few things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts --just mere thoughts-- are as powerful as batteries-- as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. . . .So long as Mistress Mary's mind was full of disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determination not to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a yellow-faced, sickly, bored, and wretched child. . . .When new, beautiful thoughts began to push out the old, hideous ones, life began to come back to her, her blood ran healthily through her veins, and strength poured into her like a flood. Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. --(i)Where you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
So get your dropkick on. Live your fucking life. Leave everyone else's lives out of it. Make more good choices than not good choices. Let go of the not good choices. Eat Nutella. Repeat.
[Italics mine. --Ed.]
Blog post, 2/7/2011, NicoleIsBetter.com
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Brett McCracken praises Mike Leigh's new film, Another Year:
We live in a time when "authenticity" is equated with those things or those people who are forthright in their brokenness and messiness, while stable, happy people are sometimes looked upon with skepticism, as if their lack of apparent problems makes them phony or untrustworthy. Our jadedness leads us to a sort of self-reinforcing stasis of raw brokenness, because this is what we believe. This is what we know. But what we really need are models of goodness & virtue in our lives… figures of hope who can motivate us out of the cycle of dreary cynicism.
Another Year offers a great example of such people–a happily married, flourishing couple who love people in need but don't pander to them. They stand firm in their principles without condescending to those struggling around them...