It's been way too long since I featured a tune by the great Joni Mitchell. Here's a really good one...
Thursday, May 31, 2012
An astute observation from the pen of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945):
"Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into
thinking that they can provide security and freedom from
anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of anxiety."
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
All the best to my little sister Mary Catherine today on the anniversary of her birth! I have vague recollections of sitting in the car outside the hospital waiting for Dad to bring Mom and the baby out from the hospital (kids weren't allowed in back then), and being really thrilled with my new baby sister-- and I still feel the same way today. I hope you have a really great day Catie!
Here's some aggressive advice from the French playwright Jean Anouilh (1910-1987):
"Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute!
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated.
Begin, and then the work will be completed."
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Mark Evanier has a good post up here, quoting a Thomas Friedman New York Times piece on so-called Obamacare (and other aspects of Obama as president). I would have linked directly to the Friedman piece (which Evanier does), except I thought Evanier's added comments were also worth reading. I'm not really a fan of Friedman, who strikes me as out-of-touch on a lot of things, but he's largely on target with this particular analysis.
I don't know if the writer Leo Rosten (1908-1997) was right in this observation, but it's worth thinking about a little:
"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all."
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
I totally agree with maestro Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) on this point:
"Any great work of art ... revives and re-adapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world - the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air."
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I kind of think this quote applies to the Chelsea squad I mentioned here, as well as many championship athletes. It was uttered by the immortal Muhammad Ali, who would presumably know a great deal about the subject:
"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
Monday, May 21, 2012
In the previous post, I mentioned that Natalie and I would sometimes serenade Chipper Jones when he came to bat for the Braves back in the nineties. Son of a gun if I didn't find a copy of the original song posted to YouTube. We did it without the poodle references:
here. Kudos to the Reds for a classy gesture for a classy player.
Today's words of wisdom come from the father of the American Constitution, James Madison (1751-1836):
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."
Sunday, May 20, 2012
I've been through Portland, Oregon a few times before, but never really spent any time there (aside from a couple visits to Powell's bookstore and the art museum). After a couple of days of wandering around the town last week, I'm even more impressed by the place. For one thing, it's very pedestrian (and bike) friendly, so it was easy to wander around a bit and explore. The shot above was taken in the park that runs along the Willamette River that cuts through the downtown of the city.
The shot at top was taken looking to the north, this one looking south. The park itself was quite busy, even though it was a workday morning. Actually, with all the nearby office and commercial buildings, maybe many of the folks strolling or pedaling along were actually on their way to work.
This is a spot called Ankeny Square, a couple of blocks west of the river. It almost looks like a piazza one might find in Italy or Spain. The last picture below was snapped on the campus of Portland State University, which was located just on the edge of downtown Portland. Looks like a nice place to go to school.
As a service to all the parents who hear their children complain that they are bored, I offer this comment from the British cleric William R. Inge (1860-1954) as a possible retort:
"Nobody is bored when he is trying to make
something that is beautiful or to discover
something that is true."
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Tom Rush was one of the great voices back in the folk/singer-songwriter era of the late sixties and early seventies. Mostly he performed other people's compositions (he was dynamite on Joni Mitchell tunes) but this song shows that he was no slouch as a composer himself. This would be better only if it were longer (and on his album, The Circle Game, it is):
I found this to be an interesting take on things by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873):
"Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained."