Some of my favorites as I review the contents of my tablet from the last two months:
Some of my favorites as I review the contents of my tablet from the last two months:
I’ve always said this: teachers don’t leave because of bad pay, they leave because of poor working conditions.
I suspect I find this funny for reasons other than those the artist had:
LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
Gioia’s intro to Finnegans Wake
Fun parkour video.
I’m a sucker for great astronomy photography.
Beautiful photo of contrasts.
Sunset AND a castle? Wow!
Here’s a chart I found online with some good productivity ideas:
POLITICS AND SOCIETY
“Ten Ways Mormons Can Celebrate Independence Day” Good advice for all of us, for every day.
Great essay about defining conservatism–required reading for all poli-sci wonks.
On conservative literature–a good start.
The complicated politics of Shakespeare.
On ostensibly conservative college students being intellectually stunted:
“They cannot think with a conservative worldview because they have had limited exposure to conservative values. Children spend thirteen years in a school system which was founded upon progressive ideals about education and which increasingly promotes statism. For eighteen years the entertainment industry communicated to them an equally progressive worldview. From all sides children are taught to believe in the inherent goodness of humankind and to cherish the values of tolerance and diversity. There is no good and evil; there is just diversity. There is no justice and truth; there is only tolerance for other opinions. Democracy has become a good in its own right instead of being founded upon virtue. When democracy becomes its own end, any atrocity can be justified by a majority vote.”
Great comment on an Instapundit link about politically biased professors:
I noticed that back when I was in university: the liberal students were so used to everyone around them validating their opinions that they didn’t learn to make good arguments; the conservative students knew they needed good arguments, so they learned to make them,
The unfortunate part comes when these liberal students go through many years of schooling, get loads of validation for twittering about the talking point of the day, and then turn into incredulous, raging jerks when an adult conservative makes a point contrary to their ideology.
Two great quotes I picked up on earlier this summer when I read Eric Wilson’s Against Happiness:
I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe, and is disappointed when anything is less than best, and I found that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate goods.
So, therefore, that mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true—not true, or undeveloped. With books the same. The truest of all men was the Man of Sorrows, and the truest of all books is Solomon’s, and Ecclesiastes is the fine hammered steel of woe. ‘All is vanity.’ ALL. This wilful world hath not got hold of unchristian Solomon’s wisdom yet. But he who dodges hospitals and jails, and walks fast crossing graveyards, and would rather talk of operas than hell; calls Cowper, Young, Pascal, Rousseau, poor devils all of sick men; and throughout a care-free lifetime swears by Rabelais as passing wise, and therefore jolly;—not that man is fitted to sit down on tombstones, and break the green damp mould with unfathomably wondrous Solomon.
But even Solomon, he says, ‘the man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain’ (i.e. even while living) ‘in the congregation of the dead.’ Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee; as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.
–Melville, Moby Dick, ch. XCVI
From chapter 5 of the autobiography…
On happiness through ignoring yourself:
On finding enjoyment in simple things:
On poetry (and mountains):
I’m getting a lot out of Mill’s autobiography. From the end of chapter 3, wise advice:
I learnt how to obtain the best I could, when I could not obtain everything; instead of being indignant or dispirited because I could not have entirely my own way, to be pleased and encouraged when I could have the smallest part of it; and when even that could not be, to bear with complete equanimity the being overruled altogether. I have found, through life, these acquisitions to be of the greatest possible importance for personal happiness, and they are also a very necessary condition for enabling any one, either as theorist or as practical man, to effect the greatest amount of good compatible with his opportunities.
And near the end of chapter 4 Mill details the casual self-improvement programs he and some friends conducted, mostly as a sort of intense book club. They studied languages, read and discussed serious works, and debated issues. Where are such groups today?
Every July for 40 years, the North Las Vegas Stake of the LDS Church has put on a Pioneer Day celebration that has become legendary. Here are the fireworks from the end of last night’s festivities. Yes, they are close to the crowd, and yes, this is done with the permission and supervision of the fire department! Sorry for cutting off the first bit of the first song.
Language & Literature
I noted these in a biography I read last year:
“The sun shines not on us but in us, as if truly part and parent of us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing…” –journal, 1872.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul.” –journal, (1888?)
“The American forests, however slighted by man, must surely have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted. The whole continent was a garden, and from the beginning it seemed favored above all the other wild parks and gardens of the globe.” –first line of “The American Forests,” Atlantic Monthly, 1897
Took the kids to see this recently and it was excellent. You’re basically seeing a mini-IMAX production for a fraction of the cost (digital projectors have replaced the glorified film strips we had as kids), and while the quality of the film’s narration is scattered (the How the Universe Works series is much better written), the visuals are perfect. It’s amazing to sit back and glide into the edges of a galaxy, and see the colorful dust of space wash over and around you.
I learned stuff, too: there are small pockets of stars floating around out there that aren’t in any galaxy at all. Have there been any sci-fi stories about these lonely areas of space?
The sound quality was surprisingly lower than the visual display, but still, this is a great show.
The CSN Planetarium is a decent place with comfortable seats, friendly staff, and a regional sky orientation in each show. Plus, you can go use their huge telescopes at the end of the night, even if you don’t pay to see a show!
A few weeks ago, we had one of those generic gift certificates that apply to lots of places, so we picked a new place at random to try.
The little Divine Eatery cafe in Northwest Las Vegas is, just as its name suggests, a miracle.
Run by Chef Esther, this hole in the wall of a strip mall in a residential neighborhood makes the absolute freshest food we’ve ever eaten. When my wife and I had our first bite of the appetizers, we went wide-eyed and shared a look that said, this is something special.
Talking to the waitress revealed some things you want to know:
My grandfather lived from 1910-2000. Last month, for no special reason, I wrote out some short notes about him. I really didn’t know him that well, and can now only wish I’d spent more time with him. I suppose these memories reflect myself more than they depict him, but it feels good to do this:
When I was younger, I would have dismissed these stunts with some nerdy, smarmy snark, but as I age I appreciate physical skill more and more. Life is for living, and these guys have reached goals that are not only fulfilling for them, but inspiring and entertaining for others, as well, including me. Some of these are clearly fake, but they all make for good viewing.
A great list here called, “50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History,” focusing on medical and technological advances, quite rightly. We have now basically become the gods of the ancients, able to do unimaginably fantastic things.
It’s not just the lifestyle progress, though. I’m reminded of a remark the historian Will Durant made when asked what the greatest period in history was. He replied that it was today, because we have the largest inheritance of cultural experience and creations of any civilization.
Which brings us back to technological progress–the Internet brings us so much of that inheritance with ease and panache.
Graphic showing 35 simple productivity tips. Saved to hard drive.
‘Nevada’s best-kept secret’ offers hiking, camping and stargazing. Note to self: visit ASAP!
“The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience” Many of these are truly wonderful–thought-provoking and humbling.
“The days are long, but the years are short.” –Gretchen Rubin. One of the wisest things I’ve ever heard.
It’s always amazingly scary to think about how tiring, how busy and stressful most individual days are, but then to look back on the last year, or the last five years, or even the last ten years, and realize how much happened in them, and how much seems missed, and how it all went by so quickly.
I have children who are rapidly approaching adulthood, and I constantly wonder where their childhood went. How did it disappear so suddenly?
I’ve now been teaching high school for more than three times as long as I went to high school, and the student part of my life actually feels like it lasted longer than this part. Weird.
It’s true what they say, isn’t it? At some point, every year seems to go by even faster than the year before.
I think if you’re not consciously being corny and sentimental, at least some of the time, you may not be doing it right. There will likely be more regrets.
*sigh* Don’t mind me. I’m still just bummed out about How I Met Your Mother being over.