Friday, July 29, 2022


For it was my master who taught me not only how very little I knew but also that any wisdom to which I might ever aspire could consist only in realizing more fully the infinity of my ignorance.

-- Sir Karl Raimund Popper (28 July 1902 - 17 September 1994), Austrian-British philosopher, academic, and social commentator, Unended Quest, An Intellectual Autobiography (1974) p. 2

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Human Nature

Where is human nature so weak as in a book store?

-- Henry Ward Beecher (1813 - 1887), American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God's love, and his 1875 adultery trial, "Subtleties of Book Buyers," Star Papers (1855)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Least Of Things

For it all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are in themselves.  The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.

-- Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961), Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933), p. 67

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Truth Matters

The militant intolerant ideologies, the militias, the alienation and the disaffection, the weird fantasies and disinformation, they're all still out there ready to go.  That's the elephant in the room.  But if January 6th has reminded us of anything, I pray it is reminded us of this, laws are just words on paper.

They mean nothing without public servants dedicated to the rule of law and who are held accountable by a public that believes oath matters -- oaths matter more than party tribalism or the cheap thrill of scoring political points.  We -- the people must demand more of our politicians and ourselves.  Oaths matter.

Character matters.  Truth matters.  If we do not renew our faith and commitment to these principles, this great experiment of ours, our shining beacon on a hill, will not endure. 

-- Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger (1978 -), speaking at a January 6th Committee hearing, 21 July 2022

Monday, July 25, 2022

Big Papi

I want to thank the United States of America from the bottom of my heart as an American citizen who welcomed me with open arms since I was practically a child and giving me the opportunity to develop and fulfill all my dreams and then some more.  Thank you very much, U.S.  And to all my American friends, consider this an open invitation to visit my island, the Dominican Republic, a special place where we have a lot of good and happy people, beautiful beaches where you guys can go when you’re freezing here.  So show up at the Dominican.

Before I was Big Papi, before the Red Sox, before the Twins, I was just a kid playing ball in the Dominican Republic. ...

I always try to live my life in a way that supports others, that make a positive influence in the world.  And if my story can remind you of anything, let it remind you that when you believe in someone, you can change their world; you can change their future.  Just like so many people who believe in me.  To everyone that believe in me from my family, to coaches to teammates, to fans, know I could not have done this without you.  My Hall of Fame plaque represents each one of you.  And I’m going to thank you guys for the rest of my life.  Thank you very much and God bless you all.

-- Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, 24 July 2022, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Four Brothers

Today I'm happy to report that I'm in the St Louis area with my three older brothers for a family reunion. Our last reunion was before the pandemic, although we did get to see each other a bit at a wedding last August.

This pic was taken on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour in St Louis.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Glory And Danger Alike

But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.

-- Pericles (ca. 495 BC - 429 BC), influential and important leader of Athens during the Athenian Golden Age (specifically, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars), Pericles' Funeral Oration as reported in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 1

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Those Who Think Alike

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

-- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900), German philosopher, cultural critic, and writer, The Dawn (1881), Sec. 297

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Then Inquire

Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.

-- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900), German philosopher, cultural critic, and writer, Letter to Elisabeth Nietzsche, Bonn, (11 June 1865), quoted in Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic (opening epigram)

Monday, July 18, 2022

Will You Choose?

We have an obligation to one another, responsibilities and trusts.  That does not mean we must be pigeons, that we must be exploited.  But it does mean that we should look out for one another when and as much as we can; and that we have a personal responsibility for our behavior; and that our behavior has consequences of a very real and profound nature.  We are not powerless.  We have tremendous potential for good or ill.  How we choose to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it.  We're told every day, "You can't change the world."

But the world is changing every day.  Only question is -- who's doing it?  You or somebody else?  Will you choose to lead, or be led by others?

-- Joseph Michael Straczynski (1954 -), award-winning American writer/producer of television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas, "At The Midpoint (Spoilers for everything)".  (Google Groups) (7 April 1995)

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Stranger

The image of ourselves in the minds of others is the picture of a stranger we shall never see.
-- Princess Elizabeth (Asquith) Bibesco (1897 - 1945), English writer and poet, active between 1921 and 1940, Haven (1951)

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Undemocratic And Unpatriotic

We are political conservatives who have spent most of our adult lives working to support the Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it is based: limited government, liberty, equality of opportunity, freedom of religion, a strong national defense, and the rule of law.

We have become deeply troubled by efforts to overturn or discredit the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.  There is no principle of our Republic more fundamental than the right of the People to elect our leaders and for their votes to be counted accurately.  Efforts to thwart the People's choice are deeply undemocratic and unpatriotic.  Claims that an election was stolen, or that the outcome resulted from fraud, are deadly serious and should be made only on the basis of real and powerful evidence.  If the American people lose trust that our elections are free and fair, we will lose our democracy.  As Jonathan Haidt observed, "We just don't know what a democracy looks like when you drain all the trust out of the system."

We therefore have undertaken an examination of every claim of fraud and miscount put forward by former President Trump and his advocates, and now put the results of those investigations before the American people, and especially before fellow conservatives who may be uncertain about what and whom to believe.  Our conclusion is unequivocal: Joe Biden was the choice of a majority of the Electors, who themselves were the choice of the majority of voters in their states. Biden’s victory is easily explained by a political landscape that was much different in 2020 than it was when President Trump narrowly won the presidency in 2016.  President Trump waged his campaign for re-election during a devastating worldwide pandemic that caused a severe downturn in the global economy.  This, coupled with an electorate that included a small but statistically significant number willing to vote for other Republican candidates on the ballot but not for President Trump, are the reasons his campaign fell short, not a fraudulent election.

    -- Senator John Danforth, Benjamin Ginsberg, The Honorable Thomas B. Griffith, David Hoppe, The Honorable J. Michael Luttig, The Honorable Michael W. McConnell, The Honorable Theodore B. Olson, Senator Gordon H. Smith, LOST, NOT STOLEN: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election (July 2022)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

A Journey, An Effort

We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us.

-- Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922), French novelist, essayist, and critic,  Remembrance of Things Past (1913-1927), Vol II: Within a Budding Grove (1919), Ch. IV: "Seascape, with a Frieze of Girls"

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Don't Shove

[Democracy] is the line that forms on the right.  It is the don't in don't shove.  It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles, the dent in the high hat.  Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.  It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere.

Democracy is the letter to the editor.  Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth.  It is an idea which hasn't been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad.

-- Elwyn Brooks (E.B.) White (11 July 1899 - 1 October 1985), American essayist, columnist, poet, and editor, best known today for his work in a writers' guide, The Elements of Style, and for three children's books: Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, generally regarded as classics, The New Yorker (3 July 1943)

Monday, July 11, 2022

James Webb Space Telescope

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date.  Known as Webb's First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.

Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb's view for the first time.  This slice of the vast universe is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm's length by someone on the ground.

This deep field, taken by Webb's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope's deepest fields, which took weeks. 

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it.  Webb's NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features.  Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies' masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.

-- NASA's announcement of the first publicly released image from the James Webb Space Telescope, 11 July 2022

Friday, July 08, 2022

RIP Shinzo Abe

The kind of society that Japan should aim at is a society in which the efforts of people are rewarded, a society in which there is no stratification into winners and losers, and a society in which ways of working, learning, and living are diverse and multi-tracked -- in other words, a society of opportunity where everyone has a chance to challenge again.  If there are people who sense they are facing inequality, it is the role of politics to shed light on them.

-- Shinzō Abe (21 September 1954 - 8 July 2022), Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from 2012 to 2020.  He was the longest serving Prime Minister in Japanese history.  Address to the Diet in his first term as Prime Minister (29 September 2006)

Thursday, July 07, 2022

Neither Persons Nor Property

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

-- Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895), American abolitionist, orator, and author, and statesman during the American Civil War, speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (16 April 1886)

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Why Did God Create Atheists?

A great Rabbi was once asked, "Why did God create atheists?"

The Rabbi said, "Atheists are the most important example for all who believe in God.  When an atheist is moral, and good, and kind, and compassionate, it's not because he believes God commanded him to be so, nor because he fears any kind of punishment for being bad.  An atheist performs acts of righteousness because he knows it is right to do.  And where is God in this?  If He is in the atheist's heart, or guiding him, it doesn't matter. The atheist helps regardless.  He helps because he believes there is nobody else, no power that can or will act without his own deeds.

"So when someone is in need, in our times of crisis, you shouldn't say, 'I'll pray for you,' or, 'May God help you.'  Rather, in this moment, you should be as an atheist.  Believe there is no God who can help, and say, 'I will help you.'  In this way the atheist is closest to God, and so must we be as well."

-- Posted by Wil Wheaton on his tumblr, 5 July 2022; re-posted from drew's grooveland

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Do Not Get Used To it

I really want the whole world, and Americans as well, not to get used to this war.  Yes, it is far from you, it lasts long, and you can get tired of it, but please do not get used to it, because if everyone gets used to it, this war will never end.  Don't get used to the pain. 

-- Olena Volodymyrivna Zelenska (1978 -), Ukrainian screenwriter who is the current First Lady of Ukraine as the wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Interview for the American TV channel ABC (7 June 2022)

Monday, July 04, 2022

God Bless America

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above

From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
God bless America, my home sweet home

-- God Bless America, Irving Berlin (1918)

Friday, July 01, 2022

Old Reprobates

Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning.  It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their right senses.  Poets are the policemen of language; they are always arresting those old reprobates the words.

-- William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939), Irish symbolist poet, dramatist and mystic, 1923 Nobel laureate in Literature, Letter to Ellen O'Leary (3 February 1889)