AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

30 June 2012

Usman Riaz, "Fire Fly"

Cheap Trick, "Clock Strikes Ten"

Get down.

This.

Shishkin, Backwoods, 1875


Dixon Direction

Directions are simple here.
Geese know where to go and eagles fly.
Yet sometimes you get lost on wrong roads.

Then

when you come to school,
you seek from this high window
and find living river, red willow,
white aspen, old juniper and pine.

This is you.

And bright, clay cliffs fix the stars.


- Victor A. Charlo

Smallness.


As Marcus and I tread water and our perspective becomes even more diminutive, as we look at Sea Dragon about a quarter kilometer away. We consider the depths below us, some 5,000 meters and the distance to land. Nothing makes one more aware of his powerlessness like swimming in the middle of the ocean, unattached from our home and lifeline, our ship. That sense of smallness felt, which is a continuing meme that affects my thought process at sea makes me wonder what we’re missing as we sail through the night—yes, what object and what story from this tragedy passes by us, silently, unobserved and forgotten? And indeed, what piece of flotsam is just past our vantage as we watch the horizon from starboard and port?

Read the rest at The Cleanest Line.

28 June 2012

Drifting.

Rich, Drifting Slider, 2007


What Is There Beyond Knowing?

What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can't
turn in any direction
but it's there. I don't mean
the leaves' grip and shine or even the thrush's
silk song, but the far-off
fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven's slowly turning
theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;
or time that's always rushing forward,
or standing still
in the same -- what shall I say --
moment.
What I know
I could put into a pack
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.

~ Mary Oliver

Kinetic.

Artist Theo Jansen demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move -- and even survive -- on their own.

Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who builds walking kinetic sculptures that he calls a new form of life. His "Strandbeests" walk the coastline of Holland, feeding on wind and fleeing from water.




Read the rest at TED.

Jansen's STRANDBEEST site is here.

More here.

Thank you, Blaire.

Relentless.


"What makes someone successful in the 21st century is definitely not your ability to memorize facts. What will make someone successful is your relentless capacity to innovate, to create. It's your ability to network, to make friends from your own circle and from other countries. It's your ability to see through challenges, to look for opportunities in problems, and to take action to change things instead of waiting for someone else to do something," Zhao said in an interview after his keynote.

Meanwhile, he added, the U.S. is focusing on the wrong goal by aiming for higher standardized test scores. "Fixing the horse wagon won't get us to the moon," he said, referring to the current educational system as a holdover from an outdated era. Emphasizing test scores over creativity will undermine American students' talents and confidence -- the very qualities that countries like China are trying to encourage.

Tolerance, talent and technology are the ingredients needed to produce what Zhao calls "black collar" workers (named for the late innovator Steve Jobs and his trademark black turtleneck). Innovators will be the ones who will produce not only breakthrough products but also new solutions to social, environmental and policy challenges, Zhao predicted.


Read the rest at Edutopia.

David Francey, "Grateful"

Love in the dark a sightless kiss
The tending to the emptiness
Love as blind as love can be
We are grateful to receive

The morning light, each other’s eyes
The hollow heart at each goodbye
Love that brings us to our knees
We are grateful to receive

Love that warms a heart of stone
Love that lives on love alone
Love in all its ecstasy
We are grateful to receive

Love in all its frailty
Love as strong as love can be
We say thank you, yes and please
We are grateful to receive


Jim Malcolm, "The Birkin Tree"

Oh lass, gin ye would think it right
Tae gyang wi me this very night
We’ll cuddle til the morning light
By a’ the lave unseen, O
And ye will be my dearie
My ain dearest dearie
And ye shall be my dearie
Gin ye meet me at e’en, O.

I canna fae my mammy gae
She locks the door and keeps the key
And in the morning charges me
And aye aboot the men, O
For she says they’re a’ deceivers, deceivers, deceivers,
She says they’re a’ deceivers
And ye canna trust tae ane, O.

Oh nivver mind your mammy’s yell
Nae doot she met yer dad hersel’
And should she flyte ye can her tell
She’s aft times done the same O
So lassie, gie’s yer hand on’t, yer bonnie milk-white hand on’t
Lassie, gie’s yer hand on’t, and scorn tae lie yer lain, O.

Oh lad, my haun I canna gie
But aiblins I maun steal the key
I’ll meet ye at yon birkin tree
That grows doon in the glen, O
But dinna lippen laddie
I canna promise laddie
But dinna lippen, laddie,
In case I canna win, O.

So he’s gaen tae the birkin tree
In hopes his ain true love tae see
Fa come trippin ower the lea
But just his bonnie Jean, O
And she’s clinkit doon beside him, beside him, beside him
She’s clinkit doon beside him, upon the grass sae green, O.

“I’m overjoyed wi rapture noo”,
Quo he and kissed her cherry mou’
And Jeannie ne’er had cause tae rue
That night upon the green, O
For she has got her Jonny,
Her ain lovin’ Jonny,
For she has got her Jonny,
And Jonny’s got his Jean, O.


Andrew Peterson, "Many Roads"

If you'll step inside this great glass elevator
It'll take us up above the city lights
To where the planet curves away to the equator
I want to show you something fine

You can see the roads that we all traveled just to get here
A million minuscule decisions in a line
Why they brought us to this moment isn't clear
But that's all right, we've got all night

Could it be that the many roads
You took to get here
Were just for me to tell this story
And for you to hear this song
And your many hopes
And your many fears
Were meant to bring you here all along

So if you'll trust me with your time I'll spend it wisely
I will sing to you with all I have to give
If you traveled all this way, then I will do my best to play
My biggest hits (that don't exist)

And if you'll lend to me your ear I'll sing 'em pretty
I will never, ever sing 'em out of tune
And I will not forget the words,
Of any chorus, bridge, or verse
I promise you

We've got Benjamin to play the grand piano
If we're lucky it's a little out of tune
We've got Andy on the guitar 'cause I promised him
Some Texas barbecue

How I love to watch you listen to the music
'Cause you sing to me a music of your own
As I cast out all these lines, so afraid that I will find
I am alone, all alone

Could it be that the many roads
I took to get here
Were just for you to tell that story
And for me to hear that song
And my many hopes
And my many fears
Were meant to bring me here all along
We were meant to be right here all along


Happy Birthday, Phillips.

Drew's boy, Brandon Phillips, was born on this date in 1981.

Find.


“A clear head will find itself,” begins the 1946 U.S. Forest Service safety flyer “What To Do When Lost In The Woods,” a manual made for hikers and campers whose suggestions might also be heeded by creative types who have lost their way.

Read the "7 Creative Lessons from the U.S. Forest Service" at Brain Pickings.

Upton.


I have been buying tea from Upton Tea for years. Their products are of the highest quality and their customer service is OUTSTANDING.

If you are a tea drinker, I highly recommend that you give them your patronage.

Three Dog Night, "Shambala"

Mindful.


Shambhala offers 10 Tips for a Mindful Home ...

Art.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Landsat Program on July 23, 2012, we'd like your help in selecting the top 5 "Earth as Art" images from the more than 120 scenes in our collection.

For 40 years Landsat satellites have been acquiring images of the land cover of the planet. The satellites have given us spectacular views of mountains, valleys, coastal areas, islands, volcanic fields, forests, and patterns on the landscape. By highlighting some of those features and creatively crafting the colors we have developed a series of "Earth as Art" perspectives that reveal the artistic side of Landsat. The Top 5 "Earth as Art" images will be announced on July 23 in Washington, D.C., at a special event commemorating the launch of the first Landsat satellite.


This image shows a spinning formation of ice, clouds, and low-lying fog off the eastern coast of Greenland.


Read the rest at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Mozart, "Cosi Fan Tutte"

The Vienna Philharmonic performs, conducted by Manfred Honeck ...

Part 1



Part 2

Miso.

Miso, Shibuya (garland), undated


Tokyo from Memory, an exhibition of the paper work by the artist Miso opens today ... in Adelaide.

The exhibition's site is here.

Miso's blog is here.

Reminds me of Lisa Hannigan's video ...



Thanks, Abigail!

What if Mozart or van Gogh had a blog ... or Leonardo?

So much can be learned.

Here are Jess' and Jay's. and Randy's.

27 June 2012

Traditions.

Seeing a Carolina Chocolate Drops concert is a transformative experience — and not just because of the old-time string band’s immense talents and diverse instrumentation. In keeping with their desire to educate audiences about how African Americans influenced popular music in the 1920s and ’30s, the band members explain the origins and lineage of nearly every tune they play. This information adds rich context and historical breadth to their music, whose banjos, fiddles, and chattering percussion are akin to a spiritual celebration. “What we do — especially seven years ago — was very new in terms of people associating it with black people,” says co-founder/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens. “It was a big deal for a lot of people: ‘Why are you guys playing banjos and fiddles?’ We’re working a little more of the general history as well. And the other thing is, we’re playing stuff people haven’t heard in a long time, and it’s coming from traditions people just don’t know a lot about anymore.”

Read the rest here.

"Old Corn Likker"



I've should probably go see if that paper has written itself ...

Loved.

Walk into a used bookshop and you will encounter the unique aroma of aging books. The smell is loved by some, disliked by others, but where does it come from?



Thank you, Abe Books.

Mojito.


Papa had his with rum. When my papers are finished, I shall have mine with tequila ...

Herradura Mojito

2 oz. Herradura Silver
1 oz. Agave Nectar
1 oz. Lime Juice
4 Mint Leaves
2 oz. Club Soda

In a shaker, muddle mint leaves.

Add ice and remaining ingredients, roll to mix.

Pour into Collins glass.

Thank you, Herradura.

Musing.

Frasconi, Migration IX, 2008


Musing takes place in a kind of meadowlands of the imagination, a part of the imagination that has not yet been plowed, developed, or put to any immediately practical use ... time spent there is not work time, yet without that time the mind becomes sterile, dull, domesticated. The fight for free space--for wilderness and public space--must be accompanied by a fight for free time to spend wandering in that space.

- Rebecca Solnit

Leftover Salmon, "Aquatic Hitchhiker"

Quarter.

Delaporte, Quarter Moon, 2012


Thanks, EarthSky.

"Hears."


“I’ve never seen color and I don’t know what color looks like. I come from a grayscale world,” says artist Neil Harbisson, to gasps from the audience. Yet this is not an “oh me miserum” story. Instead, Harbisson is here to tell us that in 2003, he started a collaborative project to create an electronic eye to help him detect the color frequency in front of him. In other words, he now “hears” color via a camera attached to the back of neck and extending over his forehead. More gasps.

He demonstrates, projecting the sound of purple, the sound of grass, and then, well, then the sound of a dirty sock. And then he explains how he went about learning about color ...


Read the rest at TED.

Disobedience.


In this age of innovation, even more important than being an effective problem solver, is being a problem finder. It’s one thing to look at a problem and be able to generate a solution; it is another thing to be able to look at an ambiguous situation, and decide if there is a problem that needs to be solved. That’s a skill that isn’t really targeted by traditional teaching methods, and in fact, it is often discouraged. Rule-breaking, to an extent, should be tolerated and encouraged, and yes—even taught. To reach this end, we should be teaching and encouraging creative disobedience.

Read the rest at The Creativity Post.

26 June 2012

David Gray

Only The Wine

Sprung like a wild orchid
Curled like a wave
Hanging like wood smoke yeah
In the airy glade
Only the wine talking
Only the wine
Head spinning, mouth open
Time after time

Sympathetic
Won’t forget it
Hope I never live to see the day
Gone forever
Ah whatever
Help me find the way
Home

Coiled in my synapses
Poised like a snake
There as the time lapses
And the levee breaks
Only the wine talking
Only the wine
Head spinning, mouth open
Time after time

Sympathetic
Won’t forget it
Hope I never live to see the day
Gone forever
Ah whatever
Help me find the way
The way
The way
Home


- David Gray

Here's that and some more ...

Richness.


One of my first restaurant jobs.

Umberto's.

A rotisserie the size of a garage door.

Learning about wine.

Writing menus.

Cantaloupe sorbetto.

One night, after we were closed, the owner, Mike, came up to me and said, "Leave the back table set up. A friend of mine is coming in for dinner and I want you to meet him."

That night I sat and ate dinner with Mike and Chef Seifert. This was my first face-to-face meeting with a god. I had known the wonders of his Gourmet Market and Spagio, but now I was sitting at this guy's table. He was pouring me wine.

I remember the butter. I was astounded by the amount of butter he put on his bread. He had a whole chicken from the rotisserrie, a loaf of French bread, butter, and a bottle of chardonnay ( I wish I could remember the label).

I don't remember what we talked about, I just remember how much he enjoyed every single morsel of that meal.

I was learning ...

Chef was recently interviewed by Traveling Taste Buds ...

One ingredient you couldn’t live without and why?

HS: Butter. You can finish any dish with just a spoonful of butter. It adds richness and beautiful flavor – you can’t beat that.

Must have kitchen supply or utensil in your kitchen:

HS: Big, oval, heavy-duty cast-iron pot, made by French manufacturer, Staub. I own two, but only use one. All you need is a burner and this pot and you can cook anything, from stews and soups, to sauces and roasts.

What can always be found in your refrigerator?

HS: Double-smoked slab of bacon I get from Albert, owner of Thurn’s Specialty Meats. Thurns cold-smokes the bacon and I cut the slab at home. This is the best place to get meat. They do it right and they have the real smokers, versus so many of the over-processed, machine-manufactured meat. Other items: onions and heavy bread, like a pumpernickel or a rye, but heavier.

Read the rest here.

Live.

Wyeth, Sea Boots, 1960


So go out and live real good and I promise you’ll get beat up real bad. But in a little while after you’re dead, you’ll be rotted away anyway. It’s not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn’t live.

- Rich Mullins

Thank you, Ragamuffin Ramblings.

Turnaround.

It’s not your parent’s college anymore. With technology, the landscape of college education has done a complete turnaround. Gone are the days of notebooks, printed syllabi, and textbooks ...


Thank you, Visual.ly.

Mama.


The dream is always the same. It’s evening, and I’m standing at the edge of the great dune, looking out over Lake Michigan. The sun is low in the sky, the distant water like a sheet of beaten brass, and the sand-warmed wind makes the leaves hiss in the cottonwoods behind me. Far below, a single tiny gull wheels over the beach. Everything is as it should be, nothing is out of place, and when I awaken I am always refreshed.

All too often, places and things that once impressed me with their size and power seem sadly diminished when I visit them later in life — larger in memory than they are in reality.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is not one of them.


Read the rest at Pure Michigan.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor's Bureau is here.

The National Park Service's site is here.

You'll need this, too.

Revivifying.

Jason Silva was recently described as “A Digital DJ, a re-vitalizer and remixer of optimism, and above all, a curator: of ideas, of inspiration, and of awe … like a trumpet player or modern-day digital Mingus, he jams, riffs and rhapsodizes through a tumbling thicket of ideas with such a sharp and vital alacrity that it can take the breath away. He’s a modern performance philosopher, reviving the vibe of Tim Leary and Buckminster Fuller and revivifying the dialogue that they started decades ago.”

"Unbounded Imagination"



The Undivided Mind"



"Radical Openness"



More at Silva's site ... here.

Thanks, Zoë!

Surmount.


As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free.

1.

AS a strong bird, on pinions free,
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving,
Such be the thought I'd think to-day of thee,
America;
Such be the recitative I'd bring to-day for thee.


The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee
not,
Nor the compliments that have served their turn so
long,
Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of for-
eign court or indoor library;
But an odor I'd bring to-day as from forests of pine
in the north, in Maine—or breath of an Illinois
prairie,
With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia or Tennes-
see—or from Texas uplands or Florida's
glades;
With presentment of Yellowstone's scenes or Yo-
semite;
And murmuring under, pervading all, I'd bring the
restling sea sound,
That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of
the world.


And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O
Union!
Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—
mind-formulas fitted for thee—real and sane
and large as these and thee;
Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we
knew—thou transcendental Union!
By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought;
Thought of Man justified—blended with God:
Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality!
Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal idea!


2.

Brain of the New World! what a task is thine!
To formulate the Modern * * * Out of the peer-
less grandeur of the modern.
Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast
Poems, Churches, Art.
(Recast, may-be discard them, end them. May-be
their work is done—who knows?)
By vision, hand, conception, on the background of
the mighty past, the dead,
To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living
present.


And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the
dead, the Old World brain!
Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within
its folds so long!
Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou
but unfoldest it—only maturest it;
It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone
time contained in thee;
Its poems, churches arts, unwitting to themselves,
destined with reference to thee,
The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.



3.

Sail, sail thy best, Ship of Democracy!
Of value is thy freight—'tis not the present only,
The past is also stored in thee!
Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not
of thy Western Continent alone;
Earth's résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship!—is
steadied in thy spars;
With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent
nations sink or swim with thee;
With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes,
epics, wars, though hear'st the other continents;
Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-
port triumphant;
Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O
helmsman! thou carryest great companions,
Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee,
And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.



4.

Beautiful world of new, superber birth, that rises to
my eyes,
Like a limitless, golden cloud, filling the western
sky;
Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all;
Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons;
Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in cease-
less procession issuing,
Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving
continual strength and life;
World of the Real! world of the twain in one!
World of the Soul—born by the world of the real
alone—led to identity, body, by it alone;
Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of com-
posite, precious materials,
By history's cycles forwarded—by every nation,
language, hither sent,
Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World,
to be constructed here
(The true New World—the world of orbic Science,
Morals, Literatures to come),
Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform'd—
neither do I define thee;
How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the
future?
I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good:
I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present,
transcending the past.
I see thy light lighting and they shadow shadow-
ing, as if the entire globe;
But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to
comprehend thee;
I but thee name—thee prophesy—as now
I merely thee ejaculate.


Thee in thy future!
Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own
unloosened mind—thy soaring spirit;
Thee as another, equally needed sun, America—
radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all;
Thee, risen in they potent cheerfulness and joy—thy
endless, great hilarity
(Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long,
that weighed so long, upon the mind of man,
The doubt, suspicion, dread of gradual, certain de-
cadence of man);
Thee in they larger, saner breeds of female, male—
thee in thy athletes, moral spiritual, south,
north, west, east,
(To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every
daughter, son, endear'd alike, forever equal);
Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn
yet, but certain;
Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until
which thy proudest material wealth and civi-
lization must remain in vain);
Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing worship—
thee in no single Bible, Saviour, merely,
Thy Saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy
Bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any,
divine as any;
Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers,
studies, students, born of thee;
Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high
original festivals, operas, lecturers, preach-
ers;
Thee in thy ultimata (the preparations only now
completed—the edifice on sure foundations
tied),
Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy top-
most rational joys—thy love and God-like as-
piration,
In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lunged
orators—thy sacerdotal bards—cosmic savans,
These! these in thee (certain to come), today I pro-
prophesy.



5.

Land tolerating all—accepting all—not for the good
alone—all good for thee;
Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thy-
self;
Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.


(Lo! where arise three peerless stars,
To be thy natal stars, my country—Ensemble—Evo-
lution—Freedom,
Set in the sky of Law.)


Land of unprecedented faith—God's faith!
Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheav'd;
The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously
draped over, now and hence for it is
boldly laid bare,
Open'd by thee to heaven's light, for benefit or bale.



Not for success alone;
Not to fair-sail unintermitted always;
The storm shall dash thy face—the murk of war,
and worse than war, shall cover thee all over
(Wert capable of war, its tags and trials? Be capa-
ble of peace, its trials;
For the tug and mortal straits of nations come at
last in peace, not war);
In many a smiling mask death shall approach, be-
guiling thee—thou in disease shalt swelter;
The liv'd cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging
upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep
within;
Consumption of the worst—moral consumption—
shall rouge thy face with hectic;
But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and
surmount them all,
Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through
time they may be,
They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and
cease from thee;
While thou, Time's spirals rounding—out of thyself,
thyself still extricating, fusing,
Equable, natural, mystical Union thou (the mortal
with immortal blent),
Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future—the
spirit of the body and the mind,
The Soul—its destinies.


The Soul, its destinies—the real real
(Purport of all these apparitions of the real);
In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies;
Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous!
By many a throe of heat and cold convulsed (by
these thyself solidfying);
Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new,
Spiritual World!
The Present holds thee not—for such vast growth as
thine—for such unparalleled flight as thine,
The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.


- Walt Whitman

Harmonious.


About five hundred thousand years ago, the cranial capacity of our hominid ancestors' skulls dou­bled in size from 600 cubic centimeters to its present 1,200 cubic centi­meters. The fashionable explanation for all this extra brain is to enable us to make tools and weapons; you have to be really smart to deal instrumentally with the physical world. The British theoretical psy­chologist Nick Humphrey has presented an alternative: the big brain is a social problem solver, not a physical problem solver. As I converse with my students, how do I solve the problem of saying something that Marge will think is funny, that won't offend Tom, and that will per­suade Derek that he is wrong without rubbing his nose in it? These are extremely complicated problems -- problems that computers, which can design weapons and tools in a trice, cannot solve. But humans can and do solve social problems, every hour of the day. The massive pre­frontal cortex that we have is continually using its billions of connec­tions to simulate social possibilities and then to choose the optimal course of action. So the big brain is a relationship simulation machine, and it has been selected by evolution for exactly the function of design­ing and carrying out harmonious but effective human relationships.

Read the rest at Delancey Place..

Distinct.


If your identity is formed by hard boundaries, if you come from a specific place, if you embody a distinct musical tradition, if your concerns are expressed through a specific paracosm, you are going to have more depth and definition than you are if you grew up in the far-flung networks of pluralism and eclecticism, surfing from one spot to the next, sampling one style then the next, your identity formed by soft boundaries, or none at all.

Don’t try to be everyman. Don’t pretend you’re a member of every community you visit. Don’t try to be citizens of some artificial globalized community. Go deeper into your own tradition. Call more upon the geography of your own past. Be distinct and credible.


Read the rest here.

"Out In The Street"

Individual.

ParkeHarrison, Da Vinci's Wings, 1998


The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature - the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.

- Ayn Rand

Happiness.


Too long have Americans toiled under the hoof of foreign ham powers! No longer dependent on other nations for artisan cured ham, America is finally ready to assume its rightful place.

La Quercia celebrates Life, Liberty, and the Prosciutto of Happiness ... here.

Mellifluous.

Jerry Douglas' new album Traveler is out today.



You just gotta love it when a master says, "I look at myself as a student -- always. I'm learning."

Being a student, as well, I learned a new word today.

25 June 2012

Harmony.


A man is alive when he is wholehearted, true to himself, true to his own inner forces, and able to act freely according to the nature of the situations he is in. To be happy, and to be alive in this sense, are almost the same. Of course, a man who is alive is not always happy in the sense of feeling pleasant; experiences of joy are balanced by experiences of sorrow. But the experiences are all deeply felt; and above all, the man is whole and conscious of being real. This state cannot be reached merely by inner work. There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need do only inner work, in order to be alive like this; that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself. This teaching has some value, since it is so easy for a man to imagine that his problems are caused by "others". But it is a one-sided and mistaken view which also maintains the arrogance of the belief that the individual is self-sufficient, and not dependent in any essential way on his surroundings. The fact is, a person is so far formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings.

- Christopher Alexander

Vote.


Here.

Thanks, Drew!

Inspired.

The Rolling Stones announce the release of Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge 1981 on 8th July 2012.

Never previously released, the DVD features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ian “Stu” Stewart of the Rolling Stones, play with their musical hero Muddy Waters, at his club the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago in November 1981.

The band were in Illinois about to start a three night residency at the Rosemont Horizon, part of their Tattoo You tour, and spent their rare night off, with the man whose song lyric inspired the band’s name ...




Read the rest at rollingstones.com.

Thank you, Michelle.

Productivity.


The underlying assumption of brainstorming is that if people are scared of saying the wrong thing, they’ll end up saying nothing at all. The appeal of this idea is obvious: it’s always nice to be saturated in positive feedback. Typically, participants leave a brainstorming session proud of their contribution. The whiteboard has been filled with free associations. Brainstorming seems like an ideal technique, a feel-good way to boost productivity. But there is a problem with brainstorming. It doesn’t work.

Read the rest at The New Yorker.

Interested.

Jacqueline Novogratz’s Advice to Graduates

1. Focus on being interested, not on being interesting — don’t fall for status, seek opportunities that help you grow. Focus more on listening and learning — the rest will come.

2. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Take risks. Ask the “dumb” questions. Fail if you have to, and then get up and do it again.

3. Avoid cynicism. Pessimists can tell you what’s wrong with the world, but it’s the optimists who set out to change it. Inspiring hope in a cynical world might be the most radical thing you can possibly do. Hope may not feed us, but it is hope that sustains us.

4. Build on what came before. We know creativity is combinatorial, everything is a remix, and giving credit matters. Before you finished getting out of bed, brushing your teeth with clean tap water, putting on clothes, making breakfast, turning off the light, walking out the door, you are benefiting from the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals from all around the world. They all deserve your spirit of generosity. So walk with humility and reverence for the human endeavor, and know it’s your job to help take that endeavor forward.




Thank you, Brain Pickings.

Untranslatable.


TED has 21 untranslatable words worth learning ...

Swedish
mångata:
(moːnɡɑːta) a roadlike reflection of the moon in the water

Learn the rest here.

24 June 2012

Imagine.


... I can imagine this is what it must be like to live in a heavy cloud. The fog is thick (and cold) and water just seems to collect and saturate and drip from every surface.

Wanderations ... the next best thing to being there.

Nature.

Goethe's color wheel from 1810


In his book, The Art of Painting Restored to its Simplest and Surest Principles, 1849, Hundertpfund attempted to teach students a more general but accurate understanding of color based upon his personal observations of Nature, and upon his years of experience as a painter. His descriptions of color were often more philosophical than utilitarian, speaking of color in terms of elevation, joy, and Life and Death, but perhaps this can be forgiven; his explanation of colors, the color wheel, and how colors affect each other, though commonplace now, were novel then, and the vocabulary describing color interaction had not yet been established.

He believed that the colors of the Rainbow were "Ideal Colors," and he surmised that if paint manufacturers could produce material colors which matched the three Primary ideal colors (red, yellow, and blue), artists would never need another color on their palettes. "We ought, further, to endeavor to lesson the number of pigments, so that it may be clearly and easily understood, that, in fact, we paint with three colours only. We must bring back the material colours to the ideal ones; and observe that in the Rainbow, the whole law of colours, the whole secret of Tones, the whole science of colouring – in short, the key to Mixing, is to be found."² But since there were not yet pigments available which could match the ideal, a method of painting had to be established which would make the most of the colors to be had, and which could best approximate Nature.


More on Libertat Hundertpfund and the origins of the modern palette at Underpaintings.

Aimard.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard discusses creativity, experimentation, choice, and discipline ...



Here Aimard performs Bach's The Art of Fugue ...

Contrapunctus 4 & 12 (rectus)



Contrapunctus 15



Contrapunctus 12 (inversus) & 10



For more fugue, hum along over here.

Reading.

Head in the clouds.

On the road ...


...to the Grit Bowl.



Thank you, Early Birds and thank you, John.

We missed you, Big Poppi.

Deeply.


Call Me By My True Names

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my
people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.


- Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you, Brain Pickings and Couleurs.

23 June 2012

Willing.


I am open. I am willing to listen. I may not have all the answers

On point, as usual ... thank you, Mme. Scherzo.

Simple.

Shishkin, Stream by a Forest Slope, 1880


When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."


- Mary Oliver

22 June 2012

Sting, "The Wild, Wild Sea"

I saw it again this evening,
Black sail in a pale yellow sky
And just as before in a moment,
It was gone where the grey gulls fly
If it happens again I shall worry
That only a strange ship could fly
And my sanity scans the horizon
In the light of the darkening sky

That night, as I walked in my slumber
I waded into the sea strand
And I swam with the moon and her lover
Until I lost sight of the land
I swam till the night became morning
Black sail in a reddening sky
Found myself on the deck of a rolling ship
So far where no grey gulls fly
All around me was silence
As if mocking my frail human hopes
And a question mark hung in the canvas

For the wind that had died in the ropes
I may have slept for an hour
I may have slept for a day
For I woke in a bed of white linen
And the sky was the colour of clay.

At first, just a rustle of canvas
And the gentlest breath on my face
But a galloping line of white horses
Said that soon we were in for a race
And the gentle sigh turned to a howling
And the grey sky, she angered to black
And my anxious eyes searched the horizon
With the gathering sea at my back

Did I see the shade of a sailor
On the bridge, through the wheel-house pane
Held fast to the wheel of the rocking ship
As I squinted my eyes in the rain?
For the ship had turned into the wind
Against the storm to brace
And underneath the sailor's hat
I saw my father's face

If a prayer today is spoken
Please offer it for me
When the bridge to heaven is broken
And you're lost on the wild, wild sea


18 June 2012

Quiet.

Chatham, Fog Bank at Davenport, 2010


How To Be a Poet

(to remind myself)

i

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

ii

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

iii

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


- Wendell Berry

Flexible.


Neuroscience exploded into the education conversation more than 20 years ago, in step with the evolution of personal computers and the rise of the Internet, and policymakers hoped medical discoveries could likewise help doctors and teachers understand the "hard wiring" of the brain.

That conception of how the brain works, exacerbated by the difficulty in translating research from lab to classroom, spawned a generation of neuro-myths and snake-oil pitches—from programs to improve cross-hemisphere brain communication to teaching practices aimed at "auditory" or "visual" learners.

Today, as educational neuroscience has started to find its niche within interdisciplinary "mind-brain-education" study, the field's most powerful findings show how little about learning is hard-wired, after all.

"What we find is people really do change their brain functions in response to experience," said Kurt W. Fischer, the director of Harvard University's Mind, Brain, and Education Program. "It's just amazing how flexible the brain is. That plasticity has been a huge surprise to a whole lot of people."


Read the rest at The Committed Sardine.

17 June 2012

One.

Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (detail), 1486



Unending Love

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
And the songs of every poet past and forever.


~Rabindranath Tagore

Water.

On Sunday 3 June 2012, the Academy of Ancient Music performed Handel's Water Music as part of Her Majesty The Queen's Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. This film follows the story of the day, including performance and interviews with the players.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!


As I kid I remember seeing this poem tacked above my Dad's workbench ...

A careful man I must always be;
A little fellow follows me.
I know I dare not go astray
For fear he’ll go the self same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be;
This little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
This little chap who follows me.

I must be careful as I go
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
Because I am building for the years to be;
This little chap who follows me.


Thanks for being a wonderful leader, Dad.

Happy Father's Day. I love you.

Pride.


Mitch Albom gives Nick Lidstrom his exit interview ...

Q: What would you want someone to say about Nick Lidstrom -- the first line of the Wikipedia entry -- if you could have your druthers?

A: Ooh ... that's not easy. I guess -- a work ethic? He always took a lot of pride in working hard, whether preparing for a season or during the season. And showing up every night.

Q: That's it?

A: Yeah. I think those are the most important things to me: showing up every night and working hard.

Read the rest at The Freep.


Nicklas Lidstrom retired this spring after a 20-year NHL career ... all of them with The Wings.

Thanks, Nick.

John Denver, "The Lord's Prayer"

16 June 2012

Rush, "The Pass"

Dreamers learn to steer by the stars

Flows.

Homer, Driftwood, 1909


Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

- Margaret Atwood

Castle.

Castle combines colorful animation with live-action documentary sequences to tell the story of a 13th-century Welsh castle. Author David Macaulay, who wrote and illustrated the best-selling book of the same title, leads viewers on a castle tour, explaining its cultural and sociological significance and its architectural design. Detailed animation dramatizes the building of the castle and portrays the lifestyle of the early inhabitants.

Believe.

You can't do anything in fear. You have to be tranquil and believe.

- Miguel Cabrera

Understand.


When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Musing.

Durand, Interior of a Wood, 1855


The Prelude

Ah! better far than this, to stray about
Voluptuously through fields and rural walks,
And ask no record of the hours, resigned
To vacant musing, unreproved neglect
Of all things, and deliberate holiday.


- William Wordsworth

Beyond.


Music has a powerful grip on our emotional brain. It can breathe new life into seemingly lifeless minds. But if there is indeed no music instinct, music — not just its creation, but also its consumption — must be an acquired skill. How, then, do we “learn” music beyond merely understanding how it works? How do we “learn” to “listen” to music, something that seems so fundamental we take it for granted?

Brain Pickings offers seven essential skills for listening to music.

15 June 2012

Heroic.

Henry Rollins advises youth to take a heroic stance ...

Part 1



Part 2

Paul Weller, "Wild Wood"

Question.


You can’t pursue any kind of inquiry without a relatively clear framework that’s directing your search and helping you choose what’s significant and what isn’t … If you don’t have some sort of a framework for what matters — always, of course, with the provisor that you’re willing to question it if it seems to be going in the wrong direction — if you don’t have that, exploring the Internet is just picking out the random factoids that don’t mean anything … You have to know how to evaluate, interpret, and understand … The person who wins the Nobel Prize is not the person who read the most journal articles and took the most notes on them. It’s the person who knew what to look for. And cultivating that capacity to seek what’s significant, always willing to question whether you’re on the right track — that’s what education is going to be about, whether it’s using computers and the Internet, or pencil and paper, or books.

- Noam Chomsky



Read the rest at Brain Pickings.

14 June 2012

Proud.

Ragged Old Flag

I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench, an old man was sittin' there.
I said, "Your old court house is kinda run down,
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town".
I said, "Your old flag pole is leaned a little bit,
And that's a ragged old flag you got hangin' on it".
He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down,
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town"
I said, "I think it is"
He said "I don't like to brag, but we're kinda proud of
That Ragged Old Flag

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it,
Writing "Oh Say Can You See"
It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson
Tugging at its seams.
And It almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag,
But she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on
That Ragged Old Flag

On Flanders Field in World War I,
She got a big hole from a Bertha Gun,
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp, and low, a time or two,
She was in Korea, Vietnam,
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.
She waved from our ships upon the briny foam
And now they've about quit wavin' back here at home
In her own good land here She's been abused,
She's been burned, dishonored, denied an' refused,
And the government for which she stands
Has been scandalized throughout out the land.
And she's getting thread bare, and she's wearin' thin,
But she's in good shape, for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning
And we bring her down slow every night,
We don't let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thought
I do like to brag
'Cause I'm mighty proud of
That Ragged Old Flag


- John Cash

Anything.

ParkeHarrison, The Navigator, 2002


His library was a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore.

- Ray Bradbury

Get serious with this helpful suggestion from Think Jar Collective.

Get Daring here and Dangerous here.

All Explorers report here.

Cultural Offering imparts wisdom to stamp out Mush Brain. It's a serious affliction.