March 23, 2009
Sony World Photography Award, Subject: Music; photographer Amiran White (UK)
October 28, 2008
This man is the product of flexible vision, readiness-for-luck, character, and accomplishment, not any cobbled-together concepts of "self-esteem."
Leo Nordine provides a heartening example of thriving in times all-too-ready to call themselves "bad times." When a person is on his own rhythm, his own thread, with clear and robust priorities, there are no bad times -- just another wave.
In the story there lies an embedded jewel of nobility and kindness:
Sooner or later, this stranger is going to be all right, squalor and confusion notwithstanding. Don't you think?
Meanwhile, seize today:
December 30, 2008
Story a fake.
S****-em. No more bandwidth for you, Rosepetal.
Sometimes it's good to quit before it becomes a habit. Why here at Chez Dilys "minding our own business" increasingly means letting the soppy taste-of-honey rumors pass, along with everything else. If we don't line up at the Rumor-Monger's, eyes glittering with high-minded emotion, begging for "uplift," we provide less fodder for these molded-styrofoam distractions -- cyber-Madoff for the mind, sentimentality of bullies and victims equally tyrant and parasite.
October 14, 2008
...and letting the grudges go.
Things can turn out right eventually. Even though the past cannot be changed, it need not tyrannize anyone.
September 3, 2008
[note: this post continues to be updated with Things Palin.
Update: So long for a while, Governor. We'll both be back.]
The title refers to a novelized biography of the miserable bazarre avaricious saga affecting Gloria Vanderbilt Whitney, heiress, mother of newsface Anderson Cooper. Cooper is also a grandson of authentic movie "back when stars were stars" star Gary Cooper.
Update: Nope, unhappy as always.
Update on more things Palin:
Bah, what does it matter: She's just a small town mayor, just a hockey mom, just a beauty pageant queen. Palin has never shunned these belittling monikers, in part, I imagine, because the camouflage has served her so well. Soothed by the litany, her opponents tend to sleep too late, sneer too much, and forget who it is that hires them....The ultimate source of political power in this country is not the Kennedy School or the Davos Summit or an Ariana Huffington salon; even now, power emanates from the electorate itself.... Watching Palin operate over the past few years has been like witnessing a dramatic reading of All the King’s Men....
To get there you follow something other than a Bridge to Nowhere... Heh.
Update from Victor Davis Hanson:
[Where she comes from reflects] a life of action in an often harsh natural landscape,
where physical strength is married to intelligence.
Palin's symbolism is the antithesis of the metrosexual wind- or body- surfing politican, and hair-plugged, neurotic TV pundit So at this time, right now, millions apparently like Palin's atypical 19th-century profile. Again, it's a pleasant change of pace from Harvard Law School, DC politics, "community organizing" and the can't-do, 'they raised the bar on me' collective complaint.
If she can beat off the frothing... with the grace she has shown so far, she will fill a deep yearning among Americans for someone like her.
You can say that again. And we just did.
A feminist of the "How do you reload this thang" variety rather than of the "I was a victim all my life till my consciousness was raised in Women's Studies and I learned to be a Professionially Aggrieved Grievance Professional" variety...
And, she may failed to effectively pivot from sarcastic hocky mom to vice presidential...
Staying classy, philosophy of Sarah Palin is: "Fuck the poor and all those who disagree with me, fuck you and shut up."
The baying mob continues.
Keep the nasty elitist snark coming, folks. It only helps her. The nation is listening. Including Hillaryland.
Update: Are the smears business or pleasure?
Update after The Speech:
From now on, when a Democrat says "But what if McCain drops dead on his first day in office?!?!?!" I'm going to say "dude -- don't tease me like that," from Ann Althouse commenter
Added: "I didn't know the struggle was for such a carefully nuanced view of female equality that it doesn't include actual women." Comment here.
Update October 3, 2008: No comparison.
Update on SNL: Who's the bubblehead?
Update February 7, 2009: Reflective essay on the flurries around Palin:
What was the Palin episode really about? The answer has much to do with the age-old tension between populism and elitism in our public life, which is to say, between the notion that we are best governed by the views, needs, and interests of the many and the conviction that power can only be managed wisely by a select few....
Palin became the embodiment of every dark fantasy the Left had ever held....
Applied to politics, the worldview of the intellectual elite begins from an unstated assumption that governing is fundamentally an exercise of the mind: an application of the proper mix of theory, expertise, and intellectual distance that calls for knowledge and verbal fluency more than for prudence born of life’s hard lessons.
August 30 (referencing August 29), 2008
Picked up by Flares into Darkness:
While the national media and some democrats have had a field day with the Palin VP pick, most Alaskan dems have been wandering around dazed and disoriented, feeling like the rug was pulled out from under us.
My plea is "Don't underestimate her."...
Sarah is a shark. She is smart, and she is shrewd. However, she comes across as extremely personable; you can't help but like her in person. She is a good public speaker, I've seen better from her in Alaska, and considering how little time she had to prepare for today's speech, I think we'll see much better from her in the near future.
The biggest mistake we can make is to write her off, ignore her, or think she won't bring anything to the campaign. Quit with the jokes and the remarks about how cute and quaint she is. Stop with the pats on the back....
The experience debate disappears now, let it disappear. It seems many Dems feel a vindictive need to bring up the experience issue after it's been applied to Obama so many times. Don't. Experience is a non-issue, she won in Alaska by being the inexperienced, outside candidate, and the Rs will, and already have, argued that she has more "executive experience" than Obama anyways. This is an opportunity to take the experience issue off the table, lets take it.
Our job is to remember and remind everyone else that it is John McCain running for President and not Sarah Palin. This means dropping the "old and dying" stuff. The jokes and comments that McCain's VP might become president in the next 4 years. We don't want people thinking about Sarah as the President.
I say this because I believe Sarah could win if she were the one running for President. Sure she's from a small town in Alaska and has only been the Governor for 2 years, but it doesn't matter; she is as of today on the national stage. McCain's campaign will do its best to lead with the pretty, energetic woman and let you forget that he's the one that would sit in the big chair. People will like her, and she will be a name in the Republican party for quite a while now.
Title reference here.
Part of the mythology: She played basketball with a stress fracture, and gave a speech in Texas while in labor with her fifth child.
And now this fun with partisan graphics:
August 8, 2008
Update: Now devolved -- see comments -- into interesting psychological observation: deliberately cultivating inspiring myths cultivates disgusted cynicism when they are exploded. Misguided icon-making exercise remains, though protagonist might better be pictured as a squirrel.
July 31, 2008
Not to be scorned. The roots, and the best hopes, and the living metabolism, of human culture draw not only from enthusiasm.
Here, from the new First Things:
John Updike, discounting himself as any kind of Christian apologist, but conveying a certain faithful reverence to ordinary life:
A world in which no better [than the mundane] is imagined, and the motions of our spirits are not at all valorized, would be one without not only an religion but without any art.
Updike's father was a Lutheran deacon, rather like a character he describes.
That dogged deacon was, in a way, my father; and also the many, including clergy, who, against the modern grain, borrow light and lightness from ancient lamps, who suffer from a Sabbath compulsion, and take comfort in the periodic company of like-minded others, who -- to quote from 'The Deacon' -- 'share the pride of this ancient thing that will not quite die.'
First Things' Fr. Neuhaus, with sacramental understanding, observes:
Servants of the Lord who do not quench a flickering wick dare not despise the nostalgia-laden intuitions of those for whom that Ancient Thing may one day burst into life, and life abundant.
In the cave of certain Ancient Ways, even if the wicks sometimes flicker perilously, the Fire has never failed, and the path is illuminated even if passersby see from the sidewalk only a dark edifice. Comparisons are odious and some matters not for judging. Nor embers for trampling.
July 12, 2008
He will turn ...the hearts of the children to their [parents].
A son gives his fretful mother a picture of himself, and then
some, and more, and a new shirt, and ice cream...
Love plus creativity always add value.
June 26, 2008
Or, as the Chez Dilys mantra has it, Sufficient unto the evil, is the day thereof.
Worry is fruitless. Worrying about the future, we build in imagination a little fake world in which only the problem exists. Naturally, when the problem is the Senior Issue, it rules the roost.
In reality, when the day arrives, there is a world full of remedies, distractions, counter-causes and counter-effects. That is, yes, sometimes s**t happens. But, then, something else happens too. Things balance out, we find we've already adapted and prepared.
You don't have to like the smell of pine lumber to like Sippican Cottage. That's just a plus.
Courtesy Marginal Revolution
Here's some principled truth from Auren Hoffman of Rapleaf, whose very business is based on an understanding of how people think about you. it's good in every transaction between people, particularly important ones like jobs and relationships.
Pay attention, maintain high energy and self-respect, and don't sell yourself. Give the other person the information (s)he needs to make an independent but positive-toned judgment, and try to puncture unspoken illusions and assumptions up-front. He says it better.
As a job seeker, adjust this advice. Do highlight your strengths. But use the interview to ask these questions about the culture, and whether, when the interviewer sees your resume, he sees things that concern him. What an opportunity to clarify for both sides!
So, job seekers, here are some questions:
What do people find the hardest thing about working here?
What have you learned about employee match, and mis-match, with this job?
How would you describe the social and working culture here?
These [ ...] are my concerns about the job/culture.
--What is your view?
--Are they accurate?
--What's the best kind of employee in this culture?
--Here add a prepared description of your personality and work style.
And don't lowball your salary. If they want you, they will pay, or it's an opportunity to negotiate for probation and an early salary review.
Just part of what you will remember if you check in with your Job Coach for Interview Preparation.
Courtesy GMU's Marginal Revolution
June 23, 2008
The prosecutor's non-explanation of "lost evidence" about a child's death is too vague to offer a foothold for any opinions.
It does, however, suggest that someone "wasn't doing his/her job." That phrase is usually a blanket judgemental condemnation delivered in a disgusted and superior tone; but from the standpoint of jobs and careers nationwide, it probably discloses one more symptom of being vague about what one's gifts and strengths actually are, and what kinds of responsibility match them.
In Myers Briggs terms, someone inspired by the idea of helping law enforcement, or seizing just any job (s)he can find for the paycheck, may not have the kind of mind that relishes order and systems, storing and retrieving property. They have other capabilities. In a job that does not match one's "type," sooner or later this kind of entropy sets in.
If you, or anyone you know, wants to troubleshoot his or her career direction, e-mail us and find out what can easily be done. You won't be sorry. Unpressured one-on-one coaching, offering
Enjoy your work. Enjoy your life.
If you don't ask, we can't help.
June 13, 2008
...from René Girard.
Although Girard will turn 85 on Dec. 25 (he was born in Avignon), he is not resting on his laurels. Achever Clausewitz signals a new development of his line of thought, and he is already working on his next book, which will focus on St. Paul.
Courtesy Three Massketeers
Even when things are normal, and especially when things begin to tilt topsy-turvy [as in the rapid disappearance of free speech in Canada under "Human Rights Commissions"], it's useful to estimate the probability of "who" is "where." See David Warren:
My own political education was provided in part by several impressive Czech exiles from Communism, with whom I fell in as a young man. What I learned from them is that under an ideological regime, the best men live in jail, or are assigned to work in tanneries and collieries, where other good men may be found. The worst men live in luxury and power.
Courtesy Maggie's Farm.
May 31, 2008
Who said she was there:
[In 1814 English] marines pulled toward the [Scituate, MA] harbor with obvious intention of burning the town. Becky, then about 16, was alone in the lighthouse with her younger sister Abigail. Becky quickly seized her brother’s fife and her younger sister Abigail the drum. Sneaking out of their lighthouse home they followed behind the cedar covered sand hills of the point, beating a lively tattoo to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” The marines, who had believed the town undefended, hearing the rhythmic strains wafted toward the ship’s boat, thought the town garrison was marching out, and returned to the ship...
Sometimes we know the awful facts, but even so, for the moment, we can postpone capitulation.
An Army of One-or-More.
Semiotics. Use it for your benefit.
Courtesy Maggie's Farm
May 29, 2008
"Liberal" and "conservative" rhetoric often go on the rocks when the supporters of a "cause" demand not only agreement with facts and feelings, but frame and implications. This video shows Esther Hicks, who speaks in public purportedly on behalf of a group of sages known as "Abraham," honoring the power of vision and inspiration of Martin Luther King, Jr., without being backed into any corners.
May 7, 2008
Plenty of Traditionalists will not be on board, but for some of us, Joseph Brodsky's commencement speech at Williams College sings:
The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even -- if you will -- eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned impostor couldn't be happy with. Something, in other words, that can't be shared, like your own skin: not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balance sheets.
Stampede based on M. Baldwin painting
May 6, 2008
...not futile, vaguely depressive, or stalled in the imaginary. A young Malawian figures out how to build a windmill for electric power (video).
Day for night. Sr. Dilys is right -- effective creativity is a divine spark, the Doing of It rolling down the Four Worlds from Idea to tangible reality.
Not to seem ungrateful, but why does this not happen all the time, everywhere there is a need? The key cultural question.
Reminded of this by The Corner.
April 7, 2008
Rod Dreher again, this time on forgiveness, the Mennonites, death, friendship, a wonderful story in its way.
Too late to cancel a too-long comment (sorry, Crunchy Con), it's posted here anyway because it's what I think needs to be said. So:
March 14, 2008
David Mamet, the terse and edgy playwright recently celebrating the deposit of his archives with the University of Texas, undergoes, or at least publicly registers, a change in his political perspective, or self-identification. How encouraging! As he had said to an admiring student, "politics is not difficult to understand -- the only things you need are literacy and a brain." The Daily Texan appears not to have weighed in on the latest developments.
J. Budziszewski, also from these parts,
March 11, 2008
Great Lent began this week for Orthodox Christians. Rue, doing-without for a bit, and application to difficulty -- turning into something wonderful.
This story will be related across the blogosphere soon, but it is irresistible as a metaphor.
June 4, 2007
A searchable text created by us for very limited fair use access and search? Let me know in the comments if you're a transcript volunteer.
[Update] As suggested in the comments, those who have volunteered as participants will be contacted in a week or two. It may be easier than we thought.
January 7, 2007
The Feast of the Nativity in the Old Calendar. Twelfth Night, Theophany, Epiphany yesterday. The Season is ongoing. It is never too late to decide again.
When asked by a reporter something like: "What, in your opinion is the most important question facing humanity today?" Einstein thought for a bit then replied, "I think the most important question facing humanity is, 'Is the universe a friendly place?' This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
Graphic taken from a fine photo by Daniel Coliareti
December 10, 2006
Inspired by one example from Transform'd: xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language* courtesy of YARGB.
Not to mention this local icon.
*Associated warning: "This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."