Endless dreams

While others may find beauty in endless dreams, warriors find it in reality, in awareness of limits, in making the most of what they have. […] Their awareness that their days are numbered—that they could die at any time—grounds them in reality. There are things they can never do, talents they will never have, lofty goals they will never reach; that hardly bothers them. Warriors focus on what they do have, the strengths that they do possess and that they must use creatively. Knowing when to slow down, to renew, to retrench, they outlast their opponents. They play for the long term.

~ Robert Greene

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This is how you eulogize someone

People who came here from my old blog, http://www.popehat.com, will remember my long-time co-blogger and friend Patrick. Patrick, another irascible trial lawyer, wrote at Popehat for more than a decade. He shared our Twitter account for years, and went on to co-author the wickedly satirical @dprknews account and his own Twitter account @PresidentDawg. He died yesterday.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/a-farewell-to-a-friend

Dang! That’s a eulogy. You should read the whole thing. And you should follow all of White’s links from therein. I’ve been following White and Patrick and “Popehat” from the beginning and it’s everything bit as awesome as White suggests in retrospect.

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Interesting jobs

I distinctly remember [my dad] saying not to worry about what I was going to do because the job I was going to do hadn’t even been invented yet. […] The interesting jobs are the ones that you make up. That’s something I certainly hope to instill in my son: Don’t worry about what your job is going to be. […] Do things that you’re interested in, and if you do them really well, you’re going to find a way to temper them with some good business opportunity.

~ Chris Young

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Should I keep blogging?

This is not a passive-aggressive maneuver to get you to scroll to the bottom, read the footer and consider supporting my work. (It would mean a lot though if you did.)

This is a serious question which I ask myself at a frequency approaching every minute. All the benefits are not directly measurable.

Exposure — In order to ensure I have material to write posts, I have various processes and systems that force me to skim an insane amount of stuff pretty much every day. If you imagine skimming my weekly email in a second or two, that’s 7 items. I skim about 300 to 500 items every day. A small number each day catch my attention enough that I toss them on my read-later queue. There are 764 things on that queue at this instant. It takes me significant time to read them, but often just a few seconds to realize, “yeah this is going to be a blog post” (and then I go on reading to the end and then I write the post.) If I stopped blogging, would I still do all that work to be exposed to ideas?

Learning — Writing blog posts creates a third “imprint” in my mind. First a glance, then a read, and then thinking about it. Even if I sometimes abort the blog post mid-writing, it’s still three different repetitions. And I have software that feeds me my own blog posts (“what did I post 10 years ago, today?” etc.) so I am constantly re-reading everything on this site; that’s more repetitions as things drift into history.

Integration — If I write a blog post about it, I generally try to figure out its relationship to everything else. Adding blog tags is the most obvious bit of integration. But figuring out what to pull quote involves deciding what is salient to me. And deciding which part(s) I want to focus on, magnify, or disagree with requires further integration.

Writing — Thoughts swirl in my mind. Characters appear on my screen. There are several skills one can work on between those two sentences.

All of that goes into feeding my personal growth and priming my curiosity. Since good conversation is powered by genuine curiosity, all that stuff also enables my person mission.

Should I keep blogging? It doesn’t feel like stopping is realistically an option.

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Destruction

If you spend your time focusing on the things that are wrong, and that’s what you express and project to people you know, you don’t become a source of growth for people, you become a source of destruction for people. That draws more destructiveness.

~ Tracy DiNunzio

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Logical conclusions

In its original Latin use, the word genius was more readily applied to places — genius loci: “the spirit of a place” — than to persons, encoded with the reminder that we are profoundly shaped by the patch of spacetime into which the chance-accident of our birth has deposited us, our minds porous to the ideological atmosphere of our epoch. It is a humbling notion — an antidote to the vanity of seeing our ideas as the autonomous and unalloyed products of our own minds.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/09/15/samuel-butler-darwin-among-the-machines-erewhon/

This is a delightful meander across time and authors.

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Sheer nonsense from the jump

This is sheer nonsense from the jump. Americans don’t have, and have never had, any right to be free of shaming or shunning. The First Amendment protects our right to speak free of government interference. It does not protect us from other people saying mean things in response to our speech. The very notion is completely incoherent. Someone else shaming me is their free speech, and someone else shunning me is their free association, both protected by the First Amendment.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/our-fundamental-right-to-shame-and

This is long (by Internet standards, so maybe 5 minutes?) but borders on a being a ribald savaging of a New York Times editorial. Bully for Ken White. He had me at the byline. If you’re not a fan of White, it’s still worth reading until the part I’ve quoted. If you read that far, you may just become a fan of White’s writing. (And of course there’s more of him quoted here too.)

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Learning to see

Most people to this day think of [the sciences and the arts] as so radically different from each other. But I want to posit a different way to look at it. It comes from what I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of art on the part of most people. Because they think of art as learning to draw or learning a certain kind of self-expression. But in fact, what artists do is they learn to see.

~ Ed Catmull

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Our sense of what’s possible

The people we’re surrounded by limit or expand our sense of what is possible.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/people/relationships/sunday-firesides-relationships-over-willpower/

That’s a perfect turn of phrase from McKay. I love to find myself exposed to new people; those moments where I think, “that’s interesting!” are like single-serving sized friends (with hat tip to Chuck Palahniuk).

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