This is Club Awesome.

#

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.
from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

June 25th, 2015 @ 7:37 am
1984

Capitalist PigHappy birthday to Eric Blair — better known as George Orwell — born on this date in 1903, seventy years and one day before yours truly.

My dad told me to read Animal Farm when I was seven years old. I thought it was really wild, but that there had to be something that I just didn’t understand. (Why would grown ups think a story about a bunch of talking pigs and cows was so good?!) I only halfheartedly read 1984 in high school because I thought Orwell was a flake children’s book author.

It wasn’t until I got to college that I read 1984 again (on my own) and enjoyed it. Then I read Animal Farm again and was stunned for days afterward.

#

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird … So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
Richard P. Feynman

#

We have a lot of books in our house. They are our primary decorative motif — books in piles on the coffee table, framed book covers, books sorted into stacks on every available surface, and of course books on shelves along most walls. Besides the visible books, there are the boxes waiting in the wings, the basement books, the garage books, the storage locker books. They are a sort of insulation, soundproofing some walls. They function as furniture, they prop up sagging fixtures and disguised by quilts function as tables. The quantities and types of books are fluid, arriving like hysterical cousins in overnight shipping envelopes only to languish near the overflowing mail bench. Advance Reading Copies collect at beside, to be dutifully examined — to ignore them and read Henry James or Barbara Pym instead becomes a guilty pleasure. I can’t imagine home without an overflow of books. The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough, or the right one at the right moment, but then sometimes to find you’d longed to fall asleep reading The Aspern Papers, and there it is.
Louise Erdrich

#

I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.
Norma Jean Mortenson

May 22nd, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Happy Birthday, Jenny!

David and JennyI seriously cannot believe that my little sister is forty years old. I love you with all my heart, Jenny. I couldn’t have asked for a better playmate and it still bothers me that you turned out to be way cooler than me. I’m so proud of you and hope that you have a fantastic year.

#

If you look at a testimony of love from 2,000 years ago it can still exactly speak to you, whereas medical advice from only 100 years ago is ridiculous.
Jennifer Michael Hecht

Retro Disneyland Attraction Posters

#

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

April 13th, 2015 @ 7:24 am
Enlarged

ScrabbleToday is the birthday of Alfred M. Butts, the man who invented Scrabble, a game I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember. Words with Friends was one of the first iPhone apps I installed, and I’ve played it pretty much daily for almost a decade now. Long, long before the iPhone was invented, I used to play Scrabble online with my mom via Yahoo! Games.

<humblebrag>My mother is quite possibly the only person in the world who holds a winning record against me. I have played thousands — thousands! — of times in my life, and she was the only opponent who could consistently beat me.</humblebrag> I miss her terribly.

#

It is harrowing for me to try to teach 20-year-old students, who earnestly want to improve their writing. The best I can think to tell them is: Quit smoking, and observe posted speed limits. This will improve your odds of getting old enough to be wise.
Barbara Kingsolver

March 13th, 2015 @ 11:54 am
Fifteen Years of Blogging!

balloonsAnd just like that: It’s been fifteen years since I started blogging on this site.

It seems like only yesterday that I wrote a post celebrating my fourteenth year, and the spaces between the years get smaller every day.

The University of Florida Alumni Association challenged the University of Georgia Alumni Association in an epic Twitter *.gif battle using House of Cards and West Wing references.

March 2nd, 2015 @ 10:14 am
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2

According to The Writer’s Almanac:

musicBeethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata was published on this date in 1802. Its real name is the slightly less evocative “Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2,” and its Italian subtitle is translated as “almost a fantasy.” In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, a German critic compared the sonata to the effect of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne, and the interpretation became so popular that, by the end of the century, the piece was universally known as the “Moonlight Sonata.” Beethoven himself had attributed the emotion of the piece to sitting at the bedside of a friend who had suffered an untimely death.

The Gun You Buy to Protect Your Family Is the Greatest Threat to Your Family

Babies Are More Sensitive to the Prenatal Environment Than Once Believed

#

[W]ith a great moral issue involved, neutrality does not serve righteousness; for to be neutral between right and wrong is to serve wrong.
Theodore Roosevelt – February 22, 1915

February 20th, 2015 @ 6:24 am
Friday Five: Favorite Pixar Films

Up Official Movie PosterMy five favorite Pixar films:

  1. Up — 2009
  2. Cars — 2006
  3. Toy Story — 1995
  4. The Incredibles — 2004
  5. Monsters, Inc. — 2001
February 13th, 2015 @ 6:44 am
Friday Five: “Love” Songs

Heart

The only people who don’t think the entire health insurance system in these United States is irreparably, tragically, insultingly broken are the incredibly healthy and the absurdly wealthy.

Everyone else is screwed, and we know it. And yet nothing changes because the incredibly wealthy make the rules.