Archive for the 'commonplaces' Category


29 December 2009

“Character is easier kept than recovered.”

from The International.

1001 Rules for My (un)Unborn Son

7 April 2009

via Joey deVilla, some advice for young (and not so young) men.

Currently up to #359: If you are going to reinvent yourself, hold the patent.

I like #16: You are what you do, not what you say.

Atwood on Politics

19 February 2009

By politics I do not mean how you voted in the last election, although that is included. I mean who is entitled to do what to whom, with impunity; who profits by it; and who therefore eats what.

Margaret Atwood – The Writer’s Responsibility

25 January 2009

“Mrs. Tulliver was what is called a good-tempered person – never cried when she was a baby on any slighter ground than hunger and pins, and from the cradle upwards had been healthy, fair, plump, and dull-witted, in short, the flower of her family for beauty and amiability. But milk and mildness are not the best things for keeping, and when they turn only a little sour they may disagree with young stomachs seriously. I have often wondered whether those early Madonnas of Raphael, with the blond faces and somewhat stupid expression, kept their placidity undisturbed when their strong-limbed strong-willed boys got a little too old to do without clothing. I think they must have been given to feeble remonstrance, getting more and more peevish as it became more and more ineffectual.”

-George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, Chapter 2, pg 62 in the 1979 Penguin edition.

This is the peril of the parent (moi) who has always gotten by by getting along. Your kids don’t care whether you’re amiable (although they do want you to be kind). The result is a parent whose remonstrances are feeble and who can’t understand why Johnny won’t try to get along himself. Growing increasingly frustrated with the ineffectualness of their corrections, they become frustrated and (great word!) peevish.

Peevish. Don’t let that be my epitaph.

(See also, Teaching, frustrations with)


8 January 2009

Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.

-James Madison

Vigo Mortenson on CBC Radio’s Q

12 September 2008

…quoted Shaw (as in George Bernard).

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

Pessimism, Optimism, and Realism

28 June 2008

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts his sails”
William Arthur Wood

23 November 2006

“You can have anything you want. You just can’t have everything.”

Morality; basis of,

12 October 2006

Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.
— Frank Herbert

11 July 2006
"Learning without thought is labor lost."