Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meandering about . . .

Today is the birthday of Claude Frédéric Bastiat (June 30, 1801 – December 24, 1850), classical liberal theorist and political economist, best known as Frédéric Bastiat.

"If you wish to prosper, let your customer prosper. When people have learned this lesson, everyone will seek his individual welfare in the general welfare. Then jealousies between man and man, city and city, province and province, nation and nation, will no longer trouble the world." - Frédéric Bastiat

"The law is justice—simple and clear, precise and bounded. Every eye can see it, and every mind can grasp it; for justice is measurable, immutable, and unchangeable. Justice is neither more than this nor less than this. If you exceed this proper limit—if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic—you will then be lost in an uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it upon you. This is true because fraternity and philanthropy, unlike justice, do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself?" - Frédéric Bastiat

"If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?" - Frédéric Bastiat

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone." - Frédéric Bastiat

"When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." - Frédéric Bastiat

"To understand the question is to know the answer." - Frédéric Bastiat

Bastiat image source (1)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meandering we go . . .

Today is the birthday of Antoine de Saint Exupéry (June 29, 1900 - July 31, 1944), writer, poet and aviator.

"It is another of the miraculous things about mankind that there is no pain nor passion that does not radiate to the ends of the earth. Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures — in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it." - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Trivia bit: More than 25 countries have issued stamps honoring Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Saint Exupéry image source (1)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778), philosopher, writer, and composer. His political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory and modern political thought. Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought humans are naturally good, yet corrupted by their social environments and the choices they make in them.

"He who knows enough of things to value them at their true worth never says too much; for he can also judge of the attention bestowed on him and the interest aroused by what he says. People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little. It is plain that an ignorant person thinks everything he does know important, and he tells it to everybody. But a well-educated man is not so ready to display his learning; he would have too much to say, and he sees that there is much more to be said, so he holds his peace." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"What good would it be to possess the whole universe if one were its only survivor?" - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Nothing is less in our power than the heart, and far from commanding we are forced to obey it." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau image source (1)
Rousseau stamp image source (

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meandering around . . .

Today is the birthday of Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968), author, political activist, lecturer and the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." - Helen Keller

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart." - Helen Keller

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." - Helen Keller

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." - Helen Keller

Keller image source (1)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meandering to and fro . . .

Today is the birthday of William Thomson (June 26, 1824 – December 17, 1907), physicist, engineer, and inventor, better known as Lord Kelvin.

Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) was a child prodigy in mathematics. In 1861, at the age of eleven, he entered the University of Glasgow and in 1865 he entered Cambridge University, publishing his first scholarly papers on mathematics at the age of sixteen. During his lifetime he published more than 600 scientific papers and filed a total of 70 patents.

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting." - Lord Kelvin

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin

"The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he would never be caught." - Lord Kelvin

"At what time does the dissipation of energy begin?" - Lord Kelvin

"The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I cannot put it into words." - Lord Kelvin

"The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism." - Lord Kelvin

"When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery." - Lord Kelvin

Thomson image source (1)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meandering around . . .

Today is the birthday of Eric Arthur Blair (June 25, 1903 – January 21, 1950), author, better known by his pen name George Orwell. His most famous works are the novels, Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

A great deal of Nineteen Eighty-Four's expressive lexicon has entered into the English language, such as Big Brother, doublethink, Newspeak, and Big Brother is watching you.

"Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness." - George Orwell

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." - George Orwell

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

"Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

"Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." - George Orwell

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection." - George Orwell

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." - George Orwell

Trivia bit: "The adjective Orwellian describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the unperson — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments." direct quote source (1)

Blair image source (1)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meander, noun . . .

Today is the birthday of Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – 1914?), author, journalist, and satirist. He is best known for his satirical dictionary, The Devil's Dictionary and his mysterious disappearance.

"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it." - Ambrose Bierce

"We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over." - Ambrose Bierce

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." - Ambrose Bierce

"A man is known by the company he organizes." - Ambrose Bierce

Excerpts from The Devil's Dictionary:

"ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion."

"ACQUAINTANCE, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to."

"ADMIRATION, n.: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves."

"BORE, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen."

"CORPORATION, n.: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility."

"EGOTISM, n: Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen."

"EGOIST, n.: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me."

"HAPPINESS, noun.: An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another."

"MAD, adj: Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence."

"MEANDER, n. To proceed sinuously and aimlessly. The word is the ancient name of a river about one hundred and fifty miles south of Troy, which turned and twisted in the effort to get out of hearing when the Greeks and Trojans boasted of their prowess."

"PAINTING, n: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic."

Look up additional words in The Devil's Dictionary.

Bierce image source (1)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meandering on and on . . .

Today is the birthday of David MacKenzie Ogilvy (June 23, 1911–July 21, 1999), renowned advertising executive, oft referred to as The Father of Advertising.

"David Ogilvy was one of advertising’s most successful copywriters. His influence on the industry as a whole has been so large that Advertising Age called him one of the greatest creative minds in the advertising business, and Time recognized him as the most sought-after wizard in the advertising business." direct quote source (1)

"Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals." - David Ogilvy

"Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine." - David Ogilvy

"If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants." - David Ogilvy

"It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea. " - David Ogilvy

"David Ogilvy’s advertising mantra followed these four basic principles.
(1) Research: Coming, as he did, from a background in research, he never underestimated its importance in advertising. In fact, in 1952, when he opened his own agency, he billed himself as Research Director.
(2) Professional discipline: I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the chaos of ignorance. He codified knowledge into slide and film presentations he called Magic Lanterns. He also instituted several training programs for young advertising professionals.
(3) Creative brilliance: A strong emphasis on the BIG IDEA.
(4) Results for clients: In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create." direct quote source (1)

Ogilvy image source (1)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meandering about . . .

Today is the birthday of Julian Sorell Huxley (June 22, 1887 – February 14, 1975), biologist, humanist, internationalist and author.

"We are beginning to realize that even the most fortunate people are living far below capacity, and that most human beings develop not more than a small fraction of their potential mental and spiritual efficiency." - Julian Huxley

"By speech first, but far more by writing, man has been able to put something of himself beyond death. In tradition and in books an integral part of the individual persists, for it can influence the minds and actions of other people in different places and at different times: a row of black marks on a page can move a man to tears, though the bones of him that wrote it are long ago crumbled to dust." - Julian Huxley

"Some day no one will have to work more than two days a week... The human being can consume so much and no more. When we reach the point when the world produces all the goods that it needs in two days, as it inevitably will, we must curtail our production of goods and turn our attention to the great problem of what to do with our new leisure." - Julian Huxley

"As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself . . ." - Julian Huxley

"The great men of the past have given us glimpses of what is possible . . ." - Julian Huxley

"Human potentialities constitute the world's greatest resource." - Julian Huxley

Huxley image source (1)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I meander . . .

A Happy Birthday salute to Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), philosopher, playwright, and novelist. He is oft referred to as one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 20th century with his name, for some, synonymous with existentialism.

Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1964 and was the first Nobel Laureate to voluntarily decline the Nobel Prize.

"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is." - Jean-Paul Sartre

Trivia bit: He is buried in Cimetière du Montparnasse, in Paris, France. There were 50,000 people present at his funeral.

Sartre image source (1)
Sartre stamp image source (1)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Lillian Florence Hellman (June 20, 1905 – June 30, 1984), playwright.

Lillian Hellman was associated with many "left-wing" causes during her life time. Her politics and plays were often controversial and known for their moral themes, especially of injustice.

"For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt." - Lillian Hellman

"Since when do we have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?" - Lillian Hellman

"I think people always believe what they want to believe, don't you?" - Lillian Hellman

"I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak." - Lillian Hellman

"Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth." - Lillian Hellman

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will ever come out as you first hoped." - Lillian Hellman

"People change and forget to tell each other." - Lillian Hellman

Hellman image source (1)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662), mathematician, philosopher and physicist. He is credited with inventing the Pascaline, an early calculator.

"In spite of years of ill health and a short life, Pascal accomplished quite a bit: he published a significant work on the geometry of conical sections when he was only sixteen; he invented a calculating machine by the time he was nineteen; he and Pierre de Fermat founded the modern theory of probability; he described the principle that is the basis for the hydraulic press (called Pascal's Law); and he proved that there was a vacuum above the atmosphere. Pascal had a religious conversion in the 1650s and devoted himself to religion instead of science. He is famous for the philosophical theorem known as Pascal's Wager." direct quote source (1)

"Our achievements of today are but the sum total of our thoughts of yesterday. You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you." - Blaise Pascal

"Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it." - Blaise Pascal

"Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just." - Blaise Pascal

"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone." - Blaise Pascal

"The heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of." - Blaise Pascal

"You always admire what you really don't understand." - Blaise Pascal

"Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much." - Blaise Pascal

"Imagination decides everything." - Blaise Pascal

Trivia bit: The computer programming language "Pascal" is named after him.

Pascal image source (1)
Pascal stamp image source (1)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meandering we go . . .

Today is the birthday of Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran (June 18, 1845 – May 18, 1922), physician, pathologist, and parasitologist.

In 1880, while working in the military hospital in Constantine, Algeria, he discovered that the cause of malaria is a protozoan, the first time that protozoa were shown to be a cause of disease.

In 1907, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that malaria was caused by a protozoan that infects red blood cells.

Alphonse Laveran established the Laboratory of Tropical Diseases at the Pasteur Institute in 1907 and founded the Société de Pathologie Exotique in 1908.

"The life of Laveran was altogether one of labour. His story is tied up with that of his work. Those among us whom he honoured with his friendship know that underneath an exterior a little reserved and distant, he concealed a great sensitivity of heart. He had the character of an inflexible correctness, speech slow and meditated, and always with well-chosen words which never came with any solemn gestures. His countenance, his clear gaze, reflected the serenity and the honesty of his intellect. He surrounded his researches with a discreet silence, just until the moment when he decided to publish them.

Journalists knocked vainly at his doors, for he never gave interviews. Thus, the public hardly knew him, not that he cared for it much.

He suffered for a long time the indifference, the hostility or the scorn with which his discoveries were greeted. The ignorance and the ingratitude of military chiefs who obstinately barred his access to higher ranks in the army was for him especially hard. Nevertheless, he had his revenge, and how glorious! The Pasteur Institute offered him a laboratory, the Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society in London, all the scientific associations of the world rushed to receive him, and honour him. The Caroline Institute bestowed upon him the Nobel Prize and the Academy of Medicine wished him to become the President of its centenary.

Scientists of the future will pay even greater homage to his memory because his work will appear more splendid and more fertile with the hindsight gained over centuries."
- Albert Calmette

Laveran image source (1)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of Mohamed Mostafa ElBaradei (born June 17, 1942, in Cairo, Egypt), diplomat and 4th Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations. Dr. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

"On October 7, 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA itself were announced as joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their 'efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy ,for peaceful purposes, is used in the safest possible way'. ElBaradei donated all his winnings to building orphanages in his home city of Cairo. The IAEA's winnings are being spent on training scientists from developing countries to use nuclear techniques in combating cancer and malnutrition." direct quote source (1)

"I am an Egyptian Muslim, educated in Cairo and New York, and now living in Vienna. My wife and I have spent half our lives in the North, half in the South. And we have experienced first hand the unique nature of the human family and the common values we all share.
Shakespeare speaks of every single member of that family in The Merchant of Venice, when he asks: 'If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?'
And lest we forget:
There is no religion that was founded on intolerance — and no religion that does not value the sanctity of human life.
Judaism asks that we value the beauty and joy of human existence.
Christianity says we should treat our neighbours as we would be treated.
Islam declares that killing one person unjustly is the same as killing all of humanity.
Hinduism recognizes the entire universe as one family.
Buddhism calls on us to cherish the oneness of all creation.
Some would say that it is too idealistic to believe in a society based on tolerance and the sanctity of human life, where borders, nationalities and ideologies are of marginal importance. To those I say, this is not idealism, but rather realism, because history has taught us that war rarely resolves our differences. Force does not heal old wounds; it opens new ones." - Dr. ElBaradei

"Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children. Imagine that such a world is within our grasp." - Dr. ElBaradei

ElBaradei image source (1)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Meandering around . . .

Today is the birthday of Idries Shah (June 16, 1924 - November 23, 1996), also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi, author and teacher in the Sufi tradition.

"Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with making a wide body of scholarship on Eastern traditional teachings available in the Western world. Shah’s twenty nine books, translated into more than 15 languages, which sell in their millions, are considered to be some of the most important literature to be published during the twentieth century." direct quote source (1)

"One of the tragedies of modern times is that people have come to believe that something said by someone in the past, perhaps for illustrative or provocation purposes, actually represents that person's beliefs at the time." - Idries Shah

"If you give what can be taken, you are not really giving. Take what you are given, not what you want to be given. Give what cannot be taken." - Idries Shah

"Enlightenment must come little by little-otherwise it would overwhelm." - Idries Shah

Shah image source (1)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Herbert Alexander Simon (June 15, 1916 – February 9, 2001), polymath, psychologist, and professor. He was an artificial intelligence expert and is oft referred to as the founder of the field of artificial intelligence.

Herbert A. Simon received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics, the A.M. Turing Award, the National Medal of Science, plus many other awards for his work in cognitive psychology and computer science.

"Most of us really aren't horribly unique. There are 6 billion of us. Put 'em all in one room and very few would stand out as individuals. So maybe we ought to think of worth in terms of our ability to get along as a part of nature, rather than being the lords over nature." - Herbert A. Simon

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." - Herbert A. Simon

"There are no morals about technology at all. Technology expands our ways of thinking about things, expands our ways of doing things. If we're bad people we use technology for bad purposes and if we're good people we use it for good purposes." - Herbert A. Simon

"I don't care how big and fast computers are, they're not as big and fast as the world." - Herbert A. Simon

"Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." - Herbert A. Simon

"The proper study of mankind is the science of design." - Herbert A. Simon

"One finds limits by pushing them." - Herbert A. Simon

Simon image source (1)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of Yasunari Kawabata (June 14, 1899 - April 16, 1972), short story writer and novelist. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

"The Zen disciple sits for long hours silent and motionless, with his eyes closed. Presently he enters a state of impassivity, free from all ideas and all thoughts. He departs from the self and enters the realm of nothingness. This is not the nothingness or the emptiness of the West. It is rather the reverse, a universe of the spirit in which everything communicates freely with everything, transcending bounds, limitless..." - Yasunari Kawabata

"Seeing the moon, he becomes the moon, the moon seen by him becomes him. He sinks into nature, becomes one with nature. The light of the clear heart of the priest, seated in the meditation hall in the darkness before the dawn, becomes for the dawn moon its own light." - Yasunari Kawabata

"A masterpiece of a game can be ruined by insensitivity to the feelings of an adversary." - Yasunari Kawabata

"Because you cannot see him, God is everywhere." - Yasunari Kawabata

Kawabata image source (1)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Meandering about . . .

Today is the birthday of William Butler Yeats (June 13, 1865 – January 28, 1939), poet and dramatist. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature 1923 and is oft referred to as one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century.

William Butler Yeats founded the Irish Academy of Letters in 1932.

"I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe is enough to make a bad man show him at his best, or even a good man swings his lantern higher. " - William Butler Yeats

"Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking." - William Butler Yeats

"There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met." - William Butler Yeats

"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people." - William Butler Yeats

"The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write." - William Butler Yeats

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats

"How can we know the dancer from the dance?" - William Butler Yeats

Trivia bit: In 1886 William Butler Yeats formed the Dublin Lodge of the Hermetic Society and took the magical name Daemon est Deus Inversus.

Yeats image source (1)
Yeats stamp image source (1)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Meandering around . . .

Today is the birthday of Djuna Chapell Barnes (June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982), writer, illustrator, and playwright. She was a well-known avant-garde figure in the literary scenes of Paris and London before World War II.

"A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow as well as himself — and what is a man's shadow but his upright astonishment?" - Djuna Barnes

"We are adhering to life now with our last muscle — the heart." - Djuna Barnes

"What is a ruin but time easing itself of endurance?" - Djuna Barnes

"Destiny and history are untidy." - Djuna Barnes

Barnes images source (1)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of Jacques-Yves Cousteau (June 11, 1910 - June 25, 1997), oceanographer, inventor, photographer, filmmaker, explorer, and environmentalist.

"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

"However fragmented the world, however intense the national rivalries, it is an inexorable fact that we become more interdependent every day." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

"If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

"If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

Cousteau image source (1)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meandering to and fro . . .

Today is the birthday of Saul Bellow (June 10, 1915 – April 5, 2005), writer, oft referred to as one of the twentieth century's greatest authors.

Saul Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1975), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1967), and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times, and the only writer to have been nominated for it six times.

"All human accomplishment has the same origin, identically. Imagination is a force of nature. Is this not enough to make a person full of ecstasy? Imagination, imagination, imagination. It converts to actual. It sustains, it alters, it redeems!" - Saul Bellow

"Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love." - Saul Bellow

"We mustn't forget how quickly the visions of genius become the canned goods of intellectuals." - Saul Bellow

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." - Saul Bellow

"Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door." - Saul Bellow

"Human beings can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned." - Saul Bellow

Trivia bit: His original birth certificate was lost when Lachine's city hall burned down in the 1920s, but he customarily celebrated his birthdate on June 10.

Bellow image source (1)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Bertha Felicitas Sophie von Suttner (June 9, 1843 - June 21, 1914), novelist. She was the first woman to be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

"Bertha von Suttner was a leading figure in the growing peace movement at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe. Suttner used her literary talents to produce the 1889 political novel Die Waffen nieder, or Lay Down Your Arms; a call for disarmament, the book became a best-seller and was translated into a number of languages. The activist also promoted world peace by helping to organize the first Hague Peace Conference and encouraging her friend, Alfred Nobel, to create the internationally respected Nobel Peace Prize. Her many activities helped to remove the labels of 'utopians' and unrealistic 'idealists' from those involved in peace activism by gaining the support of respected world leaders and intellectuals for the movement." direct quote source (1)

"After the verb to Love, to Help is the most beautiful verb in the world." - Bertha von Suttner

"Seek not good from without: seek it within yourselves, or you will never find it." - Bertha von Suttner

Suttner stamp image source (1)
Suttner stamp image source (1)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meandering about . . .

Today is the birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959), architect, interior designer, writer and educator. He is considered the most influential American architect of the 20th century.

"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"Freedom is from within" - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind" - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"There is nothing more uncommon than common sense." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Trivia bit: In 1991, Frank Lloyd Wright was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as the greatest American architect of all time.

Wright image source (1)
Wright stamp source (

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meandering to and fro . . .

Today is the birthday of Ferit Orhan Pamuk (born on 7 June 1952), novelist. He is best known for his novels, Kara Kitap (The Black Book), Benim Adım Kırmızı (My Name is Red), and Kar (Snow).

Orhan Parmuk received the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the second youngest person to receive the award in its history. His work has sold over seven million books in more than fifty languages.

"The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write. I write because I can’t do normal work as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but—as in a dream—can’t quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy." - Orhan Pamuk

Pamuk image source (1)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Paul Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955), novelist.

In 1929, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel, Buddenbrooks.

Thomas Mann is another author of banned books. His works were publicly burned by the Nazis and he was forced to leave Germany for the United States, where he became a naturalised citizen in 1938.

“It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.” - Thomas Mann

"Has the world ever been changed by anything save the thought and its magic vehicle the Word? " - Thomas Mann

"If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it. " - Thomas Mann

"The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea." - Thomas Mann

"A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth. " - Thomas Mann

"War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace. " - Thomas Mann

Trivia bit: Thomas Mann's older brother was the writer Heinrich Mann, and three of his six children, Erika Mann, Klaus Mann and Golo Mann were all noted writers.

Mann image source (1)
Mann stamp image source (1)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Meandering about . . .

A Happy Birthday salute to Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, both reknown economists.

Adam Smith (OS:June 5, 1723 [baptised 16 June 1723] – July 17, - 1790), is best known for An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations or simply The Wealth of Nations (1776), which is considered his magnus opus.

"All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. " - Adam Smith

"What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can be flourishing and happy if the greater part of the members are poor and miserable. " - Adam Smith

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.” - Adam Smith

“The mind is so rarely disturbed, but that the company of friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.” - Adam Smith

“Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.” - Adam Smith

"All money is a matter of belief." - Adam Smith


John Maynard Keynes (June 5, 1883 – April 21, 1946), is best known for The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), which is considered his magnus opus. The ideas presented in this 1936 work formed the basis of what would be the Keynesian Theory.

John Maynard Keynes laid the foundation for the branch of economics referred to as Macroeconomics.

"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease ... But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight." - John Maynard Keynes

"The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again." - John Maynard Keynes

"The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems — the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behaviour and religion." - John Maynard Keynes

"The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance which envelope our future." - John Maynard Keynes

Smith image source (1)
Keynes image ource (1)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Meandering about . . .

Today is the birthday of Moishe (Millstein) Miller (June 4, 1917 – October 23, 2004), better known as Robert Merrill, one of the greatest operatic baritones of the 20th century.

Robert Merrill made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Germont on Dec. 15, 1945, and celebrated his 500th performance there on March 5, 1973. He remained on the Met roster until 1976.

Robert Merrill was probably one of the most recognizable names outside the world's opera houses because of his lifelong enthusiasm for baseball. Beginning in 1969, he followed a tradition that lasted three decades, singing the season-opener of The Star-Spangled Banner at Yankee Stadium. Robert Merrill was the first person ever to sing the National Anthem and throw out the first ball at Yankee Stadium for the Yanks home opener in 1986.

Robert Merrill was honoured with the National Medal of Arts in 1993.

His epitaph states: Like a bursting celestial star, he showered his family and the world with love, joy, and beauty. Encore please.

Trivia bit: Robert Merrill was a stutter.

Merrill image source (1)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of Irwin Allen Ginsberg ( June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997), poet, photographer and social activist.

Allen Ginsberg is best known for his poem Howl. The poem celebrates the Beat Generation and speaks of the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States. Soon after its 1956 publication it was banned for obscenity. The ban became a cause célèbre among First Amendment defenders, and was lifted when the judge declared Howl possessed redeeming social importance.

“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does.” - Allen Ginsberg

“Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.” - Allen Ginsberg

“Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.” - Allen Ginsberg

“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.” - Allen Ginsberg

Ginsberg image source (1)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meandering to and fro . . .

Today is the birthday of Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928), poet and novelist. He is best remembered for his novels, Far from the Maddening Crowd and The Return of the Native.

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Hardy

"A man's silence is wonderful to listen to." - Thomas Hardy

"Everybody is so talented nowadays that the only people I care to honor as deserving real distinction are those who remain in obscurity." - Thomas Hardy

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Thomas Hardy

"There is a condition worse than blindness, and that is, seeing something that isn't there." - Thomas Hardy

"Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons." - Thomas Hardy

“A lover without indiscretion is no lover at all.” - Thomas Hardy

Trivia bit: Thomas Hardy "died in January 1928, having dictated his final poem to his wife on his deathbed. His funeral was on 16 January at Westminster Abbey, and it proved a controversial occasion because Hardy and his family and friends had wished for his body to be interred at Stinsford in the same grave as his first wife, Emma. However, his executor, Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, insisted that he be placed in the abbey's famous Poets' Corner. A compromise was reached whereby his heart was buried at Stinsford with Emma, and his ashes in Poets' Corner." direct quote source (1)

Hardy image source (1)
Hardy stamp image source (1)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Meandering . . .

Today is the birthday of John Edward Masefield (June 1, 1878 May 12, 1967), poet, writer and beekeeper. He is best remembered  for his oft quoted poem, Sea-Fever and his classic children's novels, The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights. 

John Masefield was Poet Laureate (UK) from 1930 until his death in 1967.

"I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." -John Masefield

"Poetry is a mixture of common sense, which not all have, with an uncommon sense, which very few have." - John Masefield

"Once in a century a man may be ruined or made insufferable by praise. But surely once in a minute something generous dies for want of it." - John Masefield

"In this life he laughs longest who laughs last." - John Masefield

Masefield image source (1)