Tom Swift - Untethered Dog

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A Commonplace By Tom Swift
Updated: 1 week 6 days ago


Mon, 07/10/2017 - 12:44pm

The shortstop has worked so hard for so long that he no longer thinks. Nor does he act. By this I mean that he does not generate action. He only reacts, the way a mirror reacts when you wave your hand before it.

-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (2011)

Categories: Citizens


Mon, 07/10/2017 - 4:14am

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

-Romans 7:15

Categories: Citizens

July 2017

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 2:14pm

9 Sunday
– Being in a new space, an old place, with people you’ve never met who shake your hands like they are familiar friends, and a new friend know is happy to see you by the light that goes off in her eyes the moment those eyes land on you, by surprise, and then she greets you right there, in front of everyone, the whole congregation, even though she’s leading the proceedings and has more important things to do.
– Prescient remarks.
– Country roads on summer days.
– Deciding at the last minute.
– A moment of unexpected peace that sneaks up on you.

7 Friday
– Living proof that you are stronger than ever.
– Good friends that come back.
– Being the fastest. And so winning a small prize.
– The healing power of art.

6 Thursday
Working at a place where they ask you to take time to do a Gratitude Journal (of sorts).

5 Wednesday
The strength, not just the calmness but also the strength, that comes from a deep breath.

4 Tuesday
– Wine with a wine chaser.
– Being up in the middle of the night. Outside. At the desk. In the kitchen. Wherever! It’s summer.
– America. Even during trying times.

3 Monday
– Working knowing you won’t be tomorrow.
– Partner workouts … while carrying more than your share of the load … yet being pushed all the same.

2 Sunday
– Running into a friend at the coffeeshop.
– Slowly sipping coffee.
– Cooled-off coffee. Yes, really.
– The calming effect of books.

1 Saturday
– Canada.
– Coffee.
– Saucy Saturday workouts.
– Running errands with the little buddy in tow.
– Summer days.
– Summer nights.

Categories: Citizens


Sun, 07/09/2017 - 8:14am

Unless we fully give ourselves over to our endeavors, we are hallow, superficial people and we never develop our natural gifts. We’ve all known people who, like monkeys, mimic whatever seems novel and flashy at the moment. But then their enthusiasm and efforts wane; they drop their projects as soon as they become too familiar or demanding. A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes.

-Epictetus, Manual for Living (1994, Sharon Lebell translation)

Categories: Citizens


Sat, 07/08/2017 - 10:44pm

Bunk Moreland: “So, you’re my eyeball witness, huh?”

Omar nods.

Bunk: “So, why’d you step up on this?”

Omar: “Bird triflin’, basically. Kill an everyday workin’ man and all. I mean, I do some dirt, too, but I ain’t never put my gun on nobody that wasn’t in the game.”

Bunk: “A man must have a code.”

Omar: “Oh, no doubt.”

The Wire (Season 1, 2002)

Categories: Citizens


Fri, 07/07/2017 - 9:14pm

Sleep softly my old love
my beauty in the dark
night is a dream we have
as you know as you know

night is a dream you know
an old love in the dark
around you as you go
without end as you know

in the night where you go
sleep softly my old love
without end in the dark
in the love that you know

-W.S. Merwin, “Good Night,” In the Shadow of Sirius (2009)

Categories: Citizens


Fri, 07/07/2017 - 6:44am

Walon: “Look, forgiveness from other folks is good, but ain’t nothin’ but words comin’ at you from outside. You want to kick this shit, you got to forgive your own self. Love yourself some, brother. And then drag your sorry ass to some meetings.”

Bubbles: “Meetings?”

Walon: “What the fuck do you wanna hear? That you’re strong enough to do this by yourself? Gettin’ clean’s the easy part. And then comes life.”

The Wire (Season 1, 2002)

Categories: Citizens


Thu, 07/06/2017 - 4:14am

The trouble with pleasure is the timing
it can overtake me without warning
and be gone before I know it is here
it can stand facing me unrecognized
while I am remembering somewhere else
in another age or someone not seen
for years and never to be seen again
in this world and it seems that I cherish
only now a joy I was not aware of
when it was here although it remains
out of reach and will not be caught or named
or called back and if I could make it stay
as I want it to it would turn into pain

-W.S. Merwin, “One of the Butterflies,” The Shadow of Sirius (2009)

Categories: Citizens


Wed, 07/05/2017 - 4:44am

By pretending to be impervious, you became so.

-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (2011)

Categories: Citizens


Tue, 07/04/2017 - 10:22pm

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.


Categories: Citizens


Tue, 07/04/2017 - 2:44pm

Man On Stoop: “I’m sayin’, every Friday night in an alley behind the Cut Rate, we rollin’ bones, you know? I mean all them boys, we roll til late.

McNulty: “Alley crap game, right?”

Man On Stoop: “Like every time, Snot, he’d fade a few shooters, play it out til the pot’s deep. Snatch and run.”

McNulty: “What, every time?”

Man On Stoop: “Couldn’t help hisself.”

McNulty: “Let me understand. Every Friday night, you and your boys are shooting craps, right? And every Friday night, your pal Snot Boogie … he’d wait til there’s cash on the ground and he’d grab it and run away? You let him do that?”

Man On Stoop: “We’d catch him and beat his ass but ain’t nobody ever go past that.”

McNulty: “I gotta ask ya: If every time Snotboogie would grab the money and run away, why’d you even let him in the game?”

Man On Stoop: “What?”

McNulty: “If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?”

Man On Stoop: “Got to. This America, man.”

The Wire (Season 1, 2002)

Categories: Citizens


Tue, 07/04/2017 - 1:44am

He already knew he could coach. All you had to do was look at each of your players and ask yourself: what story does this guy wish someone would tell him about himself? And then you told the guy that story. You told it with a hint of doom. You included his flaws. You emphasized the obstacles that could prevent him from succeeding. That was what made the story epic: the player, the hero, had to suffer mightily en route to his final triumph. Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering. Most people couldn’t do this alone; they needed a coach. A good coach made you suffer in a way that suited you.

-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (2011)

Categories: Citizens


Mon, 07/03/2017 - 6:14pm

No I’m no angel,
No I’m no stranger to the street
I’ve got my label,
So I won’t crumble at your feet
And I know baby,
So I’ve got scars upon my cheek
And I’m half crazy,
Come on and love me baby

So you find me hard to handle,
well I’m easier to hold
So you like my spurs that jingle
and I never leave you cold

-Gregg Allman, “I’m No Angel,” I’m No Angel (1987)

Categories: Citizens


Mon, 07/03/2017 - 8:44am

To fill the hour — that is happiness.




Categories: Citizens


Mon, 07/03/2017 - 4:14am

-To the Best of Our Knowledge, “Our Mysterious Universe: Is Quantum Entanglement for Real?,” NPR, 10-2-2016

Categories: Citizens


Sun, 07/02/2017 - 10:44pm

If one of his teammates was dogging it, he busted that teammate’s balls, and if one of his classmates or professors made a comment that seemed specious or incomplete, he said so. Not because he knew more than they did but because the clash of of imperfect ideas was the only way for anyone, including himself, to learn and improve.

-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (2011)

Categories: Citizens


Sun, 07/02/2017 - 2:14pm

My wife and I have been coming to this place, this island [in Maine], for about 25 years and we have been watching, for many years we watched this family of ospreys and we followed their life cycles and in April the parents would fly into the nest having been gone for the winter. They would, the mother osprey would lay eggs and at the beginning of June the eggs would hatch. The father would feed the fledgling family over the summer as the baby ospreys got bigger and bigger and then around the middle of August the babies would be big enough, they would take their first flight and ospreys are big birds, very large birds. I think they’re the second largest bird after eagles, and they’re very powerful and my wife and I had been watching these ospreys for years and watching new families each year, presumably it was the same parents each year, but different babies each year, and we had sort of catalogued their behavior or taken pictures, written down some of their behaviors and we thought we understood them somewhat, and then one summer about 10 years ago I had been looking at the nest all summer long as the babies were getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I was looking at them from a circular deck in this house, and I was about eye level with the nest and so the baby ospreys had been looking at me every day as I’d been looking at them and I’m sure to them it looked like I was in a nest also because also on a circular deck and we’d been looking at each other all summer long, as they’d been getting bigger and bigger and finally they were big enough to take their first flight, their maiden voyage to leave the nest for the first time flying and they were pretty big at this time. I mean and even though adolescent, they were powerful with very strong claws, and there were two of them and I was standing on the deck and they flew away from the nest and did a huge circle of the island so they were out of sight for a little while because the island is about half a mile long, and then they flew back and they flew right at me, and they got closer and closer and after a few seconds I could tell that they were flying right at me intentionally and I got very scared because I knew they could rip my face apart easily and I was thinking about running back into the house but I decided, something made me stay where I was and when they got within about 20 feet from me, which is very, very close, and they were flying at extremely high speed — when they got within 20 or 30 feet of me, very, very close, they would’ve been on me in a fraction of a second. They suddenly did this sudden acceleration, vertical acceleration and went up and over the roof of the house and for that last split second, it might’ve been like a quarter of a second, a fraction of a second, they looked me right in the eye. It was a very deep eye contact and I had no doubt they were looking at me right in the eye before they accelerated upward and in that brief quarter of a second there was so much that was communicated between us. I felt like they were telling me that we were brothers, that we shared this piece of land together, that we were part of nature together and that there was some kind of mutual respect and after they had gone and were over the house I found that I was in tears and I was shaking and I’d never had an experience like that before with any animal, even dogs and cats, and never had it since. It was just a profound communication with a wild animal, but a mutual understanding. And it was something that I really can’t describe. I mean I’ve attempted to describe it right now, but I can’t really describe that sensation and I think that that … I mean I interpret that as a connection to the spiritual world. You know if we think of the spiritual world as a larger world that we’re all a part of— when I say “all of us” I mean human beings, ospreys, other animals, trees, ocean — there was that kind of immediate connection, something that is totally unanalyzable by science. I mean you could hook up a CAT scanner to my brain and you could monitor the electrical activity in my brain and you wouldn’t come close to understanding what happened in that quarter of a second.

-Alan Lightman, physicist and writer, “Ingenious: Alan Lightman,” interview with Michael Segal, Nautilus (Iss. 016), Aug. 28, 2014

Categories: Citizens


Sun, 07/02/2017 - 8:14am

Keep this star for when you lose the world,
when grief and desire become a blurred door
that floats away across a plain room
without books or kisses.
Look to what grows dark beyond the walls,
that in night which holds the blue sky
singing in its black embrace.
It’s all spun around a necessary star,
star of prisons. Keep it:
It has the power to burst from dull thoughts,
breathe in airless colors,
and roll back the filth of your neglect.
let it pour through the chimney hole
patched with tin! Unloved objects —
empty jars, faces in clippings,
ball of hair spurned by the brush —
all the children of failure
will step forward in its blinding wind,
sons and daughters of that before which
there is no trivial being.

-Thomas R. Smith, “Keeping the Star,” Keeping the Star (1988)

Categories: Citizens


Sat, 07/01/2017 - 10:22pm

When I asked Norwegians why they are so darned happy, their answers began with “we” rather than “I.” While many people base happiness on how they are doing compared with others, Norwegians seem to want everyone to do well.

-Eric Dregni, “The Height of Happy,” StarTribune, 6-11-2017

Categories: Citizens


Sat, 07/01/2017 - 4:00pm

Later, when I spoke with [friend] Jarle [Nesvaag], I understood better why natural beauty is so important to the Norwegian national character. Earle explained the importance of jordnær, or nearness to the Earth, which includes embracing your past. “My parents were hard workers, fishermen and farmers. Happiness is about accepting who you are: your family history and what your past is. Don’t deny where you are from and what your parents have done to get you to where you are,” he said.

-Eric Dregni, “The Height of Happy,” StarTribune, 6-11-2017

Categories: Citizens