Showing posts from March, 2011

Objectivist Round Up #194

Welcome to the 194th Objectivist Round Up! Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life. Ayn Rand,  Introducing Objectivism , 1962 If you're new to Objectivism, please see The Ayn Rand Institute or the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights  for more information. I'd recommend that you read her fiction  and non-fiction and judge what she has to say for yourself. Please enjoy this week's collection of posts written and submitted by bloggers animated by Objectivism. Jared Rhoads presents Twead #9: Rollback posted at The Lucidicus Project , saying, "Our latest twead is the new book, "Rollback," by Thomas Woods.  Note: Woods, the author of the book covered here, is not an Objectivist." Diana Hsieh presents

Weirdy or Synesthete?

Since the time she learned her alphabet, my youngest daughter has insisted that she sees the letters of the alphabet, as well as numbers and words, as colors.  That’s nice, dear , was my typical response the first thirty times. Her insistence about the sensation was matched only by her consistency about which colors represented which letters. Still, I figured it was some kind of early memory that mapped these letters and numbers to these colors.  Then I heard about synesthesia . I’m not sure where or when I first heard of it, but I was attracted to the name because it seemed the root was the pretty esthete and syn always brings things together nicely. Turns out, the root is aisthesis , which means perception, and synesthesia is a neurological condition in which signals cross-over different parts of brain to make essentially joined perception s of the sensory data. It’s fascinating! While studies so far do not rule out the impact of strong early memory mapping, it is thought that eve

The Winds of Fate

Thanks to a commenter , I found this awesome series of commercials in which inspiring poems (or parts thereof) are read by famous people for the Union Bank of Switzerland under the unifying title: Thoughts that Transcend Time .  And these certainly do. Hello. Maggie Smith anyone? by Ella Wheeler Wilcox One ship drives east, and another west With the self-same winds that blow; 'Tis the set of the sails And not the gales That decides the way to go. Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate, As they voyage along through life; 'Tis the will of the soul That decides its goal, And not the calm or the strife. Does it get any more elegant than that?

Calling Me Names

Husband: I need to call you something else at the gym. Wife: Why? Husband: I can't keep saying, "Nice job, Hun ." Wife: Okay. You may call me Supreme Ruler of the Universe . Husband: I was thinking, Lynne . Daughter (interjecting and speaking for me): "And Mrs. Darcy , but only when you're completely in love with me."


William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

First and Lasting

Last month, my daughter and I watched this classic movie; it was her first and my last impression of Elizabeth Taylor. This afternoon, we'll watch this - my first and lasting memory of Elizabeth Taylor.

5 Movies in 5 Minutes (IV)

Even though I’ve seen plenty of movies over the last year and a half, there hasn’t been a time when we had a big movie feeding frenzy about which my limited memory could report.   In the last week or so, I’ve seen all five of these movies and am therefore pleased to finally present another installment of 5 movies in 5 minutes. Red , 2010 Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich Did you see that cast? I had to like this movie! But I really did. I thought Mary-Louise Parker was completely charming as the kidnapped government worker looking for love, Bruce Willis still makes a convincing action hero, and I really can’t say more about Helen Mirren than what I’ve already said (which amounts to this: I love her). The movie is about a retired black-ops agent who is suddenly marked for assassination by an equally skilled working CIA agent.   In his desire to root out the enemy, the Retired Extremely Dangerous Willis character begins to colle

In Which I am Spicy - Again!

This time it's not about the hot blogging trends , but about actual spices. On the recommendation of a friend, and armed with Stephen's relatively new interest in eating Paleo combined with his old interest in cooking, we headed out to Penzeys Spices on Saturday. What is Penzeys Spices?   Near us , it's an entire store devoted to spices! You're actually encouraged to go and sniff the spices. Our haul from Saturday. Fair Warning: if you value your olfactory cilia, please remember that the chili powder mixes are, in fact, powder, and therefore should be allowed to settle a few seconds after opening the lid prior to you sticking your nose in there for a good stiff sniff. Take it from one who knows, but needed to be reminded as she winced in pain, and walked around the tiny store with watery eyes unable to smell anything else for a few minutes (that was me). My momentary stupidity aside, I loved that little spice store. In addition to almost all herbs and spices

Spring Morning in the Heart of the City

Image as cropped in my datebook. As a child, I was little impressed with Manhattan more than as a really crowded place with a big, famous statue in the harbor. It wasn't until relatively recently that I have come to appreciate the history, the culture, the human achievement strewn wildly about the small island. One of my favorite places there is the Metropolitan Museum of Art . In addition to the vast collection of magnificent art, it offers an almost decadent amount of perfectly staged indoor space in which to imbibe in the art. While we didn't make it there on our most recent flash tour of NYC, I have a date book that weekly reminds me of both New York, and the MMA: New York New York The Metropolitan Museum of Art: An Art Book and Engagement Book 2011. Today, I'd like to share the image that accompanied last week's dates. I hope you enjoy this spring morning brought to you by Frederick Childe Hassam as much as I have. Spring Morning in the Heart of the Ci

Cowboy Poetry

for Harry Reid Grabbing reins he forcibly turns its head, Into the gloaming, vainly chasing the light. "This is the way, the right path," he said, But saw none follow him into the night. They had ridden too many miles that day, The quiet plains now gave refuge to rest. Not satisfied by his ability to sway, He challenged the riders to do better than their best. But their best was exactly what each had given, Knowing the trail and how hard he should ride: Pace and prepare. Whole herds must be driven. They knew their work -- it was theirs to decide. Under stars they ate, above all they were true. But deaf to reason, he'd shown his gun and said, "I am the law. I know better than you." " For the good of all! Do it now, or you're dead." And that is why, sometimes, in the moon's low light, Winds blowing hard from the east -- it's then -- A herd of horses crossing the plains at night, Can be seen wearing saddles -- but no


Lynne: I feel as though I haven't talked to you in such a long time. Big White Blog Square: Lynne: I know. It's not that I've been avoiding you . . . it's just that there are so many other regular quadrilaterals that have been beckoning to me! But don't feel badly. Some of them really remind me of you, and remember - you'll always be the first. Big White Blog Square: Lynne: Sure, these newbies entice me with their promise of interaction and with news and pictures of friends, but their entry spaces are limited, and the constant information orgy makes me feel strange! I often crave the sweet serenity of your square spareness. Big White Blog Square: Lynne: Yes, exactly. Like I might want to return to a more serious and productive relationship with you. Big White Blog Square: Lynne: But there's a problem, you see. While frenetically jumping between those modes which would give me a voice in cyberspace and working my day job, I found an even older

Stop Plate Tectonics!

It would appear that my little bit of reductio ad absurdum has sadly proven a bit prescient . The better we understand the laws of nature, the better we can live. The more we use the laws of men to validate the package-deal of man's living with the destruction of his environment, the more we throttle the motor of our world.   You can  make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami through the American Red Cross by texting R EDCROSS to 90999. Or to the Japan Society online . If you have favorite, vetted relief agency, please let me know. 

A Round Up of Round-Ups

This week's Objectivist Round Up can be found at The Little Things .   I also managed to rustle up links to the last five round-ups and have posted them below.   Apparently I overslept in the bunkhouse for the past several weeks.    Must have been the decaf.   Mar 03, 2011 Reepicheep's Coracle Feb 24, 2011 The Secular Foxhole Feb 17, 2011 The Playful Spirit Feb 10, 2011 Erosophia Feb 03, 2011 Rant from the Rock Read. Think. Enjoy.

3 Good Things (Word Challenge edition)

sibilance :   a speech sound characterized by hissing, such as (s), (z), (sh), or (zh). citified : having, or pretending to have the sophisticated style of urban life. supernumeraries : in excess of the regular, necessary, or usual number. Every once in a while you come across a word that is too delicious to relegate to the dark recesses of casual acquaintance.   Every now and then you must force yourself to use a word in conversation or writing with the hope of integrating its fabulousness into your everyday vocabulary. If you read or write poetry, using sibilance should pose no problem for you. The challenge for citified is to speak it without using a Southern accent and without using it to refer to folks, whereas supernumeraries should be used to refer to people. If you’re up for the challenge, let me know how it turns out.

Tremblay Rest

Between second and third of six Tabata rounds of push-ups. I could still write then. I am not the only one who loses count as she loses the ability to take in enough oxygen! In the middle of Gymnastabata (or gym-nasty-bata as I call it) at CrossFit the other night, we each wanted to make sure that we recorded our repetitions correctly, and so kept our notebooks nearby. But what is wrong with this picture? Clearly, one of these folks is not taking advantage of the Tabata-rest (Stephen). So what is Tabata? Tabata is the high intensity interval training ( HIIT ) named after Dr. Izumi Tabata  based on his research reporting that brief high-intensity work cycles were better than traditional cardiovascular methods at improving metabolic efficiency (e.g. increasing muscular endurance, improving fat burning, increasing resting metabolic rate, and improving insulin action in the body) using 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. The eponymous Tabata notwithstanding, there have

The Tennis Ball Oath

No, I’m not confusing the Henry V reference of “ Tennis balls, my liege ” with the French Revolution’s Tennis Court Oath , but I did think of both when I saw this drawing. Photo of drawing found on Prints Old and Rare It’s called The Dog Congress (W. H. Beard, 1880), but its lighting and detail of individual faces so reminded me of The Tennis Court Oath (Jacques Louis David, 1789, below) and its subjects might so enjoy a good game of fetch, that I could not help but immediately think of it as the Tennis Ball Oath . Explore this sketch in greater detail here .

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Not simply a hippie song (blogging trend? I hope not) but a problem along Boston’s highways according to today’s Boston Globe. The Federal Highway Administration found the problem signs during its first inspection of Massachusetts’ outdoor advertising program in more than a decade, and reported its findings last week. As part of beautification efforts that date to the 1960s, federal and state rules limit billboards and other signs along roads funded at least in part with US tax dollars . For instance, signs can’t be too close together, in order to reduce visual clutter and avoid distracting drivers. [emphasis mine] Boston Globe photo. The crime here is not attempting to sell unsuspecting motorists crappy beer, but that the owner may not have the proper permit for the sign. Boston Globe photo. This one? Too big sayeth the Feds. Boston Globe photo. Pictured is another billboard on the Herald building. Federal authorities recommended the state tell Purcell his pre