An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

3 July 2005

Just two things our loved ones ask of us: simply to listen and to express our appreciation.

-Josh Mitteldorf

2 July 2005

"None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.  We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots."

 Thurgood Marshall was born this day in 1908 into an impoverished family, attended schools for African-Americans, Black colleges and an Black law schools because that was all that was open to him.  With reason and patience, he worked for change in the system that had held him back, and argued before the US Supreme Court in the most influential cases of the 20th Century, striking down segregation in public schools.  A decade later, Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Johnson, and continued to argue for fairness and economic justice until his death in 1993.

 

1 July 2005

    "...It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. 

"You can't pray a lie I found that out."

- Huckleberry Finn

30 June 2005

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

-Don Patterson

29 June 2005

One of the most important and least understood abilities of the human brain is capacity to deal with ambiguity. We make guesses from context. We correct our own mistakes, and allow for errors in the information that comes in to us.  

The brain processes "tentative interpretations" in real-time as we attempt to integrate various sources of visual and linguistic information. 

It iss extly tis fakolti tat nablz us to cmmmprhnd a mangled sntece kile thus wn.

Computers, for all their speed and accuracy, have yet to step up to the challenge of making sense from a world that sort of follows the rules.

Science Daily article
Cornell University press release
Laboratory of Michael Spivey

28 June 2005

"Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels."

"You too must not count too much on your reality as you feel it today, since like yesterday, it may prove an illusion for you tomorrow."

"Life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true"

- Luigi Pirandello, Italian playwright, born this day in 1867, who learned about patience and human nature while nurturing a schizophrenic spouse through 25 years of her illness.

 

27 June 2005

"The happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning."

- Samuel Johnson