Flourishing in Crisis

Now is the moment to start.
Imagine a pathway through the thick underbrush
of world events and manipulations

Where we, the loving inhabitants
the good, the decent, those with conscience
vision, hope and longing

Can come together
in a dialogue of honest evaluation
fearless in facing what is happening.

Once we understand what is taking place on earth,
and lose the last of our illusions
real adult dream-building can begin.

Let us hold hands to have the strength
to get past our denial, fears, anger, blame,

to imagine that we can Flourish
in a world that is seemingly
falling apart.

Now in a world full of less,
perhaps we can experience more of the best in us,
the fulfillment of what we were each created for.

Here your DREAMS are welcomed,
Your IDEAS are allowed to develop.
OUR friendship and harmony will sustain us.

I am with you in this process.
Judith Pordon blogging as JGrace

1 January 2009

A new biology for a new century

By the end of the 20th century, the molecular vision of biology had in essence been realized; what it could see of the master plan of the living world had been seen, leaving only the details to be filled in...

Look back a hundred years. Didn’t a similar sense of a science coming to completion pervade physics at the 19th century’s end — the big problems were all solved; from here on out it was just a matter of working out the details? Déjà vu! Biology today is no more fully understood in principle than physics was a century or so ago. In both cases the guiding vision has (or had) reached its end, and in both, a new, deeper, more invigorating representation of reality is (or was) called for.

Carl Woese

2 January 2009

Material reflections of the soul

Douglas Hofstadter recounts an incident when he consoled his mother after his father’s death.  She is gazing at an old photo of her husband in his prime, and bemoans “What meaning does that photograph have?  None at all.  It’s just a flat piece of paper with dark spots on it here and there.  It’s useless”  Hofstadter replies:

In the living room we have a book of Chopin études.  All of its pages are just flat and foldable as the photograph of Dad — and yet, think of the the powerful effect that they have had on people all over the world...

[Pianists who play from these pages afford] all of us some partial access to Chopin’s interiority — to the experience of living in the head, or rather in the soul, of Frédéric Chopin.  The marks on those sheets of paper are...scattered remnants of the shattered soul of Chopin.

— from I am a Strange Loop, by Douglas Hofstadter

‘I get a huge kick out of laughing at the hilariously unpredictable inflexibility of the computer models of mental processes that my doctoral students and I co-design. It helps remind me of the immense subtlety and elusiveness of the human mind.’

3 January 2009

Discipline? Who needs discipline?

I live my life with a great deal of discipline.  There are rules for food and exercise and disciplines for writing and meditating and sex, guidelines for interacting with others, daily and weekly and a few yearly rituals, all formulated by and for myself and self-imposed.  I have no tolerance for restrictions imposed on me by others.

I wrote in November about a free school where students are given absolutely free rein over their time, with no tests or standards or curriculum, and where almost all students figure out what they want to learn and learn it in their own way, at their own pace.  But it is only today that I have considered the corollary: perhaps I don’t need rules or disciplines.  Perhaps I would be as healthy and as happy (or more), I would accomplish as much (or more), I would be as responsible a citizen and as good a friend (or better) if I let go of discipline altogether, substituting self-awareness. 

Most intriguing and most occluded for me is a faint glimpse into the obvious: that my disciplines are maintained by a part of me that seeks unconsciously to set myself apart from others, to sustain a myth that I am better than the people around me. 

The lesson of free schools is the power of community.  It is certainly not true that any child left to his own whims will thrive and blossom and fulfill himself.  When free schools are effective it is because individuals are inspired and swept up by a supportive community of people who are joyfully engaged, collectively and individually, in projects that are fulfilling and challenging.  This is the environment I will seek for myself.

— Josh Mitteldorf

4 January 2009

Terra Preta a low-tech solution to world hunger and global warming

Bruce Sundquist calculates that mixing charcoal into tropical soils will so enhance their fertility that (1) the soils will support crops sufficient to end hunger in indigenous populations, and (2) enough carbon will be pulled from the atmosphere to the ground to end global warming.

The fundamental problem with most tropical soils is their low organic matter contents relative to relatively fertile temperate soils. As a result, nutrients in tropical soils tend to be leached out or mineralized, resulting in low fertilities and long fallow periods in tropical croplands and grazing lands. The solution to this problem was discovered by Amazonians thousands of years ago, and spread to 1-10% of Amazonia. However the technology was never transferred to European immigrants to the new world. The issue attracted international attention around 2001, resulting in soil scientists from around the world now working to discover how to replicate the large expanses of the still-fertile ancient soils (‘Terra Preta’) that Brazilians extract and sell. Success seems certain given the scientific capabilities of modern-day soil scientists relative to those of ancient Amazonians. Success would almost certainly reduce, or eliminate, the hunger being experienced by about 0.8 billion of the world’s population, most of whom are part of the 75% of the world’s population that live in tropical countries. Success could also create an additional carbon sink large enough to hold all current and future anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to around 2100. Photosynthesis would draw these atmospheric greenhouse gasses into the terra preta. This could produce a net zero release of anthropogenic greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and restore global surface temperatures to those prior to the industrial revolution in a matter of decades. Deforestation and illegal logging provide the primary threats to the success of large-scale creation of new terra preta. The terra preta strategy for addressing global warming would also reduce, or eliminate, the need for shifting cultivators to abandon their cropland every three or so years and clear a new patch of tropical forest.

— from the abstract of Sundquist’s proposal

Efforts to recreate these soils are being undertaken by companies such  as Biochar Energy Corporation, Best Energies. Research efforts are underway at Cornell University, the University of Georgia, Iowa State University and Geoecology Energy Organisation. Biochar is the main (and likely key) ingredient in the formation of terra preta. One focus of these researchers is the prospect that if biochar becomes widely used for soil improvement, it will involve globally significant amounts of carbon sequestration, remediating global warming.

— from a Wikipedia article on Terra preta

5 January 2009

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.

Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.

Poetry is the sliver of the moon lost in the belly of a golden frog.

Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.

Carl Sandburg, born this day in 1878

“I’ve written some poetry I don’t understand myself.”

6 January 2009

Learning from people who think different

Autistic savant Daniel Tammet shot to fame when he set a European record for the number of digits of pi he recited from memory (22,514). For afters, he learned Icelandic in a week. But unlike many savants, he’s able to tell us how he does it. We could all unleash extraordinary mental abilities by getting inside the savant mind, he tells Celeste Biever

CB: Do you think savants have been misunderstood - and perhaps d dehumanised - in the past?

BP: Very often the analogy has been that a savant is like a computer, but what I do is about as far from what a computer does as you can imagine. This distinction hasn’t been made before, because savants haven’t been able to articulate how their minds work. I am lucky that the autism I have is mild, and that I was born into a large family and had to learn social skills, so I am able to speak up.

read the rest of this New Scientist article

7 January 2009

Visualize whirled peas

As any of us move beyond the fear-based thought forms of separation and guilt to the truth of our eternal oneness, it becomes easier for everyone else to do so as well. Let’s give up the way-too-easy, so-American way of chiding either Israelis or Palestinians for their difficulty in forgiving the past. What both peoples have endured is almost unimaginable, and only the truly sainted among us should even for a minute consider judging either side.

With your eyes closed, see on one side of your inner vision the Israeli people. See their physicality, their mannerisms, as you recognize them on the material plane. Now see a light within their hearts, and slowly watch that light expand, extending beyond the confines of their bodies. See the bodies begin to fade before the greater light of their eternal selves.

Now with your inner eye look to the other side of your inner vision, and see there the Palestinian people. See their physicality, their mannerisms, as you recognize them on the material plane. Now see a light within their hearts, and slowly watch that light expand, extending beyond the confines of their bodies. See the bodies begin to fade before the greater light of their eternal selves.

Now using your inner eye - your greatest source of power - bear witness to what happens as the inner light of the Israelis begins to merge with the inner light of the Palestinians. Bear witness to the merging of their spiritual selves. Simply watch and focus, for what you focus on grows stronger. 

Marianne Williamson

This is recommended as a supplement, not a substitute for traditional political activism. — JJM

8 January 2009

Friday To-Do list

  1. Approach every person I encounter today with an open heart.
  2. Bring peace to the Middle East.
  3. Learn to ride a unicycle.
  4. Liberate all sentient beings.
  5. See through all the ways in which I perceive myself as important or exceptional.
  6. Discover the truth and share it with my friends.
  7. Accept ignorance of my destiny, in particular the experience of death and thereafter.

9 January 2009

God’s Acrostic

What if the universe is God’s acrostic?
He’s sneaking bits of proverbs into seismic variations;
Abbreviating psalms in flecks of snow.
Try to read them, says a comet,

If you dare.
Fine print. What you’ve been waiting for.

Twisted in the DNA of marmosets:
Hermetic feedback to your tight-lipped prayer.
Examine indentations left by hailstones in the grass;

Unearth their parallel soliloquies;
Note, too, the shifting patterns in the shibboleths
Initiating each communication.
Verify them. Don’t take my word.
Eavesdrop on the planets in the outer spheres; they may
Reverse the letters’ previous direction.
Silence, as you might imagine, has no bearing here.
Episodes of stillness—however brief—must be

Interpreted as unheard

Gaps that, with any luck, you’ll fill in later—
Or so you tell yourself, acknowledging
Delusion’s primal status in this enterprise.
Still, that’s no reason to slow down.

Abandonments are howling out around you:
Cast-off lamentations from the thwarted drops of rain
Reduced to vapor on their struggle down;
Observe, at the very least, their passing.
Sanctify them. Don’t succumb
To anything less potent than a spelled-out
Invitation to rule a not yet formulated nebula.
Calm yourself. You’ll hear it come.

Jaqueline Osherow

10 January 2009

Sometimes I think too much

 ‘The opposite of a correct statement is an  incorrect statement.  But the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth.’
Niels Bohr

This is clearly a profound truth.  Therefore, its opposite is another profound truth.  So it must be profoundly true that the opposite of a correct statement is another correct statement, while the opposite of a profound truth is profoundly false....

unless, of course, this is a correct statement.

— Josh Mitteldorf 

11 January 2009

Paradox, by Michael Bergt

O wad some Power the giftie gie us...

If one man says to thee, ‘Thou art a donkey,’ pay no heed. If two speak thus, purchase a saddle.
the Talmud

Nos ennemis approchent plus de la vérité dans les jugements qu’ils font de nous que nous n’en approchons nous-mêmes.

“Our enemies’ opinion of us comes closer to the truth than our own.”
François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

(I don’t believe this is literally true, but it is an appropriate reminder of how much we have to gain when we take harsh criticism to heart with an even temper. 
— JJM)

Il faict besoin d’oreilles bien fortes, pour s’ouyr franchement juger.  Et par ce qu’il en est peu, qui le puissent souffrir sans morsure: ceux qui se hazardent de l’entreprendre envers nous; nous monstrent unsingulier effect d’amitié.  Car c’est aimer sainement, d’entreprendre à blesser et offencer, pour profiter.

“It takes strong ears indeed to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship. For it is a healthy love that will  risk wounding or offending in order to profer a benefit.”
Michel de Montaigne (1595) 

12 January 2009

No words

If I had a word
which when spoken
pierced the call of hearts broken
tears of joy and love of child
awe of nature fierce and wild
I would hold you close so close inside
and as I faintly breathe its sound
we become the universe expanding

— Author?

(I’m looking for the source of this quote.  It’s extracted from a poem called No Words which appeared on my computer four years back.)

13 January 2009

Missive from the RNA world

One of the most enduring questions is how life could have begun on Earth. Molecules that can make copies of themselves are thought to be crucial to understanding this process as they provide the basis for heritability, a critical characteristic of living systems. Now, a pair of Scripps Research Institute scientists has taken a significant step toward answering that question. Tracy Lincoln and Gerald Joyce have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely.

The work was published on Thursday, January 8, 2009, in Science Express, the advanced, online edition of the journal Science.

In the modern world, DNA carries the genetic sequence for advanced organisms, while DNA is dependent on RNA for performing its roles such as building proteins. But one prominent theory about the origins of life, called the RNA World model, postulates that because RNA can function as both a gene and an enzyme, RNA might have come before DNA and protein and acted as the ancestral molecule of life, before proteins (enzymes) were invented. However, the process of copying a genetic molecule, which is considered a basic qualification for life, appears to be exceedingly complex, involving many proteins and other cellular components.

In a bath of nucleic acids, the particular RNA discovered by Lincoln and Joyce replicates in about an hour.  They discovered it via a process that emulates evolution itself: preparing the nucleic acid bath, seeding it with a lot of RNA fragments, and waiting to see what self-assembly occurs.

14 January 2009

Dona nobis pacem

I’m sure that someday children in schools will study the history of the men who made war as you study an absurdity. They’ll be shocked, just as today we’re shocked with cannibalism.
— Golda Meier

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
— Baruch Spinoza

We must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. ‘’ 
— Martin Luther King, born this day in 1929

15 January 2009

Cheap water

Only in places where energy is cheap and water is expensive, it is currently economical to produce fresh water from sea water.  The method used is ‘reverse osmosis’.  It uses a plastic membrane that allows water through, but not salt.  Salt water is forced at high pressure to go in the direction it doesn’t want to go, from the high-salt side to the pure water side.  The process works fine, but requires a lot of energy, used to create the pressure.

New idea:
Robert L. McGinnis and Menachem Elimelech, working at Yale, have demonstrated a new method that requires much less energy:  On the opposite side of the membrane from the sea water, substitute seltzer for fresh water.  The CO2 dissolved in the water creates an osmotic draw that pulls the water through, so you don’t have to use pressure, hence you don’t have to use energy.  Instead of salt water, you now have carbonated water.  But the carbonation is much easier to remove than salt — all you have to do is warm the water up, and the dissolved CO2 bubbles out of solution so it can be re-used.

If you had to burn fuel to warm the water up, the new process might be just as energy intensive as the old.  But the warmth required is ‘low-grade heat’, which can be as low as 40o C.  It’s a great use for leftover heat from generating electricity or running motors.  Think of low-grade heat as a free by-product, as when you warm your car with leftover heat from the car’s engine.

Physorg article
Journal article by Robert L. McGinnis and Menachem Elimelech

16 January 2009

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged”

Benjamin Franklin, born this day in 1706

(except, perhaps, in China
           — JJM)

17 January 2009

Shake em up

Conventions and rituals are important to keep us on track, moving toward the goals that we have set for ourselves, maintaining the predictability that allows us the leisure to create.  It is equally important to shatter the conventions from time with acts that are utterly defiant and shocking.

— Josh Mitteldorf

19 January 2009

A romantic empiricist

‘It cannot be denied that phrenology* and, in great measure, all metaphysicianism have been concocted a priori.  The intellectual or logical man, rather than the understanding or observant man, set himself to imagine designs—to dictate purposes to God.  Having thus fathomed, to his satisfaction, the intentions of Jehovah, out of these intentions he built his innumerable systems of mind....

‘It would have been wiser, it would have been safer, to classify (if classify we must) upon the basis of what man usually or occasionally did, and was always occasionally doing, rather than upon the basis of what we took it for granted the Deity intended him to do.  If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts, that call the works into being?...

‘Induction, a posteriori, would have brought phrenology to admit, as an innate, and primitive principle of human action, a paradoxical something, which we may call perverseness, for want of a more characteristic term....Through its promptings we act without comprehensible object; or, if this shall be understood as a contradictions in terms, we may so far modify the proposition as to say that through its promptings we act, for the reason that we should not.

The Imp of the Perverse
Happy birthday Edgar Allan Poe — 200 years old today.

*19th century psychology

19 January 2009

I have come into the world to see this:

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height
of their arc of anger

because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His — the Christ’s, our

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,

a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:

every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine’s womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as

for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching —
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into this world to experience this:

men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind

men so true their lives are His covenant —
the promise of

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of
their arc of

because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh

we can wound.

Daniel Ladinsky, after Hafiz
from Love Poems from God

20 January 2009

The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.

Justice is the keynote of the world, and all else is ever out of tune...Man naturally loves justice for its own sake; As the mind loves truth and beauty, so conscience loves the right.

Men who think have an ideal justice better than the things about them.  Here are the needy who ask not gold nor bread, but sympathy, respect and counsel.  Here are the beggars and paupers, a reproach to our civilization.  Here are the drunkards, the criminals, the abandoned, sometimes the foe, but far oftener the victim, of society.

 Every jail is a monument on which is writ in letters of iron that we are still heathens. The gallows, black and hideous, lifts its arm, a sign of our infamy, an index of our shame. And war — the worst form of evil!

Shall justice fail and perish out of the world of men?  Shall wrong continually endure?  Injustice cannot stand. No armies, no alliance, can hold it up. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Theodore Parker 1810-1860

21 January 2009


Partially paralyzed and blind from syphilis, dictating his scores for transcription, Frederick Delius composed serene and quietly joyous music.

Listen to Song Before Sunrise, for orchestra

Delius was born this day in 1862.

22 January 2009

Space, inseparable from awareness

Without a center, without an edge,
The luminous expanse of awareness that encompasses all—
This vivid, effulgent vastness:
Natural, primordial presence.

Without an inside, without an outside,
Awareness arisen of itself, as wide as the sky,
Beyond size, beyond direction, beyond limits—
This utter naked openness:
Space, inseparable from awareness.


23 January 2009

Mindfulness meditation, in a sentence

  ‘The habit of employing self-deception to maintain one’s self esteem has often become so ingrained that the first step to developing accurate self-awareness is honest acknowledgment of the existence of hidden emotions, motives and tendencies in the mind without immediately suppressing them.’

— from Satipatthana, by Analayo

24 January 2009

Ho hum

In our culture, boredom means time wasted on something that is unworthy of our attention.  But in the tradition of mindfulness meditation, boredom is a portal to self-knowledge. 

Emptiness is not boredom.  We have all had the experience of serenity and deep contentment, not wishing for anything to be different from what it is.  What is coming down the pike is nothing at all.  The pipeline is void, and at the moment that seems just fine.

At such moments, our inner lives are perfectly satisfying.  But when we feel bored, we are looking for escape from our inner experience, and we seek distractions, entertainment or (most often) work to stave off the whisperings of dissatisfaction.  Perhaps we abstract ourselves with fantasy, but (more convincingly) we plan, solve problems, figuring things out.  Goal-oriented, future-directed thought can be a way of bargaining with the rumblings of dissatisfaction within, and promising ourselves relief.

Resist the urge to distract.  Examine your boredom, and learn about yourself by discovering what irks you.  Self-realization comes not by banishing dissatisfaction, but as we no longer wish for temporal relief from our experience.  Step outside of time.

— Josh Mitteldorf

25 January 2009

One eighth sea urchin, on my mothers side

Now that we routinely do DNA analyses for many new species, it has become apparent that many genes in common plants and animals (and us) were not passed down directly through their lineage, but jumped over from other species.  The idea of a ‘family tree’ of descent has really turned into a web of ancestry. 

‘by some reckonings, 40 to 50% of the human genome consists of DNA imported horizontally by viruses, some of which has taken on viral biological functions.’

The most common method of  ‘horizontal gene transfer’ is for a virus to pick up a gene from one species, then infect another.  Consider, then, what would happen if a particular animal developed powerful defenses to viral infection, and was able to exclude viruses completely.  The first thing that would happen is that its offspring would prosper, because they wouldn’t get sick when everyone else would get sick.  Viral epidemics would create great opportunity for this race to expand.  But in the long run, other races would be acquiring occasional useful genes from the viruses that infect them, and their lineage would win out.  Too robust a resistance to disease thus may lead to extinction.

 Article in New Scientist

26 January 2009

Now that thats perfectly clear...

Be what you would seem to be or, if youd like it put more simply never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”

— Lewis Carroll, born this day in 1832

27 January 2009


The shadows have their seasons, too.
The feathery web the budding maples
cast down upon the sullen lawn

bears but a faint relation to
high summer’s umbrageous weight
and tunnellike continuum—

black leached from green, deep pools
wherein a globe of gnats revolves
as airy as an astrolabe.

The thinning shade of autumn is
an inherited Oriental,
red worn to pink, nap worn to thread.

Shadows on snow look blue. The skier,
exultant at the summit, sees his poles
elongate toward the valley: thus

each blade of grass projects another
opposite the sun, and in marshes
the mesh is infinite,

as the winged eclipse an eagle in flight
drags across the desert floor
is infinitesimal.

And shadows on water!—
the beech bough bent to the speckled lake
where silt motes flicker gold,

or the steel dock underslung
with a submarine that trembles,
its ladder stiffened by air.

And loveliest, because least looked-for,
gray on gray, the stripes
the pearl-white winter sun

hung low beneath the leafless wood
draws out from trunk to trunk across the road
like a stairway that does not rise. 

— John Updike, 1932-2009

28 January 2009

Immortal medusa

It’s an iron law of biology: stem cells can turn into ‘differentiated cells’ (other kinds of functional cells that make up the body), but differentiated cells can never turn into stem cells.

Benjamin Button, meet Turritopsis nutricula, a jellyfish that reverts to its larval state (a “polyp”) after reproducing. Turritopsis has solved the mortality problem.

It’s the world’s most dramatic demonstration there is that there is nothing inevitable about wearing out with age. The truth is that mother nature can do anything she wants to with her children, and if most of us get old and die, it’s because she’s arranged it that way for her own reasons.

London Telegraph article

29 January 2009

...and the serenity to know the difference

It is a good idea to take responsibility for the things in life that we can control or create. We work so we can feed, clothe, and shelter our loved ones and ourselves. We manifest our dreams and visions in physical form with hard work and forethought. But at a certain point, when have done all that we can, we must let go and allow the universe to take over. This requires trust. It requires a trust that runs deeper than just expecting things to turn out the way we want them to. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won’t. We develop equanimity and grace as we learn to trust that, with the guiding hand of the universe, life will unfold exactly the way it should. We are engaged in an ongoing relationship with a universe that responds to our thoughts and actions.

Daily Om

30 January 2009

Grace under pressure

Jackie Robinson had to be bigger than life. He had to be bigger than the Brooklyn teammates who got up a petition to keep him off the ball club, bigger than the pitchers who threw at him or the base runners who dug their spikes into his shin, bigger than the bench jockeys who hollered for him to carry their bags and shine their shoes, bigger than the so-called fans who mocked him with mops on their heads and wrote him death threats.

When Branch Rickey first met with Jackie about joining the Dodgers, he told him that for three years he would have to turn the other cheek and silently suffer all the vile things that would come his way. Believe me, it wasn't Jackie’s nature to do that. He was a fighter, the proudest and most competitive person I’ve ever seen. This was a man who, as a lieutenant in the Army, risked a court-martial by refusing to sit in the back of a military bus. But when Rickey read to him from The Life of Christ, Jackie understood the wisdom and the necessity of forbearance.

To this day, I don’t know how he withstood the things he did without lashing back. I’ve been through a lot in my time, and I consider myself to be a patient man, but I know I couldn’t have done what Jackie did. I don't think anybody else could have done it. Somehow, though, Jackie had the strength to suppress his instincts, to sacrifice his pride for his people’s. It was an incredible act of selflessness that brought the races closer together than ever before and shaped the dreams of an entire generation. Before Jackie Robinson broke the color line, I wasn’t permitted even to think about being a professional baseball player. I once mentioned something to my father about it, and he said, “Ain’t no colored ballplayers.” There were the Negro Leagues, of course, where the Dodgers discovered Jackie, but my mother, like most, would rather her son be a schoolteacher than a Negro Leaguer. All that changed when Jackie put on No. 42 and started stealing bases in a Brooklyn uniform.

Hank Aaron, writing for Time Magazine

Jackie Robinson was born this day in 1919.

31 January 2009

Queen of Hearts — Archive of past entries. Bullfrog Design