Archive for May, 2010

Shaolin monks intrigue and amazing me; watch this video to see why…

I can balance my laptop on my finger, hold a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee, withstand the pressure of 10 clients needs simultaneously and use my GPS to access any location in Boston….but still working on my monk technique.

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I read somewhere that every stand up comedian dreamed he could play Hamlet. Carlin’s one of my favorite stand ups. The man was brilliant. Even if you disagreed with his politics, you have to appreciate his wit – and impact. In plan words, I love that he said what others won’t and called it straight.

A few favorite quotes:

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”

“When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.”

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I read Lewis as a child. I loved the myths he created –and as a child – savored reading them without having to analyze their meaning. Years later I read his biography, as well as the book he wrote grieving the loss of his wife. One line in the book moved me deeply, “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

A few favorite Lewis quotes:

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”

“Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

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“My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

“You must always work not just within but below your means
If you can handle three elements, handle only two.
If you can handle ten, then handle only five. I
n that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease,
more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve.”

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I have a weakness of a good beat – and I love fusion: food, music, culture, etc., which is one of the reasons why I enjoy these hip hop collaborations where the violin comes to life.

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We won’t discuss the unified theory of everything here. What we will discuss is how remarkable it is that such a brilliant man had such a grasp on humor, and finding joy in every day life. There are many Einstein quotes I love. Here are my three favorite:

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

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I’m sure you know Professor Vonnegut. Have you read his 8 rules of writing a short story? [link]

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

What I loved about Kurt Vonnegut is his sense of humor…. I have a CD of him being interviewed by the same man every few years for 30 years. It’s beautiful to hear him age and see how his sensibilities change and mature.

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I’ve driven across the US about 5 times. And there’s a secret society those of us who have driven across country know about – that others do not – and that society is called, “Wall Drug.”

For 500 miles in each direction of Wall Drug in South Dakota, you’ll see signs every mile. Yes, 500 signs. And when you exit off the highway to investigate it, you arrive at, what seems to me, the biggest tourist trap in the world.

Wall Drug receives 2,000,000 visitors a year!


Ready for a road trip? Lets go.

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I was five years old when I saw Waylon Jennings perform this in concert. I wore a mini-cowboy hat, gold belt buckle and thought myself a cowboy.

Twenty years later I sat next to a drunk man who smelled of whiskey, who hadn’t shaven a few week and who, in fact, was from Luckenback, Texas. He sang the song to me, in my ear, several times throughout our flight.

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