Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

An amazing sentence, made even better by lack of context

“Not every would-be Irish poet learned his art through a chance encounter with a fish.”

– Philip Freeman, The Philosopher and the Druids

“…the eternal rapping of knuckles…”

“…the prevailing American view of the world and its mysteries is still a moral one, and no other human concern gets half the attention that is endlessly lavished upon the problem of conduct, particularly of the other fellow. It needed no official announcement to define the function and office of the republic as that of an international expert in morals, and the mentor and exemplar of the more backward nations. Within, as well as without, the eternal rapping of knuckles and proclaiming of new austerities goes on. The American, save in moments of conscious and swiftly lamented deviltry, casts up all ponderable values, including even the values of beauty, in terms of right and wrong. He is beyond all things else, a judge and a policeman; he believes firmly that there is a mysterious power in law; he supports and embellishes its operation with a fanatical vigilance.”

— H. L. Mencken, Puritanism as a Literary Force

Misc. Tim Harford linkage

Tim Harford’s new book is getting quite a lot of press, and as a result he’s been popping up all over my Internet radar. Well worth your time are this interview he did with the excellent Surprisingly Free podcast, and this talk he did for TED:

“I’m Readin’ a Book, Pig!”

Blogging later. In the meantime, I’m readin’ a book:

“Discipline Must Come Through Liberty”

Discipline must come through liberty…We do not consider an individual disciplined only when he has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute or as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined. We call an individual disciplined when he is master of himself, and can, therefore, regulate his own conduct when it shall be necessary to follow some rule of life.

-Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method as quoted in Jacob Sullum’s Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use

I love that opening sentence. “Discipline must come through liberty.” That is so true and so eloquently stated. The only sure path towards self-control, self-mastery, and self-responsibility is through the exercise of our freedom. Human beings are radically free, and it’s only through that freedom that we can truly cultivate the responsibility that must accompany such liberty.

I’ll have more to say about Sullum’s book when I’m done with it (I’m maybe a dozen pages from the end), but I had to share that quote.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.