An empty pageant; a stage play; flocks of sheep, herds of cattle; a tussle of spearmen; a bone flung among a pack of curs; a crumb tossed into a pond of fish; ants, loaded and labouring; mice, scared and scampering; puppets, jerking on their strings – that is life. In the midst of it all you must take your stand, good-temperedly and without disdain, yet always aware that a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambition.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.3)
The Mindcircle has a piece on the amazing Café Yeonnam-dong 239-20 in Korea. The cafe also has an Instagram account, here.
I love the decor. I wonder what it’s like to be there.
The above picture in particular reminds me of the BBC’s Paddington Bear cartoon (before the Ben Whishaw film)…
And here he is, in the 1975 original. Five minutes of charming innocence:
Oh, the wondrous synchronicity of the interweb.
These last couple of weeks I’ve been having something of a Steely Dan wallow. I still can’t quite decide which is my favourite album, although 1974’s Pretzel Logic is high in the running, but then again…
Today, I discover these delights from Cultural Offering. Firstly a live video of Reelin’ in the Years:
Then, this profile of guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. I had previously read that Baxter was now a missile expert, but the whole story (on Business Insider) is fascinating.
And, in sharing these delights with my oldest, and vinyl-collecting, friend I find he had “just picked up an original US press of Katy Lied last Saturday – sensational stuff & the original sounds SOOO much better than the re-press I had.”
Baxter is one of those individuals who has forged hugely successful careers in wildly different fields. John Perry Barlow was another: cattle rancher, internet pioneer, lyricist with the Grateful Dead, cyber-libertarian and founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
A third is John Kao: entrepreneur, psychiatrist, a talented jazz pianist who played with Frank Zappa, and a theatre and film producer with the film Sex, Lies and Videotape to his credit.
Do they all qualify as sovereign professionals? I guess they do.
And an eclectic set of fantasy dinner-guests.
When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.11)
If you missed Stoic Week, but have an interest in stoicism, this is a good introduction. Massimo Pigliucci, K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at City University of New York, is a contributor to Modern Stoicism, the organisation behind Stoic Week.
Just under an hour long and well worth a watch:
Life is a liar, yeah, life is a cheat
It’ll lead you on and pull the ground from underneath your feet
No use complaining, don’t you worry, don’t you whine
‘Cause if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time, next time
Life is about learning from your mistakes. You’re bound to get it wrong sometimes, just make sure you get it right next time.
Another great track from Gerry Rafferty.
Incidentally, I love the arrangement, the way that the song sort of wanders in, says it stuff, then wanders off down the street, again.
Also worth noting is Hugh Burns’ sublime, understated guitar work.
This is the official video. From 1979. Can you guess?
Get It Right Next Time comes from Rafferty’s 1979 album Night Owl, the follow-up to the hugely successful City to City (which featured Baker Street).
Another jagged thought (number 324) from Nicholas Bate. It reminds me of the stoic practice of journaling.
It’s tempting not to write the problem down for fear of making it real.
But the process of writing it down starts the process of reducing the problem, taming its power and identifying a solution.
Sometimes saying it, writing it, places boundaries on an otherwise infinite worry.
Read Nicholas, here.
Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash