Thursday, November 12, 2009


"The definition of a beautiful woman is one who loves me."

-Sloan Wilson

I tell my wife everyday that she is beautiful. She smiles at me like I'm some kind of simpleton. I really don't understand the obsession with creating some perfect outward image. If someone pays you an honest compliment then it should suffice that you are indeed the positive thing that they say that you are.

Beauty is one of those things that really cannot be defined. If you doubt me, check out some of those forums and web sites where lewd men argue over which celebrity is the hottest.

And who is Sloan Wilson? He was a novelist. He wrote The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit among others. He served during World War II and died in 2003.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


"When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored."

-Eric Hoffer

Boredom is one of those things that happens a lot to my children. I'm not really sure why. I seem to have too much to do most of the time and very few opportunities to be bored. Perhaps it is that children haven't yet discovered their true potential and therefore find themselves less interesting than the world around them.

And who is Eric Hoffer anyway? Apparently he was an author, a rather famous one in his time though frankl I don't recall learning about him anywhere. But he got this quote right, and for that he is going to live long in internet history.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Starting Over

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

We all have to start over once in a while. No matter the station in life that we are born to or the lot that we work to achieve, at some point we will fail. Failure is an inherent part of humanity.

The question each of us must answer is what we will do when faced with that failure. Will we stop? Will we find some other course of action? Will we persist in doing what we believe to righ and good?

The loss of a job, the end of a marriage, the loss of a loved one are all events that can put us in a place we do not want to be in our lives. Each day the sun will rise, and what will we do beneath that sun? Will we find the strength to start over yet again?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."

- Cicero

Having a grateful heart and being sincerely thankful for the things in our lives is much easier said than done. It is far too easy to simply accept that what we have is what we deserve rather than being grateful for it and building upon that gratitude.

When we allow ourselves to be filled with gratitude humility and teachability tend to follow naturally. Teachability allows us to grow and to mature in other ways. We can't, for example learn new skills if we are not willing to believe that someone out there has knowledge worth imparting.

Gratitude will also help us tie down our anger and give us a measure of peace that we cannot otherwise achieve in our lives.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


"Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame."

-Benjamin Franklin

Oh my, what truth there is. How many times have I gone out and done something incredibly stupid because I was mad at somebody? I don't think I can count that high, and I know I don't want to remember all those dumb things that I've said and done.

The truth is that when we let ourselves be controlled by anger we end up hurting others, and more often than not those we hurt are the same people that we should be showing the most affection and consideration to. The fact that we can't go back in time and change the actions that we've taken only makes it all the more important to strive to be kinder and gentler to those around us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

- Thomas A. Edison

Are there still opportunities out there? You know what I mean, the kind that bring success, happiness and satisfaction.

I, for one, do believe that there are many, many opportunities out there. They are staring us in the face, and you know what? They do look like work. They look a lot like risk and hard work. They look to me like they will take time and energy and dedication, which is why I've missed so may of them.

It is so much easier to just turn on the next movie or television show or to pop in a video game and spend a few hours doing nothing. These kinds of recreation are, of course necessary from time to time to cope with some of the extreme stresses that we put ourselves through, but there are also opportunities to spend developing something special in our lives that we will only get through persistence and hard work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

- Aesop

Have you ever received a smile when you were feeling down? Perhaps it was nothing more than a stranger passing you in a shop somewhere, but inside it made you feel just a little better.

Kindness is just that type of infection that grows and grows the more we nurture it. It is so terribly easy to ignore the wants and needs of others or to lose ourselves with our own preoccupations. When we look beyond our own troubles and do something kind, no matter how small, we are helping someone else to also forget their troubles for just a moment and build a little more peace on the planet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Suspense in Amontillado

How does Poe create suspense in "The Cask of Amontillado"?  Answer: very carefully.

I am not going to rewrite the article here, that would be a lot of work and/or just copying somebody else's work.  The author of the article does a good job of explaining which elements create suspense and how, which is something I cannot do.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


"A friend is the man who knows all about you and still likes you."

- Elbert Hubbard

I think I would have liked to have met Elbert Hubbard while he was living. He seems like the kind of witty personality that I enjoy keeping company with. On the other hand I don't know all about him so perhaps I wouldn't like him afterall.

There is so much truth in what Mr. Hubbard says here. So often those whom we call friends today turn out to be mere acquaintences tomorrow when they discover that we are not as perfect as we would like to be. That is simply the natural way of humankind.

Perhaps then the best way to find friends in this world is to learn to overlook the many faults of those who surround us.

Monday, March 30, 2009


It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

- Henry David Thoreau

I look around and see the depravity that some individuals have reached and the heights that others have achieved. The notion that a person can find happiness by taking lottery winning actions, i.e. doing those things that will either give them a measure of success or return absolutely nothing is dangerous at best.

The Enron scandals of a few years ago clearly demonstrate this. Similar attitudes are to be found in foundering politicians and leaders of many fallen businesses. Placing faith in desperate and unlikely sources is a dangerous and generally unwise thing to do.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life Is A Mixed Up Web

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.

William Shakespeare
All 's Well that Ends Well, Act IV, Sc. III

How true it is that there are so many different things in our lives mixed together both for happiness and for sadness. In the course of a single day we can traverse this myriad of emotions many times over.

I have often enjoyed the works of Shakespeare. I find that many of his lines provoke thought and inspiration.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.


So many times, especially these days we look to the future, counting on returns that we may never see. The state of the current economy should teach us this lesson all over again, though in all likelihood the majority of us will forget these lessons all too soon.

As we look to the future, it is generally good to keep a positive disposition. However a dose of reality can keep us from unhappiness. Spending money we have not earned, especially buying on credit is one of those dangers that we should heartily avoid wherever possible.

Monday, March 9, 2009


It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

- C.S. Lewis

There are a lot of things that a person can become in this life. Unfortunately none of those things happens without a lot of change and a lot of work. For us very often this means that we must do the work and make the change happen ourselves. Nobody else is going to do it for us.

The gem of truth I like in this quote is that we either have to do something or by default we won't achieve what we want. Sloth by its very nature drives us to become less than what we are, and that in and of itself is (or should be) enough to convince me to be a better person.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.

-Elbert Hubbard

This really struck me in terms of reflection. I know that as for myself I'm not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but I do shine when I can. I think that all too often we don't give ourselves enough credit for the good things that we do and allow ourselves to behave foolishly to try to cover up our own inadequacies.

For those that don't know Elbert Hubbard, he was an author and editor in the early 20th century. He was known for his quotations, especially his satire and whimsy.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Any excuse will serve a tyrant.


How often in our own lives do we seek to dominate those around us? Our spouse? Our children? Our co-workers?

All too often the excuses we offer for our poor behavior are little more than flimsy veils to pad our own conscience while we endulge ourselves in domineering activities that have no place in a civilized society.

I look in the mirror and see in myself the opportunity to become a better person.