Castles on Clouds

I’m a couple of chapters away from finishing Les Miserables,* thanks to the enthusiasm of a friend** and to Nick Senger’s excellent chapter-a-day read-along schedule.*** It’s a fantastic read – hard going at times, but deserving of its reputation. Beside the story itself (forgiving its long string of ridiculous coincidences), I most enjoy the little**** insights into life in another…

What’s News? And other stories

Questions for self: Why do you read the news more than once a day? Will things really have changed since the last time you had an empty moment? Same again but for sports scores, election results, the price of Bitcoin and even… the number of visits to your blog. Substitute activities: Mull over whatever it is that you’re taking a…

Black History Month: the things we forget and the things we can’t see

Some things about Black History month: It is not a recent product of early-21st-Century political correctness, but has roots going back to the 1920s; It isn’t unproblematic: race is a flawed organising principle for all the reasons that racists are wrong;* It does start conversations, shed light on forgotten or hidden truths, and prick our consciences in a way that…

Knowing better (3): the best values

My values are the best that I know; I assume you feel the same. Changing them is hard – it takes some combination of (delete as appropriate)… experience / evidence / awareness / engagement with an argument / a strong feeling… …of / with / about … the flaws in our existing values / the way that something we think…

Variable speed

Rushing is usually a bad idea. We get flustered or anxious, we forget or ignore important things, and we often feel guilty about it afterwards. Rushing is usually a way to make up for a deficiency in your processes, and it’s generally best avoided whenever possible – by planning ahead, by setting off in good time and allowing slack, by…

Staying fresh

Will require: Clarity of vision (and a worthwhile vision to begin with); Recognition of progress made; Acceptance of limits; Forgiveness for failures; Avoidance of (fatal) injury; Encouragement from others; Banter and ridiculousness; Experimentation and risk; Learning and growth; Goals of all shapes and sizes; Embrace of serendipity; Knowing what not to do – including what to stop; Good nutrition; Chocolate…

Safe from cows

Younger Son: “Dad, you’re supposed to be keeping me safe from the cows!” Me: “Well, how many times have they attacked you so far?” Thought unspoken: “Of course, the lack of cow attacks to date isn’t a reliable indicator of your safety.”* Maybe we were just lucky.** *Our distance from the herd and to the fence and a vague understanding…

One million copies sold

One million copies is a lot of anything, but should it influence your decision to buy a book? First thought: No it shouldn’t. Judging from the things that other people wear and watch and the ways they spend their time, a million people doing something should have no influence on whether I do it too. At best, they have totally…

7k

Happy to announce that we’ve made it past 7,000 views. Thanks for coming, and HT to the Tyler Cowen spike. See also:Build it up (buttercup)The Patience of a spider [7000; seven thousand]