Saturday, March 12, 2011


The sails we see on the ocean
are as white as white can be;
but never one in the harbor,
as white as the sails at sea.

And the clouds that crown the mountain
with purple and gold delight,
turn to cold gray mist and vapor,
Ere ever we reach the height.

Oh! distance, thou dear enchanter,
still hold in they magic veil
the glory of far-off sail!

Hide in thy robes of splendor,
Oh! mountain cold and gray!
Oh! sail in thy snowy whiteness,
come not into port, I pray!

I like this poem, which brings to mind the joy of anticipation, but often when realized, the romance loses its luster. I wonder how long one must live before we come to realize this and learn to live in the moment and enjoy life's enchantments but keep our feet firmly planted on present ground.

Anonymous, Photo by Gerhard Fuhs

Thursday, March 10, 2011

" Aristippus, the philosopher, seeing Diogenes washing of herbs for his dinner, said, If Diogenes knew how to make use of kings, he need not live upon raw herbs, as he doth; to which Diogenes replied, that if Aristippus could content himself with herbs, he need not to turn spaniel, or to flatter king Dionysius for a meat meal."

I found this little gem in Thomas Brooks book, 'Apples of Gold' in a chapter on flattery. Diogenes was a third century sage, known for his vow of poverty. He was known to carry a lamp during the day saying he was looking for an honest man. This particular quote tickled me -- calling Aristippus a begging dog with such sophistication, - "turn spaniel". Love it.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


This is another piece from my new book Youth And Its Duties. This is on learning punctuality.

"When Washington appointed the hour of twelve to meet Congress, he never failed to be passing the door of the hall while the clock was striking twelve. His dinner hour was four o'clock.
If his guests were not there at the time, he never waited for them. New members of Congress, who were invited to dine with him, would frequently come in when dinner was half over; and he would say to them, "Gentlemen, we are punctual here. My cook never asks whether the company has arrived, but whether the hour has."
In 1799, when on a visit to Boston, he appointed eight o'clock in the morning as the hour when he would set out for Salem. While the Old South Clock was striking eight, he was mounting his horse. The company of cavalry who had volunteered to escort him, was parading in Tremont Street, and did not overtake him till he had reached Charles River Bridge. On their arrival, the General said, "Major, I thought you had been too long in my family not to know when it was eight O'clock".

Picture from the internet

The Fidgets

I picked up this book at an Antique Sale a few months ago titled, Youth and its Duties.
It has many practical things to help parents in child rearing. It's about a hundred years old but the principles are good in my estimation if you don't obsess over them. This piece is about combating the fidgets ---

"Discipline the body to obey the will. You would not think to see some young folks, that the will had any thing to do with the movements of the body; for it moves in all imaginable ways, with all sorts of contortions. First flies out a foot, then a hand, then there's a twirl or a swing, then a drumming of the fingers, a trotting of the foot, or some such odd figure. This arises from leaving the body to control itself, by its own natural activity, the mind taking no supervision of its motions. Now, if you early accustom yourself to exercise a strict mental supervision over the body, so as never to make any movement whatever, except what you mean to make, you will find this habit of great consequence to you; for, besides saving you the mortification of a thousand ungraceful movements which habit has rendered natural, it will enable you to control your nerves, the necessity for which you will understand better hereafter than you do now. Make the will the ruling power of your body, so as to never do any thing but what you mean to do and you will never get a reputation of being nervous."

Now to tell you how relevant this is in a center where nearly half of the guys have used amphetamines, words fail to express. Suffice to say, if they happen to have a pen in their hands, it will soon be reduced to a pile of plastic and springs with there continual CLICKING!

Photo from the Internet