Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quotes: Patience

Patience 213 "Patience: a minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue." Ambrose Bierce. Portable Curmudgeon.

Patience 180 "The world is his who has patience." Italian. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Patience 205 "Patience is bitter, but its fruit (or reward) is sweet. Rousseau." French. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Monday, June 29, 2009

Quote: Parody

Parody 217 "I think I think; therefore, I think I am." Ambrose Bierce. Portable Curmudgeon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Quotes: Parents and Children (3)

Parents and children 806 "Matt came out for the funeral, he flew out the night before with two of his kids and then broke down at the gravesite and they saw this and were astonished…were shocked to see this because they thought of him as a father, not a son…." DeLillo, Underworld. Children find it unsettling when a parent cries.

Parents and children 305 Mrs. Norris: "It is amazing…how much young people cost their parents, what with bringing them up and putting them out in the world!" Austen, Mansfield Park. If you knew the material and emotional cost of bringing up children, would you bring them into the world?

Parents and children 390 Fanny on her mother: "…she must and did feel that her mother was a partial, ill-judging parent, a dawdle, a slattern, who neither taught nor restrained her children, whose home was the scene of mismanagement and discomfort from beginning to end, and who had no talent, no conversation, no affection towards herself [Fanny]; no curiosity to know her better, no desire of her friendship, and no inclination for her company…." Austen, Mansfield Park. A blunt assessment of her mother.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quotes: Parents and Children (2)

Parents and children 193 "When boys and girls are growing up, life can’t stand still, not even in the quietest of country towns; and they have to grow up, whether they will or no; that is what their elders are always forgetting." Cather, My Ántonia. Parents seem to forget that children must grow up.

Parents and children 335 "When I told her I had no children, she seemed embarrassed; ‘Ooh, ain’t that too bad! Maybe you could take one of my bad ones, now... that’s Leo; he’s the worst of all’ ...leaned toward me with a smile, ‘and I love him the best,’ she whispered." Cather, My Ántonia

Parents and children 346 "Sometimes...it doesn’t occur to boys that their mother was ever young and pretty." Cather, My Ántonia

Parents and children 187 His son Ted on Babbitt: "I suppose he must do some thinking, same as you and I do, but gosh, there’s no way of telling it; I don’t believe that out-side of the office and playing a little bum golf on Saturday he knows there’s anything in the world to do except just keep sitting there—sitting there every night—not wanting to go anywhere—not wanting to do anything—thinking us kids are crazy—sitting there—Lord!" Lewis, Babbitt. How children view their fathers.

Parents and children 611 "His late great dad…not really such a bad guy in death…but so tensely parental in life, all empty command and false authority…." DeLillo, Underworld. The parent's role.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quotes: Parents and Children (1)

Parents 336 "Something you consider bad may bring out your child’s talents; something you consider good may stifle them." Chateaubriand. 1849-50. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. The hazard of controlling your children's lives.

Parents 336 "Don’t limit your child to your own learning, for he was born in another time." Rabbinic saying. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Parents 336 "Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage." Thomas Szasz. 1974. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. A brilliant observation.

Parents 18 Tinka wailed, "Oh, Papa, you said maybe you'd drive us down to Rosedale!" and Mrs. Babbitt, "Careful, Tinka, your sleeve is in the butter." Lewis, Babbitt. What happens when you care passionately.

Parents and children 213 "The Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until they die." Philip Roth. Portable Curmudgeon.You are always your parents' child.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quotes: Paradise

Paradise p.. 1215 "…then, everybody was a child…needed no fathers and mothers…no danger, no trouble of any kind, and no clothes to be mended, and there was always plenty to eat and drink; whenever a child wanted his dinner, he found it growing on a tree…a very pleasant life indeed; no labor to be done, no tasks to be studied; nothing but sports and dances, and sweet voices of children talking, or caroling like birds or gushing out in merry laughter, throughout the live-long day." “The Paradise of Children” Hawthorne’s The Wonder Book for Boys and Girls

Paradise p. 1216 "The truth is, those ugly little winged monsters, called troubles, which are now almost as numerous as mosquitoes, had never yet been seen on the earth." “The Paradise of Children” Hawthorne’s The Wonder Book for Boys and Girls

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quote: Overconfidence

Overconfidence 97 " Good swimmers are oftenest drowned." Thomas Fuller (II). 1732. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. The gods hated hubris, overconfidence, more than any other trait and saved their worst vengeance for it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quotes: Originality

Originality 230 "A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 1858. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Repetition hides creativity?

Originality 234 "Many have original minds who do not think it—they are led away by custom." Keats. 1818. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Thinking the way others think kills creativity.

Originality 299 "You may know a new utterance by the element of danger in it." D. H. Lawrence. 1923. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. The power of the "sound bite"?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quotes: Organizing

Organizing 21 "…I had laid out a list of over a hundred topics on which I wanted studies made and papers prepared." McNamara’s In Retrospect

Organizing 24 "…define a clear objective for whatever organization I was associated with, develop a plan to achieve that objective, and systematically monitor progress against the plan." McNamara’s In Retrospect

Organizing 328 "The goal is clear; how to get there is not." McNamara’s In Retrospect.

Comment: McNamara's methods of organizing were ideal. His results, including the Vietnam War, were failures. If you read his book, you will learn why he failed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quotes: Organization (3)

Organization 149 "…a new kind of organization man—a man who, despite his many affiliations, remains basically uncommitted to any organization…willing to employ his skills and creative energies to solve problems with equipment provided by the organization, and within temporary groups established by it…does so only so long as the problems interest him…committed to his own career, his own self-fulfillment." Toffler, Future Shock. From "organization man" to individual ambition.

Organization 473 "Behind all such efforts runs the notion that…goals for the future of society ought to be formulated at the top…the old bureaucratic forms of organization in which line and staff were separated, in which rigid, undemocratic hierarchies distinguished leader from led, manager from managed, planner from 'plannee.' " Toffler, Future Shock. The old model of hierarchical organization seems firmly entrenched (2009).

Organization 476 "…a new kind of information system in society: a loop rather than a ladder." Toffler, Future Shock. I'm afraid the "loop" has become again the "ladder."

Organizations 311 "I do not know to this day whether I quit or was fired." McNamara’s In Retrospect. The 'genius' of organization became a victim of organization.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quotes: Organization (2)

Organization 137 "Yet there is evidence that bureaucratic hierarchies, separating those who 'make decisions' from those who merely carry them out, are being altered, side-stepped or broken." Toffler, Future Shock. All of the 'stakeholders' are a part of decisions. I question that view of future decision-making.

Organization 144 "Executives and managers…will function as coordinators between the various transient work teams." Toffler, Future Shock. Executives as coordinators?

Organization 144 Warren Bennis: "While skills in human interaction will become more important, due to growing needs for collaboration in complex tasks, there will be a concomitant reduction in group cohesiveness… have to learn to develop quick and intense relationships on the job, and learn to bear the loss of more enduring work relationships." Toffler, Future Shock. Shifting members of teams according to purpose. The need for collaboration in complex tasks. Interesting concepts.

Organization 146 George Peck: "The man periodically examines his own attitude toward the organization, and gauges its attitude toward him…doesn’t like what he sees, he tries to change it…can’t change it, he moves." Toffler, Future Shock. If he isn't downsized first.

Organization 149 "The word 'associate' implies co-equal, rather than subordinate, and its spreading use accurately reflects the shift from vertical and hierarchical arrangements to the new, more lateral communication patterns." Toffler, Future Shock. Is "associate" just another name for "subordinate"? Has the change in label really changed the relationship? I'm skeptical.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quotes: Organization (1)

Organization 391 "He [Creighton] was fascinated by the apparatus of mighty organization...." Lytton Strachey. “Creighton.” 1925. Gross, ed. Essays.

Organization 125 "…organization is an inescapable part of all our lives." Toffler, Future Shock.

Organization 127 "An organization, after all, is nothing more than a collection of human objectives, expectations, and obligations…in other words, a structure of roles filled by humans." Toffler, Future Shock. An organization is a collection of people who fill particular roles.

Organization 131 John Gardner: "Most organizations have a structure that was designed to solve problems that no longer exist." Toffler, Future Shock.

Organization 131 John Gardner: "The 'self-renewing' organization…[is] one that constantly changes its structure in response to changing needs." Toffler, Future Shock. I think it is very hard to change the structure of an organization--maybe impossible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Quotes: Optimism.

Optimism 210 "Optimism is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong." Voltaire. Portable Curmudgeon.

Optimist 211 " The optimist thinks that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist knows it." J. Robert Oppenheimer. Portable Curmudgeon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quotes: Opinions

Opinion 262 "Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all." Lichtenberg. 1764-99. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Peace of mind defined.

Opinions 258 "It is probable that a given opinion, as held by several individuals, even when of the most congenial views, is as distinct from itself as are their faces." J. H. Newman. 1843. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Like fingerprints, no two opinions are exactly the same.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quote: Opening Sentence

Opening sentence 95 "Four days after the Jolly Seventeen debacle Vida Sherwin called and casually blew Carol’s world to pieces." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.Writing an opening sentence that almost forces the reader to keep reading is difficult. Lewis's opening sentence for a chapter in Main Street is an example of how it is done.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quotes: Old Age.

Old Age 501 "There is hardly a more difficult exercise of fancy, than, while gazing at a figure of melancholy age, to re-create its youth." Hawthorne: "Edward Fane's Rosebud." The hardest thing in the world is to look at decrepit old people and reconstruct the way they looked when they were young.

Old Age 501 "It is easier to conceive that such gloomy phantoms were sent into the world as withered and decrepit as we behold them now, with sympathies only for pain and grief, to watch at death beds and weep at funerals. Hawthorne:" "Edward Fane's Rosebud." We think that old people were always that way.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quotes: October (3)

October 292 October. "Look up and you see the clarity of autumn sky through the naked branches." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 293 October. "These are star nights…another month and they will glitter as though polished by the frost." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 294 Late October. "Color persists, but except in the oaks, it is in tatters and remnants." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year. Is it any wonder that the fall represents the old age of the year?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quotes: October (2)

October 286 October. "Now come the quiet days of Indian summer and the quiet nights of starlight and leaf scuffle." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year. Nostalgic impressions of October.

October 288 October. "…frosty mornings and Indian summer days…." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 290 October. "Sere corn blades rattle in the roadside field." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 291 October. "One walks seemingly alone with the night and the universe." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 291 October. "…as the dusk deepens the eight-hoot call of the barred owl is heard from the far hillside…then silence again, and one’s own footsteps in the leaf-strewn road…farm dog barks in the distance and on the highway down the valley a truck growls into a lower gear for the long grade over the hilltop…the silent stars gleam beyond the thinning treetops." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year. Walking alone on an October evening.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quotes: October (1)

October 270 October. "…crisp nights, mild days, and the whole satisfaction of ripeness and achievement." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 271 "October makes a man want to get up and go and see and hear and feel." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year. Best definition of "October" I have ever read.

October 271 "October is the glory and the magnificence of the year’s late afternoon." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year. Another perspective on the month of October.

October 274 October. "Now comes the Hunter’s Moon, the full moon of October…." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

October 278 [On taking a walk in October]: "How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the day and the season instead of the hour and the minute?" Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year.Time is relative.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quote: Obsession

1. Obsession 51 "The light of his faith quite put out, and his affections made desolate, he had clung with all the force of his nature to his work and his money; and like all objects to which a man devotes himself, they had fashioned him into correspondence with themselves." George Eliot, Silas Marner. A person becomes his obsession.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quote: Obscenity

Obscenity 209 "Obscenity is whatever gives a judge an erection." Anon. Portable Curmudgeon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quote: Objectivity

Objectivity 317 "It is only about things that do not interest one that one can give a really unbiased opinion." Oscar Wilde, “The True Critic.” 1891. Gross, ed. Essays.