the accumulation of choices

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Small Fry

“I heard from someone that the pattern of our breath isn’t supposed to be even, regular. Humans are not metronomes. It goes long and short, deep and shallow, and that’s how it’s supposed to go, depending each moment on what you need, and what you can get, and how filled up you are. I wouldn’t trade any part of my experience for someone else’s life, I felt then, even the moments where I’d wished I didn’t exist, not because my life was right or perfect or best, but because the accumulation of choices made had carved a path that was characteristic and distinct, down to the serif, and I felt the texture of it all around me for just a moment, familiar, like my own skin, and it was good enough.”

work

From “Bradley Cooper Is Not Really Into This Profile," Taffy Brodesser-Akner, New York Times

It was there that he met his beloved mentor, Elizabeth Kemp, who died in 2017 and to whom “A Star Is Born” is dedicated. He felt that once he met her, he was finally able to relax, for the first time in his life. He gave those classes everything he had. It reminded her of something her mentor, Elia Kazan, had once told her, which was that he’d only wanted to work with people who make their work the most important thing in their lives.

space

Viktor Frankl

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

repair

Alicia Paulson, "An Anniversary," Posie Gets Cozy

"I had a vision about the world when I was there. It came to me one night as if a little door opened and I looked through and eavesdropped on the truth. I saw that the world was constantly falling apart, it was always in a state of little things always falling apart, and then there were these brigades of individual human angels, with kind eyes, apples and stitches, repairing, fixing, mending, patting, bandaging the wounds of the world, and putting it back together, piece by tiny piece. I hadn't known that repair was done on a gestural level, a cellular one. It shocked me that I hadn't seen it that way before."

"I absolutely do not believe that everything happens for a reason; I never did, and I still don't. I believe that we fashion sense out of the things that happen, and create a kind of meaning in the result. And at the end of the day, you just gotta plow on through! There is no time to waste or worry."

bitterness and fury

Alicia Paulson, "Couch Lounge," Posie Gets Cozy

My heart and Andy's are heavy with so much sorrow over the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. We talked and talked about it yesterday. My head is swirling, feverish with bitterness and fury over how this keeps happening again and again and again. I don't even know how to talk about it. I'm so disappointed and frustrated I really cannot find the words I want to say.

home

Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby, Man Hands

And a home is important . . . .  It's supposed to be the place you come to and feel safe and loved.  It's a place where things work because you tend to them, and when you walk in the door, you can just slough off your worries from your shoulders the same way you take off a heavy winter coat.

the half of the year that makes me feel most like myself

Alicia Paulson, "Sweater Weather," Posie Gets Cozy

I took Clover out for a little walk, and that's something I rarely if ever do anymore. Andy and Amelia do all of the dog walking; I save my steps for the things that no one but me can do. But it was so lovely to be outside, in the rain, alone with my little dog, who is such an excellent and polite walker, who walks to my left with slack in the leash, who stops to sniff but not so much that it's annoying. We had such a nice time together, and it felt like the first day of fall for me, somehow. This season starts the half of the year that makes me feel the most like myself. I'm a cloud-cover, cold-weather person. I like to huddle and hibernate. I like quiet and I like rain and I like television. I like dark skies and candles and yarn in my hands, and I like sofas. And flannel sheets and flannel nightgowns.

six fireflies beeping randomly

David Brooks, "When the World Is Led by a Child," The New York Times

The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man.

Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.

But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

“We badly want to understand Trump, to grasp him,” David Roberts writes in Vox. “It might give us some sense of control, or at least an ability to predict what he will do next. But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there is no there there?”

there's no more snow

Like magic, on one of the unseasonably warm days of this winter, I flipped the page and found this poem, perfectly expressing how I felt about the weather.

Billy Collins, "Report from the Subtropics," Aimless Love

For one thing, there's no more snow
to watch from an evening window,
and no armful of logs to carry into the house
so cumbersome you have to touch the latch with an elbow,

and once inside, no iron stove like an old woman
waiting to devour her early dinner of wood.

No hexagrams of frost to study
on the cold glass panes of the bathroom.

No black sweater to pull over my head
while I wait for the coffee to brew.

Instead, I walk around in children's clothes--
shorts and a tee shirt with the name of a band
lettered on the front, announcing me to nobody.

The sun never fails to arrive early
and refuses to leave the party
even after I go from room to room,
turning out all the lights, and making a face.

And the birds with those long white necks?
All they do is swivel their heads
keeping an eye on me as I walk along,
as if they all knew my password
and the name of the little town where I was born.

deliberate attempts to warp the entire field of veracity

Adam Gopnik, "Trying (and Failing) Not to Fear So Much about Trump," Daily Comment, The New Yorker, February 17, 2017

The falsehood that Trump tells about the three million fake voters in the Presidential election is typical. No sane person—not merely no other politician but no one you have ever known—would make a claim of that kind: so obviously crazy and inarguably false, implying an impossible set of human circumstances. Their effect is not merely to comfort his ego but permanently to discomfit our democracy. This is not “I am not a crook”; it is not a claim that there are weapons of mass destruction; it is not “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” These are all ways of parsing reality, or normal fibs told by normal people. Trump’s falsehoods are deliberate attempts to warp the entire field of veracity, so as to defy the simplest parameters of sanity. From now on, whatever happens, no election will be convincing to his followers—not the midterms, not the next Presidential one.

affront to children everywhere

Jean M. Donnelly, "Child's Play," The Mail, The New Yorker, February 13 and 20, 2017

As a child psychologist, I find Barry Blitt's cover depicting Donald Trump in a child's toy limo terribly sad ("At the Wheel," January 23rd).  It suggests that the problem with Trump is that he's a child.  This is an affront to children everywhere: children are not inherently narcissistic, ignorant, cruel, or vindictive.  They tend to accept other human beings with an open mind and heart, without prejudice.  Would that a five-year-old were our President.

chaotic cruelty

Adam Gopnik, "Americanisms," The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, February 13 & 20, 2017

Yet what perhaps no one could have entirely predicted was the special cocktail of oafish incompetence and radical anti-Americanism that President Trump's Administration has brought. The combination has produced a new note in our public life: chaotic cruelty. The immigration crisis may abate, but it has already shown the power of government to act arbitrarily overnight--sundering families, upending long-set expectations, until all those born as outsiders must imagine themselves here only on sufferance of a senior White House counsellor.

nevertheless, she persists

Gail Collins, "Elizabeth Warren Persists," The New York Times, February 9, 2017

It’s a dark and dismal time for American liberals. Except for the part where the opposition keeps shooting itself in the foot.

We will now pause to contemplate the fact that this week the Senate Republicans attempted to forward their agenda by silencing Elizabeth Warren while she was reading a letter from Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow.

In explanation, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell basically called Warren a pushy girl.

Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. Never has a political party reached such a pinnacle of success, and then instantly begun using it to inspire the opposition.

ninth circuit's decision on travel ban

William C. Canby, Richard R. Clifton, and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges; Motion for Stay of an Order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, James L. Robart, District Judge, Presiding

"In short, although courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action."

"Moreover, in light of the Government's shifting interpretations of the Executive Order, we cannot say that the current interpretation by the White House counsel, even if authoritative and binding, will persist past the immediate stage of these proceedings."

"The States argue that the Executive Order violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses because it was intended to disfavor Muslims.  In support of this argument, the States have offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a 'Muslim ban' as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban, including sections 5(b) and 5(e) of that order.  It is well established that evidence of purpose beyond the face of the challenged law may be considered in evaluating Establishment and Equal Protection Clause claims. .  . .  The States' claims raise serious allegations and present significant constitutional questions."

"The Government has pointed to no evidence that any aliens from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.  Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.  We disagree, as explained above."

"By contrast, the States have offered ample evidence that if the Executive Order were reinstated even temporarily, it would substantially injure the States and multiple 'other parties interested in the proceeding.'"

"For the foregoing reasons, the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is DENIED."