Monday, July 14, 2003

Alpha Males Use Overture To Control Their Sexual Destiny

In case you wondered why Yahoo bought Overture ... here's my real live home grown example. I just saw a search in my referrer log for Alpha Male done in the Yahoo search engine. The first result is a paid-for result -- an advertiser who pays for the top slot on the term Alpha Male. Here's what you get:
SEDUCTION SCIENCE: Never Before Revealed, Proven Methods of Becoming An Alpha Male Through the Power of a Scientific System for Results, Regardless of Your Looks… That ANY Ordinary Guy Can Use To Control His Sexual Destiny. How Would It Feel Like To Be An Alpha Male And Have Beautiful Women - The Kind Of Women You Only See With The Rich And The Famous - The Kind Of Women You've Always Wanted But Only Dreamed Of ...
And what do you get if you just ask for the number 1 unpaid reference to Alpha Males out of 577,000 references? Something called Halley's Comment, weird eh? Check it out.

Prayers Across A Universe

Our prayers shoot like stars, across this network of heaven.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Girlism

It will hit you so hard. It will be SO under the radar. It's already here. It's over.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde

I'm sure I won't be the first to call this Lethally Blonde, but I say it with the highest praise. I loved this movie. Can I mention ... I TOLD YOU SO ... that Girlism was coming on fast and furious and there was no way to avoid it. And this movie is a training film (along with the next two I mention) on Girlism In Action.

Let's call this movie Exhibit A of Girlism -- and I'll define it for you new visitors who didn't read my diatribe on "What Ever Happened to Feminism" last fall. Feminism is oh-so-over and in its place, put Girlism. Girlism is all the power of feminism, but mixed with all the power of feminity -- it is truly a lethal combination. We're taking everything we learned at Harvard Law School (like the heroine of this movie, Elle Woods) and combining it with all the tradional female powers -- our innate ability to be wily, beguiling, mega-networked, intuitive, multi-tasking, sexy, cute and girl-smart.

Charlies' Angels II: Full Throttle

You must see it. And don't miss the first scene where the three girls save a kidnapped U.S. Marshall, take on a few hundred Manchurian warriors and quickly kick their asses, as well as drive their armored military vehicle off a bridge, while dodging heat-seeking missles, into a plunging concrete dam and waterway, only to be saved by a helicopter, neatly tucked inside the truck for just such moments, I guess, which they must adroitly land on, while in skidiving free fall after bailing out the windows of the truck . And don't miss the dialogue between the U.S. Marshall [Robert Patrick] they've rescued and Natalie [Cameron Diaz].
U.S. Marshall: "I'm afraid I underestimated you guys."

Natalie: "Yeah," shakes blonde ponytails back and forth, "that happens a lot."

Girlism at its finest. Yes, you can save lives in white thigh-high stockings and a white faux fur mini-parka. Guys, stop underestimating us. Very bad idea.

Whale Rider

Another movie about women leaders. Another movie about women being underestimated. Another movie about the gigantic cultural shift taking place. Another movie about Girlism.

I have this little problem. How to explain ... well, to start with I've got pretty good intuition, although that might be an understatement. I have a way of feeling the pulse of the world and I'm not a big snob about capital A Art versus capital P Pop Culture. All the signs are there. In art, in pop, in movies, in music. It's the next big thing. Women taking their place next to men to lead us into a new world. Holy Joan of Arc, is all I can say. If you haven't seen this movie WHALE RIDER I really wish you would. Here's what The New York Times wrote about it:

NEW YORK TIMES
Friday 6 June

MOVIE REVIEW
A Girl Born to Lead, Fighting the Odds
By ELVIS MITCHELL

The stoic mysticism of Niki Caro's cool-handed charmer Whale Rider — in which the young Pai must overcome resistance as she tries to assume her destiny as the leader of a tribe on the New Zealand coast — is wickedly absorbing. Much of the film's power comes from the delicate charisma of Keisha Castle-Hughes, making her acting debut as Pai.

Ms. Castle-Hughes lacks the traditional resources of an actress, and instead communicates her feelings through a wary hesitation. It doesn't matter that her voice makes her sound a little lost, still trying to find her way into a world that disdains her. Her intelligent, dark eyes are so expressive that she has the piquant confidence of a silent-film heroine. Her instinctive underplaying gives Whale Rider an added gravity, with the lush remoteness of the landscape serving as an entrancing contrast to the sugar-rush, you-go-girl empowerment of programmed pandering like "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," whose tweener heroine flails her arms and bats her eyes as if she were sending distress signals. The director demonstrates a class and tact that brand Whale Rider, which opens today in New York and Los Angeles, as more than a time-filler for young moviegoers or an ironman competition for adults accompanying them.

Pai's natural rectitude — the way she plays both pride and hurt — is even used by Ms. Caro as a hereditary trait. Pai's prickly grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene) displays a contempt for her that is like a deadpan force of nature itself. Koro, the tribal chief, wanted a grandson to take on his mantle. But Pai's twin brother died in a difficult birth, which also took her mother's life, and her father, Porourangi (Cliff Curtis), has deserted the family for a career as an artist. Koro treats his granddaughter as the living embodiment of a curse. When he bothers to pay attention to her at all, it's through a sharp cutting of his eyes in her direction.

Tradition dictates that the first-born grandson step into the role of chief, but Pai — named Paikea by her father, after the tribe's ancient ancestor, who legend says arrived in the village on the back of a whale — is all the family has. Her patient grandmother Nanny Flowers (Vicky Haughton) encourages Pai to give things time; Nanny Flowers also refuses to crumple under the galling chauvinism of her husband. But Pai has endured the suffering for all of her 12 years. And though she has a plucky physical assurance — the firm hand of her grandmother has helped keep her demeanor strong — she still wants the nurturing she feels is her due.

Ms. Caro treats the material with the calm of a silent film and exploits the extravagant beauty of the location for its majesty. Each shot of the vistas in the breathtakingly lovely village is presented with an even clarity; Ms. Caro and her cinematographer, Leon Narbey, let the audience be seduced by the daunting power, rather than overwhelming viewers with it. With a deft hand, the director bridges the disconnect between the modern touches in the village — like the hilarious, cranky chatter over card games — and the determination to cling to traditions. It is evident that tradition is the way the Whangara tribe maintains its spirituality, which defines it.

The critical moment comes in a set piece that has the potential to send the film off into florid, find-your-bliss sentimentality: a whale cruises too close to the shoreline and needs to be steered back into deeper, life-sustaining waters. Ms. Caro refuses to over saturate the film with anxious hyperdramatics. It is a moment in which she must show that she trusts her young star, a faith that pays off with a disarmingly touching climax.

But you will have surrendered to Whale Rider long before then. The film shows strength by tightening the rhythms of the scenes; be warned that the longueurs that surface in the first 10 minutes or so may make demands on your patience. Ms. Caro and her editor, David Coulson, obviously wanted to dissipate any feeling of forced pathos that might accompany the intense tragedy experienced by Pai's family. It's a welcome exercise of taste on the director's part.

Mr. Curtis's total immersion in the role of Pai's father rescues him from the typecasting of his previous work — playing dark-skinned bad guys of indeterminate ethnicity. His excitement alone adds a charge to the picture.

Ms. Caro's attempt to fight the mawkishness inherent in the film's opening by setting a tone of emotional tidiness makes the rest of Whale Rider distinctively efficient; this gamble makes the first section seem distended and a little drab. Still, there aren't many filmmakers who would have fought that initial heightening of heartbreak. Too flamboyant an opening would have left the movie with no place to go and embarrassed us with so early a claim on our sentiments. Bear with Whale Rider: once the picture kicks into gear, it has the inspiring resonance of found art.

Things You Never Think About When You're Well

You should see me hop, crawl and swear around my kitchen. Thing is, my usual meal preparations which are never terribly complicated, are so challenging, by being lame on one foot. Try making a hot cup of tea and then hopping with it into the dining room -- no can do. All my Starbuck's travel car cups are coming in handy this week. Try putting two blueberry english muffins with butter on a plate and hopping them into the living room -- great, there they go, butter-side down onto the rug, of course.

So after a while, you get the message and adapt. Crutches are almost as useless in a house. If you need to carry anything -- you can't do it with crutches which require both hands to be free. Not only do crutches require both hands but they require strong arms -- thank god I lift weights is all I can say. I can't imagine how people in bad shape manage at all. I'm in pretty good shape and this is a heckof a challenge getting around. I even do yoga and have relatively good balance and I keep falling down when I get out of balance.

Bottom line -- I spend a lot of time on my bottom. It's just easier. Dinner the first night took enormous energy to make and transport to the table. Lovely dinner, but was it worth all the work? Dinner the second night -- I sat on the floor in front of the fridge, pulled a few things out, poked through the shelves, ate the four essential food groups -- [easy to reach, easier to reach, easiest to reach and milk from the carton] and made the linoleum my linen tablecloth for the evening.

And Also With You

Christ be with you ... and also with you. Made it to church this morning, despite my hurting foot. Really good to be there. I like my church friends and miss them. I have to say though, just getting ready and dressed and made up and hair done with a bad foot is a challenge. Boy am I getting a lesson in how hard it is to live in a wheelchair and crutches in a regular runaround world. The great slowing down of Halley Suitt. Not that I didn't NEED to slow down, but this is a revelation. I certainly take my physical fitness for granted.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Emotional Awareness

"Before the stroke ..." PBS program on how our brains help create emotional awareness -- memories and the emotions that go with them. Study of a man who suffered a stroke and now has no emotional memory. Very strange. His wife, "I'd give everything up ... to have him back, emotionally."

Emotions are a navigational tool, help us go one way or the other, make decisions Emotions let you plan future actions -- happiness, sadness --- etc. You want to get more of that good thing that you got before.

With fear and anger, the body readies itself to rapidly get you out of danger. They are absolutely necessary and appropriate. Fight or flight.

Home Shopping Network -- Jackie's Cross To Bear

Yep, they're selling crosses that Jackie Kennedy used to wear -- and they're showing you the four that Andy Warhol sent her ... known as the Four Jackies ... I mean they're selling reproductions. "This looks like a million dollars," the television sales lady says. I can't stand HSN, but sat through a case study of the network at Harvard Business School one morning and HSN really knows how to do business. She says, "How gorgeous is that!? Simulated pearls and faux gold!"

Pool Party

Two women champs playing pool on Saturday afternoon TV. Man, all the stuff I've been missing! "She had too much draw there," the announcer says. No idea what they're talking about. Last month I had the first pool lesson ever. I almost get the idea. Allison Fisher seems to be kicking Helena Thornfeldt's butt. Direct from the Vieja's Casino in San Diego. I love San Diego.

Venus & Serena Williams -- Hey Sister

Great bios on the sisters on CNN People. Yep, I'm actually watching TV. I have a bunch of sisters ... I can't imagine having to directly compete with my own sister. Yikes.

Hop To

I'm getting so sick of hopping around with my bum foot -- and I'm not too crazy about these crutches. I'm wearing white flannel PJ pants drawstring-type with baby blue tiny snowmen on them -- the air conditioning is on too high -- and a Reebok tee-shirt, my big silver cross on a black cord, green jade on gold necklace, got my hair doing a Dharrma thing with a barette holding my bangs back.

Knocking around my house alone for the whole weekend -- surprising people who call when I'm just plain here and pick up. Eating salmon and pickled ginger -- perfect pink dinner. My laptop's sitting on my fanny lifter in the livingroom watching tv. My computer doesn't like watching TV, she's whining about it. "It's too noisy, it's stupid, it's not easy to get any real information from it," she says, "Yeah, maybe," I say. I'm drinking Vanilla Diet Coke. I'm looking over at my son's SonyPlaystation2 lustily ... my son's with his dad this weekend ... maybe I should ... hmmm ... he'd never know, right?

Let's Try Voting Next Time

Watching BookTV on CSPAN and listening to Jamin Raskin, author of "Overruling Democracy" discussing how we might get a President Elect in the next election instead of a President Select like Bush. He's debating Richard Posner.

Cape Escape

I go to the Cape starting Monday for a week with my family. Can't wait.

What Matters

I am visited in a most delightful season by strong spirits who fly to my aid to remind me what maters.

I mean, lately, what matters and what doesn't matter are doing little Noh plays before my very eyes -- such clarity is delivered upon my sorry head and mixed-up soul and sometimes it takes such a fog-lifting to make what is simple and obvious, simply obvious. So I welcome it. I heartily thank god and goddess for it.

One thing is for sure -- how much really doesn't matter at all. If much of it could be washed away tomorrow, all that would be left would be a simple soulful inventory, starting with love and friendship.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Reading The Cards On A Friday Night

Sometimes on a Friday night, you just want to hear some good news, sneak off and let the gypsy lady tell you what your future holds, let her deal the cards out in front of you. Like this.

Je Ne Regrette Rien

My favorite Edith Piaf song. And I really don't regret much of anything ... but I probably would have had more kids and more kids earlier ... but I suppose that's an odd thing to say -- we never know how things will turn out. When I finally got around to it at age 39 ... it was just about the best thing I ever did and I was good at it, something I didn't expect.

Still Stuck On The Year 2013

I have to say, I'm still thinking of the post I wrote last week about what will we be doing in ten years? It comes so much faster than you would think. Just like April 15th Tax Day. Just wake up one morning and THERE IT IS. And I want to really get a handle on this 2013 thing. I want to really put my ducks in a row. Was talking about it with a girlfriend tonight. I said, "who will we be making dinner for in ten years?" Got us both thinking.

SuperNova Howdy And How Do

It was a great conference IN THE ROOM, but it was even a greater conference OUT OF THE ROOM, if you know what I mean. Just great to meet people like Cory Doctorow -- who I was beginning to think was imaginary, like a Disney character -- and Mena Trott who was very sultry and fine -- and Jason DeFillipo, who you can't help flipping for -- and even meeting up with friends I didn't particularly expect to see at all -- like John Jordan from Cap Gemini and David Weinberger from down the street and Anil Dash, who I was teasing but I think is A+ and smart, smart, smart and if I said the A word it wasn't about him at all. .

Fun Baseball Chat

Good fun to talk about baseball with Dan Gillmor and David Isenberg

Conference Meat and Greet

There were a lot of great folks at the SuperNova Conference -- lots I knew and I was so glad to meet up with again, many I did not, and it was great fun to finally meet them. Sure was weird to spend most of the event in a wheelchair. I finally get why Dean Kamen designed a wheelchair that let's you stand on eye-to-eye level with your colleagues, instead of always being belt-buckle level.

Meeting Joi

Meeting Joi Ito was very fun. I can't remember if he made the joke about High Heel Hari Kari or about RSS = Red Stilletto Syndrome. Next time we meet I will NOT impale myself with my own high-heeled sandal. Don't want him thinking this is how East Coast girls like to distinguish themselves from the rest of the women of the world.
Well East Coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when I'm down there
The Mid-West farmer's daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

The West coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a french bikini on Hawaii island
Dolls by a palm tree in the sand

I been all around this great big world
And I seen all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldn't wait to get back in the states
Back to the cutest girls in the world

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)

The Beach Boys

I Wrote All Night

I feel like writing a lot tonight, but I know that's a bad idea. But maybe this is a good idea.
I Drove All Night

I had to escape
The city was sticky and cruel
Maybe I should have called you first
But I was dying to get to you
I was dreaming while I drove
The long straight road ahead, uh, huh

Could taste your sweet kisses
Your arms open wide
This fever for you is just burning me up inside

I drove all night to get to you
Is that alright
I drove all night
Crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep
To make love to you
Is that alright
I drove all night

What in this world
Keep us from tearing apart
No matter where I go I hear
The beating of your heart
I think about you
When the night is cold and dark
No one can move me
The way that you do
Nothing erases the feeling between me and you

I drove all night to get to you
Is that alright
I drove all night
Crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep
To make love to you
Is that alright
I drove all night

Could taste your sweet kisses
Your arms open wide
This fever for you is just burning me up inside

I drove all night to get to you
Is that alright
I drove all night
Crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep
To make love to you
I drove all night... to hold you tight

© 1989 Billy Steinberg Music and Denise Barry Music (ASCAP)

Daredevil

Problem with these crutches is they kindof lure me into doing really wreckless stuff. I'm being a little too crazy on them. I like to balance on one and try to clean house, or whack someone on the butt with the other. I need to curb my enthusiasms, stop my experiments. They are great for covering distance fast. My arms will soon look like Popeye's however.

Crutches Seem To Have Side Effects

Come girls, fess up. Don't crutches make you look a lot more busty!? Hell, I feel like Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to JFK ... except she wasn't on crutches, but maybe these crutches won't be so bad after all.

Grey And Black Bed And Bath Linens

These sheets are so nice, but so NOT for women and so for men. Or tell me I'm wrong. And same with these towels. Very newly divorced male demographic I think.

New Silver Crutches

Doctor gave me a new pair of silver aluminum spacey-age crutches today. Now I travel in style. And all you folks who know who to use crutches well -- my hat's off to you. They aren't all that easy.

Pears, Plums, Peaches, Nectarines

Ever since I hurt my foot Monday evening and I can only hop around my house, I've started to s---l----o----w down a lot and notice simple things. Like a beautiful bowl of summer fruit on my table. Great reds and purples and pink blush colors. July fruit.

Read This

Jeneane totally disagrees with the Emerson thing. Very interesting,.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Out Sick Today

Calling in sick today. My foot's a mess and I need to rest and heal up, which means, in my case, heel up. Go read this if you want to look at something interesting: The Power of Full Engagement

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Weinberger on Digital Identity

Weinberger's speaking at SuperNova. Digital Identity? He hates it. It has ZERO user-driven demand. It's coming from top down - from "they" -- that there is the SPAM issue and the credit card fraud concerns, but that still doesn't convince him that we need it.

In World of Ends -- Doc came up with the term "repetive mistake syndrome" -- failure to understand where the web's value comes from. End-to-end network, stupid network (Eisenberg), let the innovation stay at the edges, including something like Digital ID.

Both Acrobat and Flash are proprietary systems which have entered the center of the network and required to for instance, use the IRS site, to deal with the government. He doesn't like that.

We can become "Internet Amish" if we decide to opt-out of ... (forgot what he was saying) ... DRM sounds "perfect, fantastic, great ".. how can you argue with it? It's all great on paper -- it's not exactly the way it's working. But what if it requires me to have "trusted computer" and "trusted program" PROBABLY BOTH FROM MICROSOFT ... locks me out of my own pop culture if it's the only way I can get music, movies, etc.

It could result in a bifurcating of the web -- one you must be "authenticated" to be a part of - one that's more like the current public web. An open messy web. Perhaps the companies that participate in the open webby mess, will be a little less controlling, to be a lot less controlling.

The way this authenticated web looks -- like a corporate intranet -- boring. IM swept the web because it's funny, flirty, wild. Now it's part of corporate surveillance -- checking to see if you're at your desk, if you're instantly interruptible.

NOT FINISHED WILL ADD MORE LATER.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

My Heros

Big big thanks to my friends Liz Lane and Paddy Holahan who helped me get back to the hotel in a cab, came up with a kleenex to staunch the flow of my bloody foot, to ask me ten times "When was the last time you got a tetanus shot?" They were swell. Always invite them along for a disaster.

And Liz, oh my lord, she took me to the ER at 11:00 and sat there through hours of Jay Leno in the waiting room and even late reruns of Jay Leno as I was getting triaged.

She is wonderful and I can't imagine how she could be so kind and supportive after a long day of travel (including getting drenched earlier in the day) and knowing she would barely get any sleep and be completely wiped out today during the Supernova conference. But hell, she's a mom and that's the most wonderful thing in the world. Always have a mom around when the shit hits the proverbial fan. And if you have to pick a mom, pick Liz!

Ouch

Red dresses and belly dancing seem to lead to no good. I ended the party at Supernova last night in an ambulance, followed by 4 hours at the ER in Arlington, VI. I've got a deep puncture wound on the bottom of my left foot. How did it happen? I stepped on something very sharp in the dark while I was barefoot.

The tetanus shot was ouchy but nothing compared to the three shots in my foot before they used their sucker vacuum to clean the wound. Great suction, I think they took a few of my tooth filings out with everything else. Ugh.

Best of all -- they told me stories, way worse than mine -- about the morning of 9/11. They were one of the closest hospital to the Pentagon. They were cleaning up serious wounds, much more life-threatening than mine.

Wheelchairing is very interesting. I'll write about it -- the kind way people treat you, the truly lousy accessibility handicap folks must deal with on a daily basis. Big eye opener.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

What's A Weblog?

People are still asking ... which is great, I guess, but here's an old post I did in November 2002 on the subject and now I think they've changed so radically since I wrote it, it doesn't even come close to explaining the notion of a weblog.

Rafat You're So Cool

Rafat of PaidContent.org won the Best News Weblog of The Year award at the NetMedia Awards 2003 in Barcelona.

[Disclaimer, yes, my new company, Yaga.com advertises on Rafat's site and we think he's great.]

Lucy Liu And My Girl Drew, Cameron D and Destiny

Yep, that's how the theme song for the last Charlie's Angels movie started. I'm off to see the new one. Full Throttle. [Notice how this site looks a lot like a blog.]. BTW, here's some of the songs from the new movie soundtrack.

"Feel Good Time" - Pink Featuring William Orbit
"Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" - Nickelback featuring Kid Rock
"Rebel Rebel" - David Bowie
"Danger! High Voltage" - Electric Six
"Livin' On A Prayer" - Bon Jovi
"Any Way You Want It" - Journey
"Surfer Girl" - The Beach Boys
"Working For The Weekend" - Loverboy
"A Girl Like You" - Edwyn Collins
"Nas' Angels...The Flyest" - Nas featuring Pharrell
"I Just Wanna Be Your Everything" - Andy Gibb
"This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" - Natalie Cole
"U Can't Touch This" - MC Hammer
"Last Dance" - Donna Summer

Get Out Your Weapons of Ass Destruction

Bush can beg for funding to stop the war on criticism but blogs may prove to be the perfect nuclear high colonic this administration sorely needs.

Hey Mena, Kim, Liz, Beth, Ellen, Amy, Sarah and Adina!

Is it for real? Joi Ito's Monday night party at Supernova seems to be about 60 men and 10 women. Talk about Alpha Male Summits! I'll be there. Don't worry, we'll balance them out. Maybe only a handful of women -- but what a handful!

[Sorry if I left anyone out.]

Gnomedex Will Rock

Hey, speaking of killer conferences ... is it true ... I just read both Gnome-Girl and Scoble will be at Gnomedex! Now I have to get out to Des Moines. Don't want to miss it.

Supernova Strong Suitt

It will be fun to see all the old familiar faces (and some new ones) at Supernova in DC this week but better still is the bottom line that makes or beaks any conference for me -- workout facilities:

Work Out

Off to work out. Can you say JUST DO IT in French?

Ten Years From Now

Look ahead ten years. Answer some of these questions honestly. May get you thinking.

And then in 2023, will we look back and say "Ah, yes, 2013, the good old days. "

1. How old will you be. [I'll be 57 -- older and wiser I hope.]

2. If you have kids, how old will they be? [Mine will be 18, just leaving home I expect.]

3. If you want kids, how many will you have by then? [I guess I could have another, but boy would I be tired. And is it fair to have a kid at 47, knowing when they are 20, you'll be 67? I tend to think NOT.]

4. Where do you see yourself living? [Will I be battling Boston winters, sweating the humid summers ... ugh, sure makes California look good.]

5. Set the dinner table, how many plates, who will you have sharing your meals, what will you talk about? [This is a tough one. I used to think I wanted a house full of people. Not at all sure of that any more and enjoy my time alone.]

6. In your work, what will you be doing, what will you have accomplished? [I want to think long and hard on this. My ten-year plan is all about words.]

7. How's your health? [I hope I'll be strong and fit like now, if not stronger and more fit. It gets more important every year, to keep my mind and body in shape. Moderation in all things. Especially in your 40's and 50's, you see a lifetime of bad habits -- smoking, drinking, bad eating -- come slowly after you and your friends, taking one after another of you out. Glad I saw it in my parent's illnesses. Both smoked and it ultimately undermined their longevity.]

8. Finances -- what will you be living on? [I expect to keep working, but that's more about being healthy, less about finances.]

9. Who will be president? [It will be a woman, but I'm not sure who.]

10. Will you have a mate? {Tricky one again. Maybe that's something you really can't plan ... but read the post below about a friend's fateful meeting with her soulmate, ten years back, and how it changed the answers to all of the questions above ... except no. 9, I suppose.]

Ten Years Ago

I liked reading this post from Liz Lane Lawley. Her life turned on a dime when she met her soulmate. Ten years ago.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Provincetown WiFi

Okay, someone knows where you can get good WiFi in Provincetown. I'll be there not this week but the week after so any help in that department would be appreciatged. Thanks!

Get Your Bike Out

If you have a Target near you, you can get a great bike cheap. Makes the summer a lot more fun. Get your bike out and take an early morning tour.

The New Tan

Even I have to admit it's a little crazy. Elle Magazine suggests the new tan is one you PURCHASE, not one you get at the beach for free. Go figure.

You Know It's Hot When ...

You know it's hot when you look at the Elle Magazine site -- plastered with a bunch of near naked models -- and none of them look as delicious as the the Starbuck's icey drink.

That Blonde Thing

I've got to think about the blonde thing -- why it gets them going. It's disarming, as it looks innocent but proves more often lethal. Reese Witherspoon articles lately show the brilliant Alpha Female behind the Clairol shade.

Stay Wet and Wild This Weekend

It's just so darned hot in Boston ... wish I'd enjoyed those three days of spring ... the ones after a 3 foot snow melted and the 100% humidity 90 degree days started. Get your surfer dude duds on.

Legally Blonde Legislation

Had to see the movie Legally Blonde 2 tonight, couldn't resist. You can think it's silly fluff, but there was a lot to it. I've got to let it sit in the hopper for a while before voting on it -- but I'll go public soon and write a full review. That the movie gets Elle Wood, our favorite blond babe Harvard Law School grad to Washington, DC in this year before the elections is no coincidence.

Fireworks

Glad they think it's so easy to photograph fireworks. I don't think so.

Stars And Stripes Forever

Can't go wrong with this song this weekend. John Phillip Sousa, man was he jiggy and cool and hip and hop and didn't stop.

Real Alpha Babes Don't Tell

Rageboy's telling tales out of school. He knows I used to lean against the brick wall in the recess yard and let boys steal a kiss and even try to make me smoke cigs, but I never went all the way. Never inhaled. And all their secrets are safe with me.

American Life

Do I have to change my name? (Uh)
Will it get me far?
Should I lose some weight? (Uh)
Am I gonna be a star?

Missy and Madonna boy, ain't nothin' better
Hotter than fat bitches dancin' in a sweater
Madonna am I okay skinny or fatter
When I rap on this track *sniff* all I smell is cheddar
You and I together, yo' we're tougher than leather
Make pop artists scatter when we talk chit-chatter
It really don't matter what time of day or weather
Or who's ass really fatter, my kadunk-kadunk badder
A rap so sick, won't stop, won't quit
All on my dick, like my name was 50 Cent, G-Unit!
I come with the heat, see my hits
Sound so sweet, Missy ain't pissy
Is you dizzy, is you with me
Tip me when you see me, 'cause you tryna get with me
Madonna bring the drama, oh mama that's trauma
Tougher than armor for your papa and your mama

I tried to be a boy, I tried to be a girl
I tried to be a mess, I tried to be the best
I guess I did it wrong, that's why I wrote this song
This type of modern life, is it for me?
I'd like to express my extreme point of view
I'd like to express my extreme point of view
(A Madonna exclusive)
So I went into a bar, looking for sympathy
A little company, I tried to find a friend
It's more easily said, it's always been the same
This type of modern life, is not for me
This type of modern life, is not for free
Do I have to change my name? (C'mon)

American life (American life)
I live the American dream (American dream)
You are the best thing I've seen
You are not just a dream

I tried to stay ahead, I tried to stay on top
I tried to play the part, but some how I forgot
Just what I did it for, and why I wanted more
This type of modern life, is it for me?
Fuck it
Ah, fuck it
Ah, fuck it
Ah, fuck it
Ah, fuck it, uh-huh

[Chorus]

This is, a Madonna exclusive
This is, the American Life, fuck it

[Madonna Rap]
I'm drinking a Soy latte
I get a double shoté
It goes right through my body
And you know I'm satisfied
I drive my Mini Cooper
And I'm feeling super-dooper
Yo they tell I'm a trooper
And you know I'm satisfied
I do yoga and palates
And the room is full of hotties
So I'm checking out the bodies
And you know I'm satisfied
I'm digging on the isotopes
This metaphysic's shit is dope
And if all this can give me hope
You know I'm satisfied
I got a lawyer and a manager
An agent and a chef
Three nannies, an assistant
And a driver and a jet
A trainer and a butler
And a bodyguard or five
A gardener and a stylist
Do you think I'm satisfied?
I'd like to express my extreme point of view
I'm not Christian and I'm not a Jew
I'm just living out the American dream
And I just realised that nothing
Is what it seems
What it seems (C'mon)

[Chorus]

[Outro: Missy Elliott]
This is the American Life, FUCK IT
American Life

Thursday, July 03, 2003

How To Become An Alpha Male In 18 Easy Lessons: Lesson 17: Love Letter To An Alpha Male

I love you. There -- it's so simple -- easy to say, hard to say, must be said. I'm watching you. From close up, sometimes from far away and I love what I see. You make me grin, secretly, I dare not say how much. Much too much.

In the morning, I love to pretend to be asleep when you have to leave early and I steal a peek at your bare butt heading towards the bathroom. I like to hear the rittley-rattley noise of your showering, your shaving, your general banging and bumping about. You think you're quiet -- you're not -- but it makes me laugh. If I do the same to you, getting up at the crack of dawn and make the slightest noise, you're a grouchy bear, or worse (and better) you take your furry paw stealthily, out of the covers, I never see it coming, as I tiptoe by, seconds from making it out the door -- all dressed, hair done, make-up done -- you grab me, strongarm me right around the waist back into bed, bottoms up, high heels flying, me protesting weakly, all my morning clean-up efforts for naught as you kiss away fake blush and lipstick, leaving real blushing and sexy wet lips in their place. Where the hell did you get that strong body, it surely makes me swoon. We make a battlefield of the bed, my ironed blouse, my smooth skirt, soon a wrinkly pile. You love to make me late.

We pretend it's easy to part. We go off. You have projects. I have things to do. Things to get. People to see. We think we'll talk at day's end, but hardly. We are thirsty for one another within the hour -- but hate to admit, so resist the urge to call. Within two hours there's something I just have to tell you -- something I read, something someone said -- I have to share it. Can't wait to hear what you think. And you, there's that thing you had to tell me, something silly or something serious, but it can't wait until later. People out in public overhear our chatter and they know -- all the while, we pretend there's nothing to it.

There's some strange arithmetic to you, alpha male. Two plus two doesn't necessarily add up. You do the most unexpected, risky, crazy things and they work. You have nerve. You are nuts. You have balls. Bottom line, I like it. I don't even know why. Sometimes I wish I didn't, it would be easier. I could run away. I could escape if I didn't like you so damned much. But I always come back for more.

Evening stirs me ... no matter how miffed you might have made me during the day ... I will turn to see the sunset, my skin fitting just right, my hips remembering you, I sigh and smile to see evening coming. Twilight and I know the warriors must put down their weapons, erect their tents. There is a table for food -- I want to fill it for you. There are candles -- I bend down to light them. I let my hair down, slip off shoes, pad around on the cool floor feet naked. I had a notion to tell you how wrong you were about something in the hot light of mid-day, but it's gone, blown away now by the same evening breeze that lifts the hem of my skirt. I yield to the mystery of the night. Reminds me of the mystery of a man. The mystery of you.

Happy Anniversary

I love a good wedding story. Congratulations to Betsy Devine!

Bathing Beauties

Enjoy the beach this weekend like these bathing beauties of yesteryear, years gone by, this year, years to come.

America's Best Beaches

How many of these top sand spots have you visited? I have to say. I've only been to two on their list. Key West and St. John.

Be vewy vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits.

My kid and I are watching Elmer Fudd Comedy Capers video. Just found out this one is out of print and a collector's item, no less. Can't get enough of Bugs Bunny in "The Barber of Seville" and "What's Up, Doc?" where Bugs lounges poolside at a Hollywood Hotel in a chaise lounge, recounting his struggling actor story from vaudeville to the big time, to a gossip columnist is the ultimate. Chuck Jones must have been a riot.
"

Perfect Holiday -- Independence Day

The cover of the The New Yorker Magazine says it all. A guy roasting hot dogs on the grill -- a blue and white spatula with star holes -- red stripes of the dogs -- all lines up into a make-shift American flag. Even better, in the front section of the magazine, The Talk of the Town, Hendrik Hertzberg,reminds us why the 4th might just be the perfect holiday -- sorry in advance to my British friends.
The Fourth of July is one of the best holidays around: fireworks that get better every year, no gift-giving hassles, not too much commercial exploitation, nice weather (usually), no religious test for participation. And, no doubt, throwing off the yoke of perfidious Albion is something to celebrate. Still, every now and then a small regret intrudes that we weren?’t able to work out a peaceful resolution of our differences with the mother country. God knows we tried (?“We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms,?” the Declaration of Independence notes sadly), but George III wouldn?’t listen to reason. A little less taxation, a little more representation, and, presto?—two hundred and twenty-seven years later, we might all be Canadians. Would that be so terrible?
Hertzberg goes on to wonder about whether we might not be better off as Canadians, writing on their recent legalization of same-sex marriages, their thumbs down on getting involved in the Iraq conflict and reminding us of their treasure trove of comedy talent (Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Martin Short) that hails from the North.

I say YES, let's go Canadian, as long as Mike Myers is President/King of our new nation. I mean why not start with a presdent who's political platform is a fur-covered rotating round bachelor bed and slogans include "Do I Make You Randy?"

Knee High By The 4th of July

Yep, we're getting down home here at Halley's Comment. Going out back to check on my corn crop. It better be knee-high or I won't be shooting off any fireworks.

Hey, wait a minute, these farmers say I should stay inside and use a computer to grow my corn.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Wow Post

Joi Ito just posted an amazing response to my post. Talk about growing up in an Alpha Female Empire ... very interesting long line of strong women in his family tree.

Alpha Male Next Brewing

That little writer in my head who sits at her desk scribbling all the time while I'm walking around town, eating dinner and sleeping, just sent me a note -- on yellowed parchment with quill pen scrawl -- to let me know she's got the next chapter of the Alpha Male series pretty much figured out and will let me transcribe it soon. Thanks, tiny writer lady, much appreciated. What about a title? Oh, says she, do you HAVE to know? Yes, says me, tell me. Okay, okay, says she, it's called "Love Letter To An Alpha Male." Mmmmm, says me, I like it

Hey, Joi, Here I Am

I've been getting to know Joi Ito -- finally -- and reading his blog about IRC and Salaryman Suicide (yikes) and all sorts of things. When reading about his new IRC community of friends, it touches something deep in me. It occurs to me that people have a gigantic interest in knowing one another, as well as knowing about one another. Admit it. Everyone does. You want to know all the stupid little details about how other people live and what they do and what they eat and what they think, don't you?

So here I am. I am sitting at 5:11am in my red plaid cotton Old Navy pj's at my dining room table, typing on my new Vaio that they gave me at my new job at Yaga.com which btw is really a great place to work -- it happens to be a great place to work for a lot of reasons -- but it's literally a "great place" to work because it's in my house -- right here -- I work out of my own home -- with HQ in San Francisco. I just started and it's so exciting because the people I work with are terrific and amazingly smart and interesting to work with, learn from, think through things with. It's a blessing to get connected to them.

What really turns me on about my job -- and it occurred to me in a meeting in NYC last week -- is after years of working on white papers and books and other great projects ABOUT ecommerce -- I was finally back in sales, as Director of Client -- wait, I forgot who I was there for a minute -- had to go into my office, take my new business cards down from a high shelf and read them. Oh, yeah, they say, "Halley Suitt, Director, Client Development" which is what I am now.

Anyway, I was sitting in a meeting in NYC at a very big publishing company and I realized and it was like finding CANDY IN YOUR PURSE YOU FORGOT YOU HAD -- I was so excited, I thought, "Oh my god, I'm not writing something theoretical about ecommerce here -- I'm here really trying to help these guys sell stuff on the web." May not turn you on, but it sure turned me on. And our Sales Support Engineer Josh was doing a terrific WebEx demo for us from SF and my boss Nell was doing a kick-ass presentation and it was really terrifically exciting. (Apologies to all there, I had gotten up SO EARLY to take the Acela train to NYC from Boston that I was both excited but also semi-falling asleep in the meeting.)

So here I am -- back in my dining room. There is the most exquisite vase -- a glass cylinder my sister gave me -- sitting on the table next to me -- filled with lavendar, purple, violet, grey, lilac colored silk pansies -- just lovely. Also big square pale bone white candles -- that look a bit like big office buildings in some far away city -- with black wicks from last night's dinner when they glowed yellow, my little office suite. I have five candles and I could write "Building One" through "Building Five" on them and then tell people on email or IM when I'm working here next to my purple pansies and candles that , "Yes, come on over, I'm working in Building Four today." It would sound very believeable.

But back to Here I Am-ville. I guess I was trying to tell Joi Ito who I am ... I guess I am Halley Suitt, Director, Client Development in my plaid pjs with a mop of blond-hair, looking a bit like Einstein did my coiffeur, only thing about his head and mine that we have in common, a crazy pile of hair. (Bugs Bunny: "Welcome to my shop, let me cut your mop. Yes, you're next, you're SO NEXT.) And if I had any more boxes of business cards they might read, "Halley Suitt, Mom" as my son's asleep down the hall, all cozied in -- I just checked on his blankets being tucked up around his neck instead of kicked down to the bottom of the bed. And then there's my business card "Halley Suitt, Tea Drinker" as I flip the switch on my Russell Banks Electric Tea Kettle, no wait, Russell Baker, no Russell Hobbs Electric Tea Kettle. I take the box of Twinings English Breakfast out of the cupboard, thinking with a smile that Gary Turner's breakfast, as well as Euan Semple's are probably long over as it's five hours later there. Niek and Adam in Holland are an hour ahead of them. Sunny day, maybe off to the beach? Holland has some lovely beaches. And Joi is close to dinner in Japan I figure. I hope Gnome-Girl is snoozing in SF. Vince Nunsequitor too. Even most of Boston is asleep. I love the folks in my uber-village. Wish them well.

The tea kettle clicks. I'll make a pot in a black tea pot I bought around Christmas time this year and then walk down the main corridor of Building 2 -- it's the big one on the end under the shade of that explosion of pansies, aka, forget-me-nots.

Holy Conference Guacamole

Doc explains how three big conferences are all taking place at nearly the exact same time next week! Read about it here. I'm heading to Supernova in Washington DC and looking forward to finally meeting Joi Ito. David Weinberger is headed that way from what I understand. Also Anil Dash. Also ... well a lot of cool bloggers should be there.

BTW, if Kevin Werbach offers me a slot, I'd be happy to read a new chapter of "How To Become An Alpha Male in 18 Easy Lessons" at Supernova. It's the last chapter.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

It's A Mom Thing

Okay, I have to admit, I broke down and got my kid a SonyPlaystation2 for his birthday against all my best intentions, but GEEZ it's fun. I'm here doing email, cooking gyoza dumplings, throwing in laundry, chatting with friends and my kid is stuck with Jax and Daxter (or some game I got him) and getting all upset because he can't line up some cross-haired device with some glowing orb or something -- I don't get it at all, but he asks for help, knowing all along that I stink that this kind of thing.

I take the controller, move it quickly into place and blue beams start shooting from blue bulb to blue bulb and I've done exactly what was needed in 2 seconds. He screams, "How did you do that Mom?!" "I don't know," says I, "but I couldn't stand burning the dumplings so I just did something." He is still stunned, and stuck in place. I fly into the kitchen and find the gyoza dumplings are just right -- not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Multi-tasker, thy name is mother.

Frankly Frank

Yep, Frank Paynter does it again. He guessed the quote below was from Henry James' Portrait of A Lady and he WAS RIGHT. He even sent me this link -- did he buy me a teaset from eBay? Oh, Frank you shouldn't have.

Name That Tune -- I Mean Book

Your name in lights -- RIGHT HERE. Whoever emails me the name of the book this is from -- be first, be famous.
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

Tea Time

ICED tea time that is. Eating pretzels and iced tea on a lovely afternoon. The humidity finally broke and we're having a lovely sunny day. I might even be a little sunburned in some places from going native in the backyard with WiFi and some Coppertone.

Expense Reports

Time to get the little shreds of paper all together in a pile and try to make heads or tails of them. Don't you just LOATHE doing expense reports. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Hey Vito, Is My Car Ready?

Yes, believe it or not, that's the name of the nail polish I'm wearing. Actually it's called "Hey Vito, Is My Car Red-y?" It's just one of the O.P.I nail laquers.

O.P.I. is the porsche of nail polish and the names of the colors are really out of this world. They launched a terrific line of colors in the spring while we were all freezing our butts off in Boston called their Las Vegas Collection -- check out a favorite of mine called "Taupe-less Showgirls" Made me want to jump right on a plane for Las Vegas.

And then there was the European collection last fall and winter. How terrific is Amsterdamsel In Distress? And hell, who wouldn't want to get all painted up in "Kinky In Helsinki" and of course, as all European women know, "It's My Prague-ative" when it comes right down to it.

They are co-branding with the next LEGALLY BLONDE movie with three 4th of July colors called Red-y For Anything and Blonde Date, among others. They just know how to have fun these O.P.I. folks. I love their marketing attitude.

With A Thong In My Heart

A rather mild-mannered mom friend asked me why I like to wear thongs and weren't they really uncomfortable. Hmmm .... said I. Thought of the song lyrics,"It's like tryin' to tell a stranger 'bout-a rock 'n' roll."

I couldn't tell her how hot they make ME feel, not to mention others who get to take peek at them. I couldn't explain how great it feels to have your jeans or anything else you're wearing rub against your bare butt, I know that would have made her blush. Why do I like to wear thongs ... I tried a different approach. "Well," I said, "Let's just say they keep me on my diet."

Go Figure

Maybe some day I'll understand. Like round about when I'm 95 or something. Maybe someday I'll really understand why it is people can say the most insulting things to you, do the most dreadful things to you, drop the nastiest email into your inbox and then expect you to play nice with them. What am I missing? It's hard enough to understand why people think being insulting is a good strategy for maintaining any shred of a relationship, but how they get around to the notion that they can insult you and everything will still be happy-happy-happy-all-the-time-time-time and we can all be friends ... well, I just don't get it. Go figure.

Breathe -- D'uh

Two types of exercise still just about kill me. Push-ups and abdominal exercises of every type. But someone gave me the most important hint -- I can't remember if it was a fellow worker-outer, or a trainer in a health club, or someone on a fitness tape, but it CHANGED EVERYTHING.

They said most people just down BREATHE enough when they do ab crunches and it really matters. So I started making a conscious effort to breathe and wow, what a difference it made. Same thing when it comes to push-ups.

Flat Abs

Shape Magazine is all about flat abs this month. Big surprise -- your belly will look better if you're eating lots of fiber like grains, beans, prunes and those rough-and-tough green vegetables like kale and collard greens. Of course, water water water is their other secret recipe.

Working Out/ Working Back Up

I was sick for more than two weeks and haven't been exercising. Working out these past few days has been so tough. Working back up to the level of fitness I was hitting before getting this cough and cold is so difficult. But that's the thing -- it's about working back up to it. I want to be right where I was and can't seem to get my head around the fact that I've lost a lot of wellness and fitness.

I had an interesting conversation with my sister about this. In so many areas of life, if you fall off the wagon, getting back into the groove is so hard. It's really an important thing to be aware of. Realize you will have trouble coming back. Realize you have to deal with it. Realize that things DO change and vary and nothing is fixed -- it's all static. Your level of fitness or expertise or ability falls off -- things change -- but it's just that very fact that means you can CHANGE from less fit to more fit, or less rich to more rich, or less patient to more patient.

I see it all the time in business and over the years it's begun to hit me that the most successful people are the ones that fall on their faces a lot AND GET BACK UP FAST. That key time of recovery makes you or breaks you. That painful moment where you face the facts -- I'm out of shape, I'm out of money, I'm out of gas, whatever -- and then face the problem head on and do something about it, that's what separates winner from loser. Open up that messy closet, rip it apart and clean it up. Even just one small corner of it. Get down on the floor and start doing those push-ups again -- even if you can only do three or four. Pull out those bills from that crammed drawer. Pay one. Just one, but pay it now.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Think About It

Do you have a kidney you can spare? Do you have a donor card in your wallet next to your driver's license? I do.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Party! Party! Party!

My tiny baby son is 8 years old today! How did THAT happen?

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Dying To Tell You Our Stories

I was talking with Dave Winer about what happened at the Jupiter Conference when Tony Perkins, former editor of Red Herring Magazine and now CEO of AlwaysOn.com spoke. Everyone was very tough on him. The A list bloggers in the audience wanted to give him a message -- you are NOT one of us. There was a very antagonistic crowd listening to his keynote and the Q&A was very contentious. I don't have a thing against the man, and in fact, he may be a lovely person, but he became a lightning rod for an issue which is fundamental to blogging. I don't know what to call it, but I'm going to talk about it. Let me start by saying, Tony Perkins is NOT Anne Frank.

Anne Frank was a young girl writing a diary, falling in love, hiding behind a bookcase in a tiny apartment in Amsterdam, during the Nazi occupation. Later she was dead and only a diary. Ironically, Anne Frank ended up living on a bookcase shelf. Many bookcase shelves, all over the world. The life she documented was simple and lively. The difficult circumstances under which she lived exalted her writing. She was simply telling her story. And, as you've probably guessed, I think of Anne Frank as a blogger.

Dave and I were talking about an often overlooked aspect of blogging. Blogs are not simply online diaries. They are not simply a new form of instant publishing and group-think. Many are written by people who have been to hell and back.

On June 25, Andrew Sullivan, opinionated blogmeister supreme and brilliant writer, wrote about his ten-year anniversary of finding out he is HIV positive and how he's managed to survive. On June 14, 2002, Winer's blog went black for a week when he had unexpected heart by-pass surgery. As he recounted the other day, we were wondering how his friend Brian Buck, who is battling cancer is managing. We all sit on the edge of our seats routing for him and wince when he does not post on a regular basis. Much of my early blogging was about my father's downward spiral into illness and finally his death last year on April 9th.

Am I saying you have to turn your blog into General Hospital to get readers? Not at all. I'm saying that many of us have been through personal crises that have given us new wisdom, new clarity about what matters and what doesn't. These difficult circumstances have the positive aspect of elevating our writing. The bloggers who lived through and recounted September 11, 2001 also share this legacy. It's the blood and guts of blogging. It's a life and death thing. It's not casual. We have some skin in the game.

The life and death bloggers aren't writing casually. They are writing for their lives. They are writing to stay alive. They are writing about what it feels like to be alive -- knowing that all that will be left behind is their words. They are writing because it really, really matters. Tony Perkins is not Anne Frank -- nor does he want to be, nor should he aspire to be. But like Tony, anyone who wants to join the party needs to be aware of the tradition of this medium --- enter this inner sanctum with head bowed, hat in hand. Tread lightly in this place. Show us your real self. We're naked here, are you? We're alive here, but we're also dying. Dying to tell you our stories.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Air Conditioner

It's hot as blazes here and I knew it was coming and I warned a friend to buy an air conditioner last week. Last week it was 50 degrees, so it was hard to imagine there was much urgency to the task. But around about Monday when it went from 50 to 90 in one day, my argument proved more compelling -- that owning an air conditioner would not be a bad idea.

Have you ever installed an air conditioner? It's no fun. I had done it with my dad and I knew a little bit. I'm not the kind of person you would consider terribly technical, in fact, this friend who needed the air conditioner didn't expect me to know anything at all about installing air conditioners, but that was where he was wrong.

We took the thing -- a heavy thing -- out of the box. I dove for the instruction manual. "I used to write these," I explained. I really do believe if you read the directions enough times and look at the wacky little diagrams you can figure the thing out. I read the thing cover to cover like a smutty novel while he rummaged around for a Phillips head screwdriver. I could tell he doubted our ultimate success on this already hot and humid evening. "How long do you think it will take?" he asked. His tone was not optimistic. "About 2 hours," I said. "Do you think we can do it?" he was not sanguine. "Yes," I said.

It would be so easy to spend the next two hours, hot, sweaty and biting one another's heads off with such a task ahead of us, but that did NOT happen. I think he was shocked to see I could be methodical, persistent and rather resourceful in the face of this big heavy slab of metal coils, fan, housing unit.

I told him stories of my dad and I lifting these monsters into old windows, him asking me to hold onto the cord, explaining its importance, then slowly angling the thing down a bit so the water from condensation would drip away from the unit, then watching it delicately balanced in the window, only to suddenly tip backwards just a little too far and start a suicidal slide down the roof, saved by the plug which I gripped for dear life in my strong girl hands. My dad and I would laugh as he cursed the bloody box with a mind of its own. "Halley Biz, you saved the day!" he'd say.

Back in the hot room, we were painstakingly reading the directions again. "Before we start anything, I want to tell you the story," I announced closing the manual. "Here's what they are telling us. They want us to take the whole thing -- all the guts -- out of the housing unit -- weird, eh? Then the heavy part can sit here, while we install the housing in the window. Much easier than the old days where you had to deal with the whole damned thing which weighs three tons. Then once we get the empty metal box in, we have to add these side accordian panels and make the window fit around it. After that's all snug, we put the guts of the machine back in and screw it all together."

I always like to start with the "what the hell we're doing here" overview. He was impressed. Over the next two hours we did exactly what I described. When he wanted to jump ahead and use the wrong piece in the wrong place, I calmed us both down and re-read the manual. When I got fed up and wouldn't let a certain term or direction sink in, he showed me how to be patient. We pulled it off and best of all, this spanking new air conditioner came with a remote control. I loved the idea of an air conditioner with a remote control. He thought it was bogus as any air conditioner to his mind, should just be cranked up to full blast and left on all summer. When we were done, I grabbed the remote control, pushed ON and the baby started up like a dream. We cheered! "How did you ever get so good at this?" he asked and I knew he was really surprised.

I told him my secret. Men in my life have taught me how to do things. The most important thing they've taught me is what men learn as boys. They learn they CAN'T GIVE UP. I hate to say it, but at least for my generation, as little girls we were taught WE COULD GIVE UP, that we could get emotional, throw up our hands and say, "I give up, I can't figure it out!" There was something diabolically "feminine" and "cute" about that. It's often called "learned helplessness" as girls learn that appearing helpless gets them more positive attention, and often as not, attention from men who want to help them, playing to the worst of alpha male stereotypes. I've since learned that this stance is truly insidious. I've learned from men that if you start with the premise that you MUST solve a problem, it's much easier to solve. Men have taught me to be resourceful and NOT to give up. So have women. My sister-in-law and I once had a blast installing a dimmer switch. She was good, but not typical of most women I fear. We let our girls off the hook all too often. We need to teach them how resourceful they can be.

You should have seen me install my new Linksys Wireless-B Broadband Router with no male assistance, this week. Got that baby humming too. Even after the boneheaded manual writers referred to the WAN port on the back of the thing -- and there WASN"T one labelled that way -- and were guilty of the most imprecise and sloppy language in their "fast start" booklet. Just gotta use your head and keep on plugging.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

East of Eden

Oprah's starting up her book club again, but her book pick probably didn't get too many publishers excited ... John Steinbeck's East of Eden. I can't wait to read it. Wish she could have HIM on her show.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Summer Camp

Taking my son off to day camp today. I remember going to camp when I was a kid and I remember these dark green thick cotton shorts my mom bought me and she had name tapes with my name on them, spelled correctly, sewn inside. It was comforting.

All summer we'd take little side trips on weekends with my family and go to those tourist shops were you could buy tiny license plates with kids names on them and a lighthouse ... say if you were in Cape or something ....or lobsters on them if you were in Maine. And you could put these on the back of your bike to look cool. There were never nameplates with "Halley" ... I used to look for my name somewhere between Gail and Hannah, never found anything. I hated my weird name when I was a kid. There were days when I would have killed to just be a Susan.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Getting Along Famously

Yes, I was quoted in The New York Times today and a girlfriend mom took me to Starbuck's after church to buy me a copy of the paper, since I still hadn't seen it, along with a cup of coffee. with her 7-year-old son and my 8-year-old son in tow.

My guy read my name in the paper for me out loud and smiled but then told me as soon as we left and were in my broken down old Camry (still crunched in from the lady who broadsided me on Friday) that he didn't want me being famous and in the paper and it sucked and I never spent enough time with him.

We sat in the back of the car in a near monsoon of rain beating down on the roof, while he soaked my blouse with his tears raining down inside the safe comfort of the car and told me we have to spend more time together playing Legos. He's right. Also, he wants me to stop spending time with my friends and having fun. Okay. And also, we have to go to Toys R Us now. Okay. Got it boss.

Not A Good Good-bye

At church this morning we had to say good-bye to Bob and Claire and their two kids. They are two good friends of mine who have done so much for the church and done so much personally for me, it was just sad as heck. Am I happy they are starting a great new life in Princeton NJ with great new work and a lovely house and this is just terrrific for them? Yes, yes, of course. But will I miss them a ton? Yes, I will.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

A God For Bloggers

I see Chris Lydon agrees with me that Emerson might rightly be called "A God For Bloggers." He did an interesting post this afternoon about Emerson. Don't miss it. Susan Kaup sent me this interesting link about the Emerson Events going on about town.

A Blog Without Comments Is Like A Day Without Something ...

Chip Rosenthal is right about blogs without comments being bogus and he names me at the top of his list. I blogged on the subject of Halley's Comment having no comments about a week or two ago and am trying to add comments, I just haven't gotten around to it. Not only is he right, but at the Jupiter Weblogs Event in Boston two weeks ago, it finally dawned on me WHY it's so important. Blogs are all about conversation and comments turn a blog from a one-megaphone event into a group conversation. I plead guilty as charged and hope to change it soon. It has been a combination of technical laziness on my part and fear of rude commenting that's held me back.

Emerson Blogging on Self-Reliance

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.

The Blog Cabin

Okay, okay, I stole the term "Blog Cabin" from my friend Walter at work. Credit is due and well deserved. In the Blog Cabin you get to visit those early bloggers like Abe Lincoln, who blogged on the back of a shovel with charcoal as his stylus, and Ralph Waldo Emerson who stayed up late when he should have been sleeping and it shows, and Henry David Thoreau who really did live in a cabin and blogged to a different drummer. This is my attempt to give blogging some undeserved credibility as well as an American tradition and precedent -- which will of course piss off all bloggers worldwide since blogging is an international genre and has nothing to do with any of these early writers. But not to worry, there's room in the Blog Cabin for all essayists of many lands. I'm counting on you international bloggers to name your forefathers and foremothers.

Emerson: Self-Reliance

[One of my favorite essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson is Self-Reliance. If you don't have a collection of his essays and you are a blogger, better get yourself into a bookstore this weekend and buy one. Something wonderfully American about them. You might even consider Emerson an early American blogger. Yes, he really is a member of the BLOG CABIN.



Self-Reliance
from Essays: First Series (1841)

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ne te quaesiveris extra."

"Man is his own star; and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man,
Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still."
Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune

Cast the bantling on the rocks,
Suckle him with the she-wolf's teat;
Wintered with the hawk and fox,
Power and speed be hands and feet.

ESSAY II Self-Reliance

I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instil is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.

What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text, in the face and behaviour of children, babes, and even brutes! That divided and rebel mind, that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose, these have not. Their mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted. Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself. Do not think the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.

The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse; independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome. He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you. But the man is, as it were, clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat, he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy or the hatred of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account. There is no Lethe for this. Ah, that he could pass again into his neutrality! Who can thus avoid all pledges, and having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable. He would utter opinions on all passing affairs, which being seen to be not private, but necessary, would sink like darts into the ear of men, and put them in fear.

These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser, who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested, — "But these impulses may be from below, not from above." I replied, "They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil." No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways. If malice and vanity wear the coat of philanthropy, shall that pass? If an angry bigot assumes this bountiful cause of Abolition, and comes to me with his last news from Barbadoes, why should I not say to him, 'Go love thy infant; love thy wood-chopper: be good-natured and modest: have that grace; and never varnish your hard, uncharitable ambition with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off. Thy love afar is spite at home.' Rough and graceless would be such greeting, but truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, — else it is none. The doctrine of hatred must be preached as the counteraction of the doctrine of love when that pules and whines. I shun father and mother and wife and brother, when my genius calls me. I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation. Expect me not to show cause why I seek or why I exclude company. Then, again, do not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold; for them I will go to prison, if need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities; the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand; alms to sots; and the thousandfold Relief Societies; — though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold.

Virtues are, in the popular estimate, rather the exception than the rule. There is the man and his virtues. Men do what is called a good action, as some piece of courage or charity, much as they would pay a fine in expiation of daily non-appearance on parade. Their works are done as an apology or extenuation of their living in the world, — as invalids and the insane pay a high board. Their virtues are penances. I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. I ask primary evidence that you are a man, and refuse this appeal from the man to his actions. I know that for myself it makes no difference whether I do or forbear those actions which are reckoned excellent. I cannot consent to pay for a privilege where I have intrinsic right. Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony.

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. If you maintain a dead church, contribute to a dead Bible-society, vote with a great party either for the government or against it, spread your table like base housekeepers, — under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are. And, of course, so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. But do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. A man must consider what a blindman's-buff is this game of conformity. If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument. I hear a preacher announce for his text and topic the expediency of one of the institutions of his church. Do I not know beforehand that not possibly can he say a new and spontaneous word? Do I not know that, with all this ostentation of examining the grounds of the institution, he will do no such thing? Do I not know that he is pledged to himself not to look but at one side, — the permitted side, not as a man, but as a parish minister? He is a retained attorney, and these airs of the bench are the emptiest affectation. Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right. Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison-uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure, and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. There is a mortifying experience in particular, which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history; I mean "the foolish face of praise," the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease in answer to conversation which does not interest us. The muscles, not spontaneously moved, but moved by a low usurping wilfulness, grow tight about the outline of the face with the most disagreeable sensation.

For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face. The by-standers look askance on him in the public street or in the friend's parlour. If this aversation had its origin in contempt and resistance like his own, he might well go home with a sad countenance; but the sour faces of the multitude, like their sweet faces, have no deep cause, but are put on and off as the wind blows and a newspaper directs. Yet is the discontent of the multitude more formidable than that of the senate and the college. It is easy enough for a firm man who knows the world to brook the rage of the cultivated classes. Their rage is decorous and prudent, for they are timid as being very vulnerable themselves. But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added, when the ignorant and the poor are aroused, when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment.

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.

But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity: yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

I suppose no man can violate his nature. All the sallies of his will are rounded in by the law of his being, as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere. Nor does it matter how you gauge and try him. A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza; — read it forward, backward, or across, it still spells the same thing. In this pleasing, contrite wood-life which God allows me, let me record day by day my honest thought without prospect or retrospect, and, I cannot doubt, it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not, and see it not. My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects. The swallow over my window should interweave that thread or straw he carries in his bill into my web also. We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wills. Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. For of one will, the actions will be harmonious, however unlike they seem. These varieties are lost sight of at a little distance, at a little height of thought. One tendency unites them all. The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now. Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. The force of character is cumulative. All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this. What makes the majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field, which so fills the imagination? The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind. They shed an united light on the advancing actor. He is attended as by a visible escort of angels. That is it which throws thunder into Chatham's voice, and dignity into Washington's port, and America into Adams's eye. Honor is venerable to us because it is no ephemeris. It is always ancient virtue. We worship it to-day because it is not of to-day. We love it and pay it homage, because it is not a trap for our love and homage, but is self-dependent, self-derived, and therefore of an old immaculate pedigree, even if shown in a young person.

I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward. Instead of the gong for dinner, let us hear a whistle from the Spartan fife. Let us never bow and apologize more. A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him; I wish that he should wish to please me. I will stand here for humanity, and though I would make it kind, I would make it true. Let us affront and reprimand the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times, and hurl in the face of custom, and trade, and office, the fact which is the upshot of all history, that there is a great responsible Thinker and Actor working wherever a man works; that a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature. He measures you, and all men, and all events. Ordinarily, every body in society reminds us of somewhat else, or of some other person. Character, reality, reminds you of nothing else; it takes place of the whole creation. The man must be so much, that he must make all circumstances indifferent. Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age; requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design; — and posterity seem to follow his steps as a train of clients. A man Caesar is born, and for ages after we have a Roman Empire. Christ is born, and millions of minds so grow and cleave to his genius, that he is confounded with virtue and the possible of man. An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man; as, Monachism, of the Hermit Antony; the Reformation, of Luther; Quakerism, of Fox; Methodism, of Wesley; Abolition, of Clarkson. Scipio, Milton called "the height of Rome"; and all history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.

Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper, in the world which exists for him. But the man in the street, finding no worth in himself which corresponds to the force which built a tower or sculptured a marble god, feels poor when he looks on these. To him a palace, a statue, or a costly book have an alien and forbidding air, much like a gay equipage, and seem to say like that, 'Who are you, Sir?' Yet they all are his, suitors for his notice, petitioners to his faculties that they will come out and take possession. The picture waits for my verdict: it is not to command me, but I am to settle its claims to praise. That popular fable of the sot who was picked up dead drunk in the street, carried to the duke's house, washed and dressed and laid in the duke's bed, and, on his waking, treated with all obsequious ceremony like the duke, and assured that he had been insane, owes its popularity to the fact, that it symbolizes so well the state of man, who is in the world a sort of sot, but now and then wakes up, exercises his reason, and finds himself a true prince.

Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic. In history, our imagination plays us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and estate, are a gaudier vocabulary than private John and Edward in a small house and common day's work; but the things of life are the same to both; the sum total of both is the same. Why all this deference to Alfred, and Scanderbeg, and Gustavus? Suppose they were virtuous; did they wear out virtue? As great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and renowned steps. When private men shall act with original views, the lustre will be transferred from the actions of kings to those of gentlemen.

The world has been instructed by its kings, who have so magnetized the eyes of nations. It has been taught by this colossal symbol the mutual reverence that is due from man to man. The joyful loyalty with which men have everywhere suffered the king, the noble, or the great proprietor to walk among them by a law of his own, make his own scale of men and things, and reverse theirs, pay for benefits not with money but with honor, and represent the law in his person, was the hieroglyphic by which they obscurely signified their consciousness of their own right and comeliness, the right of every man.

The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self, on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear? The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed. We first share the life by which things exist, and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom, and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, all philosophy is at fault. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm. Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed. My wilful actions and acquisitions are but roving; — the idlest reverie, the faintest native emotion, command my curiosity and respect. Thoughtless people contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions, or rather much more readily; for, they do not distinguish between perception and notion. They fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. But perception is not whimsical, but fatal. If I see a trait, my children will see it after me, and in course of time, all mankind, — although it may chance that no one has seen it before me. For my perception of it is as much a fact as the sun.

The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate, not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with his voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the centre of the present thought; and new date and new create the whole. Whenever a mind is simple, and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away, — means, teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now, and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made sacred by relation to it, — one as much as another. All things are dissolved to their centre by their cause, and, in the universal miracle, petty and particular miracles disappear. If, therefore, a man claims to know and speak of God, and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not. Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being? Whence, then, this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.

Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.

This should be plain enough. Yet see what strong intellects dare not yet hear God himself, unless he speak the phraseology of I know not what David, or Jeremiah, or Paul. We shall not always set so great a price on a few texts, on a few lives. We are like children who repeat by rote the sentences of grandames and tutors, and, as they grow older, of the men of talents and character they chance to see, — painfully recollecting the exact words they spoke; afterwards, when they come into the point of view which those had who uttered these sayings, they understand them, and are willing to let the words go; for, at any time, they can use words as good when occasion comes. If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong, as it is for the weak to be weak. When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish. When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.

And now at last the highest truth on this subject remains unsaid; probably cannot be said; for all that we say is the far-off remembering of the intuition. That thought, by what I can now nearest approach to say it, is this. When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. It shall exclude example and experience. You take the way from man, not to man. All persons that ever existed are its forgotten ministers. Fear and hope are alike beneath it. There is somewhat low even in hope. In the hour of vision, there is nothing that can be called gratitude, nor properly joy. The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation, perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right, and calms itself with knowing that all things go well. Vast spaces of nature, the Atlantic Ocean, the South Sea, — long intervals of time, years, centuries, — are of no account. This which I think and feel underlay every former state of life and circumstances, as it does underlie my present, and what is called life, and what is called death.

Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that for ever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside. Why, then, do we prate of self-reliance? Inasmuch as the soul is present, there will be power not confident but agent. To talk of reliance is a poor external way of speaking. Speak rather of that which relies, because it works and is. Who has more obedience than I masters me, though he should not raise his finger. Round him I must revolve by the gravitation of spirits. We fancy it rhetoric, when we speak of eminent virtue. We do not yet see that virtue is Height, and that a man or a company of men, plastic and permeable to principles, by the law of nature must overpower and ride all cities, nations, kings, rich men, poets, who are not.

This is the ultimate fact which we so quickly reach on this, as on every topic, the resolution of all into the ever-blessed ONE. Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms. All things real are so by so much virtue as they contain. Commerce, husbandry, hunting, whaling, war, eloquence, personal weight, are somewhat, and engage my respect as examples of its presence and impure action. I see the same law working in nature for conservation and growth. Power is in nature the essential measure of right. Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself. The genesis and maturation of a planet, its poise and orbit, the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind, the vital resources of every animal and vegetable, are demonstrations of the self-sufficing, and therefore self-relying soul.

Thus all concentrates: let us not rove; let us sit at home with the cause. Let us stun and astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions, by a simple declaration of the divine fact. Bid the invaders take the shoes from off their feet, for God is here within. Let our simplicity judge them, and our docility to our own law demonstrate the poverty of nature and fortune beside our native riches.

But now we are a mob. Man does not stand in awe of man, nor is his genius admonished to stay at home, to put itself in communication with the internal ocean, but it goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other men. We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching. How far off, how cool, how chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary! So let us always sit. Why should we assume the faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child, because they sit around our hearth, or are said to have the same blood? All men have my blood, and I have all men's. Not for that will I adopt their petulance or folly, even to the extent of being ashamed of it. But your isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation. At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door, and say, — 'Come out unto us.' But keep thy state; come not into their confusion. The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act. "What we love that we have, but by desire we bereave ourselves of the love."

If we cannot at once rise to the sanctities of obedience and faith, let us at least resist our temptations; let us enter into the state of war, and wake Thor and Woden, courage and constancy, in our Saxon breasts. This is to be done in our smooth times by speaking the truth. Check this lying hospitality and lying affection. Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse. Say to them, O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavour to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife, — but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men's, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. — But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility. Besides, all persons have their moments of reason, when they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me, and do the same thing.

The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides. There are two confessionals, in one or the other of which we must be shriven. You may fulfil your round of duties by clearing yourself in the direct, or in the reflex way. Consider whether you have satisfied your relations to father, mother, cousin, neighbour, town, cat, and dog; whether any of these can upbraid you. But I may also neglect this reflex standard, and absolve me to myself. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. It denies the name of duty to many offices that are called duties. But if I can discharge its debts, it enables me to dispense with the popular code. If any one imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day.

And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!

If any man consider the present aspects of what is called by distinction society, he will see the need of these ethics. The sinew and heart of man seem to be drawn out, and we are become timorous, desponding whimperers. We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. We want men and women who shall renovate life and our social state, but we see that most natures are insolvent, cannot satisfy their own wants, have an ambition out of all proportion to their practical force, and do lean and beg day and night continually. Our housekeeping is mendicant, our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born.

If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not 'studying a profession,' for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances. Let a Stoic open the resources of man, and tell men they are not leaning willows, but can and must detach themselves; that with the exercise of self-trust, new powers shall appear; that a man is the word made flesh, born to shed healing to the nations, that he should be ashamed of our compassion, and that the moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries, and customs out of the window, we pity him no more, but thank and revere him, — and that teacher shall restore the life of man to splendor, and make his name dear to all history.

It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.

1. In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous. Prayer that craves a particular commodity, — any thing less than all good, — is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. Caratach, in Fletcher's Bonduca, when admonished to inquire the mind of the god Audate, replies, —

"His hidden meaning lies in our endeavours;
Our valors are our best gods."

Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired. Our sympathy is just as base. We come to them who weep foolishly, and sit down and cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks, putting them once more in communication with their own reason. The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. The gods love him because men hated him. "To the persevering mortal," said Zoroaster, "the blessed Immortals are swift."

As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect. They say with those foolish Israelites, 'Let not God speak to us, lest we die. Speak thou, speak any man with us, and we will obey.' Everywhere I am hindered of meeting God in my brother, because he has shut his own temple doors, and recites fables merely of his brother's, or his brother's brother's God. Every new mind is a new classification. If it prove a mind of uncommon activity and power, a Locke, a Lavoisier, a Hutton, a Bentham, a Fourier, it imposes its classification on other men, and lo! a new system. In proportion to the depth of the thought, and so to the number of the objects it touches and brings within reach of the pupil, is his complacency. But chiefly is this apparent in creeds and churches, which are also classifications of some powerful mind acting on the elemental thought of duty, and man's relation to the Highest. Such is Calvinism, Quakerism, Swedenborgism. The pupil takes the same delight in subordinating every thing to the new terminology, as a girl who has just learned botany in seeing a new earth and new seasons thereby. It will happen for a time, that the pupil will find his intellectual power has grown by the study of his master's mind. But in all unbalanced minds, the classification is idolized, passes for the end, and not for a speedily exhaustible means, so that the walls of the system blend to their eye in the remote horizon with the walls of the universe; the luminaries of heaven seem to them hung on the arch their master built. They cannot imagine how you aliens have any right to see, — how you can see; 'It must be somehow that you stole the light from us.' They do not yet perceive, that light, unsystematic, indomitable, will break into any cabin, even into theirs. Let them chirp awhile and call it their own. If they are honest and do well, presently their neat new pinfold will be too strait and low, will crack, will lean, will rot and vanish, and the immortal light, all young and joyful, million-orbed, million-colored, will beam over the universe as on the first morning.

2. It is for want of self-culture that the superstition of Travelling, whose idols are Italy, England, Egypt, retains its fascination for all educated Americans. They who made England, Italy, or Greece venerable in the imagination did so by sticking fast where they were, like an axis of the earth. In manly hours, we feel that duty is our place. The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper or a valet.

I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the purposes of art, of study, and benevolence, so that the man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he knows. He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins.

Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.

3. But the rage of travelling is a symptom of a deeper unsoundness affecting the whole intellectual action. The intellect is vagabond, and our system of education fosters restlessness. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at home. We imitate; and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind? Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties, lean, and follow the Past and the Distant. The soul created the arts wherever they have flourished. It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. It was an application of his own thought to the thing to be done and the conditions to be observed. And why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic model? Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these. Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again.

4. As our Religion, our Education, our Art look abroad, so does our spirit of society. All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.

Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and the naked New Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under! But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that the white man has lost his aboriginal strength. If the traveller tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the same blow shall send the white to his grave.

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue. For every Stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?

There is no more deviation in the moral standard than in the standard of height or bulk. No greater men are now than ever were. A singular equality may be observed between the great men of the first and of the last ages; nor can all the science, art, religion, and philosophy of the nineteenth century avail to educate greater men than Plutarch's heroes, three or four and twenty centuries ago. Not in time is the race progressive. Phocion, Socrates, Anaxagoras, Diogenes, are great men, but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name, but will be his own man, and, in his turn, the founder of a sect. The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume, and do not invigorate men. The harm of the improved machinery may compensate its good. Hudson and Behring accomplished so much in their fishing-boats, as to astonish Parry and Franklin, whose equipment exhausted the resources of science and art. Galileo, with an opera-glass, discovered a more splendid series of celestial phenomena than any one since. Columbus found the New World in an undecked boat. It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. The great genius returns to essential man. We reckoned the improvements of the art of war among the triumphs of science, and yet Napoleon conquered Europe by the bivouac, which consisted of falling back on naked valor, and disencumbering it of all aids. The Emperor held it impossible to make a perfect army, says Las Casas, "without abolishing our arms, magazines, commissaries, and carriages, until, in imitation of the Roman custom, the soldier should receive his supply of corn, grind it in his hand-mill, and bake his bread himself."

Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them.

And so the reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance. Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to esteem the religious, learned, and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property. They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is. But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature. Especially he hates what he has, if he see that it is accidental, — came to him by inheritance, or gift, or crime; then he feels that it is not having; it does not belong to him, has no root in him, and merely lies there, because no revolution or no robber takes it away. But that which a man is does always by necessity acquire, and what the man acquires is living property, which does not wait the beck of rulers, or mobs, or revolutions, or fire, or storm, or bankruptcies, but perpetually renews itself wherever the man breathes. "Thy lot or portion of life," said the Caliph Ali, "is seeking after thee; therefore be at rest from seeking after it." Our dependence on these foreign goods leads us to our slavish respect for numbers. The political parties meet in numerous conventions; the greater the concourse, and with each new uproar of announcement, The delegation from Essex! The Democrats from New Hampshire! The Whigs of Maine! the young patriot feels himself stronger than before by a new thousand of eyes and arms. In like manner the reformers summon conventions, and vote and resolve in multitude. Not so, O friends! will the God deign to enter and inhabit you, but by a method precisely the reverse. It is only as a man puts off all foreign support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail. He is weaker by every recruit to his banner. Is not a man better than a town? Ask nothing of men, and in the endless mutation, thou only firm column must presently appear the upholder of all that surrounds thee. He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.

So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God. In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations. A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.