If art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time.

When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Oscar Wilde. An Ideal Husband. Paraphrased in Out of Africa by the female lead, Baroness Karen von Blixen.

Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.
Paraphrased at the entrance of Rockefeller Plaza. Taken from Isaiah 33:6.

To make living itself an art, that is the goal.

Henry Miller. Nitch.

One should alway be curious. Not a passive curiosity dependent upon information received, but an aggressive curiosity that compels one to seek things out and ascertain them for oneself.

Issey Miyake. Unknown source.

Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson. Unknown source.

I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad; or the New Pilgrim’s Progress. Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1869. 650.

[A] masterpiece required neither explanation nor cultural context to communicate its message: its importance lay in its aesthetic integrity, not in the evidence it might incidentally provide about religious, social, political, or economic issues.

The thoughts of the authors Thomas Lawton and Linda Merrill on describing the collecting beliefs of Freer.


What we like determines what we are, and is the sign of what we are; and to teach taste is inevitably to form character.
John Ruskin, “Traffic.” The second of the three lectures that form The Crown of Wild Olive.

You’ve only one thing to offer the world which nobody else can give and that’s yourself.

Quentin Crisp on an interview with John Letterman. YouTube.

It was a pleasant thing to see a carpet again, for if there is any thing drearier than the tomb-like, stone-paved parlors and bed-rooms of Europe and Asia, I do not know what it is. They make one think of the grave all the time.

Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad; or the New Pilgrim’s Progress. Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1869. 459.

Health consists in having the same diseases as your neighbors.

Crisp distinguished between manners and etiquette. Contemporary manners, he argued, improved social inclusiveness, while etiquette was merely an extension of classism and social exclusion.


There is repetition everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.

What happened on a national level happened locally as well, with police budgets eclipsing funding for social services in city after city. ‘As resources committed to benefits decline,’ Tainter wrote in 1988, ‘resources committed to control must increase.’
Ben Ehrenreich, The New York Times.

The debt-laden buyouts privatize gains when they work, and socialize losses when they don’t…
Mehrsa Baradaran, The New York Times Opinion.

A world beyond capitalism would abandon this definition so as to organize social interdependence around the value of spending our time on chosen activities.

Further, “But no one, and certainly not the wretched of the earth, can simply opt out of a system that defines value in terms of wage labor and is oriented toward maximizing not each individual’s free time to spend as she pleases but rather to accumulating ever more capital … Not that labor would ever end or that democracies could never impose labor on their citizens. But work would become mostly a matter of choice, and society would require unchosen work only for the sake of maximizing free time.”

Samuel Moyn, Jacobin Magazine.

Cynicism takes hold when empathy becomes a chore — the only real antidote is activism.
Bragg, Billy. “Stand Down Margaret.” Jacobin, New York (Winter 2017).

One must choose between God and Man, and all ‘radicals’ and ‘progressives,’ from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

“But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is ‘higher.’ The point is that they are incompatible.” George Orwell reflects on Ghandi, showing his political side along the way: “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals.”

He suggests being a saint is not an ideal to work towards and that the unevenness in life is valuable. The thoughts on Ghandi in 1949 are interesting because Orwell can look at Ghandi in a post world war world and also examine Ghandi’s beliefs that are often glossed over by popular accounts — beliefs Ghandi professed himself.

Orwell, George. “Reflections on Gandhi.” Partisan Review, London (January 1949). Accessed April 19, 2017.

The proclaimed Death of Cash is thus an episode in the broader drama that is the Death of Privacy, the death of breathing room, and the death of informal, non-measured, unaccounted-for behaviour.

Marketing works to make us — “[u]nlike a battle fought using violence” — see change “as inevitable, unassailable and normal” when in fact it is being manufactured by those in power. There is nothing inevitable or natural about this kind of change.

Brett Scott The Long and Short and Nesta.

Yet while the capitalist class is doing very well, capitalism is doing rather badly. Profit rates have recovered but reinvestment rates are appallingly low, so a lot of money is not circulating back into production and is flowing into land-grabs and asset-procurement instead.

Further, “Here’s a proposition to think over. What if every dominant mode of production, with its particular political configuration, creates a mode of opposition as a mirror image to itself?”

David Harvey, Jacobin Magazine.

One response may be that the subject [math] … is so aloof from political and social reality that its discoveries give rulers no causes for concern. If mathematics had the power to move minds toward controversial terrain, it would be viewed as a threat by wary states.

A look at math from both the good and the bad sides.

Dana Goldstein Slate.

Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady [Hillary Clinton] — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.

Let us not forget The New York Time was not always a fan of Hillary Clinton.

Safire, William. “Blizzard of Lies.” The New York Times, January 8, 1996. Accessed June 27, 2016.

I’ve started to worry that I haven’t asked enough questions, that there will never again be enough time, and that my parents are bound to take a part of me with them when they go.

Sobering thoughts this Father’s day to remember to spend time with your parents. They are jewels.

By liking everything, I turned Facebook into a place where there was nothing I liked. To be honest, I really didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I had done.

In this case, though, pups born to mice on American-type diets — no fiber, lots of sugar — failed to acquire the full endowment of their mothers’ microbes.

There has been a rise in studies discussing the importance of the microbes that live in our gut and their primary food source: fiber. The “Burkina Faso microbiota produced about twice as much of these fermentation by-products, called short-chain fatty acids, as the Florentine [citizens]. That gave a strong indication that fiber, the raw material solely fermented by microbes, was somehow boosting microbial diversity in the Africans.”

This biodiversity of microbes in our gut can wax and wane depending on what we eat so that “[e]ven after weeks on this junk food-like diet, an animal’s microbial diversity would mostly recover if it began consuming fiber again.” That said, as quoted above, if a child does not eat the right diet at birth, she is at risk of never recovering the full biodiversity of her mother’s gut. Over generations, you have disparities in gut health from region to region across the globe that may not be recoverable.

N.b: In May 2016 there has been additional reporting on the gut by FiveThirtyEight.

Velazquez-Manoff, Moises. “How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution.” Nautilus, no. 30 (November 2015). November 12, 2015. Accessed December 3, 2015.

[The] hipster onslaught has now … been over-run by Ivy League business school marketing grads, violently jogging ex-cheerleaders from the Midwest, Bonobos-sporting former frat bros, and Baby Bjorned global arrivistes …

The San Francisco hipster is dead, y’all :/

This Halloween in San Francisco has been by far the tamest and least quirky of all my years here, and after you read the piece above, you know the end is near for the wild days of yesteryear.

There is repetition everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.
Johann Wolfgang von Göthe.

… art isn’t a phenomenon to be explained. Not by neuroscience, and not by philosophy. Art is itself a research practice, a way of investigating the world and ourselves.
Alva Noë, What Art Unveils, New York Times, October 5, 2015, accessed October 5, 2015.

Er ist ein Prince … Mehr! Er ist ein Mensch.
Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mozart 111 “O Isis und Osiris,” vol. 2, conducted by Karl Böhm, performed by Franz Crass and others, Berliner Philharmoniker, DDD GB55, CD, 2012.). Full Libreto. Also of superb quality is the 1964 recording under the baton of Karl Böhm and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Mozart and the Heroic Lens

… because we often read Mozart’s music with lenses adjusted to Beethoven’s “heroic-style” … we sometimes overlook that Mozart’s slow movements are conceived as the gravity center [and] are indeed “central” in the most fundamental sense.
Maynard Soloman, Mozart: a Life (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 206.

There is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.
Greek proverb.

London’s taxi driver test enshrines knowledge as — to use the au courant term — an artisanal commodity, a thing that’s local and homespun, thriving ideally in the individual hippocampus, not the digital hivemind.
New York Times Magazine on London’s legendary Taxi-driver test.

The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

Isaac Asimov discusses his opinions on creativity in a newly printed piece of his writings.

Other venues include the Mozartkirche in Biberbach, where the eight-year-old took part in one of those organ-playing competitions children seemed to be forced into in the 18th century…

There is no question that, in a blind test, luxury goods are overpriced. That’s the definition of luxury goods. They are not better in terms of measurable engineering specs. They are better because they are scarce.

Godin misses the point here — he’s rehashing an Econ 101 text on what a luxury item is. Any kitchen-table conversation can get that far. What he’s missing is that the luxury isn’t meant for the consumer — the luxury is meant for the business: the business has the ultimate luxury in that it can assign any price to the item, and people will pay for it. Make your price as high as you need to support every other endeavor in the business. You then have complete license to create the best. There are no concessions or compromises.

And that is magical. It is a model we want to preserve, because there are no other businesses or industries where cost is not an issue. It does not matter who these luxury brands are: Chanel can close its doors tomorrow. It matters that artists and craftsman have an option to create the best without the typical constraints of a business. That is luxury.


It is surely nothing less than martyrdom to a man of cosmopolitan sympathies, to absorb in silent resignation the news of a country town?
Franklin Blake. The Moonstone. Everyman’s Library, p. 369.

Feedback is what our customers are telling us. Product is what we are telling our customers.

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.
Khalil Gibran.