Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
An idea will seem self-evident--once you've forgotten learning it!
Marvin Minsky
Finally getting through his "Society of Mind", which also has this great thought on formal rules and attempts to nail down ideas like birds can fly
trebek: the fact that this might not exist w out despair is a case in point

contestant: what is irony
January 18, 2020

See where the frog
under the grass bank sits--
Where I would sit
if I were afraid.

I came down to the lake
this morning, to get away
from the dish/spoon clash
of familiar, familial

loving. Frog sits
rocking on the round
chest of his breathing.
I've seen his black-and-green

eye, I've seen the light
make a wet spot in it.
And there's the tight gold
line of his underjaw,

there's his small large body.
The question: *Why don't you
want to catch him?* A new
answer: *Because he's scared.*

Out in the wet cool air, this
frog's cheeks shudder
like gills out of water.
And I am not yet perfect,

either. I am not yet
adult and whole.
I didn't keep myself from moving.
Too green. He had to leap.

Elizabeth Macklin
I have been trying to find this poem for ages - all my googling was for naught even though my memory of a number of the ending line turns out to be accurate. I just found it in a web-based snapshot I had constructed of everything I had on my PalmPilot...
I like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" a lot because "if they don't win it's a shame!" is the maximum healthy amount to care about any sport.

January 17, 2020
I've been thinking about minimalism a bit. (And it's a bit nuts to me that I read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" 5 years ago.)

A friend of mine has took the training to be an official KonMari consultant (if you're in MA and interested in her help in your own stuff simplification, let me know and I'll hook you up!) and I asked her something that was on my mind: that whole "does this spark joy" ritual - is the joy the ends or a mean? (i.e. is getting more joy the pursuit for joy's sake, or is joy a signpost to general rightness-with-the-universe?)

She gave me some good feedback. I'm left thinking that the best answer is a blend - some of the point is so that you are getting more joy out of getting a better balance with your possessions, and having better knowledge and focus about what you like in life.

On the LiM WhatsApp group, someone posted the Guardian on the craze for minimalism. It points out that sometimes an awful lot of work goes behind getting to the point where you can just work with the simple bits. Or as one meme put it:

Damn bitch, are you aware that subscribing to popular minimalism does not free you from the focus on your possessions, but ironically causes you to be come more focused on them than before?

It's like there's minimalism of the "noun" - what stuff looks like at this moment, the elegant sparseness - vs the minimalism of the "verb" - the effort it to took to get to and keep it there. As usual, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle - don't be afraid to have stuff you like around you, but don't be afraid to get rid of whatever isn't pulling its weight, Kondo "joy"-wise. Even with everything you might not get to a Steve Jobs like "lamp and cushion in the middle of the floor" look but that's ok.

The article talks about some of the human cost of our technology, but I think the noun/verb dualism is informative even with a more self-centered view. Isn't wireless great? Bopping around with earbuds, roaming around town with a cellphone or parking yourself anywhere in the house with a laptop? No cords- the noun is so clean! And yet - the bargain is accepting a lifestyle of constantly making sure our gear is charged, and so the verb is less minimal than it was before - more demanding of our time and attention.

A while back (7 years ago... again, yeesh.) Slate wrote a similar piece. My take away then was "minimalism a luxury item for people who can afford to keep their stockpiles at retail stores." and I think that's important to keep in mind as well, especially before we cast stones on people who seem content having more clutter around them.
Thinking more about decluttering... last September I wrote
So much clutter represents artifacts from my aspirational self, what I'd like to do or be given enough time and energy, and throwing that stuff away feels like murder of that future self. Or at least more firmly closing doors of potential that are hanging partially open.
Funny thinking of the balance of that vs the sometimes expensive luxury of keeping your "stockpiles" in stores instead of at home. Especially for gadget fans like me. I keep dreaming of setting up regular times to play old games, either on my own or better yet with friends, the old quarterly casual couch-gaming meetups I'd host. So I have all these old games around. But then there are these old tablets and laptops... I can think of all these scenarios where they might be useful, sort-of. And getting rid of them has an additional cost of making sure they're properly wiped of personal information! But overall that gear leans closer to the packrat/hoarder side, where it's tough to admit how valueless they are likely to forever be from here on out.
January 16, 2020

Our puppets strings are hard to see,
So we perceive ourselves as free,
Convinced that no mere objects could
Behave in terms of bad and good.

To you, we mannequins seem less
than live, because our consciousness
is that of dummies, made to sit
on laps of gods and mouth their wit;

Are you, our transcendental gods,
likewise dangled from your rods,
and need, to show spontaneous charm,
some higher god's inserted arm?

We seem to form a nested set,
With each the next one's marionette,
Who, if you asked him, would insist,
that he's the last ventriloquist.

Theodore Melnechuk
(via Marvin Minsky's "The Society of Mind")
Hannah showed me that somehow I missed this tribute to my favorite commonwealth, from the makers of "What Does the Fox Say":

When I am with him, smoking or talking quietly ahead, or whatever it may be, I see, beyond my own happiness and intimacy, occasional glimpses of the happiness of 1000s of others whose names I shall never hear, and know that there is a great unrecorded history.
E.M. Forster
On my devblog, some thoughts on the life of companion devices, and their life prolonged via classic longevity vs reincarnation...
It's a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes. They need to be taking care of their chicken right, you feel me? If it was me, or if I had an opportunity to let these little young (players) know something, I'd say 'take care of your money, African, cause that sh*t don't last forever.' Now I've been on the other side of retirement and it's good when you get over there and you can do what the f**k you want to, so I'll tell y'all right now while y'all in it, take care of your bread so when you're done, you go ahead and take care of yourself. So while y'all at it right now, take care of y'all's bodies, take care of y'all's chicken, take care of y'all's mentals. Because look, we ain't lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they're no longer here. They're no longer. So start taking care of y'all mentals, y'all bodies and y'all chicken, so when you're ready to walk away, you walk away and you can be able to do what you want to do.
Marshawn Lynch's advice to his younger teammates
Via SB Nation on Beast Mode closing out a post-retirement stretch... I caught a few minutes of the game, and he was impressive.
We are all here on earth to help others. What I can't figure out is what the others are here for.
(not) W. H. Auden
Lola on "Big Mouth"