Tuesday’s Quotes – July 18, 2017 – Sounds like silence

For the second time in my life, a head cold brought me laryngitis. No big deal, more of a nuisance, really (although this time I mostly cannot talk at all). So I dusted off this post from May 2015 with some thoughts on silence. Some seem to be truer than others, but I find all of them interesting.

“Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.”

— Marcus Tullius Cicero

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

— Aldous Huxley

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” 

— Ansel Adams

“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.”

— Thomas Carlyle

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” 

— Benjamin Franklin

“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.” 

— Rumi

“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment.”

— Henry David Thoreau

“Silence is a source of great strength.”

— Lao Tzu

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”

— Francis Bacon

“Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

— Khalil Gibran

 Photo is of the Hudson River looking north from the Walkway Over the Hudson.

The wisdom of keeping an open mind…

Another Friday has rolled around & another busy week comes to an end. This weekend finds us heading off on Sunday to see the Moody Blues a couple of hours away – the tour is for the 50th anniversary of the release of Days of Future Past – hard to believe. So I’m holding off on a more topical political post for a few more days in order to stay in a better frame of mind (and I’ll save the Moody Blues music post until after the concert).

Enjoy your weekend & the following post from last July.

“What is important is that one utilizes one’s intellect and not to be 100 percent sure about one’s convictions. One should always leave room for doubt.”

— Shirin Ebadi

Winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace prize, Shirin Ebadi also has the distinction being the first Iranian to be given the prize. She was a lawyer and judge, and has been noted for her involvement in human rights causes, founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center, but has been in exile in the UK since 2009 since her views on the Iranian government exceeded the government’s very limited tolerance for dissent.

This particular quotes resonates with me quite a bit. I get frustrated with those that think that there is something noble about never changing their opinions in the face of new evidence. Forcing ourselves to look beyond our own bubbles – to see what others see – is so important both for ourselves, and for our ability to communicate with those outside of our bubbles. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary.

To borrow a quote from Albert Camus –

“If absolute truth belongs to anyone in this world, it certainly does not belong to the man or party that claims to possess it”

Photo of the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River between the Mid-Hudson Bridge & The Walkway Over the Hudson – April 17, 2015.

This post was originally published on July 21, 2015

Tuesday’s Quotes – July 11, 2017 – Hamilton

“The republican principle demands that the deliberate sense of the community should govern the conduct of those to whom they intrust the management of their affairs; but it does not require an unqualified complaisance to every sudden breeze of passion or to every transient impulse which the people may receive from the arts of men, who flatter their prejudices to betray their interests.”   — Alexander Hamilton

On this day in 1804, Alexander Hamilton, our first Treasury Secretary, was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr, at the time Vice-President of the United States.


Alexander Hamilton image from http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-hamilton-9326481




“…my evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.”

— Mary Todd Lincoln

Work – both paid & unpaid – has interfered with my ability to do much this weekend, and this evening we have a party to go to, so there is not much in the way of a post for today – although I do have one started that will likely be for Friday. 🙂

I did manage to get rainbow photos on Friday evening, though.

In the meantime, I have work to work on, my Camp NaNo project to add to (25,000 words apparently will not write themselves (shocking, I know), and a family to pay attention to. So off I go.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!


An Early Happy Birthday to Nicholas Tesla

Originally posted on July 10, 2016, I’m getting a jump on Tesla’s birthday this year because I  have my Camp NaNo project to work on (yes, I’m back to NaNoWriMo now that school is done), and I have a bit of work to do for my volunteer job, as well. Yes, I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew. But so what else is new? 

Born 160 years ago today, in what is now Croatia, Tesla was one of the great minds of the late-19th – early-20th centuries, but was lost somewhat in the shadow of Thomas Edison – largely, I think, because he lacked the business acumen that came so easily to Edison. The two worked together for a time when Tesla first arrived in the United States, but differences in personality drove them apart as much as their differences in methodology. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Tesla was less interested in the commercializations of his inventions and discoveries than he was in just making them. Edison was very definitely interested in both the discovery and the commercial application. This, unfortunately led to many of Tesla’s works remaining unpatented – or patented by other inventors.

He was broke, and alone, when he died in 1943, but his development of alternating current electricity as a more efficient answer to Edison’s direct current, an idea that he further developed for – and sold to – George Westinghouse, would alone have been enough to cement his place in history. But he didn’t stop there. He designed the first hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls, New York in 1895. He also developed electrical transformation devices to create an energy field of high voltage charges  – popularly known now as Tesla Coils, which were instrumental in the design of wireless radio transmissions. His passion for the development of wireless electrical transmission led him on to the development of wireless radio. He was a front-runner, with multiple related patents before Guglielmo Marconi, with more stable funding sources, advanced further with his own technology.

Tesla has gained a bit more attention in recent years, previously he was ignored by most non-geeks – and Elon Musk thoughtfully named his electric car line in his honor. 🙂

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”  — Nicholas Tesla, 1934




Image of Tesla in front of his electrical transformer, borrowed from http://www.livescience.com/45950-nikola-tesla-biography.html

Variations on a theme

I spent 4 hours today overheating at an annual village fair helping out at a First Amendment booth. Besides literature to hand out, the main attraction was thought bubbles that people could fill in wth whatever thoughts or ideas they wanted to share – no assigned topics, no judgements – and the completed bubbles were hung up around the booth. The plan, as I understand it, is to display the thoughts at a local library in the near future. Some people, unsurprisingling, just walked on by, some actively scoffed, and there were political commenters from all views, but many used the opportunity to offer words of hope, empowerment, peace. The messages, including the political ones, were overwhelmingly positive, and the contributors came in all ages and genders. It was a good thing, and I hope that the importance of the freedom of speech was reinforced in a  fun way,

But, of course, the First Amendment to the US Consitution covers a bit more than free speech. It also covers freedoms of religion, and freedom of the press, and the right to sue the government for the redress of grievances.

But, it is freedom of the press that often, especially recently, needs to be reinforced.

“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” — Albert Camus


Freedom of the press was explicitly guaranteed by our founders. And along with it the right of free expression and the right to dissent. This was such a strong foundational principle that it was codified within the first 10 amendments to our constitution – what we refer to as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, adopted in 1791, states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The press is so critical to the functioning of our Democratic Republic, that it is frequently referred to as the 4th Estate, or 4th branch of government. It is an important piece in the checks and balances that were built into our system. In the words of Harry S Truman, 33rd President of the United States:

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

I’d like to hope that we haven’t begun following that path, but I fear that we may have. It is up to all of us to help make sure that we stay on the path of freedom and openness by paying attention and speaking out (and writing).