Sunday, January 31, 2021

Celebrate National Freedom Day!

February 1 is National Freedom Day in the U.S., a time to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in America. On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution proposing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to outlaw slavery, and the states ratified it by the end of the year.

Here are some of Lincoln's thoughts on freedom:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable—a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.

And then, the negro being doomed, and damned, and forgotten, to everlasting bondage, is the white man quite certain that the tyrant demon will not turn upon him too?

In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free— honorable alike in that we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.

This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Inspiration from people born January 25


from Anglo-Irish chemist Robert Boyle (1627-1691):

God would not have made the universe as it is unless He intended us to understand it.

Even when we find not what we seek, we find something as well worth seeking as what we missed.


from Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796):

Oh would some power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us!

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft a-gley, And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy.

Life is but a day at most.

There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.


from English artist Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846):

The greatest geniuses have always attributed everything to God, as if conscious of being possessed of a spark of His divinity.


from English author W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965):

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.

I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.


from English author Virginia Woolf (1882-1941):

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.


from Finnish Functionalist architect Viljo Revell (1910-1964):

It was teamwork, you see.


from Filipino politician Corazon Aquino (1933-2009):

I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.

Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things—with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.

I know there isn't anything I can do that will please everybody. But if I have done according to my beliefs, I sleep very very well.

I've reached a point in life where it's no longer necessary to try to impress. If they like me the way I am, that's good. If they don't, that's too bad.

Keep inviolate an area of light and peace within you.

I am not embarrassed to tell you that I believe in miracles.


from American runner Steve Prefontaine (1951-1975):

Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.


from American actor Leigh Taylor Young (1945- ):

It's about loving one's self, first and absolutely foremost. The more one comes to know the self, forgive the self, and love the self, the better lover one is of anything and everybody in this life.

I would just say love God with all your heart, body, mind and soul. And whatever comes forward for you to follow, as that love progressively awakens in you, do it. And it will awaken in each person as long as they have the willingness to open to the journey, because it is a journey. Don't try and form it, just have the love and the willingness to listen, and it will guide you with impeccable perfection.


from American actor Jenifer Lewis (1957- ):

The elevator to success is broken, take the stairs.


from American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys (1981- ):

Everything you want to be, you already are. You're simply on the path to discovering it.

We are all one. We're not as separate as we oftentimes think.


from Japanese singer-songwriter and newscaster Sho Sakurai (1982- ):

Write it as a dream, read it as a goal.


from American singer-actor Ariana DeBose (1991- ):

When you feel your best, everybody else can feel it, too.


from Australian rocker Calum Hood (1996- ):

Just live right now, and be yourself, it doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Literary Bits


Here are some quotes from philosopher Robert Anton Wilson, author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, who was born on January 18 in 1932:

I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.

Groups are grammatical fictions; only individuals exist, and each individual is different.

Nothing of any importance can be taught. It can only be learned, and with blood and sweat.

We live in our fantasies and endure our realities.

Horror is the natural reaction to the last 5,000 years of history.

It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.

...when dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases.

The future is up for grabs. It belongs to any and all who will take the risk and accept the responsibility of consciously creating the future they want.

Reality is what you can get away with.

On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Things will go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

LITERARY BITS for January 11


Here are some memorable quotes from authors born on January 11:

from American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), who wrote 51 of the 85 installments of The Federalist Papers:

A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.


from American philosopher and psychologist William James (1842-1910), author of The Principles of Psychology and The Will to Believe:

I have often thought the best way to define a man's character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it comes upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: This is the real me!

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

To change one’s life:

1. Start immediately.

2. Do it flamboyantly.

3. No exceptions.


from American novelist Alice H. Rice (1870-1942), who wrote Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch:

Life is made up of desires that seem big and vital one minute and little and absurd the next. I guess we get what's best for us in the end.

Adversity may call out dormant powers that have never before been suspected.


From South African author and anti-apartheid activist Alan Paton (1903-1988), author of Cry, the Beloved Country:

But the one thing that has power completely is love, because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.

I shall no longer ask myself if this or that is expedient, but only if it is right. I shall do this, not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away, and because I need for the rest of my journey a star that will not play false to me, a compass that will not lie…

There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to man.

God forgives us...who am I not to forgive?

Sunday, January 3, 2021



1643 Physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (d. 1727) was born in Lincolnshire, England. His Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica establishes classical mechanics and Opticks analyzes the fundamental nature of light.

1785 Librarian, philologist, and collector of fairy tales Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (d.1863) was born in Hanau, Germany. The Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Grimm's Fairy Tales) he collected with his brother have thrilled children for centuries, and the Deutsches Wörterbuch (The German Dictionary) they began in 1838 was finally completed by other scholars in 1961—at 32 volumes.

1853 Solomon Northup finally regained his freedom after having been kidnapped and sold into slavery. His memoir Twelve Years a Slave became a national bestseller.

1864 Doctor and author Clara Emilia Smitt (d. 1928) was born in Stockholm, Sweden. An early women's rights activist, she published Kvinnans ställning i samhället (Women's Position in Society) and the magazine Helios, for spiritual and material well-being.

1877 American Modernist painter and writer Marsden Hartley (d. 1943) was born in Lewiston, Maine. A significant painter of the first half of last century, Hartley also wrote poems, stories, and essays (Twenty-five Poems, Adventures in the Arts: Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets, etc.)

1878 Writer and poet Alfred Edgar Coppard (d. 1957) was born in Folkestone, England. He is noted for his influence on the short story form (Fearful Pleasures).

1883 Politically radical author and poet Max Eastman (d. 1969) was born in Canandaigua, New York. He edited The Masses and co-founded The Liberator, both socialist magazines, and wrote extensively about Russia (Reflections on the Failure of Socialism).

1901 Historian, journalist, and socialist Cyril Lionel Robert James (d. 1989) was born in Tunapuna, Trinidad. World Revolutions is an account of the Communist International, The Black Jacobins studies the Haitian Revolution, Minty Alley was the first novel by a black West Indian to be published in England, and Beyond a Boundary is considered one of the best books on the subject of cricket.

1940 Novelist, playwright, and critic Gao Xingjian was born in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, China. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000 “for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity.” His works include Chezhan (Bus Stop), Bi'an (The Other Shore), Lingshan (Soul Mountain), and Taowang (Fugitives). Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather: Stories, a collection of six short stories, is also available in English.

1943 Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is noted for Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, the best-selling The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, which won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in history.

1943 Novelist and short story writer Hwang Sok-yong was born in Changchun, Manchuria. His works include Mr. Han's Chronicle, On the Road to Sampo, Princess Bari, The Old Garden, and The Guest. His epic novel Chang Kil-san was serialized over a period of ten years and is still a best-seller.

Happy reading!