Monthly Archives: April 2018

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

Deep inside the world’s longest (204 km) and deepest (approx. 1,300 meters or 4,300 feet) Sognefjorden—“King of the fjords”—valley, you’ll find tranquil Flam. This beautiful country town nuzzles amongst mountains as high as the fjord is deep. Flam began to draw visiting cruise ships as long ago as the 19th century when visitors firstly began to travel up the idyllic and dramatic Flam valley.

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

Flam is home to the Aegir microbrewery is named after the giant who brewed beer for the gods. Their bar is themed like an old Viking hall, with wooden carvings and chairs made from stumps.

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway Aegir Bryggeri and Pub from 2007 is a microbrewery, built in Norse Viking style where they produce a wide selection of fine beers for sale locally and further distribution.

Visit the brewery with slate floor, driftwood walls, dragon heads, and 9 meters high fire from floor to ceiling. In a short time, they have received awards and prizes for their good beers.

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

Aegir Bryggeri was awarded “Brewpub of the Year” three years in a row! Try their beers and light meals in the brewery.

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

The Aegir Bryggeri BrewPub building at Flamsbrygga is now one of Flam’s biggest attractions. The building style is inspired by Norse mythology, with the exterior reminiscent of a stave church. Inside are driftwood walls, dragon heads and a feature fireplace that radiates warmth and coziness, with a chimney extending 9 m through the middle of both stories.

Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery in Flam, Norway

The port of Flam, with its newly constructed dockside amenities, welcomes all types of cruise ships, regardless of length, height or depth. The harbor is well-known for its remarkable infrastructure and good communication routes via both road and rail to Bergen and Oslo.

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Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture Travels and Journeys

Marriages are Made in Heaven

Marriages: Made in Heaven and Consummated on Earth

Marriages: Made in Heaven and Consummated on Earth “Marriages are made in heaven,” said the grandmother. By this, she meant to convey to her sophisticated granddaughter the humbling yet reassuring lesson that the Lord who had given her life would also provide her with a mate.

The young woman smiled. She considered that finding a mate was the end of an active quest. She remembered the more practical wisdom imparted by one of her friends, “You have to go out to get your man.” Inevitably, she reflected on her next date, “What gown shall I wear? What cosmetics shall I use? How shall I wear my hair?”

She did get her man but not the one with whom she had had that date. It was a man she met at the florist, when both were buying flowers for their mothers on Mothers’ Day.

In a mood of self-assessment in which couples in love occasionally indulge, her man once said to her, “You know, dear, there is something about you for which my deepest self has hungered all through the years. I thank the Lord who made you as you are.”

The young woman mused a while, and said, “It is only because you are as you are that I could appeal so satisfyingly to your deepest self. I thank the Lord who made you as you are.” However, developing the heart of loving-kindness is not about over refinement, not about gritting your teeth and, though seething with anger, in some manner covering it over with an irrefutable persuasion.

“We were meant for each other,” both exclaimed enthusiastically at the same time. One way to do this is through a societal process of collective memory.

Then a smile crossed the young woman’s face. She suddenly remembered what her grandmother had told her.

When we desire not to converge on what is missing from our lives but are appreciative for the large quantity that’s present–love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and individual pursuits that bring us gratification –the wilderness of illusion falls away and we come into contact with heaven on earth.

Marriages: You Must Get Your Surviving by Loving

Marriages: You Must Get Your Surviving by Loving The failure of catharsis parses to assuage the condition. With mindfulness, we can be aware of what we are seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching. Its grandness, for the most part, lies in its all-important reduction of problems too complex in their old forms of statement to be solved.

This shows the air to be flexible; but it also shows, that this elasticity is very different from the elasticity of a pearl ball, or a coiled watch-spring, or any such substance, to which the air has been sometimes compared. So how do we balance and unwind our minds? There are a number of things that can facilitate our minds. The Lebanese-American scholar, statistician, and essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes in Fooled by Randomness,

“Having control over randomness can be expressed in the manner in which one acts in the small and the large. Recall that epic heroes were judged by their actions, not by the results. No matter how sophisticated our choices, how good we are at dominating the odds, randomness will have the last word…There is nothing wrong and undignified with emotions—we are cut to have them. What is wrong is not following the heroic or, at least, the dignified path. That is what stoicism truly means. It is the attempt by man to get even with probability…stoicism has rather little to do with the stiff-upper-lip notion that we believe it means…The stoic is a person who combines the qualities of wisdom, upright dealing, and courage. The stoic will thus be immune from life’s gyrations as he will be superior to the wounds from some of life’s dirty tricks.

On a very basic level, all beings think that they should be happy. When life becomes unmanageable or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong. This would not be a big trouble except for the fact that when we feel something has gone wrong, we are willing to do anything to feel OK again. Even start a fight. Health consists in a good digestion of the food, and a free circulation of the bloodline. As for suffering, that also evidences itself constantly, without stopping for sleep or rest. Nevertheless, this similitude, we must consider the air as a very different kind of fluid from water, oils, mercury, or such substances, which are called particularly liquids. Actual life is, to most men, a long second best, an unending compromise between the paragon and the potential; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no hard-nosed limitations, and no roadblock to the originative activity.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

150 Baseball Quotes

150 Baseball Quotes “The designated hitter rule is like letting someone else take Wilt Chamberlain’s free throws”
— Rick Wise

“Nobody ever said, “Work ball!” They say, “Play ball!” To me, that means having fun”
— Willie Stargell

“Baseball is the only sport I know that when you’re on offense, the other team controls the ball”
— Ken Harrelson

“The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid. And if the hitter is timid, he has to remind the hitter he’s timid”
— Don Drysdale

“Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster”
— Joe Adcock and Curt Simmons

“I didn’t get over 1300 walks without knowing the strike zone.”
— Wade Boggs

“The strongest thing that baseball has going for it today are its yesterdays.”
— Lawrence Ritter

“Baseball is a lot like life. The line drives are caught, the squibbers go for base hits. It’s an unfair game”
— Rod Kanehl

“I’m convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile.”
— Tom Clark

“I don’t know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts…. The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You’re never sure how it’s going to turn out”
— George Foster

“When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player, and join the circus. With the Yankees, I’ve accomplished both”
— Anthony Standen

“Grantland Rice, the great sportswriter once said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.’ Well Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I’m concerned”
— Gene Autry

“Baseball is a ballet without music. Drama without words”
— Ernie Harwell

“When you’re in a slump, it’s almost as if you look out at the field and it’s one big glove”
— Vance Law

“Why does everybody stand up and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when they’re already there”
— Larry Anderson

“The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back”
— Steve Garvey

“Every player, in his secret heart, wants to manage someday. Every fan, in the privacy of his mind, already does”
— Leonard Koppett

“Cardinal rule for all hitters with two strikes on them: Never trust the umpire.”
— Robert Smith

“Back then, my idol was Bugs Bunny, because I saw a cartoon of him playing ball—you know, the one where he plays every position himself with nobody else on the field but him? Now that I think of it, Bugs is still my idol. You have to love a ballplayer like that”
— Nomar Garciaparra

“Mental attitude and concentration are the keys to pitching”
— Ferguson Jenkins

“You know it’s summertime at Candlestick when the fog rolls in, the wind kicks up, and you see the center fielder slicing open a caribou to survive the ninth inning”
— Bob Sarlette

“The greatest thrill in the world is to end the game with a home run and watch everybody else walk off the field while you’re running the bases on air”
— Al Rosen

“I would be lost without baseball. I don’t think I could stand being away from it as long as I was alive”
— Roberto Clemente

“Playing without the fundamentals is like eating without a knife and fork. You make a mess”
— Dick Williams

“All good balls to hit are strikes, though not all strikes are good balls to hit”
— Dave Winfield

“Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average”
— Mark Kramer

“A critic once characterized baseball as six minutes of action crammed into two-and-one-half hours”
— Ray Fitzgerald

“My stuff was all right, but it’s not about pitching good. It’s about winning. I pitched just good enough to lose”
— Greg Maddux

“It baseball is an American institution and more lasting than some marriages, war, Supreme Court decisions and even major depressions”
— Art Rust

“People like us are afraid to leave ball. What else is there to do? When baseball has been your whole life, you can’t think about a future without it, so you hang on as long as you can”
— Willie Stargell

150 Baseball Quotes “Basketball, hockey and track meets are action heaped upon action, climax upon climax, until the onlooker’s responses become deadened. Baseball is for the leisurely afternoons of summer and for the unchanging dreams”
— Roger Kahn

“Hello again, everybody. It’s a bee-yooo-tiful day for baseball”
— Harry Caray

“Baseball? It’s just a game—as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. It’s a sport, business—and sometimes even religion.”
— Ernie Harwell

“Awards mean a lot, but they don’t say it all. The people in baseball mean more to me than statistics”
— Ernie Banks

“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”
— Nolan Ryan

“Baseball is a fun game. It beats working for a living”
— Phil Linz

“Baseball is a man maker”
— Al Spalding

“Love America and hate baseball? Hate America and love baseball? Neither is possible, except in the abstract”
— John Krich

“It’s hard to win a pennant, but it’s harder losing one”
— Chuck Tanner

“If I would be happy, I would be a very bad ball player. With me, when I get mad, it puts energy in my body.”
— Roberto Clemente

“It’s no coincidence that female interest in the sport of baseball has increased greatly since the ballplayers swapped those wonderful old-time baggy flannel uniforms for leotards.”
— Mike Royko

“Though I like the various forms of football in the world, I don’t think they begin to compare with these two great Anglo-Saxon ball games for sophisticated elegance and symbolism. Baseball and cricket are beautiful and highly stylized medieval war substitutes, chess made flesh, a mixture of proud chivalry and base—in both senses—greed. With football we are back to the monotonous clashing armor of the brontosaurus.”
— John Fowles

“No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined”
— Paul Gallico

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring”
— Rogers Hornsby

“When they start the game, they don’t yell, “Work ball.” They say, “Play ball.””
— Willie Stargell

“Trying to get a fast ball past Hank Aaron is like trying to get the sun past a rooster.”
— Curt Simmons

“A knuckleball is a curve ball that doesn’t give a damn”
— Jimmy Cannon

“Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game. I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood. I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people”
— Steve Busby

“The great thing about baseball is that there’s a crisis every game”
— Gabe Paul

“The best way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then pick it up”
— Bob Uecker

“Baseball isn’t a business, it’s more like a disease”
— Walter F. O’Malley

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.”
— Bob Feller

“Back then, if you had a sore arm, the only people concerned were you and your wife. Now it’s you, your wife, your agent, your investment counselor, your stockbroker, and your publisher.”
— Jim Bouton

“The place was always cold, and I got the feeling that the fans would have enjoyed baseball more if it had been played with a hockey puck”
— Andre Dawson

“Life is like a baseball game. When you think a fastball is coming, You gotta be ready to hit the curve”
— Jaja Q.

“Good pitching will beat good hitting any time, and vice versa”
— Bob Veale

“Well, boys, it’s a round ball and a round bat and you got to hit the ball square”
— Joe Schultz

“It’s a pretty sure thing that the player’s bat is what speaks loudest when it’s contract time, but there are moments when the glove has the last word”
— Brooks Robinson

“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem—once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit”
— Al Gallagher

“The guy with the biggest stomach will be the first to take off his shirt at a baseball game”
— Glenn Dickey

150 Baseball Quotes “I don’t love baseball. I don’t love most of today’s players. I don’t love the owners. I do love, however, the baseball that is in the heads of baseball fans. I love the dreams of glory of 10-year-olds, the reminiscences of 70-year-olds. The greatest baseball arena is in our heads, what we bring to the games, to the telecasts, to reading newspaper reports.”
— Stan Isaacs

“The pitcher has to throw a strike sooner or later, so why not hit the pitch you want to hit and not the one he wants you to hit?”
— Johnny Mize

“Baseball is dull only to dull minds”
— Red Barber

“Kids are always chasing rainbows, but baseball is a world where you can catch them”
— Johnny Vander Meer

“Ninety feet between the bases is the nearest thing to perfection that man has yet achieved”
— Red Smith

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
— Frederick B. Wilcox

“Don’t forget to swing hard, in case you hit the ball”
— Woodie Held

“Fix your eye on the ball from the moment the pitcher holds it in his glove. Follow it as he throws to the plate and stay with it until the play is completed. Action takes place only where the ball goes”
— Bill Klem

“With those who don’t give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can’t think of anything to say to them”
— Art Hill

“Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it’s a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so, the living and the dead.”
— Richard Gilman

“Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off… the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases”
— Rick Maksian

“Like those special afternoons in summer when you go to Yankee Stadium at two o’clock in the afternoon for an eight o’clock game. It’s so big, so empty and so silent that you can almost hear the sounds that aren’t there”
— Ray Miller

“Reading about baseball is a lot more interesting than reading about chess, but you have to wonder: Don’t any of these guys ever go fishing?”
— Dave Shiflett

“To a pitcher, a base hit is the perfect example of negative feedback”
— Steve Hovley

“Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection”
— Red Smith

“I ain’t ever had a job. I just always played baseball”
— Leroy Robert

“Players who commit errors need reassurance from the pitcher, who must harbor no grudges.”
— Roger Craig

“What does a mama bear on the pill have in common with the World Series? No cubs”
— Harry Caray

“You know you’re pitching well when the batters look as bad as you do at the plate”
— Duke Snider

“A baseball game is twice as much fun if you’re seeing it on the company’s time”
— William C. Feather

“Baseball is too much of a sport to be called a business, and too much of a business to be called a sport”
— Philip Wrigley

“Baseball is more than a game to me, it’s a religion”
— Bill Klem

“There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all.”
— Lou Gehrig

“I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation”
— Leroy Robert

“With those who don’t give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can’t think of anything to say to them”
— Art Hill

“Hit em where they ain’t.”
— Willie Keeler

“I could never play in New York. The first time I came into a game there, I got into the bullpen car and they told me to lock the doors”
— Mike Flanagan

“Pro-rated at 500 at-bats a year that means that for two years out of the fourteen I played, I never even touched the ball.”
— Norm Cash

“The great thing about baseball is that there’s a crisis every day.”
— Gabe Paul

“Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it is a business.”
— Tommy Henrich

150 Baseball Quotes “Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It’s the only way we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot”
— Dick Gregory

“Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”
— Robert Frost

“A baseball manager is a necessary evil”
— Sparky Anderson

“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
— Yogi Berra

“Nothing flatters me more than to have it assumed that I could write prose-unless it be to have it assumed that I once pitched a baseball with distinction.”
— Robert Frost

“You teach me baseball and I’ll teach you relativity…No we must not You will learn about relativity faster than I learn baseball”
— Albert Einstein

“Baseball is a game of inches”
— Branch Rickey

“The trouble with baseball is that it is not played the year round”
— Gaylord Perry

“Baseball fans love numbers. They love to swirl them around their mouths like Bordeaux wine”
— Pat Conroy

“Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It’s staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in”
— Casey Stengel

“When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing…. I told him I wanted to be a real Major League Baseball Player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he’d like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

“What we have are good gray ballplayers, playing a good gray game and reading the good gray Wall Street Journal. They have been brainwashed, dry-cleaned and dehydrated!… Wake up the echoes at the Hall of Fame and you will find that baseball’s immortals were a rowdy and raucous group of men who would climb down off their plaques and go rampaging through Cooperstown, taking spoils…. Deplore it if you will, but Grover Cleveland Alexander drunk was a better pitcher than Grover Cleveland Alexander sober”
— Bill Veeck

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too”
— Roy Campanella

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
— Jackie Robinson

“The best possible thing in baseball is winning the World Series. The second best thing is losing the World Series”
— Tommy Lasorda

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game.”
— Jacques Barzun

“Baseball is a skilled game. It’s America’s game — it, and high taxes”
— Will Rogers

“I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to keep playing baseball”
— Pete Rose

“The clock doesn’t matter in baseball. Time stands still or moves backwards. Theoretically, one game could go on forever. Some seem to.”
— Herb Caen

“Baseball is a slow, sluggish game, with frequent and trivial interruptions, offering the spectator many opportunities to reflect at leisure upon the situation on the field: This is what a fan loves most about the game”
— Edward Abbey

“Say this much for big league baseball—it is beyond question the greatest conversation piece ever invented in America”
— Bruce Catton

“England and America should scrap cricket and baseball and come up with a new game that they both can play. Like baseball”
— Robert Benchley

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets”
— Yogi Berra

“Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel, not just to be as good as someone else but to be better than someone else. This is the nature of man and the name of the game”
— Ted Williams

“You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possible be — in baseball and in life.”
— Pete Rose

“When you step into the batter’s box, have nothing on your mind except baseball”
— Pete Rose

“It never ceases to amaze me how many of baseball’s wounds are self-inflicted”
— Bill Veeck

“Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts”
— Tommy Lasorda

“Next to religion, baseball has furnished a greater impact on American life than any other institution”
— Herbert Hoover

“Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up”
— Bob Lemon

150 Baseball Quotes “People who write about spring training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball”
— Sandy Koufax

“The saddest day of the year is the day baseball season ends”
— Tommy Lasorda

“That’s baseball, and it’s my game. Y’ know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave ’em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It’s good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty girls, lots of ’em”
— Humphrey Bogart

“Baseball is reassuring. It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up”
— Sharon Olds

“There are only five things you can do in baseball: run, throw, catch, hit, and hit with power.”
— Leo Durocher

“Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”
— Bill Veeck

“Baseball is the only major sport that appears backwards in a mirror.”
— George Carlin

“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game—the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us”
— Walt Whitman

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal”
— George Will

“Baseball is what gets inside you, it lights you up, its supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The HARD is what makes it great”
— Indian Proverb

“A baseball park is the one place where a man’s wife doesn’t mind his getting excited over somebody else’s curves”
— Brendan Behan

“The great trouble with baseball today is that most of the players are in the game for the money and that’s it, not for the love of it, the excitement of it, the thrill of it.”
— Ty Cobb

“Baseball wrong—man with four balls cannot walk”
— Indian Proverb

“I never thought home runs were all that exciting. I still think the triple is the most exciting thing in baseball. To me, a triple is like a guy taking the ball on his 1-yard line and running 99 yards for a touchdown”
— Hank Aaron

“There are three things you can do in a baseball game. You can win, or you can lose, or it can rain.”
— Casey Stengel

“Baseball is the only thing beside the paper clip that hasn’t changed”
— Bill Veeck

“Baseball serves as a good model for democracy in action: Every player is equally important and each has a chance to be a hero”
— Edward Abbey

“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer”
— Ted Williams

“Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast.”
— Joe Garagiola

“I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing it”
— Carl Yastrzemski

“Baseball is a simple game. If you have good players and if you keep them in the right frame of mind then the manager is a success”
— Sparky Anderson

“Baseball is not necessarily an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like washing your hands 100 times a day, but it’s beginning to seem that way. We’re reaching the point where you can be a truly dedicated, state-of-the-art fan or you can have a life. Take your pick”
— Thomas Boswell

“More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.”
— Thomas Boswell

“Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem”
— Saul Steinberg

“Baseball is like church. Many attend few understand.”
— Leo Durocher

“In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end”
— Tom Seaver

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical”
— Yogi Berra

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too”
— Yogi Berra

“A baseball fan has the digestive apparatus of a billy goat. He can, and does, devour any set of diamond statistics with insatiable appetite and then nuzzles hungrily for more.”
— Arthur Daley

“Baseball hasn’t been the national pastime for many years now—no sport is. The national pastime, like it or not, is watching television”
— Bob Greene

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Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture

Zen Koan #22: Parable of My Heart Burns Like Fire – Buddhist Teaching on Wakeful Presence

Zen Koan #22: Parable of My Heart Burns Like Fire - Buddhist Teaching on Wakeful Presence Love is the ultimate transgression, bell hooks argues. Its transformative power can shatter the status quo. In Zen Meditation, we develop states of great clarity but we also develop states of cow-like ignorance, bovine ponderousness. The important thing is not to have any resentment against your suffering, or any expectations of happiness. In fact, when some people encounter trouble, it does not reinforce their practice at all.

By grasping what is selfless as a self there is confusion. Since many of you have traveled far, or have worked hard to set aside the time, you have a great deal invested in this retreat. If you can take this attitude, eventually it will go away. The practice just keeps moving like a ball rolling down a hill. Freedom is shown in according one’s life with realities. The wisdom of the Buddha is not difficult to perceive; it can be attained in the instant between two thoughts. Musing requires excruciating motivation. The ones who come have some authentic desire for spiritual, moral, philosophical, or astute uplifting.

Being free to go wherever you wish, you are outside of the cycle of birth and death. If you do not abide in duality, neither having too much nor too little confidence, then what should you do? You have not come here to get enlightened, but to practice.

Zen Koan: “My Heart Burns Like Fire” Parable

Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.

In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.

Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.

Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.

Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.

When an opportunity comes do not let it pass by, yet always think twice before acting.

Do not regret the past. Look to the future.

Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.

Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

Buddhist Insight on Wakeful Presence

According to Buddhism, everything mental and physical ensues in accordance with laws and conditions; and if it were otherwise, chaos and blind chance would reign. Nevertheless, such a thing is intolerable and disproves all laws of thinking. In the wakeful presence of the mind, other kinds of happiness diminish and are exhausted. Most people tend to be locked into a quite dreary round of tasks, and experience little peace or harmony, according to Zen philosophy. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path,

Our society would have us believe that inner satisfaction depends on our success and achievement. Yet struggling to “get somewhere” keeps us perpetually busy, stressed-out, and disconnected from that essential inner resource – our ability to be fully present – which could provide a real sense of joy and fulfillment. Our life is unsatisfactory only because we are not living it fully, because instead we are pursuing a happiness that is always somewhere else, other than where we are right now…

Cultivating the capacity to be fully present – awake, attentive, and responsive – in all the different circumstances of life is the essence of spiritual practice and realization. Those with the greatest spiritual realization are those who are “all here,” who relate to life with an expansive awareness that is not limited by any fixation on themselves or their own point of view. They don’t shrink from any aspect of themselves or life as a whole.

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Posted in Faith and Religion

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

In the military, officer candidates are drilled on the power and practice of the manner of a leader-focused, attentive, and engaged. Command presence is not about control, it is about connection; it is not about power, it is about partnership. Leaders with command presence convey character.

Davy Crockett had command presence. “Crockett seemed to be the leading spirit. He was everywhere,” wrote Enrique Esparza, eyewitness to the Alamo, in a newspaper article following the legendary siege. Great leaders are all about spirit-being, not just doing. They focus on being there, everywhere, not in absentia. And, when they are there, they are all there-focused, attentive, engaged.

Great leaders hunt for genuine encounters. They upset the pristine and proper by inviting vocal customers to boardroom meetings. They spend time in the field and on the floor where the action is lively, not in carefully contrived meetings where the action is limp. They thrive on keeping things genuine and vibrant.

Leadership is being (Spirit)

Leadership is the act of influencing another to achieve important goals. It is not about rank or authority. Authority is the last resort of the inept. Leadership is about being-the conveyance of spirit. “You don’t have to know that Susan is the leader,” a manager said of his leader, “You can feel it the second she walks into the room. A warm connection reaches out of who she is and pulls you in. Some people might call it charisma, I call it caring.”

Spirit-full leaders let go of proving who they are in exchange for being who they are. They are givers whose curious interest in others drives them to be completely absorbed in whoever is on the other end of their conversations. They are patient listeners eager to learn, not anxious to make a point.

Great leaders are passion givers. They embrace the concept embedded in the word and pass it on to others. They show their excitement in the moment and optimism for the future, regardless of how much sleep they got the evening before or their worry over hiccups in the balance sheet. Great leaders are pathfinders who light the way with their positive faith. They would rather facilitate than challenge. They cultivate confidence rather than breed caution.

Leadership is Being There

Leaders are present. They don’t just lead by wandering around; they lead by staying engaged. They don’t just know the facts and figures; they know the stories and struggles. Because they make it their business to do their homework on customers and associates, they can affirm on sight without benefit of cue card or staff whispers. They call associates at home to congratulate them on something important to the associate. They thank customers for their business with sincerity and obvious gratitude. They hold meetings on other’s turf.

Great leaders bring perpetual energy and intensity to encounters. They are always wide awake. When it comes to their role, they are never lazy, disinterested, or indifferent. They care enough to bring their best. They show up in life with completed staff work.

At the annual managers meeting, Macy’s Director of Stores, Randy Scalise, gave out 15 awards to outstanding performers in the Northeast region. On the outside, the awards ceremony looked normal-applause, handshakes, an award presentation, and photos. What was unique was how many stories Randy told about his personal experiences with the award winners. He was an important customer for many of them—he had been there, up close and personal.

Great leaders are passion givers

Leadership is Being All There

The myth of leadership is that of a knight in shining armor without warts or clay feet rushing in to charismatically compel people to greatness through the sheer power of his persona. Real leaders are superior and inadequate, strong, and weak.

“He gives us so much courage,” a senior leader said of Doug Borror, CEO of Dominion Homes, and a large home-builder in Dublin, Ohio. “Doug is not perfect. But, he works hard to be the best he can be. When he makes a mistake, he owns it; he forgives himself so to speak. And he is willing to confess in public. That encourages us to reach for higher goals, knowing that if we fall short reaching for the moon, we’ll still end up among the stars.

Real leaders are real role models-not “be perfect like me” models. They are open about their struggles and invite followers to enlist. Positioning leaders as perfect models is unfair to leaders and disempowers associates. Real leaders stumble and blunder, just like normal people. Greatness comes through self-forgiveness as you “get back on the horse.” Real leaders serve as role models best when they reveal their vulnerability and demonstrate their humanity. When leaders own their mistakes, they signal to all that concealment and CYA antics are deviations from corporate custom.

Davy Crockett held no official position at the Battle of the Alamo. His command was expressed solely through his presence-one that cultivated confidence and promoted passion. Coronal Jim Bowie wrote, “David Crockett has been animating the men to do their duty.” Command presence is the embodiment of animation. And animation is what separates maintenance managers from truly great leaders.

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Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Ira Glass on Christianity and Religion

Ira Glass Ira Glass is an American television and radio personality who was the admired host of a radio program called This American Life.

Glass has stated on This American Life that he is a committed atheist. “It’s not like I don’t feel like I’m a Jew. I feel like I don’t have a choice about being a Jew. Your cultural heritage isn’t like a suitcase you can lose at the airport. I have no choice about it. It is who I am. I can’t choose that. It’s a fact of me … But even when I was 14 or 15, it didn’t make that much sense to me that there was this Big Daddy who created the world and would act so crazy in the Old Testament. That we made up these stories to make ourselves feel good and explain the world seems like a much more reasonable explanation. I’ve tried to believe in God, but I simply don’t.”

Atheism notwithstanding, “some years I have a nostalgic feeling to go into a shul and I’ll go in for a High Holiday service,” discloses Glass, who has fond memories of his childhood rabbi’s beguiling discourses. “Rabbi Seymour Esrog was really funny, a great storyteller. He was so good that even the kids would stay and watch him. He’d tell a funny anecdote, something really moving, and go for a big finish. That’s what the show is,” he competes, recognizing the rabbi’s effect.

In this interview with religious anthropologist Jim Henderson, Glass says he thinks Christians get a genuinely bad rap in the media. The NPR star said the way Christians are often represented in pop-culture is totally different from the way the Christians he knows personally actually are in real life. “The Christians in my life were all incredibly wonderful and thoughtful and had very ambiguous, complicated feelings in their beliefs. And seemed to be totally generous-hearted, and totally open to a lot of different kinds of people in their lives.”

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Posted in Faith and Religion

Small Remedies Reap Big Rewards

When is a dirty bathroom a broken window? This question could govern your success or failure. Answer that question properly—and use that answer as a guiding light—and your business could dominate its competition forever. Ignore the answer, and you will soon reprove your business to failure.

The “broken windows” philosophy was first set forth by criminologists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, deliberating on petty criminal acts like graffiti, purse snatching, or jay walking, and how they can lead to larger crimes such as murder. Something as small as a broken window sends a signal to those who pass by every day. That means more serious breaches—theft, defacement, violent crime—might be overlooked in this area.

If a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired, all other windows will soon be broken since people perceive that the owner of this building and the community around it don’t care if this window is broken: They have given up; disorder reigns here. Do as you will, because nobody cares.

Broken Windows in Business

Pay attention to every detail in leadership That same theory applies to the world of business. If the restroom is out of toilet paper, it gestures that management isn’t paying attention to the needs of its people. Perceptions are a vital part of every business, and if a retailer, service provider, or company sends signals that its approach is lackadaisical, its methods halfhearted, and its execution indifferent, the business could suffer severe—and in some cases, irreparable-losses.

When broken windows are ignored, fatal consequences can result. Small things make a huge difference. A messy reception area might lead customers to believe that the company doesn’t care about cleanliness or quality. We all bear some responsibility to stand up for what we want and have every right to expect from a company to which we give our hard-earned money. In a capitalist society, we assume that a company will do its best to fulfill the desires of its customers. If the company sees sales slipping but doesn’t have data from consumers as to what made them decrease their spending, the company will not know what to fix.

Still, businesses that don’t notice and repair their broken windows should not simply be forgiven because their consumers don’t make a fuss. Leaders are responsible to tend their own house—and the time to repair broken windows is the minute they occur.

Prevent Broken Windows

Since small things can snowball into large problems, smart owners prevent broken windows at—or before—the first sign of trouble.

In a business, the broken windows can be literal or metaphorical. Sometimes a broken window really is a broken window, and a new pane of glass needs to be installed quickly. However, most of the time, broken windows are the little details, the tiny flaws, the overlooked minutiae that signal much larger problems either already in place or about to become reality.

Companies that fail to notice and repair their broken windows suffer greatly. Those that attend to every potentially broken window win.

People want to feel that the businesses that they work for and those they buy from care about what they want. Consumers are looking for businesses that anticipate and fulfill their needs and do so in a way that makes it clear the business understands the consumers’ needs or wants and is doing its best to see them satisfied.

Broken windows indicate to the consumer that the business doesn’t care—either that it is so poorly run it can’t possibly keep up with its obligations, or that it has become so oversized and arrogant that it no longer cares about its core consumer. Either of these impressions can be deadly.

Tiny details—the smaller, the more important—can make a big difference in success or failure. A broken window can be a sloppy counter, poorly located sale item, randomly organized menu, or an employee with a bad attitude. It can be physical, like a flaking paint job, or symbolic, like a policy that requires consumers to pay for customer service.

The Broken Windows Pledge

Small Remedies Reap Big Rewards Broken windows are everywhere, except at the best businesses. I invite you to take the Broken Windows for Business Pledge. It’s a serious statement outlining the tenets of the broken windows for business theory.

  • You can pay attention to every detail.
  • You can correct any broken windows I find in my business, and you can do so immediately, with no hesitation.
  • You can screen, hire, train, and supervise my people to notice and correct broken windows as soon as possible.
  • You can treat each customer like the only customer my business has. You can be on constant vigil for signs of Broken Windows Hubris and never assume my business is invulnerable.
  • You can mystery shop my own business to discover broken windows.
  • You can make sure every customer who encounters my business is met with courtesy, efficiency, and a smile.
  • You can exceed customer expectations.
  • You can make a positive first impression and assume that every impression is a first impression.
  • You can make sure that my online and telephone customer service reps solve a customer’s problem perfectly the first time.
  • You can be obsessive and compulsive when it comes to my business.

If you live up to the promises in the pledge and make them second nature, you will discover your business—and your life—running more smoothly than ever before. You will never look at a broken window-or an unbroken one—the same way again.

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Posted in Management and Leadership Philosophy and Wisdom

God Sent Down to His Children with Loveliness

Religion is a Lovely Bridge Between Childhood and Old Age

Religion is a Lovely Bridge “O to keep the loveliness of a child that fades with the years!” Have you ever been moved by that reflection? I was, on looking at the picture of my daughter when she was two years old. She is now fourteen, and graceful and pretty for her age. However, there is a special softness and charm, which only a young infant possesses. In addition, this special charm vanishes as the child grows older.

The loveliness of a tender child is part of its armor of life. It was put there by the Almighty to compensate the father and mother for the arduous care, which the child requires during those early years. A parent would otherwise be less willing to put up with that tedious round of wakeful nights, of struggling to feed and keep clean and sustain in health this totally helpless creature, The Lord made that infant so lovely, with a skin so soft to the touch, with a smile so captivating, that the parents are enchanted, and the labor of caring for that infant is rendered so sweet.

Large-hearted joy is the mental ability to feel happiness for the good circumstances and happiness of others. That infant must grow up, however, and eventually attain independence. He will have to learn to stand on his own feet. The little boy must finally become a man, leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife so that they become one flesh. The transition sets in early. That loveliness, that special endearing charm begins to fade, so that the grief of separation may be more bearable to the parents.

The boy and the girl will then need other charms—charms to attract a mate with a new kind of love. The Lord provides those charms too in due measure and in due time.

There are instances where parents or children act contrary to the Lord’s intentions. Mothers and fathers too, because their own lives are deficient in other fulfillments will occasionally seek to hold their children and refuse to let them go. They will want to keep the grown son or daughter for himself or herself, impeding their emergence into the world of adult existence. Moreover, there are instances of grown sons and daughters remaining so attached to their parents that they are incapable of the new adjustments for which the time has come.

These are instances of infantilism, of immaturity, of failure to grow up. True growth must be emotional as well as physical.

The Lord has made everything good in its time. That which in its time is good, becomes a tragic absurdity when its time is past.

Let us enjoy the loveliness of a child and when that special childhood loveliness begins to fade, let us not grieve, for our child is then moving to a new career, wonderful in its own way—maturity.

Childhood is Scarcely More Lovely Than Cheerful

Childhood is Scarcely More Lovely Than Cheerful Galilee had no sooner found out these properties in the pendulum, then he turned them to the vantage of philosophy; by those he measured, with some exactitude, his astronomical observations, and the delight thus resulting from their use, in some measure, recompensed the infliction of investigating their properties. While he assures the world of the above fact, he defies the whole world to confute the truth of it. They give a particular strength and fortitude to the mind in the practice of virtuousness; and they promote a cheerful assent in this supremely wise and righteous administration, whatever trials and excruciation may arise. French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote in The Complete Essays of Montaigne,

A sage is not afraid of lack of knowledge: he is not afraid of hesitations, or hard work, but he is afraid of only one thing—to pretend to know the things which he does not know.

You should study more to understand that you know little.

This is the case over the whole East. Yet some other study further complicates the issue by proposing three separate dog pedigree. Tragedy aided their crusade. Let me tell you, there was no line out the door to manage him. The monograph constitutes a much complete statement of subsist knowledge of the cerebellum and its functions. All language is based on arbitrary agreements as to the significance of signaling—spoken, written, or made. Megalomania can strike anywhere; I conjecture is the point. We all know it, if we know much of anything.

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Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Lotus Mahal (or Kamala Mahal) is perhaps the most elegant stucco pavilion at Hampi, capital of the famous Vijayanagara Empire of South India. Additionally, it is an excellent example of a well-balanced mishmash of Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) architectural style.

Ground Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) Architectural Style of Lotus Mahal, Hampi The structure of the Lotus Mahal is built of brick and mortar with smooth and glossy plaster finishing. Yet, the platform or the basement of the building is built of stone. It has indented outlines with sharp corners, with excellently bedecked moldings at the bottom on all the sides. The structure has two stories.

The ground floor is not closed in any direction. It has cusped arches with fine decorations over which exists a sloping eave, surrounding the building. The ground area has a pavilion or a spectator section, which was used by the royals for pastime and for congregation.

The ground floor is raised on a high and ornamental stone basement with doubly recessed angles, which makes the plan of the building somewhat different, and many art historians have marveled at this architectural feature.

First Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

There is a staircase to go to the first floor. The first floor is a closed pavilion with many rectangular windows with separate arches at the top. Each of these windows had wooden shutters, which is not very a common feature. Possibly the royal women used this.

The upper floor also has a sloping eave running around the building. The graceful roof contains nine superstructures, which bear a resemblance to closely the sikharas of Hindu temples.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

The interior of the upper storey consists of an indented hall with four pillars in the centre with niches. The interior walls consist of finely carved floral designs of a high order. While the pillars and the arches exhibit Islamic architectural characters, the base, the roof the superstructures, cornices and stucco ornaments are Hindu in character.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features

This harmonious architectural combination of features has made the Lotus Mahal distinctive at Hampi. Actually, it is an appealing and a long-awaited combination of two different styles of architecture during the Vijayanagara period.

This elegant building was perhaps used entirely by the royalty as a pleasure pavilion with open space at the ground level and some amount of privacy at the first floor. Thus, its name Lotus Mahal or Kamala Mahal is entirely appropriate to this elegant structure.

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Posted in Travels and Journeys

The Eightfold Path in Buddhism

Buddha Statue at Borobodur Temple in Indonesia

Having established the reality, cause, and end of suffering, in the final noble truth the Buddha taught his disciples the eight-step path to awakening. Because they represent the actions and comportment of one who lives in accord with the dharma, these eight aspects of Buddhist practice are described as “wise,” “skillful,” “correct,” or simply, “right.”

  • Right View: A true understanding of how reality and suffering are intertwined.
  • Right Resolve: The aspiration to act with correct intention, doing no harm.
  • Right Speech: Abstaining from lying, and divisive or abusive speech.
  • Right Action: Acting in ways that do not cause harm, such as not taking life, not stealing, and not engaging in sexual misconduct.
  • Right Livelihood: Making an ethically sound living, being honest in business dealings.
  • Right Effort: Endeavoring to give rise to skillful thoughts, words, and deeds and renouncing unskillful ones.
  • Right Mindfulness: Being mindful of one’s body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities.
  • Right Concentration: Practicing skillful meditation informed by all of the preceding seven aspects.

'Buddhism in Practice' by Donald S. Lopez Jr. (ISBN 0691129681) This formulation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment appears in what is regarded as the Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment, the “Setting Forth the Wheel of Dharma.”

The Buddha argued that the middle way is the eightfold path, which, like the four truths, he calls “noble.”

These eight steps are considered to be of three types:

  1. right view and right resolve are related to our development of wisdom;
  2. right speech, right action, and right livelihood to ethical conduct;
  3. and right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration to meditation.

The noble eightfold path receives less discussion in Buddhist literature than do the four noble truths (of which they are, after all, a constituent). Indeed, in later formulations, the eight factors are presented not so much as a prescription for behavior but as eight qualities that are present in the mind of a person who has understood nirvana.

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