August 18, 2016 by 24 Comments
Rag’n’Bone Man (born Rory Graham) sings “Human“. He’s a British singer-songwriter from Uckfield, near Brighton. At 15, he started he career by testing his rap skills at open-mic hip hop nights. At 19, encouraged by his father, he sang at a blues jam in a local pub and doors started opening for acoustic gigs. His career has since taken off. You can find his pages on Facebook, his web site and on iTunes.
June 3, 2016 by 19 Comments
And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm – whether it’s something or someone – toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.
– Paul Schmidtberger, Design Flaws of the Human Condition
May 27, 2016 by 31 Comments
My fingers are on the keyboard.
I punch out the subject heading on the email:
“It’s high time – long overdue.”
She’s a functional partner that supports our team. I don’t know how long she’s been in the role. (Red-faced)
“Hi! Not sure why today and not yesterday, or a year ago, or two.”
She’s steady, effective. The antithesis of flamboyant. And she’s there. Always There.
“Just wanted to say thank you for your support…”
She doesn’t interrupt. She’s a listener. And, professional, responsive and conscientious.
“You care. It’s obvious in everything you touch…”
I proof re-read, pause, and then add:
May 15, 2016 by 30 Comments
We think of hot and cold, or of textures, silk and cotton. But some of the most important sensing we do with our fingers is to register incredibly minute differences in pressure, of the kinds that are necessary to perform tasks, which we grasp in a microsecond from the feel of the outer shell of the thing. We know instantly, just by touching, whether to gently squeeze the toothpaste or crush the can. […]
Computer chess looks intelligent, but it’s under-the-hood stupid. Reaching and elegantly picking up the right chess piece fluidly and having it land in the right place in an uncontrolled environment—that’s hard. Haptic intelligence is an almost irreproducible miracle! Because people are so good at that, they don’t appreciate it. Machines are good at finding the next move, but moving in the world still baffles them. […]
Our bodies are membranes in the world, with sensation and meaning passing seamlessly through them. Our experience of our bodies—the things they feel, the moves they make, and the textures and the people they touch—is our primary experience of our minds. “The brain is just simply part of our bodies” is how the philosopher Alva Noë often puts it. The truer cartoon, in a sense, would be “Outside In,” with the emotions produced by people bumping against one another. A key to being embodied in this way is tactile experience—what we touch, whom we touch, how many we touch, and why we find them touching. Grasping, hugging, striking, playing, caressing, reaching, scratching backs, and rubbing rears: these are not primitive forms of communication. They are the fabric of being conscious. The work of the world is done by handling it. We live by feel. […]
Later, in a café near the square, Keltner has a cappuccino and, sitting at the counter, watches the variety of human touch as it reveals itself in that unending theatre: fingers flying on the keyboard, hands darting out to make a point, heads turning to underline a joke, bodies slouching and primping and jostling and soliciting attention. An intensity of feeling combines, in our tactile lives, with a plurality of kinds.
Perhaps the reason that touch has no art form is that its supremacy makes it hard to escape. We can shut our eyes and cover our ears, but it’s our hands that do it when we do. We can’t shut off our skins. It is the obscurity of the other senses that makes us enliven them with art: touch is too important to be elaborated or distilled. It just is. What we see we long for; what we hear we interpret; what we touch we are. The art we aspire to is a remote sensation, always out of reach. Life is the itch we are still trying to scratch.
~ Adam Gopnik, excerpts from Feel Me. What the Science of Touch Says About Us
Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Image: “By Hand” – Red Clay Sculpture by Dan Stockholm
March 31, 2016 by 19 Comments
“Coca-Cola Hired This Man to Laugh Really on a Crowded Subway Train in Belgium. It’s usually not a good sign when someone starts laughing maniacally on the subway. But riders in Belgium seem to take it pretty well in this new Coca-Cola ad. The agency, Gonzales in Brussels—working off the insight that “happiness starts with a smile”—wanted to make people laugh in an environment where they rarely do. So, they hired a guy to get things started. See how it went.”
Thank you Susan.
January 27, 2016 by 20 Comments
On a spring day in 1950, when I was big enough to run about on my own two legs yet still small enough to ride in my father’s arms, he carried me onto the porch of a farmhouse in Tennessee and held me against his chest, humming, while thunder roared and lightning flared and rain sizzled around us. On a spring day just over twenty years later, I carried my own child onto the porch of a house in Indiana to meet a thunderstorm, and then, after thirty more years, I did the same with my first grandchild. Murmuring tunes my father had sung to me, I held each baby close, my daughter, Eva, and then, a generation later, her daughter, Elizabeth, and while I studied the baby’s newly opened eyes I wondered if she felt what I had felt as a child cradled on the edge of a storm— the tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything.
~ Scott Russell Sanders, A Private History of Awe
November 1, 2015 by 8 Comments
In mid-November I flew to Madrid. […] In Cartagena we made a pit stop at a restaurant called Juanita. […] I was sitting at the bar, having lukewarm coffee and a bowl of marinated beans warmed in possibly the first microwave ever made, when I realized some guy had sidled up to me.
He opened a well-worn oxblood wallet to reveal a solitary lottery ticket with the number 46172. I didn’t get the feeling it was a winning number, but in the end I paid six euros for it, which was a lot for a lottery ticket. Then he sat down next to me, ordered a beer and a plate of cold meatballs, and paid for them with my euros. We ate together in silence. Then he got up, looked me straight in the face, and grinned, saying buena suerte. I smiled back and wished him luck as well.
It occurred to me that my ticket may be worthless, but I didn’t care. I was willingly drawn into the whole scene, like a random character in a B. Traven novel. Lucky or not, I went along with the part I was targeted to play: the pigeon who gets off a bus at a pit stop on the road to Cartagena, hit on to invest in a suspiciously limp lottery ticket. The way I look at it is that fate touches me and some rumpled straggler has a repast of meatballs and warm beer. He is happy, I feel at one with the world— a good trade.
- Photo: Medplaya
- Related Patti Smith Post: I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world.
October 18, 2015 by 36 Comments
I’m rushing to catch the elevator. I’m late for my next meeting, and busy replaying the outcome of the last. I step into the building lobby and run into a colleague.
JQ: Hey, Dave. Do you have a minute?
DK: Running late, but of course.
JQ: I wanted to share an idea and get your thoughts. I know that you’ve been blogging for some time. I’ve been thinking of doing the same. I visit assisted care living facilities (ACLF) on weekends and write stories.
DK: Write stories?
JQ: Yes. Many of the people I meet are ill, lonely and rarely visited by family. They look forward to speaking to me. I meet them all in person. Some interviews take 5 hours. Some 30 minutes. I take their picture. All with their consent or consent of a family member.
As he describes his “hobby,” I take an inventory of recent posts: Snoopy. A cat video. Hyperrealistic painting of lady in bath tub eating cake. OMG. [Read more…]
September 30, 2015 by 5 Comments
I believe that when
the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded
from the last worthless rock hanging tideless
in the last red and dying evening,
that even then there will still be one more sound:
that of [man’s] puny inexhaustible voice,
~ William Faulkner, Banquet Speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, (12/10/50)