The End of Night

the-end-of-night-Paul-Bogard…In our haste to embrace a 24/7 lifestyle that makes increasing demands on our time, nocturnal hours once reserved for sociability, reflection and rest have been usurped. “What art thou good for … but only for love and fornication?” the character “Night” is asked in John Dryden’s comedy “Amphitryon” (1690). Today, not only is one-fifth of the labor force employed in shift work, but many day-to-day tasks (grocery shopping, for instance) are performed after dark. Silence and solitude fall prey to around-the-clock television and the allure of the Internet. Texting teenagers take their iPhones to bed. Burning the candle at both ends, we struggle to streamline sleep with the aid of plush pillows and prescription drugs and, in the process, impair our age-old ability to dream, a wellspring of ideas as inspiring as a starlit sky.

~A. Roger Ekirch, a review on Paul Bogard’s book titled The End of Night.


Credits:

Belief in God = Morality and Good Values?

values, generational, God, religion,morality,values


Source: Wall Street Journal Statshot: Carl Bialik, ‘The Numbers Guy’

Running. With Marc and Eddy Verbessem.

Identical Twins, Euthanasia, Belgium


5:30 am.  59F. Birds up and singing in all their glory.  It’s still.  Very still.

I put on my Adidas running shorts.  Rachel’s scolding from months back surfaces: “I can see your tan line.  They’re too short.  Those are Perv Shorts.  Embarrassing. Go change.”  I growl.   Now, each time I put them on, I’m thinking Perv-Man.  Words. Killer.  What a delicate flower.

What do you want to do for Father’s Day Dad?
I’d like to be left alone for the day.
Really?
Yes, if you could arrange for me to be sitting alone next to Thoreau, at Walden Pond, listening in on his thoughts, that would be a perfect Sunday.”
“Who? What?”
Forget it Honey.  Forget it.”
Have to say Dad, you have to stop your incoherent mumbling.” [Read more…]

Joy

puppy, car ride, bliss, joy, happy, cute, dog

“Is happiness a lesser version of joy, or something totally different?  I’d argue it’s different and not only because it’s more prevalent. Many more things can cause happiness than joy. Also, happiness is somewhat within our control. We can create it through our decisions. Joy happens to you. It’s unruly. You submit to it. It usually comes as a surprise, as it did every morning with our newborns

…Certain experiences lift you out of yourself. They enable you to exist fully in the moment. (A singular serving of French toast in my late teens on the corner of 62nd and Lex at Burger Heaven; Christmas 1963, when Skippy, our first dog, popped out of a box pocked with ventilation holes.)

…What distinguishes joy is that it doesn’t come around that often. Indeed, you’re rather aware of its perishability, its evanescence, even when you’re in the midst of it.

…But it may be the thing that unites French toast and lifting a newborn out of its crib in the morning and bringing the child into bed with you. I’m not necessarily talking about one-on-one love, but the universal, John Lennon “All you need is…” variety that connects us to something beyond ourselves, and seems to be floating out there…

…We spend the majority of our lives worrying, even when we’re happy. We’re worried about catching the bus or subway or whether there’s a cab that isn’t off duty; we’re worried about our work; we’re worried we offended somebody; we’re worried about money; we’re worried about sleep; we’re worried about being worried.

…If there’s any dread, it’s in the way we create barriers, denying ourselves access to it (joy) more frequently.”

~ Ralph Gardner, Joy Spills Over, Wall Street Journal (Excerpts)


Sources: Image – BJLove.  Quote: Wall Street Journal

Run long and fast. At your peril.

exercise, fit, diet, weight loss, run, running, gif, research, extreme

I’m giddy when new research supports my undisciplined behavior.  This time, it’s exercise.  Here’s a quick snapshot of new research reported in the Wall Street Journal:

  • Running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one’s progress toward the finish line of life.
  • After age 50, pushing too hard is probably not good for one’s heart or longevity.
  • For a lot of older athletes: Running can take a toll on the heart that essentially eliminates the benefits of exercise.
  • The benefits of running may come to a hard stop later in life. Runners had a 19% lower death rate than nonrunners but among the runners, those who ran a lot—more than 20 to 25 miles a week—lost that mortality advantage.
  • There was no mortality benefit for those who ran faster than 8 miles per hour, while those who ran slower reaped significant mortality benefits.
  • Studies are finding cardiac abnormalities in extreme athletes, including coronary artery calcification of a degree typically found in the utterly sedentary.
  • Chronic extreme exercise appears to cause excessive ‘wear-and-tear’ on the heart.
  • If you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for some reason other than health.

Source: Wall Street Journal: One Running Shoe In the Grave.  Image: Crescent Moon

He’s read 6,128 books…

Joe-Queenan, The-Wall-Street-Journal, ColumnistHe’s Joe Queenan, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal.  He started reading when he was 7 years old.  Fifty-five years later, he has read 6,128 books.  He “hopes to get through another 2,137 books before he dies.”

He often “reads dozens of books simultaneously.”  “(He) starts a book in 1978 and finishes it 34 years later.” 

He states that “a case can be made that people who read a preposterous number of books are not playing with a full deck.  I prefer to think of us as dissatisfied customers.  If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it’s probably because at some level you find ‘reality’ a bit of a disappointment.”

[Read more…]

Stressed? Try Butterflies.

Fifteen years ago, I would have told you to get out of my office (get out of my face) and stop wasting my time.  10 years ago, I would have called “bulls-” on this malarkey.  Today, the image above calms me.  And I’ve come to believe that I need thisIt’s good for me.  It’s good for the team around me.  (But let’s not get too excited.  I’m a toddler here.  I’m on the 3rd step of a 107 step program.)  And since it has now been endorsed by the Truth, the Wall Street Journal,  I’m in. (:)  Lao Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC): “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Takes a Single Step”…Time to take that step… [Read more…]

30% of U.S. Workers Get < 6 Hours of Sleep A Night.

wsj - sleep 3These statistics are shocking.  And here I thought I was in a minority class…

“A growing number of Americans don’t get enough sleep, thanks to higher stress and other factors”

“Some 20% of automobile accidents come as the result of drowsy drivers”

“U.S. military researchers, meanwhile, have concluded that sleeplessness is one of the leading causes of friendly fire.”

“Technology was making the world smaller by the day; the global economy blurred the lines between one day and the next, and things like time and place were supposed to be growing ever less important in the always-on workplace”

“74%: People who drink a caffeinated beverage on an average weekday”

“13%: People who drink more than six caffeinated beverages on an average weekday”


wsj - sleep

“Researchers are increasingly finding that lack of sleep is terrible for our health. Sleeplessness has been linked to increased rates of heart disease, obesity, stroke and even certain cancers. The exact reasons for these effects are still largely unknown, but give support to the theory that sleep is the time when our bodies naturally repair themselves on a cellular level.”

[Read more…]

So, let me tell you about my day Dad…

daddy and daughterWeek 3: Rachel’s summer job in Manhattan where she’s interning in a Human Resources Department.  She’s been coming home and thematically asking this line of questions:

How’d your day go Dad?”  (For 19 years, I’d come dragging through the front door at the end of a long day. She’d be lying on the couch watching continuous loops of reality TV.  Not a peep from her on how my day went.  Now she’s asking.  Hmmmm. Until you walked a mile in a man’s shoes…) 

Let me tell you about my day Dad.”  (She proceeds to jabber on and on and on about her day…giddy almost…youthful exuberance.  Anxious. Yet excited.  Learning.  Being stretched into new territory.  Unsure footing.  No worries Honey.  It will come.  It will surely come…) 

Dad, did you read about the Greek vote in the Wall Street Journal?”  (Read what, where? Rachel reading a newspaper?  The WSJ?  I’m getting woozy.)

[Read more…]

If you can’t entertain yourself with your own thoughts, then go ahead and text, Plato…

From WSJ.com: Culture City: Theaters Still Vexed by the Text

Recent article in the Wall Street Journal on texting that was written for me.  Author outlines the top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t text in the theatre (and it’s applicable for meetings, movies, seminars, dinners, etc).  I’ve excerpted my top 5 of her 10…good article – I would encourage you to read it in its entirety…

9. You’re rotting your brain. (Multitasking is bad for you.  It reduces your ability to focus and think deeply about task at hand.  If you can’t think deeply, you can’t feel deeply, which means you’re missing out on a rich, creative interior life.)

8. It’s annoying to other people who are trying to watch the show.

7. Maybe the show isn’t boring. Maybe it’s you. (…if you can’t entertain yourself with your own thoughts, you’re in bad shape. For centuries, philosophers have grappled with the concepts of love, beauty, religion, the meaning of life…Have you exhausted all that? If so, then go ahead and text, Plato.)

4. You’re not “in the moment.” (…Set an intention for your practice of watching a show. Separate yourself from the demands of your world. Be mindful of what you are experiencing. Hug every breath, and inhale that theater air.)

1. You’re missing the obvious.  It’s just plain rude.

Birds are always there…

The Wall Street Journal: Photo-Op: Color Field:

“Everybody dreams of soaring like an eagle, but few consider that they probably wouldn’t be alone in the sky. The 200 photographs in John Downer’s EarthFlightoffer the exultant wing-to-wing camaraderie enjoyed otherwise only by fighter pilots and birds themselves, juxtaposing graceful avians aloft and stunning landscapes beneath.  To infiltrate the flocks, Downer and his team used…hang gliders, ultralight aircraft and the ‘vulturecam,’ a miniature remote-controlled plane disguised as a bird. Even more unusual were the tiny cameras they mounted on the backs of trained birds, such as a bald eagle that banked and wheeled above the Grand Canyon…Six continents and all four seasons are represented: A squadron of barnacle geese cross wintry fields on the south coast of Sweden, the pale shading of their feathers mirroring the snow cover below; a common crane (above) surveys the bright stripes of a Dutch tulip farm in the spring…(and) Hovering over the roofs of Rome, a cloud of starlings forms a dark calligraphic blob like something from a painting by Miró—a startling reminder that birds are always there, whether we notice them from the ground or not.”

I am a hoarder.

Yep. That’s me.  A digital hoarder.  Good article in this week’s Wall Street Journal called Drowning In Email, Photos, Files?  Hoarding Goes Digital.  Here’s 2 excerpts on what defines a hoarder and what to do about it:

“There are no official criteria for ‘digital hoarding’ but there are some tell-tale signs:

  • You’ve exceeded your 7 gigabytes of free space in Gmail and have to buy more.
  • Deleting anything makes you anxious—even things you can’t remember why you saved.
  • You spend more time searching for a file than it would take to download it again.
  • You have dozens of icons on your desktop and don’t know what they’re for.
  • You can’t remember all your email or social-media accounts or how to access them.
  • You have flash drives scattered in drawers, pockets and purses and no idea what’s on them.
  • Of your thousands of digital photos, the vast majority are duds.
  • You have entire seasons of bad TV shows you have no intention of watching.

[Read more…]

Luck is hard work…

“…70% of American workers believe the key ingredient to being lucky in their careers is having a strong work ethic…

…Of 7,000 respondents in 15 countries…84% said they believed that luck – good or bad – plays some role in their professional lives.

…But they aren’t relying on kismet: participants consider luck to be something people create for themselves…

…Respondents said the most important factors in generating good fortune are solid communication skills, flexibility, strong work ethic, acting on opportunities and having a robust network, in that order…”

Source: Wall Street Journal, Luck is Hard Work


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