hands forming a heart encircling the sun

He is Risen

Yellow, the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness, and, as this is Easter Sunday, a sign that He is Risen.
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Pâques is French for Easter

Pâques is the French word for Easter. It derives from the Greek “paskha” and Latin “pascha”, meaning “Passover”, which comes from Hebrew “Pesah” meaning “passing way” (“passage”), the Jewish name for the celebration of Passover, which remembers the Jewish Exodus out of Egypt (c. 1450 BCE).

Strange is it not, that the French choose a Jewish word for a Christian holy day?

Stranger still, that the English and Americans call the holiday Easter.

The explanation comes from the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede (673–735), whose explanation, in Latin, translates as:

Eosturmanath has a name, now translated “Paschal month,” which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honored name of the old.
Bede, De temporum ratione cap. 13

If I think I am, am I?

The subject came up this morning when a daughter said to her father, ” ‘You are as you thinketh,’ Jesus said,”

So she said.

Confounded the old man looked it up and found this:

Jesus says in Mark 7:15-16, “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” Jesus is explaining that we are what we think. Proverbs 23:7 backs Him up: “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.”

This is a good shout out for the theory of positive thinking. So, get rid of that stinkin’ thinkin’.

You gotta believe.

Sunset at Lake Eldorado, Kansas

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the mist

The mist is rising off the lake, ghostly white
The sky is the palest blue, the softest pink,
The mist becomes a cloud of lavender floating just beyond my touch
Through the trees, the sun is dawning, the night fades, and it is morn
And I descend the path to the lake, as the birds begin to wake
Within I feel at peace, knowing the world is still asleep
And for the moment this place is mine, and mine alone
If one does not include my crowded thoughts

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“Le poème, cette hésitation prolongée entre le son et le sens.” Paul Valéry

 

Those who were close to him called him Paul. French poet Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry, (1871-1945) said,” A poem is never finished just abandoned.” I suppose that is true, that we are never really happy with the result. It is only weariness or time that moves on to the next thought. Perhaps I shall return as Robert Frost suggested, perhaps not.

Tout bien ou rien

“Tout bien ou rien.”

I think I got this from John Muir in his dedication of the book On National Parks, 1901. He got it elsewhere, though where, I don’t know. The sentiment is surely an old one.

I translate it as all is well or nothing. That is literal. Somewhat like the English, All or nothing, but not quite.

Some translations give it as, Do your best or not at all. That works too. If that is the case it is like the Flemish, Als Ik Kan, literally, as I can, and figuratively, to the best of my abilities.

The French phrase, tout bien ou rien, contains opposites, all or nothing, polar extremes, it is good or it is not. Shakespeare likde this form of “simplespeak”. It is ambiguous and clear, depending on the intended purpose of the speaker. One is afraid to argue for seeming the fool.

Ambiguity is a fact of life. It puts one in trouble and keeps us out of trouble. Just ask any politician, who has to explain contrary positions to opposing sides.

Tout bien ou rien, c’est bien fait, c’est tout.

Now, quick, try this – Vite fait bien fait.

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hands forming a heart encircling the sun

Happy Valentine’s Day

Being a card player, I liked this quote.

Like a game of cards, determinism is the hand you are dealt and free will, how you play it.

The quote is by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. When and where he wrote this is unknown, and truly, even if he said it. But it has become widely quoted and so, accepted as fact.

This fits in nicely with another thought I had, that there are lies, damned lies, half lies, lies you want to believe, and do.

Whether Nehru spoke of determinism and free will is irrelevant (Nehru wrote an autobiography and one would expect to find something to this effect in it), the underlying statement is so appealing that we want to believe it and do.

What has love got to do with this?

Love is one of those mysterious things beyond human understanding. We fall in love at first sight or love is a gradual emotion that wins the heart; we love forever or we fall in and out of love. Scientists and poets agree, there is no figuring out this thing called love.

My daughter, a television reporter, and I had a discussion the other day about the emotion of love. She was doing a story about a couple who had been married over 50 years and now she was suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. My daughter’s story tried to express in words what their love meant. But love is not just a word, it is how we act, and that was the beauty of her story, watching how a husband shows his love for his bride, up and until the end.

Or should I say the beginning?

Love happens and life becomes meaningful.

You don’t determine who you are going to love and who is going to love you. But you can help the cause by being loving and caring and considerate this Valentine’s Day.

Good luck!

hands forming a heart encircling the sun
love is more than just a word

 

pencil and paper

Are you curious?

My one-day-to-be-famous TV reporter daughter sent me a link to Oprah Winfrey’s conversation with Brian Grazer.

 

The most important piece of advice Brian Grazer gave in his interview with Oprah Winfrey came when he retold about meeting Lew Wasserman, legendary talent agent and studio executive.

“Kid,” Wasserman told the annoyingly brash and young Brian Grazer, “you know nothing now.” Then, he said, “Get a legal pad,”  which Grazer did. Wasserman gave Grazer a number 2 pencil.

“Now, put pencil to paper.” And with that Wasserman left.

An uncomprehending Grazer stood there perplexed until he remembered what his tiny Jewish grandmother told him as a child.

“Brian, you are curious. You will figure it out.”

Did you?

pencil and paper

 

marilyn monroe poster

Imperfection and Concoction

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than boring. Marilyn Monroe

L’imperfection est la beauté, la folie est le génie.

In the fall of 1946 Marilyn Monroe was granted a divorce from her first husband, Jim Dougherty, … later saying, “My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.”
marilyn monroe poster

Unfortunately, the first quote attributed to the beautifully imperfect Marilyn is a fairy tale concoction that is all made up. The quote about her husband is true.

There were brains behind the beauty and Marilyn had many great quotes, including:

We should all start to live before it is too late.

The company you keep

A scientist need not instruct us that misery loves company. It is an adage too well known and experienced by those unhappy with their lot in life. The wise ones seek happiness.

Friends, you will be known by the company you keep.

Tolstoy and Gorki, 1900
Tolstoy and Gorki, 1900, Wikipedia image

“Miserable being must find more miserable being. Then is happy.”
“L’être misérable doit trouver un être plus misérable, alors il est heureux.”
Maxim Gorki, The Lower Depths, 1902

Now, dear friends, contrast this with the hope of something better to come and choose the sentiment by which you wish to live. Wishing does not make it so, we must choose and act with kindness, and acting so we make it true.

“Everybody, my friend, everybody lives for something better to come. That’s why we want to be considerate of every man — Who knows what’s in him, why he was born and what he can do?”

Tout le monde, mon ami, tout le monde vit pour quelque chose de mieux à venir. C’est pourquoi nous voulons être attentifs à chaque homme – Qui sait ce qu’il y a en lui, pourquoi il est né et ce qu’il peut faire?
Maxim Gorky, Le Bas-fonds, 1902

Finally, is there anything else to know?

“Yes, a human being can teach another one kindness — very simply!
“Oui, un être humain peut enseigner une autre gentillesse – très simplement!

Or no.

Wassail

Cheers!

Sometimes a word said and a glass of wine drunk will start you thinking.

So it was with me and the word “wassail,” a Danish term which means “be of good health”.  The word entered the English lexicon in the 5th century with the Saxons, Hengist and Horsa, who came to help the British Celts fight the Picts. Horsa died fighting and Hengist stayed. The story goes that Rowen, daughter of Hengist, offered a golden cup filled with wine to the Brititsh King Vortigern, saying,

“Lord King, Wassail!”

The word was new to Vortigern, the wine was pleasing, and so to was Rowen. They marry and the next thing you know, Hengist is the very first king of England, or at least of Kent, where the Saxons and their cousins the Angles settled.

In time the wassail was remembered as the wine and not the toast, and now it is drunk and not often said.

I dwell too long on wassail. What do other countries use for toasts?

In France they say, Bonne sante. The French being the French and idiosyncratic don’t pronounce the first e and accent the second “e” to make the long eeee sound.

In Spain and the Spanish speaking countries of the western hemisphere, they say “Brindar.” Literally, meaning “offer” but that doesn’t express the thought, which is a hope that the recipient of the toast may receive all that is good and necessary. Brevity, the mark of a good toast and good sense.

“Expresar un bien deseado a alguien o algo a la vez que se levanta la copa con vino o licor antes de beber.”

In Russian, they say “Prosit!” but they say it Cyrillean, просит, which is hard to say, meaning I beg or pray.

In German, they also say, “Prosit” or “Ein Prosit” which translates as “Cheers!”

Cheers, my friends, it all means the same.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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