Today’s Word: lodestar (noun) –  The lodestar (LOHD-star) is Polaris, a.k.a. the North Star, which sailors used to navigate by. We use the word to refer to anything that serves as a guide. Example from A.A. Milne in HappyDays: “Since I have known you, you have been the lodestar of my existence, the fountain of my inspiration.”

Did You Know?: It has never rained in Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Worth Quoting: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

What I’m Reading Now: I saw it in the airport and read it on the flight from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale. Fox 8, by George Saunders, is an illustrated (line drawings by Chelsea Cardinal) story whose protagonist is a talking fox. Saunders is a huge favorite of mine. His stories are both emotionally compelling and also wokely-smart. Fox 8is less serious. Its ambition seems to be more about giving a bit of joy during the holidays than depicting the gestalt of our times. A good holiday gift for friends that read literary fiction.

Check It Out:

The NYT on “How to Be More Empathetic”… Huh?

The New York Times was once a newspaper I was proud to read. I can’t say that anymore. For perfectly understandable commercial reasons, it has given up any pretense at publishing thoughtful writing. It just shovels out the absolute thinnest pablum on whatever idiotic group-think topic is on top of the charts. And it publishes writers that couldn’t get a B- in an undergraduate class in writing when I went to college.

Here’s an example…

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-be-more-empathetic?

 

Today’s Word: moonstruck (adjective) – Moonstruck (MOON-struk) can mean dreamily romantic or deranged. As used by Henry A. Hering in The Burglars’ Club: “He’s smilin’ in the picture, but she’s made him lockjawed an’ moonstruck.”

Did You Know?: BrainNet, developed by researchers at the University of Washington, is the first brain-to-brain communication network that allows multiple parties to interact using only their thoughts.

Worth Quoting: “Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers.” – Stephen Spielberg

What I’m Reading Now: I loved Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. No, I loved the first few chapters. After that, he sprinted ahead of me with his equations. I had the same experience with The Grand Design. But his last book (in both senses) was different. Brief Questions to the Big Questions, written when death was in sight, is a collection of 10 beautifully written short essays on questions such as: Is there a God? How did it all begin? Is there intelligent life out there? And, just for fun, what is inside a black hole? This is a book that I will read more than once.

Watch This: “How Ordinary Men Can Build Extraordinary Wealth With These Simple Strategies”

 look what I found on Spotify. An interview… with me!

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5dMnG6uGnxcgDGhT1yMjZ5?si=Jq-4AquCRU2rwPSLzb_aKQ

Today’s Word: fugacious (adjective) –Something that is fugacious (fyoo-GAY-shus) is fleeting or transitory. As used by Degas scholar Line Clausen Pedersen in a New York Times article about the artist: “He is like the soap in the bathtub, fugacious. You can never really capture him.”

Did You Know?: The Spanish word esposa means wife. Esposas means wives… but also handcuffs.

Worth Quoting: “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praised than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale

What I’m Reading Now: An interview with Kevin Rogers in Barefoot Writer, a monthly magazine for professional writers produced by AWAI. Also in this month’s issue:

* a “hidden league” of writers who get paid to make dreams come true

* 4 simple moves you can make to sweep adversity’s game pieces off the board

* quick and easy ways to fill your coffers with a treasury of content ideas

* advice on sending your clients holiday gifts, and

* a proven way to outsmart distractions with binaural beats.

Check it out here: https://www.awai.com/downloads/tbw-12-2018/

 Watch This: What a life this 97-year-old tailor has had! With all he’s been through, you wouldn’t blame him if he were cynical. But he seems to live in a happy state of mildly astonished amusement. (Which is perhaps his secret.)

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-life-of-a-97-year-old-tailor-whos-still-at-work-at-his-craft/

 

 

 

Today’s Word: timorous (adjective) – Timorous (TIM-er-uhs) means fearful. As used by Robert Burns in his famous poem “To a Mouse”: “Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie, / O, What a panic’s in thy breastie!”

Did You Know?: You weigh slightly less when the moon is overhead.

Worth Quoting: “The only certainty is that nothing is certain.” – Pliny the Elder

Watch This: This “ketchup bucket” hack is great… and the presentation is even better.

 

Today’s Word: mazuma (noun) – Mazuma (mah-ZOO-ma) is a slang term for money. As used by Morgan Scott in The New Boys at Oakdale: “All his life, he’s had to pinch, and now he hangs on to the mazuma with a deathlike grip.”

Did You Know?: The inventor of the Frisbee was cremated and shaped into a Frisbee.

Worth Quoting: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Art Notes

This weekend in Miami…

… at the Pinta Art Fair, we are inaugurating the publication and promotion of Central American Modernism, a book that took me and Suzanne Snider (my partner in the art business) 8 years to produce.

The Pinta Art Fair is one of about a dozen art fairs that run simultaneously to Art Basel. Pinta focuses on art from Latin America, which is the focus of my three art galleries: Ford Fine Art (in Delray Beach), Rojas Ford Fine Art (in Miami), and the Galeria at Rancho Santana.

I’m very proud of this book. It’s going to have an important place in the scholarship of Latin American Modernism.

If you are in the neighborhood (Winwood), stop by.

Here are some photos from our booth at the fair…

 

Today’s Word: declivity (noun) – A declivity (dih-KLIV-ih-tee) – as opposed to an acclivity – is a downward slope or inclination. As used by Arthur Young in A Tour in Ireland: “The declivity on which these woods are finishes in a mountain, which rises above the whole.”

Did You Know?: The U.S. once had paper money in the amount of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. These “fractional bills” were issued by the Treasury from 1862 to 1876 in the face of a growing coin shortage.

Worth Quoting: “Don’t lose faith in humanity. It is an ocean. A few dirty drops does not make the ocean dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Watch This: “The World’s Biggest Jerk” is so good, I almost wish it didn’t have a happy ending…

 

 

 

Today’s Word: interloper (noun) – An interloper (IN-ter-loh-per) is a person who interferes or meddles. As used by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a bastard, or an interloper.”

Did You Know?: In Japan, you can buy all sorts of things from vending machines. Not just condoms and cigarettes and snacks and cans of soda, but comic books, hot dogs, light bulbs, women’s underwear, and alcohol.

Worth Quoting: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

 Watch This: Wouldn’t it be cool to have this guy delivering pizza to you when you’re having a dinner party?

 

 

Today’s Word: mortality (noun) – Mortality (mawr-TAL-ih-tee) is the condition of being dead. Not to be confused with morbidity (mawr-BID-ih-tee), which is the condition of being ill or diseased. As used by William Shakespeare in The Life and Death of King John: “We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand.”

Did You Know?: The country with the longest average life expectancy, according to the World Health Organization (2015), is Japan at 83.7. Japan is followed by Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Spain, Iceland, Italy, and Israel. The USA comes in at 31, with an average life expectancy of 79.3. South Koreans and Slovenians live longer, on average, than Americans. The countries with the lowest life expectancies are in Africa, with Swaziland at the end of the tail at 49.18.

Worth Quoting: “Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales.” – Bertrand Russell

Watch This:

It’s very seldom that I come across a “public service” message that I can’t at least quibble with. And want to quibble (if not argue) with because I’m instinctively uneasy with someone else telling me what to do, especially when it comes to my private life. But I could find nothing at all to quibble with after watching this video…

 

 

Today’s Word: torpor (noun) – Torpor (TAWR-per) is sluggish inactivity; lethargic indifference. As used by Sarah Bernhardt in her memoir My Double Life: “I did not want to move again, and the torpor seemed thoroughly delicious.”

 Did You Know?: A hardboiled egg will spin, an uncooked egg will wobble.

 Worth Quoting: “Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.” – Dorothy Parker

 Watch This

 Very funny! I didn’t see it coming.