Today’s Word: heartsome (adjective) –Heartsome (HAHRT-sum) means cheerful, spirited. As used by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant in her 19thcentury novel Merkland: “The very look of them was heartsome in a house.”

 Did You Know?: One reason kittens (and other young animals) sleep so much is because some growth hormones are released only during sleep.

Worth Quoting: “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – Mary Sarton

What I’m Reading Now: After enjoying Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, I couldn’t resist ordering a copy of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, also by Yuval Noah Harari. This is a very different book. It’s not about how, over millennia, we came to be what we are. It’s about a specific cultural threat that we face right now. And that threat is the one suggested in Sapiens: that 21st century Homo sapiens face the threat of extinction because of advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and neurobiology, to name a few. And these changes, Harari persuasively argues, will make contemporary men (i.e., us) less and less necessary.

Watch This: Techno Christmas Lights

I’m not a fan of disco or whatever this music is, and my taste in Christmas decorations is very traditional. But I am awed by the thought that some energetic techie went to all this trouble to make his house one of a kind.

Today’s Word: secrete (verb) – To secrete (sih-KREET) is to hide or conceal. As used by Alexander Dumas (Pere) in The Black Tulip: “Then give up to us the seditious papers which you secrete in your house.”

Did You Know?: The tentacles of the Giant Arctic Jellyfish can be 120 feet long.

Worth Quoting: “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich

What I’m Reading Now: I read it for our November book club meeting. At the time, I said it was the best-written book that told me things I already knew. That was partly true and party snarky. Two weeks after I made those comments, I listened to Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari on Audiobooks – and I loved it. I like the way Harari presents human history, what he sees as significant and trivial, how he highlights both good and foolish historical notions. And I love his sentences. He’s not just a smart historian. He’s a damn good writer.

Art Notes:

Central American Modernism in the News

Check out this article in the latest issue of Art & Antiques Magazinehttp://www.artandantiquesmag.com/2018/11/central-american-modern-art/

It talks about the efforts Suzanne Snider and I have been making to expand awareness of the important contributions made by Latin American artists to the history of modern art. And it includes a nice plug for our new book: Central American Modernism/Modernismo en Centroamérica.

The book is available online here.

Today’s Word: causerie (noun) –  A causerie (koh-zuh-REE) is an informal talk or chat or short essay. As used by Mark Twain in Essays on Paul Bourget: “I was once booked by my manager to give a causerie in the drawing-room of a New York millionaire.”

Did You Know?: A group of rhinos is called a crash.

Worth Quoting: “Anyone who retains the ability to see beauty does not grow old.” – Franz Kafka

What I’m Reading Now: Recommended by the president of my book club, The Emissary by Yoko Tawada (translated by Margaret Mitsutani) is odd. It’s the story of a man and his grandson in Japan some years in the future. The world has changed. Nearly everything is polluted. Young people are fragile and dying. Swaths of animal species are extinct. Countries and cultures have closed their doors to outsiders. Okay. I guess. But I don’t believe it. Also, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand it because the premise seems confused. I don’t believe it because it lacks verisimilitude. I can’t imagine the primary characters as real. But I’m only halfway through the book. Maybe that will change in the second half.

Something to Think About:

“Changing My Luck” by James Altucher

I’ve been thinking and writing a bit about the culture of blame. It’s more than culture, though. More personal. It’s a way of living. Here’s James Altucher’s take on it…

https://jamesaltucher.com/blog/changing-luck/

 

 

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 8 is 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…