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How Beautiful Old and Broken Things Can Be

How beautiful old and broken things can be: An armless, marble statue of a warrior saint, A door that shows four centuries of paint A bronze clock with burnished filigree. New things are pleasing too: The pin-thin plane of new-pressed pleats The aroma of fresh leather seats A crystal glass of Grand Cru. New things stand for futile dreams Fresh-born hopes wrapped in satin skin. Push-button souvenirs from where we’ve been Endless ends without the means. Old and broken things are best, you see They give the shape of what was then A seedling thought that grew to bend In human hands our history.

Groundhogs’ Day

On Wednesday, I wrote about how I transformed from being an underachiever to a motivated successful person.

Most people reading this will think, “I don’t need another motivational speech. What I need is a change of luck.”

I’m here to say that luck had nothing to do with the change in my life. And it needn’t have anything to do with whatever changes you would like to make in yours. Had I waited for luck to come to me, I might be waiting still. My life changed when I got fed up and started planning my success.

You, too, can change your life if you are (a) dissatisfied with the lack of success you’ve had so far; (b) willing to make a big change – and not just a minor adjustment; (c) prepared to start working differently and thinking about yourself as a different kind of person; and (d) willing to start now by preparing yourself to succeed.

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Letters of Note

I really love this site, Letters of Note, a blog that attempts “…to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos”. For example this letter from Woody Allen to his muse, Diane Keaton: Greetings Worm,  We have enough rehearsal time, but not as much as in L.A. Still, I think Love and Death will be easier than Sleeper as there is not a lot of…falls and spills and water stunts…Our dialogue exchanges should be brisk and lively…but we’ll get into that …so snookums…speak with you soon.  Also finished 1st draft of 2 New Yorker pieces. Hey! My book—Getting even—is a hit in France. Go figure. You remain a flower—too, too delicate for this harsh world & Dorrie is …

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In a Copse of Hardwood Green

In a dark copse of hardwood green Two old and gnarled ficus trees Lift up close to one another Their rugged trunks nearly touching As if to form one bulky thing Their roots, pinioned feet enfolded Branches, forlorn and leafless gray, Entwined from decades of reaching But also in this deadwood gloom A leaflet uncurling outward Startling as a heartbeat in stone That has stopped and then beats again

53 Year Old MMA Fighter

I’ve been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for about 15 years. Last year I won two first place belts at the North American Grappling Championship in the expert division for men over 40 and over 50. I’ve always had a fantasy of fighting MMA but I would never want the stress of preparing for a fight. My fantasy has always been to be asked to fight while sitting ringside, drinking. Apparently this happened to a 53 year old. Check this out.

Nobody Owes You Anything: From Gardener to Entrepreneur

The average Nicaraguan is born in a shack with a dirt floor. He earns less than $15 a week.

Enrique, my gardener in Nicaragua, does much better than that. But he is still, by U.S. standards, poor. Since I am in daily contact with Enrique when I’m there, I often think about how I can help him earn more money. He wants more material goods — and who can blame him, when he sees how “well” we gringos live (in person and on television)?

Several years ago, I was tempted to give him the few thousand dollars it would have taken to make his house one of the nicest in the hamlet where he lives. But I knew from experience that it would do him no good. It would go as quickly as it came. Given money always does.

Worse, it would reinforce the very bad idea that money comes from me to him, instead of from his own labor and ingenuity.

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Ball’s Pyramid

For you science buffs, read this article at NPR about a giant species of stick bug, previously thought to be extinct, that survived on a lonely outcropping of volcanic rock off the coast of Australia. Amazing story.