From the monthly archives:

August 2008

A Jester Who Thinks Poetically

by Matt Blair on August 27, 2008

in Quotes

“That was another impact. I was doing nightclub comedy down in the Village. I was down there in ’63, ’64, and my friend told me about Arthur Koestler’s book about the act of creation and it had a section on humor.

He was talking about the creative process. There was an illustration on the panel that showed a triptych. On the left panel, there were these names of artistic pursuits. There were poets, painter, composer. And one of them was jester. I was only interested in the jester. What he said about each of these, he said these individuals on the left hand side can transcend the panels of the triptych by creative growth.

The jester makes jokes, he’s funny, he makes fun, he ridicules. But if his ridicules are based on sound ideas and thinking, then he can proceed to the second panel, which is the thinker—he called it the philosopher. The jester becomes the philosopher, and if he does these things with dazzling language that we marvel at, then he becomes a poet too. Then the jester can be a thinking jester who thinks poetically.”

– George Carlin, from his last interview,
published by Psychology Today



by Matt Blair on August 26, 2008

in Quotes

“Focus on the simple things of life — rain, wind, new flowers, green grass, simple food, family visits, a stroll in the garden. There are no sudden things that will change your life for the better. It is the accumulation of beautiful small things.”

– Hursh Chetan, quoted in a Businessweek article on work-life balance


TED Videos

by Matt Blair on August 16, 2008

in Inspirations

I first heard of the TED conference after reading the book “Information Anxiety2″ by Richard Saul Wurman. The scope of the conference has expanded well beyond the original meaning of Technology, Entertainment and Design.

The basic concept: Invite some of the smartest people on the planet, and ask them to summarize their most important work in 20 minutes or less. There are a few A-listers, such as Al Gore and Bono, who for the most part say what they’ve said elsewhere, but the most remarkable finds are often people I didn’t know much about.

Membership in the organization costs several thousand dollars a year, but in line with their motto (“Ideas worth spreading”) they make video of the presentations available in a variety of formats, from YouTube to iTunes, and directly on their website. The videos are organized by a variety of themes and categories, such as “how we learn” and “jaw-dropping“.

Among my favorites:

There always seem to be more videos in my queue than videos I’ve already watched. If you need an injection of inspiration, a booster shot of great brains doing great things in about the same amount of time it takes to make a decent breakfast, TED is the place to go.


When Rationality Fails

by Matt Blair on August 3, 2008

in Quotes

“Rationality is what we do to organize the world, to make it possible to predict. Art is the rehearsal for the inapplicability and failure of that process.”

– Brian Eno, “A Year with Swollen Appendices”