Happy Birthday to the ARTIST and my dear friend, Anita Thompson!
We see what our knowledge tells us we're seeing.
What we believe the world to be, and how we react to that belief in everything we do depends on what we know, and when that knowledge changes, for us our world changes.
We are all the result of what we know today. What we knew yesterday was different and so were we. We were different because what we knew yesterday was different from what we know today.
Every time our knowledge changes and with it our view of the world, something is also created within us that helps make us the way we are in today's world. What we are changes because what we know changes. The more open we are to changing our beliefs about our changing world, the more likely we are to continue to be relevant and to be able to make a difference in the world.
What we know changes and continues to change because we are curious and we don't let fear and anxiety hold us back from seeing the world the way it is and not the way it used to be or wish it to be.
When things are going well, sticking to the middle of the road too often feels like the right place to be. It feels like safe and sound territory. But it's the land of standing for nothing. It's the most dangerous place. When we stand for nothing we're guided by what we think others may think of our idea rather than the quality of the idea and how consistent it is with what we stand for.
Fresh ideas change our world in some way. That change always makes some people nervous. Generally speaking, the fresher the idea and the more it challenges conventional wisdom, the more uncomfortable it makes some people.
It takes guts and courage to get out of the middle of the road and stand for something.
Let's be as creative as possible. Let's think BIG. Let's be dreamers.
"But let's be realistic."
Those phrases are toxic to the creative process.
Let's think big, be as creative as possible and be dreamers. Period.
And let's not worry about how a new idea is going to be received by others. Any new creative idea, if it's worth anything, is going to make others nervous. It's going to be a hard sell. There will be resistance. That's a sure sign that we may be on to something. Few people will immediately embrace an idea that feels like it's turning their world upside down.
Let's be as "creative as possible" often means being unreasonable and unrealistic and taking the path of most resistance.
All the best,
My apologies. I haven't blogged in a while. I've been traveling even more than usual and I'll be out and about for another couple of weeks. I'm writing from City Dock Cafe in Annapolis, MD.
There seems to be no end to the news about greed, unethical, and illegal behavior on the part of big corporations. The current bad guys include Massey Energy, Goldman Sachs, and British Petroleum.
I, however, remain endlessly optimistic about small businesses. Most of them are proud and meaningful associations of human beings who are infinitely resourceful and make a positive difference in the world every day. The genuine humanity of the small business owners in New Orleans is sharply contrasted with the soul-less BP droids and their corporate speak. At our small Flying Dog Brewery business I work with the most amazing, wonderful group of people in the universe!
Big corporations are so rich and powerful that the people running them all too often start thinking of themselves as royalty and above the law, but that is not always the case. There are also many good people running big corporations.
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will always find a way around the laws." Plato 427 – 347 B.C.
And let's not forget that "good people drink good beer and bad people drink bad beer" according to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Anita Thompson suggests that if you chase anything long enough you'll get it. I think that's true and that every day we choose whether to chase after the good or the bad.
Kudos, congratulations, and bravo to Anita Thompson for her Huffington Post article calling out Rolling Stone magazine for employing cheap tabloid tricks to manufacture the "non-news" that brought down the human and imperfect, but honorable, effective, and highly-decorated General McChrystal. The dishonor all goes to Rolling Stone.
Anita Thompson is without question "in the know" when it comes to the decades-long decline of the Rolling Stone magazine that journalistic greats such as Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke long ago cut their ties to.
Without a doubt Anita will be criticized by some or many who are going to believe what they want to believe about Rolling Stone. At the same time, Anita is more highly regarded than ever by her Gonzo family that extends far and wide, and she will most certainly attract new admirers by speaking out against unethical journalistic behavior.
Shine on, Anita!!
A couple of weeks ago just before boarding an evening flight to Colorado, I picked up a copy of Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens' recently published memoir. Loved it! One of the quotes on the book's jacket is from Christopher Buckley. According to Buckley, "Christopher Hitchens is the greatest living essayist in the English language." That's a helluva statement from a wit like Buckley.
Now the word is out that the 61-year-old Hitchens has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and has suspended his book tour. Anita Thompson, with her ever-gentle and loving touch, commented on her friend Hitch's situation in a recent blog post.
My first thought when I heard the news was "goddamnit!" Funny, though, because Hitchens is an atheist. His philosophy is that of the mind, and science, and evolutionary biology. Hitchens' 2008 international bestseller God Is Not Great makes the ultimate case against traditional religion. I'm guessing that Hitchens is neither blaming god for his condition nor expecting god to make his chemotherapy effective. According to various reports, Hitchens is the same old Hitchens, and his focus is likely on finding the best possible doctor to treat his conditon.
Jeffrey Goldberg writing in The Atlantic today wonders "Should We Pray for Christopher Hitchens?" It's a thoughtful article written by a friend. In it he quotes Rabbi David Wolpe as saying "I will pray for [Hitchens], but I will not insult him by asking or implying that he should be grateful for my prayers." Jeffrey Goldberg's advice to his readers is "so, friends and admirers of Hitchens, pray away, but expect [Hitchens] to consider you silly for doing so."
Joseph Heller of Catch-22 fame is also quoted on the jacket of Hitchens' memoir, Hitch-22 . Heller says "Christopher Hitchens is a remarkable commentator. He jousts with fraudulence of every stripe and always wins. I regret he has only one life, one mind, and one reputation to put at the service of my country."
I am one of the multitudes of Hitchens' admirers that needs that "one life and one mind" of his to be around for a long time to come.
My maternal grandparents and my uncle emigrated from Wolia, Russia and came to America through Ellis Island.
I had a lot of Russian relatives and there were many, many weddings, wakes, graduations, birth celebrations and family dinners to attend when I was growing up. Great fun. And, always Vodka.
Vodka originated in what is now Poland and the word Vodka was first recorded in Poland in 1405.
It is likely a diminutive form of voda (water) meaning "little water".
Sobieski is the #1 Premium Vodka in Poland.
Bruce Willis is a partner in it.
I thought you might enjoy the Sobieski Vodka website and the Bruce Willis video clips that are on it.
Or, should I say Nostrovia!
Top-seeded Roger Federer faces off against Tomas Berdych today in the quarterfinals on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
The inscription above the player's entrance to Centre Court, arguably the most famous tennis venue in the world, reads:
"IF YOU CAN MEET WITH TRIUMPH AND DISASTER AND TREAT THOSE TWO IMPOSTORS JUST THE SAME".
Triumph and Disaster. Definitely impostors. It's all a game in the end. Greatness lies in how we handle triumph and adversity, and in our ability to keep both in perspective.
That passage above the entrance is from "If" by Rudyard Kipling, a poem that is regularly voted as England's most popular poem.
Here is that inspiring poem in its entirety.
IF you can keep your head when all about you
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Bye for now,
In the prologue, the 61-year-old Hitchens talks about premonitions of his death with liberal use of historical quotations, including one from Horace Mann.
According to Mann, "Until you have done something for humanity you should be ashamed to die." To which Hitchens comments "Well, how is one to stand that test?"