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the Present, the Possible, and the Positive:

page of honorifics? - -sensei & -ji & -chan & -san & ...

set? --> "$CreoleTableCellsAllowBlockLevelElements"

to allow lists in table cells etc.!

see also for discussion of Markdown ...

fun list at Wikipedia:T–V_distinction

David Crystal summarises Early Modern English usage thus:

V would normally be used

T would normally be used

and see Wikipedia:Japanese_honorifics for

3.1 San
3.2 Sama
3.3 Kun
3.4 Chan
3.4.1 Tan
3.4.2 Bō
3.5 Senpai and kōhai
3.6 Sensei and hakase
3.7 Shi

-- z 2020-02-27 17:06 UTC


the word "Wikipedia:Numinous" ...

-- z 2020-03-13 22:08 UTC

David Mamet "master class" on writing ...

Shifu (simplified Chinese: 师傅 or 师父; traditional Chinese: 師傅 or 師父), or sifu in Cantonese is a title for and role of a skillful person or a master. The character 師/师 means "skilled person" or "teacher", while the meaning of 傅 is "tutor" and the meaning of 父 is "father". 傅 and 父 are both pronounced "fu" with the same tones in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Though pronounced identically and bearing similar meanings, the two terms are distinct and usage is different. The former term (師傅/师傅) bears only the meaning of "master", is used to express the speaker's general respect for the addressee's skills and experience, and is likewise the term frequently used for cab drivers or other skilled laborers. Thus, a customer may use this term to address an automotive mechanic, for example. The latter term (師父/师父) bears the dual meaning of "master" and "father", and thus connotes a linearity in a teacher-student relationship. In addressing a tradesperson, it would therefore be used only to address the speaker's own teacher or master. In the preceding example, the mechanic's apprentice would address his or her master using this term, but a customer would not. On the other hand, a religious personality, and by extension, experts of Chinese martial arts, can be addressed as "master-father" (師父/师父) or as (師傅/师傅) in all contexts.

-- Anonymous 2020-03-17 15:40 UTC


“There’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’”

“Make sure that floor shines ... And let them know that a Montañez mopped it.”

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. Didn’t need to. But I knew I was going to act like an owner.”

“I was naive. ... I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to call the CEO… I didn’t know the rules.”

“What division are you with?”
“You’re the VP overseeing California?”
“No, I work at the Rancho Cucamonga plant.”
“Oh, so you’re the VP of operations?”
“No, I work inside the plant.”
“You’re the plant manager?”
“No. I’m the janitor.”

“I do have a Ph.D. I’ve been poor, hungry and determined.”

-- z 2020-03-21 16:14 UTC

Meghan McArdle writes in [2]

The United States is an immensely wealthy nation, one of the richest in history. We can afford to sacrifice a substantial chunk of our gross domestic product to save a substantial number of lives. What better do we have to spend our money on?

If what we are doing is unprecedented, it is only because earlier societies simply weren’t wealthy enough to manage it — as tragically, many developing countries still aren’t. The last time we saw such a plague was 1918, when average household income was about a third of what it is today, in inflation-adjusted dollars. We could shut down the entire economy for four months, produce not one good or service, and still be, collectively, twice as rich as our ancestors who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic.

but actually the US National Wealth according to [3] is ~ $100T and doubles every ~ 15 years, so the correct comparison is between ~ $2T in 1918 and ~ $100T now ...

and according to [4] the median wealth per adult in the US is ~ $70k and the mean is ~ $400k — with huge inequalities of course ...
-- z 2020-04-02 10:00 UTC

our Zaibatsu - Amazon Apple Facebook Google Microsoft ...

-- z 2020-04-12 08:12 UTC

"Up close you’ll always see things to be optimistic about.”

-- z 2020-04-12 14:59 UTC

Two Mental Errors That Make the Pandemic Harder to Bear
Disappointment and uncertainty are inevitable during times like these. But we don’t have to let our minds turn them into suffering.


he solution to these two problems is to follow three simple steps: acknowledge, distinguish, resolve.

In the case of disappointment, start by acknowledging the fact that you are disappointed at missing out on some things—it would be strange if you weren’t. Then, distinguish your disappointment from regret by thinking about your own role in this global catastrophe. Note that while the crisis affects you, you had no role in causing it, so rumination and counterfactual thinking aren’t productive. Finally, resolve not to let your disappointment interfere with what you can affect and the choices you can make today.

These steps can help you manage living with uncertainty, as well. Start by acknowledging that you do not know what is going to happen in this crisis. Next, distinguish between what can and can’t be known right now, and thus recognize that gorging on all the available information will not really resolve your knowledge deficit—you won’t be able to turn uncertainty into risk by spending more hours watching CNN, because the certainty you seek is not attainable. Finally, resolve that while you don’t know what will happen next week or next month, you do know that you are alive and well right now, and refuse to waste the gift of this day. (One more practical suggestion: Limit your consumption of news to half an hour in the morning, and stay off social media except to talk to friends. No cheating!)

Disappointment and uncertainty are inevitable, but we don’t have to turn them into suffering. Ruminating over what might have been and what might happen will reliably deliver unhappiness. If you practice eliminating these mental errors during the pandemic, you’ll be happier today, and better equipped to deal with the hard parts of ordinary life, whenever it resumes.


"Pronoia is a neologism coined to describe a state of mind that is the opposite of paranoia. Whereas a person suffering from paranoia feels that persons or entities are conspiring against them, a person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good. In 1993 the writer and Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow defined pronoia as "the suspicion the Universe is a conspiracy on your behalf"."

Pronoia is the positive counterpart of paranoia. It is the delusion that others think well of one. Actions and the products of one's efforts are thought to be well received and praised by others. Mere acquaintances are thought to be close friends; politeness and the exchange of pleasantries are taken as expressions of deep attachment and the promise of future support. Pronoia appears rooted in the social complexity and cultural ambiguity of our lives: we have become increasingly dependent on the opinions of others based on uncertain criteria.

-- z 2020-04-29 20:02 UTC

from - great stories - see transcript ...

preparation, incubation, illumination and verification or working out. He viewed the last phase of verification as within
the range of any competent mathematician given the illumination!
Preparation was largely conscious or anyhow directed by the conscious and consisted of stripping the problem to its
essentials, surveying all relevant knowledge and considering possible analogues. Following Newton he advised that the
problem should be kept constantly in mind during other periods of work.
Incubation is the work of the subconscious during the waiting time which may be several years.
He says that Illumination, which can happen in a fraction of a second, is the emergence of the creative idea into the
consciousness and implies some mysterious rapport between the subconscious and the conscious. He recommends
walking and the relaxed activity of shaving as helpful to the process of illumination.

-- z 2020-04-30 12:48 UTC

-- z 2020-05-07 13:32 UTC

• Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

• Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.

• Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.

• Don’t be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.

• Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them “Is there more?”, until there is no more.

• A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.

• Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at.


• Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.

• Extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence to be believed.

• Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Hangout with, and learn from, people smarter than yourself. Even better, find smart people who will disagree with you.


• Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

• Don’t take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are like you: busy, occupied, distracted. Try again later. It’s amazing how often a second try works.

• The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth, to flossing.

• Promptness is a sign of respect.


• Trust me: There is no “them”.

• The more you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested.

• Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.

• To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.

• The Golden Rule will never fail you. It is the foundation of all other virtues.


• Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.

• Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgement.

• If you are not falling down occasionally, you are just coasting.

• Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you’ll get. Understanding this is the beginning of wisdom.

• Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.


• Hatred is a curse that does not affect the hated. It only poisons the hater. Release a grudge as if it was a poison.

• There is no limit on better. Talent is distributed unfairly, but there is no limit on how much we can improve what we start with.

• Be prepared: When you are 90% done any large project (a house, a film, an event, an app) the rest of the myriad details will take a second 90% to complete.

• When you die you take absolutely nothing with you except your reputation.

• Before you are old, attend as many funerals as you can bear, and listen. Nobody talks about the departed’s achievements. The only thing people will remember is what kind of person you were while you were achieving.


• Don’t say anything about someone in email you would not be comfortable saying to them directly, because eventually they will read it.

• Art is in what you leave out.

• When someone is nasty, rude, hateful, or mean with you, pretend they have a disease. That makes it easier to have empathy toward them which can soften the conflict.


• Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

• The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.

-- z 2020-05-11 13:34 UTC

"Keep the Sanity Ball in play"

"my talent perhaps is to see things and put a frame around them ... words or images or patterns"


-- z 2020-05-20 12:09 UTC

blog series on Category Theory -

-- z 2020-06-19 11:18 UTC


From James Baldwin's "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind" [5], (part of the book The Fire Next Time):

... One did not have to be very bright to realize how little one could do to change one’s situation; one did not have to be abnormally sensitive to be worn down to a cutting edge by the incessant and gratuitous humiliation and danger one encountered every working day, all day long. ...

-- z 2020-06-20 19:35 UTC


To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread. It will be a great day for America, incidentally, when we begin to eat bread again, instead of the blasphemous and tasteless foam rubber that we have substituted for it And I am not being frivolous now, either. Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become. It is this individual uncertainty on the part of white American men and women, this inability to renew themselves at the fountain of their own lives, that makes the discussion, let alone elucidation, of any conundrum—that is, any reality—so supremely difficult. The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality—for this touchstone can be only oneself. Such a person interposes between himself and reality nothing less than a labyrinth of attitudes. And these attitudes, furthermore, though the person is usually unaware of it (is unaware of so much!), are historical and public attitudes. They do not relate to the present any more than they relate to the person. Therefore, whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.

-- z 2020-06-20 19:54 UTC


If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.

-- z 2020-06-20 19:57 UTC

This has everything to do, of course, with the nature of that dream and with the fact that we Americans, of whatever color, do not dare examine it and are far from having made it a reality. There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior. And this human truth has an especially grinding force here, where identity is almost impossible to achieve and people are perpetually attempting to find their feet on the shifting sands of status. (Consider the history of labor in a country in which, spiritually speaking, there are no workers, only candidates for the hand of the boss’s daughter.) Furthermore, I have met only a very few people—and most of these were not Americans—who had any real desire to be free. Freedom is hard to bear. It can be objected that I am speaking of political freedom in spiritual terms, but the political institutions of any nation are always menaced and are ultimately controlled by the spiritual state of that nation. We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels. Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and, internationally, for many millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster.

-- z 2020-06-20 21:20 UTC

We should certainly know by now that it is one thing to overthrow a dictator or repel an invader and quite another thing really to achieve a revolution. Time and time and time again, the people discover that they have merely betrayed themselves into the hands of yet another Pharaoh, who, since he was necessary to put the broken country together, will not let them go. Perhaps, people being the conundrums that they are, and having so little desire to shoulder the burden of their lives, this is what will always happen. But at the bottom of my heart I do not believe this. I think that people can be better than that, and I know that people can be better than they are. We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is. Anyway, the point here is that we are living in an age of revolution, whether we will or no, and that America is the only western nation with both the power and, as I hope to suggest, the experience that may help to make these revolutions real and minimize the human damage.

-- z 2020-06-20 21:22 UTC

the fact that life is tragic. Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death—ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us.

-- z 2020-06-20 21:23 UTC

Ada Limón Bright Dead Things - poems, 2015 - beautiful, challenging, full of images like in [6]

What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

and [7]

“Torn” by Ada Limón

Witness the wet dead snake,
its long hexagonal pattern weaved
around its body like a code for creation,
curled up cold on the newly tarred road.
Let us begin with the snake: the fact
of death, the poverty of place, of skin
and surface. See how the snake is cut
in two—its body divided from its brain.
Imagine now, how it moves still, both
sides, the tail dancing, the head dancing.
Believe it is the mother and the father.
Believe it is the mouth and the words.
Believe it is the sin and the sinner—
the tempting, the taking, the apple, the fall,
every one of us guilty, the story of us all.
But then return to the snake, poor dead
thing, forcefully denying the split of its being,
longing for life back as a whole, wanting
you to see it for what it is, something
that loves itself so much, it moves across
the boundaries of death, to touch itself
once more, to praise both divided sides
equally, as if it was almost easy.

Christopher Moore's comic-fantasy novel Noir ...

mantra? source?

You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Jon Kabat-Zinn

-- z 2020-07-09 16:36 UTC thoughts from the wrappers of Clif brand Luna bars:
  • Better an oops than a what if.
  • Never forget how wildly capable you are.
  • This day leads to awesome.
  • Do something today your future self will thank you for.
  • Great things never came from comfort zones.
  • ...


^z - 2020-07-??

-- z 2020-07-11 09:34 UTC

honorifics from


-- z 2020-07-18 15:13 UTC

John Sterman says, “Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work,” ...

-- z 2020-07-22 11:39 UTC


-- z 2020-07-22 14:15 UTC

"Less certainty. More inquiry."

from review of The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

-- z 2020-07-30 10:56 UTC

in his 2017 holiday newsletter, Bill Penzey writes:

... While we are all about great spices, we’ve come to understand, to have the best chance to share the gift of cooking, we also need to be equally about heart, and smiles, and stories that radiate an overwhelming sense of welcome to all. At Penzeys we do our best to bring spice to life by showing all the good things set in motion when people care enough to cook. We work to make every gift from Penzeys an invitation to a life made richer through connecting to family, friends, community and the larger world around us.

The understanding that to best do our jobs we must embrace humanity as well as quality has set all sorts of good things in motion for us, including ever better spices. Now when we travel out into the world, it’s that very same spirit of compassion that cooks share around the table that we carry out into the world with us. This spirit of compassion has opened doors that we never even noticed before, and that have in turn helped us to bring back the very best in flavor the world has to offer. We can report firsthand that the very same spirit that works around our kitchen tables works around the world as well. Kindness Works. It’s a gift well worth sharing.

-- z 2020-08-07 10:46 UTC