Thursday, February 22, 2018

Quote of the Day (David McCullough, on Why ‘History Ought to be a Source of Pleasure’)

“To me history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.”—Historian David McCullough, in an interview with Bruce Cole, former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, quoted in “Conversation: McCullough—A Visit with Historian David McCullough,” Humanities, May/June 2003

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quote of the Day (Alfred Adler, on Principles)

“It is always easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.”— Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler (1870–1937), quoted in Phyllis Bottome, Alfred Adler: Apostle of Freedom (1939)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Quote of the Day (George Washington, Wishing for ‘Firmness and Virtue’)

“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles: the character of an honest man.”— Continental Army General and first U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799), letter to Alexander Hamilton, Aug. 28, 1788

Whatever his flaws, George Washington did not seek to profit from office or play footsie with a foreign power to gain the highest office in the land. He was content to let his deeds rather than his words do his talking for him. And he stepped away from seizing power—twice—stepping away from military command and the Presidency to go back to his farm.

The contrast with others in his own time, such as Benedict Arnold, was enormous, even startling. The contrast with the current occupant of the Oval Office is not just dismaying, but would be cause for despair, if not for the realization that the man who was “first in the hearts of his countrymen” took on far greater personal dangers in opposing arbitrary power than any of us could ever imagine.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Photo of the Day: Skating Rink, Bryant Park, NYC

I don’t recall ever seeing Bryant Park in winter. But today, I had a bit of time to kill before a mid-afternoon Broadway matinee, so I decided to see what was going on in the space behind the New York Public Library’s central building. 

I wasn’t completely surprised to see throngs out in the space—after all, the sun had come out and temperatures had climbed again after the swift snowstorm of the night before—but I hadn't expected an ice-skating rink in the space. “The Rink” is part of Winter Village, sponsored by Bank of America. 

Perhaps because I work in the area, whenever I associate the word “rink” with anything in New York, it is with the one at Rockefeller Center. That one lasts through April 15, but it does charge. 

On the other hand, The Rink at Bryant Park, according to the park’s Web site, is “New York City’s only free admission ice skating rink.” It is open through early March. As you see from this photo I took, many took advantage of the middle of this long holiday weekend to enjoy themselves on the ice. It was nice to see this oasis in the midst of the skyscraper canyon better known as Midtown Manhattan.

Quote of the Day (Pope Francis, on the ‘Gospel of the Marginalized’)

“We will not find the Lord unless we truly accept the marginalized! Truly the Gospel of the marginalized is where our credibility is at stake, where it is found, and where it is revealed.” —Pope Francis, sermon on Feb. 15, 2015, quoted in David Gibson, “Pope Francis to Church: Don’t Be a Closed Caste or Afraid of Outcasts,” Religion News Service, Feb. 15, 2015

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Photo of the Day: First Church of Christ, Pittsfield, MA

I took this photo of the First Church of Christ in Pittsfield while visiting the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts last August. This Congregational parish dates back more than 250 years, though the current structure seen here, located on Park Square, was built in 1853.