In my mostly humble opinion, this series of commercials by George Parker is one of the best ever made. My personal favorite starts at about 1:10 minutes: “Our jukebox has every performance of every artist of every piece of music every recorded”. Effing brilliant! George recounts “Bob Metcalfe who invented the LAN at Xerox Parc, then went on to found 3Com, said it was the best explanation of what broadband can do that he had ever seen.”
20 years later, here’s an example: 120 different versions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ in one place: Spotify. 200 years ago you had to be the Emperor of the Austro/Hungarian Empire to listen to Mozart on demand. Now, we’re all kings and queens of our playlists on the internet. “And I think to myself what a wonderful world!”
Ryan Holiday writes: “Marcus Aurelius did not come out of the womb a leader. Nor was he an emperor ‘by blood.’ In fact, when first told he was to be king, he wept—thinking of all the bad and failed kings of history. So how did he get from there to philosopher king? Book 1 of Meditations shows us. The first ten percent of the book—Debts and Lessons—thanks people who groomed him into one of history’s greatest leaders. He knew it—without his philosophy teachers and rhetoric teachers and, most importantly, his mentor Antoninus Pius, he wouldn’t have became who he became. In this video Ryan Holiday recounts one of the greatest stories in human history and talks about how Antoninus Pius taught Marcus Aurelius the most important virtue of all.”
I’ve been using Twitter for well over a decade and last Sunday morning, I read the first tweet that made me sob:
How can this be happening in this day and age when people can livestream the atrocities as they are found and here we sit, doing nothing.
Last night I stumbled across ‘Servant of the People‘ on Netflix. Volodymyr Zelensky’s story could not be more bizarre if it had been scripted by Hollywood (unfamiliar? I refer you to the Wikipedia article). You’ll get a feel for ‘Servant of the People’ from this trailer…
I don’t know what images Ukraine brings to mind, but if you’re like most Americans you didn’t know much about it until the Russian invasion started. As you can see from the trailer above, this is a beautiful, peaceful country that is now being raped by a madman.
Zelensky may have been a comic before he ascended to office, but there’s nothing comical about the situation now. Click the image below to see the damage and learn more about the invasion and war crimes.
We ask ourselves hypotheticals all the time like if I were a German during WWII, would I have stood up for the Jews. The question today is not hypothetical: will you stand up for Ukrainians? Here is a link to information about the ways you can support Ukraine now.
A hundred and six years ago, in the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, the explorer Ernest Shackleton ordered his men to abandon ship. It was eight and a half degrees below zero; the wind was calm. Shackleton’s crew—twenty-eight men, forty-nine dogs, and a cat—had spent a winter stranded in the ice—“frozen,” as one sailor put it, “like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar.” Shackleton shouted, “She’s going, boys!” as ten million tons of ice pushed against the ship’s wooden sides, which were two feet thick in some places. The deck buckled. On November 21, 1915, the stern went up, the bow went down, and the Endurance slipped under. Frank Worsley, the ship’s captain, wrote down the coördinates in his diary: 68°39′ South, 52°26′ West.
In 2019, a red double-hulled icebreaker known as the S.A. Agulhas II charted a course from Cape Town, South Africa, toward Worsley’s coördinates. An expedition led by John Shears, a veteran polar geographer, and directed by Mensun Bound, an Oxford man who has been called “the last of the gentlemen archeologists,” was looking for Shackleton’s ship, believed to be intact, ten thousand feet down in what Shackleton called “the worst portion of the worst sea in the world.” The expedition did not go well. One day, the team’s autonomous underwater vehicle, or A.U.V., which conducted the search, went missing. Another time, the Agulhas II got stuck in ice for three days. “It was an absolute disaster,” Shears recalled, the other day, on a video call from the Agulhas II, which had embarked on a second expedition in search of the Endurance. He wore a gray fleece, and carried a radio on his hip. “To go from that complete and utter failure to this absolute, total success is quite mind-blowing.” Bound, who grew up in the Falkland Islands, and worked in the engine room of a steamship after high school, chimed in: “This is life’s pinnacle for me.” He laughed, then yawned. “We’re running on empty.” The crew had spent eighteen days hunting for the Endurance. A team of engineers worked in minus-eighteen-degree temperatures on the ship’s back deck to deploy Saab Sabertooth A.U.V.s, which use sonar sensors to create an image of the seafloor. Sea-ice scientists studied the floes; the helicopter team organized a table-tennis competition to pass the time. Sometimes colonies of crabeater seals and emperor penguins approached the ship’s stern. Each night, Bound and Shears met for a cup of Earl Grey tea and a single square of Lindt dark chocolate. Time was running out: “We only had three days before we would’ve had to abandon the search because of the approach of Antarctic winter,” Shears said. “I knew that at any moment the weather could turn.”
Shears, who is sixty, went on, “The night before we found the wreck, we had a music evening. I thought, Shackleton had music evenings. They’d listen to the gramophone, and Hussey”—the ship’s meteorologist—“would play on his banjo. Our people were getting a bit low, and worrying about ‘Are we gonna find her?’ I wanted to try and raise morale.” That night, a cadet sang Alicia Keys’s “Good Job,” and a historian recited Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses.” Someone led the group in “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” which Hussey liked to play for the penguins on the sea ice in 1914. The next day, Bound and Shears asked the ship’s crane operator to lower them onto the ice in a rope basket. Shears looked out at the expanse: gray sky, a white iceberg, frozen seawater forever. “Today is a good day,” he said. “I think she’s beneath my feet!” Bound smiled as a penguin danced on the ice. The two returned to the deck. “Literally, as soon as we set foot on the ship, there was the bridge, on the intercom, demanding our presence, immediately,” Bound recalled. “The pit of despair. That’s new, isn’t it? My first reaction was I was extremely worried,” Shears added.” Go to the Source: Waiting for the Endurance
On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine’s immortal words inspired the revolutionary army…
‘These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated: Thomas Paine publishes “The American Crisis”
While I no longer believe in ‘american exceptionalism’ there is no doubt this is an exceptional example of words that inspired men to great deeds. You can read the entire pamphlet at no cost here (and I believe every American should read this at least once in their lifetime):