Before Ronald Reagan

download.jpgI see in the news that they have arrested a woman for paying $400,000 to get her non-soccer playing son into UCLA on a soccer scholarship. I guess someone has to pay for those multi-level carparks and all that avocado toast at the CO-OP.

When I was planning for college they offered me $140 a semester and I didn’t even play soccer. How could I refuse? Of course in terms of today’s dollars this seems a paltry sum but back then it was more than enough to sway my decision.

Continue reading

Do You Have a System?

Paul recently commented after reading my latest Monthly Reading Pool:

I have challenged myself to read a book from each shelf in the fiction section. … My goal is to pick at least one book from each shelf, and to do 2 shelves each trip (that way I can still get books on my regular reading list). … There are some obvious flaws in my plan (the library devotes 6 complete shelves to James Patterson).

download.jpg

Now I have exposed various systems for selecting my monthly reading list through the years, most recently various schemes to transfer my reading from paper and ink books to digital reading with easier to read font sizes. I have also forced the inclusion of a few “real” books in an effort to reduce the large numbers of books I had to move and find bookshelves for at my new home.

Notice that these systems are mostly concerned with storage space, failing eyesight, and the inevitable onset of death.

Continue reading

Invictus

images-1

Okay. How many of you out there were forced to memorize this “thrilling” poem in Junior High? How did it improve your life? Or did it turn you away from poetry forever?

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– By William Ernest Henley