Success on the outside doesn’t mean success on the inside


When you’re doing something significant, your paycheck doesn’t tell you.

Only you know, in your head, whether your work is significant or not.

Whatever personal code you choose to live by, your success will follow.


It was always at myself, first and foremost that I aimed the shaft


I suspected that the man was ailing, ailing in the spirit in some way, or in his temperament or character, and I shrank from him with the instinct of the healthy.

This shrinking was in course of time replaced by a sympathy inspired by pity for one who had suffered so long and deeply, and whose loneliness and inward death I witnessed.

In course of time I was more and more conscious, too, that this affliction was not due to any defects of nature, but rather to a profusion of gifts and powers which had not attained to harmony.

I saw that he was a genius of suffering and that in the meaning of many sayings of Nietzsche he had created within himself with positive genius a boundless and frightful capacity for pain.

I saw at the same time that the root of his pessimism was not world-contempt but self-contempt; for however mercilessly he might annihilate institutions and persons in his talk he never spared himself.

It was always at himself first and foremost that he aimed the shaft,

himself first and foremost whom he hated and despised.

Photo: Hermann Hesse

Content: Hermann Hesse, from the novel, Steppenwolf


“Nice guys finish last,” she said.

bad feels good

I shook my head, about to disagree, but checked myself and asked, “What do you mean by nice?”

“You know,” she said. “The guy who is always there, offering, inviting, always asking what we want to do, where we’d like to go…”
“Yea, that sounds terrible,” I said.
She made a face at me and stared into the firepit which was lit and bathing us in a warm glow.
“I’m not saying some girls are like that,” she said.
“Yea, I would figure that sounds like a normal guy,” I said.
“That’s the problem,” she said, “Normal isn’t attractive.”
“I knew it!” I replied. “You’re into psychopaths.” She laughed.
I went on…”That explains all your tattoos.”
“You said you love my tattoos,” she pouted.
“I do,” I said. “Except that one.” She looked at where I had pointed with concern. “Where? What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s just, too….normal.” I said and couldn’t hide my amusement. I was having trouble getting back to my usual analytical self.
She slapped me on the arm, though, which helped me focus. She continued…
“I want someone who isn’t so normal, but more interesting,” she said.
“Like, how?” I was back in research mode.
“Nice guys do things, and it’s all for you, instead of for themselves. I want them to have passions.”
“Nice guys have passions,” I pointed out.
“Yea,” she retorted. “Watching sports,” She paused, “And fantasy sports teams.” She paused again, “Oh, and sports bars.” She shuddered.
“I detect a sports theme,” I said. “Also, you’re an elitist.”
She looked at me offended, “So are you.”
I stopped a moment. “This is true…Wait, what do you mean by elitist?”
She ignored me. “I think most of us do want nice guys,” she said. “But underneath it, we want someone who has something going on. Something that takes them away from us because they’ve got to follow their heart sometimes.”
“But you’ve always said you want a guy to appreciate you,” I said.
“Yes,” she replied and then looked at me and said simply, almost apologetic, and soft and gentle and lovely: “We’re complicated.”
“Yes, you are.” I held her gaze and found a happy smile had grown over my face.
“And that is why I like you.”

“Mom, I’ve got to GO,” I said.

AntiFa Snowflake

It had already taken me a considerable time finding the anarchy print that looked just right, and the belt chain! All those cheap ones were too shiny, I needed the dull color, indicating the realism of the street, of life.

When you begin to enjoy the anger and angst and fight, then you’ve left the true path.

The point of maturity for me was when I realized I didn’t need to fight anyone, I didn’t need to compare, I didn’t need to justify myself or defend myself.  They could be them and I could be me, and that was ok, because in the end we were all the same.

The point of maturity for me was when I stopped thinking about what would this person do, or that person wear, or how I should fit in to some ideology, and instead, what should I do?

For myself.

“We are the music-makers


And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.”

Dreaming by itself is a passive state.
But some of us dare to act on those dreams.
In the face of the mediocrity of the masses
The safety state of the fear-filled world.
The world has little meaning to us:
Standards, boundaries, rules, regulations.
Our dreams go beyond these.
So we produce,
And that’s what makes us special
We create things
While most collect things
and wait.
The dreamers continue on,
oblivious to limits,
without complaints.
And we make our music.


Quote reference: Arthur O’Shaughnessy

I don’t want you to be safe, ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong.

free speech

Since 2012, when members of iGen first began entering college, growing numbers of college students have become less able to cope with the challenges of campus life, including offensive ideas, insensitive professors, and rude or even racist and sexist peers.

Previous generations of college students learned to live with such challenges in preparation for success in the far more offense-filled world beyond the college gates. As Van Jones put it in response to a question by David Axelrod about how progressive students should react to ideologically offensive speakers on campus:

I don’t want you to be safe, ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym; that’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.

This is why the idea that speech is violence is so dangerous. It tells the members of a generation already beset by anxiety and depression that the world is a far more violent and threatening place than it really is. It tells them that words, ideas, and speakers can literally kill them.

Even worse: At a time of rapidly rising political polarization in America, it helps a small subset of that generation justify political violence. A few days after the riot that shut down Yiannopoulos’s talk at Berkeley, in which many people were punched, beaten, and pepper sprayed by masked protesters, the main campus newspaper ran five op-ed essays by students and recent alumni under the series title “Violence as self defense.” One excerpt: “Asking people to maintain peaceful dialogue with those who legitimately do not think their lives matter is a violent act.”

The implication of this expansive use of the word “violence” is that “we” are justified in punching and pepper-spraying “them,” even if all they did was say words. We’re just defending ourselves against their “violence.” But if this way of thinking leads to actual violence, and if that violence triggers counter-violence from the other side (as happened a few weeks later at Berkeley), then where does it end?

In the country’s polarized democracy, telling young people that “words are violence” may in fact lead to a rise in real, physical violence.

Free speech, properly understood, is not violence.

It is a cure for violence.

Excerpted from this article.

Art credit: Banksy

I never met my great-grandparents, because they were murdered.


During the genocide of World War I, the State of Turkey targeted Christians, which included my people, the Armenians, to be exterminated.  The State murdered men, women, and children, without judgment or differentiation.  They were hung, decapitated, or marched to death. The estimate of those murdered are 1.5 million people.

The Turks who were responsible for these murders were fascists. Fascists are people who control through authoritarianism that appeals to national pride and protectionism. Fascists are led by an unelected leader (dictator) who uses force to eliminate dissent and free speech and other freedoms.

Today my great-grandparents lay in their unmarked graves, wherever those graves may be.  And if they have souls, I imagine they’re watching our definition of fascism today.  And they’re wondering what has become of the world…


Isn’t it strange that a gift could be an enemy?
Isn’t it weird that a privilege could feel like a chore?
Maybe it’s me, but this line isn’t going anywhere.
Maybe if we looked hard enough, we could find a backdoor

I see you in line, dragging your feet
You have my sympathy
The day you were born, you were born free
That is your privilege.

We’re all privileged to a certain degree, in this great nation of our’s.

Your perspective determines how much of your privilege you take advantage of.

Some people are so appreciative of it, that they use the opportunities to become
President of the United States of America.


Not so much…

“I had been drinking,” she said, “I mean, really drinking”


“There’s always something a guy offers,” I said. “Not money, or material support… you guys..girls.. can do that well enough for yourself.  I mean..he offers himself, as a male, his spirit…his strength, reassurance that things are going to be alright.”

“He doesn’t provide me anything,” she said, emphatic, and took a careful drag from her cigarette, then formed her small mouth into at an “O”, and exhaled. “I don’t care if the other guy gives him our video that he made when I was drunk.”

I hesitated for only a second: “So you really don’t need him,” I said. “You can walk away from your home with him.”

Her face grew bright, with almost manic energy.  I couldn’t help but be drawn to it.  A small smile played on her face: “Off with their heads,” she said.