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May 3

May 3, 2015

“The maturity of man—that means, to have reacquired the seriousness that one had as a child at play.”

– Friedrich Nietzche, from Beyond Good and Evil

A father’s life is full of joyous moments. Some are never forgotten.

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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling, If from Rewards and Fairies

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It seems like a good day to bake a carrot cake.

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Back then, we were hearing all about the Democrats who thought that they should be President of the United States. There were thirteen of them. Most American voters thought differently. Al Gore was a few hanging chads and an activist Supreme Court away from finding out if he was ready for the job. It’s possible that Joe Biden will still get his chance. This time around the party has decided on its nominee long before voters get a chance to vote and it is the Republicans’ turn to show us their best and brightest.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Back then, we were also learning about the evil Iranians who had taken over the country in 1979. They liked things their way. The April 1987 Atlantic magazine has an article about the risks to an Iranian who wanted to be different than them. Those who chose Baha’i as their religion were being forced to denounce their faith or face harassment, job loss, imprisonment or even death at the hands of the Shi’ite clerics’ henchmen. These are the same people who have confounded and bedeviled every Republican and Democrat administration since Jimmy Carter’s.

23 Comments
  1. Round and round goes the world.

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  2. Seems like yesterday. And tomorrow will undoubtedly be similar! i’m holding on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am always up for a good carrot cake, Bruce. Sometimes it is the answer, regardless of the question. As for the Kipling poem, it became a favorite of mine when I was in high school. In terms of the Shia and Sunni’s, the Shia and Sunnis are going to do what the Shia and Sunni’s are going to do, and have for a thousand years. As far as I can tell, all of our billions and all of our lives haven’t made one iota of a difference. Let them eat cake. –Curt

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  4. So, how’d that last minute Carrot Cake turn out? I’d like to enjoy a piece while I read The Atlantic.
    🙂
    Can you imagine being able to write a poem such as this one? Thank you for including it here so I’d take the time to read it, Bruce

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Laurie. The cake was not so bad. Pretty good, I guess. But no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t turn out as the recipe image. Absolutely not photo-worthy. I love that Kipling poem.

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  5. I just was reading an interview with Garrison Keillor, and he named Roy Blount as one of his favorite humorists. Lo, there Blount is, right on the cover of the “Atlantic.” If I had some carrot cake, I’d eat cake and read Roy Blount, if I had some Roy Blount!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garrison knows. He gets the basics organized. Sometimes, the answers can be simple. Like taking a break to sit down to a piece of carrot cake. Just relax, eat a piece of carrot cake and read Roy Blount. Linda knows. GK and LL know.

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  6. I agree with Laurie: thanks for including that poem. Dare I admit I do not recall having read it before? I think it’s a perfect guideline. And if one of us could do all that, he or she would indeed be a man. Or a woman. Or at the least the best sort of human.

    Arrggh, I know, right?! The things we are fighting so fiercely about are small, small details. It’s only when we get older and have had decades of paying attention, when we look at the whole picture and realize we’re just seeing the same dumb story all over again, with new bad guys and good guys.

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  7. This is why I love to bake. Kipling’s poem says it all, whether being a good man, or a good woman. Balance all things, love yourself, but not too much! Think, but not with arrogance. Read the news, but don’t get too frustrated – bake instead! My family loves the fact that every week I come up with a batch of homemade cookies or cake or French silk chocolate pie. They don’t realize, it helps keep my world real. (Also, one of the things about getting to this age – we’ve seen it all, it seems, right?) Hard to get righteous about the news, when we know it will just keep on keeping on. :-0

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  8. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Kipling’s work, thanks for refreshing my memory. xxx

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  9. Love that Kipling poem…I don’t think I had ever read the whole thing; I had only seen different pieces as “quotes” used out of context. To read the whole work is wonderful.

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  10. I enjoy your blogs and always appreciate when you like one of mine. I just got a notice that you had liked yesterday’s blog and I wanted to acknowledge it. Mat

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  11. I think that’s how I live my life, nice to know Nietzche agrees with my decision. Or, as my son always asks me, am I EVER going to grow up? and I tell them that’s HIS job. heehee

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If… is one of the most beautiful poems ever written. Thank you for reminding me of it …

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