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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Two Women Wize

by H. Doc Burns, PhD
March 8, 2010

In recognition of International Women’s Day today, (March 8, 2010), I wanted to celebrate someone I have found to represent strength, wisdom and sheer force of will; the qualities which helped women come as far as they have, from chattel–under or unvalued property not considered fair trade for a goat–not that long ago, to heads of state and governments, corporate moguls and academic giants. I also wanted to spotlight the thoughts of women whose actions have spoken for themselves and whose words will give some foundation to those now and to come who will continue to work toward finally balancing the scales all the way to equal though different and have also made a difference in my life. Who showed gender neutral wisdom.

For a large part of the last century, there were two women, living during, perhaps a hundred weight of years in which a couple of hands full of women, for the most part short in stature, but in no other way small, making themselves large so that a greater number of women with things–important things–to say, have spoken out, regularly in the face of serious resistance and retribution of all kinds, and have been heard…have made themselves heard, in the Western and parts of the Eastern World, encouraging and emboldening women still facing seemingly impenetrable barriers–social, emotional and physical.

These two had things to say, and having spoken, went out in the world to back up their words after being strong and supportive for the men in their lives, getting things done by themselves as that was the only way they knew things would be done.

They both had the courage of their convictions and relied on actions along with words to see that their work bore fruit and was harvested.However, amongst their significant deeds, the words they left behind, mostly meant as a preface to their work and a call to all hands, are a precious legacy of often quiet thoughts for serious contemplation.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa left us a sense of the heights of mind and depths of soul their characters shared. Here are a few of those words from these two amazingly different women indicating the similarity of the thoughtful wisdom so often overshadowed by iron wills and sheer force of personality they shared, especially after both emerging from the long shadows thrown by men of longstanding and trusted leadership, men they loved, supported and promoted.

Mrs. Roosevelt had quite a dry wit, by the way, as did Mother Teresa, although somewhat more visible with Mrs. R.. They both knew a sense of humour can give one great strength and disarm their adversaries. Here are some samples of that verbal strength:

Mother Teresa

  • Life is a beauty, admire it.
  • Life is a dream, realize it.
  • Life is a challenge, meet it.
  • Life is a duty, complete it.
  • Life is a game, play it.
  • Life is a promise, fulfil it.
  • Life is sorrow, overcome it.
  • Life is a song, sing it.
  • Life is a struggle, accept it.
  • Life is a tragedy, confront it.
  • Life is an adventure, dare it.
  • Life is luck, make it.
  • Life is life, fight for it.”

— Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

EleanorRoosevelt

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them so close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
–‘This Is My Story,’ 1937

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

“A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”
–“My Day”

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’.””Do one thing every day that scares you.”

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
–Eleanor Anna Roosevelt, (1884 – 1962)
US Diplomat, Reformer and former First Lady

These barely scratch the surface of Mrs. Roosevelt’s ‘bon mots’ and pearls from her writings demonstrating her quick mind and humour. These are two of her’s that are personal favourites:

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”

These words demonstrate the true power of these minds without any further embellishments from me, so I shall leave you with them to ponder.

As ever,
–doc-

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“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing–the rest is mere sheep-herding.”

Ezra Loomis Pound

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was born in Hailey, Idaho, grew up near Philadelphia, but lived much of his adult life overseas. In his early career he was the influential and a controversial leader of Imagism and Vorticism. He also championed young writers, including H.D., T.S. Eliot, and Robert Frost. Among his best-known works are “In a Station of the Metro,” “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,” and The Cantos, a ranging, lifelong work that expounded his political and economic theories.

Possibly There Are Things to Come...
A Taste of Pound

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Sonnets Served With a Slice of Pi
Dear Reader-
A slightly backward, left handed forward.

Philosophical Mathematics, a $73 million hedge fund in New York, 3.14159, or Pi, and Sonnets. Strange bedfellows?  Not in these days, I think…

This is a little late, and with the speed in which the economy shifts these days, it may be a touch dated. Mea culpa. For this I apologize. I’ve been used to writing my own pages, including the HTML and CSS and I came upon this article very early in the life of this…blog, site, information disseminator, bit of self indulgence…whatever it is other than a creel of trout pulled from a pleasant little time stream, with all its ‘all mod cons’, as the realtors are so fond of saying, and it seems it became lost among drafts, in somewhat the way socks disappear into washers and/or dryers or where ever they go.

I still think it’s a nifty bit of writing about a nifty bit of writing offering an interesting view of money, in all its various forms, so, if you’ll forgive me the tardiness of the piece, perhaps you’ll enjoy it. Of course, living as I do, as an anachronist, something I’ve begun an attempt to explain on the vanity…or, uhhmn, bio page, (you honestly didn’t think that little scrap of writing was the end of it, did you?), this is no more nor less dated than I am. [Insert clever comment here.] In any case, I offer it as something to divert your attention for a few moments from New Year’s Eve preparations, and hopefully to help you forgive my future tardiness in posting the Amnesty International Letter Writing Guidelines and Samples I promised to have ready and published before the end of the year. Just checking the time, I see I’m already too late for some of my friends, who might see this sometime when I feel it’s ready to be seen and publish the address…or have I done that already? Seen in that light, and knowing, as most of my friends do, my life long dance with procrastination, I might get away with the prevarication that the new year of which I spoke is 2011.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this, and perhaps look up Al Lewis’ column sometime,
and Bon Année to those of you who recognize tomorrow, (January 1), as the beginning of a new year.
As ever,
–doc–

PS: As Douglas Adams once said: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
A word from your host
from al lewis | columnist

Sonnets Served With a Slice of Pi
By Al Lewis
Denver Post Staff Columnist
Posted: 07/15/2007 01:00:00 AM MDT

Lee Slonimsky, who runs a $73 million hedge fund in New York, shows up at my office with a book of sonnets.

He’s a risk-adverse quant. A conservative investor who trades according to mathematical models and recurring trading patterns. He’s also a published poet.

His latest book, published in January by Orchises Press of Alexandria, Va., is called “Pythagoras in Love.”

“It’s about seeing the world through the eyes of a famous mathematician who thought almost continuously in terms of numbers,” Slonimsky said. “You can’t do quantitative trading for 15 years and not kind of get into that mindset.”

Most people I know hate math. Slonimsky, 56, writes poems about it. More specifically, he writes sonnets, which are typically associated with love.

They are also among the most classical forms of poetry, written by literary legends such as Milton, Shakespeare, Keats and Shelley. They traditionally have 14 lines and 10 beats per line.

“It’s kind of like doing crosswords,” Slonimsky said with only a slight smile.

His poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Carolina Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Poetry New York and other journals. They combine metaphors from nature with mathematical formulas, such as pi, or the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Pi – or 3.14159 – has been known since ancient times but never fully known. Modern computers have calculated its decimals back billions of digits, but they can’t get to the end because pi is infinite and at some point falls into the realm of philosophers and poets.

In “The Last Digit of Pi” Slonimsky writes:

“Bisected by a tree, the sun’s gold light
draws angles on the glass skin of the pond
dawn’s revelers, a pair of geese in flight
soar high above the wooded hill, beyond Pythagoras’s line of sight. And now
he’s all alone, high priest of water, sky,
intuiter of theorems, teller how
this world’s the weave of math, the art of Pi.”

All I know is that it’s amazing to see anyone get a book of poems published.

Poetry’s popularity has waned, perhaps since the photograph. With today’s media putting a premium on novelty, sound bites and shock value, poems seem so pensive, obtuse and esoteric.

These days they say there are more people trying to write poems than there are trying to read them. Not even a hedge-fund manager is in it for the money, or even a large audience.

“There are a lot of people who may have an interest in something – like arts and crafts – and they’re not going to have a lot of people watching them do it,” Slonimsky said. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it.”

Slonimsky, however, has developed a strategy to expand his market share.

He married Carol Goodman, the award-winning author of “The Seduction of Water,” “The Ghost Orchid” and other novels. Goodman now creates characters based on her husband and slips some of his work into her tales. Her latest book is called “The Sonnet Lover” and contains six of Slonimsky’s poems, ensuring they’ll be read by thousands of readers.

Goodman will be reading at the Tattered Cover on Colfax Avenue at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Slonimsky will be there, too.

An understated and cerebral man with thinning black hair, Slonimsky grew up in Manhattan. His father was a bookkeeper who once worked for a firm that shorted stocks and infused his son with stock-market lore.

As a student, Slonimsky loved English, math and reading about the history of financial panics. He began trading stocks as a sophomore in high school. But don’t ask him if today’s heady Dow will crash or soar higher. He not only doesn’t know but would just as soon see it go flat.

He came of age as an investor at a time when the Dow only bounced between roughly 600 and 1,000. “I was weaned on the idea that the stock market is a place where you can make money when it doesn’t go anywhere,” Slonimsky said.

His hedge fund – Ocean Capital Partners LLC – targets stocks with small but predictable trading ranges, buying at the lows and selling at the highs.

“Some of our most profitable trading stocks have not changed price in several years,” he said. “I’m a great believer in ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.”‘

Leave it to a risk-adverse quant/poet to find an unchanging universe on Wall Street.

I asked Slonimsky if he’d ever written a poem about his business. He gave me this one, called “July 16, 2017,” which envisions a time when even America’s cities have held initial public stock offerings:

Cities themselves trade as stocks now;
Chicago opens higher,
Seattle’s flat while Boston’s soft,
and then news hits the wire:
Atlanta’s got a deficit,
Houston a major fire.
A pair of shorts to gamble on
amidst a dearth of buyers –
these trades are brief though – caution wins
out over greed, desire.
A two point move, cat-sudden in
a quick and profitable hour,
enough to sleep well on at night.
Cash never is a liar!

“It’s a sonnet in alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter, with occasional irregularities, known in the poetry trade as ‘roughing up the rhythm,”‘ Slonimsky explained.

Oh. Yes. Of course. I knew that.

Al Lewis’ column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Respond to Lewis at denverpostbloghouse.com/lewis, 303-954-1967 or alewis@denverpost.com.

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On Happiness…

“A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.”

— George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born American philosopher, writer, from “Realms of Being

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