Tuesday, December 31, 2019

“If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing. “ – Woodrow Wilson

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual” by Arnold Kunst
31 December

We’re meant to move comfortably among people of any age, any background, any financial status. We’re not so proud that they don't enrich us; we’re not so humble that we can't enrich them. It's a fascinating interplay.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Gandhi

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
December 31
Lincoln's death was an unparalleled international phenomenon. Of course heads of state, like his “great and good friend” Queen Victoria, sent condolences. But what was astonishing was that, according to one historian, condolences also came from the Working Class Improvement Association of Lisbon, the Students in the Faculty of Theology in Strasbourg, the Teachers of the Ragged School in Bristol, the Vestry of the Parish of Chelsea, the Cotton Brokers' Association of Liverpool, the Men's Gymnastic Union of Berne, Switzerland [all 44 members]. As if moved inexorably by some powerful if unseen gravitational pull, people thousands of miles away all made it their business to express their profound sorrow at the passing of this most enigmatic of men. For somehow Lincoln had managed to capture their imaginations, this man carved from the granite of the great American heartland, who had clambered through the dense entangling undergrowth of misunderstanding and greed, of violence and stupidity, to burst forth onto God's very own broad, sunlit uplands.

Monday, December 30, 2019

“If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room” - Jayne Howard

“The Human Condition: As User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
30 December
We’d be wise to do what Jesus did at the beginning of what the Bible calls His public ministry when He spent 30 days in the desert, all alone. Mind you, it’d be a desert as distinctive to ourselves as His was to Him. After all, He was surrounded by His own home-grown demons, surreal and terrifying; He confronted them with a courage and simplicity that, I think, you and I are called to emulate. In fact, I think a case can be made that His insights into human nature, His capacity to satiate most profoundly the varying hungers of those in His immediate circle, was powered by that desert experience. Maybe the dynamic is constant - maybe, like Him, you and I are to satiate the varying hungers of those in our immediate circle, powered by our desert experience. He's led the way, it is our privilege to follow that path.

“I don’t want to promise heaven unless I can bring it to you. I can only see a little distance up the road.” – Woodrow Wilson

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
29 December
“A distinctive facet to Lincoln's abiding appeal was the matchless power of his words – an absolute essential in a leader of men since we humans are creatures that live and move and have our being in a world of words as fish in a world of water and birds in a world of air.

One reason his words were so powerful was that he used them so judiciously. How often did he say that his personal inclination was to refrain from saying anything unless he sought to achieve some good by it? [By contrast, how many politicians do you and I know who are firm believers that there is no such thing as bad publicity, who simply can’t resist the seductive power of a TV crew?] But when Lincoln did have something to say, the subtle alchemy of his words had a way of sweeping up his audience into his world with the concerted power of one who is master of that world down to the final semi-colon. And since writing was a skill he practiced virtually all his life, he could – and did – impress effortlessly. That is the part of what came to be called the Gettysburg Address that is ho-hum - he put relatively little time into its composition because he had little time to give to it. But that condition applied to virtually his entire literary output. He wrote in keeping with his own early description of his politics – short and sweet like the old lady’s dance with no wasted movements. In short, whatever left his pen habitually had had all the dross already burnt off, leaving only a residue of pure gold.” – Arnold Kunst

“He who buys what he needs not sells what he needs.”- Japanese proverb

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
December 30
With horrendous casualty figures, Lincoln's chances of re-election in 1864 were minimal. Three months before the election, former President Millard Fillmore said: “All men who value their own liberty should unite to change the administration, for without this all is lost.” “Mr. Lincoln is already beaten,” wrote Horace Greeley the influential editor of the New York Tribune. “We must have another ticket to save us from utter overthrow.” Even Lincoln's friend Senator Sumner agreed. “It may be that Mr. Lincoln will see that we shall all be stronger and more united under another candidate.”

“Life is always full, exciting, rich for those who go at it head on.” - Arnold Kunst

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
December 29
“You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.” - Abraham Lincoln 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

“If you love the sacred but despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.” -Anonymous

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
28 December

On a good day a loser’s self-awareness extends as far as telling the bartender, “Tommy, gimme two double Scotches, and call the cops!”

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” - Theodore Roosevelt

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
December 28
“The colored population is the great available, and yet unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once.” - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 27, 2019

“Failure is not the opposite of success - it’s part of success.” - Anonymous

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
27 December
If the loser were an airplane he’d rust out on the runway.

If the winner were an airplane he’d wear out in the air.