…and More Words of Wisdom

Perhaps one of my favorite Kipling Poems…

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 imposters 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 wornout 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 breath 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!

More Poetry and Art

Over at Eaglespeak, an excerpt from a poem was posted. While I hadn’t personally run across it before, it’s a piece that spoke to me, and indeed, qualifies as “Words of Wisdom”:

A father sees a son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.’
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum and monotony
and guide him amid sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
‘Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.’
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
And left them dead years before burial:
The quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
Has twisted good enough men
Sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.

Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use amongst other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is a born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.

The Bridge is Open!

Well, the new bridge over the Cooper between Mount Pleasant and downtown Charleston is finally opening up today. Hopefully this does a little bit to relieve congestion getting in and out of the downtown. I’m not sure how much of a help it will be while still primarily dumping three lanes into a two-lane rt. 17, but there will also be offramps for Coleman blvd, and other major routes. That and having three lanes means a stalled car or accident won’t bring everything to quite such a screeching halt (followed by more accidents).

The fireworks show two nights ago was impressive, even for a pretty jaded fireworks observer like me. The view was wonderful from our vantage near the Mt. Pleasant side of the old bridges, and the radio was turned up so we got to hear Neil Diamond’s Coming to America segue into the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever. The waterfall shower of sparks over the side and launches off of the bridge platform proper were a beautiful touch. Stations as far away as Deland (near Daytona) FL carried at least some coverage of the fireworks show.

It’s an impressive and beautiful bridge, especially all lit up. You can see if from miles away (such as on the Isle of Palms Connector). I’ve been up and down the east coast and not seen anything quite like it.

Just wish they’d put it up earlier. We’ve been needing it for a while.

What I Did for my 4th of July Vacation….

This is a week late but it’s a long post. I was sick all of today and am taking the time it gives me to write this up.

As the week came to a close, we finally traded in my aging, steadfast, Intrepid and instead picked up a 2002 VW Jetta GLX. I’ve got to say that I have gotten to really like the car more and more since then. It was low mileage, and as a certified used car had even more room on its warranty, giving it more warranty coverage left than many new cars, including one Pontiac Sunfire I had owned. Like the Sunfire, it’s fairly small, so it’s far more convenient for zipping in and out of downtown parking spaces.

What I appreciate most is the fanatical level of attention to detail that the engineers at VW have displayed, such that I’m far happier with this car than my wife’s Mercedes. This is to date the only car I’d seen where setting the cruise control engages it with imperceptible smoothness. The controls are all well placed, with the same precision that the car displays in its steering and handling.

I like it.

So we broke the car in by taking it down to the Daytona area to help my mom get settled in at her new apartment. This of course was done on the weekend of the Pepsi 400, so, a few accidents (including one where a SUV had done at least 1 and 1/4 rolls), and a few too many hours later, we spent a grueling weekend unpacking boxes, throwing out dross, and getting stuff hung/organized/you name it. We headed back starting at 10PM on Sunday, picking up slurpees at the last 7-11 we came across on the way out of central Florida, before entering the barren wasteland without these oases of light and icy goodness.

Getting back at 4AM we passed right out and woke up in time to go to a friends for a celebratory 4th lunch, and picked up some ice cream and fireworks on the way home. That night we made a few shells and roman candles go “boom.”

Then we went to bed.