erik lundegaard

Quote of the Day posts

Wednesday November 20, 2019

Deep Breathing and Brett Butler

“This morning I woke in the dark and put on a bunch of layers and a balaclava and scarf and bright reflective coat and helmet and rode my bike four miles or so down Ashland through an icy wind to sit on a cushion for 40 minutes at the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate meditation hall. For many years I meditated sporadically and romanticized about someday attaining enlightenment, you know, bursting into painless admirable bliss forever, but now I just fucking meditate every day. The turning point in this increase in constancy was becoming a father and how that becoming and its accompanying stress prompted me to frequently assault myself with blows to the head. This was no way to live, I finally realized. I don't punch myself in the head much anymore. In fact I can't remember the last time I did it. I don't particularly want to wake up in the dark once a week and ride through the cold and sit on a cushion with my legs aching. I don't particularly want to sit on a cushion every night after my kids are in bed. But I do it. It keeps the head punches at bay, for one thing, but also the more I do it the more I clearly I see that I'm going to die, and that clarity brings panic and hopelessness and sadness. There's no way out alive. And so I sit every night plus one morning a week after a long bike ride and sometimes on that cushion I feel everything drop away altogether and for a few seconds there is just life right now, and I have no complaints, no questions, no thoughts at all, and a feeling of gratitude wells up in me for this singular vanishing, this gift of life.”

— Josh Wilker, “Brett Butler,” on the Cardboard Gods site

I haven't reached the meditation stage yet, certainly not on the level he's at, but for several months last year I did sit quietly and breathe deeply, in and out, in the morning and in the evening, to try to keep my anger level down. I was getting hair-trigger angry too often, once horribly so. (Verbal violence, not physical. Moments I‘ll carry the rest of my life.) The deep breathing helps. These days I do the deep breathing more often as it’s happening. Something stupid will be happening, I‘ll feel that adrenaline surge of anger—which, c’mon, is a fucking great feeling—but I'll be aware of the bad place it leads and just focus on the breathing.

Josh, whose book “Cardboard Gods” I recommend highly, ties all this to a Brett Butler baseball card. 

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Posted at 06:44 PM on Nov 20, 2019 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
Monday November 18, 2019

Trump Outsources Foreign Policy to Russian Gangsters

“A week ago, CNN found Trump had at least ten interactions with [Lev] Parnas and [Igor] Fruman [who were arrested by federal agents on Oct. 10], straining his denials beyond all credibility. Friday night, CNN unearthed an even more dangerous piece of news. Parnas and Fruman, along with their partner, Rudy Giuliani, met with Trump in the White House during its annual Hanukkah party. Parnas told two people that Trump tasked them with pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

”Trump's dishonesty is so comprehensive that the revelation he lied about knowing Parnas and Fruman—the sort of lie that would badly damage a normal president—barely registers. The fact that he allegedly commissioned Parnas's work directly might prove more damaging. Here Trump recruited a pair of sleazeballs with ties to the Russian mafia to communicate with the Ukrainian government on his behalf. ‘President outsources his foreign policy to gangsters’ is the sort of charge that ought to draw more attention than it has.“

— Jonathan Chait, ”Trump Personally Directed Mob-Linked Figure Tied to Ukraine Shakedown," New York magazine

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Posted at 04:53 PM on Nov 18, 2019 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
Tuesday November 12, 2019

Quote of the Day

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

― Ronald Wright, “A Short History of Progress,” 2004

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Posted at 08:58 PM on Nov 12, 2019 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
Wednesday November 06, 2019

Quote of the Day

“The Mariners' postseason drought is now a legal adult.”

— Sam Miller, ESPN.com, “The good, the bad ... and the Tigers: Ranking all 30 MLB teams based on their 2019 goals.” In his rankings, which are based on what success might look like for that franchise, No. 1 is the Nats (they won the World Series), No. 30 is the Tigers (they lost 114 games), while the Mariners, whose postseason drought reached its 18th year, are No. 26 on his list. 

I like the subheds he gives each team—like the titles of “Friends” episodes:

  • No. 2: Tampa Bay Rays: The year Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows turned the Chris Archer trade into a historically imbalanced snookering 
  • No. 4: Minnesota Twins: The year they hit 307 home runs
  • No. 6: New York Yankees: The year everybody got hurt but the Yankees somehow got better

I would‘ve put the Brewers (No. 10: The year they came back) higher, but maybe I forgot preseason expectations on them. M’s subhed is so-so: “The year Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki said goodbye.” I might've gone: “The year Jerry Dipoto traded everybody.” 

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Posted at 12:26 PM on Nov 06, 2019 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
Sunday November 03, 2019

Quote of the Day

“The reason a movie can't be interesting about an artist is because most of our process is so deadly dull.”

— singer-songwriter Dan Wilson to Jim Walsh on the MinnPost site. What's the most interesting movie about an artist? “Amadeus,” maybe? It helped that Mozart was a genius. Salieri: “These were first and only drafts of music, but they showed no corrections of any kind. He had simply written down music already finished in his head!”

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Posted at 08:07 AM on Nov 03, 2019 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
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