Vienna, Schoenberg and the advent of musical modernism | Aeon Essays

via Vienna, Schoenberg and the advent of musical modernism | Aeon Essays

Seth Godin Newsletter


How will we use our gifts? What difficult choices will we make–when it might be easier to hide?

Will we waste our advantages and insulation?

Will inertia be our guide, or will we follow our passions?

Will we follow dogma, or will we leap forward and be original, generous and helpful?

Will we choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will we wilt under criticism, or will we follow our convictions?

Will we bluff it out when we’re wrong, or will we apologize?

Will we be clever at the expense of others, or will we choose to be kind?

A cynic, or a builder?

And we get to decide again every single day.

Man with rare brain disease unable to ‘see’ numbers – Big Think

via Man with rare brain disease unable to ‘see’ numbers – Big Think

Schuberta et al.
  • When a man who was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease corticobasal syndrome looks at the numbers 2 through 9, he sees unintelligible squiggly lines.
  • The disability appears to be a peculiar type of metamorphopsia, a visual defect that causes linear objects, like the lines on a grid, to look curvy or rounded.
  • The study has some interesting implications on theories of consciousness.

Someone writes the number 8 on a piece of paper. You look at it, see a shape, but you can’t identify what number it is, or whether it’s a number at all. The markings just look like “spaghetti.”

It sounds strange, but that’s exactly what happened to a man who suffers from a rare neurodegenerative disease called corticobasal syndrome, and now can’t recognize the digits 2 through 9. This disease, caused by damage to the cortex and basal ganglia, often leads to memory problems and difficulty moving, but the inability to identify numbers seems to be a very rare symptom.

In a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team of researchers describe how the unique disability sheds light on how the brain processes visual awareness.

The inability to identify numbers posed an immediate puzzle for researchers. If the man (named “RFS” in the paper) can read letters and words, but not numbers, that means his brain must be identifying the numbers — and then selectively discriminating against them.


The trouble with judging historical figures by today’s moral standards – Big Think

via The trouble with judging historical figures by today’s moral standards – Big

  • Historical American monuments and sculptures are under attack by activists.
  • The monuments are accused of celebrating racist history.
  • Toppling monuments is a process that often happens in countries but there’s a danger of bias.

History is not only the stuffing of Wikipedia articles but a live process involving you right now. As is evidenced bluntly by 2020, history is an undeniable force, here to change our societies and force us to re-examine everything we think and know before you can say “news cycle”. So far we’ve had one of the worst pandemics of the modern era, with thousands dead and economic livelihoods uprooted around the world. We’ve had the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, spurred on by the murders of African-Americans by the police, unleashing pent-up frustrations at systemic injustice. We also find ourselves in an amazingly divisive election year, probably one of the worst periods of rancor in the life of the country. American “heroes” are getting re-examined left and right and statues are getting torn down.

All the upheaval places focus on the role of history in our society. How much of it do we want to own up to? How much are current American citizens responsible for the sins of their ancestors? Which men (and yes, mostly these are men) are allowed to stay up as bronze reminders of some heroic past and which ones need to finally go to the far reaches of our collective unconcious? Do Confederate monuments and statues deserve to stay as part of the legacy of the South, or does it make any sense that a period of history that lasted about 5 years and produced attitudes that were actually defeated in a bloody Civil War is allowed to percolate in the minds of the population? It’s as if a tacit agreement was kept up all these years where the victors allowed some such traditions to remain in order to foster a spirit of reconciliation.

The biotech giant Gilead just laid out its pricing strategy for the first effective coronavirus treatment, and it’s charging up to $520 a vial for remdesivir | Business Insider India

via The biotech giant Gilead just laid out its pricing strategy for the first effective coronavirus treatment, and it’s charging up to $520 a vial for remdesivir | Business Insider India

Seasoned Nuts Quotable

“It is amazing that the refugees stay sane. First the bombs, perhaps the “battle” around them, their casualties, their naked helplessness; then the flight, leaving behind everything they have worked for all their lives; then the semi-starvation and ugly hardship of the camps or the slums; and as a final cruelty, the killing diseases which only strike at them.” ― Martha Gellhorn

Quotes of the Week

Henry Miller

“Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.”

via Today’s Quote June 22, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Friedrich Nietzsche

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

via Today’s Quote June 23, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Thomas A. Edison

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

via Today’s Quote June 24, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Noel Coward

“Work is much more fun than fun.”

via Today’s Quote June 26, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Rebecca West

“Life ought to be a struggle of desire toward adventures whose nobility will fertilize the soul.”

via Today’s Quote June 27, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.”

via Today’s Quote June 28, 2020 at 10:57AM
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Part of speech: noun
Origin: English, mid-20th century

A gender-neutral term for a niece or nephew.

Examples of Nibling in a sentence

“I’m so excited for my new nibling to be born!”

“All of the niblings get their own table at family dinners.”

10 British Slang Words You Should Be Using | Word Genius

via 10 British Slang Words You Should Be Using | Word Genius


“Bare” is an intensifier, effectively meaning “very” or “many” — similar to “hella” in the U.S. It originally came from Jamaican influences, but the word has worked its way into many British dialects.


I stayed up all night, and now I’m bare tired.


These are fairly self-explanatory for anyone living in England. Two of the most commonly used denominations of currency are the £5 and £10 notes (£1 only comes in coins), colloquially known as fivers and tenners. We’ll still give the award for Most Creative Currency to the Canadians, with the loonie and the toonie.


This bloke tried to charge me a tenner, but I gave him a fiver and ran.


Quite simply, “bird” means woman. It can be used to describe a girlfriend, a new acquaintance, or any woman you’re on casual terms with. Like the American slang “chick,” it doesn’t necessarily have sexist connotations, but context is key.


Bill’s bringing his new bird out tonight.

Come over tonight — all the birds will be here.


Pronounced “NAK-erd,” “knackered” means worn out or exhausted. You can be physically exhausted, or an item can be so worn out, it just needs to hit the bin (British slang for trash can).


After that gym sesh, I’m completely knackered.

Those shoes are knackered, mate. You’ve not got a new pair in years.


To “reckon” is to suspect or have a theory about something. It’s made the journey from Great Britain to the American South, where it maintains the thoughtful usage.


I reckon it’s going to rain today, and my team’s going to lose.


A bit of “cheekiness” is a quintessential part of British life. It can be hard to nail down a definition, but one that comes close is “endearingly rude.” Being cheeky is often cute, but it can be taken the wrong way, so pay attention to context.


Your son was very cheeky and grabbed a cookie off my plate when I wasn’t looking.


In the U.S., “mate” is thought of in the sense of a romantic partner, but it’s more casual for Brits. It can be used affectionately to mean “friend,” and it’s also used more informally when referring to or addressing strangers.


Johnny has been my best mate since university.

I take sugar in my coffee, mate.

Plastered, Trolleyed, Pissed, Battered, Gazeboed

It’s often said that language reflects culture. Inuits have many words for snow, and Arabic has myriad words for sand. In Britain, they have a huge volume of words for being drunk. Add “-ed” to any number of nouns or verbs, and your mates will understand you mean drunk.


After fours hours in the pub, I was completely cauliflowered.


Playing right into the stereotype, Brits really do love tea. So much so, in fact, that “cup of tea” was eventually shortened to “cuppa.” That’s right, you no longer need to clarify what’s in your cup, because everybody already knows it’s tea.


I had a lovely cuppa with my biscuits.

यार जुलाहे / प्रिय विणकरा, – गुलजार/शांता शेळके

यार जुलाहे / प्रिय विणकरा, – गुलजार/शांता शेळके | मराठी कविता संग्रह

यार जुलाहे / प्रिय विणकरा, – गुलजार/शांता शेळके

Creative Mind Space मुझको भी तरकीब सिखा कोई यार जुलाहे अक्सर तुझको देखा है कि ताना बुनते जब कोई तागा टूट गया या ख़तम हुआ फिर से बाँध के और सिरा कोई जोड़ के उसमें आगे बुनने लगते हो तेरे इस ता…

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of the Interstate Highway System? In 1956, Congress passed the Federal Highway Act, which authorized construction of the Interstate Highway System. Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law. With an original authorization of $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles over a 10-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history through that time.

30. International Day of Parliamentarism – 30th June

30. International Day of Parliamentarism – 30th June

Day of Parliamentarism - Content Marketing

This day aims to shed light on how parliamentary systems help improve the day-to-day lives of people.

Content marketing opportunities:   

  • Listicle idea: X Things you didn’t know your local MP/MLA did
  • Infographic idea: How is the Indian Parliament structured?
  • Video idea: The best parliament houses across the world
  • Podcast idea: What security measures are undertaken in the Parliament?

Brand campaign that worked:

This mini-documentary on the YouTube channel of Rajya Sabha TV tells us the story of the Indian Parliament House building.

29. International Asteroid Day – 30th June

29. International Asteroid Day – 30th June

Asteroid Day - Content Marketing

This day aims to educate the public about the hazards of asteroid impact and what should be done in case of a credible near-object threat.

Content marketing opportunities:   

  • Listicle idea: X Sites around the world that show the effect of meteor strikes
  • Infographic idea: What happened when the last large asteroid hit the earth?
  • Video idea: Are all asteroids made of the same stuff?
  • Podcast idea: What would happen if an asteroid hit the earth?

Brand campaign that worked:

We all know about the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs millions of years ago. This video by RealLifeLore examines what would happen if the earth suffers a similar hit today.

Marathi POetry in Calligraphy

Calligraphic Expressions.... ....          by B G Limaye: Calligraphy-17.07.2012

Having born and brought up in Hindi Heartland and having spent only 12 years of my life in Maharashtra – I never had a chance to formally study marathi in school or colleege even though it iss my mother tongue. So when I found these on Pinterest, I began loving Marthi Poetry on Pinterest pages shared by many and fell in love with Marathi poems.


PNUTs Newsletter part I liked today: Electric Bikes

  • If you’ve ever considered giving an electric bike a try, there’s no better time than today. A ride around the neighborhood with the wind blowing past is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face, and we could all use a smile right now.

  • Take it from thousands of customers who Ride Rad with Rad Power Bikes, a direct to consumer company that designs ebikes that are packed with power, comfort, and utility and brings to them riders at radically low prices.

  • Some people bike for fitness, but others bike for convenience or enjoyment. Ebikes don’t give you a sweaty workout, but when you’re slogging home from grocery shopping or cruising around town, that’s kind of the point. Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, ebikes are an accessible way to hit the road again.

  • To save on costs (to the Earth and your piggy bank) while getting outside, check out Rad Power Bikes now for your new ride.

Migrants in Gulf – via PNUTs Newsletter

Engulfed in Turmoil

(Khaled Ziad via Getty Images)

Wealthy Arabian Gulf countries depend on migrant workers — to clean their homes, care for their children, herd their animals, and do their manual labor. Each year, over 100,000 Ethiopians, Somalis, and other East Africans pay smugglers to be stuffed on boats in a desperate attempt to make the perilous journey across the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. They dream of eventually making their way to Saudi Arabia to find jobs to support their struggling families back home.

The journey from the Horn of Africa through Yemen to Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing migrant routes worldwide. Surveys show most poverty-stricken East African migrants are unaware of the raging, chaotic civil war in Yemen, whose situation the UN labeled “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, and five years of war between Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition propping up Yemen’s government have ransacked the country. Yet almost unimaginably, COVID-19 has made the situation even more horrific. Once the pandemic hit, African migrant workers became the convenient scapegoat for all Yemen’s troubles.

Over the last three months, armed Houthi militias have forced thousands of migrants out of northern Yemen, dumping them in the desert without food or water. Others are forced to the border with Saudi Arabia, where they are shot outright by border guards, or detained in prisons to be beaten, starved, and left to sleep on the same concrete floor they must use as a toilet. Survivors are often deported by Saudi authorities, although the Ethiopian government is protesting that it cannot handle the thousands of returnees.

Seasoned Nuts Quotable

“It is amazing that the refugees stay sane. First the bombs, perhaps the “battle” around them, their casualties, their naked helplessness; then the flight, leaving behind everything they have worked for all their lives; then the semi-starvation and ugly hardship of the camps or the slums; and as a final cruelty, the killing diseases which only strike at them.” ― Martha Gellhorn

How many moons?-Seth Godin’s Newslettter

How many moons in our solar system? With 8 or so planets, how many moons in total?

My guess, when challenged, was 22. I figured Earth had one, rounded up, etc.

It turns out that it’s more than 200. Saturn alone has more than 80 moons.

That’s a common mistake. We make it all the time. We assume that our neighborhood is like every neighborhood, that our situation and experience is universal.

That’s rarely true.

Embracing that on the path to empathy is a competitive advantage.

30 Common Words You’re Using All Wrong

30 Common Words You’re Using All Wrong


man talking on phone, hings not to say to customer service rep

Language is a funny thing. You come up with a word in order to be able to communicate with people, but over time, the meaning evolves—or gets totally butchered. If enough people use the word in the wrong way, its meaning may change forever.

Take the word “awful,” for example. It’s initial meaning was “inspiring reverential wonder or fear,” as it’s based on the combination of the words “awe” and “full.” At some point, enough people started to use the word to mean the exact opposite that its original definition became archaic. Terrific is another great example. Its Latin roots are the same as “terror,” so its meaning for a long time was “to inspire fear.” So many people used it incorrectly that it began to mean the exact opposite.

The words below, which people commonly misuse, have not yet suffered that same fate, but they could if we aren’t careful. So, go ahead, grammar police your friends for the greater good. And for more on ways we’re mangling our language, check out the 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in America.

Businessman Reading Newspaper

What people think it means: To skim.

What it actually means: To read thoroughly or examine at length.

Example: “I perused your legal brief last night and I had an issue with an item on page 78.”


Newspaper on doorstepWhat people think it means: a little fact; a small, interesting piece of trivia.

What it actually means: #fakenews. It was coined by Norman Mailer in 1973 to describe false information that had been printed so many times it became accepted as fact.

Example: “The idea that you need to sweat in order to get a good workout is a total factoid.” And for more fun facts about our language, don’t miss these 30 Hilarious Words for Everyday Problems.


40 compliments, essential dating tips for men over 40

What people think it means: Regardless, which is to say “in spite of present circumstances.”

What it actually means: it’s not a real word, even though people have been using it to mean “regardless’ since the 1700s.”

Example: “Regardless of what happens next, I’m happy we met.” And for more great word lessons, here are the 30 Words You Won’t Understand If You’re Over 30.


What people think it means:  Figuratively, which is the exact opposite. So people say, “I’m literally dying from laughter,” to emphasize how funny they think something is, when, in fact, they are not actually dying.

What it actually means: In a literal manner or sense; precisely or exactly are synonyms.

Example: “I literally received a hundred emails today. I’m not exaggerating.”


downton abbey

What people think it means: the title of a book or TV show, as in “Julian Fellowes is the creator of a British series entitled Downton Abbey.”

What it actually means: having, or believing you have, the right to something. People use this word to mean “privileged,” and that’s accurate. But they also use it when they should just be using the word “titled” instead.

Example: “Julian Fellowes is the creator of a British series titled Downton Abbey.” For more on the intersection of entitlement and language, here are the 9 Words British Royals Never Say.


sick person wine, Things You should Never Do at a Fancy Restaurant

What people think it means: Nauseated; sick, as if you’re about to throw up.

What it actually means: Nausea-inducing; an adjective to describe something that will make you feel sick.

Example: “Cigarettes are so nauseous; they aways make me feel nauseated.” And for more great words, here are the 30 Words That Will Make You Sound Instantly Smarter.

viper snake

What people think it means: something that could kill you if you eat it or if it bites you.

What it actually means: This word is used synonymously with “venomous” even though the meanings are different. Something that’s poisonous could be fatal if you eat it. Something that’s venomous could kill you only if it bites you.

Example: “Snow White’s apple was poisonous. The Inland Taipan is one of the most venomous snakes in the world.”


example of irony

What people think it means: when something bad happens, famously popularized by Alanis Morissette’s 1995 hit song, “Ironic.”

What it actually means: Happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.

Example: “I realize it’s ironic that someone who hates to read became a bestselling author.” And for more on the English language, here are the 50 Things Single People Wish You’d Stop Saying!


dictionary definition of infamy

What people think it means: The same as famous.

What it actually means: notorious; well-known for a very bad reason.

Example: “Carl is an infamously terrible speller. Everyone knows they have to proofread his letters before sending them out.” And for more on infamy, be sure to peruse the 50 Craziest Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.


30 rock example of how to use good versus well

What people think it means: A synonym to “well.” As in, “How are you doing?” “I’m doing well/good.”

What it actually means: as a noun, it means something that is morally righteous.

Example: On the show 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan asks someone who considers himself very erudite, “How you doin’ over there?” and he responds “I’m doin’ good,” to which Jordan replies, “Nuh-uh. Superman does good. You doin’ well.”


bad puns

What people think it means: to impact or to change.

What it actually means: people get effect, which is a noun, confused with “affect” which is a verb. The easiest way to remember the difference is that “affect” creates change whereas “effect is the result.”

Example: “I can’t deny that what she said affected me very deeply. The effect it had on my life was profound.” And for some things you definitely shouldn’t say, here are the 40 Words No One Over 40 Should Ever Use.


Woman Running Near Water Anti-Aging

What people think it means: a physical distance.

What it actually means: whereas “farther” relates to a physical distance, “further” refers to a metaphorical one.

Example: “”If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton.


joey describes a moot point

What people think it means: mute; as in, turning off the volume.

What it actually means: Subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision.

Example: “That’s a completely moot point. The decision has already been made.” And for more things you shouldn’t say, here are 40 Words No Man Over 40 Should Ever Say.

50 funniest facts

What people think it means: tragedy; something that needlessly causes great suffering or mass destruction.

What it actually means: a mockery or parody of something that’s supposed to be serious.

Example: “This entire trial has been a travesty of justice.”

habits after 40

What people think it means: the best of all.

What it actually means: as a noun, it can be used to describe the best of something (“Ralph Lauren is the ultimate in luxury polo wear”), but, as an adjective, it denotes the last item on a list.

Example: “The ultimate thing that we have to do, once we’ve got the bread and milk, is buy the eggs.”

profile mistakes

What people think it means: To converse; to carry on a conversation.

What it actually means: this is not a real word.

Example: “May we adjourn to the dining room to conversate further?” “No, because that’s not a real thing. Did you mean converse?” And for more bogus knowledge, here are the 40 Things You Learned in the 20th Century That Are Flat-Out Wrong Today.


woman annoyed

What people think it means: a cheeky way of saying “amused.”

What it actually means: Puzzle, confused, or bewildered.

Example: “A bemused expression came over her face when I asked her if she wanted to conversate.”


divorce secrets

What people think it means: to feel strongly that you want to do something.

What it actually means: to be forced to do something whether you want to or not.

Example: “Giving oath compels people to provide an honest testimony in court.”


don't tell a woman she reminds you of your mom

What people think it means: repetitive.

What it actually means: Not useful; superfluous.

Example: “That’s redundant to the point. Let’s get back to the main argument.”

hotel employees will keep deaths under wraps

What people think it means: extremely big.

What it actually means: extremely bad or morally wrong; a grave crime or sin.

Example: “Only when we saw the blood on our hands in the morning did we fully grasp the enormity of what we had done.”


Kate Middleton talking about baby bump

What people think it means: very good luck, most often used when saying, “How fortuitous is was for us to meet!” to indicate that good luck brought you together.

What it actually means: In reality, “fortuitous” just means “by chance.” It could be good, or it could be bad.

Example: “I didn’t plan for the ball to hit that woman just as she was crossing the street. It was fortuitous.”

Confused man on dating phrases

What people think it means: a lot of something, usually in a good way.

What it actually means: too much.

Example: “The plethora of dating options nowadays make it impossible to choose anyone at all.”

dressing well 50s

What people think it means: the same as hanged.

What it actually means: to suspend or be suspended from above with the lower part dangling free.

Example: “I hung a notice up on the door after the prisoner had been hanged.”


40 roads everyone should drive

What people think it means: an adjective for torture.

What it actually means: twisting or winding.

Example: “It was torturous driving through the tortuous mountain rode in the middle of the night.”


movie quote

What people think it means: to do something frequently.

What it actually means: to do something consistently.

Example: “Charles and I play golf regularly. We have a standing appointment at the club for the first Monday of every month.”

Pick-Up Lines So Bad They Might Just Work

What people think it means: averse; opposed to.

What it actually means: Unfavorable, contrary, or hostile.

Example: “They sailed in the most adverse of conditions, but they still made it to shore.”

dress well 50s

What people think it means: compliment; a polite expression of praise or admiration.

What it actually means: to add to something in a way that enhances or improves it; make perfect.

Example: “That handbag really complements your dress.”


What people think it means: acute; severe.

What it actually  means: persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.

Example: “Sally always carries an inhaler around with her to deal with her chronic asthma.”

man with headache Smartest Men Get Ahead

What people think it means: a problem.

What it actually means: a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

Example: “Robert is in love with his mistress but doesn’t want to leave his wife; it’s quite the dilemma.”


Candle lit first date.

What people think it means: incapable of catching fire; the opposite of flammable.

What it actually means: in one of the most confusing turns of the English language, flammable and inflammable mean the exact same thing. In both case, it indicates something can easily catch fire.

Example: “You better not wear that bra near an open flame. It looks highly inflammable.”

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter

Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more

6 Foreign Expressions You Should Know


background image 182

Whether you like it or not, foreign expressions represent an integral part of the English language (and of many other languages, too). Knowing the meaning and usage of the most used ones is very important. First of all because it will enable you to understand pieces of text that include them. Secondly, because you might also need to use those expressions on particular situations (avoid using them just to sound smart though). Below you will find 6 foreign expressions commonly used in English, enjoy!

1. De Facto

De facto is a Latin expression that means “actual” (if used as an adjective) or “in practice” (if used as an adverb). In legal terms, de facto is commonly used in contrast to de jure, which means “by law.” Something, therefore, can emerge either de facto (by practice) or de jure (by law).

And what of the plastic red bench, which has served as his de facto home for the last 15 years and must by now be a collector’s item? (NY Times)

2. Vis-à-Vis

The literal meaning of this French expression is “face to face” (used as an adverb). It is used more widely as a preposition though, meaning “compared with” or “in relation to.”

It’s going to be a huge catalyst in moving the whole process forward and it really strengthens the U.S. position vis-a-vis our trading partners (Yahoo! News)

3. Status quo

This famous Latin expression means “the current or existing state of affairs.” If something changes the status quo, it is changing the way things presently are.

Bush believes that the status quo — the presence in a sovereign country of a militant group with missiles capable of hitting a U.S. ally — is unacceptable. (Washington Post)

4. Cul-de-sac

This expression was originated in England by French-speaking aristocrats. Literally it means “bottom of a sack,” but generally it refers to a dead-end street. Cul-de-sac can also be used metaphorically to express an action that leads to nowhere or an impasse.

But the code of omerta was in effect for two carloads of fans circling the cul-de-sac to have a look at the house. (

A cul-de-sac of poverty (The Economist)

5. Per se

Per se is a Latin expression that means “by itself” or “intrinsically.”

The mistake it made with the Xbox is that there is no game console market per se; there are PlayStation, GameCube, and Xbox markets. (

6. Ad hoc

Ad hoc, borrowed from the Latin, can be used both as an adjective, where it means “formed or created with a specific purpose,” and as an adverb, where it means “for the specific purpose or situation.”

The World Bank’s board on Friday ordered an ad hoc group to discuss the fate of President Paul Wolfowitz (CNN)

Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily!

Wisdom Quotes

Don’t expect happiness to just fall into your lap, you have to go out and find it. Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. (Dalai Lama)

It is not the absence of fear that is courage, but the mastery over it. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. (Mark Twain)
We have to find ways to make ourselves Happy. Happiness differs from person to person and is quite unique. For e.g. we choose whose pat we like on our back (like a beloved Parent’s) OR whose slap on our back we prefer (like a close friend’s) . . Prof. Jay Parkhe


Part of speech: noun
Origin: American English, mid-20th century

A way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm.

Examples of Counterculture in a sentence

“Flower crowns and bell-bottom jeans were the uniform of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s.”

“Artists, writers, and musicians are often symbols of the counterculture.”

28. International Day of the Tropics – 29th June

28. International Day of the Tropics – 29th June

Day of Tropics - Content Marketing

This day celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics, while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities that tropical nations face.

Content marketing opportunities:   

  • Listicle idea: Tropical countries to visit after the lockdown
  • Infographic idea: Diseases you must be aware of before you visit tropical countries
  • Video idea: X Animals that only live in tropical areas
  • Podcast idea: How does the climate within the tropical zone vary?

Brand campaign that worked:

This video from the California Academy of Sciences shows in an engaging, visual manner how we have different seasons.

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What are your personal ideals? Whom do you admire? What are their special traits that you would make your own? It’s time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to become wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become. If you have a daybook, write down who you’re trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-determination. Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people.”

— Epictetus

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Space 100 Day? In 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on the 100th U.S. piloted space mission as it set off to dock with the Russian space station Mir. The mission delivered a relief crew of two cosmonauts to the station, along with recovering an American astronaut, and was the first in a series of seven straight missions to the station flown by Atlantis.



Do you ever struggle with impulse control or compulsiveness?  

Do you ever struggle with impulse control or compulsiveness?  
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, everyone struggles with, in one form or another: 
Overworking, overeating, overspending, overthinking, social media addiction, excessive alcohol or drug consumption, porn addiction, losing your temper, saying the wrong thing in social situations, laziness, procrastination … 
The list of these types of behaviors you can struggle with goes on.  
As Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct explains: 
“The science of willpower makes clear that everyone struggles in some way with temptation, addiction, distraction, and procrastination. These are not individual weaknesses that reveal our personal inadequacies—they are universal experiences and part of the human condition.”   
The science of willpower is a fascinating study that reveals ways to boost willpower over time. But it can also be a slow, arduous process that often yields limited results.  
One of the main insights from the science of self-control is what psychologist Roy Baumeister termed ego depletion 
Essentially, we have a limited reserve of mental energy each day. The lower this reserve gets, the more behavioral issues we exhibit. 

Emotions People Feel  But Can’t Explain

Emotions People Feel
But Can’t Explain
• Sonder: The realization that each
passerby has a life as vivid and
complex as your own.

• Opia: The ambiguous intensity of
Looking someone in the eye, which
can feel simultaneously invasive and

• Monachopsis: The subtle but
persistent feeling of being out of

• Énouement: The bittersweetness of
having arrived in the future, seeing
how things turn out, but not being
able to tell your past self.

• Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of
used bookshops.

• Nodus Tollens: The realization that
the plot of your life doesn’t make
sense to you anymore.

 Onism: The frustration of being
stuck in just one body, that inhabits
only one place at a time.

• Liberosis: The desire to care less
about things.

• Altschmerz: Weariness with the
same old issues that you’ve always
had — the same boring flaws and
anxieties that you’ve been gnawing
on for years.

• Occhiolism: The awareness of the
smallness of your perspective.

• Anecdoche: A conversation in which
everyone is talking, but nobody is

• Ellipsism: A spenese that you’ll never]
be able to know how history will turn

• Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion
inspired by acts of senseless

• Lachesism: The desire to be struck
by disaster — to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.

• Exulansis: The tendency to give up
trying to talk about an experience
because people are unable to relate
to it.

• Adronitis: Frustration with how long
it takes to get to know someone.

• Rückkehrunruhe: The feeling of
returning home after an immersive
trip only to find it fading rapidly from
your awareness.

• Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness
of your own heartbeat.

• Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn
atmosphere of a place that is usually
bustling with people but is now
abandoned and quiet.

• Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The
inexplicable urge to push people
away, even close friends who you
really like.

• Jouska: A hypothetical conversation
that you compulsively play out in
your head.

• Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility
of being indoors during a

• Vemödalen: The frustration of
photographic something amazing
when thousands of identical

What is more Valuable – Gold or Silver?

There Once Lived A Great Mathematician In A Village Outside Ujjain .
He Was Often Called By The Local King To Advice On Matters Related To
The Economy .
His Reputation Had Spread As Far As Taxila In The North And Kanchi In
The South.
… So It Hurt Him When The Village Headman Told Him, “You May Be A Great Mathematician Who Advises The King On Economic Matters But Your Son Does Not Know The Value Of Gold Or Silver.”

The Mathematician Called His Son And Asked, “What Is More Valuable –
Gold Or silver?”
“Gold,” Said The Son. ”
That Is Correct.
Why Is It Then That The Village Headman Makes Fun Of You, Claims You
Do Not Know The Value Of Gold Or Silver?

He Teases Me Every Day. He Mocks Me Before Other Village Elders.
As A Father This Hurts Me. I Feel Everyone In The Village Is Laughing Behind My Back Because You Do Not Know What Is More Valuable, Gold Or Silver.
Explain This To Me, Son.”
So The Son Of The Mathematician Told His Father The Reason Why The Village Headman Carried This Impression.
“Every Day On My Way To School, The Village Headman Calls Me.
There, In Front Of All Village Elders, He Holds Out A Silver Coin In One
Hand And A Gold Coin In Other.
He Asks Me To Pick Up The More Valuable Coin.
I Pick The Silver Coin.
He Laughs, The Elders Jeer, Everyone Makes Fun Of Me.
This Happens Every Day On My Way To School.
That Is Why They Tell You I Do Not Know The Value Of Gold Or Silver.”

The Father Was Confused.
His Son Knew The Value Of Gold And Silver, And Yet When Asked To
Choose Between A Gold Coin And Silver Coin, He Always Picked The Silver Coin.
“Why Don’t You Pick Up The Gold Coin?” He Asked.

In Response, The Son Took The Father To His Room And Showed Him A Box. In The Box Were At Least A Hundred Silver Coins.

Turning To His Father, The Mathematician’ s Son Said, “The Day I Pick Up The Gold Coin The Game Will Stop.
They Will Stop Having Fun And I Will Stop Making Money.”

The Bottom Line Is…
Sometimes In Life, We Have To Play The Fool Because Our Seniors And Our Peers, And Sometimes Even Our Juniors Like It.
That Does Not Mean We Lose In The Game Of Life.
It Just Means Allowing Others To Win In One Arena Of The Game,
While We Win In The Other Arena Of The Game.
We Have To Choose Which Arena Matters To Us And Which Arenas Do Not……….

Have no Surprise.  India is a country where DEMOCRAZY is OF, FOR and BY the business People and such cleverness is MOST APPRECIATED.

Wisdom Quotes

You can’t discover new places if you never leave the comfort of your home.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Andre Gide)

If you wish to change the world all you need to do is start.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. (Anne Frank)


Part of speech: noun
Origin: Greek, early 19th century

The theory and practice of dramatic composition.

Examples of Dramaturgy in a sentence

“The style of 20th-century dramaturgy is very different from classical theater.”

“I prefer the nuance of dramaturgy found on stage over anything you might see on television.”

Climate 2020 and Transportation

I subscribe to some wonderful Newsletters.

This one I thought provokes thoughts.

We’re seeing so many radical shifts in our society this year, it’s hard to keep up with it all. One thing I’ve been following closely, as a lifelong and diehard mobility geek, is the changes in the transportation sector.

In the past few months, we’ve been on a wild ride. During the lockdown, emissions tumbled and skies cleared as 50 percent of the world’s population was asked to stay home. Cities around the world gave cars the boot, closing streets to make room for recreation and physical distancing and seizing parking spaces for outdoor dining and other uses. But this good news for climate and clean air was countered by a plunge in bus and subway use, with transit systems in Boston, Chicago, and other cities seeing ridership drops of 85 to 95 percent.

Transportation isn’t just a way to get from here to there. It’s one of the fundamental ways we define ourselves, as individuals and as a society. We can choose to cloister ourselves in private cars that belch noxious fumes or we can go another route: carpool, ride-share, hop on the bus, ride a bike, grab the train, or even — as I did once upon a time in the pre-COVID days — commute by ferry. Public transit links people to jobs, to opportunities, and to each other. When we go places in the company of others, we become part of something greater than ourselves.

Shift Happens
Lead image: DrAfter123 / Getty Images
Remember when “adult coloring” was a huge thing, and then it was so passé, and now . . . eh, who can keep up. We deem it OK again. Because in these trying times, we think it could be mighty relaxing to grab your favorite colored pencils, crayons, or markers — or the nearest chewed-up pen — and lend some sweet hues to your favorite bikebus, train, subway, or ferry. Public transit plus meditative artmaking equals one sweet Saturday.
Your next move
  • Push for a cleaner transportation system. Primary-care physician Gaurab Basu prescribes a climate-friendly transportation system as a public-health solution. Do as the good doctor says: Whether you’re submitting comments on a transportation and climate initiative in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states or defending (a controversial!) high-speed rail in California, chances are there’s a transit system near you that needs your support.
  • Be a cycle-path, bus to move, or … enter-train yourself? If your town or city is opening up, check out this whizbang app that collects in one place information about local bikeshares and scooter-shares, real-time transit schedules, and (if you must) details about ride-hailing services.
  • Bike for justice. The first Ride for Racial Justice was organized last weekend in Denver and led to similar rides in other parts of the country. Organizers hope to expand to other cities soon.
  • Pump it up. Sometimes our main excuse for not pedaling the streets comes down to this — we’ve got a flat tire. Get off the couch! Here’s our handy guide to solving that problem.
Your pick-me-up
  • Microtransit is gaining speed. Cities from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles are embracing microtransit apps, which make public transit available for people when and where they need it. “Imagine Uber and a city bus had a baby,” said one company rep. We can’t unsee that.
  • Subways and buses are being exonerated. Despite the anxiety of — well, pretty much everyone everywhere — new research indicates that public transportation did not accelerate the spread of COVID-19. All aboard!
  • Electric vehicles will get a Lyft. The ride-sharing company Lyft will switch to an electric fleet by 2030, a move that should lower emissions and bring down operating costs, and might even represent a win for social justice.
  • If you build it, they will bike. A former New York City traffic commissioner is calling for a $100 million bridge to connect midtown Manhattan to Queens. It would be the first new bridge to Manhattan in decades — and (sensing a theme yet?) it’d be for bikes and pedestrians only.
  • We just wanted to say Boulevard PériphériqueParis Mayor Anne Hidalgo is calling for permanent car-free streets, dedicated lanes for zero-emission vehicles, lower speed limits, and a reinvention of the aforementioned B.P., the traffic-clogged ring road serving Paris since 1973


Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Greek, mid-19th century

Relating to a written character symbolizing the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it, e.g., numerals and Chinese characters.

Examples of Ideographic in a sentence

“She painted a personalized ideographic nameplate for her son’s bedroom door.”

“The hardest part of learning Chinese for me is remembering the ideographic symbols.”

The stolen address book – Seth Godin Newsletter

The stolen address book

I used to ask, “If you stole Steven Spielberg’s address book, would it help you get a movie made?”

The point was that even if you had the phone numbers and names, calling them up and saying you’d stolen them wasn’t worth very much. The data has no value without trust and connection.

Now, twenty years later, all the address books have been stolen. Everyone has all the data. Identifying the right people (or spamming everyone) is easy and cheap.

Which makes the point even more urgent than ever: Without trust and connection, access to data is worthless.

Via Seth Godin newsletter- useful explanations of reality

Useful explanations of reality

If we want to understand what’s going on around us, it’s helpful to be able to formulate a resilient story, one that holds up to scrutiny and allows us to make an impact.

That story shouldn’t change based on who’s in charge.

Which means that we don’t have to ask the head of the chemistry department why a reaction occurred. The theory works fine even if they’re not around.

via: James newsletter

3-2-1 Thursday
Note: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter. Every Thursday, I share 3 ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder. Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on habits and self-improvement.

3 ideas, 2 quotes, 1 question (June 25, 2020)

“Working to deliver the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

Read this on

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

Allow me to share three short ideas, two quotes from others, and one question to ponder this week.



“Where you spend your attention is where you spend your life.”

(Share this on Twitter)


“You always hold the rights to your effort, but never to your results.

Results are entitled to no one. At best, they are on loan and must be renewed each day.

All you own is the right to try.”

(Share this on Twitter)


“Some of the major drivers of human behavior…
  • Safety: Does it provide peace of mind or reduce risk?
  • Sex: Does it help them find love or make love?
  • Convenience: Does it save time or energy?
  • Social norms: Does it help them get along with others?
  • Status: Does it improve their standing or help them gain approval?
…which all fit into the larger category of self-interest: How does it serve the person?”



Novelist Jennifer Egan on reading as fuel:

“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work.

Source: Life Advice from Jennifer Egan


Inventor and businessman Thomas Edison on focus:

“You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most people, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.”

Source: How They Succeeded


What can you work on today that will continue working for you years from now?

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits
Creator of the Habit Journal

Did you know…

… that today is Ich Bin Ein Berliner Day? In 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy made his famous Ich Bin Ein Berliner speech at the Berlin Wall. The speech is considered one of Kennedy’s best, both a notable moment of the Cold War and a high point of the New Frontier.




Part of speech: noun
Origin: Ojibwa, late 18th century

A natural object or animal that is believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and that is adopted by it as an emblem.


A person or thing regarded as being symbolic or representative of a particular quality or concept.

Examples of Totem in a sentence

“Wolves, eagles, and bears are often used as totems because of their fierce reputations.”

“Harriet Tubman was a powerful totem for the Underground Railroad.” newsletter

This is the Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up: Once a week, I plunge into my fourteen-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here — it’s free.) If you missed last week’s edition — biologist and Native American storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer on the magic of moss and what it teaches us about the art of attentiveness to life at all scales of being — you can catch up right here. And if you find any solace, joy, and value in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – over these fourteen years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours and tremendous resources on Brain Pickings, and every little bit of support helps keep it – keep me – going. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

FROM THE ARCHIVE (2014) | The Greatest LGBT Love Letters of All Time

UPDATE: Since this piece was originally published in 2014, more gorgeous additions to this canon of the heart’s radiance have come to light: Emily Dickinson to Susan GilbertHerman Melville to Nathaniel HawthorneTove Jansson to Tuulikki PietiläIris Murdoch to Brigid Brophy, and John Cage to Merce Cunningham.

lesvalentine.jpg?zoom=2&w=680What is love? This question haunts the human psyche perhaps more persistently than any other. It has occupied our collective imagination for millennia, it has baffled scientiststaunted philosophers, and tantalized artists. So mystified by love were the Ancient Greeks that they itemized six types of it. But nothing defines it with more exquisite expressiveness than the love letter. At its best, it makes the personal universal, then personal again — a writer from another era or another culture captures the all-consuming complexity of love with more richness and color and dimension than we ourselves could, making us feel at once less alone and more whole in our understanding of love and of ourselves.

As we turn the leaf on a new chapter of modern history that embraces a more inclusive definition of love — both culturally and, at last, politically — here is a celebration of the human heart’s highest capacity through history’s most beautiful and timelessly bewitching LGBTQ love letters.


greatestloveletters.jpg?zoom=2&w=680The gender-bending protagonist in Virginia Woolf’s pioneering novel Orlando, which subverted censorship to revolutionize the politics of queer love, was based on the English poet Vita Sackville-West, Woolf’s onetime passionate lover and lifelong dear friend. In fact, the entire novel is thought to have been written about the affair — so much so that Sackville-West’s son, Nigel Nicolson, has described it as “the longest and most charming love-letter in literature.” Be that as it may, the two women also exchanged some gorgeous love letters in real life, found in the altogether wonderful collection The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time (public library). Here is one from Virginia to Vita from January of 1927, shortly after the two had fallen madly in love:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngLook here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.


On January 21, Vita sends Virginia this disarmingly honest, heartfelt, and unguarded letter, which stands in beautiful contrast with Virginia’s passionate prose:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.png…I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your undumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it should lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is really just a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don’t really resent it.

On the day of Orlando’s publication, Vita received a package containing not only the printed book, but also Virginia’s original manuscript, bound specifically for her in Niger leather and engraved with her initials on the spine.


margaretmeadletters.jpg?zoom=2&w=680Margaret Mead endures as the world’s best-known and most influential cultural anthropologist, who not only popularized anthropology itself but also laid the foundation for the sexual revolution of the 1960s with her studies of attitudes towards sex. In addition to broadening cultural conventions through her work, she also embodied the revolution in her personal life. Married three times to men, she dearly loved her third husband, the renowned British anthropologist Gregory Bateson, with whom she had a daughter. But the most intense and enduring relationship of her life was with a woman — the anthropologist and folklorist Ruth Benedict, Mead’s mentor at Columbia university, fourteen years her senior. The two shared a bond of uncommon magnitude and passion, which stretched across a quarter century until the end of Benedict’s life.

Margaret’s love letters to Ruth, posthumously gathered in To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead (public library) — which also gave us Mead’s prescient position on homosexuality — are a thing of absolute, soul-stirring beauty, on par with such famed epistolary romances as those between Frida Kahlo and Diego RiveraGeorgia O’Keeffe and Alfred StieglitzHenry Miller and Anaïs Nin, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.


In August of 1925, 24-year-old Mead sailed to Samoa, beginning the journey that would produce her enormously influential treatise Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation. (Mead, who believed that “one can love several people and that demonstrative affection has its place in different types of relationship,” was married at the time to her first husband and they had an unconventional arrangement that both allowed her to do field work away from him for extended periods of time and accommodated her feelings for Ruth.) On her fourth day at sea, she writes Benedict with equal parts devotion and urgency:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngRuth, dear heart,

. . . The mail which I got just before leaving Honolulu and in my steamer mail could not have been better chosen. Five letters from you — and, oh, I hope you may often feel me near you as you did — resting so softly and sweetly in your arms. Whenever I am weary and sick with longing for you I can always go back and recapture that afternoon out at Bedford Hills this spring, when your kisses were rained down on my face, and that memory ends always in peace, beloved.

A few days later:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngRuth, I was never more earthborn in my life — and yet never more conscious of the strength your love gives me. You have convinced me of the one thing in life which made living worthwhile.

You have no greater gift, darling. And every memory of your face, every cadence of your voice is joy whereon I shall feed hungrily in these coming months.

In another letter:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.png[I wonder] whether I could manage to go on living, to want to go on living if you did not care.

And later:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngDoes Honolulu need your phantom presence? Oh, my darling — without it, I could not live here at all. Your lips bring blessings — my beloved.


Letter from Margaret Mead to Ruth Benedict, October 1925 (Library of Congress)

In December of that year, Mead was offered a position as assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History, where she would go on to spend the rest of her career. She excitedly accepted, in large part so that she could at last be closer to Benedict, and moved to New York with her husband, Luther Cressman, firmly believing that the two relationships would neither harm nor contradict one another. As soon as the decision was made, she wrote to Benedict on January 7, 1926:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngYour trust in my decision has been my mainstay, darling, otherwise I just couldn’t have managed. And all this love which you have poured out to me is very bread and wine to my direct need. Always, always I am coming back to you.

I kiss your hair, sweetheart.

Four days later, Mead sends Benedict a poignant letter, reflecting on her two relationships and how love crystallizes of its own volition:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIn one way this solitary existence is particularly revealing — in the way I can twist and change in my attitudes towards people with absolutely no stimulus at all except such as springs from within me. I’ll awaken some morning just loving you frightfully much in some quite new way and I may not have sufficiently rubbed the sleep from my eyes to have even looked at your picture. It gives me a strange, almost uncanny feeling of autonomy. And it is true that we have had this loveliness “near” together for I never feel you too far away to whisper to, and your dear hair is always just slipping through my fingers. . . .

When I do good work it is always always for you … and the thought of you now makes me a little unbearably happy.

Five weeks later, in mid-February, Mead and Benedict begin planning a three-week getaway together, which proves, thanks to their husbands’ schedules, to be more complicated than the two originally thought. Exasperated over all the planning, Margaret writes Ruth:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI’ll be so blinded by looking at you, I think now it won’t matter — but the lovely thing about our love is that it will. We aren’t like those lovers of Edward’s “now they are sleeping cheek to cheek” etc. who forgot all the things their love had taught them to love —

Precious, precious. I kiss your hair.

By mid-March, Mead is once again firmly rooted in her love for Benedict:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI feel immensely freed and sustained, the dark months of doubt washed away, and that I can look you gladly in the eyes as you take me in your arms. My beloved! My beautiful one. I thank God you do not try to fence me off, but trust me to take life as it comes and make something of it. With that trust of yours I can do anything — and come out with something precious saved.

Sweet, I kiss your hands.

As the summer comes, Mead finds herself as in love with Benedict as when they first met six years prior, writing in a letter dated August 26, 1926:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngRuth dearest,

I am very happy and an enormous number of cobwebs seem to have been blown away in Paris. I was so miserable that last day, I came nearer doubting than ever before the essentially impregnable character of our affection for each other. And now I feel at peace with the whole world. You may think it is tempting the gods to say so, but I take all this as high guarantee of what I’ve always temperamentally doubted — the permanence of passion — and the mere turn of your head, a chance inflection of your voice have just as much power to make the day over now as they did four years ago. And so just as you give me zest for growing older rather than dread, so also you give me a faith I never thought to win in the lastingness of passion.

I love you, Ruth.


Letter from Margaret Mead to Ruth Benedict, January 1926 (Library of Congress)

In September of 1928, as Mead travels by train to marry her second husband after her first marriage crumbled, another bittersweet letter to Ruth leaves us speculating about what might have been different had the legal luxuries of modern love been a reality in Mead’s day, making it possible for her and Ruth to marry and formalize their steadfast union under the law:



I’ve slept mostly today trying to get rid of this cold and not to look at the country which I saw first from your arms.

Mostly, I think I’m a fool to marry anyone. I’ll probably just make a man and myself unhappy. Right now most of my daydreams are concerned with not getting married at all. I wonder if wanting to marry isn’t just another identification with you, and a false one. For I couldn’t have taken you away from Stanley and you could take me away from [Reo] — there’s no blinking that.


Beside the strength and permanence and all enduring feeling which I have for you, everything else is shifting sand. Do you mind terribly when I say these things? You mustn’t mind — ever — anything in the most perfect gift God has given me. The center of my life is a beautiful walled place, if the edges are a little weedy and ragged — well, it’s the center which counts — My sweetheart, my beautiful, my lovely one.

Your Margaret

By 1933, despite the liberal arrangements of her marriage, Mead felt that it forcibly squeezed out of her the love she had for Benedict. In a letter to Ruth from April 9, she reflects on those dynamics and gasps at the relief of choosing to break free of those constraints and being once again free to love fully:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngHaving laid aside so much of myself, in response to what I mistakenly believed was the necessity of my marriage I had no room for emotional development. … Ah, my darling, it is so good to really be all myself to love you again. . . . The moon is full and the lake lies still and lovely — this place is like Heaven — and I am in love with life. Goodnight, darling.

Over the years that followed, both Margaret and Ruth explored the boundaries of their other relationships, through more marriages and domestic partnerships, but their love for each other only continued to grow. In 1938, Mead captured it beautifully by writing of “the permanence of [their] companionship.” Mead and her last husband, Gregory Bateson, named Benedict the guardian of their daughter. The two women shared their singular bond until Benedict’s sudden death from a heart attack in 1948. In one of her final letters, Mead wrote:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngAlways I love you and realize what a desert life might have been without you.

See more of their gorgeous correspondence here.


mydearboy.jpg?zoom=2&w=680From the wonderful 1998 anthology My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters Through the Centuries (public library) — a diverse collection of missives covering the universalities of romantic love, from longing and infatuation to jealousy and rejection to tenderness and loyalty — comes the correspondence of Beat Generation godfather Allen Ginsberg and the poet Peter Orlovsky. The two had met in San Francisco in 1954, embarking upon what Ginsberg called their “marriage” — a lifelong relationship that went through many phases, endured multiple challenges, but ultimately lasted until Ginsberg’s death in 1997.

Their letters, filled with typos, missing punctuation, and the grammatical oddities typical of writing propelled by bursts of intense emotion rather than literary precision, are absolutely beautiful.


Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky in San Francisco, 1955

In a letter from January 20, 1958, Ginsberg writes to Orlovsky from Paris, recounting a visit with his close friend and fellow beatnik, William S. Burroughs, another icon of literature’s gay subculture:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngDear Petey:

O Heart O Love everything is suddenly turned to gold! Don’t be afraid don’t worry the most astounding beautiful thing has happened here! I don’t know where to begin but the most important. When Bill [ed: William S. Burroughs] came I, we, thought it was the same old Bill mad, but something had happened to Bill in the meantime since we last saw him . . . . but last night finally Bill and I sat down facing each other across the kitchen table and looked eye to eye and talked, and I confessed all my doubt and misery — and in front of my eyes he turned into an Angel!

What happened to him in Tangiers this last few months? It seems he stopped writing and sat on his bed all afternoons thinking and meditating alone & stopped drinking — and finally dawned on his consciousness, slowly and repeatedly, every day, for several months — awareness of “a benevolent sentient (feeling) center to the whole Creation” — he had apparently, in his own way, what I have been so hung up in myself and you, a vision of big peaceful Lovebrain. . . .

I woke up this morning with great bliss of freedom & joy in my heart, Bill’s saved, I’m saved, you’re saved, we’re all saved, everything has been all rapturous ever since — I only feel sad that perhaps you left as worried when we waved goodby and kissed so awkwardly — I wish I could have that over to say goodby to you happier & without the worries and doubts I had that dusty dusk when you left… — Bill is changed nature, I even feel much changed, great clouds rolled away, as I feel when you and I were in rapport, well, our rapport has remained in me, with me, rather than losing it, I’m feeling to everyone, something of the same as between us.

A couple of weeks later, in early February, Orlovsky sends a letter to Ginsberg from New York, in which he writes with beautiful prescience:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.png…dont worry dear Allen things are going ok — we’ll change the world yet to our dessire — even if we got to die — but OH the world’s got 25 rainbows on my window sill. . . .

As soon as he receives the letter the day after Valentine’s Day, Ginsberg writes back, quoting Shakespeare like only a love-struck poet would:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI have been running around with mad mean poets & world-eaters here & was longing for kind words from heaven which you wrote, came as fresh as a summer breeze & “when I think on thee dear friend / all loses are restored & sorrows end,” came over & over in my mind — it’s the end of a Shakespeare Sonnet — he must have been happy in love too. I had never realized that before. . . .

Write me soon baby, I’ll write you big long poem I feel as if you were god that I pray to —



In another letter sent nine days later, Ginsberg writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI’m making it all right here, but I miss you, your arms & nakedness & holding each other — life seems emptier without you, the soulwarmth isn’t around. . . .

Citing another conversation he had had with Burroughs, he goes on to presage the enormous leap for the dignity and equality of love that we’ve only just seen more than half a century after Ginsberg wrote this:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngBill thinks new American generation will be hip & will slowly change things — laws & attitudes, he has hope there — for some redemption of America, finding its soul. . . . — you have to love all life, not just parts, to make the eternal scene, that’s what I think since we’ve made it, more & more I see it isn’t just between us, it’s feeling that can [be] extended to everything. Tho I long for the actual sunlight contact between us I miss you like a home. Shine back honey & think of me.

He ends the letter with a short verse:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngGoodbye Mr. February.
as tender as ever
swept with warm rain
love from your Allen


ednastvincentmillay1.jpg?zoom=2&w=680In 1917, during her final year at Vassar College — which she had entered at the unusually ripe age of 21 and from which she was almost expelled for partying too much — Edna St. Vincent Millay met and befriended British silent film actress Edith Wynne Matthison, fifteen years her senior. Taken with Matthison’s fierce spirit, majestic beauty, and impeccable style, Millay’s platonic attraction quickly blossomed into an intense romantic infatuation. Edith, a woman who made no apologies for relishing life’s bounties, eventually kissed Edna and invited her to her summer home. A series of disarmingly passionate letters followed. Found in The Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay (public library) — which also gave us Millay on her love of music and her playfully lewd self-portrait — these epistolary longings capture that strange blend of electrifying ardor and paralyzing pride familiar to anyone who’s ever been in love.

edithwynnematthison.jpg?zoom=2&w=680Writing to Edith, Edna cautions of her uncompromising frankness:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngListen; if ever in my letters to you, or in my conversation, you see a candor that seems almost crude, — please know that it is because when I think of you I think of real things, & become honest, — and quibbling and circumvention seem very inconsiderable.

In another, she pleads:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI will do whatever you tell me to do. … Love me, please; I love you. I can bear to be your friend. So ask of me anything. … But never be ‘tolerant,’ or ‘kind.’ And never say to me again — don’t dare to say to me again — ‘Anyway, you can make a trial’ of being friends with you! Because I can’t do things that way. … I am conscious only of doing the thing that I love to do — that I have to do — and I have to be your friend.

In yet another, Millay articulates brilliantly the “proud surrender” at the heart of every materialized infatuation and every miracle of “real, honest, complete love”:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngYou wrote me a beautiful letter, — I wonder if you meant it to be as beautiful as it was. — I think you did; for somehow I know that your feeling for me, however slight it is, is of the nature of love. … nothing that has happened to me for a long time has made me so happy as I shall be to visit you sometime. — You must not forget that you spoke of that, — because it would disappoint me cruelly. … I shall try to bring a few quite nice things with me; I will get together all that I can, and then when you tell me to come, I will come, by the next train, just as I am. This is not meekness, be assured; I do not come naturally by meekness; know that it is a proud surrender to you; I don’t talk like that to many people.

With love,

Vincent Millay


emptywithoutyou.jpg?zoom=2&w=680Eleanor Roosevelt endures not only as the longest-serving American First Lady, but also as one of history’s most politically impactful, a fierce champion of working women and underprivileged youth.

But her personal life has been the subject of lasting controversy.

In the summer of 1928, Roosevelt met journalist Lorena Hickok, whom she would come to refer to as Hick. The thirty-year relationship that ensued has remained the subject of much speculation, from the evening of FDR’s inauguration, when the First Lady was seen wearing a sapphire ring Hickok had given her, to the opening up of her private correspondence archives in 1998. Though many of the most explicit letters had been burned, the 300 published in Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok (public library) — at once less unequivocal than history’s most revealing woman-to-woman love letters and more suggestive than those of great female platonic friendships — strongly indicate the relationship between Roosevelt and Hickok had been one of great romantic intensity.


On March 5, 1933, th