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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"It’s a real pain to carry a pad around, and I have found that once I have jotted something down I tend to relax and forget it."

"If I toss the bits into my mind, on the other hand, what needs to be remembered stays while the rest fades into oblivion. I like to leave things to this process of natural selection. This reminds me of an anecdote I’m fond of. When Paul Valéry was interviewing Albert Einstein, he asked the great scientist, 'Do you carry a notebook around to record your ideas?' Einstein was an unflappable man, but this question clearly unnerved him. 'No,' he answered. 'There’s no need for that. You see I rarely have new ideas.' Come to think of it, there have been very few situations when I wished I had a notepad on me. Something truly important is not that easy to forget once you’ve entrusted it to your memory.'"

Writes Haruki Murakami in "Novelist as a Vocation" (Amazon link).

Speaking of notebooks... my other favorite writer, David Sedaris, carries a small notebook everywhere and writes something in it about 10 times a day. In "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls," we see him explaining his practice to a 7-year-old boy. When he encounters a headline, "Dangerous Olives Could Be on Sale," and writes it down in his "a small Europa-brand reporter’s notebook," the boy asks why, and he says, "It’s for your diary.... You jot things down during the day, then tomorrow morning you flesh them out." Of course, the 7-year-old boy still asks "why?" The reader knows why!

Speaking of memory... I've been working on a Spotify playlist I named "Memory"):

The songs need to have something to do with memory and to be things I'd enjoy listening to in sequence... in case you're thinking of making suggestions for my list, which you can see is very small.

Alternatively, tell me what you think Einstein would have on his Spotify playlist.

As for Murakami, I'm picturing this.

ALSO: Here's the Einstein playlist I made (based on "The story of Albert Einstein and the music he loved"):
Einstein quote about music: "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music."

I watch TikTok so you don't have to. And here are my 5 selections of the day:

1. A high school teacher says the kids roasted him for eating lunch "with no bev."

2. Everyone should live like a grandmother — 10 reasons!

3. What if it had been Ben Affleck slapping Jerry Seinfeld? — asks Michael Rapaport.

4. Maybe time is a landscape, and the dead are on the other side of a hill... or so Einstein seems to have written to a friend whose husband had died.

5. Four young brothers pitch barbershop quartet singing.

"One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship.... Jewish genius operates differently."

"It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different. Where do these habits of mind come from? There is a religious tradition that, unlike some others, asks the believer not only to observe and obey but also to discuss and disagree. There is the never-quite-comfortable status of Jews in places where they are the minority — intimately familiar with the customs of the country while maintaining a critical distance from them. There is a moral belief, 'incarnate in the Jewish people' according to Einstein, that 'the life of the individual only has value [insofar] as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.' And there is the understanding, born of repeated exile, that everything that seems solid and valuable is ultimately perishable, while everything that is intangible — knowledge most of all — is potentially everlasting."

From "The Secrets of Jewish Genius/It’s not about having higher I.Q.s." by Bret Stephens (NYT).

To answer the question is Stephens Jewish, here's Wikipedia: "Bret Stephens was born in New York City, the son of Xenia and Charles J. Stephens, a former vice president of General Products, a chemical company in Mexico. Both his parents were secular Jews. His paternal grandfather, Louis Ehrlich, was born in Kishenev (today Chișinău, Moldova) in 1901; he fled with his family to New York after a pogrom."

At Wikipedia, Stephens has 1 item under the heading "Controversy":
In August 2019, Stephens sent a complaint to a George Washington University professor and the university's provost about a tweet in which the professor called Stephens a "bedbug." The topic of Stephens's next column was the "rhetoric of infestation" used by authoritarian regimes such as Nazi Germany. The column was interpreted as criticism of the GWU professor and other critics of Stephens.
Just yesterday, I posted on another Bret Stephens column. He had written that Trump’s presidency should be seen is "an unsightly pimple" or "something bad" that needed to be washed off the hands with "soap." I said, sarcastically:
Talking about a human being as filth or disease... I thought we weren't doing that anymore. I thought you could get canceled for that....
In the comments, HoodlumDoodlum brought up the old "bedbug" controversy:
Basically a GWU professor called Stephens a bedbug and sent a complaint to the university provost and wrote a full column on how comparing people to bugs is something Nazis do, etc.

When HE says someone is filth that should be washed away, though, it's different. Why? just is, and anyone who questions that is probably a Nazi!
I wonder what provoked Stephens to write this new column on the "genius" of Jews. The comments section over at the Times is not at all happy with it. The top-rated comment is:
As a Christian woman who was married to a Jew for nearly 60 years, I find this column incredibly unsettling. The idea of labeling an entire religion (or race or gender) as this or that leads to nothing good...and often to things that are very bad. Where do we take this? Jews are smarter and therefore a bigger threat? Groups that have not won many Nobel prizes are stupid? And since when have we decided that IQ test scores are true measures of intelligence - a trait difficult to define in any case. When my husband was a boy, he was often chased down the street by neighboring children yelling "Christ Killer" at him. "Smarter" is just another label. I am amazed that the Times published this.
Another high-rated comment:
This is baffling. It is hard to picture a corresponding column being written about whatever ethnic group has the lowest average “IQ” and why they are prone to mediocrity, so I’m not sure I agree this angle is acceptable even in its positive light. I think we would collectively be quick to dismiss the reverse as problematic, at best. And how interesting that the author is so careful to clarify Ashkenazi rather than Sephardic or other Jewish sects. I’m interested to hear about cultural teachings that may lead to excellence, but this seems... really off the mark.
ADDED: So, according to Stephens, there are the people who can build things and do things in the real world. They can perform feats of engineering or devise military strategy. But those things are "prosaic," and — in Stephens blunt view — not what Jews do with their "prodigious intellect." Jews — in Stephens view — stand apart from these practical things and "question the premise and rethink the concept," they "ask why (or why not?)," they see absurdities and "maintain[] a critical distance." It may be good to value different kinds of intelligence and to roughly opine that there are the people who do things in the real world and people who stand back and observe and critique everything, but it's a big problem to put a group — even your own group — in the second category.

"The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought."

"The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined."

Said Albert Einstein, quoted in "The Weil Conjectures: On Math and the Pursuit of the Unknown" by Karen Olsson.

Einstein — participating in a study of the working methods of mathemeticians — was responding to the prompt: "It would be very helpful for the purpose of psychological investigation to know what internal or mental images, what kind of 'internal world' mathematicians make use of..."

Olsson writes more generally, not just of mathematicians: "If only we had more access to the untranslated thoughts, to the mystery of how the mind churns."

"So when I say time has a race, I'm saying that the way that we position ourselves in relationship to time comes out of histories of European and Western thought."

"And a lot of the way that we talk about time really finds its roots in the Industrial Revolution. So prior to that, we would talk about time as merely passing the time. After the Industrial Revolution, suddenly, we begin to talk about time as spending time. It becomes something that is tethered to monetary value. So when we think about hourly wage, we now talk about time in terms of wasting time or spending time. And that's a really different understanding of time than, you know, like seasonal time or time that is sort of merely passing. And so I wanted to think about, what does it mean if people are considered folks who, largely, are not impacting the flow of things, right? - which is often a racialized idea. So when we think about black and brown peoples around the world in Western frameworks, there is a way that black and brown people are seen as a lag on social progress. So they are seen as holding back the, you know, power of the West to modernize the world. And that becomes the pretext often to do all manner of violence...."

From "Brittney Cooper: How Has Time Been Stolen From People Of Color?" (NPR), which I'm reading — reading and following the the principle of charity — after seeing it mocked at "Rutgers professor: Even the concept of time is racist" (College Fix).

ADDED: Some cultures really are spoken of as "timeless" or "beyond time." And the statement "Time is money" is something you can agree with or reject. I sometimes say, "All I have is time." But what does that mean? I hear other people say, "I have no time." An apt riposte might be, "What? Are you dead?"

ALSO: I looked up the phrase "Time is money," and I see — in the Wikipedia article "Opportunity Cost":
[Benjamin] Franklin coined the phrase "Time is Money", and spelt out the associated opportunity cost reasoning in his “Advice to a Young Tradesman” (1748): “Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides.” 
AND: Speaking of white men:

The racism Albert Einstein — writing in his travel diary in the 1920s.

The diaries are newly published, so the issue is apt, the Washington Post apparently thinks, because no one can escape the glare of The Reckoning. WaPo finds the most politically incorrect things The Genius saw fit to write to himself as he endured the rigors of travel nearly a century ago:
The average Japanese, Einstein wrote, is “unproblematic, impersonal, he cheerfully fulfills the social function which befalls him without pretension, but proud of his community and nation. Forsaking his traditional ways in favor of European ones does not undermine his national pride.”

While Einstein used male pronouns for deeper reflections about the Japanese, his thoughts about women were more about their physical appearance than their personality. Japanese women, he wrote as he observed them on the ship, “look ornate and bewildered. … Black-eyed, black-haired, large-headed, scurrying.”

His reflections about the Chinese, with whom he spent far less time, were more callous, even insulting. Though he called the Chinese “industrious,” he also described them as “filthy” and “obtuse.” They’re a “peculiar herd-like nation,” Einstein wrote, “often more like automatons than people.” He saw them as intellectually inferior, quoting — instead of challenging — Portuguese teachers he met during his travels who claimed that the Chinese “are incapable of being trained to think logically” and “have no talent for mathematics.”

There was, as Rosenkranz described, a “healthy dose of extreme misogyny”:
I noticed how little difference there is between men and women; I don’t understand what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess which enthralls the corresponding men to such an extent that they are incapable of defending themselves against the formidable blessing of offspring.
His reflections in the few days he spent in China also reveal Einstein’s tendency to perceive foreigners as a threat.

“It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races,” he wrote. “For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
I'll just say 2 things.

First, this is another argument against travel. The #1 pro-travel argument that I have heard in my years of openly questioning the benefits of traveling the world is that it is highly valuable to encounter the people who live in different places. But you'll never run out of individual human beings to meet and get to know in your own home town. The idea of traveling to meet people is that groups of people living far from your home will be different in important ways that you ought to perceive and understand. The experience will broaden you. But observations and beliefs about groups of people are stereotypes. You're setting yourself up to be racist. Look at Albert Einstein — The Genius. He went to Japan and China, and he formed ideas about how the Japanese and Chinese are different. If that's something we enlightened people of today are not supposed to do, then there's a big problem with that #1 pro-travel argument.

Second, there are still writers today, very popular American writers, who travel and compare the Japanese and Chinese. Check out David Sedaris's "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" — the chapter "#2 to Go."

"A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

Scribbed Albert Einstein in German on hotel letterhead, making a document in lieu of a tip for a bellboy. The paper sold at auction yesterday for $1.5 million (NYT).

People love their Einstein quotes. Einstein is the one person we all recognize as GENIUS!!! so we imagine — kind of absurdly — that anything that popped out of his noggin is genuisish.

"A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

He wrote that at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. I wonder if he was trying to crank out something that the Japanese bellboy would see as wise — some Japanese-sounding wisdom.

IN THE COMMENTS: Leslie Graves said:
The Imperial Hotel! Presumably, he was in the version of it that lasted from 1922-1967, and that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a man who did not live a calm and modest life.
Yes, the article says 1922.

"As Einstein said, those who created the problem will not be able to solve it."

Said Arnold Schwarzenegger, after the Supreme Court oral argument yesterday, which he attended. The "problem" in this case is political gerrymandering, and "those who created the problem" are elected politicians, who draw the legislative districts thereby setting up the game that they get to play in the next go 'round.

I'm reading the Schwarzenegger quote in the NYT article "Kennedy’s Vote Is in Play on Voting Maps Warped by Politics."

Of course, the problem of self-interested legislators is very well known, but the argument on the other side is that if the Supreme Court gets involved, it will create a different problem, and then — if we take the Einstein quote to heart — who will be able to solve that?

But is that really an Einstein quote? People love to pass along quotes they think are from Einstein because Einstein is the one name everyone associates with GENIUS! and we have this delusion that if a genius says something, on any subject, it must be genius. Consequently, the "Einstein" label gets slapped on some counterfeit goods.

The quote whipped out by Arnold Schwarzenegger is listed — at Wikiquotes — among the disputed Einstein quotes. And the wording — translated, I presume — is significantly different:
We cannot solve the problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them

"Einstein's famous saying in Copenhagen", as quoted in a FBIS Daily Report: East Europe (4 April 1995), p. 45
Following that quote, those who created the problem could solve the problem if they used a different kind of thinking.

Goodbye to Mike Nichols.

"Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar for directing the 1967 film The Graduate, has died aged 83."

AND: There will be longer obituaries soon. I'm looking at YouTube, all the old Nichols and May comedy routines. Nichols was never married to Elaine May, but he did have 3 other wives before his marriage to Diane Sawyer, whom he remained with for 26 years. The glamorous newswoman is now his widow. I'm looking at Wikipedia and see that he was born in Berlin, Germany in 1931. His original name was Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky.
His father was born in Vienna, Austria, to a Russian Jewish immigrant family. Nichols' father's family had been wealthy and lived in Siberia, leaving after the Russian Revolution, and settling in Germany around 1920. Nichols' mother's family were German Jews. His maternal grandparents were anarchist Gustav Landauer and author Hedwig Lachmann. Nichols is a third cousin twice removed of scientist Albert Einstein, through Nichols' mother.
The relocation to the United States — escaping the Nazis — took place in 1938. What a life!

ADDED: Here's a picture of Gustav Landauer:

Goodbye to Mike Nichols.

"You don’t know what order with freedom means! You only know what revolt against oppression is! You don’t know that the rod, discipline, violence, the state and government can only be sustained because of you and because of your lack of socially creative powers that develop order within liberty!"

AND: Here's the long NYT obituary. Excerpt:
Mr. Nichols said in interviews that though he did not know it at the time, his work with Ms. May was his directorial training. Asked by Ms. Ephron in 1968 if improvisation was good training for an actor, he replied that it was because it accommodates the performer to the idea of taking care of an audience.

“But what I really thought it was useful for was directing,” he said, “because it also teaches you what a scene is made of — you know, what needs to happen. See, I think the audience asks the question, ‘Why are you telling me this?’ And improvisation teaches you that you must answer it. There must be a specific answer. It also teaches you when the beginning is over and it’s time for the middle, and when you’ve had enough middle and it’s time already for the end. And those are all very useful things in directing.”

About that scientist's sexy-lady shirt.

You know this story. The Rosetta project scientist, Matt Taylor, on the day of the landing on the comet, wears a ridiculous shirt, gets criticized, and makes a tearful apology. I wasn't going to talk about it because I didn't know what to say. Then I read this from WaPo's Rachel Feltman:
Of course, I personally hope that one day (when he's a little less busy) Taylor will say a bit more on the subject, and show that he understands why the shirt wasn't okay. Science is not a welcoming place for women, even today, and the only people who can truly make it more welcoming are the men who run the show. If a stellar scientist walks into work -- and then says hello to the whole world -- wearing a sexist shirt, what kind of message are we sending to future scientists?
She wants him to say why the shirt wasn't okay. That's just dragging out the apology, making it into more of an abject ritual. She already knows the reason why it's not okay, but just wants to hear him recite the reason that he's already had his face rubbed in to the point where he's sniveling. What I want him to talk about is what we don't know: Why did he think it was okay... not just okay, but a good idea? I don't know what else Mr. Taylor has in his closet, but what was that like — knowing it was the day of the landing, when eyes would be on you — to look at your array of clothing and to have it dawn on your big brain that this is the best costume for the day. I'd like a verbal depiction of that mental process, perhaps in the style of Little Edie:

That's from one of my favorite movies, "Grey Gardens." Another favorite movie of mine is "The Fly," the 1986 one with Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle. Brundle's a brilliant scientist — a tad odd, but brilliant. And in one of the lesser scenes — lesser, but memorable — he has to explain his clothes to his girlfriend Ronnie (Geena Davis):
Ronnie: Do you ever change your clothes?
Seth Brundle: What?
Ronnie: Your clothes. You're always wearing the same clothes.
Seth Brundle: No, these are clean. I change my clothes every day.
Ronnie: [looking in his closet] Five sets of exactly the same clothes?
Seth Brundle: Learned it from Einstein. This way I don't have to expend my thought on what I have to wear next, I just grab the next set on the rack.
So, now, I'm picturing Matt Taylor's closet — his Einstein-informed closet — packed end to end with shirts garishly patterned with cartoonishly bosom-y women. Come on, Matt, stop your sobbing and say something interesting.

The best song for the day:

"Do you have a shirt that you really love, one that you feel so groovy in?"
"So when I say time has a race, I'm saying that the way that we position ourselves in relationship to time comes out of histories of European and Western thought.""A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.""As Einstein said, those who created the problem will not be able to solve it."About that scientist's sexy-lady shirt.

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