An Ode to Pop Joslin

March 24, 2012 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

My grandfather passed away this morning at the ripe old age of 95.

Pop Joslin wasn’t my biological grandfather, but I never knew my biological grandfather because that man abandoned my grandmother when my dad was about 3 years old.

Pop Joslin was one of those manly men. Gruff. Self-reliant. Unemotional. Hardened. Sometimes hard to communicate with.

And yet he took my grandmother and her kids under his wing. He provided for them, even though most of them weren’t his own. And he taught them discipline. Although not nearly a saint, he cared. And that became clearer as he got older. He became softer and more vulnerable as he aged.

Despite his hardness, there was an endearing warmth and jovial quality. He had the perfect mix of strong opinion and wit and a temper to match that could make us all laugh uncontrollably around the dinner table as he told us his stories.

And damn did he cherish his wife. My MomMom. He loved her. You could see it. And he stood up for her. And he expected that people treat her right.

Pop Joslin was a farmer. A mechanic. A hunter. A rider of motorcycles and snowmobiles. He and my grandma showed up to the birth of their grandson in black leather, from head to toe.

My grandfather was the sort of man who dealt with bats in the attic by shooting them with a shotgun. Or the sort of man who would reach out a window and grab a squirrel who was bothering my grandma’s bird feeder.

He was a man who loved adventure. He moved his family up to Maine when he was a middle aged man and bought about 90 acres of land. He proceeded to turn it into the place we all knew as home… even if it was never really our home.

Pop Joslin did rare things. He built a house. Dug a well. Built an outhouse or two. He also told stories like the best of them, played horseshoes, made pancakes in addition to the the maple syrup that went on them, collected cars and scrapped them on his own property. He was critical of corrupt government and taxation without service and high gas prices.

Here’s to Pop Joslin and a life well lived.

Christopher Hitchens Has Died

December 16, 2011 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

Christopher Hitchens has been, for quite a while, the most reasonable, and likeable popular atheist. He has been the voice of reason in a movement that has often been modeled after religious fanaticism and nasty tribalisms.

I have admired the man for quite some time. And now he is dead from a terrible disease.

veritas omnia vincit

Chase Utley

July 27, 2011 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

This is what I love about baseball.

The guy busted his ass from the moment the ball hit the bat, went into super human turbo-booster mode coming around 3rd, and beat a near perfect throw by launching into a well positioned, body sacrificing, head first slide thus completing a beautiful inside the park home run;)

Chase Utley, will you marry me?

Fastest Draw In The World

July 13, 2011 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

This guy got mad skills.

Eddie Vedder & Johnny Depp Jamming Together

March 27, 2011 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

My favorite musician (Eddie Vedder) and my favorite actor (Johnny Depp), jamming together. Who knew Johnny Depp could play guitar so well?

David Bazan on Disbelief

February 6, 2011 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

People believing the right things but not doing them is the norm in evangelical Christianity.

David Bazan is a prophet for our times.

I thought it was wonderful that throughout the interview you could see a genuine love and sadness for his old tribe (David Bazan is a former Christian who became atheist). The man has the heart of God. A true prophet.

G. E. M. Anscombe – A woman of distinctions (People I Admire)

November 6, 2010 | Filed Under People I Admire | Leave a Comment 

I first became aware of Anscombe in reference to her legendary critique of CS Lewis’ “naturalism argument” at Oxford’s Socratic Club. Perhaps the most brilliant woman I’ve ever encountered in writing, Anscombe was a student and friend of the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

For goodness sake, it was Anscombe who translated Wittgenstein’s Investigations into English which proceeded to scramble my brain in ways previously unknown. My first semester as a graduate student in Philosophy I found myself in a strange and terrible (almost alien) yet invigorating world of thought. It is remarkable to me that Anscombe was able to translate this revolutionary intellectual work with such clarity and precision and care.

And it is this which I admire in Anscombe. She was careful. She was honest. She cared about distinctions as only an analytic philosopher can. To this day she is recognized as the groundbreaking thinker in philosophy of intention, a topic in philosophy of mind which is near and dear to my heart. And yet despite her amazing mind, which shredded arguments like a machete, she was also incredibly humble, wise and grounded. Take for example her response to her debate victory with CS Lewis:

The fact that Lewis rewrote that chapter, and rewrote it so that it now has those qualities [to meet Anscombe's objections], shows his honesty and seriousness. The meeting of the Socratic Club at which I read my paper has been described by several of his friends as a horrible and shocking experience which upset him very much. Neither Dr. Havard (who had Lewis and me to dinner a few weeks later) nor Professor Jack Bennet remembered any such feelings on Lewis’s part [...]. My own recollection is that it was an occasion of sober discussion of certain quite definite criticisms, which Lewis’s rethinking and rewriting showed he thought was accurate. I am inclined to construe the odd accounts of the matter by some of his friends—who seem not to have been interested in the actual arguments of the subject-matter—as an interesting example of the phenomenon called projection.

And rather than sit comfortably in an ivory tower, she acted on her beliefs (some of which were very unpopular among her colleagues). In fact, she was arrested numerous times as an abolitionist for the unborn. And she was a prophetic opponent of contraception and the effects this has proven to have on society.

Anscombe was a great thinker. A great woman.

People I Admire – Epictetus

October 11, 2010 | Filed Under People I Admire, Small Talk | Leave a Comment 

Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher full of common sense. His wisdom was always witty and concise. Here are a few choice quotes:

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
Discussion: While Epictetus intended this for individuals, it might also apply to nation states and societies.

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.
Discussion: There are higher joys than full on hedonism. Understanding why things are the way they are is a great place to start.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Disccusion: Happiness seems to be in that narrow band of having just enough so that you can be thankful for just enough.

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.
Discussion: The far less attractive alternative is to fester in your own perception of declining social value.

If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.
Discussion: The same applies for friends.

If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.
Discussion: The starting point of Christian faith.

If you seek truth you will not seek victory by dishonorable means, and if you find truth you will become invincible.
Discussion: For those who can perceive it, truth is tonic to the soul. It helps us stand above the turbulence of emotion like a superhero planted firmly to the ground in hurricane force winds.

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
Discussion: There is no shame in mistakes.

If you wish to be a writer, write.
Discussion: To become something, you must start doing it. Practice. Fail. Become. Succeed.

When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.
Discussion: Expecting other people to be perfect or superhuman starts with a lack of awareness of one’s own imperfections and failures.

We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope.
Discussion: There are multiple good ways to live. If you come to believe there is just one, perfect way, then your world will come crashing down when it doesn’t work out that way. Live an adaptive life, ready for anything that comes your way.

Unless we place our religion and our treasure in the same thing, religion will always be sacrificed.
Discussion: Where you invest your time and your passions… that’s where your heart is.

People I Admire – Jean Vanier

October 9, 2010 | Filed Under People I Admire | 1 Comment 

Jean Vanier is not flashy. But he’s full of wisdom and grace and peace. If there were one person I’d choose to show me how to live, this would be the guy.

Identity of Power vs. Identity of Love

The State of Invulnerability

Relationship is not “I can do things for you”, it’s “we can be together”.

Celebrating Life