The anxiety and fear that was plainly showing

In this excerpt from his memoir The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, William Saroyan relates a memory of his mother’s from when his family crossed the Atlantic to America, c. 1888:

My mother also remembered an Assyrian woman on the boat from Havre to New York, in steerage. This woman helped my mother take care of her children, keep them fed and clean and comfortable in an area of the boat that was crowded, filthy, and painfully depressing. The woman had watched my mother the first few hours out of Havre, and then had gone to my mother and after saying a few words in Assyrian which my mother had not understood she had gone to work helping her and delivering her from the anxiety and fear that was plainly showing in her face. My mother told me a few years before she died that she would never forget this woman and that she would always thank God for her.

It makes me happy, somehow, to know that this woman’s anonymous act of kindness was remembered for two generations, then shared with the world.


Armenag Shah-Mouradian

William Saroyan mentioned in his memoirs how much he loved the voice of Armenag Shah-Mouradian.

It is amazing and wonderful that we can still hear a voice that sang more than a century ago.

But He Is Also

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of Armenian writer William Saroyan, © 1952:

It is necessary to remember and necessary to forget, but it is better for a writer to remember.  It is necessary for him to live purposely, which is to say to live and to remember having done so.  This is not easy to do.

First, it is not easy to live purposely– that is, consciously.

Second, it is not easy to remember, certainly not easy to remember accurately, for the unforgettable events of a man’s life are not necessarily more important than the insignificant events which do not seem to be remembered at all.

A man is his memories, but he is also the things he forgot.

I want to think about the things I may have forgotten.  I want to have a go at them because I have an idea they will help make known how I became who I am.  I cannot expect to be altogether successful in this.  I can only hope my luck will be good enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Nothing is ever entirely forgotten.  It is all there, and is stays there until a man is dead.  These things I forgot I forgot only temporarily.  I will now try to remember some of them.

My favorite poem is Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Turkish writer Nazim Hikmet.  You can read it HERE.

I wonder if there is something culturally or spiritually about the people of that area that places importance on the things a person doesn’t know about themselves, of if this is just coincidence?

The light that’s shining out from you will touch everything that you see…

When Ringo wants to say something, he doesn’t couch it in difficult metaphors.  He keeps it simple.

Full lyrics HERE.



Sports that do not use a clock:

    1. Baseball
    2. Softball
    3. Tennis
    4. Cricket
    5. Bowling
    6. Golf
    7. Curling
    8. Volleyball
    9. Dodgeball
    10. Badmitton
    11. Ping-Pong

The Trick


“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”  ~Marjorie Pay Hinckle

Morning Has Broken

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of William Saroyan, © 1952:

Morning is best when it begins with the last hours of night.

For years I have known midday mornings. There is something to be said for them. There is a quality of confusion and overlapping in them which is sometimes useful, but in the end the good morning is the the morning before daybreak, the morning of dark silence, the morning in which the coming of light is witnessed, the morning which gives a man the entire day.

The local library is awful, so I buy a lot of books at estate sales and charity sales.

I had been on kind of a dry run lately.  Carrol O’Connor’s autobiography, I Guess I’m Out of Here,  was a portrait of a bitter and petty old man, and I was sorry I read it.  He remembered every bad review every critic had ever written of him, and his book was mostly ranting against the unfairness of it all.

Ruth Gordon’s autobiography, My Side, was almost unreadable.  Her anecdotes were long and pointless, and couldn’t hold my interest.  There was a ten-page description of her getting dressed to ride the train, including what she ate for breakfast and who came to tell her to hurry up and what clothes she wore and who she talked with and what everybody said to her and what she said back, and that was the entire story.  If she went someplace important and did something significant that day, she omitted it.  So, as much as I love her work as an actress, the book was a disappointment.

But I also picked up William Saroyan’s autobiography (quoted above), and it has been a joy.  (Of course, he’s the only professional writer in this trio, so he had an advantage from the start.)  Like his fictional works, he transports us to a misty beautiful time and place, and makes us nostalgic for places we’ve never been and people we’ve never met.

It was the best dollar I spent that day.


You Say

The video was directed by Ethan Hawke, who purposely made a video that didn’t look like most.

Lisa Loeb is still touring and still making music.  She also has her own line of eye-wear.  Her website is HERE.

Full lyrics HERE.


Asdrúbal Cabrera was cut by the Texas Rangers at mid-season– they didn’t even try to trade him, just unsentimentally kicked him  out the door– but he ended the season as the starting second baseman for the World Champion Washington Nationals.

What must have at the time seemed like a crushing blow to his career could not have ended up better.

It’s also worth noting that the Texas Rangers were right at .500 at the All Star Break, and punted on the season to begin building for next year.  The Washington Nationals were twelve games under .500 at at the same point, but never gave up.

The moral here is about as subtle as a pie to the face, isn’t it?


What It Takes

If you ever meet a man who claims to have been the accordion player in Aerosmith, he might not be lying.

Full lyrics HERE.

Capture the Experience

Excerpted from The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Mingyur Rinpoche, ©2008:

Gradually I began to recognize how feeble and transitory the thoughts and emotions that had troubled me for years actually were, and how fixating on small problems had turned them into big ones. Just by sitting quietly and observing how rapidly, and in many ways illogically, my thoughts and emotions came and went, I began to recognize in a direct way that they weren’t nearly as solid or real as they appeared to be. And once I began to let go of my belief in the story they seemed to tell, I began to see the ‘author’ behind them– the infinitely vast, infinitely open awareness that is the nature of mind.

Any attempt to capture the direct experience of the nature of mind in words is impossible. The best that can be said is that the experience is immeasurably peaceful, and, once stabilized through repeated experience, virtually unshakeable. It’s an experience of absolute well-being that radiates through all physical, emotional, and mental states– even those that might be ordinarily labelled as unpleasant. This sense of well-being, regardless of the fluctuation of outer and inner experiences, is one of the clearest ways to understand what Buddhists mean by “happiness.”

I have had experiences that dissipated as soon as I tried to categorize or define them.

It’s nice to hear that it has eluded minds much more advanced than my own.


We had one resident in the Alzheimer’s ward who was angry most of the time.

Not all of the time. When children were present he would smile and laugh and just be a joy to be around. It was an amazing transformation.

But most of the time, he was mean as a snake. And unfortunately, when he was at his worst he would shit the bed and refuse to leave it.

One of the awful Catch-22s of working in a nursing home is that a patient has an absolute right to refuse treatment. Even if they have dementia. Even if the choice is against their own self-interest. To knowingly act against their wishes is considered abuse.

Of course, leaving them to lie in excrement-covered sheets is also abuse.

In those times, all I could do is report the situation to a supervisor, and let them make the call. This patient responded much better to females than males, and eventually two of the burlier nurses would arrive and force him into the shower, literally kicking and screaming. The expletives echoed down the hallway. While he was off being cleaned, I would change the sheets and take the dirty clothing and linens to housekeeping.

He would return, scowling but clean, and I’d make my self scarce until things calmed down.