Saturday, July 26, 2008

Here's some wise advice and an observation about schools, which have only gotten worse:

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

"Schools and schoolmasters, as we have them today, are not popular as places of education and teachers, but rather prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them disturbing and chaperoning their parents." George Bernard Shaw, born on this date in Dublin, Ireland (1856-1950). He wrote plays about ideas when everyone else was writing sentimental melodramas.

Shaw's plays include Man and Superman (1905) and Saint Joan (1923). But he's best known for the play Pygmalion (1912), about a phonetician named Henry Higgins who teaches a cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle to pass as a lady.

It’s very interesting to me that Pygmalion was published in 1912, the year that Colorado adopted our wonderful caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot, which has given thousands of ”Eliza Doolittle” common people to become elected representatives.

Do you know the name of the movie that was based on Shaw’s play Pygmalion? I’ll take the first 3 people who email me the answer to to lunch here in Denver. But please, no pigs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

(What do you think about this blog? Is it interesting and helpful to you? Please see note at the end of this post. Thanks! John)

“I can never forget that one of the most gifted, best educated nations in the world, of its own free will, surrendered its fate into the hands of a maniac." Eric Hoffer, who was born on this day in 1902 in New York City (died 1983), was a self-educated longshoreman who came to fame in the 1950's with the publication of his first book, The True Believer, a caustic analysis of the nature of mass movements and those who are driven to join them… The alienated seek to lose themselves in these movements by adopting those fanatical attitudes that are, according to Hoffer, fundamentally "a flight from the self."

Reading Hoffer’s True Believer when I was 20 years old had a big impact on my thinking.

Individualism, isolating one’s self from society, can certainly go too far. But group thinking is the big danger in our mass society. Hoffer saw that once any of us stops believing in God we will very likely fall prey to some mass movement and become a fanatic of one stripe or another.

What is the antidote to fanaticism? To love God and to love and serve those who are in our life. Loving service is the true key to health grassroots politics and entrepreneurship, it seems to me. What do you think?

What do you think? Will you take a minute to help me? Please let me know what you think about this blog and give me any suggestions for making it more helpful and/or interesting to you. I'd like to make this more of a dialog. Why do you think people don't post comments?

If you want everyone to see, post your comment here. If you want to save me the embarrassment of a public thrashing, email me at Thanks!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When we are starting in a new direction in life, we often need an adjustment to our attitude. As Zig Ziggler says in his book See You at the Top, "our attitude determines our altitude!" Karl Menninger devoted his life to helping people adjust their attitude to become more productive.

Karl Menninger (July 22, 1893 - July 18, 1990), was born on this date in Topeka, Kansas, was an American psychiatrist and a member of the famous Menninger family of psychiatrists who founded the Menninger Foundation and the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas:

Dr. Menninger's advice when asked what to do when the fear of a mental breakdown comes: "Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need, and do something for them."

Other Menninger wisdom:

"Love is a medicine for the sickness of the world; a prescription often given, too rarely taken." "Love is the touchstone of psychiatric treatment ... to our patient who cannot love, we must say by our actions that we do love him." "It is doubtless true that religion has been the world's psychiatrist throughout the centuries."

"Not infrequently we observe that a patient who is in a phase of recovery from what may have been a rather long illness shows continued improvement, past the point of his former 'normal' state of existence. He not only gets well, to use the vernacular; he gets as well as he was, and then continues to improve still further. He increases his productivity, he expands his life and its horizons. He develops new talents, new powers, new effectiveness. He becomes, one might say, 'weller than well.' ...Every experienced psychiatrist has seen it.... What could it mean? It violates our conventional medical expectations, so perhaps it is often overlooked and occurs more often than we know. It may contain a clue for better prevention and better treatment. ...Transcendence does occur. And perhaps it is not an exception but a natural consequence of new insights and new concepts of treatment."

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."

"...Peace or something near it is often achieved by those who do not seek it, who, seeking truth, forget themselves."

Grassroots politics is one of the best natural networking tools available. Here's a great way to get more involved and take advantage of what will be happening here in Denver in August.

Free community forums about the upcoming Democratic National Convention will be held at several locations throughout the metro area, hosted by the Denver Mayor's Office and the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee. The forums will serve to facilitate a community conversation about the Convention and will provide an opportunity for locals, guests and convention goers to find out about what is happening during the week of the Convention.

The official dates of the DNC are Aug. 25-28, but activities will begin as early as Friday, Aug. 22 with the opening of the American Presidential Experience at Invesco Field. RSVP for a forum to Krista Leben at Forum schedule:

July 26, 2008
Curious Theatre
1080 Acoma St.
12:00-2:00 p.m.

July 28, 2008
Temple Sinai
3509 S. Glencoe St.
12:00-2:00 p.m.

July 29, 2008
Southwest Improvement Council
1000 S. Lowell Blvd.
5:30-7:30 p.m.

July 30, 2008
North High School
2960 N. Speer Blvd.
5:30-7:30 p.m.

August 6, 2008
Montview Presbyterian Church
1980 Dahlia St.
5:30-7:30 p.m.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was." Ernest Hemingway, who was born on this date (1899 — July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist.

In an 1883 memo, Paul Reuter gave instructions to the reporters for his news service about what news to cover: "fires, explosions, floods, inundations, railway accidents, destructive storms, earthquakes, shipwrecks attended with loss of life, accidents to war vessels and to mail steamers, street riots of a grave character, disturbances arising from strikes, duels between and suicides of persons of note, social or political, and murders of a sensational or atrocious character." He further instructed "that the bare facts be first telegraphed with the utmost promptitude, and as soon as possible afterwards a descriptive account, proportionate to the gravity of the incident." His instructions in this memo formed a sort of industry standard for future news media.

“It’s not over until it’s over.” Yogi Berra

The Denver Group is pushing for the nomination of Hillary Clinton at the convention here in Denver in August. Here is the ad they are starting to run in major daily newspapers across the country (click to enlarge):

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My friend Stephen Keating is at Netroot Nation.
How is the internet changing politics? Should we care?
Read all about it on his blog.
Need a boost? An inspiration?

Read Susan Greene’s column today. It starts:

This is a story about devotion.

It involves two neighbors and the man who has lived out of their backyards for the better part of 30 years.

Wow. What a great column. Mystical.

Does it bring tears to your eyes as it does mine?

What if Denver took this column as the start of a change in attitude toward our homeless population?

I really would be interested in your comments on this. Post them at the end of Susan Greene’s column, OK?

I’m going to share Greene’s column and your comments at the Denver IDEA CafĂ© next Friday and then offer this as a brainstorming topic: “In what ways can we each connect with the homeless in Denver?” (To join us, RSVP using the link to the left here on this page.)

The mayor’s daisies didn’t sprout, could we turn the way we connect with our homeless into a source of pride instead of shame? Could that become the positive symbol for Denver at the DNC convention in August?