Audiobook: James Taylor

I just listened to ‘Break Shot: My First 21 Years‘ by James Taylor on Audible. Taylor recounts his first 21 years in very personal and moving terms while interspersing his wonderful music.

The audiobook is only 90-minutes long and worth every minute. Here are a couple of highlights that really resonated with me:

  • “Memory is tricky. We remember how it felt, not necessarily how it was. Songs grow out of memories.”
  • “We want to go back and fix something that has already vanished and can never be corrected. But we can correct it in a song . . . .”

This audiobook is free to Audible members and free with a trial through April 2, 2020. I would have gladly paid for this gem of an audiobook.


ADL: Holocaust Denial is Antisemitism

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, writing in USA Today:

Let’s be clear: Holocaust denial is nothing more than anti-Semitism. It is an attempt to deny the Jewish people their history, one of many tactics used by bigots in the long-running campaign to delegitimize the Jewish people. Deniers claim the Holocaust never happened or that some much smaller number of Jews did die but primarily from diseases. They also claim that accounts of the Holocaust are merely propaganda generated by Jews for their own benefit. Denialism is often used by some of the world’s foremost anti-Semites — among them David DukeAli Khamenei and Arthur Jones — to foment hate against Jews.


Erna Paris: The way we remember the Holocaust will change

Erna Paris writing in The Globe and Mail:

The core learning future generations must acquire, in addition to the facts of Holocaust history, will be to recognize the impulse to genocide, how and why it starts, the propaganda tools it employs to persuade, and the known consequences of silence and indifference. I think this learning must also include the somewhat rueful acknowledgement that most humans are susceptible to propaganda in various degrees, which is why early-stage vigilance is so crucial.

Erna Paris was born in Toronto in 1938. She is the author of seven works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her book Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada.


Statements on the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Remarks at the the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on January 23, 2020:

I wish I could say that we Germans have learned from our history once and for all, but I cannot say that when hatred is spreading.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The crimes committed by the Nazis, their deliberate, planned, and as they said, ‘final solution to the Jewish issue,’ is one of the darkest and most shameful pages of modern world history. But we should not forget that this crime also had accomplices. They were often crueler than their masters. Death factories and concentration camps were served not only by the Nazis, but also by their accomplices in many European countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin 


International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27

It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

January 27 is designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since 2005, the UN and its member states have held commemoration ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. Since 2010, the UN has designated specific themes for the annual commemorations that focus on topics such as collective experiences and universal human rights.

The date marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and is meant to honor the victims of Nazism. The same resolution also supports the development of educational programs to remember the Holocaust and to prevent further genocide.

The UN’s Holocaust remembrance events for 2020 are listed here. This year’s theme is “75 years after Auschwitz –
Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice.”


Why Photograph?

For amateurs and enthusiasts, . . . first and foremost . . . enjoy your hobby. Enjoy photography itself as well as your topics, be they a landscape, a model or a freaky insect. Or even a Snowy Owl. This is your hobby and you should learn to enjoy it even if not a single other human being notices. Start with this. Your joy and self worth should not depend on others.

I’m serious. Look at people having other hobbies. Reading, hiking, tennis, wood crafts, brewing beer, collecting stamps, watching movies or playing Tetris…none of these people spend hours per day seeking validation as to whether their hobby is worthwhile or has meaning. It has meaning because it is your time and you enjoy doing it. None of them determine meaning based on others as if they are monitoring a stock market of self worth.

Ferdy Christant


On the Value of the Open Web

Anil Dash, the CEO of Glitch, on the importance of the open web:

Every day, millions of people rely on independent websites that are mostly created by regular people, weren’t designed as mobile apps, connect deeply to culture, and aren’t run by the giant tech companies. These are a vision of not just what the web once was, but what it can be again.

If we’re going to build a new web, and a new internet, that respects our privacy and security, that doesn’t amplify abuse and harassment and misinformation, we’re going to need to imagine models of experiences and communities that could provide a better alternative. There’s not going to be a “Facebook killer”. But there could simply be lots of other sites, that focus on a different, more constructive and generative, set of goals.


"Money would ruin it."

Brent Simmons, as a labor of love, has brought back to life NetNewsWire, as free open source software:

People have offered money — just in general or for a specific feature. But we won’t take any money at all. Money would ruin it.

When money’s involved, it becomes an issue, and in this world it’s the issue. We have our own little utopia where we can pretend like it doesn’t exist. . . .

This means, though, that our decisions can be entirely about what’s best for the app and the people who use it — we never, ever have to think about what’s best for revenue.

It’s rare and beautiful to see someone do something purely as a labor of love in a world so heavily focused on making money.

NetNewsWire is an RSS reader app for the Mac. It shows you articles from your favorite blogs and news sites, and it keeps track of what you’ve read. RSS readers used to be much more popular than they are now that the big social media sites dominate the web.

Simmons supports the open web. He explains that wants to give the public a free tool to get news from the open web instead of the big social networking sites:

NetNewsWire is part of repairing the web we lost, and it’s part of building the web we want. That future web should not include viral hate speech, abuse, massive corporate surveillance, or successful influence operations by hostile governments and entities opposed to democracy.

NetNewsWire isn’t the answer — it’s an answer. It’s just a small part of what needs to be done. But it’s the work we personally know how to do, so we do it.

If the open web appeals to you here is a collection of open and indie Mac, iOS, and web apps that help promote the open web. 


On the importance of doing

“The solution to depression is action …”

Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

Marilyn Monroe on Projection

I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t.

Marilyn Monroe