F. Scott Fitzgerald says:

scottfitzgerald“It was only a
sunny smile,

and little it cost
in the giving,

but like morning light
it scattered the night
and made the day
worth living.”


Great, Greater, Greatest

mehYou hear the word a lot.

“He was a great man”.

Great —

Who are we talking about?

Thomas Aquinas,


Huey Long?

prideAnother example:

” That was a great verse” .

Ok —
like what ?

She walks in beauty,
like the night


Dance this
mess around
” ?


This is a great meal.

The Last Supper,


Fries and a ‘Big Mac’?


aThe great unwashed masses.


So, what’s so great
about a bunch of
smelly people?


For the greater good.

The greater good
of the people at large


The greater good
of the corporations ?


Great Scott !!!!

General Winfield Scott got so out of shape and portly,
he couldn’t ride a horse–

He had to have a special carriage to take him to battlefield conferences.


A great entrepreneur ….

Great at taking care
of his family, employees
and the community,


Just great at making money ?


1USA —
The greatest country on Earth !

Notice just how easy
that slides off some
tongues without a
second thought.

I’m a veteran,
and I love my country,
and so, let’s be reasonable.

Most people who use
this expression haven’t
been out of Cleveland.


when is something
really great?

How can something
connotate polar opposites like:

power – The Great Wall,
and impotence – The Great Oz ?

success- Alexander the Great,
and failure – Pompey the Great ?

hope – The Great 5th Dalai Lama,
……. and despair – The Great Depression ?



I got to thinking about it,
the other day….

this concept of GREAT.

I mean, how would
I know what it is….1

I have never done
anything really great.

I’m not sure anyone
in my lifetime has.

Is great-ness something
you can aspire to,
or are you born to it?

Can you train for it,
or does it come

Can you come
by it accidentally,
or does it have to
be by intentional act?

suckDo you know you’re doing something great while you’re doing it,

— or do you have to wait for history to judge?

Geeez… it’s complicated , this great-ness thing.

I mean, I hear the word all time, describing everything
from pot roast to test scores.

Do we degrade the
whole idea of ‘great
because we overuse the word?

Can breakfast cereal
ever really hope to
being gggrrrreat,
— just cause a cartoon tiger says it is?

Can we make something great -even greater- by adding an extra adjective.. as in :

” Hey Mom –
this is fucking great ham! ”

Can you say Mahatma Gandhi was “super great”,

— and the Beatles “just plain great”,
but not in a Gandhi sorta way?

Can you be great, just because
you’re better at something
than other people?

Mike Tyson,
was he a great boxer?

Is it possible to narrow the
focus of great down to
something trivial?

Ahhh… trivial.

Are those my own prejudices
about professional boxing
being a cruel inhumane
sport bleeding through?

greatideaOf course, I mean trivial

…as having no real positive impact on society, or mankind at large.

Does greatness depend on being a good person –

on having a positive impact ?

You could say I’m messing
with your head, here.

But I see this as a way
of defining how we feel
about ‘great‘…

If you say, yes-
it’s possible to be great
doing something terrible
or cruel –
— then, your definition
of great could apply to
anyone – doing anything –
— as long as they’re
good at it.



Jeffrey Dahmer- a great cannibal and mass murderer?
He wuz good at it,
after all….

On the other hand, if you say that it’s only possible to be great,
—if the party in question is doing something for the betterment of the species….,

……. then I think you have
to narrow your list of great
people, and great things,

I dunno.

Quotations about “Greatness”

Here’s what some of the
“great” minds of history
have to say about it.

You can decide for yourself
which people– and ideas– qualify.




” Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children “
— Kahlil Gibran


” A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity, but rather by touching both at once.”
— Blaise Pascal


” Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others “
— Wm Boetcker


” They’re only truly great who are truly good. “
— George Chapman


” Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. “
— Henry Ward Beecher


” I’ve often said, the only thing standing between me and greatness. “
— Woody Allen


“A really great man is known by three signs,–generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, and moderation in success. “
— Von Bismarck


” He who ascends to mountain-tops shall find
Their loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds of snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Must look down on the hate of those below.
Tho’ high above the sun of glory glow,
And far beneath the earth and ocean spread,
Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
Contending tempests on his naked head. “

— Lord Byron

so….. do you have a
favorite way of defining









Quote Me This

As you probably
have gleaned
from the
Blog already, I’m a
big fan of quotes.

I like to think
I have a quote
on hand for just
any occasion —

— although
I must admit to
having some
trepidations about
throwing them
around willy-nilly.

After all,
quotes are
very much like
holy-book tenets —

— you can pretty
much find some
verse to justify
almost any kind
of position
you want to take
on a particular
subject —

and sometimes
contradicting itself
in the same paragraph.

Not to take the
Bible out of hand,
but I’ll show you
what I mean-

Galatians 6:5 says:
“For every man shall
bear his own burden.”
The same chapter,
in 6:2, says:
“Bear ye one
another’s burdens. “

You can see
how these two
ideas differ-

— as would the types of
situations in which each
one would be used
to support an argument
or idea.

So much for continuity.

No need to explain
to me about context,

I’ve heard both
of these verses
used in the popular media,
quasi-religious figures,
and by political pundits
with no more reference
to context than to the
man in the moon.

But since I like to
avoid subjects
like religion
whenever possible,
I’ll give you a more
generic example –

on writing.

Hemingway said that:
“The first draft of
anything is shit.”

Clifford Geertz said:
“I don’t write drafts.
I write from the
to the end,
and when

it’s finished, it’s done.”

And if I could add my
own spin on it, well…

it’d be that:
“Sometimes the
first draft

is all you need, and
60 ain’t enough. “

So, there you have
three quotes,
(one that means
very little, I’ll grant you),
that all say contradictory
things about the
subject at hand.

And you can pretty much
do that with any subject
you’d like.

Take the value of a happy childhood-

Tom Robbins says:
“It’s never too late to
have a happy childhood.”

Robert Heinlein said:

“Don’t handicap your children
by making their lives easy.”

I guess my Dad
definitely was a fan
of that philosophy
over the first.

How I got started
on this subject
was when I was
listening to Paloma Faith’s
Only Love Can Hurt Like This

while contemplating the
words of Sophocles:

” One word frees us of
all the 
weight and
pain of life:
That word is love.” 

And as complicated,
convoluted, and
as it might seem,
I think F. Scott Fitzgerald
might have had
something there
when he wrote about
the wonderful :
“… ability to hold
two opposing

ideas in mind
at the same time

and still retain the
to function.” 

Man, you
need that
in this life,
for sure.

!!!!HOY !!!!!