May 7th, 2020
“I have never lost my faith to what seems to me is a materialism that leads nowhere—nowhere of value, anyway. I have never met a super-wealthy person for whom money obviated any of the basic challenges of finding happiness in the material world.”
Guess who wrote that in his 2020 memoir, now a New York Times bestseller? Perhaps surprising to you, it is none other than Val Kilmer.
His book is entitled I’m Your Huckleberry, a riff on the most notable quote in a movie chock-full of notable quotes: the 1993 cinematic wonder, Tombstone. Kilmer and Kurt Russell rewrote Kevin Jarre’s screenplay fairly significantly, he claims, to help it pass muster with George P. Cosmatos, the demanding director of the film.
Since he was a boy, Val Kilmer lived twice as fast as anyone else, so what you have with this book is an honest and revealing memoir by a 120-year-old Hollywood titan. He probably tried harder in some of his films than anyone else who could be considered his equal. He loved and admired directors such as Tony Scott and Oliver Stone who were as intense and perfectionistic as he is/was. Indeed, like the ambitious and visionary Greek mytical figure Icarus, Kilmer’s meteoric rise as an actor of astounding ability and his subsequent plummeting back down to the hard Earth are equally remarkable.
In Tinseltown, perhaps more than any other since Rome, only the strong survive, and no one—not an acting legend and not an Emperor—can outpace Time forever.
This blog will highlight twenty of the most remarkable quotes in the book. Read More
July 4th, 2019
“Immanuel Kant defined enlightenment as the human being’s emancipation from ‘self-incurred minority’. Minority is defined as a condition in which one’s understanding is used only under the authority and direction of another, and minority is self-incurred when it is due not to the immaturity or impairment of the understanding, but because it refuses to trust itself and prefers the comfort and security of tutelage to the risks and responsibilities of thinking for oneself” ~ Allen Wood. This quote is about willingness to risk. That is, when not taken to extremes, one of the values of the wise. This blog explores exploration – of the literal and the metaphoric types. Read More
February 25th, 2019
Some people don’t get much joy or fulfillment from reading quotes. I don’t really understand those individuals. Quotations on values, virtues, and phenomena such as strength, love, creativity, honor, passion, humor and fulfillment seem so, well, valuable to me. I think life would be sorely lacking in flavor if we lived in a black and white world of monotonous labor, the quest for survival, and being caught up in the consumerist desire to keep up and own more. I have smiled many times in my day, and felt temporarily lifted and a part of things when I read something someone wrote that reminds me of thoughts and feelings I have within, that moves me, that enlightens me. Such is the wisdom of reading quotations on values. Read More
September 9th, 2018
There is an interesting metaphor for living in the world: that we ride atop an elephant (our emotion, our instincts, and our desires) and that our rational mind is like the human who attempts to direct the elephant where one wants this beast to go. This blog is about the ability to integrate reason and emotion, and the positive effects it can have on creativity, habit formation (and habit-breaking), and living a fulfilling and happy life. And what does one need to cultivate in order to ensure that rational thinking enjoys the benefit of passion and emotions? As usual, the answer is: wisdom. The bulk of the following is really quotations about reason and emotion, as exemplified by this quote by the distinguished scientist, evolutionary biologist, and author, Edward O. Wilson: “Brain scientists have vindicated the evolutionary view of mind. They have established that passion is inseverably linked to reason. Emotion is not just a perturbation of reason but a vital part of it.” Read More
August 29th, 2018
This is a guest blog written by Paul Wong, Ph.D. In it, he writes that “All the great humanitarians, such as Albert Schweitzer, Maya Angelou, Oskar Schindler and Mahatma Gandhi, devoted their lives to a noble mission. In contrast, those who pursue money, power and wealth can achieve only a shallow life at best; when they fail in their egotistic goals, they are more likely to become bitter, angry and depressed than those who failed in pursuing a life full of meaning.” Read more about how meaning contributes to a well-lived life – a life of value. Read More
April 30th, 2018
Morrie Schwartz was an interesting fellow who was dying, and was visited many times by a former student. Their relationship and the advice and insight Morrie provided Mitch Albom, the student-turned-writer, made for a very popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. This was just one in a long line of books and movies that deal with death. Though death can be perceived as frightening, an appalling deprivation of one’s life, and the ultimate loss of control, it can also have a positive side. This blog explores the positive side of death, showing that it can lead to living more authentically and passionately. This is the heart of existentialism. Read More
February 8th, 2018
The Week (a weekly magazine I recommend) put out a little report on “the science of happiness,” with the question being asked: “Can we train ourselves to live happier, fuller lives?” Happier is worth exploring, and so is fuller. Some of the questions I aim to explore briefly in this blog include: What makes people happy? Does money help? Can happiness be improved? To what degree are greater fulfillment, meaning, joy and contentment within our control? I also tap into some scientific findings and wisdom perspective by psychologist Mark Leary of Duke University. Read More
February 1st, 2018
My favorite Tupac Shakur song is a posthumous release entitled “Changes.” It’s a laudable song, and is made even more interesting since it sampled a great Bruce Hornsby song I quite like. It’s a compelling song, musically, and it’s rife with interesting and enlightening lyrics. I think he made some mistakes in life, and isn’t someone I can wholly endorse, but I really dig this song, and I miss him when I hear it. Hey, justice is justice, and he had a way of making us all think about it. With police abuse, violence, poverty, and drugs we certainly haven’t made much progress in 25 years. Click through for the lyrics to Tupac’s compelling song about responsibility, personal growth, wisdom, self-confidence, truth, and passion. Read More
December 30th, 2017
This 2003 poem about anxiety regarding a love interest shows my ambivalent feelings, fear, and lust:
Amy represents to me solace and intrigue. Read More
I return again and again for more of her light.
Bent on success, I ought not to stop now,
But winning her heart is daily an emotional fight.
December 24th, 2017
An ode to emotion, vision, gratitude, fulfillment, joy, and contentment. Much of what makes life really worth living:
To write a thoughtful poem; Read More
To give help when sorely needed;
To seek and find elusive faith;
To have really succeeded.