Make the Secret More Trouble Than the Trick Seems Worth

“You will be fooled by a trick if it involves more time, money and practice than you (or any other sane onlooker) would be willing to invest.”

Teller, Smithsonian, March 2012

Only Patience Is Required

“Keep the snarl open and loose at all times and do not pull on the end; permit it to unfold itself. As the process is continued, the end gradually emerges. No snarl is too complicated to be solved by this method; only patience is required.”

—Clifford Ashley, The Ashley Book of Knots


City Dolls vs. Sturdy Lads

“If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards, in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hamsphire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always like a cat falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days and feels no shame in not ‘studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” (1841)

W. David Marx’s Desk

Valet shares a pic of W. David Marx’s desk:

People’s desk setups are a recurring interest of mine. I like here how Marx incorporates headphones, a mic, a voice recorder, a computer, and a scanner but books are still prominent.

He has a new book out called Status and Culture: How Our Desire for Social Rank Creates Taste, Identity, Art, Fashion, and Constant Change that looks interesting.

In addition, Valet quotes him as saying “The internet tricks you into thinking the world’s information is a click away, but really learning about something requires a depth of knowledge that can only be sourced from books.”

I like that too.

God’s Country

Kottke’s Workspace

In a post explaining why he’s taking a sabbatical (something, needless to say, I think everyone, in an ideal world, should be able to do), blogger extraordinaire Jason Kottke shares a pic of his workspace.

Gotta love those hardwood floors.


Outside of the Average Knowledge

“In my case, I have tried to live outside of the fashionable trends. This has got me into trouble all the time. I make my own observations, and […] I create my own world view out of the knowledge that I derive from the world itself. When you travel on foot, for example—and I don’t mean backpacking or hiking, I mean, for example, travelling on foot from Munich to Paris—you are given a world view, an insight that is different or outside of the average knowledge. I have a dictum: ‘The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.’ I do not want to explain it any further.”

—Werner Herzog, The New Yorker, April 26, 2022

Angela’s Desk

Angela (Zoë Kravitz)’s desk in Kimi (dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2022)


The Northman

Exiting Exile

“Everyone must come out of his exile in his own way.”

—Martin Buber