Friday, January 31, 2014

                                                                    Brad Neely

Names I've Found Difficult to Pry Apart; Thinking Two People Are One or Thinking Two People Are Eachother

Marlee Matin + Mary Matalin

William Gass + William Gaddis

Eve Sedgwick + Edie Sedgwick

Richard Sennet + Daniel Dennett

Rosa Luxemburg + Ethel Rosenberg

Louis Auchincloss + Louis Althusser

Andrew Solomon + Andrew Sullivan

Michael Kelley + Michael Kinsley

Richard Belzer + Richard Meltzer

Arthur Laffer + Alvin Toffler

Paul Valery + Paul Verlaine

Montaigne + Montesquieu

Al Capp + Andy Capp

Tanzania + Tasmania

R'Akiva was inspired to begin his Torah studies at the age of forty when he observed how water could wear grooves into solid stone after years of constant dripping.

Forced into a life of abject poverty, R'Akiva and his wife were homeless and took shelter in a hay stall, but she remained loyal and supportive, insisting that she was ready for any sacrifice in order for him to become a scholar. Once he said to her, "If only I could, I would have an artisan create for you a gold tiara in the form of the skyline of Jerusalem."

R'Akiva studied under R'Eliezer ben Hyrkanos and R'Yeshoshua ben Chanania and returned home after twelve years. As he approached his home,  he heard an old man chiding his wife: "How long will you be the widow of a live man?" She replied selflessly: "If he were to listen to me he would remain even longer in his studies." R'Akiva immediately turned back and devoted himself to Torah study for twelve years.

Upon his triumphant return home, R'Akiva was escorted by his 24,000 students. His wife went out to greet him in simple clothes that indicated her poverty. Unaware that she was his wife, his students sought to deny her access to their great teacher. Said R'Akiva, "Allow her through, for my Torah and
yours is really hers.

Akiva's love and appreciation for his wife's dedication to him is given vivid expression in his aphorism: "Who is wealthy? One who has a wife whose deeds are beautiful".

Friday, January 10, 2014

Inverse relationship between well-being and inequality in American history. The peaks and valleys of inequality (in purple) represent the ratio of the largest fortunes to the median wealth of households (the Phillips curve). The blue-shaded curve combines four measures of well-being: economic (the fraction of economic growth that is paid to workers as wages), health (life expectancy and the average height of the native-born population), and social optimism (the average age of first marriage, with early marriages indicating social optimism and delayed marriages indicating social pessimism).