January, 2015 Motto

[C]onsider the CNBC economy survey, showing that 53 percent of Americans are pessimistic about the current and future economic situation, while only 23 percent are optimistic.

—Washington Week, January 2, 2015

James Branch Cabell, my favorite pessimist
James Branch Cabell, my favorite pessimist


Note 1. I am a contrarian. I believe economic and political conditions will improve over the next 10 years.

Note 2. I believe that economic improvement requires political improvement and vice versa.

Note 3. This site begins 2015 with a commitment to optimism including suggestions on how to create change that will cause pessimists to change their position.

Note 4. Optimism regarding economic and political affairs contradicts a near-lifetime of acceptance of James Branch Cabell, my favorite obscure novelist’s statement, “The optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears it is true.” The earliest example is when I was nine years old, my mother took me with her into the voting booth for the 1956 election and allowed me to push the lever for Adlai Stevenson, which I did enthusiastically.

Note 5. The motto for December 2014 has been delayed. I may be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. The motto itself is simple. For reasons endemic to my nature, I have been using many words and footnotes (yes, footnotes) to explain the importance of focusing on simplicity. As a consequence the posting is long, getting longer, and is not yet ready for publication. For reasons clear to me at the time, I decided to use the motto as a forum to advocate the use of footnotes. Academic publications are increasing abandoning The Chicago Manual of Style for style manuals which provide citations that do not require footnotes. This reminded me of footnotes I have appreciated, such as one from Hans Zinsser’s Rats, Lice, and History. I cannot find the footnote. I am not yet willing to abandon the search. Whatever decision I make, the December 2014 motto will appear when it appears. Watch this space.


2 replies on “January, 2015 Motto”

All I know about footnotes I learned from the great Will Cuppy (1884-1949), peace be upon him, who has been appreciated on this website even if nowhere else any more. The classic work that introduced me to footnotes is How to Become Extinct (1941). Everyone at risk for committing non-fiction should find a copy and learn how it is done.

OK. You have sent me off into another search about someone I don’t know. I like your motto. For the time being mine is more simplistic, but needed “Life is change. Growth is optional.”

I had a dear professor once who reminded all of the young class that “change and death are the only things we can be sure of, and they are what we fight the most.”

Stay warm, Sally

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