A daily 1-minute thought.

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The Legend of Bagger Vance: Lucian Childs

Taken from the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance from the book of the same name by Steven Pressfield.

Read by Lucian Childs: "In our lives, good things happen, but bad things do, too. We have regrets, we try to forget." Lucian is a graphic designer and writer living in Anchorage.

In the movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance, golfer Rannulph Junuh, the character played by Matt Damon, drinks to forget what he experienced in World War I. Young Hardy Greaves asks him a question, and Junuh replies:

"Now, the question on the table is: how drunk is drunk enough? And the answer is that it's all a matter of brain cells. ... You see, every drink of liquor you take kills a thousand brain cells. But that doesn't much matter 'cause we got billions more. First the sadness cells die so you smile real big. And then the quiet cells go so you just say everything real loud for no reason at all. That's okay, that's okay, because the stupid cells go next, so everything you say is real smart. And finally, come the memory cells. These are tough sons of bitches to kill."

Pygmalion: Vivian Melde

Taken from the afterword to "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw.

Read by Vivian Melde: "As a newlywed, this piece speaks to me about matters of the heart and the laws of attraction." Vivian came to Alaska in 1966 from Guam, then California. This summer, she married Pete the Pirate in a Secret Cove in Prince William Sound. Vivian is working on a project with villages in Western Alaska that are considered communities in peril due to climate change impacts. For more information, go to this website.

At the end of "Pygmalion," George Bernard Shaw's play about the transformation of Eliza Doolittle by Prof. Henry Higgins, we are left wondering whether Eliza will "look forward to a lifetime of fetching Higgins's slippers or to a lifetime of Freddy fetching hers?"

In an afterword, Shaw answers the question:

"...to admire a strong person and to live under that strong person's thumb are two different things. The weak may not be admired and hero-worshipped; but they are by no means disliked or shunned.... They may fail in emergencies; but life is not one long emergency: it is mostly a string of situations for which no exceptional strength is needed.... Accordingly, it is a truth everywhere in evidence that strong people, masculine or feminine, ... do not marry stronger people.... When a lion meets another with a louder roar "the first lion thinks the last a bore." The man or woman who feels strong enough for two, seeks for every other quality in a partner than strength."

Eliza marries Freddy.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo: Jill Yarbrough

Taken from The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry (1996). Rights held by Dramatists Play Service .

Contributed by Krista Schwarting. Read by Jill Yarbrough: "I'm playing Sunny Freitag." Jill is a lifelong Alaska resident who has appeared on stage with nearly every theater company in town, including Cyrano's, UAA, Out North, and, of course, Anchorage Community Theater. For more information on how you can see The Last Night of Ballyhoo, you can visit the Anchorage Community Theater web page.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo plays at Anchorage Community Theater through January 11. The play takes place in 1930s Atlanta.

"That's all we wanted -- to be like everybody else. ... [But] we're not. The summer [after] sixth ... grade my best friend was Vennie Alice Sizemore. And one day she took me swimming at the Venetian Club Pool. Her parents were members. So we were with a whole bunch of kids from our class and the boys were splashing us and we were all shrieking ... and pretending we hated it, when this man in a shirt and tie came over and squatted down by the side of the pool and he said "Which one is Sunny Freitag?" and ... he said I had to get out of the water. And Vennie Alice asked him why and he said Jews weren't allowed to swim in the Venetian pool. And all the kids got very quiet and none of them would look at me.... I got out of the pool and phoned Daddy at his office. When he came to get me all the color was drained out of his lips.... [Vennie Alice and I] stayed friends - sort of. Neither of us ever mentioned it again, but it was always there. So believe me, I know I can't hide being Jewish."

Dirty Hands: Rev. Connie Jones

Excerpted from "Dirty Hands," appearing in No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre. Copyright Alfred A. Knopf Publishing Group.

Read by the Rev. Connie Jones: "When I was in college, the existentialist writers really appealed to me. I still find them challenging thinkers." Connie is an adjunct priest at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Anchorage. Early careers in teaching (English and French) and editing magazines led to a long career in local and state government in Alaska, where Connie has lived since 1967. She retired in 1998 to attend seminary in Virginia and was ordained as a priest in 2001. Connie recommends National Public Radio for the streaming audios and www.imdb.com for more than you ever wanted to know about current and obscure movies.

In Jean-Paul Sartre's play "Dirty Hands," Hugo is a writer for ‘the revolution.' Feeling he's not contributing enough, he volunteers to be an assassin, but when the time comes, he cannot pull the trigger.

His target, a wise man, tells him, "You wanted to prove that you were capable of acting and you chose the hard way, as if you wanted to gather up credit in heaven; that's youth. You didn't succeed. Well, what of that? There's nothing to prove, you know, and the revolution's not a question of virtue but of effectiveness. There is no heaven. There's work to be done, that's all. And you must do what you're cut out for; all the better if it comes easy to you. The best work is not the work that takes the most sacrifices. It's the work in which you can best succeed. ... Better a good journalist than a poor assassin."

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe: Melissa Bartley

Excerpted from "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" by Jane Wagner, published by HarperCollins.

Read by Melissa Bartley: "This passage helps to remind me to dwell in the art of possibility and thinking about how meaning and mystery figure in our lives." Melissa was raised in Alaska since 1980 by an outdoor-adventurous family. She holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an M.S. in Women's Studies. Melissa is employed by a local social service provider and enjoys biking, hiking, reading, and spending time with her Springer Spaniel. Check out the Central Asia Institute, about Greg Mortenson's (Three Cups of Tea) efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," a play by Jane Wagner, Trudy the bag lady reflects on what she's learned from her visitors from outer space:

"See, it's not so much what we know,
but how we know, and what
it is about us that needs to know.

...Of all the things we've learned, we still haven't learned
where did this desire to want to know come from? ...

So maybe we should stop trying to figure out the meaning of
life and sit back and enjoy
the mystery of life.
The operative word
here is what?
Not meaning."