“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

That’s some sensible advice from my favorite First Lady. (Dolley Madison is a close second.) Her other spiffy idea, which is very wise, is that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I like First Ladies. They don’t get nearly enough credit. Abigail Adams wrote Thomas Jefferson, concerned about Shays’ Rebellion — that fantastic revolt that the unemployed and the working poor might want to take a few lessons from. And she got Jefferson to write one of his most anti-authoritarian sentiments, “I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.” And then there was Lady Bird Johnson, who not only planted millions of flowers around Washington DC, but also had to deal with her boorish husband on a regular basis. On the other hand, how many Great Society programs would have been denied were it not for Lady Bird’s efforts? We may never know for sure.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that Good Ol’ Eleanor comes along just as I’ve been rethinking what I do and revisiting places that I forgot were so wonderful.

And so due to unexpected bursts of inspiration (but, more importantly, perspiration) in other places, the results of which I will report if it amounts to anything, I’ve decided that this unforeseen self-discipline is more important than disciplined blogging. So I’ll be scaling down the posting frequency from five chunky posts a week to pretty much writing whenever I feel like it. Believe me, there are several strange and aborted posts in my drafts folder which I may or may not finish. But after a few nudges from friends (and some crafty withholding from parties known to feed me certain pieces of information which provoke 1,000 word essays), I’m now finding that my writing is leading me elsewhere.

This isn’t a full-blown hiatus, but it is a slowdown. The Internet, which is a mostly pleasant and valuable place, does not represent a tyranny, contrary to certain parties desperately in need of a chill pill, an ice cream cone, or a blowjob. But negotiating this terrain does involves a strange amalgam of inclusiveness and self-restraint. Or as Mark Twain once wrote, “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

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