View Full Version : Passages Part Deux

Evil Dead Junkie
03-28-2012, 10:44 AM
Given that it looks like its first incarnation has been sucked into thread Hades in The Great Breaking, I thought I’d resurrect it here.

What can you do? He was saying to the segundo. You can kill me. Or one of them can kill me not meaning to. But what else can you do to me? You want me to get down on my knees? You don’t have enough bullets man and you know it. So what can you do to me? Tell me.

Elmore Leonard, Valdez Is Coming

03-28-2012, 11:18 AM
A spirit sped
Through spaces of night;
And as he sped, he called,
"God! God!"
He went through valleys
Of black death-slime,
Ever calling,
"God! God!"
Their echoes
From crevice and cavern
Mocked him:
"God! God! God!"
Fleetly into the plains of space
He went, ever calling,
"God! God!"
Eventually, then, he screamed,
Mad in denial,
"Ah, there is no God!"
A swift hand,
A sword from the sky,
Smote him,
And he was dead.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Evil Dead Junkie
03-28-2012, 11:55 AM
This has always been one of my favorite bits of Pet Sematary.

"The things that are in a man’s heart it don’t do him much good to talk about those things, does it?"


"No,"Jud said, as if Louis had simply agreed. "It don’t." And in his calm voice that was so sure and implacable, in that voice which somehow put the chill through Louis, he said: "They are secret things. Women are supposed to be the ones good at keeping secrets, and I guess they do keep a few, but any woman who knows anything at all would tell you shes never really seen into a man’s heart. The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. Bedrocks close. A man grows what he can and tends it."

03-28-2012, 12:03 PM
My favourite passage from my favourite book.

Most girls if you hold hands with them, their goddam hand dies on you, or else they think they having to keep moving their hand all the time, as if they were afraid they'd bore you or something. Jane was different. We'd get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we'd start holding hands, and we wouldn't quite till the movie was over. And without changing the position or making a big deal out of it. You never even worried, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was, you were happy. You really were.

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye.

03-28-2012, 12:16 PM
Given that it looks like its first incarnation has been sucked into thread Hades in The Great Breaking, I thought I’d resurrect it here.
Somehow it ended up in Moving Pictures. (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=11496) :confused:
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life's end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?
Not nearly enough credit or attention is given to the three or so full chapters of opening and setting the scene that follow "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," or else I would have known before reading the book that A Tale of Two Cities has one of the best, most chillingly isolating openings ever.
Stephen Crane
This one is great too.

03-28-2012, 12:27 PM
"I know what you mean," he cried, "and it is exactly that that I cannot forgive you. I know you are contentment, optimism, what do they call the thing, an ultimate reconciliation. Well, I am not reconciled. If you were the man in the dark room, why were you also Sunday, an offense to the sunlight? If you were from the first our father and our friend, why were you also our greatest enemy? We wept, we fled in terror; the iron entered into our souls -- and you are the peace of God! Oh, I can forgive God His anger, though it destroyed nations; but I cannot forgive Him His peace."
The secretary's Speech to Sunday, from The Man Who Was Thursday
By GK Chesterson.

03-28-2012, 01:43 PM
One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, "How beautiful the world could be."
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

04-22-2012, 06:46 PM
I AM KORROK. In the mountains of Uruguay, a goat gets its hoof caught in a posthole and the bone staps like a twig. The splinter juts from its skin, blood spraying onto white fur. It is stuck like that for three days. Finally, a wolf mother comes along, carrying her pup in her jaws. She lets the pup feed off the goat, gnawing bits of fur and skin and tearing at muscle. The goat feels it and screams and there is pain and pain and neither the goat nor the wolf nor the pup understand their place in the machine. I stand above all, and call them fags. I AM KORROK.

David Wong, John Dies at the End

Evil Dead Junkie
04-26-2012, 12:53 PM
Funny I was about to do a passage from John.

From day one it had been like society was this violent, complicated dance and everybody had taken lessons but mme. Knocked to the floor again and again, climbing to my feet each time, bloody and humiliated Always met with disaproving faces waiting for me to leave so I would stop fucking up the party.

They wanted to push me outside, where the freaks huddled in the cold. Out there with the misfits, the broken the glazed eye types who can only watch as the normals enjoy their shiny new cars, careers and marriages and vacations with the kids.

The freaks spend their lives wondering how they got left out, mumbling about conspiracy theories and Bigfoot sightings. Their encounters with the world are marked by awkward conversations and stifled laughter, hidden smirks and rolled eyes. And worst of all the pity.

Sitting there on that night in April, I pictured getting shoved out there with them, the sound of doors locking behind me.

Welcome to freakdom Dave. It’ll be time to start a website soon, where you’ll type everything in one huge paragraph.

It felt like dying.

Man thats a great book.

04-30-2012, 12:29 AM
"It's all right, though," Agustus said. "It's mostly bones we're riding over, anyway. Why, think of all the buffalo that have died on these plains. Buffalo and other critters too. And the Indians have been here forever; their bones are down there in the earth. I'm told that over in the Old Country you can't dig six feet without uncovering skulls and legbones and such. People have been living there since the beginning, and their bones have kinda filled up the ground. It's interesting to think about, all the bones in the ground. But it's just fellow creatures, it's nothing to shy from."
Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

Which reminds me of another passage:
It has never occurred to me before, but this is truly how it is: all of us on earth walk constantly over a seething, scarlet sea of flame, hidden below, in the belly of the earth. We never think of it. But what if the thin crust under our feet should turn to glass and we should suddenly see...
I became glass. I saw--within myself.
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We

Evil Dead Junkie
05-02-2012, 09:19 AM
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels 'hierachies?

and even if one them pressed me suddenly against her breast:

I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.

For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure,

and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihalte us.

Every angel is terrifying...

Rainer Maria Rilke

05-04-2012, 04:22 AM
When the Elite was full most languages and dialects could be heard there. The customers were under thirty and sat in cliques of five or six. There were political cliques, religious cliques, artistic cliques, homosexual cliques and criminal cliques. Some cliques talked about athletics, others about motor cars, others about jazz. Some cliques were centred on particular people, the biggest being dominated by Sludden. His clique usually occupied a sofa by the balcony door. An adjacent clique contained people who had belonged to Sludden's clique but grown tired of it (as they claimed) or been expelled from it (as Sludden claimed). The cliques disliked each other and none liked the cafe much.

From Lanark by Alasdair Gray, very possibly my favourite novel of all time.

Even though this was published in 1982, this passage always puts me in mind of the dynamics of internet forums. I guess the way people interact in groups hasn't changed that much in thirty years.

Here's more of it:

Sludden said, "Tell me why you use the balcony."
"I'm looking for daylight."
Sludden pursed his mouth as if tasting sourness. "This is hardly a season for daylight."
"You're wrong. I saw some not long ago and it lasted while I counted over four hundred, and it used to last longer. Do you mind my talking about this?"
"Go on! You couldn't discuss it with many people, but I've thought things out. Now you are trying to think things out, and that interests me. Say what you like."
Lanark was pleased and annoyed. He was lonely enough to feel flattered when people spoke to him but he disliked condescension. He said coldly, "There's not much to say."
"But why do you like daylight? We're well lit by the usual means."
"I can measure time with it. I've counted thirty days since coming here, maybe I've missed a few by sleeping or drinking coffee, but when I remember something I can say, "It happened two days ago," or ten, or twenty. This gives my life a feeling of order."
"And how do you spend your...days?"
"I walk and visit libraries and cinemas. When short of money I go to the security place. But most of the time I watch the sky from the balcony."
"And are you happy?"
"No, but I'm content. There are nastier ways of living."
Sludden laughed. "No wonder you've a morbid obsession with daylight. Instead of visiting ten parties since you came here, laying ten women and getting drunk ten times, you've watched thirty days go by. Instead of making life a continual feast you chop it into days and swallow them regularly, like pills."
Lanark looked sideways at Sludden. "Is your life a continual feast?"
"I enjoy myself. Do you?"
"No. But I'm content."
"Why are you content with so little?"
"What else can I have?"

05-07-2012, 11:55 AM

Death took a step backwards.

It was impossible to read expression in Azrael's features.

Death glanced sideways at the servants.


Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett

Evil Dead Junkie
05-17-2012, 10:52 AM
If the crux of fanhood holds a touch or more of madness, then Cleveland fanhood is a bug eyed, shit smeared lunatic, howling for a God who is never going to come.

The Whore Of Akron, Scott Raab

06-19-2012, 08:16 PM
When the roof fell in, a great funnel of smoke swarmed toward the sky as if the old man's mighty spirit, released from its body- a little bottle- had swelled like the genie of fable. The smoke was tinted rose-hue from the flames, and perhaps the unutterable midnights of the universe will have no power to daunt the color of this soul.
The Veteran- Stephen Crane

06-22-2012, 07:47 AM
He tongued at my chocolate starfish before thrusting three fingers between my quivering butt cheeks and wiggling his fingers around like he was searching for something he dropped inside of my ass.

One of those 50 Shades books, does it really matter?

06-22-2012, 04:36 PM
One of God's greatest mercies is that he keeps us perpetually occluded.
God mercifully occludes us to the past as well as the future... Infinite are the mercies of God.

Philip K. Dick, VALIS

Whatever it is that's watching, it is not human.

Not by my standards, anyhow. Not what I'd recognize.

What does a scanner see? he asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-type holo-scanner like they use these days, the latest thing, see into me—into us—clearly or darkly? I hope it does, he thought, see clearly, because I can’t any longer these days see into myself. I see only murk. Murk outside; murk inside. I hope, for everyone’s sake, the scanners do better. Because, he thought, if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I myself do, then we are cursed, cursed again and like we have been continually, and we’ll wind up dead this way, knowing very little and getting that little fragment wrong too.

"Let's continue the test," the seated deputy said. "What do you see in this one, Fred?"

"Plastic dog shit," Fred said. "Like they sell here in the Los Angeles area. Can I go now?" It was the Lions Club speech all over again.

Both deputies, however, laughed.

"You know, Fred," the seated one said, "if you can keep your sense of humor like you do you'll perhaps make it."

"Make it?" Fred echoed. "Make what? The team? The Chick? Make good? Make do? Make out? Make sense? Make money? Make time? Define your terms. The Latin for 'make' is facere, which always reminds me of fuckere, which is Latin for 'to fuck,' and I haven't... been geeting on worth jack shit lately, plastic shit or otherwise, any kind of shit. If you boys are psychologist types and you've been listening to my endless debriefings with Hank, what the hell is Donna's handle? How do I get next to her? I mean how is it done? With that kind of sweet, unique, stubborn little chick?"
Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

Evil Dead Junkie
07-03-2012, 08:17 PM
Some of those seven men they begged, they cried, they pleaded to God, to their mamas, they said they had families, they pissed their trousers. Others said nothing, just looked in the silent resignation that Lado thinks is the expression of Mexico itself. Bad things are going to happen, it is only a matter of when. They should stitch that on the flag.

Don Winslow, Savages

07-03-2012, 09:21 PM
Look out! Oh, you chump and weak fool, you are one of a humanity that can't be numbered and not more than the dust of metals scattered in a magnetic field and clinging to the lines of force, determined by laws, eating, sleeping, employed, conveyed, obedient, and subject. So why hunt for still more ways to lose liberty? Why go toward, and not instead run from, the huge drag that threatens to wear out your ribs, rub away your face, splinter your teeth? No, stay away!

Be the wiser person who crawls, rides, runs, walks to his solitary ends used to solitary effort, who procures for himself and heeds the fears that are the kings of this world. Ah, they don't give you much of a break, these kings! Many a dead or dying face lies or drifts under them.
Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March

07-07-2012, 04:47 PM
As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if it’s only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, let’s-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and- find-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest way—hostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all. (Coming up is the part that my companions find especially unhappy and repellent, a sure way to spoil the fun of vacation travel:) To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster

07-07-2012, 06:17 PM

You know all the famous myths about our nation's first president: that he wove his first wig himself from the hairs of the dog he killed so his family could eat. That he rid our nation of the plague of cherry trees. That beneath his gloves he had the giant, hairy paws of a bear. That he was our nation's first president. These are all charming tales.

But were you aware that George Washington...

grew hemp?
distilled his own rye whiskey?
smoked 70 cigars a day?
had a rudimentary crystal meth lab in the basement of Mount Vernon?
kept a laudanum-soaked wad of cotton in his cheek at all times?
was turned onto to hashish by Sally Fairfax, the wife of his best friend, whom he would love from afar for the rest of his life?
delivered his farewell address at Fraunces Tavern while high on Madeira and Red Bull?
ate 25 grams of French ecstasy daily "as a digestive"?
wrote A Book of Etiquette at the age of sixteen, including a final admonition to: "Labor to keep alive in your breast the little spark of celestial fire called 'cocaine'"?
had false teeth that were not made of wood but other human teeth?


(John Hodgman, Areas of My Expertise)

07-07-2012, 11:01 PM
A new task: Tympanic Panic
The popular music-hall ensemble Fariq Nasty and his Timpani Five is due to appear at the local auditorium. According to this leaflet, distributed by the Solemn Order of Platypii Ladies' Moral Auxiliary, Mr. Nasty's lyrics promote street grammar, kissing one's fiancee, regicide, Palestinian independence, bro-hugs, jeepform RPGs, immoderate use of snuff and sacrificing virgin blood to Bel-Marduk. The good Ladies intend to mount a campaign of protest, and as its centrepiece they need a child who has been ruined by Fariq's lascivious kettledrums, or at least appears so. Improving the moral tone of your community should, they imply, be reward enough.

(Sam Kabo Ashwell, Olivia's Orphanarium (http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=waljztz5tm1at7x6))

Evil Dead Junkie
07-10-2012, 03:20 PM

Ben peeks above the sheltering boulder and sees the three vehicles come into the pass.

The cars themselves are nothing- assembly line products of plastic and steel, little Bunsen burners of global warming. Dinosaur carbon footprints on the sere landscape. They are things, and Ben has no compunctions about things. ('we are spirits in the material world"). Tries to tell himself that they are only things but he knows the truth-there are people inside the things.

Beings with families, friends, loved ones, hopes, fears.
Capable, unlike the vessels that carry them, of pain and suffering.
Which he is about to inflict.
Index finger and thumb poised on the switch.
A simple muscle fiber twitch but
There is no Undo button.
No Control Alt Delete.
Ben thinks about suicide Bombers
Murder is the suicide of the soul.


Now, Ben, Chon thinks.
Now or never.
Now or not at all.
Two more seconds and the moment will have passed.


Ben flips the switch.

We had for a brief time a civilization that clung to a thin strip of land between the ocean and the desert.

Water was our problem, too much of it on one side, too little on the other, but it didn't stop us. We built houses, highways, hotels, shopping malls, condo complexes, parking lots, parking structures, schools and stadiums.

We proclaimed the freedom of the individual, bought and drove millions of cars to prove it, built more roads so we could go the everywhere that was nowhere. We watered our lawns, we washed our cars, we gulped plastic bottles of water to stay hydrated in our dehydrated land, we put up water parks.

We built temples to our fantasies- film studios, amusement parks, crystal cathedrials, megachurches- and flocked to them.

We went to the beach, road the waves, and poured our waste into the water we said we loved.

We reinvented ourselves every day, remade our culture, locked ourselves in gated communities, we ate healthy food, we gave up smoking, we lifted our faces while avoiding the sun, we had our skin peeled our lines removed, our fat sucked away like our unwanted babies, we defied aging and death.

We made gods of wealth and health.
A religion of narcassism.
In the end we worshipped only ourselves.
In the end it wasn't enough.

Savages Don Winslow

07-13-2012, 04:16 PM
He rather liked people. It was a major failing in a demon.
Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

07-14-2012, 08:42 PM
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire's flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It's not desiring the fall; it's terror of the flame yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don‘t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You'd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.
David Foster Wallace, Up, Simba!

07-27-2012, 06:48 PM
Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.

This is the whole of the story and we might have left it at that had there not been profit and pleasure in the telling; and although there is plenty of space on a gravestone to contain, bound in moss, the abridged version of a man's life, detail is always welcome.

Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark

08-04-2012, 10:16 AM
Oh Bob, thou eating champion of my heart
When I first saw thee stuff thy mouth with pies
I knew that we could never be apart
And took to verse to praise thee to the skies.
When I retire into my secret place
(The magic word for which is bibblebake)
I often think me of thy manly face,
And long to see thee cramming it with cake.
And yet, despite our common love of eating
I fear our wedding bells will never peal;
That never can we join in minds' true meeting
And share a grand-proportioned nuptial meal --
For thou art human and most fair of feature
And I, a hideous huge atomic creature.

David Fletcher, Light Of My Stomach (http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=8kekvt062lefgl2)

The Raider Dr. Jones
08-05-2012, 06:52 AM
The opening of Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter:

Three men at McAlester State Penitentiary had larger penises than Lamar Pye, but all were black and therefore, by Lamar's own figuring, hardly human at all. His was the largest penis ever seen on a white man in that prison or any of the others in which Lamar had spent so much of his adult life. It was a monster, a snake, a ropey, veiny thing that hardly looked at all like what it was but rather like some form of rubber tubing.

Therefore he was Number One on the fag hit parade, but the fags knew to stay away and could only dream of him in private. Lamar wasn't a fag, although, when the spirit moved him, he was a butt fucker. He wasn't a boss con's fuck boy either, or a punk, or a bitch or a mary or a snitch, and he carried a simple message in the graceful economy of his movements: to fuck with me is to fuck with death itself.

08-15-2012, 05:48 PM
This about sums up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The White Company:

So they lived, these men, in their own lusty, cheery fashion -- rude and rough, but honest, kindly and true.

Evil Dead Junkie
08-15-2012, 09:08 PM
But there's a second kind of reader. The Social isolate- the child who from a very early age felt very different from everyone around him. This is very, very difficult to uncover in an interview. People don't like to admit that they were social isolates as children. What happens is you take that sense of being different into an imaginary world. But that world, then, is a world you can't share with the people around you- because it's imaginary. And so the important dialogue in your life is with the authors of the books you read. Though they aren't present they become your community.

Jonathan Franzen, How To Be Alone

09-03-2012, 11:15 PM
The bodies of saints are fastidious things. At a place called Four-mile-Water, in Wexford, there is an old graveyard full of saints. Once it was on the other side of the river, but they buried a rouge there, and the whole graveyard moved across in the night, leaving the rouge-corpse in solitude. It would have been easier to move merely the rouge-corpse, but they were saints, and had to do things in style.

William Butler Yeats, Fairy and Folktales of the Irish Peasantry

09-12-2012, 12:23 AM
She put the headphones back in and restarted the album at the first track. People in suits stared at her as she bobbed her head to the music. She stuck her tongue out, feeling ridiculous but exhilarated, and wondered whatever had happened to Molly Ringwald. She must presumably be alive, somewhere. No longer a movie star. No longer young. But still, in some diminished sense, Molly Ringwald. Did she get up in the morning and stare in the mirror, wondering what had happened to the other her, the zeitgeist girl? Was that other Molly still out there somewhere, still bright-eyed, still new, wondering where her world had gone?

Michael Marshall Smith, The Other One

10-26-2012, 09:37 PM
We choose—or choose not—to be alone when we decide whom we will accept as our fellows, and whom we will reject. Thus an eremite in a mountain cave is in company, because the birds and coneys, the initiates whose words live in his “forest books,” and the winds—messengers of the Increate—are his companions. Another man, living in the midst of millions, may be alone because there are none but enemies and victims around him.
Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch

It's hard to pick just one passage to quote from Citadel. Even though I read it once before, I stopped often to muse on some little insight Wolfe described with what seems almost careless ease, the way most of us would describe minor incidents in our daily life.

The Raider Dr. Jones
10-28-2012, 07:39 AM
American Tabloid by James Ellroy:

Pete sipped coffee. “Tell me more.”
“No, you ask.”
“Okay. I’m on the Sunset Strip and I want to get laid for a C-note. What do I do?”
“You see Mel, the parking-lot man at Dino’s Lodge. For a dime, he’ll send you to a pad on Havenhurst and Fountain.”
“Suppose I want nigger stuff?”
“Go to the drive-in at Washington and La Brea and talk to the colored carhops.”
“Suppose I dig boys?”
Lenny flinched. Pete said, “I know you hate fags, but answer the question.”
“Shit, I don’t ... wait ... the doorman at the Largo runs a string of male prosties.”
“Good. Now, what’s the story on Mickey Cohen’s sex life?”
Lenny smiled. “It’s cosmetic. He doesn’t really dig cooze, but he likes to be seen with beautiful women. His current quasigirlfriend is named Sandy Hashhagen. Sometimes he goes out with Candy Barr and Liz Renay.”
“Who clipped Tony Trombino and Tony Brancato?”
“Either Jimmy Frattiano or a cop named Dave Klein.”
“Who’s got the biggest dick in Hollywood?”
“Steve Cochran or John Ireland.”
“What’s Spade Cooley do for kicks?”
“Pop bennies and beat up his wife.”
“Who’d Ava Gardner cheat on Sinatra with?”
“Who do you see for a quick abortion?”
“I’d go see Freddy Otash.”
“Jayne Mansfield?”
“Dick Contino?”
“Muff diver supreme.”
“Gail Russell?”
“Drinking herself to death at a cheap pad in West L.A.”
“Lex Barker?”
“Pussy hound with jailbait tendencies.”
“Johnnie Ray?”
“Art Pepper?”
“Lizabeth Scott?”
“Billy Eckstine?”
“Cunt man.”
“Tom Neal?”
“On the skids in Palm Springs.”
“Anita O’Day?”
“Cary Grant?”
“Randolph Scott?”
“Senator William F. Knowland?”
“Chief Parker?”
“Bing Crosby?”
“Drunk wife-beater.”
“Sergeant John O’Grady?”
“LAPD guy known for planting dope on jazz musicians.”
“Desi Arnaz?”
“Whore chaser.”
“Scott Brady?”
“Grace Kelly?”
“Frigid. I popped her once myself, and I almost froze my shvantze off.”

Evil Dead Junkie
11-23-2012, 06:31 PM
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

W.H. Auden, 1st September 1939

12-06-2012, 11:38 PM
Every love ends in parting or death. Every nation ends and every empire. Every baby born was going to die, given enough time. If being fated for destruction were enough to take the joy out of things, we’d slaughter children fresh from the womb. But we don’t. We wrap them in warm cloth and we sing to them and feed them milk as if it might all go on forever.

Daniel Abraham, The Price of Spring

Evil Dead Junkie
12-09-2012, 09:04 AM
"But I'm really unfit..."

"You are willing, that is enough."

"Now, really, I know of no occupation for which mere willingness is the final test."

"I do. Martyrs. I am sending you to your death. Good day."

The Man Who Was Thursday, GK Chesterton

The Raider Dr. Jones
12-23-2012, 08:39 PM
Odin and Fenrir were the first to engage and their fight will be fearsome. In the end, though, the wolf will seize Allfather between his jaws and swallow him. That will be the death of Odin. At once his son Vidar will stride forward and press one foot on Fenrir's bottom jaw -- and the shoe he will wear then has been a long time in the making; it consists of all the strips and bits of leather pared off the heels and toes of new shoes since time began, all the leftovers thrown away as gifts for the god. Then Vidar will take hold of Fenrir's other jaw and tear the wolf apart, so avenging his father.

From the prose retelling of Ragnarok by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

12-26-2012, 11:54 AM
Were you aware that Harry Houdini was close friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes?

Okay, I guess EVERYONE knows that. But were you aware that their friendship was WEIRD and also TRAGIC?

I shall explain.

By the time they met, Doyle had lost his son to the Great War. And in his grief he had turned to the popular spiritualist movement of the day and immersed himself in the arcane realms of spirit photography and fairies.

Doyle became convinced of the reality of the supernatural world in 1920, when he attended a seance in London. During the seance, he truly felt he had made contact with his dead son because the table moved very slightly and someone coughed in the next room.

"Those were his favorite hobbies!" Doyle wrote to his friend Houdini. "He loved coughing and moving tables! I had never known that about him, but the famous medium Madame Psychopomp told me it was so. She read his dead mind, and my own swiftly beating heart!"

Houdini, the magician who debunked magic, could not bear to see the great rationalist Doyle enchanted by ghosts and frauds. And so he did what any friend would: He set out to prove spiritualism false and rob his friend Doyle of the one comforting fiction that was keeping him sane. It was the least he could do.

To accomplish this intervention, Houdini invited Doyle to an apartment he had rented in New York. It was furnished only with a blackboard. He then asked Doyle to choose a cork ball at random and dip it in white paint. Next, he told Doyle to go around the corner, where he could not be seen, write a private message on a piece of paper, and then return.

Doyle did so.

When Doyle went back to the apartment, Houdini asked him to take the cork dipped in white paint and put it on the blackboard. At first it merely stuck to the blackboard--strange enough, you might think. But then slowly, very slowly, it began to roll on the blackboard, spelling a message in paint.

To Doyle's astonishment, this is what it said:


The mysterious paint-covered cork ball went on to write:


Doyle stared at this message for a long time, blinking, his eyes reddening at the corners.

"But, Houdini," he said finally, softly. "That is not what I wrote."

"No, of course it isn't!" said Houdini, now frustrated. "What you wrote was 'I will never stop missing my son.'"

At this, Conan Doyle gasped. He took out the paper he had scribbled on and stared at it. "How did you know that? You must be psychic!"

"No, you fool," said Houdini. "Your sadness is written on that paper, but it's written just as plainly on your face every day. Also, I placed mirrors on every street corner for a mile around and used a spyglass to watch you write it! There is no magic to it. I even saw you crying as you wrote!"

But people will believe what they want, and Doyle left that room more convinced of Houdini's supernatural powers than ever. He would spend the rest of his life talking into a so-called spirit telephone, which is just a disconnected telephone, conversing with the sound of dull and crackly static that sounded, to him, like the way his son once breathed in sleep when he was an infant with a chest cold. And when Doyle died, he donated his body to pseudoscience.

As for Houdini, he continued his quest to reveal the mediums and seancers as charlatans until the end of his life, when HE WAS PUNCHED IN THE STOMACH TO DEATH BY GHOSTS.
(John Hodgman, That is All)

The Raider Dr. Jones
12-30-2012, 01:19 AM
Meanwhile a lot of fighters have had to go to work, a situation the horror of which was impressed upon me long ago by the great Sam Langford, in describing a period of his young manhood when he had licked everybody who would fight him. "I was so broke," he said, "that I didn't have no money. I had to go to work with my hands." Manual labor didn't break his spirit. He got a fight with Joe Gans, the great lightweight champion of the world, and whipped him in fifteen rounds in 1903, when Sam says he was seventeen years old. The record books make him twenty-three. (They were both over the weight, though, so he didn't get the title.) After the fight he was lying on the rubbing table in his dressing room feeling proud and a busted-down colored middleweight named George Byers walked in. "How did I look?" Langford asked him. "You strong," Byers said, "but you don't know nothing."

Langford wasn't offended. He had the humility of the great artist. He said, "How much you charge to teach me?" Byers said, "Ten dollars." Langford gave him ten dollars. It was a sizable share of the purse he had earned for beating Gans.

"And then what happened?" I asked Sam. He said, "He taught me. He was right. I didn't know nothing. I used to just chase and punch, hurt my hands on hard heads. After George taught me I made them come to me. I made them lead."

"How?" I asked.

"If they didn't lead I'd run them out of the ring. When they led I'd hit them in the body. Then on the point of the chin. Not the jaw, the point of the chin. That's why I got such pretty hands today." Sam by that time was nearly blind, he weighed 230 pounds, and he couldn't always be sure that when he spat tobacco juice at the empty chitterling can in his hall room he would hit.

But he looked affectionately at his knees, where he knew those big hands rested. There wasn't a lump on a knuckle. "I'd belt them oat," he said. "Oh, I'd belt them oat."

When I told this story to Whitey [Bimstein, a trainer of fighters] he sucked in his breath reverently, like a lama informed of one of the transactions of Buddha.

"What a difference from the kids today," the schoolman said. "I have a kid in a bout last night and he can't even count. Every time he hook the guy is open for a right, and I tell him: 'Go twicet, go twicet!' But he would go oncet and lose the guy. I don't know what they teach them in school."

After Sam tutored with Professor Byers he grew as well as improved, but he improved a lot faster than he grew. He beat Gans, at approximately even weights, but when he fought Jack Johnson, one of the best heavyweights who ever lived, he spotted him 27 pounds. Langford weighed 158, Johnson 185. Sam was twenty-six, according to Nat Fleischer, or twenty-five, according to Sam, and Johnson twenty-eight. Sam knocked Johnson down for an eight count, Johnson never rocked Sam, and there has been argument ever since over the decision for Johnson at the end of the fifteen rounds. Sam's effort was a succes d'estime for the scholastic approach to boxing, but Johnson, an anti-intellectual, would never give him another fight.

Johnson, by then older and slower, did fight another middleweight in 1909 -- Stanley Ketchel, the Michigan Assassin. Ketchel's biographers, for the most part exponents of the raw-nature, or blinded-with-blood-he-swung-again school of fight writing, turn literary handsprings when they tell how Ketchel, too, knocked Johnson down. But Johnson got up and took him with one punch. There was a direct line of comparison between Langford and Ketchel as middleweights. They boxed a six-round no-decision bout in Philadelphia which was followed by a newspaper scandal; the critics accused Langford of carrying Ketchel. Nobody accused Ketchel of carrying Langford. I asked Sam once if he had carried Ketchel, and he said, "He was a good man. I couldn't knock him out in six rounds."

Their artistic statures have been transposed in retrospect. The late, blessed Philadelphia Jack O'Brien fought both of them. He considered Ketchel "a bum distinguished only by the tumultuous but ill-directed ferocity of his assault." (That was the way Jack liked to talk.) Ketchel did knock Mr. O'Brien non compos his remarkable mentis in the last nine seconds of a ten-round bout (there was no decision, and O'Brien always contended he won on points). Jack attributed his belated mishap to negligence induced by contempt. He said Langford, though, had a "mystic quality."

"When he appeared upon the scene of combat you knew you were cooked," Jack said.

Mr. O'Brien was, in five.

Abbott Joseph Liebling, from "The University of Eighth Avenue"

01-03-2013, 10:25 AM
After descending into the Earth (said Marco Polo to the Khan) you seek through long, silent passages of stone. Your helmet's dim illumination presses back the dark, but does not break it; darkness follows in your footsteps and obliterates them.

You descend chasms, you crawl through low chambers. Occasionally you see a discarded scrap or a bootprint in the mud, for these tunnels are not uninhabited, but you leave these signs undisturbed and add few of your own. Companionship on the journey is not what you seek. Silence, the unchanging textures of stone lull you; you push ahead into the dark, but your mind wanders. Did the children of Atalantë explore here as you do? Did they lose themselves, fade into shadow?

You come to yourself at a chimney's precipitous lip. Not so peaceful an end, had you stumbled! Will you climb upwards or downwards?
Andrew Plotkin, Bigger Than You Think (http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=h9x354wyakeeanik)

Evil Dead Junkie
01-05-2013, 01:39 PM
"In my experience," the Deacon Broscious said, "the most memorable thing in a man's life is rarely pleasant. Pleasure don't teach us anything but that pleasure is pleasurable." And what sort of lesson is that? Monkey jacking his own penis know that. Nah, nah," he said, "The nature of learning, my brothers? Is pain. Ya'll think on this- we hardly ever know how happy we are as children, for example, until our childhood is taken from us. We usually can't recognize true love until it's passed us by. And then, then we say, My that wasa thing. That was the truth, ya'll. But in the moment?" He shrugged his enormous shoulders and patted his forehead with his handkerchief, "What molds us," he said, "is what maims us."

The Given Day, Dennis Lehane

01-14-2013, 07:08 AM
“I tell you, commander, it's true that some of the most terrible things in the world are done by people who think, genuinely think, that they're doing it for the best, especially if there is some god involved.”

Terry Pratchett, Snuff

01-31-2013, 07:08 PM
To take my mind off the jolting darkness I entered, with extreme caution, that part of my mother's mind which was in charge of driving operations, and as a result was able to follow our route. (And, also, to discern in my mother's habitually tidy mind an alarming degree of disorder. I was already beginning, in those days, to classify people by their degree of internal tidiness, and to discover that I preferred the messier type, whose thoughts, spilling constantly into one another so that anticipatory images of food interfered with the serious business of earning a living and sexual fantasies were superimposed upon their political musings, bore a closer relationship to my own pell-mell tumble of a brain, in which everything ran into everything else and the white dot of consciousness jumped about like a wild flea from one thing to the next... Amina Sinai, whose assiduous ordering-instincts had provided her with a brain of almost abnormal neatness, was a curious recruit to the ranks of confusion.)

Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

The Raider Dr. Jones
01-31-2013, 08:50 PM
Dizzy posted about the movie, made me remember my favorite bit from Out of Sight, Elmore Leonard.

During the afternoon Karen stayed in and watched a movie on television she had seen at least a couple of times before, Repo Man, because Harry Dean Stanton was in it and he reminded her of Foley. Not his looks - they didn't look anything alike - his manner: both real guys who seemed tired of who they were, but couldn't do anything about it.

Stuck, putting up with their lives the way people find themselves in jobs they care nothing about, but in time have nowhere else to go. She wondered if Foley ever had goals. Or if his idea of living was anything more than lying around the house, watching movies.

* * *

Buddy said he was going out, see if there were any whores around, maybe bring one up to his room. Foley imagined some poor girl standing in the snow in her white boots, bare thighs and a ratty fur jacket, shivering, getting hit by slush as cars went by; but doubted she'd be there in real life. He wished Buddy luck and pressed buttons on the TV remote until he found a movie. Repo Man, a winner he'd seen a few times before. Old Harry Dean Stanton getting the short end as usual.

Fun to watch, though. This was the one, they open the trunk of the car and you see a strange glow. Like in Kiss Me Deadly, the strange glow in the case inside the locker, and they used it again in Pulp Fiction.

Mysterious glow movies - some kind of radioactive material, but what it's doing there is never explained; if it was, Foley missed it. He liked this kind of movie. You could think about it after, when you had nothing to do, try to figure out what the movie was about.

01-31-2013, 10:05 PM
For we can always see and feel much that the people in old photos and newsreels could not: that their clothing and automobiles were old-fashioned, that their landscape lacked skyscrapers and other contemporary buildings, that their world was black and white and haunting and gone.

Robert Rosenstone, “Visions of the Past”

02-11-2013, 04:04 AM
And on the westerly arm, pointing up to a little headland and a dwindling of the golden beach, it said:


…You and I, being grown-up and having lost our hearts at least twice or thrice along the way, might shut our eyes and cry out, Not that way, child! But as we have said, September was Somewhat Heartless, and felt herself reasonably safe on that road. Children always do.
Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

The Raider Dr. Jones
03-04-2013, 04:27 PM
From Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter. The setting: 1946 in the mob-run gambling town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Earl Swagger, Marine veteran of the Pacific, is standing at the train station and has lit a cigarette for a young woman who, unbeknownst to him, happens to be Bugsy Siegel's moll Virginia Hill. Enter Bugsy, unhappy:

"What the fuck is this all about, Virginia?" he demanded.

"Christ, Ben, I just got a light from this poor guy," she said as she pulled her arm free.

"Sir," said Earl, "there wasn't nothing going on here."

"Shut up, cowboy. When I talk to you, that's when you talk to me." He turned back to Virginia. "You fucking slut, I ought to smack you in the face. Get to the train. Go on, get your goddamn ass out of here!" He gave her a shove toward the train, and turned after her.

But then he thought better of it, and turned back to Earl. His hot eyes looked Earl up and down.

Earl gazed back.

"What are you looking at, bumpkin?"

"I ain't looking at nothing, sir."

"You fucking dog, I ought to beat the shit out of you right here. I ought to smash you into the pavement, you little nobody. You nothing. You piece of fucking crap." His anger fueled the color of his language.

"Ben, leave the poor guy alone, I started talking to--"

"Shut up, bitch. Get her to the train, goddammit," he barked at two of Owney's Grumleys who'd shown up in support. Earl saw Owney himself with two others back a few steps and around them a cone of onlookers had formed. It was dead quiet.

"Do you know who I am?" Ben said.

"Ben, get ahold of yourself," said Owney.

"He's just a guy on a platform," the woman yelled, pulling away from the two goons.

But now the focus of Ben's rage was entirely upon Earl, who just stood there with a passive look on his face.

"Do you know who I am?" Siegel screamed again.

"No sir," said Earl.

"Well, if you did, you fucking putz, you would be shitting bricks in your pants. You would be stinking up this joint. You do not want to fuck with me. You don't even want to be in the same state as me, do you understand that, you country fuckhead?"

"Yes sir," said Earl. "I only lit the lady's cigarette."

"Well, you thank your fucking lucky stars I didn't decide to wipe your ass on the railway tracks, you got that, Tex? Do you get that?"

"Yes sir," said Earl.

Bugsy leaned close. "I killed seventeen men," he said. "How many you killed, you pitiful farmer?"

"Ah, I'd say somewhere between 300 and 350," said Earl.

03-08-2013, 06:08 PM
All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules. Generally, all the best mechanistic games - those which can be played in any sense "perfectly", such as grid, Prallian scope, 'nkraytle, chess, Farnic dimensions - can be traced to civilizations lacking a relativistic view of the universe (let alone the reality). They are also, I might add, invariably pre-machine sentience societies.

Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

Evil Dead Junkie
04-07-2013, 05:04 PM
Sid Vicious was angry most of the time about something but one night he was particularly mad because he was a fucking star and Malcolm McLaren had him on rations of eight quid a week. We were in Russ Meyer's rented car, driving down the Cromwell Road in London and Vicious told Meyer's to pull over in front of a late-night grocery so he could purchase some provisions. Meyer and I watched as he skulked into the store, wearing leather pants, a ripped T-shirt and Doc Martens [...] Sid's hair was spiky and his eyes were bloodshot. Through the window we saw the store owners exchange uneasy glances before Sid checked out with his supper, which consisted of two six packs of beer and a big can of Pork and Beans.

Roger Ebert, Life Itself

Seriously, how fucking great would it have been to spend the night cruising around London with Roger Ebert, Russ Meyers and Sid Vicious?

The Raider Dr. Jones
04-09-2013, 08:14 AM
Ebert did an essay about the making of the aborted Pistols flick that had another great bit, lemme find that...

Cook and Jones were hardly seen during the days we spent in London. McLaren came to the flat every day, and took a lively interest in the process of auditioning possible actors for the movie. (Among the actors cast were Marianne Faithful, who would play Vicious's mother, and fallen rock idol P. J. Proby, who would more or less play himself.) When Rotten and Vicious came by, it was mostly to ask McLaren for money, although I remember one immortal exchange between Russ Meyer and Rotten:

Rotten: "Fuck off, you sod."

Meyer: "Listen, you. We fought the Battle of Britain for you, and I'm ready to fight it all over again and whip your ass."

Apparently impressed, Rotten retired into silence, unaware that (a) America did not fight in the Battle of Britain, and (b) as an Irishman, he or his forebears were officially neutral, anyway.

Evil Dead Junkie
05-10-2013, 06:25 PM
I am a police. That may sound like anunusual statement- or an unusual construction. But it's a parlance we have. Among ourselves we would never say I am a policeman or I am a policewoman or I am a police officer. We would just say I am a police. I am a police. I am a police...

Downtown atCID, with its three thousand sworn, there are many departments and subfepartments, sections and units, whose names are always changing: Organized Crime, Major Crimes, Crimes Against Persons, Sex Offenses, Auto Theft, Check Fraud, Special Investigations, Asset Forfeiture, Intellegence, Narcotics, Kidnapping, Burglary, Robbery-and Homicide. There is a glass door marked Vice. There is no glass door marked Sin. The city is the offense. We are the defence. That's the general idea.

Night Train, Martin Amis

The Raider Dr. Jones
05-20-2013, 11:34 AM
Mormonism is a subject ripe for satire of all sorts, but nobody will ever write anything funnier about the faith of my fathers than Mark Twain did in Roughing It.

(To explain the basics for those who may be unfamiliar, Brigham Young, leader of the church in the middle part of the 19th century, had at his peak around fifty-odd wives.)

And Mr. Johnson said that while he and Mr. Young were pleasantly conversing in private, one of the Mrs. Youngs came in and demanded a breast-pin, remarking that she had found out that he had been giving a breast-pin to No. 6, and she, for one, did not propose to let this partiality go on without making a satisfactory amount of trouble about it. Mr. Young reminded her that there was a stranger present. Mrs. Young said that if the state of things inside the house was not agreeable to the stranger, he could find room outside. Mr. Young promised the breast-pin, and she went away. But in a minute or two another Mrs. Young came in and demanded a breast-pin. Mr. Young began a remonstrance, but Mrs. Young cut him short. She said No. 6 had got one, and No. 11 was promised one, and it was "no use for him to try to impose on her—she hoped she knew her rights." He gave his promise, and she went. And presently three Mrs. Youngs entered in a body and opened on their husband a tempest of tears, abuse, and entreaty. They had heard all about No. 6, No. 11, and No. 14. Three more breast-pins were promised. They were hardly gone when nine more Mrs. Youngs filed into the presence, and a new tempest burst forth and raged round about the prophet and his guest. Nine breast-pins were promised, and the weird sisters filed out again. And in came eleven more, weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth. Eleven promised breast-pins purchased peace once more.

"That is a specimen," said Mr. Young. "You see how it is. You see what a life I lead. A man can't be wise all the time. In a heedless moment I gave my darling No. 6—excuse my calling her thus, as her other name has escaped me for the moment—a breast-pin. It was only worth twenty-five dollars—that is, apparently that was its whole cost—but its ultimate cost was inevitably bound to be a good deal more. You yourself have seen it climb up to six hundred and fifty dollars—and alas, even that is not the end! For I have wives all over this Territory of Utah. I have dozens of wives whose numbers, even, I do not know without looking in the family Bible. They are scattered far and wide among the mountains and valleys of my realm. And mark you, every solitary one of them will hear of this wretched breast pin, and every last one of them will have one or die. No. 6's breast pin will cost me twenty-five hundred dollars before I see the end of it. And these creatures will compare these pins together, and if one is a shade finer than the rest, they will all be thrown on my hands, and I will have to order a new lot to keep peace in the family. Sir, you probably did not know it, but all the time you were present with my children your every movement was watched by vigilant servitors of mine. If you had offered to give a child a dime, or a stick of candy, or any trifle of the kind, you would have been snatched out of the house instantly, provided it could be done before your gift left your hand. Otherwise it would be absolutely necessary for you to make an exactly similar gift to all my children—and knowing by experience the importance of the thing, I would have stood by and seen to it myself that you did it, and did it thoroughly.

"Once a gentleman gave one of my children a tin whistle—a veritable invention of Satan, sir, and one which I have an unspeakable horror of, and so would you if you had eighty or ninety children in your house. But the deed was done—the man escaped. I knew what the result was going to be, and I thirsted for vengeance. I ordered out a flock of Destroying Angels, and they hunted the man far into the fastnesses of the Nevada mountains. But they never caught him. I am not cruel, sir—I am not vindictive except when sorely outraged—but if I had caught him, sir, so help me Joseph Smith, I would have locked him into the nursery till the brats whistled him to death. By the slaughtered body of St. Parley Pratt (whom God assail!) there was never anything on this earth like it! I knew who gave the whistle to the child, but I could not make those jealous mothers believe me. They believed I did it, and the result was just what any man of reflection could have foreseen: I had to order a hundred and ten whistles—I think we had a hundred and ten children in the house then, but some of them are off at college now—I had to order a hundred and ten of those shrieking things, and I wish I may never speak another word if we didn't have to talk on our fingers entirely, from that time forth until the children got tired of the whistles. And if ever another man gives a whistle to a child of mine and I get my hands on him, I will hang him higher than Haman! That is the word with the bark on it! Shade of Nephi! You don't know anything about married life."

05-21-2013, 10:13 AM
That is remarkably even-handed for something written in 1872.

06-10-2013, 03:09 PM
(From Small Child in Woods - You Will Select a Decision, № 1 By Brendan Patrick Hennessy.)
Like national hero Abdukadyr Urazbekov, the first Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Kyrgyz SSR, you choose to stick to your principals, even if it means becoming beheaded like national hero Abdukadyr Urazbekov.

"Do with me what you will, witch," says you, "I will certainly be ready to enter martyrdom."

"Okie-dokie" she says the witch "I will use you as ingredients for my stew then."

You go to the cauldron stern-faced without showing a tear and are cooked and are eaten.


FURTHER READING: Does this death end also count as a victory end? Some would say yes and some would say no. Famous Kyrgyz poet Alykul Osmonov had this to say on the subject of death:

There is no greater joy that death for a cause
Not sleeping through the afternoon
Not giving birth to a doctor
Not even giving birth to twin doctors
Death is really the only important thing
From the above list of four things

However, there is a contrasting folk saying which says the following:

To become the dinner of a leopard
When your disposition is anti-leopard
Is not productive but counter-productive

If one swaps the word "leopard" for the "witch" and changes the declensions and conjugations appropriately, one can see an obvious parallel with this situation.

We leave the questions of philosophy to the reader, and to the elders of the reader (who are inherently wiser and more suited for philosophy than the reader).

06-10-2013, 05:19 PM
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“There is still one of which you never speak.'

Marco Polo bowed his head.

'Venice,' the Khan said.

Marco smiled. 'What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?'

The emperor did not turn a hair. 'And yet I have never heard you mention that name.'

And Polo said: 'Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”

06-10-2013, 10:17 PM
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

It's been a long time since I read that one. I need to revisit it at some point soon.

06-17-2013, 03:22 PM
I must look up some more of his books. That's the only one I've read of his as of yet.

This one's from the original print novel of "Human Nature," which Paul Cornell himself cheerfully admitted was a redo of "Superman II," as the Doctor experiments with love and humanity. Because he's Paul Cornell, that doesn't make the story any the less true or emotionally moving, and so there's a passage when he's saying farewell to his human lover...

She quickly walked to the door and held it open for him...'It was good of you to come and tell me. Thank you for saving us all.'

He paused for a moment at the door and gazed at her face. 'I hope that one day, when I'm old, when my travels are over, and history has no more need of me, then I can be just a man again. And then, perhaps I'll find those things in me that I'd need to love, also. Not love like I do, a big love for big things, but that more dangerous love. The one that makes and kills human beings.' He stretched out a finger to touch her face, but suspended it, an inch from her skin. 'It's a dream I have.'
He turned away and walked down the road.
He didn't look back.

Joan closed the door and sat down.

06-26-2013, 01:25 PM
So, I was just looking at my copy of To the Lighthouse and a piece of paper fell out of it. On it I had noted a passage that I really liked from the book. I just re-read the passage and here it is (Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay are taking a walk around the property, making small talk):

They paused. He wished Andrew could be induced to work harder. He would lose every chance of a scholarship if he didn't. "Oh scholarships!" she said. Mr. Ramsay thought her foolish for saying that, about a serious thing, like a scholarship. He should be very proud of Andrew if he got a scholarship, he said. She would be just as proud of him if he didn't, she answered. They disagreed always about this, but it did not matter. She liked him to believe in scholarships, and he liked her to be proud of Andrew whatever he did. Suddenly she remembered those little paths on the edge of the cliffs.

Man, I need to re-read this book. Nobody captures meandering, disconnected small talk like Woolf.

Evil Dead Junkie
07-04-2013, 02:18 PM
"Meth is medicine." Chef looked at him solemnly, then tapped Andy's chest with a finger for emphasis. Chef had nibbled the nail all the way to the bloody quick. "Meth is Medicine. Say it."

"Meth is medicine," Andy repeated, agreeably enough.

"That's right." Chef stood up. "It's a medicine for melancholy. That's from Ray Bradbury. You ever read Ray Bradbury?"


"He's a fucking head. He knew. He wrote the mother fucking book, say hallelujah."

Under The Dome, Stephen King

07-08-2013, 12:07 PM
Pardon if this runs long, but I'm currently rereading this for the first time in years and given the news I've received today, the gut- and heart level guffaws it tendered in me are something precious.

"You bested Abbu Bensir." She touched her throat. "You gave him the broken voice he has even to this day."
"I got lucky."
"He underestimated you."
"That's what I mean: I got lucky."
She smiled. "But did you believe so then?"
"Of course not. I felt it was my due; how could I not best a man older, smaller, and slower than I?"
"And now it is your due."
"But look how many years it took me to get here."
"And here we are," Del said quietly. "On Skandi, without encumbrances. No brother to find, no sword-dancers to defeat, no sorcerers after our swords or our bodies. No prophecies to fulfill."
"I'm pretty sick of prophecies, myself. They come in handy now and again, I suppose, to keep things from getting too boring, but mostly they just stir up trouble."
Her smile was hooked down, ironic. "But you are the jhihadi."
"Maybe." I knew she didn't believe it. Me, a messiah? The deliverer of the desert? Right. As for me, well, I'd decided it depended on interpretation; I had come up with an idea that could eventually change the sand to grass, albeit it had nothing to do with magic, and thus lent an infinitely banal culmination to a mysterious and mythic prophecy. Which many found disappointing for its true lack of drama; but then, real life is comprised of such banalities. "Or maybe I just got lucky. Whatever the answer, I think this jhihadi's job is done."
"Leaving him with the balance of his life to live."
"With and without encumbrances."
"What encumbrances do you have now? The metri? Herakleio?"
"Oh, I was thinking more along the lines of you."
"What am I to do with you?"
"Do with me? What do you mean, do with me? What is there to do with me?"
I couldn't help myself: I had to laugh out loud. Which resulted in Del swinging around in front of me and stopping dead in her tracks, which also were mine, so I stopped too. As she intended.
She poked me hard in the breastbone. "Tell me."
"Oh, bascha, here you say you've changed me over the past three years, but what you don't realize is that I've changed you every bit as much."
"You have! Me?" Her chin went up. "What do you mean?"
"You argue like me, now."
"Like you? In what way? How do I argue with you?"
"You slather a poor fool with questions. The kind of questions that are phrased as challenges."
She opened her mouth, shut it. Then opened it again. "In what way," she began with deceptive quietude, "do I do this?"
"That's better," I soothed. "That's more like the old Delilah."
"And that is?"
"You as you are just now. Cool and calm." I dropped into a dramatic whisper. "Dangerous."
She thought about it.
"It's not the end of the world if you lose a little of that icy demeanor and loosen up, you know," I consoled. "I was just making an observation, is all."
She thought more about it, frowning fiercely. "But you're right."
"It's not necessarily a bad thing, Del." I paused. "Loosening up, I mean, not me being right. Though that isn't a bad thing either."
"By acquiring some of your mannerisms, your sayings?" She twisted her mouth. "Perhaps not; I suppose that is bound to happen. But..."
"But I am not pleased to be told my self-control has frayed so much."
"What self-control? Self-control in that you sound like me? Self-control in that I don't have any? Is that what you mean?"
Del abruptly shed the icy demeanor and grinned triumphantly. "Got you."
"You did not."
"I did."
"You can't 'get' somebody if they know what you're doing."
"You're saying you knew?"
"I did know. That's why I answered the way I did."
"Slathering a poor soul-in this case-me-with questions? The kind of questions phrased as challenges?"
"Now you're doing it again."
I caught her arm in mine, swung her around. "Let's just go," I suggested. "We can continue this argument as we walk. Otherwise, we'll never reach the harbor by sundown."
"I don't think I'm anything like you."
"I believe there are a whole lot of men who would agree, and be joyously thankful for it unto whatever gods they worship."
"You were such a pig when I met you!"
Our strides matched again as we moved smoothly down the cart-road leading to the city. "Why, because I thought you were attractive? Desirable? All woman? And let you know about it?"
"You let the whole world know about it, Tiger."
"Nobody disagreed, did they?"
"But it was the way you did it."
"Where I come from, leering at a woman suggest the man finds her attractive. Is that bad?"
"That's the point," she said. "Where you come from...every male in the South leers at women."
"Not all women."
"Some women," she amended. "which really isn't fair either, Tiger; if you're going to be rude to women, you ought to be rude to all women, not just the ones you'd like in your bed. Or the ones you think you'd like in your bed. Or the ones you think would like to be in your bed."
"Leer indiscriminately?"
"If you're going to, yes."
"This may come as a surprise, bascha, but I don't want to sleep with all women."
"We're not discussing sleeping with. We're discussing leering at."
"What, and have every woman alive mad at me?"
"But there are less vulgar ways of indicating interest and appreciation."
"Of course there are."
She blinked. "You agree with me?"
"Sure I agree with you. I'm not arguing that point. I'm trying to explain the code of men, here."
That startled as well as made her suspicious. "Code of men?"
"When a man leers at a woman, or whistles, or shouts--"
"Or invites her into his bed?"
"--or invites her into his bed--"
"--with very vulgar language?"
"--with or without very vulgar language--"
"Insulting and vulgar language!"
"--it's because of two things," I finished at last.
"What two things?"
"One, it lets all the other men know you've got first dibs--"
"First dibs!"
"--which is what I meant about the code of men; first dibs and rite--right--of ownership--"
"Well, so to speak."
"It shouldn't be a part of what anyone speaks."
"Look, I've already told you about the code of men, which is never to be divulged--"
"And do you believe in this code?"
I hesitated.
"I can't tell you that."
"Why not?"
I chewed at my lip. "The code."
"The code won't let you tell me about the code?"
"That's about it."
"Then why did you?"
"Because I tell you everything. That's a code, too."
"It is? What's this one called?"
"The code of survival."
Del shot me a look that said she'd punish me for all of this one day. "Getting back to this 'because of two things' issue..."
"What two things?"
"First was first dibs. You know, the reason men leer and say vulgar things to women."
"Oh." I took it up again. "--and two, it certainly saves time."
"Saves time?"
"Well, yes, I mean, what if the woman's interested?"
"What if the woman isn't?"
"Then she lets you know. But if she is, you sure get to bed a lot faster than if you don't waste time on boring preliminaries."
Del stopped short and treated me to several minutes of precise and cogent commentary.
When she was done, I waved a forefinger in her face. "Vulgar language, bascha. Insulting and vulgar language."
She bared her teeth in a smile reminiscent of my own. "And I suppose you want to go to bed with me now. Right here in the middle of the road where anyone might come along."
I brightened. "Would you?"
Del raked me up and down with her most glacial stare. Then she put up her chin and arched brows suggestively. "Not until after we waste a lot of time on boring preliminaries."
"Oh, well, all right." Whereupon I caught her to me, arranged my arms and hers, and proceeded to dance her down the road towards the distant city.

Sword-Born, Jennifer Roberson.

Evil Dead Junkie
07-28-2013, 12:58 PM
One sunset at Boyton's Cove, Dalton takes his daily walk and comes upon mother and son. Rachel is waist deep in the warm gulf, holding the boy under his arms, dipping him up and down in the water. The water is gold, silky in the dying sun, and it seems to Dalton that Rachel purifies her sonin gold, performs some ancient rite that will coat his flesh so it can't be pierced or torn.

The two of them laugh inthe amber sea, and the sun dips red behind them. Rachel kisses her son's neck and props his calves over her hips. He leans back in her hands. And they look into each other's eyes.

Dalton thinks maybe he's never seen anything as beautiful as that look.

Rachel doesn't see him, and Dalton, he doesn't even wave. Feels like an intruder, actually. He keeps his head down, walks back up the way he came.

Something happens to you when you stumble on love that pure. It makes you feel small. Makes you feel ugly and ashamed and unworthy.

Dalton Voy, watching that mother and son playing in the amber water, has realized a cold simple truth: He's never, not for one second, been loved like that in his life.

Love like that? Hell. It seems so pure it's damn near criminal.

Gone Baby Gone Dennis Lehane


10-03-2013, 10:09 AM
I have only just finished reading "The Devils of Loudun" by Aldous Huxley and it's already one of my favourite books.

In order to escape from the horrors of insulated selfhood most men and women choose, most of the time, to go neither up nor down, but sideways. They identify themselves with some cause wider than their own immediate interests, but not degradingly lower and, if higher, higher only within the range of current social values. This horizontal, or nearly horizontal, self-transcendence may be into something as trivial as a hobby, or as precious as married love. It can be brought about through self-identification with any human activity, from running a business to research in nuclear physics, from composing music to collecting stamps, from campaigning for political office to educating children or studying the mating habits of birds. Horizontal self-transcendence is of the utmost importance. Without it, there would be no art, no science, no law, no philosophy, indeed no civilization. And there would also be no war, no odium theologicum or ideologicum, no systematic intolerance, no persecution. These great goods and these enormous evils are the fruits of man's capacity for total and continuous self-identification with an idea, a feeling, a cause. How can we have the good without the evil, a high civilization without saturation bombing or the extermination of religious and political heretics? The answer is that we cannot have it so long as our self-transcendence remains merely horizontal. When we identify ourselves with an idea or a cause we are in fact worshipping something homemade, something partial and parochial, something that, however noble, is yet all too human. 'Patriotism,' as a great patriot concluded on the eve of her execution by her country's enemies, 'is not enough.' Neither is socialism, nor communism, nor capitalism; neither is art, nor science, nor public order, nor any given religion or church. All these are indispensable, but none of them is enough. Civilization demands from the individual devoted self-identification with the highest of human causes. But if this self-identification with what is human is not accompanied by a conscious and consistent effort to achieve upward self-transcendence into the universal life of the Spirit, the goods achieved will always be mingled with counterbalancing evils. 'We make', wrote Pascal, 'an idol of truth itself; for truth without charity is not God, but His image and idol, which we must neither love nor worship.' And it is not merely wrong to worship an idol; it is also exceedingly inexpedient. The worship of truth apart from charity - self-identification with science unaccompanied by self-identification with the Ground of all being - results in the kind of situation which now confronts us. Every idol, however exalted, turns out, in the long run, to be a Moloch, hungry for human sacrifice.

10-15-2013, 05:27 PM
I mentioned this in "What'cha reading?" This is a passage from alice munroe that really sunk into me. The protagonist, an eight? year old girl, is pulling rats out of their traps with her dad. Her dadis bent over picking at one. Over his shoulder she sees a man approaching.

He made no noise coming through the bushes and moved easily, as if he followed a path I could not see. At first I could just see his head and the upper part of his body. He was dark, with a high bald forehead, hair long behind the ears, deep vertical creases in his cheeks. When the bushes thinned I could see the rest of him, his long clever legs, thinness, drab camouflaging clothes, and what he carried in his hand, gleaming where the sun caught it--a little axe, or hatchet.

I never moved to warn or call my father. The man crossed my path somewhere ahead, continuing down to the river. People say they have been paralyzed by fear, but I was transfixed, as if struck by lightning, and what hit me did not feel like fear so much as recognition. I was not surprised. This is the sight that does not surprise you, the thing you have always known was there that comes so naturally, moving delicately and contentedly and in no hurry, as if it was made, in the first place, from a wish of yours, a hope of something final, terrifying. All my life I had known there was a man like this and he was behind doors, around the corner at the dark end of a hall. So now I saw him and just waited, like a child in an old negative, electrified against the dark noon sky, with blazing hair and burned-out Orpan Annie eyes. The man slipped down through the bushes to my father. And I never thought, or even hoped for, anything but the worst.

The Raider Dr. Jones
10-15-2013, 05:34 PM
the other night I was thinking of one of my favorite bits from Casino, Nicholas Pileggi's book about Lefty Rosenthal and the scandals surrounding the Stardust hotel. Speaking, casino manager Murray Ehrenberg.

"One night, I remember, Lefty called all of us to his house. There must have been fifteen cars parked outside. Gene Cimorelli. Art Garelli. Joey Cusumano. Bobby Stella Senior. Every casino boss in the joint was there.

"What happened was that I had caught one of the blackjack dealers stealing about sixteen hundred dollars, and I wanted to fire him. But Bobby Stella wanted me to let it go. I didn't want to give the guy any grief, just tell him to get lost. But Bobby went to bat for him. We were standing around in the living room while Lefty listened to both of us. We had pit bosses and shift bosses there because they had seen it happen. After listening to everybody, Lefty went along with me. Bobby got very upset. He didn't want the guy to be fired.

"Lefty slapped him right down. Lefty said, 'Bobby, do you want to talk to the animals?' Bobby knew what that meant. Bobby used to run crap games for Momo Giancana. He shut right up."

10-22-2013, 07:24 PM
(From Blood on the Heather (http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=q50vpl79zoalwk7), a CYOA about vampires in this year's IF Comp.

For context: the protagonist has just been captured by the Vampire Queen (actually they call her the Maker in game, but you know, whatevs) and has decided to perform a sexy dance to prove her usefulness.)

All right. It's too bad Misha isn't here, since she's done her share of sexy dancing at clubs. But you watch music videos, you've seen movies on cable. You can pull this off.
You close your eyes and try to visualize some sexy music. All that comes up in your memory is Deadfalls' 'Ode to the beautiful backstabbing bitch I married.' You've never known what the lyrics are - it's five minutes of the lead singer roaring his best death-metal rumble into the microphone- but it has a pretty good baseline.

"Get ready!" you warn her.

She arches her thin, inky brows.

You start off by twisting enthusiastically through the torso and pumping your arms. It reminds you of being on the elliptical at the school gym ... that's not sexy. You should stop. You switch to wiggling in a circle, pretending you've got a hula hoop around your waist. And you almost lose your balance in those damn heels. You try to shimmy but you weren't blessed with enough chest to shake at her.

"Whoo yeah!" Maybe if you shout loudly enough, she won't notice that you're a horrible dancer ...

You turn around and try twerking ... but your small, moderately flat booty is not cooperating. "Oh baby!" You attempt to bump and grind, and almost topple over again. Maybe you should lose the fucking shoes ... but then your bare skin would touch the floor. There's no telling what's been on that floor.

You face her again. She has frozen in place, her eyes wide. You put your hands behind your head and gyrate, touch your hips and gyrate, hug yourself and gyrate - ohfuckno, that's the Macarena! The least sexy of the Latin dances!

For the big finale, you pull out a couple sweet disco moves, pointing between ceiling and floor with some hip thrusts thrown in. Your skirt has ridden up and given that she's sitting down, you're pretty sure she can see your panties. Who knows, that may tip the balance in your favor.

You back toward her, popping your petite butt in her direction, then spin around and fall to your knees, trying to rip your shirt open. Maybe if she sees boobs she won't kill you...

Except the shirt doesn't cooperate. You can't rip off even one button.

"WHOOOOOooo!" You slump to the ground and hold your hands up in devil horns. If you've gotta die, you want to go out in style.

"Well." Her voice quivers slightly. "That was quite a spectacle." She chuckles. "High marks for enthusiasm, absolutely dreadful execution."

You nod. There's no way to defend that dance.

She appears next to you, pulls you to your feet and combs her fingers through your hair. "We'll have to work on that."

Whoo hoo! You've lived to die another day. Or sooner!

02-09-2014, 04:41 AM
“You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in the pond; and whenever you're sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it's much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

03-18-2014, 12:58 PM
"If you were alone when you were born, alone when you were dying, really absolutely alone when you were dead, why “learn to be alone” in between? If you had forgotten, it would quickly come back to you. Aloneness was like riding a bike. At gunpoint. With the gun in your own hand."

From a review I just read of a book called Bark. I think it might be time to read Lorrie Moore.

04-08-2014, 10:22 PM
"You can't see any such thing." Text parsers say that a lot, but what they mean is "I can't see any such thing," because the text you entered doesn't match up with anything the game knows about in the area. Sometimes this is because you included an extraneous word, like maybe a preposition, that the parser doesn't know how to deal with. Sometimes it's because you used a synonym or alternate spelling that the parser doesn't know about. Usually it's because the author said something was there and then forgot to program it in.
(Ryan Veeder - So You've Never Played a Text Adventure Before, Huh)

05-22-2014, 08:20 PM
One of many favorites from The Neverending Story:
"What do you suppose it means?" he asked. "'DO WHAT YOU WISH.' That must mean I can do anything I feel like. Don't you think so?"
All at once Grograman's face looked alarmingly grave, and his eyes glowed.
"No," he said in his deep, rumbling voice. "It means that you must do what you really and truly want. And nothing is more difficult."
"What I really and truly want? What do you mean by that?"
"It's your own deepest secret and you yourself don't know it."

07-07-2014, 10:03 PM
Tennyson, on the stillbirth of his son:

Little bosom not yet cold,
Noble forehead made for thought,
Little hands of mighty mould
Clenched as in the fight which they had fought.
He had done battle to be born,
But some brute force of Nature had prevailed
And the little warrior failed.
Whate'er thou wert, whate'er thou art,
Whose life was ended ere thy breath begun,
Thou nine-months neighbour of my dear one's heart,
And howsoe'er thou liest blind and mute
Thou lookest bold and resolute,
God bless thee dearest son.

07-08-2014, 07:47 AM
Fantastic thread; does anyone have a link to its predecessor?

Mr. Hynes sat down again on the table. When he had finished his recitation there was a silence and then a burst of clapping: even Mr. Lyons clapped. The applause continued for a little time. When it had ceased all the auditors drank from their bottles in silence.

Pok! The cork flew out of Mr. Hynes' bottle, but Mr. Hynes remained sitting flushed and bare-headed on the table. He did not seem to have heard the invitation.

"Good man, Joe!" said Mr. O'Connor, taking out his cigarette papers and pouch the better to hide his emotion.

"What do you think of that, Crofton?" cried Mr. Henchy. "Isn't that fine? What?"

Mr. Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of writing.

Ivy Day in the Commitee Room. Joyce.

Evil Dead Junkie
07-08-2014, 09:13 AM
There's a link on the first page but it appears to be dead. Looks like it finally is actually lost :(

07-16-2014, 09:55 PM
A Canticle for Leibowitz

One of the more striking parts of the book was in the third and final part - the clash between the authority of man and the authority the abbey believes in, in a time of great crisis. It's well done and effective, IMO, regardless of your religious beliefs.

"The work you want to do here--will it take long?"

The doctor shook his head. "Two days at most, I think. We have two mobile units. We can bring them into your courtyard, hitch the two trailers together, and start right to work. We'll take the obvious radiation cases, and the wounded, first. We treat only the most urgent cases. Our job is clinical testing. The sick ones will get treatment at an emergency camp."

"And the sickest ones get something else at a mercy camp?"

The worker frowned. "Only if they want to go. Nobody makes them go."

"But you write out the permit that lets them go."

"I've given some red tickets, yes. I may have to this time. Here--" He fumbled in his jacket pocket and brought out a red cardboard form, something like a shipping label with a loop of wire for attaching it to a buttonhole or abelt loop. He tossed it on the desk.

"A blank 'crit-dose' form. There it is. Read it. It tells the man he's sick, very sick. And here--here's a green ticket too. It tells him he's well and has nothing to worry about. Look at the red one carefully! 'Estimated exposure in radiation units.' 'Blood count.' 'Urinalysis.' On one side, it's just like the green one. On the other side, the green one's blank, but look at the back of the red one. The fine print--it's directly quoted from Public Law 10-WR-3E. It has to be there. The law requires it. It has to be read to him. He has to be told his rights. What he does about it is his own affair. Now, if you'd rather we parked the mobile units down the highway, we can--"

"You just read it to him, do you? Nothing else?"

The doctor paused. "It has to be explained to him, if he doesn't understand it." He paused again, gathering irritation. "Good Lord, Father, when you tell a man he's a hopeless case, what are you going to say? Read him a few paragraphs of the law, show him the door, and say: 'Next, please!'? 'You're going to die, so good day'? Of course you don't read him that and nothing else, not if you have any human feeling at all!"

"I understand that. What I want to know is something else. Do you, as a physician, advise hopeless cases to go to a mercy camp?"

"I--" The medic stopped and closed his eyes. He rested his forehead on his hand. He shuddered slightly. "Of course I do," he said finally. "If you'd seen what I've seen, you would too. Of course I do."

"You'll not do it here."

"Then we'll--" The doctor quenched an angry outburst. He stood up, started to put on his cap, then paused. He tossed the cap on the chair and walked over to the window. He looked gloomily down at the courtyard, then out at the highway. He pointed. "There's the roadside park. We can set up shop there. But it's two miles. Most of them will have to walk." He glanced at Abbot Zerchi, then looked broodingly down into the courtyard again.

"Look at them. They're sick, hurt, fractured, frightened. The children too. Tired, lame, and miserable. You'd let them be herded off down the highway to sit in the dust and the sun and--"

"I don't want it to be that way," said the abbot. "Look--you were just telling me how a man-made law made it mandatory for you to read and explain this to a critical radiation case. I offered no objection to that in itself. Render unto Caesar to that extent, since the law demands it of you. Can you not, then, understand that I am subject to another law, and that it forbids me to allow you or anyone else on this property, under my rule, to counsel anyone to do what the Church calls evil?"

Evil Dead Junkie
08-23-2014, 04:22 PM
The chief characteristic of the "New journalism" is simply that it is bad journalism. It is beyond all comparison the most shapeless, careless, and colourless work done in our day.

I read yesterday a sentence which should be written in letters of gold and adamant; it is the very motto of the new philosophy of Empire. I found it (as the reader has already eagerly guessed) in Pearson's Magazine, while I was communing (soul to soul) with Mr. C. Arthur Pearson, whose first and suppressed name I am afraid is Chilperic. It occurred in an article on the American Presidential Election. This is the sentence, and every one should read it carefully, and roll it on the tongue, till all the honey be tasted.

"A little sound common sense often goes further with an audience of American working-men than much high-flown argument. A speaker who, as he brought forward his points, hammered nails into a board, won hundreds of votes for his side at the last Presidential Election."

I do not wish to soil this perfect thing with comment;

GK Chesterton, Heretics

09-01-2014, 02:56 PM
It was a delicious afternoon for a winter's walk. The air was clear and cold, but not actually frosty. The ground beneath their feet was dry, and the sky, though not bright, had that appearance of enduring weather which gives no foreboding of rain. There is a special winter's light, which is very clear though devoid of all brilliancy,--through which every object strikes upon the eye with well-marked lines, and under which almost all forms of nature seem graceful to the sight if not actually beautiful. But there is a certain melancholy which ever accompanies it. It is the light of the afternoon, and gives token of the speedy coming of the early twilight. It tells of the shortness of the day, and contains even in its clearness a promise of the gloom of night. It is absolute light, but it seems to contain the darkness which is to follow it. I do not know that it is ever to be seen and felt so plainly as on the wide moorland, where the eye stretches away over miles, and sees at the world's end the faint low lines of distant clouds settling themselves upon the horizon. Such was the light of this Christmas afternoon...

Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?

Evil Dead Junkie
09-04-2014, 02:22 PM
Never trust a man on the subject of his own parents. As tall and basso as a man might be on the outside, he nevertheless sees his parents from the perspective of a tiny child, still, and will always. And the unhappier his childhood was, the more arrested will be his perspective on it.

Infinite Jest, DFW

09-11-2014, 09:05 PM

Evil Dead Junkie
09-12-2014, 01:05 PM
Love's pure free joy when it works, but when it goes bad you pay for the good hours at loan-shark prices.

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell

09-30-2014, 08:08 PM
Tiare told me that he said to her once:

"I'd been scrubbing the deck, and all at once a chap said to me: 'Why, there it is.' And I looked up and I saw the outline of the island. I knew right away that there was the place I'd been looking for all my life. Then we came near, and I seemed to recognise it. Sometimes when I walk about it all seems familiar. I could swear I've lived here before."

"Sometimes it takes them like that," said Tiare. "I've known men come on shore for a few hours while their ship was taking in cargo, and never go back. And I've known men who came here to be in an office for a year, and they cursed the place, and when they went away they took their dying oath they'd hang themselves before they came back again, and in six months you'd see them land once more, and they'd tell you they couldn't live anywhere else."


I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.

W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

The Raider Dr. Jones
10-05-2014, 07:16 PM
These days I employ poets to sing my praises, but only because that is what a lord is supposed to do, though I often wonder why a man should get paid for mere words. These word-stringers make nothing, grow nothing, kill no enemies, catch no fish, raise no cattle. They just take silver in exchange for words, which are free anyway. It is a clever trick, but in truth they are about as much use as priests.

Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom

Evil Dead Junkie
10-21-2014, 07:09 PM
There were even moments of weariness when, like the victim of some poison which leaves the brain clear, but holds the body motionless, she saw herself domesticated with the Horror, accepting its perpetual presence as one of the fixed conditions of life.

Edith Wharton, Afterward

Johnny Unusual
11-11-2014, 07:18 AM
I've got to admit my stomach is an enticing target. Not that I'm out of shape, you understand. I'm 190 pounds of rock hard muscle, underneath 40 pounds of sturdy protective fat. It's important that you have that layer of fat. you can't have guys hitting you in your muscles all the time. But that extra padding also cushions th blow of your opponent's fists, which allows him to slug you longer and with more abandon. So the layer of fat is both a good and a bad thing, I guess. It works both ways is what I'm saying.

John Swartzwelder, The Time Machine Did It

11-24-2014, 06:46 PM
Listening in bed, in the lee of mountain crags, in a wood at daybreak; with an arm clasping his waist or a head thrown back on his shoulder, trying to silence his noisy heart, Hephaistion understood he was being told everything. With pride and awe, with tenderness, torment and guilt, he lost the thread, and fought with himself, and caught the drift again to find something gone past recall. Bewildering treasures were being poured into his hands and slipping through his fingers, while his mind wandered to the blinding trifle of his own desire. At any moment he would be asked what he thought; he was valued as more than a listener. Knowing this he would attend again, and be caught up even against his will; Alexander could transmit imagination as some other could transmit lust. Sometimes, when he was lit up and full of gratitude for being understood, Longing, who has the power to achieve all things, would prompt the right word or touch; he would fetch a profound sigh, dragged up it seemed from the depth of his being, and murmur something in the Macedonian of his childhood; and all would be well, or as well as it could ever be.

Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven

Evil Dead Junkie
01-01-2015, 12:02 PM
When I've finished the Evaluation I go back to my office for lunch. I step inside and turn on the fake oil lamp and there's a damn human hand on my chair, holding a note. All around the hand there's penny candy. The note says: Sir, another pig disciplined who won't mess with us anymore and also I need more ammo. It's signed: Samuel the Rectifier.

I call Mr. A and he says Jesus. Then he tells me to bury the hand in the marsh behind Refreshments. I say shouldn't we call the police. He says we let it pass when it was six dead kids, why should we start getting moralistic now over one stinking hand?

George Saunders, CivilWarLand In Bad Decline

Evil Dead Junkie
01-02-2015, 02:28 PM
I'm having to seriously restrain myself from just transcribing the whole of this book into this thread.

Read it! Read it Now!

Johnny Unusual
01-11-2015, 05:50 AM
I was hoping to find some quote from Jefty is Five. I hope this will do in the meantime.

Where did he get jelly beans?
That's another good question. More than likely it will never be answered to your complete satisfaction. But then, how many questions ever are?
"Repent, Harlequin!", Said the Ticktockman
Harlan Ellison

01-20-2015, 07:00 AM
Seize the day warrior poetry from The Poetic Edda:

The sluggard believes | he shall live forever,
If the fight he faces not;
But age shall not grant him | the gift of peace,
Though spears may spare his life.

Henry Adams Bellows translating, whose work I like more than others'. I have no idea how accurate it is to Old Norse but to me it reads the best in English.

Evil Dead Junkie
01-20-2015, 03:22 PM
One house is like another- what matters is knowing whether it is built in heaven or in hell.

The Man On The Threshold, Borges

02-08-2015, 08:41 PM
Levin had been married three months. He was happy, but not at all in the way he had expected to be. At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness. He was happy; but on entering upon family life he saw at every step that it was utterly different from what he had imagined.

At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat. He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult.

That is a metaphor. That's how its done.

Evil Dead Junkie
03-12-2015, 12:35 PM
“God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.”

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett

04-20-2015, 07:27 AM
"You are a new people and a new world to me. Are all your kin of like sort? Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardeners be in high honour."
"Not all is well there," said Frodo, "but certainly gardeners are honoured."
I don't recall attributing any great significance to this exchange from The Two Towers when I first read it. Now I'm older and less ignorant and see that it's one of the most important parts of the book. Of course, it follows a lament about the decline of Gondor which is marked largely by its overvaluing martial prowess and aggression.

11-10-2015, 11:53 AM

A maiden fetching french fries fair
Soft of shape and skin and hair
Like silver steeds, your roller skates
Like Tantalus, you've food, no plates
A candle, roadside, in the dark
I hunger now; I stop; I park.

Two giants red of cheek and jowl
Stare across the sea and growl
One's a commie, one's a pig
And both of them are much too big
If I could wave a magic wand
I'd turn the sea into a pond
I'd make those giants hug and kiss
And fade away into the mist.

Oh fair far fields beneath the sky
The rain comes down like rotten beans
And every where that meets my eye
Is full of cows and farm machines
My soul flies free cross grayened shards
Of wasteland agricultural
Should I this day join heaven's bards
Who'll eat me up? A vulture'll.

(All from Steph Cherrywell's Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!)

07-28-2016, 02:51 PM
From the final page of Journal 3, by Alex Hirsch and Rob Renzetti (and Stanford Pines):

And that brings us to you, dear reader. If you are holding this book in your hands, you hold something more than a record of the curious happenings of a town called Gravity Falls. You hold a record of one man's folly and the kindness of a family that saved him from himself. It's never too late to learn that growing old doesn't have to mean growing up.

Stay curious, stay weird, stay kind, and don't let anyone tell you you aren't smart or brave or worthy enough. If you have come on these adventures with us, then you are an honorary member of the Pines family, and your adventure starts today.

And if anyone gets in your way--well, we have an entire section on curses. Have at it.

For the last time, unless we meet again in some distant world, this is
Stanford Pines
signing off.

08-11-2016, 11:43 PM
Watching him, Juliana thought, It's idealism that makes him that bitter. Asking too much out of life. Always moving on, restless and griped. I'm the same way; I couldn't stay on the West Coast and eventually I won't be able to stand it here. Weren't the old-timers like that? But, she thought, now the frontier isn't here; it's the other planets.

She thought: He and I could sign up for one of those colonizing rocket ships. But the Germans would disbar him because of his skin and me because of my dark hair. Those pale skinny Nordic SS fairies in those training castles in Bavaria. This guy — Joe whatever — hasn't even got the right expression on his face; he should have that cold but somehow enthusiastic look, as if he believed in nothing and yet somehow had absolute faith. Yes, that's how they are. They're not idealists like Joe and me; they're cynics with utter faith. It's a sort of brain defect, like a lobotomy — that maiming those German psychiatrists do as a poor substitute for psychotherapy.

Their trouble, she decided, is with sex; they did something foul with it back in the 'thirties, and it has gotten worse. Hitler started it with his — what was she? His sister? Aunt? Niece? And his family was inbred already; his mother and father were cousins. They're all committing incest, going back to the original sin of lusting for their own mothers. That's why they, those elite SS fairies, have that angelic simper, that blond babylike innocence; they're saving themselves for Mama. Or for each other.

And who is Mama for them? she wondered. The leader, Herr Bormann, who is supposed to be dying? Or — the Sick One.

Old Adolf, supposed to be in a sanitarium somewhere, living out his life of senile paresis. Syphilis of the brain, dating back to his poor days as a bum in Vienna. . . long black coat, dirty underwear, flophouses.

Obviously, it was God's sardonic vengeance, right out of some silent movie. That awful man struck down by an internal filth, the historic plague for man's wickedness.

And the horrible part was that the present-day German Empire was a product of that brain. First a political party, then a nation, then half the world. And the Nazis themselves had diagnosed it, identified it; that quack herbal medicine man who had treated Hitler, that Dr. Morell who had dosed Hitler with a patent medicine called Dr. Koester's Antigas Pills — he had originally been a specialist in venereal disease. The entire world knew it, and yet the Leader's gabble was still sacred, still Holy Writ. The views had infected a civilization by now, and, like evil spores, the blind blond Nazi queens were swishing out from Earth to the other planets, spreading the contamination.

What you get for incest: madness, blindness, death.

Brrr. She shook herself.

The Man in The High Castle