"No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have," W.S. Gilbert once said of an old friend, "and I think he is a dirty little beast."

"I’m in total disagreement with her [Hillary Clinton] on Iraq. It all has to do, in my judgment, with the post-Vietnam image the Democrats got of being weak on defense. So they all had to prove their muscularity by voting for this [Iraq war] resolution. I think this was all wrong. We are a republic. We are not an empire. And this is an imperial policy."
-- Gary Hart in New York Times Magazine, 1/8/06

Now independently wealthy, Jeremy Bentham made the most of his independence. He moved into a house in Westminster once occupied by poet John Milton. There he became something of a recluse and an eccentric. He named his teapot "Dickey," his walking-sticks "Dapple" and "Dobbin," and his cat "The Reverend Dr. John Langhorne.”

“For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. The offspring of ideology and theology are not always bad but they are always blind. And that is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
".... What we need is what the ancient Israelites called "hocma" - the science of the heart, the capacity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you." -- Bill Moyers

Unretouched photos from Engrish dot com, a website that specializes in
very bad translations found in Asian advertising.

"I’ve worked with nearly fifty graduate students, and I feel confident saying that not a single one has possessed Derek’s raw talent, his courage, or his willingness to write about the scary stuff that most people refuse to look in the eye. It’s safe to call Derek a "dark" writer. His stories are relentless and terrifying, despite the fact that he writes about the mundane — about manual labor and emotional exhaustion and bad relationships and the like. He’s an innovator, a sorcerer with a sentence and a writer with a vision. In short, he’s not what MFA programs are looking for." – David Hollander on a rejected MFA applicant

Well, the future hasn't quite turned out as Orwell feared, but it's pretty damn close. The British police have more than enough powers to make life very difficult for you if you choose to disagree with Mr. Blair. A woman was arrested in Downing Street recently for reading out the names of the Iraqi war dead; this was justified under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. And on the other side of the pond, Cousin George is busy phone-tapping everyone who thinks he's a fool; an exercise which should keep him busy for some time.
-- Michael Allen, “Grumpy Old Bookman” (blog)

From “A Man for All seasons” by Robert Bolt:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Sir Thomas More: Why not be a teacher? You'd be a fine teacher; perhaps a great one.
Richard Rich: If I was, who would know it?
Sir Thomas More: You; your pupils; your friends; God. Not a bad public, that.

Cardinal Wolsey: You're a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint... With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.


From The Onion:
PHOENIX, AZ—Ignoring the fact that they live in the middle of a God-forsaken alkali desert, residents continue to demand more water for their parched lawns and bleached-out swimming pools.
1/17/06 1:43 PM

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return." --Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), investigating the National Security Agency, 1975.

A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
--“How to Tell a True War Story,” by Tim O’Brien, in The Things They Carried

From an interview in GamePro magazine with the developers of the game “Saint’s Row”:

GamePro: Let's say I want to be a pimp. Do I have to go and find pimp-specific missions?

"Super-apes are never a bad idea. I want that phrase on my gravestone." – “Dave’s Long Box” (blog)

See Also Commonplace Book for December, Commonplace Book 1


Anonymous said...

In the short time I have lived in Arizona I have learned to dislike the Californians who have moved in and demanded paved roads and street lights in the National Forest. They drive fast/ cut you off like this is LA and create road rage. They are also the kooks who are changing the environment with their backyard pools in Phoenix/// in Prescott in the North country --you are taught to conserve water (no running aqua while brushing your teeth, restaurants only giving water when requested, no green grass yards--use rock, etc..) The state is in the middle of a drought --we finally got some snow this week, YEAH!
New Arizonian from Michigan

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, it's January in MIchigan and we HAVE no snow... almost 50 degrees in some spots. They promise snow Friday night, but... Maybe it's that non-existent global warming we're not supposed to talk about because it might comfort the terrorists.