June 25, 2012 Leave a Comment
“Well, it seems a good book … strange that the white people are not better, after having had it so long.”
— Chief Yonaguska (Drowning Bear)
Seen on yesterday’s trip to the Sequoyah birthplace museum.
June 12, 2012 Leave a Comment
“Totalitarianism is not only hell, but all the dream of paradise – the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from one another. … Once the dream of paradise starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way, and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect, while the adjoining paradise gets even smaller and poorer.”
— Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
May 24, 2012 Leave a Comment
“Being a fan is a more socially acceptable version of having an imaginary friend.”
— Steven Hyden, Perfect Circle: An REM Story
Why did R.E.M. mean so much to me?
Let’s set R.E.M. off to the side for a moment. What does any of the stuff we love matter? Why do we feel that unshakeable loyalty toward people and institutions that make music, write books, score touchdowns, or do whatever else captured our imaginations at one time and won’t let go? Why do we buy records we don’t like or attend shows we’re too tired to enjoy? Why do we watch television shows for years after they stopped being good, and gladly enter into arguments about why the later, underappreciated seasons are secretly great? Why do we pay good money to see sequels that we suspect are probably terrible on opening night, buying into that old bull about carrying on “the mythology” of the original when it’s really just another shabby rehash?
Because we will feel guilty if we don’t. It will make us “fair-weather” fans, and that is unacceptable. We will have betrayed something that has given us so much pleasure. These things deserve more than that. Our pretend relationships have to be honored.
May 7, 2012 5 Comments
“You are, all of you, beneath me. I am a god you dull creature, and I will not be bullied.”
What makes it good is what happens to Loki right after that. I’m also a fan of Cap’s “Hulk – Smash.”
April 23, 2012 Leave a Comment
“I have gotten letters over the years from readers who don’t like the sex, they say it’s ‘gratuitous.’ I think that word gets thrown around and what it seems to mean is ‘I didn’t like it.’ This person didn’t want to read it, so it’s gratuitous to that person. And if I’m guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I’m also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.”
— George R.R. Martin
February 15, 2012 Leave a Comment
“A solar eclipse is like a woman breast-feeding in a restaurant. It’s free, it’s beautiful, but under no circumstances should you look at it.”
— Top 10 Kent Brockman Quotes
January 20, 2012 1 Comment
“If you throw a rock into water it sinks; if you throw a stick into water it floats; if you throw a man into water he must decide whether to sink or swim.”
— Ludwig von Mises
Among other things, that’s as pithy a summary as you’re gonna get of the difference between the natural sciences and the social sciences.
December 31, 2011 Leave a Comment
“Free wood is money in the bank, fuel for the furnace, and landscaping all in one! It’s miraculous in its absence of liquidity. Ever seen a lawyer come and steal half your firewood? Had a politician skim 10% of the top of the cord? Had it vanish in a hard drive crash? I think not. Free wood is peace and joy damnit!”
— The Adaptive Curmudgeon
November 22, 2011 Leave a Comment
“The best advice I ever received was in two parts: What you truly want isn’t necessarily what you say you want. (Know thy self.) And, think in questions. It’s even more powerful than thinking positively. If asked can you do something; you can think negatively – I can’t, positively – I can, or ask a question – How or why are good ones. (Asking a question engages the mind and says this is a problem to be solved.)”
I like the idea of asking questions. I have a science background where I was used to answering questions. I had a manager once who asked me once if I preferred reaching goals or solving problems. I immediately said that I preferred solving problems. Problem solving implies a question – how do we do this, how can we fix that. Likewise I love mysteries where there’s a whodunit. So I’m going to try to ask question for a while to develop a helpful attitude, focus my mind, and facilitate interactions with people.