quotes

"It seems to me that people who have their own home page on the net are narcissists. A narcissist is a person who believes that the whole world should revolve around him or her. For such people a web page is a god-send. They can advertise themselves at very low cost to everyone in the world. In other words, the Internet offers them an outlet for their psychopathology. This is why your question about people wasting their time is not relevant. These people are not wasting their time; they are using their time to satisfy their megalomania."
Neil Postman
Smoke Signals
12.97 issue

"I hate Meatloaf more than anything. Except Grateful Dead. And Led Zeppelin. And, ah, all of Western culture."
Philip(!) Levy

"I'm not stupid, I'm just big-boned."
Anon.

"And I will pray to a big God
as I kneel in a big church,
and my Heaven will be a big Heaven,
and I will walk through the front door."
Peter Gabriel
Big Time

"Speed is a scalar quantity and does not involve direction."
Isaac Asimov
Understanding Physics

"A thing done well is more amusing than a thing done poorly."
Robert Byrne


"The babe, with a cry brief and dismal,
Fell into the water baptismal;
Ere they'd gathered its plight,
It had sunk out of sight,
For the depth of the font was abysmal."
Edward Gorey
The Listing Attic

"Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today;
I wish to God he'd go away!"
Anon.

"My ideal office wouldn't have a chair. You would do two things there: stand up or lie down. These are the body's most natural positions."
Niels Diffrient
Metropolis 11.02

"Against boredom even the gods themselves struggle in vain."
Nietzsche

"Belief in one's identity as a poet or writer prior to the acid test of publication is as naive and harmless as the youthful belief in one's immortality...and the inevitable disillusionment is just as painful."
Dan Simmons
Hyperion

To be a poet, I realized, a true poet, was to become the Avatar of humanity incarnate; to accept the mantle of poet is to carry the cross of the Son of Man, to suffer the birth pangs of the Soul-Mother of Humanity.

To be a true poet is to become God.

I tried to explain this to my friends on Heaven's Gate. "Piss, shit," I said. "Asshole motherfucker, goddamn shit goddamn. Cunt. Pee-pee cunt. Goddamn!"

They shook their heads and smiled, and walked away. Great poets are rarely understood in their own day.

Dan Simmons
Hyperion

"Dad," said Rachel, "I'm going to ask you a question I've asked about a million times since I was two. Do you believe in God?"

Sol had not smiled. He had no choice but to give her the answer he had given her a million times. "I'm waiting to," he said.

Dan Simmons
Hyperion

"I swear to you, gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes from Underground

"And where did all these sages get the idea that man needs some normal, some virtuous wanting? What made them necessarily imagine that what man needs is necessarily a reasonably profitable wanting? Man needs only independent wanting, whatever this independence may cost and wherever it may lead."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes from Underground

"My God, but what do I care about the laws of nature and arithmetic if for some reason these laws and two times two is four are not to my liking? To be sure, I won't break through such a wall with my forehead if I really have not got strength enough to do it, but neither will I be reconciled with it simply because I have a stone wall here and have not got strength enough."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes from Underground

"...because I'm so vain it's as if I'd been flayed and the very air hurts me."
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes from Underground

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear? You think you’ve merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow! Tidal gravity! It is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians! There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars: petrodollars, electrodollars, multidollars, Reichmarks, yens, rubles, pounds, and shekels!

It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and sub-atomic, and galactic structure of things to-day! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature! AND YOU WILL ATONE!

Am I getting through to you Mr. Beale?

You get up on your little 21-inch screen and howl about America and Democracy: There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T. And DuPont, DOW, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today!

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state? Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, min and max solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.

And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world, in which there’s no war, or famine, or oppression, or brutality: One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common good. In which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided. All anxieties tranquilized. All boredom…amused.

Paddy Chayefsky
Screenplay for Sid Lumet's Network

"[W]e now know that chess-playing skill does not, in fact, equal intelligence. Nobody minds that cars can outrun the fastest ahtlete, or that cranes can lift heavier weights than the strongest man. Playing chess, it turns out, falls into the same category, despite its outward complexity: it is possible to get a dumb machine to do it better than any human. The equation of chess-playing with intelligence is centuries old, but it is time to lay it to rest."
The Economist
2.1.2003

If you build a man a fire, you keep him warm for a day. If you set a man on fire, you keep him warm for the rest of his life.
Unknown

For "Done," when it is well done, is a very good word.
Walter Wangerin, Jr.
The Book of the Dun Cow

"If I had never had sons, how could I lose sons? If I had never ruled a land, how could I fear to lose the land? It is in the giving that the treachery begins. If I had never loved these animals, which the almighty God put into my keeping, I would not die thinking that they may die."
Walter Wangerin, Jr.
The Book of the Dun Cow

"Everyone is flattered by mild stalking."
Stefan Zajic

"In 1765 everything a man owned was made more valuable by the fact that he had made it himself or knew exactly from where it had come. This is not so remarkable as it sounds; it is less strange that the eighteenth-century man should have a richer and keener enjoyment of life through knowledge than that the twentieth-century man should lead an arid and empty existence in the midst of wealth and extraordinary material benefits."
Eric Sloane
A Reverence for Wood

"I recall a Bertolt Brecht fable. A man living alone answers a knock at the door. There stands Tyranny, armed and powerful, who asks, "Will you submit?" The man does not reply. He steps aside. Tyranny enters and takes over. The man serves him for years. Then Tyranny mysteriously becomes sick from food poisoning. He dies. The man opens the door, gets rid of the body, comes back to the house, closes the door behind him, and says, firmly, 'No.'"
Howard Zinn
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"(After spending two weeks in Japan with Ralph Featherstone, day and night, I didn't see him again. He sent me a wedding announcement, and I heard he was running a bookstore in Washington featuring black literature. Then, about two years after our Japan trip, I had what I can only describe as a mystical experience. I was sitting on a bus in Boston, and several seats in front of me was a black man. I could only see the back of his head and his neck, but I could have sworn it was Ralph Featherstone. Was it possible that he was in Boston? I walked over, sat down next to him, and turned to look. It was not Featherstone at all, but a man I did not know. He was reading a newspaper. I looked at the headline: 'Civil Rights Workers Killed in Bomb Blast.' And there was a photo of Ralph Featherstone. He had been riding with a friend in an auto on the way to the trial of an SNCC worker in Maryland when a bomb, its origin still unknown today, exploded.)"

Howard Zinn
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"A famous scientist was asked, 'How many examples do you need in order to generalize?' He answered, 'Two is good, but one will do.'"
Howard Zinn
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"From that moment on, I was no longer a liberal, a believer in the self-correcting character of American democracy. I was a radical, believing that something fundamental was wrong in this country--not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth, not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root."
Howard Zinn
You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."
Hunter S. Thompson
salon.com

"The regrets I have are so minor. You know, would I leave my Keith Richards hat, with the silver skull on it, on the stool at the coffee shop at LaGuardia? I wouldn't do that again. But overall, no, I don't have any regrets."
Hunter S. Thompson
salon.com

"I know what you're thinkin, but only time will tell.
'Someday I'll be bigger than Orson Welles.'
I see you laughing, but you can go to hell:
Someday I'll be bigger than Orson Welles.
And when I die, at the Pearly Gate,
I don't give a damn what St. Peter has to say.
Hey, Pete! Where can I find the free buffet?
I wanna tie one on with Orson Welles."
Tom Waits
The Ballad of Orson Welles

"Come, come whoever you are,
Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire,
Our is not a caravan of despair.
Come even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come."
Rumi

"The last step may well be the introduction, laying out why this particular study was done. At this point a research paper can be a little disingenuous: the introduction may reflect more what we might have thought if we had been really smart and knew what the results were going to be, rather than the ideas we had when we set out on the journey."
Peter Doherty
The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize

"Perhaps the best advice that can be given to any young scientist is: commune with the data."
Peter Doherty
The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize

"Someone who has found a passion that doesn't fit the Nobel, or any other mould that conventionally leads to the 'glittering prizes', should forget the award and go for the satisfaction and the excitement of what they love doing, whether it's philosophy or building surf boards."
Peter Doherty
The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize

"It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of son-of-a-bitch or another."
Malcolm Reynolds
Joss Whedon's Serenity

"Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month."
Andrew Bacevich
The Washington Post

iamanangelchaser@yahoo.com

2007-5-29

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