Archive for October 2006

Saturday Book Quote

October 28, 2006

Soon to be a motion picture, the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs titled Running with Scissors is about a gay boy, his bizarre family, and earning a Ph.D. in survival.

  “I can’t be a writer,” I said.  “I don’t even write.  All I do is scribble stuff in notebooks.  I don’t even know what a verb is or how to type.  And I never read.  You have to read, like, Hemingway to be a writer.”
  “You don’t have to read Hemingway, he’s just some fat old drunk man,” she said.  “You have to take notes.  Like you do already.”
  “Well, I don’t know.  I’ll probably end up as a male prostitute.”
  “You can’t do that,” she laughed.  “Your ass is too skinny.”
  “Ha, ha.  If only I had your ass.”
  “If you had my ass, you could rule the world.”
  (…)
  Natalie leaned in and put her elbows on the table.  “Don’t you ever just feel like we’re chasing something?  Something bigger?  I don’t know, it’s like something that only you and I can see.  Like we’re running, running, running?”
  “Yeah,” I said.  “We’re running alright.  Running with scissors.”

Rush Hour

October 27, 2006

I apologize for letting the blog languish. Since my heart hasn’t really been in it lately, I decided to phone it in. In this case, that means calling the lovely Rush Limbaugh.

Step2: Mega dittos Rush! Those Dems have sunk to new lows this election haven’t they?

Rush: (clears throat/ruffles paper) The GOP is the only thing stopping America from surrendering to Islamic terrorists.

Step2: That’s right! They also want to impose their crazy Hollywood values on us. Drug use, serial divorces, and trying to normalize obscenity. When you came to the defense of those harmless antics at Abu Ghraib, I knew you were a true patriot.

Rush: Everybody should have calmed down during that episode, the hyperventilating of the liberals was unbelievable.

Step2: Not only that, the scumbag drive-by media couldn’t get enough of it. Just because there was some naked bodies and electrodes, they acted like it was a scandal or something.

Rush: You can never trust the mainstream media to give you anything except the most biased reports. They must think we are mental cripples to believe such garbage. My recent attacks on Michael J. Fox show how subversive those elitists are at manipulating our emotions.

Step2: I mean he’s an actor, for heaven’s sake! Like, hello? Of course it’s a fake.

Rush: That’s right, entertainers can never be trusted to tell the whole, unvarnished truth.

Saturday Book Quote

October 21, 2006

From Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

  Igo, the sick old man, quoted the Oziad, and reminded them all of how creation worked: the Dragon of Time created the sun and the moon, and Lurline cursed them and said that their children wouldn’t know their own parents, and then the Kumbric Witch came along and the flood, the battle, the spilling of evil in the world.

  Oatsie Manglehand disagreed.  She said, “You old fools, the Oziad is just a frilly, romantic poem of older, harsher legends.  What lives in folk memory is truer than how some artsy poet says it.  In folk memory evil always predates good.”

(…)

  Elphie stamped away.  This was too much like her childhood, discussions with her father and Nessarose about where evil begins.  As if one could ever know!  Her father used to orchestrate proofs about evil as a way of persuading his flock to convert.  Elphie had come to think, back in Shiz, that as women wore cologne, men wore proofs: to secure their own sense of themselves, and thus to be attractive. 

Saturday Book Quote

October 14, 2006

One of the most sweeping historical fictions I have ever read, Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War is hypnotic in its storytelling.  The characters and plotlines are interwoven in a masterful style.  He even includes a German perspective, based upon interviews and documents of Nazi officers, presenting it as chapters of another book called World Empire Lost within the novel.

The foreword of the book begins the masterpiece with a great sentiment:
“Peace, if it ever exists, will not be based on the fear of war, but on the love of peace.  It will not be the abstaining from an act, but the coming of a state of mind.  In this sense the most insignificant writer can serve peace, where the most powerful tribunals can do nothing.”

From the book within a book, we get a German analysis of Pearl Harbor:
  “At the time of both attacks, of course, there were loud outcries of ‘infamy’ and ‘treachery,’ as though these terms of private morality had any relevance to historical events.  A poor nation seeking to supplant a rich one must use the best means it can find; moreover Thucydides said long ago that men by a natural law always rule where they are strongest.  In history what is moral is what works.  The will of God, Hegel taught, reveals itself only in historical outcomes.  So viewed, Barbarossa and Pearl Harbor were both idealistic thrusts toward a heroic new world order.”
  “The difference was that Barbarossa was strategically impeccable and would have resulted in victory if not for unlucky and unforeseen factors-including this very Japanese attack five and a half months later, which, contrawise, was such a strategic miscalculation that for once Churchill speaks no more than the truth in calling it suicidal madness.”
  “One violation of a cardinal rule is enough to invalidate a strategic plan.  The Japanese surprise attack violated two.
  The two iron laws of warfare that Japan disregarded were:
   1.  Strike for the heart.
   2.  Know your enemy.

Saturday Book Quote

October 7, 2006

When people speak fondly of the Old South and the traditions and culture it upheld, I am always reminded of this paragraph from The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen where he describes a slave ship.

Because fresh air was required for product viability, five to six air ports were provided on each side of the ship, each being about four by six inches.  It was necessary to close these whenever it rained, or when the seas grew rough.  One ship’s doctor noted, “The confined air, rendered noxious by the effluvia exhaled from their bodies and by being repeatedly breathed, soon produces fevers and fluxes which generally carry off great numbers of them…I frequently went down among them till at length their rooms became so extremely hot as to be only bearable for a very short time.  But the excessive heat was not the only thing that rendered their situation intolerable.  The deck, that is, the floor of their rooms, was so covered with blood and mucus which had proceeded from them in consequence of the flux [i.e., diarrhea], that it resembled a slaughterhouse.”