Thy Flesh Consumed End Of Blind Obedience Essay


A Worm's Eye View of History: Julian Barnes' A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

The title of Julian Barnes' 1989 novel, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters is at once playful and provocative. Its first half only differs from Sir Walter Raleigh's The History of the World in its substitution of an indefinite for a definite article. Like Raleigh's History it begins with Genesis. But unlike Raleigh, Barnes does not subscribe to a providential interpretation of history. Where Raleigh's was a monumental attempt to record the history of the world starting with the Creation, Barnes's modest book runs to some 300 pages and eschews any pretence of continuity or comprehensiveness. His is merely a history among many possible histories of the world.

The second half of the title of Barnes's book describes a work that is absurdly brief for such a subject, while its provocative inclusion of a "1/2" chapter draws attention to itself. This half chapter, "Parenthesis," is the only section of the book to use a didactic, mildly professorial voice, with no apparent hint of irony or humor. It forms the same function that "The Preface" does in Raleigh's History in offering a rationale and apology. Interestingly both writers see history as necessarily fragmented. Barnes's entire book can be seen as a series of digressions from those events normally considered central to any historical account of the world. At the same time Barnes has insisted that this half-chapter is the one occasion in the book where he dispenses with the masks of the fiction writer and offers his personal truth, in much the way that El Greco is the only character in the "Burial of Count Orgaz" who looks out at the spectator, saying in effect, according to Barnes, "'I did this. You've got any complaints, look at me. [. . .] I'm responsible" (Stuart 15). Yet this rare moment of truthfulness is offered in the form of a digression--a digression in a work that is nothing but a series of digressions from the supposed mainstream of history.

Clearly in this book, as in Flaubert's Parrot (1984), Barnes is adopting an ironic approach to history as a genre. Barnes has said of A History of the World that it "deals with one of the questions that obsessed Braithwaite in that book [Flaubert's Parrot]. And that is: How do we seize the past?" (Cook 12). He would appear to agree with Barthes' objection to what he calls "the fallacy of representation" attaching to traditional historical discourse. In "The Discourse of History" Barthes sees historical discourse as "in its essence a form of ideological elaboration, or to put it more precisely, an imaginary elaboration" (16). Barthes believes that "[t]he historian is not so much a collector of facts as a collector and relater of signifiers; that is to say, he organizes them with the purpose of establishing positive meaning and filling the vacuum of pure, meaningless series" (16). Barnes adopts a similar view of history in his book: "We make up a story to cover the facts we don't know or can't accept; we keep a few facts and spin a new story round them" (240).

The strategy that probably most distinguishes this book from the rest of his fictional work is its use of fragmented episodes from the history of the world, its use of what Lévi-Strauss has called bricolage. Asked in what sense his book, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, was not just a book of short stories, Barnes replied: "Well, it was conceived as a whole and executed as a whole. Things in it thicken and deepen" (Cook 12). The question that needs asking, then, are whether and how this book generates discursive meaning(s) over the totality of its very different chapters. Are some of its meanings produced by the sum of its multiple texts? Is there a shape, a beginning and end to this book? Does it qualify as what Frank Kermode has called one of those fictions "whose ends are consonant with origins, and in concord, however unexpected, with their precedents," fictions which "satisfy our needs" by giving significance to our lives, seeing that we live our whole lifetime in the midst of things (Sense 5, 7)? Equally does it live up to Barnes' own dictum that "art is the stuff you finally understand, and life, perhaps, is the stuff you finally can't understand" (McGrath 23)?

It has been pointed out by more than one reviewer that the book opens with an account of Noah and the Flood (the biblical re-creation, if not the creation of the world) and that it closes with a final chapter which envisions a contemporary form of heaven. But between chapter one's origins and chapter ten's ends the remaining eight and a half chapters do not progress chronologically. Chapter two stages a hijacking of a pleasure boat by modern Arab terrorists. Chapter three transcribes sixteenth century court records of a case in the diocese of Besançon, France. Chapter four invents the journey or crazed fantasy of a woman escaping by sea from a nuclear-ravaged West and is mildly futuristic. Chapter five is divided between a section recounting the shipwreck of the French frigate, the Medusa, in 1816, and a section analyzing the stages in the painting of the "The Raft of the Medusa" by Géricault three years later. Chapter six recounts a fictional 1840 pilgrimage of an Irish woman to Mount Ararat where she dies. Chapter seven is titled "Three Simple Stories." The first story concerns a survivor from the Titanic, the second Jonah and a sailor in 1891 both of whom were swallowed by a whale, the third the Jewish passengers aboard the St. Louis trying to escape from Nazi Germany in 1939. Chapter eight is a story about a modern film actor on location in the Venezuelan jungle (suggestive of Robert Bolt's The Mission). Next comes the half chapter, "Parenthesis," an essay on love. Chapter nine recounts another fictitious expedition in 1977 to Mount Ararat by an astronaut in search of Noah's ark.

Instead of the traditional chronological ordering favored by historians, this book proceeds by juxtapositions, by parallels and contrasts, by connections that depend on irony or accident. Additionally Barnes uses a bewildering variety of narrative voices for the book's different episodes. It is as if Barnes was straining to differentiate his "historical" work from that of historians who aspire to a stance of objectivity. In "The Discourse of History" Barthes parallels the objective type of historian's concealment of himself as utterer of his own discourse to that of the so called "realist" novelist:

On the level of discourse, objectivity - or the deficiency of signs of the utterer - thus appears as a particular form of imaginary projection, the product of what might be called the referential illusion, since in this case the historian is claiming to allow the referent to speak all on its own. This type of illusion is not exclusive to historical discourse. It would be hard to count the novelists who imagined - in the epoch of Realism - that they were "objective" because they suppressed the signs of the "I" in their discourse! (11)

As Barthes observes, we now know better than to ascribe objectivity to either persona, because we realize that the absence of any signs pointing to the utterer merely substitutes an objective for a subjective utterer of the discourse.

As if in reaction to this discursive camouflage so frequently deployed by traditional historians and realist novelists alike, Barnes positively flouts his proliferation of subjective narrators. Barnes's book opens with the morally superior voice of the woodworm for whom "man is a very unevolved species compared to the animals" (28). There is the absurdly self-important voice used in the French medieval law courts in Chapter 3. The art historian takes over in the second part of Chapter 5. There is the egotistical epistolary voice of the actor in Chapter 8. There are several first-person narratives, including that of the possibly delusional Kath of Chapter 4, the eighteen-year-old prep-school master of the first of "Three Simple Stories" (Chapter 7), and the dreamer of Chapter 10 who wakes up in a distinctly twentieth century heaven. Above all, there is the highly personal, mildly didactic voice of a narrator who comes close to occupying the position of the author in the half-chapter, "Parenthesis." Yet Barnes has said: "All the narrators are meant to be touching in their aspirations, even if often proved to be foolish or deluded" (Stuart 15). Does this include the narrator of "Parenthesis"?

Barnes manages to summon up within this brief book a remarkably wide range of speech modes and different voices (those "voices echoing in the dark" (240) that constitute the history of the world). Chapter eight, for instance, consists entirely of letters sent by a second rate actor to his girl friend back home. Barnes accurately captures the clichés, lack of punctuation and poor syntax that reveal his derivative mind:

I get out your photo with the chipmunk face and kiss it. That's all that matters, you and me having babies. Let's do it, Pippa. Your mum would be pleased, wouldn't she? I said to Fish do you have kids, he said yes they're the apple of my eye. I put my arm round him and gave him a hug just like that. It's things like that that keep everything going, isn't it? (211)

Compare this to the half chapter ("Parenthesis") in which "Julian Barnes" talks in the first person about love:

Poets seem to write more easily about love than prose writers. For a start, they own that flexible "I" (when I say "I" you will want to know within a paragraph or two whether I mean Julian Barnes or someone invented; a poet can shimmy between the two, getting credit for both deep feeling and objectivity). (225)

In drawing attention to the prose medium he is using, Barnes - unlike the actor - contrives to complicate and energize his whole discourse on the difficult subject of love. Style and sincerity are shown to be closely connected. Barnes shows an equal command of sixteenth century French legalese, nineteenth century Irish religious enthusiasm, and contemporary American (with acknowledgements to his friend Jay McInerney for technical assistance). What all the chapters and voices have in common is that each subjects a section of Western history to the imperative of textual narrative. According to Barnes, "what makes each chapter work is that it has a structure and it has a narrative pulse" (Smith 73).

Despite the book's chronological and narrational irregularities, the reader's natural urge to make connections between these disparate segments of text, to convert this sequence of varying narratives into a larger overarching narrative, is given encouragement by various connective devices in the book. Paradoxically, at the same time the book is the work of a contemporary writer who typically does not see much coherence or order in the world around him. Life is "all hazard and chaos, with occasional small pieces of progress," he told one interviewer (Saunders 9). So the kind of connections and the kind of coherence found in this book are made to reflect this late twentieth century sense of dislocation in human life and history:

The history of the world? Just voices echoing in the dark; images that burn for a few centuries and then fade; stories, old stories that sometimes seem to overlap; strange links, impertinent connections. (240)

That is a more accurate description of the contents and connections within this book than might be apparent.

Let us start with those strange links and impertinent connections. Chapter one reveals among other things that Noah and his family stayed alive for the duration of their sojourn at sea by eating to extinction a number of the species who had entered the Ark two by two. Further Noah and his family discriminated between what they called the clean and unclean species, only sacrificing the so-called clean for their meal table. The next chapter describes the tourists unsuspectingly entering the cruise ship "in obedient couples." "'The animals came in two by two,' Franklin commented" (33). Sure enough, when the Arab hijackers come to start shooting two passengers an hour they adopt a similar policy to Noah's of segregating those clean(?) nationalities supposedly most responsible for the Palestinians' predicament and murdering them first. What are we as readers to make of this narrative connection? That whichever clique is in power throughout history will always attempt to solidify their position by creating an other as enemy or object of hate? That binary oppositions with their appeal to "natural" kinship are divisive and invariably lead to the destruction of life? That the recurrent human tendency to differentiate between groups necessarily ends with a superior and inferior category?

Barnes is less interested in deconstructing such oppositions than he is in raising questions. He claims to agree with Flaubert's dictum, which Barnes paraphrased for one interviewer: "'The desire to reach conclusions is a sign of human stupidity'" (McGrath 23). The questions that Barnes raises in this book nevertheless show a relatedness, though one that is problematized. The same motif - the division between the clean and the unclean ­ occurs in the third of the three stories comprising Chapter 7. This opens by inviting comparison with the Achille Lauro-type cruise ship of chapter two:

At 8 PM on Saturday, 13th May 1939, the liner St Louis left its home port of Hamburg. It was a cruise ship, and most of the 937 passengers booked on its transatlantic voyage carried visas confirming that they were "tourists, travelling for pleasure" (181).

In fact they are anything but tourists. They are Jews fleeing from a Nazi state intent on exterminating them. They might quite possibly also include some of the Zionists against whom the Arabs later stage their attack in chapter 2. Unlike that previous fictional episode involving the terrorists, this "story" is a factual account of a shameful episode dating from just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in which many of the world's free countries, including the United States, refused to allow these political refugees to disembark for various spurious reasons. The original intention was that all the emigrants would disembark in Havana. When the Cuban authorities held out for more money than the emigrants could come up with an impasse resulted. One suggestion was that, as 250 passengers were booked for the return journey to Europe, at least the same number of Jews might be allowed to disembark. Barnes continues: "But how would you choose the 250 who were to be allowed off the Ark? Who would separate the clean from the unclean? Was it to be done by casting lots" (184)?

Those three words - "Ark," "clean," and "unclean" ­ carry an additional semantic burden that has been created by the earlier narrative episodes and is purely ideological in content. An Ark/ship that is supposed to protect its occupants from the storms of the world turns into a prison ship for animals and humans alike, both of whom are victimized by being categorized as the other by those in control. For the reader who remembers that according to Genesis God caused it to rain "for forty days and forty nights" (7. 4), Barnes' comment in the penultimate paragraph that the 350 Jews allowed into Britain "were able to reflect that their wanderings at sea had lasted precisely forty days and forty nights" (188) resonates with irony. This biblical period of time is also precisely the duration of Moses' stay on Mount Sinai and of Jesus's stay in the wilderness. Similarly the suggestion that the refugees might try "casting lots" reminds the reader of the biblical accounts of the casting of lots between Saul and his son Jonathan and of the Roman soldiers casting lots for the crucified Jesus's garments. What is the final effect of these intertextual references? They illustrate the fact that from the beginnings of time humans have sought to validate their own status by turning on those they choose to designate the "unclean." Further, humans tend to reinforce these actions by appealing to the authority of some organized form of religion. Beneath a postmodern veil of raising questions this accumulation of instances invites the reader to reach some provisional conclusions (I would stress the plural) concerning human nature in all these narratives within narratives.

Some of these seemingly impertinent connections between chapters are predictive rather than retrospective. In chapter one among the animals on the Ark who are afraid of Noah are the reindeer. But "it wasn't just fear of Noah, it was something deeper" (12). They show powers of foresight, "as if they were saying, You think this is the worst? Don't count on it" (13). What it is that so scares them is not revealed until chapter four. There, after a Chernobyl-type nuclear disaster, reindeer in Norway that have received a high dose of radiation are being slaughtered and fed to mink. At first the authorities plan to bury the reindeer. But that would make "it look as if there's been a problem, like something's actually gone wrong" (86). The female protagonist comments: "we've been punishing animals from the beginning, haven't we" (87)? She concludes, "Everything is connected, even the parts we don't like, especially the parts we don't like" (84). That comment equally applies to the narrative organization of this book as a whole. Noah's presumptuous use and disposal of the animals committed to his care anticipates a continuing arrogance on humans' part, the disastrous consequences of which are just as readily suppressed by the modern media as they were in the biblical account of Noah in Genesis. The reader's knowledge that such censorship on the part of the authorities is all too likely, despite the fictional nature of Chapter 4, retrospectively bestows a peculiar kind of imaginative authority on Barnes' retelling of the biblical story of Noah in which he fictionally reinscribes what he infers are the suppressed elements of the official account of the episode. His connection of the parts we don't like only adds to their credibility.

Let us take one more instance of Barnes's apparently insignificant yet ultimately crucial connections between his parts/chapters. Chapter 10 pictures heaven as a dreamlike state in which dreamers "'get the sort of Heaven they want'." The dreamer-protagonist asks his heavenly informant, "'And what sort do they want on the whole?'" "'Well,'" she replies, "'they want a continuation of life, that's what we find. But [. . .] better, needless to say'" (298-9). What that turns out to be in practice is principally golf, sex, shopping, and meeting famous people (such as Noah), all of which activities reveal their underlying banality as the millennia pass by. Among the famous people is Hitler (a reference back not just to the St Louis but to his predecessor in prejudicial discrimination, Noah). The dreamer is naturally surprised at finding this arch-villain in heaven. What, he demands, happened to Hell? It turns out there isn't any Hell, merely a theme park filled with skeletons and devils played by out-of-work actors. As his heavenly informant explains, "that's all people want nowadays" (300). Clearly Barnes's heaven is a collective projection of the twentieth century psyche. Only in this final chapter is the human need to separate living beings into the clean and the unclean abandoned in favor of an anodyne world where everyone is equal - and eventually equally bored by it all, so bored that they opt to die off for a second time. The dreamer concludes that, "Heaven's a very good idea, it's a perfect idea you could say, but not for us. Not given the way we are" (307). The implication is that the human species is only happy when it has an artificially created alternative or other that provides it with its sense of cohesion and identity. A world in which no one is discriminated against is merely a dream of what we imagine we want but would actually find intolerably innocuous and tedious. Dependent on binary oppositions for our (false) sense of identity, we choose not to deconstruct them.
Although Barnes continually hints at the presence of an overarching signified throughout the book, he makes his reader establish the connections between the signifiers scattered throughout the various chapters and deduce the narrative significance that emerges from making such connections. If anything he makes it harder on the reader by offering a bewildering variety of discourses and genres. His output to date shows him to be a master of a wide variety of genres and forms, most notably in Flaubert's Parrot, his literary detective novel, but also in his novel of psychotic obsession, Before She Met Me (1982), his political courtroom drama, The Porcupine (1992), and his futurist farce, England, England (1998). In the different chapters of A History Barnes offers us a multiplicity of discursive genres - a fable, a political thriller, a courtroom drama, science fiction (or a psychiatric case history), a historical narrative, art criticism, epistolary fiction, an essay on love, and a dream-vision that, as one reviewer pointed out, recalls one of the most famous episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (Dirda X4). This bewildering discursive variety necessarily draws attention to the ways in which different modes of discourse generate different meanings regardless of their content. Given the theme of human divisiveness, each episode offers a very different variation on this theme - from the historically revisionist mode of the account of the Flood to the near tragic mode of the Jewish refugees, to the lightly satirical and humorous mode of the escapist fantasy of heaven. What emerges by the end is an acute awareness on the part of the reader of the presence of narrativity and its unavoidable role in all forms of historical discourse.

Variety and heterogeneity are as important to Barnes's narrative purpose as are the repetitive phrases, motifs and themes. His book appears to indicate that there are as many versions of history as there are forms of discourse, and yet that certain characteristics of human nature persist in surfacing no matter what discursive formation is employed. Take for instance his comment on Géricault's painting that connects it to similar human responses by the occupants of Noah's ark:

[. . .] how rarely do our emotions meet the object they seem to deserve? How hopelessly we signal; how dark the sky; how big the waves. We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us. (137)

Or take his assertion in "Parenthesis" that we must believe in love if we are not to "surrender to [. . .] someone else's truth" (244). Joyce Carol Oates refers to these residual truths at the core of what appears to be a quintessentially postmodern work when, reviewing this book, she called Barnes a "quintessential humanist [. . .] of the pre-post-modernist species" (13). Nevertheless he himself insists that "[w]e all know objective truth is not obtainable." The monologic or unitary version of the past, what Barnes calls the "God-eyed version," is invariably "a charming, impossible fake." On the other hand, he insists, "while we know this, we must believe that objective truth is obtainable," or at least that "43 per cent objective truth is better than 41 per cent" (243-4). Is Barnes' attempting to have it both ways here? Is he insisting in postmodern fashion on the necessary plurality of meanings while attempting to avoid the associated charge of relativism? Or is he implicitly subscribing to that school of postmodern historiography represented by Hayden White, Michel de Certeau and the like that insist that their suspicion of the act of historiography "need not imply radical relativism, or subjectivism and egoism, or an unconcern with the past" (Lentricchia xiv)? There may not be a metanarrative to this book, but certain repetitive motifs are discernible no matter how he retells human history. Do these recurring patterns have any referential reality? Or are they all simply products of the web of textuality, interpretation and narration?

Overtly Barnes only replies in narrative terms. If the book works for you, he has said, "then you see that it sort of thickens and deepens as it goes on, and that one chapter is set in a precise relationship to the other chapter" (Kidder E1). He is suggesting here that each chapter, even the final chapter that appears to celebrate the thin and the shallow in life (or the afterlife), gains resonance by its links and parallels to previous chapters. The structural parallels are numerous. As has been noted, the opening and closing chapters offer narratives of the near-beginning and near-end of human history. Chapter one introduces a series of motifs that recur in subsequent chapters and carry similar associations with them. Noah's divisiveness has already been seen to echo down the ages. The motif of his drunkenness ("You could even argue, I suppose, that God drove Noah to drink" 30) reappears in chapters recounting the wreck of the Medusa, the actor on location in the jungle, and in heaven. The Ark as a refuge-cum-prison is reincarnated in the cruise ship hijacked by terrorists and the Jewish refugees' St. Louis, in the Medusa, in the small boat in which the (possibly deranged) woman takes off to escape the nuclear catastrophe, and in the raft that capsizes and drowns the principal actor in the jungle.

The Ark lands on Mount Ararat at the end of chapter one. Chapter six concocts a story about the journey that an Irish woman made in 1840 to Mount Ararat. Her intention is to ask the monks in the monastery there to intercede for the soul of her dead atheistical father. On arrival she finds that the monks have forgotten the tradition forbidding them to ferment the grapes planted by the drunkard Noah. After an earthquake has demolished the monastery she stages her own death on the mountain. In chapter nine an ex-astronaut (reminiscent of Apollo 15's James Irwin) is convinced that God spoke to him while he was on the moon instructing him to find Noah's Ark. He mounts his expedition in 1977 and discovers the skeleton of what he at first assumes to be Noah, only for the pathologists to inform him that it belongs to a woman who died there some 130 -50 years before - the protagonist of chapter six. The astronaut is himself casually mentioned by the actor in chapter eight as returning like him from a strange land totally transformed. The identification of the sleazy actor (who ends up ­ significantly drunkenly - writing to his ex-lover, "Listen bitch why don't you just get out of my life" 220) with the born-again astronaut provides a form of anticipatory deflation of the religious zealot's integrity. Even the half chapter in its discussion of love refers to his wife as "the centre of my world," just as the "Armenians believed that Ararat was the centre of the world" (234).

These motifs and homologous connections proliferate far beyond what has been outlined above. They suggest in narrative form a continuity beneath the bewildering variety of human activity over the ages. The extent (and cultural limits) of that variety is neatly summarized by the dreamer in heaven. Apart from eating, golf, sex and shopping, he indulges in more or less all the incidents that have already been recounted in the previous nine and half chapters:

- I went on several cruises [chaps. 2 and 7];
- I learned canoeing [chap. 8], mountaineering [chaps. 6 and 9], ballooning;
- I got into all sorts of danger and escaped [chaps. 4, 5, and 7];
- I explored the jungle [chap.8];
- I watched a court case (didn't agree with the verdict) [chap. 3];
- I tried being a painter (not as bad as I thought!) and a surgeon [chap. 5];
- I fell in love, of course, lots of times ["Parenthesis" - the half chapter];
- I pretended I was the last person on earth (and the first) [chaps. 10 and 1]. (297)

There is no master discourse. This book is titled A History of the World. As Merritt Moseley comments, "No claim is made that this history is the right one [. . .] there are only histories" (109). But the repetitions and intertextual allusions also assert in narrative form that certain patterns of human interaction reappear over the expanse of history. No matter how you tell it - and Barnes tells it in a bewildering variety of ways - history seemingly cannot help revealing certain repetitive aspects of human nature.

Perhaps the most reiterated motif is that of the woodworm related to that of the numerous reincarnations of the Ark. It is a woodworm who is revealed in the final sentence of the chapter to be the narrator of chapter one. He and six other woodworms stowed away on the Ark and escape undetected after the Flood has subsided. Yet the status of this woodworm is as ambiguous as that of the traditional historian who, according to Barthes, contrives to "'dechronologize' the 'thread' of history" (10). In the final surprise paragraph of chapter one of Barnes's book the woodworm speaks "with the hindsight of a few millennia" (30). This confusion between narrated and narrator's time, according to Barthes, places the historian in the same position as the maker of myth: "It is to the extent that he knows what has not yet been told that the historian, like the actor of myth, needs to double up the chronological unwinding of events with references to the time of his own speech" (30). Thus the woodworm's atemporal status draws attention to its further use in the book as a signifier of a recurrent signified to be found in life in all its forms. The woodworm's is the voice of the outcast - excluded from God's ways and from official history. He is highly critical of both God and the ways of Noah and his species:

Put it this way: Noah was pretty bad, but you should have seen the others. It came as little surprise to us that God decided to wipe the slate clean; the only puzzle was that he chose to preserve anything at all of this species whose creation did not reflect particularly well on its creator. (8)

Noah's carnivorous decimation of the animal population is seen as classist arrogance justified by appeal to a God suspiciously biased towards the human species that invoked (or invented?) him.

Woodworms constantly crop up throughout the rest of the book. Fittingly they are responsible in chapter three for eating through a leg of the Bishop of Besançon's throne which collapses causing him to be "hurled against his will into a state of imbecility" (64). As in chapter one they are representative of those forces of nature that, excluded from human society, cannot be contained by the human will. The villagers' successful prosecution of the woodworm who end up being excommunicated (this chapter is a transcription of the main arguments of an actual court case of 1520) is ironically undercut by the conclusion in which the closing words of the juge d'Église have been eaten by woodworm. The facts excluded from the canon of the church are reinscribed by Barnes into its history thereby undermining its unitary version of the past. In chapter eight woodworms are still the one danger to the survival of the actor-narrator's discourse (his bizarre love letters) on their journey out of the jungle; letters have to be protected from them by being placed in a plastic bag. This is typical of what Barnes refers to as his thickening effect. By this stage he has turned the insect into a potent metaphor for that which is excluded or denied by various monologic discourses. So when he comes to describe the astronaut turned religious zealot who hears God tell him to search for Noah's Ark in chapter nine, Barnes is able to undermine the astronaut's sense of truth by a brief ironic reference to the woodworm: "he knew it [the Ark] couldn't have rotted or been eaten by termites, because God's command to find the Ark clearly implied that there was something left of it" (266). The astronaut shows the same blind faith in revealed truth that Noah did. He even asserts that as Noah used only gopher-wood for the Ark it was "probably resistant to both rot and termites" (266). The survival of the woodworm convincingly asserts the existence of an alternative, repressed version of events.

So many of the chapters offer versions of the Ark, boats built for human survival against the storms of God and/or nature. Yet these craft are all subject to the caprices of the woodworm eating away at them from within, or of what they come to represent in more general terms - the non-human, excluded forces of our world. Pleasure trips turn into nightmares. Rafts constructed to film a reenactment of a past disaster on the river repeat that disaster. Art becomes confused with reality by Indians and film crew alike, just as historical narrative becomes confused with fictional narrative by writer and readers alike.
The unsinkable Titanic sinks. So does the Medusa.

Barnes' two-part treatment in chapter five of the notorious shipwreck of the Medusa in 1816 and the subsequent painting of the survivors on the raft executed by Géricault in 1819 brings many of the themes and motifs of the book together. First comes his dispassionate but carefully shaped account of what happened to the 150 passengers and crew who spent fifteen days on the raft before being rescued. They mutiny and fight among themselves (as Noah's family did). They start eating the flesh of their dead comrades (as Noah ate his animals). Eventually the survivors are forced to make a choice between treating the fifteen healthy and twelve wounded alike, or throwing the wounded overboard to conserve the diminishing provisions. They choose the latter: "The healthy were separated from the unhealthy like the clean from the unclean" (121). We are back on Noah's Ark. Two of the fifteen who were rescued remind the reader of Noah by concluding that "the manner in which they were saved was truly miraculous" (123). But what about the 135 "unclean" who were killed or drowned before help arrived?

In the second section Barnes turns to the way in which Géricault chose to portray this incident. It opens: "How do you turn catastrophe into art" (125)? This is clearly the question Barnes is asking himself throughout his own attempt to turn the catastrophes of human history into meaningful, that is fictional, shape. Géricault had access to the same accounts from the survivors that Barnes summarized in the first section. Yet the painting shows not fifteen but twenty men on the raft, five of them dead. The painter has dragged five of the wounded back from the sea: "And should the dead lose their vote in the referendum over hope versus despair?" (131). Barnes wants to demonstrate the way any artist is compelled to rearrange the facts to give meaning to his narrative composition. Géricault cleans up the raft and restores the survivors to healthy muscularity. Why? In order to shift us as spectators "through currents of hope and despair, elation, panic and resignation" (137). According to Barnes Géricault is intent on demonstrating the equality of optimistic and pessimistic interpretations of human destiny. So he chooses to depict not the moment of rescue, but the earlier moment when the survivors sight a vessel on the horizon that fails to see them or come closer. Much like Beckett's reference in Waiting for Godot to the two thieves crucified with Christ one of whom is saved and the other damned, as many survivors hope that the boat is coming closer as conclude that it is heading away from them. The painting invites us to read it as "an image of hope being mocked" (132).

Barnes appears to conclude with the observation: "We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us [. . .] Catastrophe has become art: that is, after all, what it is for" (137). Barnes here targets both artist and historian for their similar proclivity in turning life's disasters into the more satisfying shapes of narrative. But Barnes next returns to the subject of Noah. Why did the artistic depiction of his Ark on the flood waters go out of fashion in the early sixteenth century? Michelangelo's painting of this incident on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel establishes a new trend by placing the Ark in the background. "What fills the foreground are the anguished figures of those doomed antediluvians left to perish when the chosen Noah and his family were saved" (138). By Poussin's time "old Noah has sailed out of art history" (138). The post-medieval world chose to tell a different story, not a conflicting one, but a complementary one that by its emphasis on the doomed casts Noah in a less privileged, more dubious light.

It is surprising, then, that in his half chapter, "Parenthesis," Barnes does not treat art as the best response to the false narratives of the past promoted by religion. "Art, picking up confidence from the decline of religion, announces its transcendence of the world [. . .] but this announcement isn't accessible to all, or where accessible isn't always inspiring or welcome." So, he concludes, "religion and art must yield to love" (242-3). Why love? One reason Barnes offers is that love resists the tyranny of history which is no more than fabulation. "Our panic and our pain are only eased by soothing fabulation; we call it history" (240). Love can't change history, Barnes asserts, but it can "teach us to stand up to history" (238). Love, then, represents our personal truth. But that truth bred of pure subjectivity can best be articulated by art. And the woodworm eats away at love as much as at the frame of Géricault's painting. So any true artist has to give a voice also to that excluded other, the woodworm in our midst. Ultimately the woodworm is a textual presence, signifying the presence of an aporia, reminding us of the false divisions made by historians in the textual continuum of the past.

It is remarkable how closely Barnes as pseudo-historian mirrors the way traditional historians, according to Barthes, organize their material in the shape of "lists that are to a certain extent closed, and therefore accessible to comprehension: in a word, they can form collections, whose units end up by repeating themselves, in combinations that are obviously subject to variation" (12). Barnes's "collection" (or recurrent units of content) is subject to similar rules of substitution and transformation as those observed by the historians Barthes uses as examples. His collection includes the shipwrecked and the excluded as well as the dominant members of the species, the storms afflicting everyone adrift in the sea of life, the vessels we all seek shelter in from such storms and the woodworm eating away at them from within. Barthes further refines his concept of the historical collection: "In the case of less well defined collections the units of content may nonetheless receive a strong structuring which derives not from the lexicon, but from the personal thematic of the author" (13). In Barnes's case his collection includes a deliberate confusion or blurring between dreaming and waking states, between fictional and historical accounts, and between monologic and dialogic modes of narration.

This brings us to the question of the problematic status of the final chapter. It opens and closes with a deliberate attempt to confuse the distinction between waking and dreaming states: "I dreamt that I woke up. It's the oldest dream of all, and I've just had it" (281, 307). Is this late twentieth century version of the afterlife meant to be seen as the ultimate teleological delusion entertained by humans throughout their history? Why is the narrator of this chapter so unimaginative, so banal in the choices he makes, given the seemingly limitless possibilities offered him? Among other things, the narrator tells us that he "fell in love, of course, lots of times" (297) and that, although "reluctant to criticize [his] dear wife," the sex he has with his nightly female visitor puts his sexual relations with his wife distinctly in the shade. How are we as readers to take this dismissal of a belief in monogamous love that the narrator of the half chapter considers essential to human survival? Although it appears hard to read any irony into the half chapter, do the pedestrian desires and fantasies of the narrator of the final chapter work to ironize the earlier half chapter?

Turning back to "Parenthesis" one notices one of those "impertinent connections" (240) that Barnes claims make up the history of the world: "Trusting virgins were told that love was [. . .] an ark on which two might escape the Flood." In Barnes's comment the irony is unmistakable: "It may be an ark, but one on which anthropophagy is rife; an ark skippered by some crazy greybeard who beats you round the head with his gopher-wood stave, and might pitch you overboard at any moment" (229). Love, the only possible resistance to the lies of history, is itself cannibalistic and highly unpredictable. Other such connections in "Parenthesis" catch the eye: love will make you unhappy, he asserts, either sooner due to incompatibility, "or unhappy later, when the woodworm has quietly been gnawing away for years and the bishop's throne collapses" (243).

Does the final chapter, then, thicken this earlier half chapter by retrospectively casting it in an ironic light that escapes notice when first reading it? Does the last chapter function as a kind of textual woodworm, undermining whatever certainties the earlier half chapter appeared to offer the reader? Is the reader being taught to live without answers, seeing that all the infallible answers offered to the narrator by his celestial informant only serve to leave him unsatisfied? Our dreams of a heaven turn out to be palliatives, something we need because, as the narrator learns, we "can't get by without the dream" (307). Past and future belong to the realm of dreams ­ or of the imagination, the domain of (narrative) art. In dreaming that he has just woken up, the narrator of the final chapter parallels the reader who has been induced by the power of the narrative to believe that he or she has been experiencing the fragmented actuality of human history, when all that has been shared is a dream of our past and our future. . This confusion between dreaming and waking states is elaborated on at the end of "The Survivor." The reader has no way of deciding whether Kath is on an island and the men in her dreams are the dreamers or whether she is in a hospital and she herself is the dreamer.

If history is a product of collective dreaming, why shouldn't Barnes dream up his own imagistic version of history? It is quite productive to see the chapters comprising this book as a series of images, each asking the spectator/reader to make his own mind up as to their relative truth-value, while each adds to, thickens or deepens our understanding of the rest. In one interview Barnes uses this analogy to justify the fictional or artistic coherence of the book as a whole. The novel is "perhaps more like a sequence of paintings on a wall," he suggests, "if you imagine a series of twelve, six on the top and six on the bottom. You can get pleasure from each in turn if you want to, but if you look at them together, then you see that they amount to one big panel" (Kidder E1). At the same time in "Parenthesis" Barnes calls those "medieval paintings which show all the stages of Christ's Passion as happening simultaneously in different parts of the picture" "a charming, impossible fake," a "God-eyed version of what 'really' happened" (243).

Barnes eschews a God-eyed narrative perspective in this book. The relation between his narrative images or chapters is one of disjunction, ironic juxtaposition, disparity. He rejects the traditional assumption that "there is some special dispensation whereby the signs that constitute an historical text have reference to events in the world" (Kermode, Genesis 108). His book celebrates the textuality of history, the narrativity of historical narration. As Barthes writes, "in 'objective' history, the 'real' is never more than an unformulated signified, sheltering behind the apparently all-powerful referent" (17). Barnes points to a signified by using as signifiers those strange links and impertinent connections that invite the reader to discover a coherence in the book as a whole. In reviewing this book Salman Rushdie claimed that what Barnes was attempting was "the novel as footnote to history, as subversion of the given [. . .] fiction as critique" (241). Seen in that light, this book can be seen to belong to the same genre as Rushdie's novels, fiction written on and about the margins of life that nevertheless manages to occupy its center.

Works Cited
  • Barnes, Julian. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. New York: Vintage/Random, 1989.
  • Barthes, Roland." The Discourse of History" Trans. Stephen Bann. Comparative Criticism: A Yearbook. Vol. 3. Ed.
    E. S. Shaffer. Cambridge UP, 1981.
  • Baker, Herschel, ed. The Later Renaissance in England: Nondramatic Verse and Prose, 1600-1660. Prospect Heights, IL:
       Waveland, 1996.
  • Cook, Bruce. "The World's History and Then Some in 10 1/2 Chapters."Los Angeles Daily News 7 Nov. 1989: 12.
  • Dirda, Michael. "Voyages on a Sea of Troubles." Washington Post 22 Oct 1989: X4.
  • Gascorek, Andrzy. Post-War British Fiction: Realism and After. London: Edward Arnold, 1995.
  • Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1967.
    ---. The Genesis of Secrecy: On the Interpretation of Narrative. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1979.
  • Kidder, Gayle. "The World According to Julian Barnes." San Diego Union-Tribune 5 Nov. 1989: E-1.
  • Lentricchia, Frank. After the New Criticism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980.
  • McGrath, Patrick. "Interview" (with Julian Barnes). Bomb 18-21 (1987): 20-23.
  • Moseley, Merritt. Understanding Julian Barnes. Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 1997.
  • Oates, Joyce Carol. Rev. of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, by Julian Barnes. New York Times Book Review 1
       Oct. 1989: 12-13.
  • Rushdie, Salman. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991.
  • Saunders, Kate. "From Flaubert's Parrot to Noah's Woodworm." Sunday Times (London) 18 June 1989: G8-9.
  • Stuart, Alexander. "A Talk With Julian Barnes." Los Angeles Times Book Review 15 Oct 1989: 15.

Copyright 1999 Brian Finney
 

"The people of your culture cling with fanatical tenacity to the specialness of man. They want desperately to perceive a vast gulf between man and the rest of creation. This mythology of human superiority justifies their doing whatever they please with the world, just the way Hitler's mythology of Aryan superiority justified his doing whatever he pleased with Europe. But in the end this mythology is not deeply satisfying. The Takers are a profoundly lonely people. The world for them is enemy territory, and they live in it like an army of occupation, alienated and isolated by their extraordinary specialness."

-- Ishmael by Danial Quinn p146

"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children -- that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, the spit upon themselves.

This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself ..."

-- Chief Seattle

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

--Greek Proverb

"It is here that I can concentrate my mind upon the Remembered Earth. It is here that I am most conscious of being, here that wonder comes upon my blood, here I want to live forever; and it is no matter that I must die."

-- N. Scott Momaday (from the movie Remembered Earth)

"The character of the landscape changes from hour to hour, day to day, season to season. Nothing of the earth can be taken for granted; you feel that Creation is going on in your sight. You see things in the high air that you do not see farther down in the lowlands. In the high country all objects bear upon you, and you touch hard upon the earth. From my home I can see the huge, billowing clouds; they draw close upon me and merge with my life."

-- N. Scott Momaday (from the movie Remembered Earth)

"Once in our lives we ought to concentrate our minds upon the Remembered Earth. We ought to give ourselves up to a particular landscape in our experience, to look at it from as many angles as we can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. We ought to imagine that we touch it with our hands at every season and listen to the sounds that are made upon it. We ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. We ought to recollect the glare of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk."

-- N. Scott Momaday (from the movie Remembered Earth)

"I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain. None of us lives apart from the land entirely; such an isolation is unimaginable. If we are to realize and maintain our humanity, we must come to a moral comprehension of earth and air as it is perceived in the long turn of seasons and of years."

-- N. Scott Momaday (from the movie Remembered Earth)

"There is a great good in returning to a landscape that has had extraordinary meaning in one's life. It happens that we return to such places in our minds irresistibly. There are certain villages and towns, mountains and plains that, having seen them walked in them lived in them even for a day, we keep forever in the mind's eye. They become indispensable to our well-being; they define us, and we say, I am who I am because I have been there, or there."

-- N. Scott Momaday, "Revisiting Sacred Ground," in The Man Made of Words

"But only the silence of the outer spheres encircles it; in all that wonderous expanse of magnificent precipices we hear no sound save our own voices and the whisper of the wind that comes and goes, breathing with the sound of centuries."

-- Frederick S. Dellenbaugh about Zion Canyon in 1904

The Important Places

Child of mine
Come as you grow
In youth you will learn the secret places
The cave behind the waterfall
The arms of the oak that hold you high
The stars so near on a desert ledge
The important places
And as with age you choose your own way among the many faces of a busy world
May you always remember the path that leads you back
Back to the important places

-- From movie entitled "The Important Places"

“We cannot pluck a flower witout disturbing a star.”

-- Loren Eiseley (from the movie Sky Island)

"The one thing that does not abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

-- Harper Lee

"Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind. Or forgotten."

-- From the movie "Lilo & Stitch"

"This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good."

-- Stitch from the movie "Lilo & Stitch"

"Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I hoped for or imagined. How is it that this safe return brings such regret?"

--Peter Matthiessen

"The dialectical method is discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter guided by reasoned arguments."

-- Wikipedia subject Dialectic with reference to Plato's Republic

"The law, must be honest, just, reasonable, and according to the ways of the people. It must meet their needs, and speak plainly so that all men may know and understand what the law is. It is not to be made in any man's favor, but for the needs of all them who live in the land. No man shall judge [condemn] the law which the King has given and the country chosen; neither shall he [the King] take it back without the will of the people."

-- From the Danish Code of Jutland in 1241

"There is a beginning and end to all life – and to all human endeavors. Species evolve and die off. Empires rise, then break apart. Businesses grow, then fold. There are no exceptions. I’m OK with all that. Yet it pains me to bear witness to the sixth great extinction, where we humans are directly responsible for the extirpation of so many wonderful creatures and invaluable indigenous cultures. It saddens me to observe the plight of our own species; we appear to be incapable of solving our problems."

-- Yvon Chouinard

"The reason why we won't face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It's not the corporations out there, it's not the governments, it's us. We're the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We're not citizens anymore. We're consumers. That's what we're called. It's just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you're an alcoholic. We're in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing's going to happen. So, there's a movement for simplifying your life: purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional."

-- Yvon Chouinard

"To do good, you actually have to do something."

-- Yvon Chouinard

"The future is made of the same stuff as the present."

-- Simone Weil

"After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."

-― Ann Richards

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

... It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

-- Oriah Mountain Dreamer from the book "The Invitation"

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

-- Benjamin Hoff, "The Tao Of Pooh"

"I for one welcome our new computer overlords."

-- Ken Jennings, written on the final jeopardy question answer in his game against IBMs Watson computer (2011)

"Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."

-- Scott Adams

"Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day because there's no other way to play it."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"No one is pure evil. Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"We can't change the cards we're dealt, just how we play the hand. If I'm not as depressed as you think I should be, I'm sorry to disappoint you."

-- Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture"

"To have striven, to have made an effort, to have been true to certain ideals -- this alone is worth the struggle. We are here to add what we can to, not to get what we can from, life."

-- Sir William Osler, 1849-1919 Canadian Physician, Medical Historian

"If you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains; If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains."

-- Cicero

Professor Farnsworth: "Amy, technology isn't intrinsically good or evil. It's how it's used. Like the Death Ray."

-- Futurama

"Voila! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V."

-- V from the movie "V is for Vendetta"

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

-- V from the movie "V is for Vendetta"

Gusteau: "You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true - anyone can cook... but only the fearless can be great."

-- From the movie: "Ratatouille"

Gusteau: "If you focus on what you've left behind you will never be able to see what lies ahead."

-- From the movie: "Ratatouille"

"Focusing is about saying no."

-- Steve Jobs

"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."

-- Steve Jobs

COLETTE: People think Haute Cuisine is snooty, so chefs must also be snooty. But not so. Lalo there-- ran away from home at twelve, got hired by circus people as an acrobat, got fired for messing around with the ringmasters daughter. Horst has done time.
LINGUINI: What for?
COLETTE: No one knows for sure. He changes the story every time you ask him.
JUMP CUTS: HORST I defrauded a major corporation.
(CUT)
I robbed the second largest bank in France using only a ballpoint pen.
(CUT)
I created a hole in the ozone over Avignon.
(CUT)
I killed a man with-- (he holds it up) --this thumb.
COLETTE: Don't ever play cards with Pompidou. He's been banned from both Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
COLETTE: La Rousse ran guns for the resistance.
LINGUINI: Which resistance?
COLETTE: He won't say. Apparently they did not win. So you see, we are artists. Pirates. More than cooks are we.

-- From the movie: "Ratatouille"

"The name's Ash. Housewares."

-- From the movie: "Army of Darkness" (1992)

'"Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said.
They came.
He pushed them....
And they flew.'

--Guillaume Apollinaire

"The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage."

--Thucydies (B.C. 460-400)

"Happiness is a direction and not a place."

-- Sydney J. Harris

"Most people are afraid of freedom. They are conditioned to be afraid of it."

-- Herbert Marcuse

"Let your life speak!"

-- Quaker Saying

"Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus"
(Never tickle a sleeping dragon)

-- Hogwarts School Motto (from the Harry Potter series of books)

"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons - for you are crunchy and good with ketchup."

-- anon

"A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service."

-- Georges Pompidou

"Real talent is a mystery, and people who've got it, know it."

-- George Cukor, director

'In the heating and air conditioning trade, the point on the thermostat in which neither heating nor cooling must operate -- around 72 degrees -- is called "The Comfort Zone." It is also known as "The Dead Zone."'

--Russell Bishop

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goals."

--anon

"Setting goals is basically, planning celibrations."
-- Drew Dudley

"You can only make a certain amount with your hands, but with your mind, it's unlimited."

--Kal Seinfeld's advice to his son, Jerry

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."

--George Lois

"Habit is an outsider who supplants reason in us."

-- Sully Prudhomme (aka Rene-Francois-Armand Prudhomme)

"I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered."

-- Jean Ingelow

"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."

-- Delos B. McKown

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

-- Stephen Roberts

"Success to the strongest, who are always, at last, the wisest and best."

--Emerson

"Why do strong arms fatigue themselves with frivolous dumbbells? To dig a vinyard is worthier exercise."

-- Marcus Valius Martialis (40 AD-102 AD)

"The purpose of a wilderness journey is not to get from one end of the trail to the other, but to enjoy the landscape, and adapt to its ever-changing moods."

--Bill Mason

"A short life is better for mankind, for a long life would deprive man of his optimism."

-- Karel Capek

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

-- Zora Neale Huston

"This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."

-- Elmer Davis

"It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I am right."

-- Moliere

"The trees that are slow to grow, bear the best fruit."

-- Moliere

"Always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice."

-- Ethel Merman

"There is nothing new in art except talent."

-- Anton Chekhov

"Nothing is too small to know, and nothing is too big to attempt."

-- William Van Horne

"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."

-- Gotthold Lessing

"Television, a medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well done."

-- Ernie Kovacs

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

"Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum."

-- Archilochus, Greek poet (680bc-645bc)

"Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it."

-- Robert Motherwell

"A life without love is a waste. 'Should I look for spiritual love, or material, or physical love?', don't ask yourself this question. Discrimination leads to discrimination. Love doesn't need any name, category or definition. Love is a world itself. Either you are in, at the center... either you are out, yearning."
-- Shams Tabrizi

"By annihilating desires, you annihilate the mind."

-- Claude-Adrien Helvetius

"Every successful revoution puts on in time the robe of the tyrant it has deposed."

-- Barbara Tuchman

"If you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to almost anything."

-- Fred Menger

"The biggest human temptation is ... to settle for too little."

-- Thomas Merton

"Only indifference is free. What is distinctive is never free, it is stamped with its own seal, conditioned and chained.

-- Thomas Man

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

-- Thomas Pynchon

"...lack of foresight and an almost childlike decision not to worry about the future seem to be human characteristics that are timeless. Ultimately, these psychological weaknesses may be more responsible for why civilizations have failed than resource shortages alone."

-- Stephen Leeb

"An approximate answer to the right question is worth a great deal more than a precise answer to the wrong question."

-- John Tukey

"If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it."

-- Pierre Gallois

"Eppur si muove" (Italian for "and yet it moves" (meaning the Earth moves about the Sun))

-- Galileo (attributed as his comment after being force in 1633 to recant his theory)

"You can build a throne out of bayonets, but you can't sit on them long."

-- Boris Yeltsin

"No matter what side of an argument you're on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other side."

-- Jascha Heifetz

"Modern Man has lost the option of silence."

-- William Burroughs

"There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo."

-- Beryl Markham

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
-- John Donne, MEDITATION XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occsions

"I felt exhilarated. It was like thinking that all there is to your family are your parents, brothers and sisters, and then you realize there's a whole stretch of history that is an extension of who you are."

-- Loreena McKennitt on how her travels have influenced her

"You can't get there from here if you don't know where here and there are."

-- Thom Hogan (photographer)

"I want to go out as unprepared as possible so I can get filled up with what the world has to offer."

-- Jay Maisal (photographer)

"Go out, go outI get of you
and teste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the Earth.
With all the wonder of a child."

-- Edna Jaques

"Charm is more valuable than beauty. You can resist beauty, but you can't resist charm."

-- Audrey Tautou, actress

"No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit."

-- Ansel Adams

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way --- things that I had no words for."

-- Georgia O'Keefe

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."

-- Ansel Adams

"The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways."

-- Ansel Adams

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand."

-- Ansel Adams

"The only things in my life that compatibly exists with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit."

-- Ansel Adams

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."

-- Ansel Adams

"A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed."

-- Ansel Adams

"For me, the photo of Doug-o captured more than just a frozen image of a great day. it encapsulated freedom, adventure, skills and competence that the sport both provides and requires. Only a photo could do that. A video offers too much information and leaves little to the imagination; a photo invites the viewer to project and speculated about the subject and landscape and mood and energy of the day."

-- Jeffery Bergeron

"A brave heart is a powerful weapon."

-- anon

"Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you."

-- Aldous Huxley

"The heart wants what it wants."

-- From the TV show "Life is Wild"

"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it."

-- anon

"The trouble with life is, that you're halfway through it before you realize that it's a 'do it yourself' thing.

-- anon

"God made the desert so that man could find his soul."

-- anon

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood."

-- Marie Curie

"In youth we learn; in age we understand."

-- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

"He who believes in freedom of the will has never loved and never hated."

-- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

-- From the movie "Perks of Being a Wallflower"

"...and in that moment I swear we were infinite."

-- From the movie "Perks of Being a Wallflower"

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life."

-- Omar Khayyam

"What delights us in visible beauty is the invisible."

-- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

"Beauty is the promise of happiness."

-- Stendhal (pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle)

"Little evil would be done in the world if evil never could be done in the name of good."

-- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. After some years, it can boast of a long series of successes."

-- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

"Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with truth."

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

"All your base are belong to us.
You are on the way to destruction
You have no chance to survive.
make your time.

-- mistranslation of threat of an opponent in a video game

"Life is a verb."

-- anon

"The Heisenberg uncertainty principle does not limit what we can know about reality; it describes that reality."

-- Barbara Burke Hubbard

"Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics."

-- G.H. Hardy

"An equation has no meaning for me unless it expresses a thought of God."

--Srinivasa Ramanujan

"God created the integers, all else is the work of man."

"Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk"

-- Kronecker speaking in opposition to Cantor's use of sets as the foundation of mathematics

"If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem."

-- Krishnamurti

"Everyone knows what a curve is, until he has studied enough mathematics to become confused through the countless number of possible exceptions."

-- Felix Klein

"Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them."

-- Mark Haddon, "The Curious Incident of the Dog and the Night-time"

"Tired and full of mathematical ideas, happy from the consciousness that we had found out something which one cannot find in books, we would return in the evening to Moscow."

-- B V Gnedenko, commenting on outings to Kolmogorov's house

"Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you have only one idea."

-- Emile-Auguste Chartier

Calvera: If God hadn't meant for them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep.

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"


Chris: Job for six men, watching over a village, south of the border.
O'Reilly: How big's the opposition?
Chris: Thirty guns.
O'Reilly: I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"


Vin: Reminds me of that fellow back home that fell off a ten story building.
Chris: What about him?
Vin: Well, as he was falling people on each floor kept hearing him say, "So far, so good. Tch...So far, so good!"

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"

[Calvera has just captured the Seven.]
Calvera: What I don't understand is why a man like you took the job in the first place, hum? Why, heh?
Chris: I wonder myself.
Calvera: No, come on, tell me why.
Vin: It's like this fellow I knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, Why?"
Calvera: And?
Vin: He said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"


Village Boy 2: We're ashamed to live here. Our fathers are cowards.
O'Reilly: Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there's nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery.

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"


Chris: The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"

[The Villagers tell Chris they collected everything of value in their village to hire gunmen]
Chris Adams: I have been paid a lot for my work, but never everything.

-- from the movie "The Magnificent Seven"

"If you truly enjoy your work then you will never have to work again."

-- proverb

"The world steps aside for those who know where they are going."

-- proverb

"The older we get, the better we was."

-- proverb

"It's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not."

-- proverb

"Idleness is the holiday of fools."

-- proverb

"Do not seek after the sages of the past. Seek what they sought."

-- Basho

"Most things still remain to be done!"

-- Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA furniture company

"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time."

-- James Taylor (from a song)

"A man's gotta know his limitations."

-- Dirty Harry (from the movie Magnum Force)

"I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

-- Dirty Harry (from the movie Dirty Harry)

"I freely give all sights and sounds of nature I have known to those who have the grace to enjoy not man-made materialism but God-made beauty.

The magnificent Arizona sunsets I have watched from my enclosure, I bequeath to all who see not only with their eyes, but with their hearts. To humans who are tired, worried or discouraged, I bequeath the silence, majesty and peace of our great American desert. To those who walk the trails, I bequeath the early morning voices of the birds and the glory of the flowering desert in the springtime. To the children who have enjoyed seeing me, hearing me purr, and watching me turn my somersaults, I offer the precious gift of laughter and joy. The world so needs these things. And lastly, I bequeath my own happy spirit, and affection for others, to all who may remember me and my museum where for three years, I did my best to show people that I truly liked them."

-- Epitaph for George L. Mountain Lion (Feb 1952 - Mar 1955) Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home."

-- Gary Snyder

"The enjoyment of the choicest natural scenes in the country and the means of recreation connected with them is thus a monopoly, in a very peculiar manner, of a very few very rich people. The great mass of society, including those to whom it would be of the greatest benefit, is excluded from it. In the nature of the case private parks can never be used by the mass of the people in any country nor by any considerable number even of the rich, except by the favor of a few, and in dependence on them.

Thus without means are taken by government to withhold them from the grasp of individuals, all places favorable in scenery to the recreation of the mind and body will be closed against the great body of the people. For the same reason that the water of rivers should be guarded against private appropriation and the use of it for the purpose of navigation and otherwise protected against obstructions, portions of natural scenery may therefore properly to guarded and cared for by government. To simply reserve them from monopoly by individuals, however, it will be obvious, is not all that is necessary. It is necessary that they should he laid open to the use of the body of the people."

-- from Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove: A Preliminary Report, 1865 by Frederick Law Olmsted, America's foremost landscape architect

"I don't want the DVD, I want the movie it carries. I don't want a clunky answering machine, I want the message it saves, I don't want a CD, I want the music is plays, In other words, I don't want stuff, I want the needs or experiences it fullfills."

-- Rachel Botsman on Collaborative Consumption

"It is not the drill we want but the hole."

-- Rachel Botsman on Collaborative Consumption

"Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird"

-- Cat Stevens

"If I had words to make a day for you,
I'd sing you a morning golden and new.
I would make this day last for all time,
Give you a night deep with moonshine."

-- annon, sung by farmer Hoggett in the movie Babe, suspected folk song

"Adults are obsolete children and the hell with them."

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss in Horton hears a Who)

"Promise me you'll remember, you are braver than you think, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think."

-- A. A. Milne

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You are on your own.
And you know what you know.
And you are the one who'll decide where to go."

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad."

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana."

-- Groucho Marx

"Sometimes life's so beautiful it catches you off guard."

-- anon

"Beauty.. is merciless. You do not look at it; it looks at you and does not forgive."

-- Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of "Zorba the Greek"

"The morning is such a lovely time of day. It's a shame it's so early."

-- Debra Applin

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."

-- James Truslow Adams

"There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live. Surely these should never be confused in the mind of any man who has the slightest inlinkng of what culture is. For most of us it is essential that we should make a living... In the complications of modern life and with our increased accumulation of knowledge, it doubtless helps greatly to compress some years of experience into far fewer years by studying for a particular trade or profession in an institution; but that fact should not blind us to another-- namely, that in so doing we are learning a trade or a profession, but are not getting a liberal education as human beings."

-- James Truslow Adams

"Life is tough but, it's even tougher if you're stupid."

-- anonymous hospital emergency room staffer

"The morning is the rudder of the day."

-- anon

"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Play with abandon. Listen well. Choose without regret. Do what you love. Appreciate your friends. Act as if this is all there is."

-- J.N.Kemsley

"Must we have 'hooter cancer survivors'?"

-- a user angry with America Online's censorship policies

"We may not be the only species on the planet but we sure do act like it."

-- anon

"Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, for he is the harbinger of death."

-- Dr. Zaius, Minister of Science and Chief Defender of the Faith (From the movie Planet of the Apes)

"It's a mad house! A mad house!"

-- Taylor (From the movie Planet of the Apes)

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"

-- Taylor (From the movie Planet of the Apes)

"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

-- Anonymous

"All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors."

-- Anonymous

"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."

-- last line of "Notes on the van Emde Boas construction of priority deques: An instructive use of recursion," a personal communication to Peter van Emde Boas by Donald Knuth

"A supercomputer is a device for converting a CPU-bound problem into an I/O bound problem."

-- Ken Batcher

"A supercomputer is one that is only one generation behind what you really need."

-- Neil Lincoln

"All generalizations are false."

-- anon

"Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off goals."
-- William "Bull" Halsey

"Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math."

-- anon

"Time is what keeps everything from happening at once."

-- anon

"Out of my mind. Back in five minutes."

-- anon

"Sometimes I wake up grumpy; Other times I let him sleep."

-- anon

"Numquam magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit."
Latin for "There has never been a great spirit without a touch of insanity."

-- anon

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it."

-- anon

"Time is a great teacher; unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

-- Hector Berlioz

"Warning: Dates in Calendar are closer than they appear."

-- anon

"Give me ambiguity or give me something else."

-- anon

"Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else."

-- anon

"There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't."

-- anon

"There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't."

-- anon

"May you live in interesting times"

-- chinese curse

Pinky: "What are we going to do tomorrow night, Brain?"
Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky... try and take over the world!"

-- From Pinky and the Brain

"Winter is good for reading the classics, for one's mind is more collected. Summer is good for reading history, for one has plenty of time. The autumn is good for reading ancient philosophers, because of the great diversity of thought and ideas. Finally, spring is suitable for reading modern authors, for in spring one's spirit expands."

-- Chang Chan

October in New England

October in New England
And I not there to see
The glamour of the goldenrod,
The flame of the maple tree!

October in my own land....
I know what glory fills
The mountains of New Hampshire
And Massachusetts hills.

Vermont, in robes of splendor
Sings with the woods of Maine,
Alternate hallelujahs
Of gold and crimson stain.

I know what hues of opal
Rhode Island breezes fan,
And how Connecticut puts on
Colors of Hindustan.

-- Odell Sheppard 1884-1967 # as remembered by Patty Zachman

"To talk with a learned friend is like reading a remarkable book; with a romantic friend, like reading good prose and poetry; with an upright friend, like reading the classics; with a humorous friend, like reading fiction."

-- Chang Chan

"Hoyle and Wickramasinghe gave up on spontaeous generation [of life], since the likelihood of the event was comparable to the chances that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein."

-- Stuart Kaufman in "At Home in the Universe"

"You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to beleive. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

-- Morpheus in "The Matrix"

"Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

-- Morpheus in "The Matrix"

"I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure."

-- Agent Smith in "The Matrix"

"The orange dump truck's wheels turned orange."

-- from elementary school poem

"To infinity and beyond!"

-- Buzz Lightyear

"You open it with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone."

-- One of the intros to the Twilight Zone TV show

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

-- One of the intros to the Twilight Zone TV show

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

-- One of the intros to the Twilight Zone TV show

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

-- Sherlock Holmes in "The Sign of Four"

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

-- anon

"I learn so as to be contented."

--inscription on the stone wash-basin in Ryoanji temple

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

-- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"When you want to build a ship, then do not drum the men together in order to procure wood, to give instructions or to distribute the work, but teach them longing for the wide endless sea."

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Faint heart never won fair lady."

-- proverb

"If you don't have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?"

-- John Wooden (basketball coach)

"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he."

-- Proverbs 23:7, The Bible

"There be three things that are too wonderful for me, yea, four that I know not; the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid."

-- Proverbs 30:18-19, The Bible

"Two souls but with a single thought;
Two hearts that beat as one."

-- Von Munch Bellinghausen

"The only way to pass any test is to take the test. It is inevitable."

-- Elder Regal Black Swan

"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got."

-- Walter Cronkite

"... sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one... can imagine."

-- From the movie "The Imitation Game"

"Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

-- Cree Indian Prophecy

"Born empty handed, Die empty handed. I witnessed life at its fullest, Empty handed."

-- Marlo Morgan

Vicomte de Valvert: Ah ... your nose ... hem! Your nose is rather large!

Cyrano (gravely): Rather.

Valvert (simpering): Oh well--

Cyrano (coolly): Is that all?

Valvert (turns away with a shrug): Well of course--

Cyrano: Ah no, young sir! You are too simple. Why, you might have said -- Oh a great many things! Mon dieu, why waste your opportunity? For example, thus:
AGGRESSIVE: I, sir, if that nose were mine, I'd have it amputated - on the spot!
FRIENDLY: How do you drink with such a nose? You ought to have a cup made specially.
DESCRIPTIVE: 'Tis a rock - a crag - a cape - A cape? say rather a peninsula!
INQUISITIVE: What is that receptacle - A razor-case or a portfolio?
KINDLY: Ah, do you love the little birds so much that they come and sing to you, you give them this to perch on?
INSOLENT: Sir, when you smoke, the neighbours must suppose your chimney is on fire.
CAUTIOUS: Take care-- A weight like that might make you topheary.
THOUGHTFUL: Somebody fech my parasol-- Those delicate colors fade so in the sun!
PEDANTIC: Does not Aristophanes mention a mythologic monster called hippocampelephantocamelos? Surely we have here the original!
FAMILIAR: Well, old torchlight! Hang your hat over that chandelier-- it hurts my eyes.
ELOQUENT: When it blows, the typhoon howls, and the clouds darken.
DRAMATIC: When it bleeds-- the Red Sea!
ENTERPRISING: What a sign for some perfumer!
LYRIC: Hark-- the horn of Roland calls to summon Charlemagne!--
SIMPLE: When do they unveil the monument?
RESPECTFUL: Sir, I recongnize in you a man of many parts, a man of prominence--
RUSTIC: Hey? What? Call that a nose? Na na-- I be no fool like what you think I be--That there's a blue cucumber!
MILITARY: Point against cavalry!
PRACTICAL: Why not a lottery with this for the grand prize? Or -- parodying Faustus in the play-- "Was this the nose that launched a thousand ships and burned the topless towers of Ilium?"

These, my dear sir, are things you might have said had you some tinge of letters, or of wit to color your discourse.

-- Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (Brian Hooker translator)

Roxanne: I have never loved but one man in my life,
And I have lost him-- twice...

-- Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (Brian Hooker translator)

"... A kiss, when all is said, what is it?
An oath that's ratified, a sealed promise,
A heart's avowal claiming confirmation,
A rose-dot on the 'i' of 'adoration';
A secret that to mouth, not ear, is whispered
...
-- Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

-- Margaret Mead

"There are no straight lines in nature."

-- A person searching for the wreckage of EgyptAir 990 using sonar

"For time changes the nature of the whole world, and all things must pass from one condition to another, nothing remains like itself."

--Lucretis 99 B.C. - 55 B.C.

"It is not half so important to know as it is to feel."

--Rachel Carson

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives."

--Indian Proverb

"Everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die."

--Joe lewis

"If people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's going to stop them."

--Yogi Berra

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

-- Yogi Berra

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

-- Yogi Berra

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

-- Yogi Berra

"We're lost, but we're making good time!"

-- Yogi Berra

"Pair up in threes."

-- Yogi Berra

"Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken."

-- Yogi Berra

"You can observe a lot by watching."

-- Yogi Berra

"A man in the house is worth two in the street."

--Mae West in Belle of the Nineties

"When choosing between two evils I always like to take the one I've never tried before."

-- Mae West

"It pays to be good -- but it doesn't pay much''

-- Mae West

"My brain is open."

--Paul Erdös

"A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems."

--Paul Erdös

"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after."

-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work."

--John Von Neumann

"All models are wrong. Some are useful."

-- George E. P. Box

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living."

--Henri Poincare

"It is not order only, but unexpected order, that has value."

--Henri Poincare

"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."

--John Von Neumann 1951

"3 Billion B.C.: The Earth is a swirling ball of flaming gases. Fishing is extremely poor, especially in August."

--Cliff Hauptman in The Complete History of Fishing

"One of the toughest battles in intelligence is combating conventional wisdom."

-- Robert Gates, former CIA director on why they failed to predict the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, Nuclear tests in India, ...

"History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history."

-- Clarence Darrow

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

-- Mahatma Gandhi

"Nice guys finish last."

--Leo Durocher

"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."

--Samuel Goldwyn

"Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, those watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God."

-- Hildegard von Bingen (12 c.)

"Those voices you hear are like the voice of a multitude, which lifts its sound on high; for jubilant praises, offered in simple harmony and charity, lead the faithful to that consonance in which is no discord, and make those who still live on earth sign with heart and voice for the heavenly reward."

-- Hildegard von Bingen (12 c.)

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."

-- Henry David Thoreau

"To affect the quality of the day, is the highest of the arts."

-- Henry David Thoreau

"Better to die like a lion than to live like sheep"

-- proverb

"Depend on it: there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace."

-- Sherlock Holmes "The Case of Identity"

"It is natural for the ordinary American when he sees something wrong to feel not only that there should be a law against it but, also that an organization should be formed to combat it."

-- Gunner Myrdal

"First get your facts; and then you can distort them ay your leisure."

-- Mark Twain

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is the lightning that does the work."

-- Mark Twain

"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

-- Mark Twain

"Facts are like stuffed animals in a glass case, only remotely suggesting the wild uncertain environment in which they had their beginning."

-- Michael Hawkins

"Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates empirical information."

-- Edward R. Tufte

"Power corrupts. Powerpoint corrupts absolutely."

-- Edward R. Tufte

"Treat a virus with antibiotics and you get better in 7 days. Do nothing and you are better in a week."

-- anon

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

-- Sherlock Holmes "A Scandal in Bohemia"

"The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things-- but the oddest part of it was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold."

-- Through the Looking Glass

"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do something I can do."

-- Edward Everett Hale

"I'm just singing for the women who think they can't speak out. Can't a man alive mistreat me, 'cause I know who I am."

-- Alberta Hunter, blues singer

"I do not wish [women] to have power over men, but over themselves."

-- Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?"

-- Mary Oliver

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."

-- Walter Bagehot

"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Home, man feels once more happy."

-- Richard Burton (explorer)

"The routine is the enemy of time."

-- Jedidiah Jenkins

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."

-- Benjamin Disraeli

"A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."

-- Lao Tsu

"If you are depressed you are living itn he past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present."

-- Lao Tsu

"In the pursuit of learning,
everyday something is acquired.
In the pursuit of the Way,
everyday something is dropped."

-- Lao Tzu

"To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders."

-- Lao Tzu

"The reverse side also has a reverse side."

-- Japanese proverb

"What you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I hate quotations."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact every second of every day. If there is a Hell, you might wanna go there for some R & R after a tour on Pandora. Out there beyond that fence every living thing that crawls, flies, or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubes. We have an indigenous population of humanoids called the Na'vi. They're fond of arrows dipped in a neurotoxin that will stop your heart in one minute - and they have bones reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber. They are very hard to kill. As head of security, it is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed. Not with all of you. If you wish to survive, you need to cultivate a strong, mental aptitude. You got to obey the rules: Pandora rules. Rule number one..."

-- Col. Quaritch (from movie Avatar)

"This is the mark of a perfect character - to pass through each day as though it were the last, without agitation, without torpor, and without pretense."

-- Marcus Aurelius

"We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience."

-- Buddha

"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you"

-- Buddha

"The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it."

-- Stanley Kubrick

"Behold, my son, with what little wisdom the world is ruled."

-- Count Axel Oxenstierna

"The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps his cool."

-- William McFee

"The world is ruled by letting things take their course."

-- Lao-Tzu

"A wise man never loses anything if he has himself."

-- Montaigne

"`Well, in OUR country,' said Alice, still panting a little, `you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.'

"`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, HERE, you see, it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'"

-- Lewis Carroll

"... The name of the song is called "HADDOCKS' EYES."'

'Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?' Alice said, trying to feel interested.

'No, you don't understand,' the Knight said, looking a little vexed. 'That's what the name is CALLED. The name really IS "THE AGED AGED MAN."'

'Then I ought to have said "That's what the SONG is called"?' Alice corrected herself.

'No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The SONG is called "WAYS AND MEANS": but that's only what it's CALLED, you know!'

'Well, what IS the song, then?' said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.

'I was coming to that,' the Knight said. 'The song really IS "A-SITTING ON A GATE": and the tune's my own invention.'"

-- Lewis Carroll

"Alice laughed. `There's not use trying,' she said: `one CAN'T believe impossible things.'

"`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'"

-- Lewis Carroll

"I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness."

-- Chuang-Tzu

"The best laid shemes o' mice and men gang aft a-gley"

-- Robert Burns

"If I should bow my head, let it be to a high mountain."

-- Maori Proverb

"Water is good, it benefits all things and does not compete with them."

-- Lao Tsu

"It is better to wear out than to rust out"

-- George Whitefield

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

"If you have nothing good to say about anyone, come sit next to me."

-- Alice Roosevelt Longworth (daughter of Teddy Roosevelt)

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

"In my time it was different. When I knew the wind was strong, I attacked myself to make the race as hard as possible."

-- Eddy Merckx

"There is a crucial threshold that every bike racer must reach and exceed in order to be successful. But I'm not talking about a lactate threshold or anything like that; this threshold is harder to define because it's really a combination of physiological, psychological, and environmental factors. At the same time, every racer who's broken through what I refer to as the "Competitive Threshold" knows what it is, even if they can't really describe it.

When your fitness is below a given point (relative to your competition) you're racing to survive and holding on to a slight hope that if you survive long enough you might be able to launch one all-or-nothing bid for victory. But when improve beyond your Competitive Threshold, survival is no longer an issue and a whole new world of opportunities opens up. Instead of fighting for wheels so you don't get dropped, you're fighting for wheels based on strategy. Instead of viewing the peloton as a place to find shelter, you start viewing it as a tool you can use to increase your chances of winning. You start acting like a hunter instead of a scavenger."

-- Chris Carmichael

"It never gets easier, you just go faster."

-- Greg LeMond

"Pain is a big fat creature riding on your back. The farther you pedal, the heavier he feels. The harder you push, the tighter he squeezes your chest. The steeper the climb, the deeper he digs his jagged, sharp claws into your muscles." Scott Martin

-- Scott Martin

"To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain....at cycling's core lies pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn't matter if you're sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you're missing the essence of the sport. Without pain, there's no adversity. Without adversity, no challenge. Without challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of accomplishment and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks."

-- Scott Martin

"The Ventoux is a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering."

-- Roland Barthes talking of Mont Ventoux climb in the Tour de France

"There are too many factors you have to take into account that you have no control over...The most important factor you can keep in your own hands is yourself. I always placed the greatest emphasis on that."

-- Eddy Merckx

"Beware any place where they have a name for the wind."

-- Dr. Jane Kelly, The Anchorage Daily News in July 1998

"The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have"

-- Reinhold Messner, alpinest

"It's always further than it looks. It's always taller than it looks. It's always harder than it looks."

-- Reinhold Messner, alpinest

"I take nothing for granted. Now I have only good days or great days."

-- Lance Armstrong, cyclist who had cancer and went on to win the Tour de France

"Lake Wobegone, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average"

-- Garrison Kiellor in "A Parire Home Companion"

"I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. I you give her sperm she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiples and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!"

-- William Golding, British writer

"You can't scare me. I have children."

-- anon

"Don't think you're on the right road just because it's a well-beaten path."

-- anon

"We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything. Several new science papers suggest that getting away is an essential habit of effective thinking. When we escape from the place we spend most of our time, the mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas we'd previously suppressed. We start thinking about obscure possibilitiebsthat never would have occurred to us if we'd stayed home."

-- Jonah Lehrer

"Opportunity is often missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"

-- Thomas Edison

"Adversity introduces man to himself"

-- anon.

"When you play for more than you can afford to lose, then you will really know the game."

-- Winston Churchill

"We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising."

-- Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

"I could compass my kingdom in a walnut shell and be content, were it not for dreams."

-- James Foster misremembering Hamlet

"O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible."

-- T. E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

"...for a moment people set down their glasses in county clubs and speak-easies and thought of their old best dreams."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald's quote about Lindbergh

"Don't ever name your dog Nipper or your horse Buck!"

-- Linda Taylor (on Corgi-L mailing list)

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls. Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands: but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.

-- Iago from Othello by Shakespeare, act 3 scene 3

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

-- Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd."

-- Shakespeare, Hamlet


This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

-- Henry V from Henry V by Shakespeare, act 4 scene 3

"O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial."

-- Antony from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, act 3 scene 1

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard. It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come."

-- Caesar from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2

"Your wisdom is consumed in confidence."

-- Calpurnia from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2

Petruchio: ...
Good morrow, Kate; for that's your name, I hear.

Katharina: Well have you heard, but something hard of hearing:
They call me Katharina that do talk of me.

Petruchio: You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,
And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation;
Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,
Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,
Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,
Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.

Katharina: Moved! in good time: let him that moved you hither
Remove you hence: ...

-- from Taming of the Screw by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 1

"Why, there's a wench! Come on, and kiss me, Kate."

-- Petruchio from Taming of the Screw by Shakespeare

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

-- from Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 5

ROMEO:[To a Servingman] What lady is that, which doth
enrich the hand
Of yonder knight?
SERVANT: I know not, sir.
ROMEO: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

-- Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 5

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

-- Romeo from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

-- Juliet from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,...

-- Jaques in As You Like it by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 7

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."

-- Touchstone, As You Like It, Act V, Scene I.

"I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none."

-- Macbeth from Macbeth by Shakespeare Act I scene VII

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

-- Macbeth from Macbeth by Shakespeare Act V scene 5

"Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care"

-- Macbeth from Macbeth by Shakespeare Act II scene 2

Number 6: Where am I?
Voice: The Village.
Number 6: What do you want?
Voice: Information.
Number 6: Whose side are you on?
Voice: Now that would be telling. We want information.
Number 6: You won't get it.
Voice: By hook or crook we will.
Number 6: Who are you?
Voice: The new number 2.
Number 6: Who is number 1?
Voice: You are number 6.
Number 6: I am not a number. I am a free man!

-- from the TV show "The Prisoner"

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

-- Klingon proverb, from movie Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

"Only a fool fights in a burning house."

-- Klingon proverb, Star Trek "Day of the Dove"

"Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man."

-- Klingon proverb, Star Trek "Day of the Dove"

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!"

-- Second Witch from Macbeth by Shakespeare Act IV scene 1

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch: Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

-- Witches from Macbeth by Shakespeare Act IV scene 1

"The rose does not have a why; it blossums without reason, forgetful of self and oblivious to our vision."

-- Angelus Silesius "The Cherubinic Wanderer"

"Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose"

-- Gertrude Stein

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

-- Hamlet by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2

See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

-- Hamlet by Shakespeare, Polonius to Laertes, Act I Scene III

"Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature."

-- Hamlet by Shakespeare

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

-- Troilus and Cressida, Act iii scene 3, Shakespeare

"The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!"

-- Hamlet by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 5

Cleopatra: "Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news: give to a gracious message.
An host of tongues; but let ill tidings tell
Themselves when they be felt."

-- Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare, act 1 scene 5

"I do not understand the white man. He does not seem to know where the center of the earth is."

-- from the movie Little Big Man

"By The Abyss, I'd forgotten how GOOD it feels to conquer a universe!"

-- The Dread Dormammu, Doctor Strange #3

"Things are more like the way they are now than they have ever been before!"

-- Dwight Eisenhower, sometime in the 50s

"In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

-- Dwight Eisenhower

"It is this sense of heightened awareness and perception of beauty, of being alive, of physical accomplishment, that raises adventure, despite its inevitable periods of grinding effort and agonising discomfort, from being an exercise in masochism to a much broader, richer experience."

-- Chris Bonnington

"If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having."

-- Henry Miller

"Out of time we cut 'days' and 'nights', 'summers' and 'winters.' We say what, each part of the sensible continuum is, and all these abstract whats are concepts.

The intelletual life of man consists almost wholly in his substitution of a conceptual order for the persceptual order in which his experience originally comes."

-- "The World We Live In" by William James

If Dogs Made the Rules

  • If I like it, it's mine.
  • If it's in my mouth, it's mine.
  • If I can take it from you, it's mine.
  • If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
  • If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
  • If I'm chewing something, all the pieces are mine.
  • If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
  • If I saw it first, it's mine.
  • If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
    -- anon

    "Her life was okay. Sometimes she wished she were sleeping with the right man instead of with her dog, but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog."

    -- Judith Collas in "Change of Life"

    "He is your friend, your defender, your dog.
    You are his life, his love, his leader.
    He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
    You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion"

    -- anon

    In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.

    -- Dereke Bruce

    Mullroy: You've seen a ship with black sails that's crewed by the damned, and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out?
    Murtogg: No.
    Mullroy: No.
    Murtogg: But I have seen a ship with black sails. [Jack quietly slips passed them unnoticed]
    Mullroy: Oh, and no ship that's not crewed by the damned and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out could possibly have black sails, therefore couldn't possibly be any other ship than the Black Pearl. Is that what you're telling me?
    Murtogg: No.
    Mullroy: Like I said, there's no real ship as can match the Interceptor.

    -- from the movie "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

    Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I must do nothin'. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply, and you're not. And thirdly, the Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.

    -- from the movie "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

    Murtogg:...But there's no ship as can match the Interceptor for speed.
    Jack Sparrow: I've heard of one, supposed to be very fast, nigh uncatchable: The Black Pearl.

    -- from the movie "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

    The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.

    -- Andrew A. Rooney

    And now to all the good dogs--
    the special ones you loved best,
    those of ours we still miss --
    good-bye,
    until, on some brighter day,
    in some fairer place,
    they run out again to greet us.

    -- George Papshvily

    "A faithful friend is the medicine of life."

    -- anon

    "Push on and faith will catch up with you."

    -- Jean d'Alembert (1717 - 1783) (mathematician)

    "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words"

    -- anon

    "Words can destroy. What we call each other ultimately becomes what we think of each other, and it matters."

    -- Jeane Jordon Kirkpatrick

    It was evening all afternoon.
    It was snowing
    And it was going to snow.
    The blackbird sat
    In the cedar limbs.

    -- Wallace Stevens

    "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, norgloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

    -- Herodotus, Greek historian 5c. BC also on the facade of the NYC post office

    "Citius, Altus, Fortuis" (swifter, higher, stronger)

    -- Motto of the Olympics

    "...the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle."

    -- Part of the Olympic Creed

    "The dog has got more fun out of man than man has got out of the dog, for the clearly demonstratable reason that man is the more laughable of the two animals. The dog has long been bemused by the singular activites and the curious practices of men, cocking his head inquiringly to one side, intently watching and listening to the strangest goings-on in the world. He has seen men sing together and fight one another in the same evening. He has watched them go to bed when it is time to get up, and get up when it is time to go to bed. He has observed them destroying the soil in vast areas, and nurturing it in small patches. He has stood by while men built strong and solid houses for rest and quiet and then filled them with lights and bells and machinery. His sensitive nose, which can detect what's cooking in the next township, has caught at one and the same time the bewildering smells of the hospital and the munitions factory. He has seen men raise up great cities to heaven and then blow them to hell."

    -- James Thurber

    "'Sensitivity Testing' is testing in which an increasing percentage of items fail, explode, or die as the serverity of the test is increased."

    -- From "Statistics Manual" by Crow, Davis and Maxfield

    "Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization."

    -- anon

    "You are Elastigirl! Show him you remember that he is Mr. lncredible, and you will remind him who you are! Well, you know where he is. Go! Confront the problem! Fight! Win!"

    -- Edna in the movie "The Incredibles"

    "The bitterest words ever said over graves are for deeds undone and words left unsaid."

    -- H. B. Stowe

    "Man will occasionally stumble across the truth, but will usually pick himself up and carry on."

    -- Winston Churchill

    "Success is when you try to achieve your inward vision externally and have it come off the way you see it. Then YOU feel successful about it; that's how success is measured."

    -- George Lucas

    "Every man has his price, they say -- but some hold bargin sales."

    -- Camden County Georgia Tribune

    "Save one life and you are a hero.
    Save 100 lives and you are a nurse."

    -- anon

    "Pride Lasts Longer Than Pain"

    -- Seen on the back of a cycling jersey

    "Live to ride.
    Ride to live."

    -- Motto seen on Harley Davidson motorcyle

    "If we don't have it, you don't need it."

    -- Motto of McGuckin's Hardware in Boulder, CO

    "To be even a marginal cyclist you must make pain your closest of friends."

    -- Unknown cyclist

    Camerlengo Patrick McKenna: Do you believe in God, sir?
    Robert Langdon: Father, I simply believe that religion...
    Camerlengo Patrick McKenna: I did not ask if you believe what man says about God. I asked if you believe in God.
    Robert Langdon: I'm an academic. My mind tells me I will never understand God.
    Camerlengo Patrick McKenna: And your heart?
    Robert Langdon: Tells me I'm not meant to. Faith is a gift that I have yet to receive.

    -- Conversation in "Angels and Demons" movie

    "A powerful programming language is more than just a means for instructing a computer to perform tasks. The language also serves as a framework within which we organize our ideas about processes."

    -- Abelson and Sussman from "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs"

    "An idean, in the highest sense of the word, cannot be conveyed buy by a symbol."

    -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:

  • 0 comments

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *