A Useless Father Quotes

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Demon’s coming! Everyone dies. Except for her useless father. He’ll live for ever.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Well, father, in the shipwreck of life, for life is an eternal shipwreck of our hopes, I cast into the sea my useless encumbrance, that is all, and I remain with my own will, disposed to live perfectly alone, and, consequently, perfectly free. (Eugenie to her father)
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous.
Thomas Merton (The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century)
When will people understand that it is useless for a man to read his Bible unless he also reads everybody else's Bible?
G.K. Chesterton (The Innocence of Father Brown (Father Brown, #1))
(Rigg) had often complained that all these languages were useless, and Father had only said, "A man who speaks but one language understands none.
Orson Scott Card (Pathfinder (Pathfinder, #1))
Her father had once said that the poor might suffer poverty, but the rich had to contend with uselessness, and there was nothing like idleness to eat away at a person’s soul.
Kate Morton (The Lake House)
...[W]hen I told my dad why I was calling, he just said, 'Honey, you're so beautiful it doesn't matter what you wear.' I wondered how many dads in America were, at that very moment, giving their daughters the same useless advice mine was giving me.
Melissa Kantor (The Breakup Bible)
He thought he would become accustomed to the idea, not yet understanding that it is useless to become accustomed to the loss of a father, for it will never happen a second time: might as well leave the wound open.
Umberto Eco (The Island of the Day Before)
Maybe he was honor-bound to lock us in, by some imagined duty? Perhaps this was an Islamic preparation to make us contended wives? Were these locks supposed to dampen useless dreams that sparked needless desires? Or, was he a mad man, sick and demented?
Michael Ben Zehabe (Persianality)
Sulien held up the broken spear, one piece in each hand. “A warhammer did this?” “You saw that hammer the Lightning almost hit Addolgar with. And that’s not even the one he uses during battles. That one is bloody huge. Nearly as big as the bastard’s head.” Her father chuckled and stepped around her. “The only purpose of this spear was to protect you—and it did. Its job is now done.” He started to throw the pieces into a bin he kept for trash. “Don’t you dare throw that out.” “Why not? It’s broken, and repairing it would be useless. It’l only break again.” “But you made it for me.” “You cling to what is meaningless, child. Just like your mother sometimes, only with her it’s mostly grudges.
G.A. Aiken (The Dragon Who Loved Me (Dragon Kin, #5))
A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless eduction, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well. But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crime. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492 The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them. Here was another piece of nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom of human beings everywhere else. There were pictures and statues of this supposed imaginary beacon for children to see. It was sort of ice-cream cone on fire. It looked like this: [image] Actually, the sea pirates who had the most to do with the creation of the new government owned human slaves. They used human beings for machinery, and, even after slavery was eliminated, because it was so embarrassing, they and their descendants continued to think of ordinary human beings as machines. The sea pirates were white. The people who were already on the continent when the pirates arrived were copper-colored. When slavery was introduced onto the continent, the slaves were black. Color was everything. Here is how the pirates were able to take whatever they wanted from anybody else: they had the best boats in the world, and they were meaner than anybody else, and they had gunpowder, which is a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulphur. They touched the seemingly listless powder with fire, and it turned violently into gas. This gas blew projectiles out of metal tubes at terrific velocities. The projectiles cut through meat and bone very easily; so the pirates could wreck the wiring or the bellows or the plumbing of a stubborn human being, even when he was far, far away. The chief weapon of the sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was much too late, how heartless and greedy they were.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
How strange! This bed on which I shall lie has been slept on by more than one dying man, but today it does not repel me! Who knows what corpses have lain on it and for how long? But is a corpse any worse than I? A corpse too knows nothing of its father, mother or sisters or Titus. Nor has a corpse a sweetheart. A corpse, too, is pale, like me. A corpse is cold, just as I am cold and indifferent to everything. A corpse has ceased to live, and I too have had enough of life…. Why do we live on through this wretched life which only devours us and serves to turn us into corpses? The clocks in the Stuttgart belfries strike the midnight hour. Oh how many people have become corpses at this moment! Mothers have been torn from their children, children from their mothers - how many plans have come to nothing, how much sorrow has sprung from these depths, and how much relief!… Virtue and vice have come in the end to the same thing! It seems that to die is man’s finest action - and what might be his worst? To be born, since that is the exact opposite of his best deed. It is therefore right of me to be angry that I was ever born into this world! Why was I not prevented from remaining in a world where I am utterly useless? What good can my existence bring to anyone? … But wait, wait! What’s this? Tears? How long it is since they flowed! How is this, seeing that an arid melancholy has held me for so long in its grip? How good it feels - and sorrowful. Sad but kindly tears! What a strange emotion! Sad but blessed. It is not good for one to be sad, and yet how pleasant it is - a strange state…
Frédéric Chopin
How do you get on with your father ' Beleth asked. 'Very well ' Pyrgus answered loyally although it was far from the truth. 'I ate mine ' Beleth told him. 'He got old and feeble and useless but he wanted to hold on to power. So I took steps. Tasted disgusting - stringy tough smelly ... you know how fathers are - but it's the custom here. You're supposed to absorb the essence that way. Rank superstition of course but well ... tradition.
Herbie Brennan (Faerie Wars)
I don't believe you know anything about a man like me or a country like this. It takes rough men, Miss Fair, to tame a rough country; rough men, but good men. Your father is in that class. As for you, I don't think you'd measure up, and you'll do well to leave it. You're a hothouse flower, very soft, very appealing and very useless...In the world you are going to, men want pretty useless women. They want toys for their lighte moments, and we have those women out here, too, only we have another name for them. We want women who can make a home, and if need be, handle a rifle.
Louis L'Amour
Well, my dear father, in the shipwreck of life--for life is an eternal shipwreck of our hopes--I throw all my useless baggage in the sea, that's all, and remain with my will, prepared to live entirely alone and consequently entirely free.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
This is your wife now, from today till forever, she is your own. Do her anyhow you want. Use her till she is useless! May she never sleep in her father house again!” and everybody was laughing and saying, “Congra-lations! Amen! Congra-lations!
Abi Daré (The Girl with the Louding Voice)
A poem without metaphor is a gelding; useless to nightmares.
David Joseph Cribbin (Father Crow and Other Poems)
We're the sons appalled by violence, with no capacity for inflicting physical pain, useless at beating and clubbing, unfit to pulverize even the most deserving enemy, though not necessarily without turbulence, temper, even ferocity. We have teeth as the cannibals do, but they are there, imbedded in our jaws, the better to help us articulate. When we lay waste, when we efface, it isn't with raging fists or ruthless schemes or insane sprawling violence but with our words, our brains, with mentality, with all the stuff that produced the poignant abyss between our fathers and us and that they themselves broke their backs to give us.
Philip Roth (Patrimony)
That world seemed to have vanished, but for a long time the image I had of my father, which I still preserve today, was that of a thin man wearing an old suit that was too large for him and a secondhand hat he had bought on Calle Condal for seven pesetas, a man who could not afford to buy his son a wretched pen that was useless but seemed to mean everything to him.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
Hannah is missing school because one night, her father exiled her and her mother and Allison from the house. This was, obviously, somewhat insane. But it wasn't more insane or cruel than other things he's done, which is not to say he's insane or cruel all the time. He's himself; he can be perfectly pleasant; he's the weather system they live with , and all the behavior, whenever he is around, hinges on his mood. Don't the three of them understand that living with him simply is what it is? To complain or resist would be as useless as complaining about or resisting a tornado.
Curtis Sittenfeld (The Man of My Dreams)
Thank you,' said Annie. 'Second thing : Juliet is brilliant. Don't lump the music in with the rest of it.' 'Have you been taking any of this in ?' 'Yes. You're a very bad man. You've been a useless father to four of your five children, and a useless husband to every single one of your wives, and a rubbish partner to every single one of your girlfriends? And Juliet is still brilliant.
Nick Hornby (Juliet, Naked)
So it is with sorrow, each thinks his own present grief the most severe. For of this he judges by his own experience. He that is childless considers nothing so sad as to be without children; he that is poor, and has many children, complains of the extreme evils of a large family. He who has but one, looks upon this as the greatest misery, because that one, being set too much store by, and never corrected, becomes willful, and brings grief upon his father. He who has a beautiful wife, thinks nothing so bad as having a beautiful wife, because it is the occasion of jealousy and intrigue. He who has an ugly one, thinks nothing worse than having a plain wife, because it is constantly disagreeable. The private man thinks nothing more mean, more useless, than his mode of life. The soldier declares that nothing is more toilsome, more perilous, than warfare; that it would he better to live on bread and water than endure such hardships. He that is in power thinks there can be no greater burden than to attend to the necessities of others. He that is subject to that power, thinks nothing more servile than living at the beck of others. The married man considers nothing worse than a wife, and the cares of marriage. The unmarried declares there is nothing so wretched as being unmarried, and wanting the repose of a home. The merchant thinks the husbandman happy in his security. The husbandman thinks the merchant so in his wealth. In short, all mankind are somehow hard to please, and discontented and impatient.
John Chrysostom
The conventional public opposition of 'liberal' and 'conservative' is, here as elsewhere, perfectly useless. The 'conservatives' promote the family as a sort of public icon, but they will not promote the economic integrity of the household or the community, which are the mainstays of family life. Under the sponsorship of 'conservative' presidencies, the economy of the modern household, which once required the father to work away from home - a development that was bad enough - now requires the mother to work away from home, as well. And this development has the wholehearted endorsement of 'liberals,' who see the mother thus forced to spend her days away from her home and children as 'liberated' - though nobody has yet seen the fathers thus forced away as 'liberated.' Some feminists are thus in the curious position of opposing the mistreatment of women and yet advocating their participation in an economy in which everything is mistreated.
Wendell Berry (Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays)
With a kind of perverse obstinancy his father refused to take off his official uniform even in the house; and while his robe hung uselessly on the clothes hook, his father dozed, completely dressed, in his chair, as if he were always ready for duty and were waiting even here for the voice of his superior.
Franz Kafka (The Metamorphosis)
You should recognize that man’s soul, this single entity whose powers and parts we have described, may be compared to matter, and that the power of reasoning is its completed form. As long as the soul lies dormant and does not acquire its form from knowledge, then the nature of the soul is useless and exists in vain.
Maimonides (Rambam: Shemonah Perakim, The Eight Chapters; Maimonides' Introduction to Ethics of the Fathers; Perek Chelek; Discourse on the World to Come)
It is not Christian, this ability. They beg her to stop, not to touch people’s hands, to hide this odd gift. No good will come of it, her father says, standing over Agnes as she crouches by the fire, no good at all. When she reaches up to take his hand, he snatches it away. She grows up feeling wrong, out of place, too dark, too tall, too unruly, too opinionated, too silent, too strange. She grows up with the awareness that she is merely tolerated, an irritant, useless, that she does not deserve love, that she will need to change herself substantially, crush herself down if she is to be married. She grows up, too, with the memory of what it meant to be properly loved, for what you are, not what you ought to be. There is just enough of this recollection alive, she hopes, to enable her to recognise it if she meets it again. And if she does, she won’t hesitate. She
Maggie O'Farrell (Hamnet)
I think of my father - not him swinging at me, but of all the times he's told me how pathetic I am. How useless and hopeless and embarrassing I am, good for nothing and will amount to nothing and nothing, nothing, nothing - reason after reason until I had begun to believe it wasn't worth putting up my hands. And here's Scipio, telling me I'm worth defending.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
Wendy’s father stayed at home—truthfully, was there ever a more useless figure than a grandfather?
Emma Straub (All Adults Here)
But to try to achieve something massively significant in a field where you’re by and large useless after your fortieth birthday—and my father was seventy-seven—is the height of both delusion and optimism.
Stuart Rojstaczer (The Mathematician's Shiva)
Then the voice - which identified itself as the prince of this world, the only being who really knows what happens on Earth - began to show him the people around him on the beach. The wonderful father who was busy packing things up and helping his children put on some warm clothes and who would love to have an affair with his secretary, but was terrified on his wife's response. His wife who would like to work and have her independence, but who was terrified of her husband's response. The children who behave themselves because they were terrified of being punished. The girl who was reading a book all on her own beneath the sunshade, pretending she didn't care, but inside was terrified of spending the rest of her life alone. The boy running around with a tennis racuqet , terrified of having to live up to his parents' expectations. The waiter serving tropical drinks to the rich customers and terrified that he could be sacket at any moment. The young girl who wanted to be a dance, but who was studying law instead because she was terrified of what the neighbours might say. The old man who didn't smoke or drink and said he felt much better for it, when in truth it was the terror of death what whispered in his ears like the wind. The married couple who ran by, splashing through the surf, with a smile on their face but with a terror in their hearts telling them that they would soon be old, boring and useless. The man with the suntan who swept up in his launch in front of everybody and waved and smiled, but was terrified because he could lose all his money from one moment to the next. The hotel owner, watching the whole idyllic scene from his office, trying to keep everyone happy and cheerful, urging his accountants to ever greater vigilance, and terrified because he knew that however honest he was government officials would still find mistakes in his accounts if they wanted to. There was terror in each and every one of the people on that beautiful beach and on that breathtakingly beautiful evening. Terror of being alone, terror of the darkness filling their imaginations with devils, terror of doing anything not in the manuals of good behaviour, terror of God's punishing any mistake, terror of trying and failing, terror of succeeding and having to live with the envy of other people, terror of loving and being rejected, terror of asking for a rise in salary, of accepting an invitation, of going somewhere new, of not being able to speak a foreign language, of not making the right impression, of growing old, of dying, of being pointed out because of one's defects, of not being pointed out because of one's merits, of not being noticed either for one's defects of one's merits.
Paulo Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym)
Toddlers walk through life like we all wish we could: confident, demanding, and 100 percent positive that they are the center of the universe. They can kick their father in the testicles and feel nothing. They love to laugh. They love to destroy expensive cosmetics and to fingerpaint with long-wearing lipstick. Toddlers love to render electronic devices useless. They enjoy making debit cards and keys vanish into thin air. They like to permanent marker on shit. Toddlers live that #thuglyfe better than any of us could even try to because toddlers. don’t. give. a. fuck. The quicker you understand that, the better. Repeat after me: Toddlers don’t care and they never did.
Bunmi Laditan (Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault)
Perhaps it was the fact of having no father that pushed him along the road toward the discovery of the self, which is the final process of identification with the world and the realization consequently of the uselessness of ties.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn)
I stopped asking my father to take me to see Victor Hugo's pen, and he didn't mention it again. That world seemed to have vanished, but for a long time the image I had of my father, which I still preserve today, was that of a thin man wearing an old suit that was too large for him and a secondhand hat he had bought on Calle Condal for seven pesetas, a man who could not afford to buy his son a wretched pen that was useless but seemed to mean everything to him.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
The last thing you want to do is turn into a nerd like your father, nose always buried in a book, living like a tramp just to get one of those useless PhD thingies. And look where his posh Cambridge education got him—a flipping poet, for chrissakes!
Tabitha Suzuma (Forbidden)
With the gun which was too big for him, the breech-loader which did not even belong to him but to Major de Spain and which he had fired only once, at a stump on the first day to learn the recoil and how to reload it with the paper shells, he stood against a big gum tree beside a little bayou whose black still water crept without motion out of a cane-brake, across a small clearing and into the cane again, where, invisible, a bird, the big woodpecker called Lord-to-God by negroes, clattered at a dead trunk. It was a stand like any other stand, dissimilar only in incidentals to the one where he had stood each morning for two weeks; a territory new to him yet no less familiar than that other one which after two weeks he had come to believe he knew a little--the same solitude, the same loneliness through which frail and timorous man had merely passed without altering it, leaving no mark nor scar, which looked exactly as it must have looked when the first ancestor of Sam fathers' Chickasaw predecessors crept into it and looked about him, club or stone axe or bone arrow drawn and ready, different only because, squatting at the edge of the kitchen, he had smelled the dogs huddled and cringing beneath it and saw the raked ear and side of the bitch that, as Sam had said, had to be brave once in order to keep on calling herself a dog, and saw yesterday in the earth beside the gutted log, the print of the living foot. He heard no dogs at all. He never did certainly hear them. He only heard the drumming of the woodpecker stop short off, and knew that the bear was looking at him. he did not move, holding the useless gun which he knew now he would never fire at it, now or ever, tasting in his saliva that taint of brass which he had smelled in the huddled dogs when he peered under the kitchen.
William Faulkner (Go Down, Moses)
Poor Monty, with a father who beats you until you bleed. Poor Monty, with a fortune to inherit and an estate to run. Poor Monty, who’s useless and embarrassing. “Good night,” Percy says, then rolls over, away from me. Poor Monty, in love with your best friend.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1))
He is going to die, Tyrion realized. He felt curiously calm, though pandemonium raged all about him. They were pounding Joff on the back again, but his face was only growing darker. Dogs were barking, children were wailing, men were shouting useless advice at each other. Half the wedding guests were on their feet, some shoving at each other for a better view, others rushing for the doors in their haste to get away. Ser Meryn pried the king’s mouth open to jam a spoon down his throat. As he did, the boy’s eyes met Tyrion’s. He has Jaime’s eyes. Only he had never seen Jaime look so scared. The boy’s only thirteen. Joffrey was making a dry clacking noise, trying to speak. His eyes bulged white with terror, and he lifted a hand . . . reaching for his uncle, or pointing . . . Is he begging my forgiveness, or does he think I can save him? “Noooo,” Cersei wailed, “Father help him, someone help him, my son, my son . . .” Tyrion found himself thinking of Robb Stark. My own wedding is looking much better in hindsight. He looked to see how Sansa was taking this, but there was so much confusion in the hall that he could not find her. But his eyes fell on the wedding chalice, forgotten on the floor. He went and scooped it up. There was still a half-inch of deep purple wine in the bottom of it. Tyrion considered it a moment, then poured it on the floor.
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3))
If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the •world.
Anonymous (HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible)
from Phaedrus, I believe, the other from Bias.1 Well, my dear father, in the shipwreck of life – for life is an eternal shipwreck of our hopes – I throw all my useless baggage in the sea, that’s all, and remain with my will, prepared to live entirely alone and consequently entirely free.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
I finally recover use of my voice. “It wasn’t your fault, Rajkumar . You didn’t do anything.”“No, I didn’t. And with my silence, I became an accomplice.” Accept love, no matter how barbed it may look. It is the only way to restore balance in the world. “So you see, Siya, he is not the sort of king who will let you go if you simply ask him to. He relishes combat, thrills in it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen the damage my father has done to this kingdom and his people. For all the power I supposedly have as a prince, I have done nothing except play the role of a useless bystander.
Tanaz Bhathena (Hunted by the Sky (The Wrath of Ambar, #1))
Sir Arthur St. Clare, as I have already said, was a man who read his Bible. That was what was the matter with him. When will people understand that it is useless for a man to read his Bible unless he also reads everybody else's Bible? A printer reads a Bible for misprints. A Mormon reads his Bible, and finds polygamy; a Christian Scientist reads his, and finds we have no arms and legs. St. Clare was an old Anglo-Indian Protestant soldier. Now, just think what that might mean; and, for Heaven's sake, don't cant about it. It might mean a man physically formidable living under a tropic sun in an Oriental society, and soaking himself without sense or guidance in an Oriental Book. Of course, he read the Old Testament rather than the New. Of course, he found in the Old Testament anything that he wanted—lust, tyranny, treason. Oh, I dare say he was honest, as you call it. But what is the good of a man being honest in his worship of dishonesty?
G.K. Chesterton (The Innocence of Father Brown)
A lot of nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
A soul which listens to self, which is preoccupied with its feelings, which indulges in useless thoughts or desires, scatters its forces. It is not completely under God’s sway. Its lyre is not in tune, so that when the Master strikes it, he cannot draw forth divine harmonies; it is too human and discordant    The soul which reserves anything for self in its interior kingdom, whose powers are not all “enclosed” in God, cannot be a perfect “Praise of Glory,”. . . because it is not in unity. So that, instead of persevering in praise, in simplicity, whatever may happen, it must be continually tuning the strings of its instrument, which are all a little off key. How necessary is this blessed unity for the soul that desires to live here below the life of the blessed—that is, of simple beings, of spirits.
Father Gabriel (Divine Intimacy Vol 1: 001)
This place where she worked certainly didn't make it look as if she continued to believe her calling was to change the course of American history. The building's rusted fire escape would just come down, just come loose from its moorings and crash onto the street, if anyone stepped on it - a fire escape whose function was not to save lives in the event of a fire but to uselessly hang there testifying to the immense loneliness inherent to living. For him it was stripped of any other meaning - no meaning could make better use of that building. Yes, alone we are, deeply alone, and always, in store for us, a layer of loneliness even deeper. There is nothing we can do to dispose of that. No, loneliness shouldn't surprise us, as astonishing to experience it as it may be. You can try turning yourself inside out, but all you are then is inside out and lonely instead of inside in and lonely. My stupid, stupid Merry dear, stupider even than your stupid father, not even blowing up buildings helps. It's lonely if there are buildings and it's lonely if there are no buildings. There is no protest to be lodged against loneliness - not all the bombing campaigns in history have made a dent in it. The most lethat of manmade explosives can't touch it. Stand in awe not of Communism, my idiot child, but of ordinary, everyday loneliness. On May Day go out and march with your friends to its greater glory, the superpower of superpowers, the force that overwhelms all. Put your money on it, bet on it, worship it - bow down in submission not to Karl Marx, my stuttering, angry, idiot child, not to Ho Chi-Minh and Mao Tse-tung - bow down to the great god of Loneliness!
Philip Roth (American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1))
It is not that the historian can avoid emphasis of some facts and not of others. This is as natural to him as to the mapmaker, who, in order to produce a usable drawing for practical purposes, must first flatten and distort the shape of the earth, then choose out of the bewildering mass of geographic information those things needed for the purpose of this or that particular map. My argument cannot be against selection, simplification, emphasis, which are inevitable for both cartographers and historians. But the map-maker's distortion is a technical necessity for a common purpose shared by all people who need maps. The historian's distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual. Furthermore, this ideological interest is not openly expressed in the way a mapmaker's technical interest is obvious ("This is a Mercator projection for long-range navigation-for short-range, you'd better use a different projection"). No, it is presented as if all readers of history had a common interest which historians serve to the best of their ability. This is not intentional deception; the historian has been trained in a society in which education and knowledge are put forward as technical problems of excellence and not as tools for contending social classes, races, nations. To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)-that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly. The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)-the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as "the United States," subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a "national interest" represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
There were some children round him playing in the dust on the paths. They had long fair hair, and with very earnest faces and solemn attention were making little mountains of sand so as to stamp on them and squash them underfoot. Pierre was going through one of those gloomy days when one looks into every corner of one's soul and shakes out every crease. 'Our occupations are like the work of those kids,' he thought. Then he wondered whether after all the wisest course in life was not to beget two or three of these little useless beings and watch them grow with complacent curiosity. And he was touched by the desire to marry. You aren't so lost when you're not alone any more. At any rate you can hear somebody moving near you in times of worry and uncertainty, and it is something anyway to be able to say words of love to a woman when you are feeling down. He began thinking about women. His knowledge of them was very limited, as all he had had in the Latin Quarter was affairs of a fortnight or so, dropped when the month's money ran out and picked up again or replaced the following month. Yet kind, gentle, consoling creatures must exist. Hadn't his own mother brought sweet reasonableness and charm to his father's home? How he would have loved to meet a woman, a real woman! He leaped up, determined to go and pay a little visit to Mme Rosémilly. But he quickly sat down again. No, he didn't like that one!
Guy de Maupassant (Pierre et Jean)
Sad to see a man's faith fail,the vampire Kurt Barlow had said, and then he'd plucked Don Callahan's dark and useless cross from his hand. Why had he been able to do that? Because - behold the paradox, consider the riddle - Father Callahanhad failed to throw the cross away himself. Because he had failed to accept that the cross was nothing but one symbol of a far greater power, one that ran like a river beneath the universe, perhaps beneath a thousand universes - I need no symbol
Stephen King (Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6))
But I can cite ten other reasons for not being a father." "First of all, I don't like motherhood," said Jakub, and he broke off pensively. "Our century has already unmasked all myths. Childhood has long ceased to be an age of innocence. Freud discovered infant sexuality and told us all about Oedipus. Only Jocasta remains untouchable; no one dares tear off her veil. Motherhood is the last and greatest taboo, the one that harbors the most grievous curse. There is no stronger bond than the one that shackles mother to child. This bond cripples the child's soul forever and prepares for the mother, when her son has grown up, the most cruel of all the griefs of love. I say that motherhood is a curse, and I refuse to contribute to it." "Another reason I don't want to add to the number of mothers," said Jakub with some embarrassment, "is that I love the female body, and I am disgusted by the thought of my beloved's breast becoming a milk-bag." "The doctor here will certainly confirm that physicians and nurses treat women hospitalized after an aborted pregnancy more harshly than those who have given birth, and show some contempt toward them even though they themselves will, at least once in their lives, need a similar operation. But for them it's a reflex stronger than any kind of thought, because the cult of procreation is an imperative of nature. That's why it's useless to look for the slightest rational argument in natalist propaganda. Do you perhaps think it's the voice of Jesus you're hearing in the natalist morality of the church? Do you think it's the voice of Marx you're hearing in the natalist propaganda of the Communist state? Impelled merely by the desire to perpetuate the species, mankind will end up smothering itself on its small planet. But the natalist propaganda mill grinds on, and the public is moved to tears by pictures of nursing mothers and infants making faces. It disgusts me. It chills me to think that, along with millions of other enthusiasts, I could be bending over a cradle with a silly smile." "And of course I also have to ask myself what sort of world I'd be sending my child into. School soon takes him away to stuff his head with the falsehoods I've fought in vain against all my life. Should I see my son become a conformist fool? Or should I instill my own ideas into him and see him suffer because he'll be dragged into the same conflicts I was?" "And of course I also have to think of myself. In this country children pay for their parents' disobedience, and parents for their children's disobedience. How many young people have been denied education because their parents fell into disgrace? And how many parents have chosen permanent cowardice for the sole purpose of preventing harm to their children? Anyone who wants to preserve at least some freedom here shouldn't have children," Jakub said, and fell into silence. "The last reason carries so much weight that it counts for five," said Jakub. "Having a child is to show an absolute accord with mankind. If I have a child, it's as though I'm saying: I was born and have tasted life and declare it so good that it merits being duplicated." "And you have not found life to be good?" asked Bertlef. Jakub tried to be precise, and said cautiously: "All I know is that I could never say with complete conviction: Man is a wonderful being and I want to reproduce him.
Milan Kundera (Farewell Waltz)
He could see now that asking the dead about his father was nearly useless, so burdened were they with their own losses and regrets and distractions. He had no right to press them. It was not enough merely to let them speak. If anything, he should try to bring them comfort, to shorten their suffering. Anything else was selfish, thoughtless, at best redundant. He was also finding it too easy to take on their pain, perhaps because he was more like them than he wanted to admit. Or rather, he had let himself become like them, a wanderer, someone lost in a world he had hewn from his own pain.
Ari Berk (Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1))
This is not one of the bandits,” she said. Gavril looked closer at the shadow-stalker-abandoned corpse. “You are correct,” he said, as if with some surprise. She gave him a look. “Thank you. So it seems we are stuck in the middle—sorry, the edge of the steppes—with no horses and a useless wagon and a landscape populated by shadow stalkers. If they are indeed raised by some confederate of your father’s, then we should be safe enough. We simply need to find this sorcerer and turn ourselves in to him to be returned to your father and resume our original mission. However, the fact that it”—Moria waved at the shadow stalker—“attempted to attack you suggests we are not safe at all. What is going on here, Kitsune?” “I . . . I’m thinking.” “If you do it aloud, perhaps I can help. Unless you still think me a dull-witted Northerner.” “I only said that to needle you.” “You also did it in front of your father.” “As I said, it was to convince him you were not intellectually capable . . .” He stopped and scowled at her. “You’re needling me now, Keeper. Playing on my guilt to make me share my thoughts.” “I do not believe I am intellectually capable of such cunning—” “Enough. 
Kelley Armstrong (Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends, #3))
If they studied their paper money for clues as to what their country was all about, they found, among a lot of other baroque trash, a picture of a truncated pyramid with a radiant eye on top of it, like this: Not even the President of the United States knew what that was all about. It was as though the country were saying to its citizens, “In nonsense is strength.” *** A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well. But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crimes. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them. Here
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
This Room and Everything in It" Lie still now while I prepare for my future, certain hard days ahead, when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment. I am making use of the one thing I learned of all the things my father tried to teach me: the art of memory. I am letting this room and everything in it stand for my ideas about love and its difficulties. I’ll let your love-cries, those spacious notes of a moment ago, stand for distance. Your scent, that scent of spice and a wound, I’ll let stand for mystery. Your sunken belly is the daily cup of milk I drank as a boy before morning prayer. The sun on the face of the wall is God, the face I can’t see, my soul, and so on, each thing standing for a separate idea, and those ideas forming the constellation of my greater idea. And one day, when I need to tell myself something intelligent about love, I’ll close my eyes and recall this room and everything in it: My body is estrangement. This desire, perfection. Your closed eyes my extinction. Now I’ve forgotten my idea. The book on the windowsill, riffled by wind . . . the even-numbered pages are the past, the odd- numbered pages, the future. The sun is God, your body is milk . . . useless, useless . . . your cries are song, my body’s not me . . . no good . . . my idea has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . . it had something to do with death . . . it had something to do with love.
Li-Young Lee (The City in Which I Love You)
Desiree witnessed the first lynching but would forever imagine the second, how her father must have been sleeping, his head slumped, the way he nodded off in his chair after supper. How the thundering boots woke him. He screamed, or maybe had no time to, his swollen hands bandaged and useless at his sides. From the closet, she’d watched the white men drag her father out of the house, his long legs drumming against the floor. She suddenly felt that her sister would scream, so she squeezed her hand over Stella’s mouth and seconds later, felt Stella’s hand on her own. Something shifted between them in that moment. Before, Stella seemed as predictable as a reflection. But in the closet, for the first time ever, Desiree hadn’t known what her sister might do.
Brit Bennett (The Vanishing Half)
For two years I've read the scrolls and learned the language, and I know more about magick than anyone here...You ask what the greatest power is, and I know that niether the dwarf magick of Terus, nor the dragon power of Victus is superior, even though I should say that Terus is because my father's a Mender and his spells come from the Green book. Even the elf magick that is so rare that none in Darton is a master or matron of it, is still just one of the three colours and no better than any other. That's the whole point of the system, and it's stupid...None of the scrolls explain anything, and niether do you. Instead we have to run around an obstacle course, trade jewels between rings and sit here and write rubbish answers to a trick question. And to end it all we have to listen to a Wizard from Celenia and hope to hear some more spells. Well I know as many spells as anyone here, but they're as useless as whistling to me.
T.B. McKenzie (The Dragon and the Crow)
Two weeks ago, Aaron and Isaac, I learned your mother Laura has breast cancer. My heart feels impaled. These words, so useless and feeble. Laura is only thirty-five years old. Her next birthday will be in only three days. I write this letter to you, my sons, with the hope that one day in the future you will read it and understand what happened to our family. Together, your mother and I have created and nurtured an unbreakable bond that has transformed us into an unlikely team. A Chicano from El Paso, Texas. A Jew from Concord, Massachusetts. I want you to know your mother. She has given me hope when I have felt none; she has offered me kindness when I have been consumed by bitterness. I believe I have taught her how to be tough and savvy and how to achieve what you want around obstacles and naysayers. Our hope is that the therapies we are discussing with her doctors will defeat her cancer. But a great and ominous void has suddenly engulfed us at the beginning of our life as a family. This void suffocates me.
Sergio Troncoso (Crossing Borders: Personal Essays)
MASHA. A knowledge of three languages is an unnecessary luxury in this town. It isn't even a luxury but a sort of useless extra, like a sixth finger. We know a lot too much. VERSHININ. Well, I say! [Laughs] You know a lot too much! I don't think there can really be a town so dull and stupid as to have no place for a clever, cultured person. Let us suppose even that among the hundred thousand inhabitants of this backward and uneducated town, there are only three persons like yourself. It stands to reason that you won't be able to conquer that dark mob around you; little by little as you grow older you will be bound to give way and lose yourselves in this crowd of a hundred thousand human beings; their life will suck you up in itself, but still, you won't disappear having influenced nobody; later on, others like you will come, perhaps six of them, then twelve, and so on, until at last your sort will be in the majority. In two or three hundred years' time life on this earth will be unimaginably beautiful and wonderful. Mankind needs such a life, and if it is not ours to-day then we must look ahead for it, wait, think, prepare for it. We must see and know more than our fathers and grandfathers saw and knew.
Anton Chekhov (Plays By Anton Chekhov- Second Series)
My grandfather, also named Fraser Robinson, was decidedly less fun to be around, a cigar-puffing patriarch who’d sit in his recliner with a newspaper open on his lap and the evening news blaring on the television nearby. His demeanor was nothing like my father’s. For Dandy, everything was an irritant. He was galled by the day’s headlines, by the state of the world as shown on TV, by the young black men—“boo-boos,” he called them—whom he perceived to be hanging uselessly around the neighborhood, giving black people everywhere a bad name. He shouted at the television. He shouted at my grandmother, a sweet, soft-spoken woman and devout Christian named LaVaughn. (My parents had named me Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in honor of her.) By day, my grandmother expertly managed a thriving Bible bookstore on the Far South Side, but in her off-hours with Dandy she was reduced to a meekness I found perplexing, even as a young girl. She cooked his meals and absorbed his barrage of complaints and said nothing in her own defense. Even at a young age, there was something about my grandmother’s silence and passivity in her relationship with Dandy that got under my skin. According to my mother, I was the only person in the family to talk back to Dandy when he yelled. I did it regularly, from the time I was very young and over many years, in part because it drove me crazy that my grandmother wouldn’t speak up for herself, in part because everyone else fell silent around him, and lastly because I loved Dandy as much as he confounded me. His stubbornness was something I recognized, something I’d inherited myself, though I hoped in a less abrasive form.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
It would be futile to delude ourselves that at present, readers find every pathography unsavory. This attitude is excused with the reproach that from a pathographic elaboration of a great man one never obtains an understanding of his importance and his attainments, that it is therefore useless mischief to study in him things which could just as well be found in the first comer. However, this criticism is so clearly unjust that it can only be grasped when viewed as a pretext and a disguise for something. As a matter of fact pathography does not aim at making comprehensible the attainments of the great man; no one should really be blamed for not doing something which one never promised. The real motives for the opposition are quite different. One finds them when one bears in mind that biographers are fixed on their heroes in quite a peculiar manner. Frequently they take the hero as the object of study because, for reasons of their personal emotional life, they bear him a special affection from the very outset. They then devote themselves to a work of idealization which strives to enroll the great men among their infantile models, and to revive through him, as it were, the infantile conception of the father. For the sake of this wish they wipe out the individual features in his physiognomy, they rub out the traces of his life's struggle with inner and outer resistances, and do not tolerate in him anything of human weakness or imperfection; they then give us a cold, strange, ideal form instead of the man to whom we could feel distantly related. It is to be regretted that they do this, for they thereby sacrifice the truth to an illusion, and for the sake of their infantile phantasies they let slip the opportunity to penetrate into the most attractive secrets of human nature.
Sigmund Freud (Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood)
Kestrel came often. One day, when she knew from Sarsine that Arin had returned home but she had not yet seen him, she went to the suite. She touched one of his violins, reaching furtively to pluck the highest string of the largest instrument. The sound was sour. The violin was ruined--no doubt all of them were. That is what happens when an instrument is left strung and uncased for ten years. A floorboard creaked somewhere in one of the outer chambers. Arin. He entered the room, and she realized that she had expected him. Why else had she come here so frequently, almost every day, if she hadn’t hoped that someone would notice and tell him to find her there? But even though she admitted to wanting to be here with him in his old rooms, she hadn’t imagined it would be like this. With her caught touching his things. Her gaze dropped. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “It’s all right,” he said. “I don’t mind.” He lifted the violin off its nails and set it in her hands. It was light, but Kestrel’s arms lowered as if the violin’s hollowness were terribly heavy. She cleared her throat. “Do you still play?” He shook his head. “I’ve mostly forgotten how. I wasn’t good at it anyway. I loved to sing. Before the war, I worried that gift would leave me, the way it often does with boys. We grow, we change, our voices break. It doesn’t matter how well you sing when you’re nine years old, you know. Not when you’re a boy. When the change comes you just have to hope for the best…that your voice settles into something you can love again. My voice broke two years after the invasion. Gods, how I squeaked. And when my voice finally settled, it seemed like a cruel joke. It was too good. I hardly knew what to do with it. I felt so grateful to have this gift…and so angry, for it to mean so little. And now…” He shrugged, a self-deprecating gesture. “Well, I know I’m rusty.” “No,” Kestrel said. “You’re not. Your voice is beautiful.” The silence after that was soft. Her fingers curled around the violin. She wanted to ask Arin a question yet couldn’t bear to do it, couldn’t say that she didn’t understand what had happened to him the night of the invasion. It didn’t make sense. The death of his family was what her father would call a “waste of resources.” The Valorian force had had no pity for the Herrani military, but it had tried to minimize civilian casualties. You can’t make a dead body work. “What is it, Kestrel?” She shook her head. She set the violin back on the wall. “Ask me.” She remembered standing outside the governor’s palace and refusing to hear his story, and was ashamed once more. “You can ask me anything,” he said. Each question seemed the wrong one. Finally, she said, “How did you survive the invasion?” He didn’t speak at first. Then he said, “My parents and sister fought. I didn’t.” Words were useless, pitifully useless--criminal, even, in how they could not account for Arin’s grief, and could not excuse how her people had lived on the ruin of his. Yet again Kestrel said, “I’m sorry.” “It’s not your fault.” It felt as if it was. Arin led the way out of his old suite. When they came to the last room, the greeting room, he paused before the outermost door. It was the slightest of hesitations, no longer than if the second hand of a clock stayed a beat longer on its mark than it should. But in that fraction of time, Kestrel understood that the last door was not paler than the others because it had been made from a different wood. It was newer. Kestrel took Arin’s battered hand in hers, the rough heat of it, the fingernails still ringed with carbon from the smith’s coal fire. His skin was raw-looking: scrubbed clean and scrubbed often. But the black grime was too ingrained. She twined her fingers with his. Kestrel and Arin walked together through the passageway and the ghost of its old door, which her people had smashed through ten years before.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
THE INSTRUCTION OF PTAHHOTEP Epilogue Part II The fool who does not hear, He can do nothing at all; He sees knowledge in ignorance, Usefulness in harmfulness. He does all that one detests And is blamed for it each day; He lives on that by which one dies. His food is distortion of speech. His sort is known to the officials, Who say: "A living death each day.” One passes over his doings, Because of his many daily troubles. A son who hears is a follower of Horus, It goes well with him when he has heard. When he is old has reached veneration. He will speak likewise to his children, Renewing the teaching of his father. Every man teaches as he acts, He will speak to the children, So that they will speak to their children: Set an example, don’t give offense, If justice stands firm your children will live. As to the first who gets into trouble, When they see (it) people will say: “That is just like him.” And will say to what they hear: "That’s just like him too.” To see everyone is to satisfy the many, Riches are useless without them. Don’t take a word and then bring it back, Don’t put one thing in place of another. Beware of loosening the cords in you, Lest a wise man say: “Listen, if you want to endure in the mouth of the hearers. Speak after you have mastered the craft!” If you speak to good purpose. All your affairs will be in place. Conceal your heart, control your mouth. Then you will be known among the officials; Be quite exact before your lord. Act so that one will say to him: "He’s the son of that one.” And those who hear it will say: “Blessed is he to whom he was born!” Be deliberate when you speak, So as to say things that count; Then the officials who listen will say: “How good is what comes from his mouth!” Act so that your lord will say of you: “How good is he whom his father taught; When he came forth from his body. He told him all that was in (his) mind, And he does even more than he was told,” Lo, the good son, the gift of god, Exceeds what is told him by his lord, He will do right when his heart is straight. As you succeed me, sound in your body. The king content with all that was done. May you obtain (many) years of life! Not small is what I did on earth, I had one hundred and ten years of life As gift of the king, Honors exceeding those of the ancestors, By doing justice for the king. Until the state of veneration!
Miriam Lichtheim (Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms)
Benjamin Franklin wrote little about race, but had a sense of racial loyalty. “[T]he Number of purely white People in the World is proportionably [sic] very small,” he observed. “ . . . I could wish their Numbers were increased.” James Madison, like Jefferson, believed the only solution to the problem of racial friction was to free the slaves and send them away. He proposed that the federal government sell off public lands in order to raise the money to buy the entire slave population and transport it overseas. He favored a Constitutional amendment to establish a colonization society to be run by the President. After two terms in office, Madison served as chief executive of the American Colonization Society, to which he devoted much time and energy. At the inaugural meeting of the society in 1816, Henry Clay described its purpose: to “rid our country of a useless and pernicious, if not dangerous portion of the population.” The following prominent Americans were not merely members but served as officers of the society: Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Francis Scott Key, Winfield Scott, and two Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, John Marshall and Roger Taney. All opposed the presence of blacks in the United States and thought expatriation was the only long-term solution. James Monroe was such an ardent champion of colonization that the capital of Liberia is named Monrovia in gratitude for his efforts. As for Roger Taney, as chief justice he wrote in the Dred Scott decision of 1857 what may be the harshest federal government pronouncement on blacks ever written: Negroes were “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the White race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they have no rights which a White man is bound to respect.” Abraham Lincoln considered blacks to be—in his words—“a troublesome presence” in the United States. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates he expressed himself unambiguously: “I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.” His opponent, Stephen Douglas, was even more outspoken, and made his position clear in the very first debate: “For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in any form. I believe that this government was made on the white basis. I believe it was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining the citizenship to white men—men of European birth and European descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes and Indians, and other inferior races.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
Pham Nuwen spent years learning to program/explore. Programming went back to the beginning of time. It was a little like the midden out back of his father’s castle. Where the creek had worn that away, ten meters down, there were the crumpled hulks of machines—flying machines, the peasants said—from the great days of Canberra’s original colonial era. But the castle midden was clean and fresh compared to what lay within the Reprise’s local net. There were programs here that had been written five thousand years ago, before Humankind ever left Earth. The wonder of it—the horror of it, Sura said—was that unlike the useless wrecks of Canberra’s past, these programs still worked! And via a million million circuitous threads of inheritance, many of the oldest programs still ran in the bowels of the Qeng Ho system. Take the Traders’ method of timekeeping. The frame corrections were incredibly complex—and down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth’s moon. But if you looked at it still more closely. . .the starting instant was actually some hundred million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind’s first computer operating systems. So behind all the top-level interfaces was layer under layer of support. Some of that software had been designed for wildly different situations. Every so often, the inconsistencies caused fatal accidents. Despite the romance of spaceflight, the most common accidents were simply caused by ancient, misused programs finally getting their revenge. “We should rewrite it all,” said Pham. “It’s been done,” said Sura, not looking up. She was preparing to go off-Watch, and had spent the last four days trying to root a problem out of the coldsleep automation. “It’s been tried,” corrected Bret, just back from the freezers. “But even the top levels of fleet system code are enormous. You and a thousand of your friends would have to work for a century or so to reproduce it.” Trinli grinned evilly. “And guess what—even if you did, by the time you finished, you’d have your own set of inconsistencies. And you still wouldn’t be consistent with all the applications that might be needed now and then.” Sura gave up on her debugging for the moment. “The word for all this is ‘mature programming environment.’ Basically, when hardware performance has been pushed to its final limit, and programmers have had several centuries to code, you reach a point where there is far more signicant code than can be rationalized. The best you can do is understand the overall layering, and know how to search for the oddball tool that may come in handy—take the situation I have here.” She waved at the dependency chart she had been working on. “We are low on working fluid for the coffins. Like a million other things, there was none for sale on dear old Canberra. Well, the obvious thing is to move the coffins near the aft hull, and cool by direct radiation. We don’t have the proper equipment to support this—so lately, I’ve been doing my share of archeology. It seems that five hundred years ago, a similar thing happened after an in-system war at Torma. They hacked together a temperature maintenance package that is precisely what we need.” “Almost precisely.
Vernor Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2))
Father will bury us with both hands. He boasts of me to his so-called friends, telling them I’m the next queen of this kingdom. I don’t think he’s ever paid so much attention to me before, and even now, it is minuscule, not for my own benefit. He pretends to love me now because of another, because of Tibe. Only when someone else sees worth in me does he condescend to do the same. Because of her father, she dreamed of a Queenstrial she did not win, of being cast aside and returned to the old estate. Once there, she was made to sleep in the family tomb, beside the still, bare body of her uncle. When the corpse twitched, hands reaching for her throat, she would wake, drenched in sweat, unable to sleep for the rest of the night. Julian and Sara think me weak, fragile, a porcelain doll who will shatter if touched, she wrote. Worst of all, I’m beginning to believe them. Am I really so frail? So useless? Surely I can be of some help somehow, if Julian would only ask? Are Jessamine’s lessons the best I can do? What am I becoming in this place? I doubt I even remember how to replace a lightbulb. I am not someone I recognize. Is this what growing up means? Because of Julian, she dreamed of being in a beautiful room. But every door was locked, every window shut, with nothing and no one to keep her company. Not even books. Nothing to upset her. And always, the room would become a birdcage with gilded bars. It would shrink and shrink until it cut her skin, waking her up. I am not the monster the gossips think me to be. I’ve done nothing, manipulated no one. I haven’t even attempted to use my ability in months, since Julian has no more time to teach me. But they don’t believe that. I see how they look at me, even the whispers of House Merandus. Even Elara. I have not heard her in my head since the banquet, when her sneers drove me to Tibe. Perhaps that taught her better than to meddle. Or maybe she is afraid of looking into my eyes and hearing my voice, as if I’m some kind of match for her razored whispers. I am not, of course. I am hopelessly undefended against people like her. Perhaps I should thank whoever started the rumor. It keeps predators like her from making me prey. Because of Elara, she dreamed of ice-blue eyes following her every move, watching as she donned a crown. People bowed under her gaze and sneered when she turned away, plotting against their newly made queen. They feared her and hated her in equal measure, each one a wolf waiting for her to be revealed as a lamb. She sang in the dream, a wordless song that did nothing but double their bloodlust. Sometimes they killed her, sometimes they ignored her, sometimes they put her in a cell. All three wrenched her from sleep. Today Tibe said he loves me, that he wants to marry me. I do not believe him. Why would he want such a thing? I am no one of consequence. No great beauty or intellect, no strength or power to aid his reign. I bring nothing to him but worry and weight. He needs someone strong at his side, a person who laughs at the gossips and overcomes her own doubts. Tibe is as weak as I am, a lonely boy without a path of his own. I will only make things worse. I will only bring him pain. How can I do that? Because of Tibe, she dreamed of leaving court for good. Like Julian wanted to do, to keep Sara from staying behind. The locations varied with the changing nights. She ran to Delphie or Harbor Bay or Piedmont or even the Lakelands, each one painted in shades of black and gray. Shadow cities to swallow her up and hide her from the prince and the crown he offered. But they frightened her too. And they were always empty, even of ghosts. In these dreams, she ended up alone. From these dreams, she woke quietly, in the morning, with dried tears and an aching heart.
Victoria Aveyard (Queen Song (Red Queen, #0.1))
But it will be asked, why are they now admonished of their duty, and not rather left to the guidance of the Spirit? Why are they urged with exhortations when they cannot hasten any faster than the Spirit impels them? and why are they chastised, if at any time they go astray, seeing that this is caused by the necessary infirmity of the flesh? "O, man! who art thou that replies against God?" If, in order to prepare us for the grace which enables us to obey exhortation, God sees meet to employ exhortation, what is there in such an arrangement for you to carp and scoff at? Had exhortations and reprimands no other profit with the godly than to convince them of sin, they could not be deemed altogether useless. Now, when, by the Spirit of God acting within, they have the effect of inflaming their desire of good, of arousing them from lethargy, of destroying the pleasure and honeyed sweetness of sin, making it hateful and loathsome, who will presume to cavil at them as superfluous? Should any one wish a clearer reply, let him take the following: - God works in his elect in two ways: inwardly, by his Spirit; outwardly, by his Word. By his Spirit illuminating their minds, and training their hearts to the practice of righteousness, he makes them new creatures, while, by his Word, he stimulates them to long and seek for this renovation. In both, he exerts the might of his hand in proportion to the measure in which he dispenses them. The Word, when addressed to the reprobate, though not effectual for their amendment, has another use. It urges their consciences now, and will render them more inexcusable on the day of judgement. Thus, our Saviour, while declaring that none can come to him but those whom the Father draws, and that the elect come after they have heard and learned of the Father, (John 6: 44, 45), does not lay aside the office of teacher, but carefully invites those who must be taught inwardly by the Spirit before they can make any profit. The reprobate, again, are admonished by Paul, that the doctrine is not in vain; because, while it is in them a savour of death unto death, it is still a sweet savour unto God, (2Co 2: 16)
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
because I was always arguing with him, but it wasn’t for me. Rule by committee is usually useless and frustrating. (Footnote: see Congress.) I realized that as a professional, nobody could take my financial independence away from me. If I had a law degree, I could always make a living. That was important to me. So where was all this self-esteem and self-awareness coming from? I can look back and see the seeds of who I am in my Brooklyn upbringing. My father
Anonymous
My brotherly and fatherly advice for all you young ones out there: tap your talents'! You have something in you for humanity! Education without talent is useless. Talent with basic education is apt but talents with education is even better. I would like to get rid of speculators completely. Money should be made by producing something or doing something tangible. Your pieces of paper you called diploma or degrees will not do it for you.
DAVID OKAFOR
I shall be happy, Mr Rokesmith,’ returned Bella, ‘to be of the least use; for I feel, after the serious scene of to-day, that I am useless enough in this world.’ ‘Don’t say that,’ urged the Secretary. ‘Oh, but I mean that,’ said Bella, raising her eyebrows. ‘No one is useless in this world,’ retorted the Secretary, ‘who lightens the burden of it for any one else.’ ‘But I assure you I don’t, Mr Rokesmith,’ said Bella, half-crying. ‘Not for your father?’ ‘Dear, loving, self-forgetting, easily-satisfied Pa! Oh, yes! He thinks so.’ ‘It is enough if he only thinks so,’ said the Secretary. ‘Excuse the interruption: I don’t like to hear you depreciate yourself.
Charles Dickens (Our Mutual Friend)
Something was dead and it wasn’t only youth or the feeling of being carefree. He wasn’t useless anymore. They needed him and he was going to have to deal with that. By becoming a father, he had acquired principles and certainties, things he had sworn never to have. His generosity had become relative. His passions had grown tepid. His world had shrunk.
Leïla Slimani (The Perfect Nanny)
His mother hadn’t know what Durex was. But she had suspected. She had asked him, gravely, if it was ‘anything bad’. Useless trying to explain. Useless, subsequently, trying to convince his father that he was only acting like a responsible citizen.
Jean Ure (Plague 99 (Plague 99 #1))
In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house... Its expansive lawn is utterly useless, wild like it smokes its own grass and dreams of being a jungle.
Mat Johnson (Loving Day)
Jeremiah’s Temple Message 7 This is the word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah: 2“Stand at the gate of the Temple and preach this message there: “‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of the nation of Judah! All you who come through these gates to worship the LORD, listen to this message! 3This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Change your lives and do what is right! Then I will let you live in this place. 4Don’t trust the lies of people who say, “This is the Temple of the LORD. This is the Temple of the LORD. This is the Temple of the LORD!” 5You must change your lives and do what is right. Be fair to each other. 6You must not be hard on strangers, orphans, and widows. Don’t kill innocent people in this place! Don’t follow other gods, or they will ruin your lives. 7If you do these things, I will let you live in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. 8“‘But look, you are trusting lies, which is useless. 9Will you steal and murder and be guilty of adultery? Will you falsely accuse other people? Will you burn incense to the god Baal and follow other gods you have not known? 10If you do that, do you think you can come before me and stand in this place where I have chosen to be worshiped? Do you think you can say, “We are safe!” when you do all these hateful things? 11This place where I have chosen to be worshiped is nothing more to you than a hideout for robbers. I have been watching you, says the LORD. 12“‘You people of Judah, go now to the town of Shiloh, where I first made a place to be worshiped. See what I did to it because of the evil things the people of Israel had done. 13You people of Judah have done all these evil things too, says the LORD. I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen to me. I called you, but you did not answer. 14So I will destroy the place where I have chosen to be worshiped in Jerusalem. You trust in that place, which I gave to you and your ancestors, but I will destroy it just as I destroyed Shiloh. 15I will push you away from me just as I pushed away your relatives, the people of Israel!’ 16“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people. Don’t cry out for them or ask anything for them or beg me to help them, because I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18The children gather wood, and the fathers use the wood to make a fire. The women make the dough for cakes of bread, and they offer them to the Queen Goddess. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to make me angry. 19But I am not the one the people of Judah are really hurting, says the LORD. They are only hurting themselves and bringing shame upon themselves. 20“‘So this is what the Lord God says: I will pour out my anger on this place, on people and animals, on the trees in the field and the crops in the ground. My anger will be like a hot fire that no one can put out.
Max Lucado (Grace For The Moment Daily Bible, NCV: Spend 365 Days reading the Bible with Max Lucado)
Stop, I forbid this!” Jason commanded. “Herakles, what have you done to my men, getting them this drunk? They’ll be useless in the morning.” Herakles planted his fists on his hips in mock indignation. “Do I hear you right, Jason? Are you insulting these fine warriors, saying they can’t hold their wine? What kind of man can’t drink a bellyful by moonset and be ready for battle by sunrise?” The men muttered in tipsy agreement while Jason ground his teeth together and looked ready to bash Herakles’ brains out with the hero’s own club. Hylas discreetly stepped between Herakles and me. “Master, I can’t find your sword,” he said calmly but quickly. “I need Glaucus to come help me look for it.” It was a flimsy attempt at getting me to safety before Herakles’ words at Jason’s expense stirred things up any further. It failed. The Theban hero sidestepped his weapons bearer and threw an arm around me in a bear hug. “You might have better luck finding my sword if you actually went to look for it,” he said. “By my father, Zeus, if you get any lazier, Hylas, we’ll have to get you a ship on your own and a quest to go with it!
Esther M. Friesner (Nobody's Prize (Nobody's Princess, #2))
My uncle is still refusing to take cases, by the by, because I "need some proper looking-after." He has thrown himself headfirst into my "education," where we at first worked through the syllabi for several graduate-level humanities courses, reading a number of quite interesting nonfiction texts and novels and some poetry and of course the relevant associated cultural criticism, but after a week or so of this my uncle chucked the whole thing over to make me watch television with him at night. Bad television. According to Leander, my father entirely overlooked my "social and emotional education" in favor of his "uselessly specific curriculum," making me into some kind of "automaton who actually enjoys reading Heidegger-Good God, Charlotte, who enjoys that? Or Camus? Were you just reading Camus and laughing?" Apparently the only way to rectify this is to watch loads of old Doctor Who while eating Thai peanut chicken crisps on the couch. I am working through the Heidegger on my own.
Brittany Cavallaro (The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes, #3))
From what I was able to piece together, Lysa was days from branching when it happened. It was early evening. She was sleeping peacefully in her nest. Ma was out hunting. Pa was on the front lines, as he had been for many nights. And Lyze had just begun branching. He did this on his own, Pa was not there to help him. Too often fathers, and sometimes mothers, were not around to raise their chicks; the war took them away from their homes. Lyze had hopped through the branches of the tall, slender pine that had been our home. He was almost fully fledged, and so close to flying. From branch to branch he went, getting farther and farther from our hollow. He heard a soft chirp, and looked down to see little Lysa, having woken from her nap, at the edge of our hollow. She looked up at her big brother, longing to join him in his fun. Before Lyze could react, Lysa tumbled down to the ground. Lyze called out in the staccato bark of alarm that we Whiskered Screech Owls use in times of danger. But it was useless. He watched as a coyote snatched his downy little sister in his jaws, and disappeared into the eventide.
Kathryn Huang Knight (Guardians of Ga'Hoole: A Guide Book to the Great Tree)
It is easy to say that Baldwin’s main message was racial equality. Surely the topic flows through his work more than it ebbs. Yet one makes a grave mistake in pigeonholing James Baldwin’s worldview so narrowly, for throughout this miscellany, though racial topics and racial politics are often the touchstone, his true themes are more in line with the early church fathers, with Erasmus of Rotterdam, with the great Western philosophers, with theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and James Cone. And though it is too broad—if not useless—to say his true topic is humanity, it is useful to see how, no matter his topic, how often his writing finds some ur-morality upon which to rest, how he always sees matters through a lens of decency, how he writes with his heart as well as with his head. Baldwin left the pulpit at sixteen, but he never stopped preaching.
James Baldwin (The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings)
Prince Dzhevakov (Zhevakov) transcribed a talk Rasputin gave at the home of Baron Rausch von Traubenberg where he spoke of studying the lives of saints and the deeds that led them to become saints: “In God is salvation.  Without God, it’s impossible to take a step.  We see God when we see nothing else around us.  Evil and sin come from everything that hides God from us.  The room you’re in, the work you do, the people around you, all hide God from you because you don’t live or think in a pious way.  What can you do to see God?  After mass, after having prayed, leave town … and go to the country.  Walk … walk straight ahead until you can no longer see behind you the black cloud of factory smoke, and in front of you is nothing but the clear blue horizon.  Then stop and reflect on yourselves – how very small, insignificant and powerless you are.  And, with your soul’s eye, you’ll see the capital transform into an ant farm, and the men into busy little ants.  Then, what becomes of your pride, your self-love, your power, your rights, your situation …!  And you will feel miserable, useless, abandoned by all.  And you’ll raise your eyes to the sky, and you will see God.  And in all of your heart, you’ll feel you have only one father – God.  And you’ll feel a great tenderness.  That’s the first step toward God.  You can then go further, but come back into the world, taking up all of your former activities, while keeping sight of what you brought back with you.  That tenderness you felt is God in your soul.  And if you preserve that, then you transform all your earthly work into divine work and you will save your soul, not by penitence, but by working for the glory of God.
Delin Colón (Rasputin and The Jews - A Reversal of History)
There is a good reason why you cannot imagine one of the Pilgrim Fathers kicking back at Six Flags, or Daniel Boone going down a water slide. It is not that their lives were busier than ours, or that they were more serious people. We are all busy in our own ways, whether we are hunting down dinner in a forest or laboring through the crowds at our local market. The difference is in our attitudes towards leisure time. Today reading a novel or going to see a play is just a way to pass the time, and a fairly admirable one at that, given the alternatives of video games and reality television. Two hundred years ao, however, a decent man or woman would not have wasted God-given time with people and events that had never taken place, and in a manner designed to artfully stimulate the emotions. The theater is “wholly useless,” a minister told his flock in 1825. “Can it teach the mechanic industry, or the merchant more economy and skill?” Surely not, he declared. Even at its very best, the theater is “mere recreation.
Margaret Bendroth (The Spiritual Practice of Remembering)
Oh, but it wouldn't be a useless walk, sir. Father said nothing was useless that helped to keep us in tune, you know." "In tune!" "I mean, you looked as father used to look sometimes, when he felt out of tune. And he always said there was nothing like a walk to put him back again. I—I was feeling a little out of tune myself to-day, and I thought, by the way you looked, that you were, too. So I asked you to go to walk.
Eleanor H. Porter (Just David)
To those whose eyes may fall on these lines, may I not be excused saying, 'See to it that you honour your father and your mother, not only that your days may be long in the land, but that you may not, in after years, be disturbed by useless longings to have back again the precious ones who so ceaselessly and unselfishly toiled with heart and brain for your profoundest well-being.
Jonathan Edwards (25 Classic Christian Biographies - Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, Moody, Wesley and many more!)
There is a good reason why you cannot imagine one of the Pilgrim Fathers kicking back at Six Flags, or Daniel Boone going down a water slide. It is not that their lives were busier than ours, or that they were more serious people. We are all busy in our own ways, whether we are hunting down dinner in a forest or laboring through the crowds at our local market. The difference is in our attitudes towards leisure time. Today reading a novel or going to see a play is just a way to pass the time, and a fairly admirable one at that, given the alternatives of video games and reality television. Two hundred years ago, however, a decent man or woman would not have wasted God-given time with people and events that had never taken place, and in a manner designed to artfully stimulate the emotions. The theater is “wholly useless,” a minister told his flock in 1825. “Can it teach the mechanic industry, or the merchant more economy and skill?” Surely not, he declared. Even at its very best, the theater is “mere recreation.
Margaret Bendroth (The Spiritual Practice of Remembering)
The illusions of childhood had vanished, so also had the ideas he brought with him from the provinces; he had returned thither with an intelligence developed, with loftier ambitions, and saw things as they were at home in the old manor house. His father and mother, his two brothers and two sisters, with an aged aunt, whose whole fortune consisted in annuities, lived on the little estate of Rastignac. The whole property brought in about three thousand francs; and though the amount varied with the season (as must always be the case in a vine-growing district), they were obliged to spare an unvarying twelve hundred francs out of their income for him. He saw how constantly the poverty, which they had generously hidden from him, weighed upon them; he could not help comparing the sisters, who had seemed so beautiful to his boyish eyes, with women in Paris, who had realized the beauty of his dreams. The uncertain future of the whole family depended upon him. It did not escape his eyes that not a crumb was wasted in the house, nor that the wine they drank was made from the second pressing; a multitude of small things, which it is useless to speak of in detail here, made him burn to distinguish himself, and his ambition to succeed increased tenfold.
Honoré de Balzac (Works of Honore de Balzac)
Bellowing Francis’s name, he demanded that Francis return all his goods and the sooner the better. Then, losing all control, he jumped from his horse and screamed at his son, demanding further that Francis appear before the mayor of Assisi for the redress of the injustice he had done to his father. How surprised his father was and how even more surprised was Francis that he had refused. He stood up to his father—the dark closet had become light. He stood before his father and said he would not go before the civil magistrate because he was now under the jurisdiction of the bishop. His father lifted his arm as if to strike him, but seeing the determination in his son’s eyes, or remembering he was his son, or simply out of a fear of the mad rage that would have killed his son had he started to strike him, he dropped his arm instead and said with a cold, almost eerie calm, “Fine, then I will see you in the Bishop’s court, that useless pawn of the Pope.” And he turned and mounted his horse and rode pell-mell into the city. How could his father have known that Francis had been discussing God’s words to him with Bishop Guido, who had been sympathetic, interested.
Murray Bodo (Francis and Jesus)
Many are called but few are chosen. ” 25 And the Seraphic Father said when close to death, “Nothing harms the pure observance of the Rule as much as a multitude of useless, carnal and brutish friars
Anonymous
She must not cry in front of all these men. They would think her a useless watering pot unworthy of her father’s inheritance. Everything went blurry as she turned away, trying to hide the tears. Colonel Lowe bent down to peek beneath her lowered head, a trace of humor on his strong face. “Tears? We’ve come all the way across the state to meet the famous Miss Mollie Knox, and all she has for us are tears?” She swiped them away. “It is just that I have felt so overwhelmed. It has been a difficult few weeks.” “Then those are the last tears you will shed from being overwhelmed,” he said. Colonel Lowe’s face was a blend of kindness and humor as he smiled at her. “We will not leave this city until your factory is rebuilt and you are once again producing the world’s most magnificent watches.
Elizabeth Camden (Into the Whirlwind)
Alas, great is my sorrow. Your name is Ah Chen, and when you were born I was not truly pleased. I am a farmer, and a farmer needs strong sons to help with his work, but before a year had passed you had stolen my heart. You grew more teeth, and you grew daily in wisdom, and you said 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' and your pronunciation was perfect. When you were three you would knock at the door and then you would run back and ask, 'Who is it?' When you were four your uncle came to visit and you played the host. Lifting your cup, you said, 'Ching!' and we roared with laughter and you blushed and covered your face with your hands, but I know that you thought yourself very clever. Now they tell me that I must try to forget you, but it is hard to forget you. "You carried a toy basket. You sat at a low stool to eat porridge. You repeated the Great Learning and bowed to Buddha. You played at guessing games, and romped around the house. You were very brave, and when you fell and cut your knee you did not cry because you did not think it was right. When you picked up fruit or rice, you always looked at people's faces to see if it was all right before putting it in your mouth, and you were careful not to tear your clothes. "Ah Chen, do you remember how worried we were when the flood broke our dikes and the sickness killed our pigs? Then the Duke of Ch'in raised our taxes and I was sent to plead with him, and I made him believe that we could not pay out taxes. Peasants who cannot pay taxes are useless to dukes, so he sent his soldiers to destroy our village, and thus it was the foolishness of your father that led to your death. Now you have gone to Hell to be judged, and I know that you must be very frightened, but you must try not to cry or make loud noises because it is not like being at home with your own people. "Ah Chen, do you remember Auntie Yang, the midwife? She was also killed, and she was very fond of you. She had no little girls of her own, so it is alright for you to try and find her, and to offer her your hand and ask her to take care of you. When you come before the Yama Kings, you should clasp your hands together and plead to them: 'I am young and I am innocent. I was born in a poor family, and I was content with scanty meals. I was never wilfully careless of my shoes and my clothing, and I never wasted a grain of rice. If evil spirits bully me, may thou protect me.' You should put it just that way, and I am sure that the Yama Kings will protect you. "Ah Chen, I have soup for you and I will burn paper money for you to use, and the priest is writing down this prayer that I will send to you. If you hear my prayer, will you come to see me in your dreams? If fate so wills that you must yet lead an earthly life, I pray that you will come again to your mother's womb. Meanwhile I will cry, 'Ah Chen, your father is here!' I can but weep for you, and call your name.
Barry Hughart (Bridge of Birds (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, #1))
Did the Führer take her (mother) away?” The question surprised them both, and it forced Papa to stand up. He looked at the brown-shirted men taking to the pile of ash with shovels. He could hear them hacking into it. Another lie was growing in his mouth, but he found it impossible to let it out. He said, “I think he might have, yes.” “I knew it.” The words were thrown at the steps and Liesel could feel the slush of anger, stirring hotly in her stomach. “I hate the Führer,” she said. “I hate him.” And Hans Hubermann? What did he do? What did he say? Did he bend down and embrace his foster daughter, as he wanted to? Did he tell her that he was sorry for what was happening to her, to her mother, for what had happened to her brother? Not exactly. He clenched his eyes. Then opened them. He slapped Liesel Meminger squarely in the face. “Don’t ever say that!” His voice was quiet, but sharp. As the girl shook and sagged on the steps, he sat next to her and held his face in his hands. It would be easy to say that he was just a tall man sitting poorpostured and shattered on some church steps, but he wasn’t. At the time, Liesel had no idea that her foster father, Hans Hubermann, was contemplating one of the most dangerous dilemmas a German citizen could face. Not only that, he’d been facing it for close to a year. “Papa?” The surprise in her voice rushed her, but it also rendered her useless. She wanted to run, but she couldn’t. She could take a Watschen from nuns and Rosas, but it hurt so much more from Papa. The hands were gone from Papa’s face now and he found the resolve to speak again. “You can say that in our house,” he said, looking gravely at Liesel’s cheek. “But you never say it on the street, at school, at the BDM, never!” He stood in front of her and lifted her by the triceps. He shook her. “Do you hear me?” With her eyes trapped wide open, Liesel nodded her compliance. It was, in fact, a rehearsal for a future lecture, when all of Hans Hubermann’s worst fears arrived on Himmel Street later that year, in the early hours of a November morning. “Good.” He placed her back down. “Now, let us try …” At the bottom of the steps, Papa stood erect and cocked his arm. Forty-five degrees. “Heil Hitler.” Liesel stood up and also raised her arm. With absolute misery, she repeated it. “Heil Hitler.” It was quite a sight—an eleven-year-old girl, trying not to cry on the church steps, saluting the Führer as the voices over Papa’s shoulder chopped and beat at the dark shape in the background.
Markus Zusak
But as the engrafted wild olive does not certainly lose the substance of its wood, but changes the quality of its fruit, and receives another name, being now not a wild olive, but a fruit-bearing olive, and is called so; so also, when man is grafted in by faith and receives the Spirit of God, he certainly does not lose the substance of flesh, but changes the quality of the fruit [brought forth, i.e.,] of his works, and receives another name, showing that he has become changed for the better, being now not [mere] flesh and blood, but a spiritual man, and is called such. Then, again, as the wild olive, if it be not grafted in, remains useless to its lord because of its woody quality, and is cut down as a tree bearing no fruit, and cast into the fire; so also man, if he does not receive through faith the engrafting of the Spirit, remains in his old condition, and being [mere] flesh and blood, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Rightly therefore does the apostle declare, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” and, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God:” not repudiating [by these words] the substance of flesh, but showing that into it the Spirit must be infused. And for this reason, he says, “This mortal must put on immortality, and this corruptible must put on incorruption.” And again he declares, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” He sets this forth still more plainly, where he says, “The body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit dwelling in you.” And again he says, in the Epistle to the Romans, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.” [Now by these words] he does not prohibit them from living their lives in the flesh, for he was himself in the flesh when he wrote to them; but he cuts away the lusts of the flesh, those which bring death upon a man. And for this reason he says in continuation, “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the works of the flesh, ye shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
The Church Fathers (The Complete Ante-Nicene & Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection)
So, you put in a no-show for the turkey,” Sean said. “What’s up with that? You’re stateside, you’re not that far away….” “I have things to do here, Sean,” he said. “And I explained to Mother—I can’t leave Art and I can’t take him on a trip.” “So I heard. And that’s your only reason?” “What else?” “Oh, I don’t know,” he said, as if he did know what else. “Well then, you’ll be real happy to hear this—I’m bringing Mother to Virgin River for Thanksgiving.” Luke was dead silent for a moment. “What!” Luke nearly shouted into the phone. “Why the hell would you do that?” “Because you won’t come to Phoenix. And she’d like to see this property you’re working on. And the helper. And the girl.” “You aren’t doing this to me,” Luke said in a threatening tone. “Tell me you aren’t doing this to me!” “Yeah, since you can’t make it to Mom’s, we’re coming to you. I thought that would make you sooo happy,” he added with a chuckle in his voice. “Oh God,” he said. “I don’t have room for you. There’s not a hotel in town.” “You lying sack of shit. You have room. You have two extra bedrooms and six cabins you’ve been working on for three months. But if it turns out you’re telling the truth, there’s a motel in Fortuna that has some room. As long as Mom has the good bed in the house, clean sheets and no rats, everything will be fine.” “Good. You come,” Luke said. “And then I’m going to kill you.” “What’s the matter? You don’t want Mom to meet the girl? The helper?” “I’m going to tear your limbs off before you die!” But Sean laughed. “Mom and I will be there Tuesday afternoon. Buy a big turkey, huh?” Luke was paralyzed for a moment. Silent and brooding. He had lived a pretty wild life, excepting that couple of years with Felicia, when he’d been temporarily domesticated. He’d flown helicopters in combat and played it loose with the ladies, taking whatever was consensually offered. His bachelorhood was on the adventurous side. His brothers were exactly like him; maybe like their father before them, who hadn’t married until the age of thirty-two. Not exactly ancient, but for the generation before theirs, a little mature to begin a family of five sons. They were frisky Irish males. They all had taken on a lot: dared much, had no regrets, moved fast. But one thing none of them had ever done was have a woman who was not a wife in bed with them under the same roof with their mother. “I’m thirty-eight years old and I’ve been to war four times,” he said to himself, pacing in his small living room, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck. “This is my house and she is a guest. She can disapprove all she wants, work her rosary until she has blisters on her hands, but this is not up to her.” Okay, then she’ll tell everything, was his next thought. Every little thing about me from the time I was five, every young lady she’d had high hopes for, every indiscretion, my night in jail, my very naked fling with the high-school vice-principal’s daughter…. Everything from speeding tickets to romances. Because that’s the way the typical dysfunctional Irish family worked—they bartered in secrets. He could either behave the way his mother expected, which she considered proper and gentlemanly and he considered tight-assed and useless, or he could throw caution to the wind, do things his way, and explain all his mother’s stories to Shelby later.
Robyn Carr (Temptation Ridge)
When Arturo had ordered her taken into custody, Darling knew the next step would be her execution. As the mother to the heir and widow of the last governor, his mother was to keep herself pristine and chaste in memory of his dead father for the rest of her life. For another man to touch her was viewed as an act of high treason on both their parts. The guards had seized her and she’d been screaming, protesting her innocence and begging for mercy. His brother and sister had been holding on to her waist, crying and pleading for their mother’s life. Darling had been frozen by terror. His father had only been dead three years and all he could hear was the promise he’d made to him the last time they’d spoken. “If anything should ever happen to me, Darling, swear to me that you’ll make sure your mother and siblings are taken care of. They’re not as strong as you. You’ll make a great governor one day. I know it. It’s why I trust you to do right by the three of them.” Still, they’d all screamed and cried until Darling was deaf from it. More guards had come forward to pull his brother and sister away and to handcuff his mother for her execution while Carus had stood there, silent. No word to deny or defend the woman he’d slept with. The woman who’d risked her life and endangered her children for him. He was useless as a protector. And his mother would die if Darling didn’t do something. So he’d seized on Maris’s personal secret to save her life. Biting his lips to make them swell, and pinching and clawing his neck to turn it red, he’d run forward to stop his mother’s arrest. “He’s my boyfriend. I’m the one who slept with him.” The words had flown out of Darling’s mouth before he could stop himself. Or think through the consequences. But
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Silence (The League #5))
Sunset. He had promised her until sunset. “If something goes wrong, we need to get her out.” Miles Dorrington looked thoughtful. “I say, we could raise the Jolly Roger and storm the fort as pirates. While they’re panicking, you sneak in and retrieve Jane.” “Too many cannons,” said Jack tersely. “You’ll be blown to splinters before we can get inside. Next?” Lizzy raised her crossbow. “I could—” “No,” said Jack and his father in unison. When Jack had finished glaring at his father, he said, “Jane and I discussed this. If she’s not back by sundown, Lord Richard and I”—Jack nodded to the blond man, who nodded back—“will go after her disguised as dragoons.” Lord Richard quickly took charge. “I’ll see that my men acquire the relevant uniforms.” “No,” said Jack’s new stepmother. “No?” Jack looked narrowly at his stepmother. “What do you propose, then?” His stepmother paced decisively down the deck. “Richard”—Lord Richard leaped agilely out of range of her parasol—“will stay and mind the Bien-Aimée . If Jane isn’t back by sundown”—Jack’s stepmother regarded him imperiously—“you and I will go after her.” “Gwen is very good at rappelling down walls,” said Jack’s father, looking at his bride with gooey eyes. “Up them, too.” “We’re not rappelling,” said Jack. If there was anything he hated, it was rappelling. It was as showy and useless as swinging through windows on ropes. “We’re going through the door.” “I’ve known that girl since she was born.” His stepmother stalked towards him, parasol point glinting. “I’ve protected her from more assailants than you’ve had hot suppers. If you go, I go.” “How lovely,” said Lady Henrietta brightly. “You can get to know each other.” Miles Dorrington prudently lifted his wife by the waist and deposited her out of parasol range. “We don’t know that she’ll need rescuing,” said Jack, staring down his new stepmother. “The plan might go as planned.” His stepmother snorted. “With the Gardener? I’ll go get my pistols.” And she departed, leaving Jack with a sick feeling at the pit of his stomach as he tried not to contemplate what the Gardener might be doing with Jane right now.
Lauren Willig (The Lure of the Moonflower (Pink Carnation #12))
Of course his drinking put a strain on me as a young person. It made me very tense and edgy. That happens when one lives with an alcoholic. My story in this sense is not unique. I’ve lived with many alcoholic men over the years, and each has taught me that it is useless to worry, fruitless to ask why, suicide to try to help them. They are who they are, for better and worse. Now I live alone. Happily. Gleefully, even. I’m too old to concern myself with other people’s affairs. And I no longer waste my time thinking ahead into the future, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. But I worried all the time when I was young, not least of all about my future, and mostly with respect to my father—how long he had left to live, what he might do, what I would find when I got home from work each evening.
Ottessa Moshfegh (Eileen)
THE GAMBLER “She did not quarrel with me or get angry; she was kind to my friends and to me. Because of a losing throw of the dice I have driven away a devoted wife. My wife’s mother hates me, and my wife pushes me away. The man in trouble finds no one with sympathy. They all say, ‘I find a gambler as useless as an old horse that someone wants to sell.’ Other men fondle the wife of a man whose possessions have been taken by the plundering dice. His father, mother, and brothers all say of him, ‘We do not know him. Tie him up and take him away.’ When I swear, ‘I will not play with them,’ my friends leave me behind and go away. But when the brown dice raise their voice as they are thrown down, I run at once to the rendezvous with them, like a woman to her lover.” . . . The deserted wife of the gambler grieves, and the mother grieves for her son who wanders anywhere, nowhere. In debt and in need of money, frightened, he goes at night to the houses of other men. It torments the gambler to see his wife the woman of other men, in their comfortable rooms. But he yoked the brown horses in the early morning, and at evening he fell down by the fire, no longer a man (10.34).
Wendy Doniger (The Hindus: An Alternative History)
Have you ever considered the humble beginnings of sea glass? All of it starts as glass that has been thrown away, discarded, and broken. Pieces of a former whole no longer serve their intended purpose, so they are cast away—then tossed about, taking some hard knocks, and finally emerging smooth, refined, beautiful. Likewise, there are those days, even seasons, when we feel fragmented and useless. . . . Parts of a former whole, we find ourselves being tossed about, taking hard knocks, unsure of our direction or purpose. The Father knows, and sometimes orchestrates, our seasons of refinement—it is part of a greater plan, His plan, which serves His purposes. Even when we’re on the other side of that season, we may still not understand fully the why behind it, but we can be sure we have a Father who loves us, pursues us, and—once His hand is upon us—does not let go. Trust that during these seasons, we are being refined and transformed into something useful. And ultimately, beautiful. MIRIAM DRENNAN Devotions for the Beach
Anonymous (Joy for the Journey: Morning and Evening)
It was the morning when she went confront my father's killer. I asked her why she wouldn't let one of the soldiers or gerents handle his rescue. And she said to me that all little girls, regardless of what they say, dream of a prince to come in and sweep them off their feet and save the day. But what no one ever mentions is that all little boys dream of a princess to do the same thing for them. But the problem with princes and princesses is that they're spoiled and self-absorbed. They act in their own best interest. They don't go after their loved ones to rescue them so much as they do it for their own vainglory, and to serve themselves. While she'd had many princes try for her hand, it was a king who had claimed her heart. Unlike princes, kings take responsibility. they think of others instead of themselves and they will risk everything, even their very lives , for those they love. It is never about them, but rather about the ones they cherish most. they love to such depth that they would sacrifice all just to see their family smile. For every thousand princes, there is only one king. And such rare men do not deserve a useless princess who sits on her duff and orders others to worship her and do her bidding. Kings deserve queens- rare women who never flinch to do whatever it takes to keep their king safe. Women who have the courage to face any attacker and to rally to whatever challenge life throws at them. I will not sit here, she said to me, and let your father suffer while I hide in comfort. He risked his life to keep us safe and I will do no less for him. If it means my life, so be it. After all, he is my life and I don't want to live without him. He deserves only my best and that's exactly what he's going to get, no matter the personal cost.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Cloak and Silence (The League, #5.5))
First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Therefore, to share with us what he has received from the Father, he had to become ours and to dwell within us.
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols (Library of Christian Classics))
I do not let myself entertain regrets nor think about mistakes. My father always said, and he was right, that regret is a useless practice. But I find that in my thirties, regrets chase me down the street sometimes. It’s not so easy to shrug them away.
Eloisa James (Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, #1))
I know this is being your second relationship and mine be the first one. I'd shed a lot of tears to find my love of life undoubtedly after my mom. Babu, I literally don't know whether I'm perfect for you or not but ya at times i feel like there will always be someone more perfect than me for you. May be he won't able to love you the same way that i do but ya there is someone.... This is my first and only relationship. I know i make lots of mistakes but I swear upon you and my mom that i never ever want to hurt you. There are nights for me in which i just think of myself without you and those nights be so silent that i can hear someone laughing at me Or shall i say that those are the one which literally make me realize my position. Driver for family, termed as useless creature by my father betrayed by my own trust worthies. It feels like time stop at that particular moments and they just want me to haunt it down all through the night. And then comes the time when I'm with you probably spending an hour with you. It seems like life is so good. At that point of time i enjoy the most. Unwillingly i need to drop you back home. Obviously right now I can't or you can't take me home. I had never ever felt so much loved by anyone else. You may think that this guy had copied from net. Once in a while that just comes up. Right!? But just like you do your art work through your heart i do the same. I just express myself to you, my love for you and that is just beyond your imagination. I never ever thought of getting physical or had that mindset to do any such thing with you, your hugs are my favorite and yea "JAAN" too. These two things makes up my day. You can compare me to numerous and i would be not a strong guy or may be I don't possess other qualities which many other have but yea i can challenge you that no one can love you as much as i do. I know for you your parents are first in love and I respect this from my heart. I know i have failed many a times and many times and i have disappointed you, i really regret that and I'm trying to not make those silly or may be big mistakes again. When i say I don't watch a girl or don't get my eyes on her I seriously mean it. Because when I'm having one of the most infact best and most beautiful girl with me why should i get keen on seeing or watching out others. I really don't know what em i up to like I don't know about others but ya there are few persons whom i always want smiling my mom you and my brother. I really wish if i could see your expression after sending you this. Lastly babu, I love you.
Rakesh Chandak
Father was a strict disciplinarian to his children in their early years, but his attitude toward himself was truly Spartan. He never visited the theater, for instance, but sought his recreation in various spiritual practices and in reading the bhagavad gita. Shunning all luxuries, he would cling to one old pair of shoes until they were useless. His sons bought automobiles after they came into popular use, but Father was always content with the trolley car for his daily ride to the office. The accumulation of money for the sake of power was alien to his nature. Once, after organizing the Calcutta Urban Bank, he refused to benefit himself by holding any of its shares. He had simply wished to perform a civic duty in his spare time.
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi)
The secularist Austin Holyoake, for instance, argued that the doctrine of hell “brutalises all who believe in it”33 and was useless as a tool of moral improvement. Christianity was being accused of being immoral and some were rejecting the church because of its theology of hell.
Thomas Allin (Christ Triumphant: Universalism Asserted as the Hope of the Gospel on the Authority of Reason, the Fathers, and Holy Scripture. Annotated Edition)
John grows up normally, but doesn't talk, and this drives his parents to distraction. When he is about 16, at last, one teatime, he says: 'I'd like a little sugar. ' His mother is staggered and asks, 'But John, why have you never said anything up to now?' 'Up to now, everything was perfect.' If everything is perfect, language is useless. This is true for animals. If animals don't speak, it's because everything's perfect for them. If one day they start to speak, it will be because the world has lost a certain sort of perfection. 'I desire you' is obscene. 'You make me feel very good' is more subtle - the other is here the subject of pleasure, not the object of desire. Desire wants only orgasm; pleasure seeks to please. There can't be any desire to please - 'pleasing' is implacable. In days gone by, pleasing occupied the place of desire - today, desire discharges us from the need to please. Even age may function as a 'natural' perversion. Women are not so much in search of their fathers as of the simple mystery of another generation, closer to death, but also to a previous life. B.B. - My understudy has had an operation for appendicitis. - You're not going to sleep with the whole world. That's impossible, it's rape. - I have a real understanding for wild animals who are hunted, by camera lenses, by machine-guns. - A white Rolls and a black chauffeur. Woman to the power of woman.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
Her long-limbed body draped in passion as if it were a custom-made gown. When it came to my father, even passion became too restrictive and cumbersome. She rose up, away from the Earth with its useless laws and pathetic gods, to become a tornado, a bolt of lightning, an avalanche. Sometimes she scared me. Sometimes my fear mingled with admiration, the same kind of thing I felt for Angela Davis and Leïla Khaled, my revolutionary heroines, whom I imagined to be part-human, part-Bionic Woman.
Négar Djavadi (Disoriental)
Father, what you said to me was absolutely true but totally useless.’ 
Anthony de Mello (Awareness)
Have you ever noticed? In cartoons, fathers are often useless loafs, incapable of even the least bit of kindness. Even though there's no more tender meat than a father's heart!
Zidrou (The Adoption)
Young and old dropped. Someone laughed. “Useless animals. Now they will not eat the grass my cows need.” The rumbling sounds of big creatures came to a stop before the once-beautiful animals that now lie mangled in blood. “Dog food factory, here we come!” A scream tore from Shining Light’s mouth. “No! What is this horrible thing you show me? This is not right. What is this, I ask? What are cows? What is dog food factory? Why can they not share the land? Is this the future, or some nightmare I cannot push away? Blue Night Sky, why do you do this?” His body shook violently. He lost the food his belly held. “Sandstone. Where is Sandstone? She has taught me how smart her kind is, how much they understand humans and can love us, guide us. Sandstone!” ‘Be at peace, little one. This has not happened... yet. You think your destiny only lies in saving people? Telling stories of the grey dust that will choke future humans? You will tell the Peoples you go to meet of what I have shown you. This is their destiny... and your daughter’s. Yours... is what you choose it to be. Your daughter’s children’s children will have children who will become guardians of the Mustang Peoples, of the young four-leggeds yet unborn. ‘There will be a future where humans only think of themselves, what they can gain by having more things than others have. Some of these people may be our own. Some of these future humans will kill for what they can gain from it. Animals will be pounded into the grey dust because of human greed. Humans will even kill their own kind and take what they wish from them. Entire Peoples will vanish from our Mother. ‘Many animals will be thought of as wasting the land that humans could have. They will be killed. If our own people think of the mustang this way, they will lose their way. ‘The stories of our mustang relatives must be told. If the stories are lost, our people will forget the gifts the Mustang People give to them. As many times as Father Sun rises the stories must be told. Shining Light, you must help save the mustangs. You must help save
Ruby Standing Deer (Stones)
The one right that no founding father ever fought for was 'equality'. When I discovered this, I was appalled that these great men could not understand that 'equality' should come before all else because without 'equality' the other rights are useless. It's like giving someone a crippled horse.
James Thomas Kesterson Jr
Faced by the accomplished fact, it was really rather useless for him to mind. What was the good of minding the actual and the fininshed? ....to allow oneself to be upset because something had been done which one considers a pity, or even disastrous, is to double the misfortune. Why throw after what is already gone one's own good temper and serenity?
Elizabeth von Arnim (Father)
When you hear my mother at twenty-two saying she feels ‘useless’ and ‘fearful’ and ‘ashamed,’ recall what she went on to become in life by God’s grace and power. Think what our Father is capable of doing, encouraging you to press into Him, as she did, for His glory.
Valerie Elliot Shepard (Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot)
A deep, booming chime echoed through the square. It throbbed in the stones under my feet. Children cried, covering their ears. And I started screaming as I ran. ‘Marcel!’ I screamed, knowing it was useless. The crowd was too loud, and my voice was breathless with exertion. All the same and all, I couldn't stop screaming. The clock tolled again. I ran past a nude young girl child in her mother's arms as her hair was almost white in the dazzling sunlight. A circle of tall men, all wearing red blazers, called out warnings as I barreled through them. The clock tolled again and again. On the other side of the men in blazers, there was a break in the throng, space between the sightseers who milled aimlessly around me. My eyes peered over the vast dark narrow passage to the right of the wide square edifice under the tower. I couldn't see the street level there were still too many kids and teens in the way. The clock tolled again, and the rings cried out. Part: 2 Thrashed Just like me, this is not here anymore… It was hard to see now, more than ever. Without the kids, teens, and tweens, to break the wind, it whipped at my face and burned my eyes. -And- I for one at that moment could not be one hundred present certain if that was the reason behind my tears, or if I was crying in defeat as the clock hands rounded the face again, and the bell grew hazier. A big family of ten stood nearest to the alley's opening. The two girls wore blue dresses, with matching ribbons tying their dark hair back. The father wasn't small or big. It seemed like I could see something bright in the shadows, just over his shoulder. I rushed toward them, trying to see past the stinging tears. The clock hands spun, and the littlest girl clamped her fingers around one of the boy's long fingers.
Marcel Ray Duriez
yet here are their sons, still trapped inside inertias of lust that are 40 years out of date. The fathers have no power today and never did, but because 40 years ago we could not kill them, we are condemned now to the same passivity, the same masochist fantasies they cherished in secret, and worse, we are condemned in our weakness to impersonate men of power our own infant children must hate, and wish to usurp the place of, and fail. . . . So generation after generation of men in love with pain and passivity serve out their time in the Zone, silent, redolent of faded sperm, terrified of dying, desperately addicted to the comforts others sell them, however useless, ugly or shallow, willing to have life defined for them by men whose only talent is for death.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
Finally, she understood her father’s disease. It was when the world lost all colour, taste and smell, and one realised the heaviness of one’s body, the uselessness of one’s life.
Ayesha Harruna Attah (The Hundred Wells of Salaga)
No regrets, Wolf Father chided me. There is no going back to do a thing or not do a thing. There is only today. Today you must resolve to live. Each time you are given a choice, you must do the thing that will keep you alive and unhurt. Regrets are useless.
Robin Hobb (Assassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3))
You see, there is a list, written by the hand of the Almighty in a celestial book, which details the rich and wonderful accomplishments his subjects might achieve here on earth: father of philosophy, composer of the finest music, ace pilot of the skies, paramour to lucky women. Now I knew: beside the name Gilbert Joseph was written just one word -- driver. All endeavours to erase, replace or embellish were useless.
Andrea Levy (Small Island)
I wanted to complain that, no, I wasn’t even close to prepared. I looked at Pandora’s jar and for the first time, I had an urge to open it. Hope seemed pretty useless to me right now. So many of my friends were dead. Rachel was cutting me off. Annabeth was angry with me. My parents were asleep down in the streets somewhere while a monster army surrounded the building. Olympus was on the verge of falling, and I’d seen so many cruel things the gods had done: Zeus destroying Maria di Angelo, Hades cursing the last Oracle, Hermes turning his back on Luke even when he knew his son would become evil. Surrender, Prometheus’s voice whispered in my ear. Otherwise your home will be destroyed. Your precious camp will burn. Then I looked at Hestia. Her red eyes glowed warmly. I remembered the images I’d seen in her hearth – friends and family, everyone I cared about. I remembered something Chris Rodriguez had said: There’s no point in defending camp if you guys die. All our friends are here. And Nico, standing up to his father Hades: If Olympus falls, he said, your own palace’s safety doesn’t matter.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson: The Complete Series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1-5))
The DUCE diverted funds intended for the Fiume adventure, and used them for His own election campaign. He was arrested for the illegal possession of arms, sent parcel bombs to the Archbishop of Milan and its mayor, and after election was, as is well-known, responsible for the assassination of Di Vagno and Matteoti. Since then He has been responsible for the murders of Don Mizzoni Amendola, the Rosselli brothers, and the journalist Piero Gobetti, quite apart from the hundreds who have been the victims of His squadistri in Ferrara, Ravenna and Trieste, and the thousands who have perished in foreign places whose conquest was useless and pointless. We Italians remain eternally grateful for this, and consider that so much violence has made us a superior race, just as the introduction of revolvers into Parliament and the complete destruction of constitutional democracy have raised our institutions to the greatest possible heights of civilisation. Since the illegal seizure of power, Italy has known an average of five acts of political violence per diem, the DUCE has decreed that 1922 is the new Annus Domini, and He was pretended to be a Catholic in order to dupe the Holy Father into supporting Him against the Communists, even though He really is one Himself. He has completely suborned the press by wrecking the premises of dissident newspapers and journals. In 1923 he invaded Corfu for no apparent reason, and was forced to withdraw by the League of Nations. In 1924 He gerrymandered the elections, and He has oppressed minorities in the Tyrol and the North-East. He sent our soldiers to take part in the rape of Somalia and Libya, drenching their hands in the blood of innocents, He has doubled the number of the bureaucracy in order to tame the bourgeoisie, He has abolished local government, interfered with the judiciary, and purportedly has divinely stopped the flow of lava on Mt Etna by a mere act of will. He has struck Napoleonic attitudes whilst permitting Himself to be used to advertise Perugina chocolates, He has shaved his head because He is ashamed to be seen to be going bald, He has been obliged to hire a tutor to teach Him table manners, He has introduced the Roman salute as a more hygienic alternative to the handshake, He pretends not to need spectacles, He has a repertoire of only two facial expression, He stands on a concealed podium whilst making speeches because He is so short, He pretends to have studied economics with Pareto, and He has assumed infallibility and encouraged the people to carry His image in marches, as though He were a saint. He is a saint, of course. He has (and who are we to disagree?) declared Himself greater than Aristotle, Kant, Aquinas, Dante, Michelangelo, Washington, Lincoln, and Bonaparte, and He has appointed ministers to serve Him who are all sycophants, renegades, racketeers, placemen, and shorter than He is. He is afraid of the Evil Eye and has abolished the second person singular as a form of address. He has caused Toscanini to be beaten up for refusing to play 'Giovinezza', and He has appointed academicians to prove that all great inventions were originally Italian and that Shakespeare was the pseudonym of an Italian poet. He has built a road through the site of the forum, demolishing fifteen ancient churches, and has ordered a statue of Hercules, eighty metres high, which will have His own visage, and which so far consists of a part of the face and one gigantic foot, and which cannot be completed because it has already used up one hundred tons of metal.
Louis de Bernières (Corelli's Mandolin)