After The Smoke Clears Quotes

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Eventually she looked down at her empty hands and thought: Damn it. Damn it, I love him. Then, after the smoke cleared, she could see nothing else.
Olivie Blake (Alone With You in the Ether)
That night I did it. I used a utility knife from our garage. It was amazing. For that brief moment, all the tension, anxiety, stress I put on myself disappeared. It went up in a cloud of smoke and my head was finally clear after months of endless internal battles.
S.M. Koz
You only really knew who your true friends were when you were at your lowest with nothing to offer. After the smoke cleared, that was when you finally saw who was left standing beside you.
Sadie Allen (Maybe Never)
Do you know what O'Keefe Says about blue? he asked her, blowing out a cloud of smoke, warming to her voice, though he did not remember her face clearly from the opening night's exhibition. What? That it is the color that will remain after everything is destroyed.
Alice Walker (Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart)
The young people nowadays – men and women, amateurs and pros – generally fall into one of two categories: either they don’t know what it is that’s most important to them, or they know but don’t have the power to go after it. But this girl’s different. She knows what’s most important to her and she knows how to get it, but she doesn’t let on what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not money, or success, or a normal happy life, or a strong man, or some weird religion, but that’s about all I can tell you. She’s like smoke: you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there. That’s a sort of strength, I suppose. But it makes her hard to figure out.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
Outside, the sky was clear, stars gleaming in its ebony vastness like celestial fireflies. It was bitterly cold, and Hywel's every breath trailed after him in pale puffs of smoke. The glazed snow crackled underfoot as he started towards the great hall.
Sharon Kay Penman (Time and Chance (Plantagenets #2; Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine #2))
By no means would I describe Adolph Hitler as sexually normal in his relationships with women. In the case of Eva Braun in particular, it seems clear to me that aside from occasional passionate episodes there was no sexual activity at all for long periods of time. The effect of this on Hitler I do not know, but Eva Braun's misery was well-known at headquarters. During the long dry spells she was irritable, impatient and quick to anger. She smoked much more and was incessantly lighting one cigarette after another. By contrast, when once in a great while Hitler's more human feelings expressed themselves in a sudden cloudburst, her manner changed completely. Eva at such times was radiant, flushed with happiness. Her natural warmth and high spirits returned, and she seemed to sparkle again like the cheerful and spontaneous girl she once was. Though it seems obscene to pity one individual human being with so many millions dead, I do believe that Eva Braun was the loneliest woman I ever knew.
Albert Speer (Inside the Third Reich)
Have I crossed the line? I'm about to peer in through a window at Mik. For some reason, this feels worse than peering out a window, as I was just doing with a fairly clear conscience. After all, peeping toms peep in, not out. But this is still a public space, I argue to myself. I'm not peeping in his window. I would never do that. This is a cafe. Moreover, it's kind of my cafe. Mine and Karou's. In no legally recognized way, of course. We don't own it, except spiritually. Which is a much higher court than actual real estate ownership.
Laini Taylor (Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1.5))
In winter, the air is clear enough to drink, and your eyes can travel many hundreds of miles until they reach the green of the near hills, the blue-gray beyond them, and then the snow peaks far away, which rise in the sky with the sun, and remain suspended there, higher than imaginable, changing color and shape through the day. Every hour, they come closer, their massive flanks clearly visible, plumes of cloud smoking from their tips. After the last of the daylight is gone, at dusk, the peaks still glimmer in the slow-growing darkness as if jagged pieces of the moon had dropped from sky to earth.
Anuradha Roy (The Folded Earth)
I got the feeling that if I moved the frames to the side, I'd see the artists watching me, as though through a two-way mirror, cracking their arthritic knuckles and rubbing their stubbled chins, wondering what I was wondering about them, if I saw their brilliance, or if their lives had been pointless, if only God could judge them after all. Did they want more? Was there more genius to be wrung out of the turpentine rags at their feet? Could they have painted better? Could they have painted more generously? More clearly? Could they have dropped more fruit from their windows? Did they know that glory was mundane? Did they wish they'd crushed those withered grapes between their fingers and spent their days walking through fields of grass or being in love or confessing their delusions to a priest or starving like the hungry souls they were, begging for alms in the city square with some honesty for once? Maybe they'd lived wrongly. (...) Or maybe not. Maybe, in the morning, they were aloof and happy to distract themselves with their brushes and oils, to mix their colors and smoke their pipes and go back to their fresh still lives without having to swat away any more flies.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
In Asia, we say that there are three sources of energy--sexual, breath, and spirit...You need to know how to reestablish the balance, or you may act irresponsibly. According to Taoism and buddhism, there are practices to help reestablish that balance, such as meditation or martial arts. You can learn the ways to channel your sexual energy into deep realizations in the domains of art and meditation. The second source of energy is khi, breath energy. Life can be described as a process of burning. In order to burn, every cell in our body needs nutrition and oxygen...Some people cultivate their khi by refraining from smoking and talking, or by practicing conscious breathing after talking a lot...The third soruce of energy is than, spirit energy. When you don't sleep at night, you lose some of this kind of energy. Your nervous system becomes exhausted and you cannot sutdy or practice meditation well, or make good decisions. You don't have a clear mind because of lack of sleep or from worrying too much. Worry and anxiety drain this source of energy. So don't worry. Don't stay up too late. Keep your nervous system healthy. Prevent anxiety. These kinds of practices cultivate the third source of energy. You need this source of energy to practice meditation well. A spritual breakthrough requires the power of your spirit energy, which comes about through concentration and knowing how to preserve this source of energy. When you have strong spirit energy, you only have to focus it on an object, and you will have a breakthrough. If you don't have than, the light of your concentration will not shine brightly, because the light emitted is very weak," (35-36).
Thich Nhat Hanh
Connection terminated. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Elizabeth. If you still even remember that name. But I'm afraid you've been misinformed. You are not here to receive a gift. Nor, have you been called here by the individual you assume. Although, you have indeed been called. You have all been called here. Into a labyrinth of sounds and smells, misdirection and misfortune. A labyrinth with no exit. A maze with no prize. You don't even realize that you are trapped. Your lust of blood has driven you in endless circles. Chasing the cries of children in some unseen chamber, always seeming so near. Yet somehow out of reach. But, you will never find them. None of you will. This is where your story ends. And to you, my brave volunteer, who somehow found this job listing not intended for you. Although, there was a way out planned for you, I have a feeling that's not what you want. I have a feeling that you are right where you want to be. I am remaining as well. I am nearby. This place will not be remembered and the memory of everything that started this, can finally begin to fade away. As the agony of every tragedy should. And to you monsters trapped in the corridors. Be still. And give up your spirits. They don't belong to you. As for most of you, I believe there is peace and perhaps, warm, waiting for you after the smoke clears. Although, for one of you, the darkest pit of Hell has opened to swallow you whole. So, don't keep the Devil waiting, friend. My daughter, if you can hear me, I knew you would return as well. It's in your nature to protect the innocent. I'm sorry that on that day, the day you were shut out and left to die, no one was there to lift you up in their arms, the way you lifted others into yours. And then, what became of you, I should have known, you wouldn't be content to disappear. Not my daughter. I couldn't save you then. So, let me save you now. It's time to rest, for you, and for those you have carried in your arms... This ends. For all of us. End communication.
Scott Cawthon
By not talking about death with our loved ones, not being clear through advanced directives, DNR (do not resuscitate) orders, and funeral plans, we are directly contributing to this future ... and a rather bleak present, at that. Rather than engage in larger societal discussions about dignified ways for the terminally ill to end their lives, we accept intolerable cases like that of Angelita, a widow in Oakland who covered her head with a plastic bag because the arthritic pain of her gnarled joints was too much to bear. Or that of Victor in Los Angeles, who hung himself from the rafters of his apartment after his third unsuccessful round of chemotherapy, leaving his son to discover his body. Or the countless bodies with decubitus ulcers, more painful for me to care for them even babies or suicides. When these bodies come into the funeral home, I can only offer my sympathy to their living relatives, and promise to work to ensure that more people are not robbed of a dignified death by a culture of silence.
Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory)
Bull Bear died instantly. His death was an unenviable example and an awful warning. And though it was generally felt that he had improved the world by taking leave of it, after the gun smoke cleared the Oglala elders once again found themselves trying to maintain a fragile peace between the Bad Faces and Kiyuska. In the end the fact that the Kiyuska remained the more numerous tribe swung the selection, and the council elected Bull Bear’s son, who was also named Bull Bear but now took the name Whirlwind, to succeed his father as Head Man.
Bob Drury (The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend)
I’m sorry,” I said turning to him. His clear hazel eyes met mine, and a tiny bit of humor flickered there. “You say that a lot.” Tugging at my Defense uniform (which was even uglier than I remembered; bright blue stretchy cotton was not a good look on anyone), I gave a little laugh. “Yeah, well, I feel it a lot.” Especially where you’re concerned, I wanted to add. Cal didn’t say anything to that, and after a moment, started walking toward the house. I waited a few seconds before following. There was so much I wanted to say to him, but I didn’t even know where to start. Cal, I think I love you, but I’m maybe not in love with you, even though kissing you was pretty boss was maybe one approach. Or: Cal, I love Archer, but my feelings for you are all confused because you are both awesome and smoking hot, and we’re already technically engaged to be married, which adds to the giant pot of boiling emotions and hormones I’ve become. Okay, maybe don’t say boiling… “You okay?” “Huh?” I blinked, surprised to see we’d come to the front of the house. Cal was standing with one foot on the bottom porch step, staring at me. “You have this weird look on your face,” he said. “Like you’re doing really complicated math in your head.” I couldn’t help a little snort of laughter. “I was, in a manner of speaking.” As I moved past him and into the house, I resolved to talk to Cal like a mature grown-up person. Eventually. For now, I gave him a little wave and ran away to my room.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
In the Amazon, the turn to swidden was unfortunate. Slash-and-burn cultivation has become one of the driving forces behind the loss of tropical forest. Although swidden does permit the forest to regrow, it is wildly inefficient and environmentally unsound. The burning sends up in smoke most of the nutrients in the vegetation—almost all of the nitrogen and half the phosphorus and potassium. At the same time, it pours huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, a factor in global warming. (Large cattle ranches are the major offenders in the Amazon, but small-scale farmers are responsible for up to a third of the clearing.) Fortunately, it is a relatively new practice, which means it has not yet had much time to cause damage. More important, the very existence of so much healthy forest after twelve thousand years of use by large populations suggests that whatever Indians did before swidden must have been ecologically more sustainable.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
After the cold gust of wind there was an absolute stillness of the air. The thunder-charged mass hung unbroken beyond the low, ink-black headland, darkening the twilight. By contrast, the sky at the zenith displayed pellucid clearness, the sheen of a delicate glass bubble which the merest movement of air might shatter. A little to the left, between the black masses of the headland and of the forest, the volcano, a feather of smoke by day and a cigar-glow at night, took its first fiery expanding breath of the evening. Above it a reddish star came out like an expelled spark from the fiery bosom of the earth, enchanted into permanency by the mysterious spell of frozen spaces.
Joseph Conrad (Victory)
It's easy for the reader from his quiet vantage point high above the melee whence his eye sweeps over the whole horizon and he can see everything that is happening below--but a man down there can only see the subject nearest him. In the same way, in the world chronicle of mankind, there seem to be many centuries that could be crossed out and expunged as useless. There have been many errors committed in the world which we would not expect a child to commit today. What tortuous, blind, impassable, devious paths has mankind trodden in its search for eternal truth, while all the time, right before it, lay the straight road leading to the glittering edifice destined to be the palace of the ruler. This road is the clearest and the most beautiful of all, flooded by sunlight during the day and brightly illuminated at night, but the human throng flows past it in darkness. And how many times, even when inspired by God-given good sense, have men still managed to step back and turn away from it; succeeded again and again in losing themselves in back alleys in broad daylight; succeeded again and again in filling each others eyes with blinding smoke and trudging wearily after a mirage; again and again succeeded in coming to the very brink of the precipice, then asking each other, horrified, in which direction the road can be found. The present generation see all this clearly and is surprised at the erring and blundering of its ancestors, laughs at their folly. So it's not for nothing that mankind's chronicle is scarred out by heavenly flames, that each letter in it cries out, and that from every page a piercing finger is pointed at the present generation. But today's generation just laughs, sure of its strength and full of pride, and it starts off along a path of new errors over which its decedents in turn will pour their scorn.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
Somewhere in the universe a star exploded or someone was born or they died or time passed while Regan stood there and missed him, while she mourned him, and then she thought with an equally quiet violence: Maybe I do not have to do it alone. By minute fifteen he was finally gone, turning abruptly and half-sprinting for the doors, and in his absence Regan emptied, watching all their alternate lives begin to wilt. She mourned them like her children, holding their lifeless corpses to her chest, and then she forgot them, slowly, each one vanishing without a trace, until she held nothing at all. Eventually she looked down at her empty hands and thought: Damn it. Damn it, I love him. Then, after the smoke cleared, she could see nothing else.
Olivie Blake (Alone With You in the Ether)
Alex was so confused, she shook her head. The others felt their sanity slipping from their brains just by being in proximity to the caterpillar. This is going great," Conner said with a massive eye roll. "This worm is clearly insane; let's find someone who can actually help us." "Let me handle this one, kids," Mother Goose said. "He's not crazy, the hookah is just making his brain sleepy. I might understand him if I get on his level." Mother Goose walked up to the caterpillar and had a bouncy seat on the mushroom beside him. "May I?" she asked, and gestured to the hookah. The caterpillar passed it to her and Mother Goose smoked it. After a few moments, her eyes became as glossy as his and she also spoke in complete nonsense. "Who are you?" Mother Goose asked the caterpillar. "What I am," he said. "Where are you?" she said. "Here with you," the caterpillar said. "And if this were the Castle of Hearts?" Mother Goose asked. "We'd be there," he said. "But where?" she asked. "In the castle," he said. "Ah, so there would be here,: she said, and they nodded together. "Here would be what's left." The caterpillar nodded. "Am I what's left?" she asked. "You're what's right, of course." "But what's right is wrong." "And what's left is right." "I understand completely," Mother Goose said. "Thank you so much, Mr. Caterpillar." The others stared at them absolutely dumbfounded. Mother Goose hopped down from the mushroom and moseyed back to them. :The caterpillar said to go back to the fork and take a left," she said. "He did?" Alex asked. "It's all about the keywords," Mother Goose said.
Chris Colfer (Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories, #4))
Sometime after midnight, another band of soldiers broke into the tiny chapel in the Imperial Park which had become Rasputin’s tomb and exhumed the coffin. They took it to a clearing in the forest, pried off the lid and, using sticks to avoid touching the putrefying corpse, lifted what remained of Rasputin onto a pile of pine logs. The body and logs were drenched with gasoline and set on fire. For more than six hours, the body burned while an icy wind howled through the clearing and clouds of pungent smoke rose from the pyre. Along with the soldiers, a group of peasants gathered, silent and afraid, to watch through the night as the final scene of this baleful drama was played. It had happened as Rasputin once predicted: he would be killed and his body not left in peace, but burned, with his ashes scattered to the winds.
Robert K. Massie (Nicholas and Alexandra)
After Frank came out, Amy would begin a performance at a gig by walking onstage, clapping and chanting, ‘Class-A drugs are for mugs. Class-A drugs are for mugs …’ She’d get the whole audience to join in until they’d all be clapping and chanting as she launched into her first number. Although Amy was smoking cannabis, she had always been totally against class-A drugs. Blake Fielder-Civil changed that. Amy first met him early in 2005 at the Good Mixer pub in Camden. None of Amy’s friends that I’ve spoken to over the years can remember exactly what led to this meeting. But after that encounter she talked about him a lot. ‘When am I going to meet him, darling?’ I asked. Amy was evasive, which was probably, I learned later, because Blake was in a relationship. Amy knew about this, so initially you could say that Amy was ‘the other woman’. And although she knew that he was seeing someone else, it was only about a month after they’d met that she had his name tattooed over her left breast. It was clear that she loved him – that they loved each other – but it was also clear that Blake had his problems. It was a stormy relationship from the start. A few weeks after they’d met, Blake told Amy that he’d finished with the other girl, and Amy, who never did anything by halves, was now fully obsessed with him.
Mitch Winehouse
Though small, the shrine has a long history. In 1333—the Third Year of the Genko era—Lord Takeshigé Kikuchi ascended to it in order to implore the divine favor before going into battle. Victory was his, and in gratitude he had the shrine rebuilt. According to tradition, he himself carved the Worship Image, reciting a triple prayer after each stroke. This represented the god as standing on the mountain peak with one hand raised, gazing at the armed host he had blessed. It was an image of victory. Now, however, the morning after the rising, early on the auspicious Ninth Day of the Ninth Month, the time of the Chrysanthemum Festival, there were gathered around the shrine forty-six hunted survivors of a defeated force. Some standing, some sitting, they stared blankly about them, though the penetrating autumn chill made their wounds sting. The clear light of the rising sun cast a striped pattern as it shone down through the branches of the few old cedars that surrounded the shrine. Birds were singing. The air was fresh and clear. As for signs of last night’s sanguinary combat, these were visible in the soiled and bloodstained garments, the haggard visages, and the eyes that burned like live embers. Among the forty-six were Unshiro Ishihara, Kageki Abé, Kisou Onimaru, Juro Furuta, Tsunetaro Kobayashi, the brothers Gitaro and Gigoro Tashiro, Tateki Ura, Mitsuo Noguchi, Mikao Kashima, and Kango Hayami. Every man was silent, sunk deep in thought, looking off at the sea, or at the mountains, or at the smoke still rising from Kumamoto. Such were the men of the League at rest on the slope of Kimpo, some with fingers yellowed from brushing the petals of wild chrysanthemums that they had plucked while staring across the water at Shimabara Peninsula.
Yukio Mishima (Runaway Horses (The Sea of Fertility, #2))
Early naturalists talked often about “deep time”—the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. But the perspective changes when history accelerates. What lies in store for us is more like what aboriginal Australians, talking with Victorian anthropologists, called “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage. You can find it already by watching footage of an iceberg collapsing into the sea—a feeling of history happening all at once. It is. The summer of 2017, in the Northern Hemisphere, brought unprecedented extreme weather: three major hurricanes arising in quick succession in the Atlantic; the epic “500,000-year” rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, dropping on Houston a million gallons of water for nearly every single person in the entire state of Texas; the wildfires of California, nine thousand of them burning through more than a million acres, and those in icy Greenland, ten times bigger than those in 2014; the floods of South Asia, clearing 45 million from their homes. Then the record-breaking summer of 2018 made 2017 seem positively idyllic. It brought an unheard-of global heat wave, with temperatures hitting 108 in Los Angeles, 122 in Pakistan, and 124 in Algeria. In the world’s oceans, six hurricanes and tropical storms appeared on the radars at once, including one, Typhoon Mangkhut, that hit the Philippines and then Hong Kong, killing nearly a hundred and wreaking a billion dollars in damages, and another, Hurricane Florence, which more than doubled the average annual rainfall in North Carolina, killing more than fifty and inflicting $17 billion worth of damage. There were wildfires in Sweden, all the way in the Arctic Circle, and across so much of the American West that half the continent was fighting through smoke, those fires ultimately burning close to 1.5 million acres. Parts of Yosemite National Park were closed, as were parts of Glacier National Park in Montana, where temperatures also topped 100. In 1850, the area had 150 glaciers; today, all but 26 are melted.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
And as it quickly became clear, there were not very many survivors to find. Only fourteen people were pulled out of the rubble alive, all within the first twenty-four hours of the collapse. About 50,000 people had been working in the buildings that day. Two thousand and sixteen died. Also among the dead: 343 firefighters and 60 police officers who were in or near the buildings when they collapsed. In the months after the attacks, it was hard to imagine that life would ever go back to normal. It never will for many people, like my friend who lost her brother; like the hundreds of firefighters who have serious health problems caused by the toxic smoke and dust they breathed at Ground Zero; like the thousands who managed to escape that day, but who saw the horrors up close. Today, while the horrors of that day still linger, the city itself is more vibrant than ever. People have done their best to move forward.
Lauren Tarshis (The Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived, #6))
Only two hundred enchanted wooden soldiers guarded the prisoners inside and they were no match for the thousands of Frenchmen invading the prison. The Grande Armée forced its way inside and the wooden soldiers were blown into pieces by volleys of rifle fire. After the wooden soldiers were completely obliterated and the smoke began to clear, General Marquis stepped inside the prison and had a look at his newest conquest. Pinocchio Prison was thirty stories high and open on the
Chris Colfer (A Grimm Warning (The Land of Stories, #3))
In roughly that same time period, while General George Armstrong Custer achieved world fame in failure and catastrophe, Mackenzie would become obscure in victory. But it was Mackenzie, not Custer, who would teach the rest of the army how to fight Indians. As he moved his men across the broken, stream-crossed country, past immense herds of buffalo and prairie-dog towns that stretched to the horizon, Colonel Mackenzie did not have a clear idea of what he was doing, where precisely he was going, or how to fight Plains Indians in their homelands. Neither did he have the faintest idea that he would be the one largely responsible for defeating the last of the hostile Indians. He was new to this sort of Indian fighting, and would make many mistakes in the coming weeks. He would learn from them. For now, Mackenzie was the instrument of retribution. He had been dispatched to kill Comanches in their Great Plains fastness because, six years after the end of the Civil War, the western frontier was an open and bleeding wound, a smoking ruin littered with corpses and charred chimneys, a place where anarchy and torture killings had replaced the rule of law, where Indians and especially Comanches raided at will. Victorious in war, unchallenged by foreign foes in North America for the first time in its history, the Union now found itself unable to deal with the handful of remaining Indian tribes that had not been destroyed, assimilated, or forced to retreat meekly onto reservations where they quickly learned the meaning of abject subjugation and starvation. The hostiles were all residents of the Great Plains; all were mounted, well armed, and driven now by a mixture of vengeance and political desperation. They were Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, and Western Sioux. For Mackenzie on the southern plains, Comanches were the obvious target: No tribe in the history of the Spanish, French, Mexican, Texan, and American occupations of this land had ever caused so much havoc and death. None was even a close second.
S.C. Gwynne (Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History)
It was clearly the Native American curse on the white man in action. After taking their land and converting everything that was holy and good into money, the white man became aged and foolish and then gambled all that money away at Native American casinos. The power of this magic was indisputable and in evidence all around me. Senior citizens chain smoked and dumped money into the machines, staring with eyes that only reacted to the prospect of making a buck from risk and self-destruction. Especially if this were enhanced by the notion of a fate that had their interests in mind in a way loosely connected to their Christian God who usually took their side in racial relations, if history were to be a judge.
Carl Veraha
You should really go inside now,” he said. Her glazed, unfocused stare was starting to clear, and the cranky look he was used to being levelled at him started to take shape. “And if I don’t?” “You want to fuck me on your doorstep?” he asked, his voice low and gravelly. “Call me tomorrow when you’re sober. I’ll be right over.” She jutted her chin defiantly—clearly pissed at him for trying to be the responsible one. “I won’t need you after I’ve spent all night with a couple of multi-speed toyfriends and a box of batteries.” Linc shoved his hands on his hips, pushing back unhelpful images of her naked and pleasuring herself with a hot pink cock. “Go inside,” he growled. Before he did something crazy like offering to watch.
Amy Andrews (Playing the Player (Sydney Smoke Rugby, #3))
On Not Finding You at Home Usually you appear at the front door when you hear my steps on the gravel, but today the door was closed, not a wisp of pale smoke from the chimney. I peered into a window but there was nothing but a table with a comb, some yellow flowers in a glass of water and dark shadows in the corners of the room. I stood for a while under the big tree and listened to the wind and the birds, your wind and your birds, your dark green woods beyong the clearing. This is not what it is like to be you, I realized after a few of your magnificent clouds flew over the rooftop. It is just me thinking about being you. And before I headed back down the hill, I walked in a circle around your house, making an invisible line which you would have to cross before dark.
Billy Collins (The Trouble With Poetry - And Other Poems)
A few Grik lunged at them, but the vast majority only wanted to get out of their way. These they left alone, conserving ammunition. It was a little disconcerting. They’d never seen so many “civilian” Grik before, and it was stunning how little fight they had in them. “What a buncha pansies!” Silva panted, still having trouble with the heavy, wretched air. Three Grik had nearly fallen over themselves trying to clear his path when he menaced them with the Thompson. Its barrel was still smoking after a long burst he fired down a congested alley where another column of warriors was struggling to get at them. Those that followed fired into the writhing mass as well, the heavy booming of their rifles much louder than the stutter of the Thompson. “Pansies!” Petey cawed. “Pansies! Ack! Goddamn!
Taylor Anderson (Deadly Shores (Destroyermen, #9))
the streets. So now everyone is afraid of it. Petr GINZ Today it’s clear to everyone who is a Jew and who’s an Aryan, because you’ll know Jews near and far by their black and yellow star. And Jews who are so demarcated must live according to the rules dictated: Always, after eight o’clock, be at home and click the lock; work only labouring with pick or hoe, and do not listen to the radio. You’re not allowed to own a mutt; barbers can’t give your hair a cut; a female Jew who once was rich can’t have a dog, even a bitch, she cannot send her kids to school must shop from three to five since that’s the rule. She can’t have bracelets, garlic, wine, or go to the theatre, out to dine; she can’t have cars or a gramophone, fur coats or skis or a telephone; she can’t eat onions, pork, or cheese, have instruments, or matrices; she cannot own a clarinet or keep a canary for a pet, rent bicycles or barometers, have woollen socks or warm sweaters. And especially the outcast Jew must give up all habits he knew: he can’t buy clothes, can’t buy a shoe, since dressing well is not his due; he can’t have poultry, shaving soap, or jam or anything to smoke; can’t get a license, buy some gin, read magazines, a news bulletin, buy sweets or a machine to sew; to fields or shops he cannot go even to buy a single pair of winter woollen underwear, or a sardine or a ripe pear. And if this list is not complete there’s more, so you should be discreet; don’t buy a thing; accept defeat. Walk everywhere you want to go in rain or sleet or hail or snow. Don’t leave your house, don’t push a pram, don’t take a bus or train or tram; you’re not allowed on a fast train; don’t hail a taxi, or complain; no matter how thirsty you are you must not enter any bar; the riverbank is not for you, or a museum or park or zoo or swimming pool or stadium or post office or department store, or church, casino, or cathedral or any public urinal. And you be careful not to use main streets, and keep off avenues! And if you want to breathe some air go to God’s garden and walk there among the graves in the cemetery because no park to you is free. And if you are a clever Jew you’ll close off bank accounts and you will give up other habits too like meeting Aryans you knew. He used to be allowed a swag, suitcase, rucksack, or carpetbag. Now he has lost even those rights but every Jew lowers his sights and follows all the rules he’s got and doesn’t care one little jot.
Petr Ginz (The Diary of Petr Ginz, 1941–1942)
In the Buddhist teachings on compassion there’s a practice called “one at the beginning, and one at the end.” When I wake up in the morning, I do this practice. I make an aspiration for the day. For example, I might say, “Today, may I acknowledge whenever I get hooked.” Or, “May I not speak or act out of anger.” I try not to make it too grandiose, as in, “Today, may I be completely free of all neurosis.” I begin with a clear intention, and then I go about the day with this in mind. In the evening, I review what happened. This is the part that can be so loaded for Western people. We have an unfortunate tendency to emphasize our failures. But when Dzigar Kongtrül teaches about this, he says that for him, when he sees that he has connected with his aspiration even once briefly during the whole day, he feels a sense of rejoicing. He also says that when he recognizes he lost it completely, he rejoices that he has the capacity to see that. This way of viewing ourselves has been very inspiring for me. He encourages us to ask what it is in us, after all, that sees that we lost it. Isn’t it our own wisdom, our own insight, our own natural intelligence? Can we just have the aspiration, then, to identify with the wisdom that acknowledges that we hurt someone’s feelings, or that we smoked when we said we wouldn’t? Can we have the aspiration to identify more and more with our ability to recognize what we’re doing instead of always identifying with our mistakes? This is the spirit of delighting in what we see rather than despairing in what we see. It’s the spirit of letting compassionate self-reflection build confidence rather than becoming a cause for depression. Being
Pema Chödrön (Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears)
There is a lesson to be drawn from Houston’s career as a populist leader. He would twice be elected president of the Republic of Texas, which his decisive victory had secured. After Texas entered the Union, on December 29, 1845, Houston became one of the first two U.S. senators from the state of Texas. He clearly envisioned the disaster that the proposed Southern Confederacy would inflict on the nation and on Texas: “I see my beloved South go down in the unequal contest, in a sea of blood and smoking ruin.” In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, he was elected governor as a Unionist, but the secessionists were more powerful. Houston’s faith in populism as a force for progress was shattered. “Are we ready to sell reality for a phantom?” Houston vainly asked, as propagandists and demagogues fanned the clamor for secession with deluded visions of victory. To those who demanded that he join the Confederacy, Houston responded, “I refuse to take this oath…I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her.” Houston was evicted as governor, and the bloodshed
Lawrence Wright (God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State)
Honest to God, I hadn’t meant to start a bar fight. “So. You’re the famous Jordan Amador.” The demon sitting in front of me looked like someone filled a pig bladder with rotten cottage cheese. He overflowed the bar stool with his gelatinous stomach, just barely contained by a white dress shirt and an oversized leather jacket. Acid-washed jeans clung to his stumpy legs and his boots were at least twice the size of mine. His beady black eyes started at my ankles and dragged upward, past my dark jeans, across my black turtleneck sweater, and over the grey duster around me that was two sizes too big. He finally met my gaze and snorted before continuing. “I was expecting something different. Certainly not a black girl. What’s with the name, girlie?” I shrugged. “My mother was a religious woman.” “Clearly,” the demon said, tucking a fat cigar in one corner of his mouth. He stood up and walked over to the pool table beside him where he and five of his lackeys had gathered. Each of them was over six feet tall and were all muscle where he was all fat. “I could start to examine the literary significance of your name, or I could ask what the hell you’re doing in my bar,” he said after knocking one of the balls into the left corner pocket. “Just here to ask a question, that’s all. I don’t want trouble.” Again, he snorted, but this time smoke shot from his nostrils, which made him look like an albino dragon. “My ass you don’t. This place is for fallen angels only, sweetheart. And we know your reputation.” I held up my hands in supplication. “Honest Abe. Just one question and I’m out of your hair forever.” My gaze lifted to the bald spot at the top of his head surrounded by peroxide blonde locks. “What’s left of it, anyway.” He glared at me. I smiled, batting my eyelashes. He tapped his fingers against the pool cue and then shrugged one shoulder. “Fine. What’s your question?” “Know anybody by the name of Matthias Gruber?” He didn’t even blink. “No.” “Ah. I see. Sorry to have wasted your time.” I turned around, walking back through the bar. I kept a quick, confident stride as I went, ignoring the whispers of the fallen angels in my wake. A couple called out to me, asking if I’d let them have a taste, but I didn’t spare them a glance. Instead, I headed to the ladies’ room. Thankfully, it was empty, so I whipped out my phone and dialed the first number in my Recent Call list. “Hey. He’s here. Yeah, I’m sure it’s him. They’re lousy liars when they’re drunk. Uh-huh. Okay, see you in five.” I hung up and let out a slow breath. Only a couple things left to do. I gathered my shoulder-length black hair into a high ponytail. I looped the loose curls around into a messy bun and made sure they wouldn’t tumble free if I shook my head too hard. I took the leather gloves in the pocket of my duster out and pulled them on. Then, I walked out of the bathroom and back to the front entrance. The coat-check girl gave me a second unfriendly look as I returned with my ticket stub to retrieve my things—three vials of holy water, a black rosary with the beads made of onyx and the cross made of wood, a Smith & Wesson .9mm Glock complete with a full magazine of blessed bullets and a silencer, and a worn out page of the Bible. I held out my hands for the items and she dropped them on the counter with an unapologetic, “Oops.” “Thanks,” I said with a roll of my eyes. I put the Glock back in the hip holster at my side and tucked the rest of the items in the pockets of my duster. The brunette demon crossed her arms under her hilariously oversized fake breasts and sent me a vicious sneer. “The door is that way, Seer. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.” I smiled back. “God bless you.” She let out an ugly hiss between her pearly white teeth. I blew her a kiss and walked out the door. The parking lot was packed outside now that it was half-past midnight. Demons thrived in darkness, so I wasn’t surprised. In fact, I’d been counting on it.
Kyoko M. (The Holy Dark (The Black Parade, #3))
I have cancer,” Agnes announced. She hadn’t been able to contain her rage after all. She didn’t expect it to come out that way—it just had. Her hands rose to the sides of her rib cage, a gesture left over from when there had been drains there. “You got the flowers we sent?” He’d been coming straight toward her but stopped, as if she’d announced a contagion. “Probably. Did I write a note?” He laughed. “Probably! How did this happen, though?” He shifted gears, stepped closer to her, looked her in the eye, and asked—intimately, wittily—“Have you been smoking, Cousin Nessie?” “Wouldn’t that be nice!” “Yes. I’d love to myself. I always say I’ll pick it up again at eighty. But you are eighty!” “And now I’m saying I’ll start at ninety.” “Oh, is that how it goes? I don’t know if I’ll last that long.” “That makes two of us.” His face crumpled. A little boy again. “Oh come on, Archie, if you can’t laugh at death, what can you laugh at?” She gave him a light punch on the arm. “I’ll be lucky to live to the age you are now,” he said awkwardly. “Yes. It is fortunate. Everything becomes very clear.” “But you still feel young, don’t you?” “Are you kidding? I feel old as the hills and twice as dusty, as my mother would say.” “You better come see the view immediately, in that case.” He hovered his hand under her elbow and moved her forward.
Alice Elliott Dark (Fellowship Point)
You said to step on the brake to put us into drive, then to step on the right one to-" "Not at the same time!" "Well, you should have told me that. How was I supposed to know?" I snort. "You acted like the freaking Dalai Lama when I tried to tell you how to shift gears. I told you, one was for go and one was for stop. You can't stop and go at the same time! You have to make up your mind." From the expression on her face, she's either about to punch me or call me something really bad. She opens her mouth, but the really bad something doesn't come out; she shuts it again. Then she giggles. Now I've seen everything. "Galen tells me that all the time," she chortles. "That I can never make up my mind." Then she bursts out laughing so hard she spits all over the steering wheel. She keeps laughing until I'm convinced an unknown force is tickling her senseless. What? As far as I can tell, her indecisiveness almost got us killed. Killed isn't funny. "You should have seen your face," she says, between gulps of breaths. "You were all, like-" And she makes the face of a drunk clown. "I bet you wet yourself, didn't you?" She cracks herself up so much she clutches her side as if she's holding in her own guts. I feel my lips fracture into a smile before I can stop them. "You were more scared than me. You swallowed like ten flies while you were screaming." She spits all over the steering wheel again. And I spew laughter onto the dash. It takes a good five minutes for us to sober up enough for another driving lesson. My throat is dry, and my eyes are wet when I say, "Okay, now. Let's concentrate. The sun is going down. These woods probably get pretty creepy at night." She clears her throat, still giggling a little. "Okay. Concentrate. Right." "So, this time, when you take your foot off the brake, the car will go on its own. There, see?" We slink along the road at an idle two miles per hour. She huffs up at her bangs. "This is boring. I want to go faster." I start to say, "Not too fast," but she squashes the gas under her foot, and my words are snatched away by the wind. She gives a startled shout, which I find hypocritical because after all, I'm the one helpless in the passenger seat, and she's the one screaming like a teapot, turning the wheel back and forth like the road isn't straight as a pencil. "Brake, brake, brake!" I shout, hoping repetition will somehow penetrate the small part of her brain that actually thinks. Everything happens fast. We stop. There's a crunching sound. My face slams into the dash. No wait, the dash becomes an airbag. Rayna's scream is cut off by her airbag. I open my eyes. A tree. A freaking tree. The metal frame groans, and something under the hood lets out a mechanical hiss. Smoke billows up from the front, the universal symbol for "you're screwed." I turn to the rustling sound beside me. Rayna is wrestling with the airbag like it has attacked her instead of saved her life. "What is this thing?" she wails, pushing it out of her way and opening the door. One Mississippi...two Mississippi... "Well, are you just going to sit there? We have a long walk home. You're not hurt are you? Because I can't carry you." Three Mississippi...four Mississippi... "What are those flashing blue lights down there?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
I want to decorate the castle with shells and seaweed,” Seraphina said. “You’ll make it look like a girl’s castle,” Justin protested. “Your hermit crab might be a girl,” Seraphina pointed out. Justin was clearly appalled by the suggestion. “He’s not! He’s not a girl!” Seeing his little cousin’s gathering outrage, Ivo intervened quickly. “That crab is definitely male, sis.” “How do you know?” Seraphina asked. “Because . . . well, he . . .” Ivo paused, fumbling for an explanation. “Because,” Pandora intervened, lowering her voice confidentially, “as we were planning the layout of the castle, the hermit crab discreetly asked me if we would include a smoking room. I was a bit shocked, as I thought he was rather young for such a vice, but it certainly leaves no doubt as to his masculinity.” Justin stared at her raptly. “What else did he say?” he demanded. “What is his name? Does he like his castle? And the moat?” Pandora launched into a detailed account of her conversation with the hermit crab, reporting that his name was Shelley, after the poet, whose works he admired. He was a well-traveled crustacean, having flown to distant lands while clinging to the pink leg of a herring gull who had no taste for shellfish, preferring hazelnuts and bread crumbs. One day, the herring gull, who possessed the transmigrated soul of an Elizabethan stage actor, had taken Shelley to see Hamlet at the Drury Lane theater. During the performance, they had alighted on the scenery and played the part of a castle gargoyle for the entire second act. Shelley had enjoyed the experience but had no wish to pursue a theatrical career, as the hot stage lights had nearly fricasseed him.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
He had been a timid child in New York City, cut off from schoolboy society by illness, wealth, and private tutors. Inspired by a leonine father, he had labored with weights to build up his strength. Simultaneously, he had built up his courage “by sheer dint of practicing fearlessness.” With every ounce of new muscle, with every point scored over pugilistic, romantic, and political rivals, his personal impetus (likened by many observers to that of a steam train) had accelerated. Experiences had flashed by him in such number that he was obviously destined to travel a larger landscape of life than were his fellows. He had been a published author at eighteen, a husband at twenty-two, an acclaimed historian and New York State Assemblyman at twenty-three, a father and a widower at twenty-five, a ranchman at twenty-six, a candidate for Mayor of New York at twenty-seven, a husband again at twenty-eight, a Civil Service Commissioner of the United States at thirty. By then he was producing book after book, and child after child, and cultivating every scientist, politician, artist, and intellectual of repute in Washington. His career had gathered further speed: Police Commissioner of New York City at thirty-six, Assistant Secretary of the Navy at thirty-eight, Colonel of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, the “Rough Riders,” at thirty-nine. At last, in Cuba, had come the consummating “crowded hour.” A rush, a roar, the sting of his own blood, a surge toward the sky, a smoking pistol in his hand, a soldier in light blue doubling up “neatly as a jackrabbit” … When the smoke cleared, he had found himself atop Kettle Hill on the Heights of San Juan, with a vanquished empire at his feet.
Edmund Morris (Theodore Rex)
She leaned over and the table and reached for the discarded dice, depositing them in a small leather dice box. As she straightened, she felt Sebastian's hand skim gently over her corseted back, and the hairs on her nape lifted in response. "The hour is late," he said, his tone far softer than the one he had used with Cam. "You should go to bed---you must be exhausted after all you've done today." "I haven't done all that much." She shrugged uneasily, and his hand made another slow, unnerving pass along her spine. "Oh yes, you have. You're pushing yourself a bit too hard, pet. You need to rest." She shook her head, finding it difficult to think clearly when he was touching her. "I've been glad of the chance to work a bit," she managed to say. "It keeps me from dwelling on...on..." "Yes, I know. That's why I've allowed it." His long fingers curved around the back of her neck. Her breath shortened as the warmth of his hand transferred to her skin. "You need to go to bed," he continued, his own breathing not quite steady as he eased her closer. His gaze drifted slowly from her face to the round outline of her breasts, and back again, and a low, humorless laugh escaped him. "And I need to go there with you, damn it. But since I can't... Come here." "Why?" she asked, even as he secured her against the edge of the table and let his legs intrude amid the folds of her skirts. "I want to torture you a little." Evie stared at him with round eyes, while her heart pumped liquid fire through her veins. "When you---" She had to clear her throat and try again. "When you use the word 'torture,' I'm sure you mean it in a figurative sense." He shook his head, his eyes filled with light smoke. "Literal, I'm afraid." "What?" "My love," he said gently, I hope you didn't assume that the next three months of suffering was to be one-sided? Put your hands on me." "Wh-where?" "Anywhere.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
Now, there are a few dryadologists who could resist the opportunity to sample faerie food, the enchanted sort served at the tables of the courtly fae---I know several who have dedicated their careers to the subject and would hand over their eye teeth for the opportunity. I stopped at a stand offering toasted cheese---a very strange sort of cheese, threaded with glittering mold. It smelled divine, and the faerie merchant rolled it in crushed nuts before handing it over on a stick, but as soon as it touched my palm, it began to melt. The merchant was watching me, so I put it in my mouth, pantomiming my delight. The cheese tasted like snow and melted within seconds. I stopped next at a stand equipped with a smoking hut. The faerie handed me a delicate fillet of fish, almost perfectly clear despite the smoking. I offered it to Shadow, but he only looked at me with incomprehension in his eyes. And, indeed, when I popped it into my mouth, it too melted flavorlessly against my tongue. I took a wandering course to the lakeshore, conscious of the need to avoid suspicion. I paused at the wine merchant, who had the largest stand. It was brighter than the others, snow piled up behind it in a wall that caught the lantern light and threw it back in a blinding glitter. I had to look down at my feet, blinking back tears, as one of the Folk pressed an ice-glass into my hand. Like the food, the wine smelled lovely, of sugared apples and cloves, but it slid eerily within the ice, more like oil than wine. Shadow kept growling at it, as he had not with the faerie food, and so I tipped it onto the snow. Beside the wine merchant was a stand offering trinkets, frozen wildflowers that many of the Folk threaded through their hair or wove through unused buttonholes on their cloaks, as well as an array of jewels with pins in them. I could not compare them to any jewels I knew; they were mostly in shades of white and winter grey, hundreds of them, each impossibly different from the next. I selected one that I knew, without understanding how, was the precise color of the icicles that hung from the stone ledges of the Cambridge libraries in winter. But moments after I pinned it to my breast, all that remained was a patch of damp.
Heather Fawcett (Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde, #1))
As I tried various restaurants, certain preconceptions came crashing down. I realized not all Japanese food consisted of carefully carved vegetables, sliced fish, and clear soups served on black lacquerware in a highly restrained manner. Tasting okonomiyaki (literally, "cook what you like"), for example, revealed one way the Japanese let their chopsticks fly. Often called "Japanese pizza," okonomiyaki more resembles a pancake filled with chopped vegetables and your choice of meat, chicken, or seafood. The dish evolved in Osaka after World War II, as a thrifty way to cobble together a meal from table scraps. A college classmate living in Kyoto took me to my first okonomiyaki restaurant where, in a casual room swirling with conversation and aromatic smoke, we ordered chicken-shrimp okonomiyaki. A waitress oiled the small griddle in the center of our table, then set down a pitcher filled with a mixture of flour, egg, and grated Japanese mountain yam made all lumpy with chopped cabbage, carrots, scallions, bean sprouts, shrimp, and bits of chicken. When a drip of green tea skated across the surface of the hot meal, we poured out a huge gob of batter. It sputtered and heaved. With a metal spatula and chopsticks, we pushed and nagged the massive pancake until it became firm and golden on both sides. Our Japanese neighbors were doing the same. After cutting the doughy disc into wedges, we buried our portions under a mass of mayonnaise, juicy strands of red pickled ginger, green seaweed powder, smoky fish flakes, and a sweet Worcestershire-flavored sauce. The pancake was crispy on the outside, soft and savory inside- the epitome of Japanese comfort food. Another day, one of Bob's roommates, Theresa, took me to a donburi restaurant, as ubiquitous in Japan as McDonald's are in America. Named after the bowl in which the dish is served, donburi consists of sticky white rice smothered with your choice of meat, vegetables, and other goodies. Theresa recommended the oyako, or "parent and child," donburi, a medley of soft nuggets of chicken and feathery cooked egg heaped over rice, along with chopped scallions and a rich sweet bouillon. Scrumptious, healthy, and prepared in a flash, it redefined the meaning of fast food.
Victoria Abbott Riccardi (Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto)
Look back at history. Look at any great system of ethics, from the Orient up. Didn't they all preach the sacrifice of personal joy? Under all the complications of verbiage, haven't they all had a single leitmotif: sacrifice, renunciation, self-denial? Haven't you been able to catch their theme song — 'Give up, give up, give up, give up'? Look at the moral atmosphere of today. Everything enjoyable, from cigarettes to sex to ambition to the profit motive, is considered depraved or sinful. Just prove that a thing makes men happy — and you've damned it. That's how far we've come. We've tied happiness to guilt. And we've got mankind by the throat. Throw your first-born into a sacrificial furnace — lie on a bed of nails — go into the desert to mortify the flesh — don't dance — don't go to the movies on Sunday — don't try to get rich — don't smoke — don't drink. It's all the same line. The great line. Fools think that taboos of this nature are just nonsense. Something left over, old-fashioned. But there's always a purpose in nonsense. Don't bother to examine a folly — ask yourself only what it accomplishes. Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power and ruled millions of men. Of course, you must dress it up. You must tell people that they'll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don't have to be too clear about it. Use big vague words. 'Universal Harmony' — 'Eternal Spirit' — 'Divine Purpose' — 'Nirvana' — 'Paradise' — 'Racial Supremacy' — 'The Dictatorship of the Proletariat.' Internal corruption, Peter. That's the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it. Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice — run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there's someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master. But if ever you hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it's your natural right, that your first duty is to yourself — that will be the man who's not after your soul. That will be the man who has nothing to gain from you. But let him come and you'll scream your empty heads off, howling that he's a selfish monster. So the racket is safe for many, many centuries.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
And she knew her defiance in escaping his grasp, even temporarily, had shown Jasu the depth of her strength. In the months afterward, though he behaved awkwardly, he had allowed her the time and space she needed. It was the first genuine show of respect he had made toward her in their four years of marriage. Jasu’s parents made no such concession, their latent disappointment growing into relentless criticism of her for failing to bear a son.Kavita walks outside and spreads her mat on the rough stone steps, where she sits facing the rising sun in the east She lights the small ghee-soaked diya and thin stick of incense, and then closes her eyes in prayer. The wisp of fragrant smoke slowly circles its way up into the air and around her. She breathes deeply and thinks, as always, of the baby girls she has lost. She rings the small silver bell and chants softly. She sees their faces and their small bodies, she hears their cries and feels their tiny fingers wrap around hers. And always, she hears the sound of Usha’s desperate cry echoing behind the closed doors of the orphanage. She allows herself to get lost in the depths of her grief. After she has chanted and sung and wept for some time, she tries to envision the babies at peace, wherever they are. She pictures Usha as a little girl, her hair wound in two braids, each tied with a white ribbon. The image of the girl in her mind is perfectly clear: smiling, running, and playing with children, eating her meals and sleeping alongside the others in the orphanage.Every morning, Kavita sits in the same place outside her home with her eyes closed until the stormy feelings peak and then, very gradually, subside. She waits until she can breathe evenly again. By the time she opens her eyes, her face is wet and the incense has burned down to a small pile of soft ash. The sun is a glowing orange ball on the horizon, and the villagers are beginning to stir around her. She always ends her puja by touching her lips to the one remaining silver bangle on her wrist, reconciling herself to the only thing she has left of her daughters. These daily rituals have brought her comfort and, over time, some healing. She can carry herself through the rest of the day with these peaceful images of Usha in her mind. Each day becomes more bearable. As days turn to weeks, and weeks to months, Kavita feels her bitterness toward Jasu soften. After several months, she allows him to touch her and then, to reach for her at night.
Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Secret Daughter)
But that is a lie! Here we have been breaking our backs for years at All-Union hard labor. Here in slow annual spirals we have been climbing up to an understanding of life—and from this height it can all be seen so clearly: It is not the result that counts! It is not the result—but the spirit! Not what—but how. Not what has been attained—but at what price. And so it is with us the prisoners—if it is the result which counts, then it is also true that one must survive at any price. And what that means is: One must become a stool pigeon, betray one’s comrades. And thereby get oneself set up comfortably. And perhaps even get time off sentence. In the light of the Infallible Teaching there is, evidently, nothing reprehensible in this. After all, if one does that, then the result will be in our favor, and the result is what counts. No one is going to argue. It is pleasant to win. But not at the price of losing one’s human countenance. If it is the result which counts—you must strain every nerve and sinew to avoid general work. You must bend down, be servile, act meanly—yet hang on to your position as a trusty. And by this means . . . survive. If it is the essence that counts, then the time has come to reconcile yourself to general work. To tatters. To torn skin on the hands. To a piece of bread which is smaller and worse. And perhaps . . . to death. But while you’re alive, you drag your way along proudly with an aching back. And that is when—when you have ceased to be afraid of threats and are not chasing after rewards—you become the most dangerous character in the owllike view of the bosses. Because . . . what hold do they have on you? You even begin to like carrying hand barrows with rubbish (yes, but not with stone!) and discussing with your work mate how the movies influence literature. You begin to like sitting down on the empty cement mixing trough and lighting up a smoke next to your bricklaying. And you are actually and simply proud if, when the foreman passes you, he squints at your courses, checks their alignment with the rest of the wall, and says: “Did you lay that? Good line.” You need that wall like you need a hole in the head, nor do you believe it is going to bring closer the happy future of the people, but, pitiful tattered slave that you are, you smile at this creation of your own hands. The Anarchist’s daughter, Galya Venediktova, worked as a nurse in the Medical Section, but when she saw that what went on there was not healing but only the business of getting fixed up in a good spot—out of stubbornness she left and went off to general work, taking up a spade and a sledge hammer. And she says that this saved her spiritually. For a good person even a crust is healthy food, and to an evil person even meat brings no benefit.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
Sky's The Limit" [Intro] Good evening ladies and gentlemen How's everybody doing tonight I'd like to welcome to the stage, the lyrically acclaimed I like this young man because when he came out He came out with the phrase, he went from ashy to classy I like that So everybody in the house, give a warm round of applause For the Notorious B.I.G The Notorious B.I.G., ladies and gentlemen give it up for him y'all [Verse 1] A nigga never been as broke as me - I like that When I was young I had two pair of Lees, besides that The pin stripes and the gray The one I wore on Mondays and Wednesdays While niggas flirt I'm sewing tigers on my shirts, and alligators You want to see the inside, I see you later Here comes the drama, oh, that's that nigga with the fake, blaow Why you punch me in my face, stay in your place Play your position, here come my intuition Go in this nigga pocket, rob him while his friends watching And hoes clocking, here comes respect His crew's your crew or they might be next Look at they man eye, big man, they never try So we rolled with them, stole with them I mean loyalty, niggas bought me milks at lunch The milks was chocolate, the cookies, butter crunch 88 Oshkosh and blue and white dunks, pass the blunts [Hook: 112] Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on Just keep on pressing on Sky is the limit and you know that you can have What you want, be what you want Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on Just keep on pressing on Sky is the limit and you know that you can have What you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want [Verse 2] I was a shame, my crew was lame I had enough heart for most of them Long as I got stuff from most of them It's on, even when I was wrong I got my point across They depicted me the boss, of course My orange box-cutter make the world go round Plus I'm fucking bitches ain't my homegirls now Start stacking, dabbled in crack, gun packing Nickname Medina make the seniors tote my Niñas From gym class, to English pass off a global The only nigga with a mobile can't you see like Total Getting larger in waists and tastes Ain't no telling where this felon is heading, just in case Keep a shell at the tip of your melon, clear the space Your brain was a terrible thing to waste 88 on gates, snatch initial name plates Smoking spliffs with niggas, real-life beginner killers Praying God forgive us for being sinners, help us out [Hook] [Verse 3] After realizing, to master enterprising I ain't have to be in school by ten, I then Began to encounter with my counterparts On how to burn the block apart, break it down into sections Drugs by the selections Some use pipes, others use injections Syringe sold separately Frank the Deputy Quick to grab my Smith & Wesson like my dick was missing To protect my position, my corner, my lair While we out here, say the Hustlers Prayer If the game shakes me or breaks me I hope it makes me a better man Take a better stand Put money in my mom's hand Get my daughter this college grant so she don't need no man Stay far from timid Only make moves when your heart's in it And live the phrase sky's the limit Motherfuckers See you chumps on top [Hook]
The Notorious B.I.G
‌* When the coughing stopped, there was nothing but the nothingness of life moving on with a shuffle, or a near-silent twitch. ‌* Mistakes, mistakes, it’s all I seem capable of at times ‌*No matter how many times she was told that she was loved, there was no recognition that the proof was in the abandonment. ‌*It’s much easier, she realized, to be on the verge of something than to actually be it ‌*When death captures me,” the boy vowed, “he will feel my fist on his face.”. ‌*he’d turned for one last look at his family as he left the apartment. Perhaps then the guilt would not have been so heavy. No final goodbye. No final grip of the eyes. Nothing but goneness. ‌ *Wrecked, but somehow not torn into pieces. ‌*Life had altered in the wildest possible way, but it was imperative that they act as if nothing at all had happened. ‌*“If we gamble on a Jew,” said Papa soon after, “I would prefer to gamble on a live one,” and from that moment, a new routine was born. *‌you should know it yourself—a young man is still a boy, and a boy sometimes has the right to be stubborn.” ‌*The fire was nothing now but a funeral of smoke, dead and dying, simultaneously. ‌*Even death has a heart.. ‌* In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief’s kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them. ‌*There is death. Making his way through all of it. On the surface: unflappable, unwavering. Below: unnerved, untied, and undone. *‌That damn snowman,” she whispered. “I bet it started with the snowman—fooling around with ice and snow in the cold down there.” Papa was more philosophical. “Rosa, it started with Adolf.” *‌There were broken bodies and dead, sweet hearts. Still, it was better than the gas ‌*They were French, they were Jews, and they were you. ‌*Sometimes she sat against the wall, longing for the warm finger of paint to wander just once more down the side of her nose, or to watch the sandpaper texture of her papa’s hands. If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread out on top of it. *‌Himmel Street was a trail of people, and again, Papa left his accordion. Rosa reminded him to take it, but he refused. “I didn’t take it last time,” he explained, “and we lived.” War clearly blurred the distinction between logic and superstition. ‌*Silence was not quiet or calm, and it was not peace. ‌*“I should have known not to give the man some bread. I just didn’t think.” “Papa, you did nothing wrong.” “I don’t believe you. ‌ * I’m an idiot.” No, Papa. You’re just a man.. ‌*What someone says and what happened are usually two different things ‌* despised by his homeland, even though he was born in it ‌ *“Of course I told him about you,” Liesel said. She was saying goodbye and she didn’t even know it. ‌*Say something enough times and you never forget it ‌*robbery of his life? ‌*Those kinds of souls always do—the best ones. The ones who rise up and say, “I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.” Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places ‌*One could not exist without the other, because for Liesel, both were home. Yes, that’s what Hans Hubermann was for Liesel Meminger ‌*DEATH AND LIESEL It has been many years since all of that, but there is still plenty of work to do. I can promise you that the world is a factory. The sun stirs it, the humans rule it. And I remain. I carry them away.
Markus Zusak (THE BOOK THIEF)
Fisher called the cast “trick talking-meat.” She and Ford smoked pot during the shoot, until it became clear that Ford’s weed was too strong for Fisher. They had a clandestine affair after Ford surprised her by hiding in her closet naked but for a tie.
Chris Taylor (How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise)
Another example of how a metaphor can create new meaning for us came about by accident. An Iranian student, shortly after his arrival in Berkeley, took a seminar on metaphor from one of us. Among the wondrous things that he found in Berkeley was an expression that he heard over and over and understood as a beautifully sane metaphor. The expression was “the solution of my problems”—which he took to be a large volume of liquid, bubbling and smoking, containing all of your problems, either dissolved or in the form of precipitates, with catalysts constantly dissolving some problems (for the time being) and precipitating out others. He was terribly disillusioned to find that the residents of Berkeley had no such chemical metaphor in mind. And well he might be, for the chemical metaphor is both beautiful and insightful. It gives us a view of problems as things that never disappear utterly and that cannot be solved once and for all. All of your problems are always present, only they may be dissolved and in solution, or they may be in solid form. The best you can hope for is to find a catalyst that will make one problem dissolve without making another one precipitate out. And since you do not have complete control over what goes into the solution, you are constantly finding old and new problems precipitating out and present problems dissolving, partly because of your efforts and partly despite anything you do. The CHEMICAL metaphor gives us a new view of human problems. It is appropriate to the experience of finding that problems which we once thought were “solved” turn up again and again. The CHEMICAL metaphor says that problems are not the kind of things that can be made to disappear forever. To treat them as things that can be “solved” once and for all is pointless. To live by the CHEMICAL metaphor would be to accept it as a fact that no problem ever disappears forever. Rather than direct your energies toward solving your problems once and for all, you would direct your energies toward finding out what catalysts will dissolve your most pressing problems for the longest time without precipitating out worse ones. The reappearance of a problem is viewed as a natural occurrence rather than a failure on your part to find “the right way to solve it.” To live by the CHEMICAL metaphor would mean that your problems have a different kind of reality for you. A temporary solution would be an accomplishment rather than a failure. Problems would be part of the natural order of things rather than disorders to be “cured.” The way you would understand your everyday life and the way you would act in it would be different if you lived by the CHEMCAL metaphor. We see this as a clear case of the power of metaphor to create a reality rather than simply to give us a way of conceptualizing a preexisting reality.
George Lakoff (Metaphors We Live By)
A dead run and he began to be afraid because she had to start in the next three or it was no go, after twenty-six days, no go. Risk the next cartridge on clearing the pots—she was too rich, stank of the stuff. Mixture weak, switches off, throttle wide open and risk it. Five. Steady and no kick, a clearer, with black-and-blue muck curling out of the pipe; he shivered in the heat with two to go and the fear of Christ in him. Six. A spinner and she kicked, banging on the gears with the air frame shaking, blue smoke curling, clearing—orange flame and the big prop spinning at a run and settling, putting out a roar from the pipe that drowned the sound of the sobbing in his throat as he eased the revs up and sat like a sack listening to the cylinders beating, hunting, one of them choked still but picking up—then she was running with a will and in the long sweet sound he heard another, faintly, and turned his head and saw them standing there with their mouths open, cheering.
Elleston Trevor (The Flight of the Phoenix)
In the words of Paul Johnson: The Temple, now, in Herod’s1 version, rising triumphantly over Jerusalem, was an ocular reminder that Judaism was about Jews and their history—not about anyone else. Other gods flew across the deserts from the East without much difficulty, jettisoning the inconvenient and embarrassing accretions from their past, changing, as it were, their accents and manners as well as their names. But the God of the Jews was still alive and roaring in his Temple, demanding blood, making no attempt to conceal his racial and primitive origins. Herod’s fabric was elegant, modern, sophisticated—he had, indeed, added some Hellenic decorative effects much resented by fundamentalist Jews who constantly sought to destroy them—but nothing could hide the essential business of the Temple, which was the ritual slaughter, consumption, and combustion of sacrificial cattle on a gigantic scale. The place was as vast as a small city. There were literally thousands of priests, attendants, temple-soldiers, and minions. To the unprepared visitor, the dignity and charity of Jewish disapora life, the thoughtful comments and homilies of the Alexandrian synagogue, was quite lost amid the smoke of the pyres, the bellows of terrified beasts, the sluices of blood, the abattoir stench, the unconcealed and unconcealable machinery of tribal religion inflated by modern wealth to an industrial scale. Sophisticated Romans who knew the Judaism of the diaspora found it hard to understand the hostility towards Jews shown by colonial officials who, behind a heavily-armed escort, had witnessed Jerusalem at festival time. Diaspora Judaism, liberal and outward-minded, contained the matrix of a universal religion, but only if it could be cut off from its barbarous origins; and how could so thick and sinewy an umbilical cord be severed? This description of “Herod’s” Temple (actually the Second Temple, built in the sixth century B.C. and rebuilt by Herod) is more than a bit overwrought. The God of the Jews did not roar in his Temple: the insoluble problem was that, since the destruction of the First Temple and, with it, the Ark of the Covenant, God had ceased to be present in his Temple. Nor would animal sacrifice have disgusted the gentiles, since Greeks, Romans, and all ancient peoples offered such sacrifices (though one cannot help wondering whether, had the Second Temple not been destroyed, it would today be ringed from morn to night by indignant animal-rights activists). But Johnson is right to emphasize that Judaism, in its mother city, could display a sweaty tribalism that gentiles would only find unattractive. The partisan, argumentative ambience of first-century Jerusalem, not unlike the atmosphere of the ultra-Orthodox pockets of the contemporary city, could repel any outsider, whether gentile or diaspora Jew. Perhaps most important is Johnson’s shrewd observation that Judaism “contained the matrix of a universal religion.” By this time, the more percipient inhabitants of the Greco-Roman world had come to the conclusion that polytheism, whatever manifestation it might assume, was seriously flawed. The Jews alone, by offering monotheism, offered a unitive vision, not the contradictory and flickering epiphanies of a fanciful pantheon of gods and goddesses. But could Judaism adapt to gentile needs, could it lose its foreign accent and outlandish manners? No one saw the opportunity more clearly than Luke; his gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, present a Jesus and a Jesus Movement specifically tailored to gentile sensibility.
Thomas Cahill (Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before & After Jesus)
The 2011 Bar-B-Que cookoff in Houston came to an abrupt halt after one of the grillers, 51-year-old Mike Hamby, threw a canister of tear gas into a rival team’s tent. The noxious fumes quickly spread to other tents. Dozens of people were sickened, and the contest was postponed. It’s unclear why Hamby threw the canister, but apparently there was a “disagreement.” After the smoke cleared, he was taken into custody…and later fired from his job as an officer with the Houston Police Department.
Bathroom Readers' Institute (Uncle John's Fully Loaded 25th Anniversary Bathroom Reader (Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, #25))
She knew why she had Gerry on her mind, why she was spotting his likeness in the faces of strange little boys. They'd been close once, the pair of them, but things had changed when he was seventeen. He'd come to stay with Laurel in London on his way up to Cambridge (a full scholarship, as Laurel told everyone she knew, sometimes those she didn't), and they'd had fun- they always did. A daytime session of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and then dinner from the curry house down the road. Later, riding a delectable tikka masala high, the two of them had climbed out through the bathroom window, dragging pillows and a blanket after them, and shared a joint on Laurel's roof. The night was especially clear- stars, more stars than usual, surely?- and down on the street, the distant easy warmth of other people's revelry. Smoking made Gerry unusually garrulous, which was fine with Laurel because it made her wondrous. He'd been trying to explain the origins of everything, pointing to star clusters and galaxies and making explosion gestures with his delicate, febrile hands, and Laurel had been squinting and making the stars blur and bend, letting his words run together like water. She'd been lost in a current of nebulas and penumbras and supernovas and hadn't realized his monologue was ended until she heard him say, "Lol," in that pointed way people have when they've already said the word more than once.
Kate Morton (The Secret Keeper)
habit Phil Ivey is one of those guys who can easily admit when he could have done better. Ivey is one of the world’s best poker players, a player almost universally admired by other professional poker players for his exceptional skill and confidence in his game. Starting in his early twenties, he built a reputation as a top cash-game player, a top tournament player, a top heads-up player, a top mixed-game player—a top player in every form and format of poker. In a profession where, as I’ve explained, most people are awash in self-serving bias, Phil Ivey is an exception. In 2004, my brother provided televised final-table commentary for a tournament in which Phil Ivey smoked a star-studded final table. After his win, the two of them went to a restaurant for dinner, during which Ivey deconstructed every potential playing error he thought he might have made on the way to victory, asking my brother’s opinion about each strategic decision. A more run-of-the-mill player might have spent the time talking about how great they played, relishing the victory. Not Ivey. For him, the opportunity to learn from his mistakes was much more important than treating that dinner as a self-satisfying celebration. He earned a half-million dollars and won a lengthy poker tournament over world-class competition, but all he wanted to do was discuss with a fellow pro where he might have made better decisions. I heard an identical story secondhand about Ivey at another otherwise celebratory dinner following one of his now ten World Series of Poker victories. Again, from what I understand, he spent the evening discussing in intricate detail with some other pros the points in hands where he could have made better decisions. Phil Ivey, clearly, has different habits than most poker players—and most people in any endeavor—in how he fields his outcomes.
Annie Duke (Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts)
Your mind itself turns into a still more subtle, vividly black state; nothing else appears. This is called “near-attainment” because you are close to manifesting the mind of clear light. The mind of black vastness is like a moonless, very dark sky just after dusk when no stars are seen. In the beginning of this phase you are aware, but then you lose awareness as you slip into even thicker darkness. 8. When the mind of black appearance ceases, your mind itself turns into the fully aware mind of clear light. Called the fundamental innate mind of clear light, this is the most subtle, profound, and powerful level of consciousness. It is like the sky’s natural state at dawn (not sunrise)—without moonlight, sunlight, or darkness. The passage through to the mind of clear light can be fast or slow. Some people remain in the final stage, the mind of clear light of death, for only several minutes; others stay for as long as a week or two. Since the mind of clear light is so powerful, it is valuable to practice, so many Tibetan practitioners rehearse these stages of dying on a daily basis. I myself practice them six times daily by imagining the eight levels of mind one by one (without, of course, the physical changes in the first four stages). The eight levels of mind are: 1. mirage 2. smoke 3. fireflies 4. flame of a candle 5. vivid white sky-mind 6. vivid red or orange sky-mind 7. vivid black sky-mind 8. clear light
Dalai Lama XIV (How To Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life)
Dear Christopher, This is the perfume of March: rain, loam, feathers, mint. Every morning and afternoon I drink fresh mint tea sweetened with honey. I’ve done a great deal of walking lately. I seem to think better outdoors. Last night was remarkably clear. I looked up at the sky to find the Argo. I’m terrible at constellations. I can never make out any of them except for Orion and his belt. But the longer I stared, the more the sky seemed like an ocean, and then I saw an entire fleet of ships made of stars. A flotilla was anchored at the moon, while others were casting off. I imagined we were on one of those ships, sailing on moonlight. In truth, I find the ocean unnerving. Too vast. I must prefer the forests around Stony Cross. They’re always fascinating, and full of commonplace miracles…spiderwebs glittering with rain, new trees growing from the trunks of fallen oaks. I wish you could see them with me. And together we would listen to the wind rushing through the leaves overhead, a lovely swooshy melody…tree music! As I sit here writing to you, I have propped my stocking feet much too close to the hearth. I’ve actually singed my stockings on occasion, and once I had to stomp out my feet when they started smoking. Even after that, I still can’t seem to rid myself of the habit. There, now you could pick me out of a crowd blindfolded. Simply follow the scent of scorched stockings. Enclosed is a robin’s feather that I found during my walk this morning. It’s for luck. Keep it in your pocket. Just now I had the oddest feeling while writing this letter, as if you were standing in the room with me. As if my pen had become a magic wand, and I had conjured you right here. If I wish hard enough… Dearest Prudence, I have the robin’s feather in my pocket. How did you know I needed token to carry into battle? For the past two weeks I’ve been in a rifle pit, sniping back and forth with the Russians. It’s no longer a cavalry war, it’s all engineers and artillery. Albert stayed in the trench with me, only going out to carry messages up and down the line. During the lulls, I try to imagine being in some other place. I imagine you with your feet propped near the hearth, and your breath sweet with mint tea. I imagine walking through the Stony Cross forests with you. I would love to see some commonplace miracles, but I don’t think I could find them without you. I need your help, Pru. I think you might be my only chance of becoming part of the world again. I feel as if I have more memories of you than I actually do. I was with you on only a handful of occasions. A dance. A conversation. A kiss. I wish I could relive those moments. I would appreciate them more. I would appreciate everything more. Last night I dreamed of you again. I couldn’t see your face, but I felt you near me. You were whispering to me. The last time I held you, I didn’t know who you truly were. Or who I was, for that matter. We never looked beneath the surface. Perhaps it’s better we didn’t--I don’t think I could have left you, had I felt for you then what I do now. I’ll tell you what I’m fighting for. Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It’s all come down to the hope of being with you.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
ON A WARM, drowsy afternoon in early September, Ed Murrow, Vincent Sheean, and Ben Robertson, a correspondent for the New York newspaper PM, stopped at the edge of a field several miles south of London. The three had spent the day driving down the Thames estuary in Murrow’s Talbot Sunbeam roadster, enjoying the sun and looking for dogfights between Spitfires and Messerschmitts. Their search had been fruitless, and they stopped to buy apples from a farmer. Stretching out on the field to eat them, they drowsily listened to the chirp of crickets and buzzing of bees. The war seemed very far away. Within minutes, however, it returned with a vengeance. Hearing the harsh throb of aircraft engines, the Americans looked up at a sky filled with wave after wave of swastika-emblazoned bombers that clearly were not heading for their targets of previous days—the coastal defenses and RAF bases of southern England. Following the curve of the Thames, they were aimed straight at London. In minutes the sky over the capital was suffused with a fiery red glow; black smoke billowed up into a vast cloud that blanketed much of the horizon. When shrapnel from antiaircraft guns rained down around the American reporters, they dived into a nearby ditch, where, stunned, they watched the seemingly endless procession of enemy aircraft flying north. “London is burning. London is burning,” Robertson kept repeating. Returning to the city, they found flames sweeping through the East End, consuming dockyards, oil tanks, factories, overcrowded tenements, and everything else in their path. Hundreds of people had been killed, thousands injured or driven from their homes. Under a blood-red moon, women pushed prams piled high with their salvaged belongings. That horrific evening marked the beginning of the Blitz: from September 7 on, London would endure fifty-seven straight nights of relentless bombing. Until then, no other city in history had ever been subjected to such an onslaught. Warsaw and Rotterdam had been heavily bombed by the Germans early in the war, but not for the length of time of the assault on London. Although
Lynne Olson (Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour)
The child bounded onto the bed, landing on all fours, her round face wreathed in a smile. “Hein nei nan-ne-i-cut?” “What is your name?” Hunter translated, tousling the imp’s hair as he hunkered beside the bed. “Loh-rhett-ah, eh? Tohobt Nabituh, Blue Eyes.” To Loretta, he said, “Warrior’s daughter, To-oh Hoos-cho, Blackbird.” Blackbird giggled and glanced at her grandmother, who stood watching from across the room. “Loh-rhett-ah!” Loretta scooted toward the head of the bed to press her back against the taut leather wall. The little girl followed, reaching out with a small brown hand to lightly touch the flounces on Loretta’s bloomers. Loretta stared at her. At last, a Comanche she didn’t detest on sight. She was tempted to grab hold of her and never let go. Loretta guessed her to be about three years old, possibly four. While Blackbird satisfied her curiosity about Loretta and examined her form head to toe, Hunter carried on an unintelligible conversation with his mother. From the gestures he made, Loretta guessed he was relating that his captive refused to eat or drink and that her voice had returned. A look of concern flashed across the older woman’s dark face. Hunter rose and thumped the heel of his hand against his forehead, rolling his eyes toward the smoke hole above the firepit. “Ai-ee!” Woman with Many Robes crossed the packed grass-and-dirt floor and leaned forward to peer at Loretta. After babbling shrilly for several seconds, all the while waving her spoon, she crooned, “Nei mi-pe mah-tao-yo,” and placed a gentle hand on Loretta’s hair. “My mother says the poor little one must have no fear.” Woman with Many Robes cast her son a suspicious glance. When it became apparent that he planned to say no more, she brandished her spoon at him. With great reluctance he cleared his throat, eyed the people crowding the doorway, and said, in a very low voice, “You will have no fear of me, eh? If I lift my hand against you, I will be a caum-mom-se, a bald head, and she will thump me with her spoon.” He hesitated and looked as if he found it difficult not to smile. “She will make the great na-ba-dah-kah, battle, with me. And in the end, she will win. She is one mean woman.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
Blue Eyes, you will be a fine wife in time,” he said gravely. “No, I won’t.” Her gaze flew to his, brimming with misery and tears. “Oh, Hunter, what’s the matter with me?” Studying her small face, Hunter realized two things: he didn’t want her to be like anyone else, and, right or wrong, he had to bring this torturous waiting to an end, for both their sakes. For once, his father had given poor advice. “Blue Eyes…” Hunter sighed and interlaced his fingers, bending his knuckles backward, stalling because he didn’t want to say the wrong thing. “Can you say words so this Comanche can see into you?” “I’m afraid.” “Ah, yes, afraid.” He studied her beaded moccasins. “Because I am Comanche?” She squeezed her eyes closed. “It isn’t that, not anymore. That’s just an excuse!” Cautiously Hunter asked, “Then what makes your heart sad?” She bit her bottom lip and tipped her head back to stare at the smoke hole. After several seconds she sniffed and said, “You’re a man.” She looked so forlorn that Hunter had to bite back a smile. He started to speak, then thought better of it. Clearing his throat, he shifted his attention from her quivering mouth to her nervous hands, wishing he knew how to ease her fears. Being patient hadn’t worked. She closed her eyes again and made a strangled sound, whirling away from him. “Marry Bright Star. It’s only fair. I can’t expect you to wait forever for me to--” She made another angry swipe at her cheeks and took a jagged breath. “She’s very lovely. You wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t want her. And it’s clear she wants you. Why should you be tied to me?” He pushed to his feet and slowly approached her from behind. She jerked when he grasped her shoulders. “I have no wish to marry Bright Star. You are the wife I want. One wife, for always.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
Blue Eyes…” Hunter sighed and interlaced his fingers, bending his knuckles backward, stalling because he didn’t want to say the wrong thing. “Can you say words so this Comanche can see into you?” “I’m afraid.” “Ah, yes, afraid.” He studied her beaded moccasins. “Because I am Comanche?” She squeezed her eyes closed. “It isn’t that, not anymore. That’s just an excuse!” Cautiously Hunter asked, “Then what makes your heart sad?” She bit her bottom lip and tipped her head back to stare at the smoke hole. After several seconds she sniffed and said, “You’re a man.” She looked so forlorn that Hunter had to bite back a smile. He started to speak, then thought better of it. Clearing his throat, he shifted his attention from her quivering mouth to her nervous hands, wishing he knew how to ease her fears. Being patient hadn’t worked.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
He took it off, and she could see his hair was damp with sweat, as was his shirt on closer inspection. He mustn’t have bothered showering after his training session. Juliet’s belly tightened. There was just something about a sweaty man that had always done it for her. Good sweaty. Not the festering-for-hours-never-worn-deodorant kind. The healthy kind worked up through hard physical labour. The primal survival kind that attracted a woman to the type of man who could keep her in mammoth stew and furs. It clearly didn’t matter how sophisticated humans thought they were or how far they’d come. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and it still got down to how a man smelled. Mother Nature was one crazy bitch.
Amy Andrews (Playing With Forever (Sydney Smoke Rugby, #4))
Daniel and the Pelican As I drove home from work one afternoon, the cars ahead of me were swerving to miss something not often seen in the middle of a six-lane highway: a great big pelican. After an eighteen-wheeler nearly ran him over, it was clear the pelican wasn’t planning to move any time soon. And if he didn’t, the remainder of his life could be clocked with an egg timer. I parked my car and slowly approached him. The bird wasn’t the least bit afraid of me, and the drivers who honked their horns and yelled at us as they sped by didn’t impress him either. Stomping my feet, I waved my arms and shouted to get him into the lake next to the road, all the while trying to direct traffic. “C’mon beat it, Big Guy, before you get hurt!” After a brief pause, he cooperatively waddled to the curb and slid down to the water’s edge. Problem solved. Or so I thought. The minute I walked away he was back on the road, resulting in another round of honking, squealing tires and smoking brakes. So I tried again. “Shoo, for crying out loud!” The bird blinked, first one eye then the other, and with a little sigh placated me by returning to the lake. Of course when I started for my car it was instant replay. After two more unsuccessful attempts, I was at my wits’ end. Cell phones were practically non-existent back then, and the nearest pay phone was about a mile away. I wasn’t about to abandon the hapless creature and run for help. He probably wouldn’t be alive when I returned. So there we stood, on the curb, like a couple of folks waiting at a bus stop. While he nonchalantly preened his feathers, I prayed for a miracle. Suddenly a shiny red pickup truck pulled up, and a man hopped out. “Would you like a hand?” I’m seldom at a loss for words, but one look at the very tall newcomer rendered me tongue-tied and unable to do anything but nod. He was the most striking man I’d ever seen--smoky black hair, muscular with tanned skin, and a tender smile flanked by dimples deep enough to drill for oil. His eyes were hypnotic, crystal clear and Caribbean blue. He was almost too beautiful to be real. The embroidered name on his denim work shirt said “Daniel.” “I’m on my way out to the Seabird Sanctuary, and I’d be glad to take him with me. I have a big cage in the back of my truck,” the man offered. Oh my goodness. “Do you volunteer at the Sanctuary?” I croaked, struggling to regain my powers of speech. “Yes, every now and then.” In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect solution to my dilemma. The bird was going to be saved by a knowledgeable expert with movie star looks, who happened to have a pelican-sized cage with him and was on his way to the Seabird Sanctuary.
Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Faith, and Answered Prayers)
Get away from me!” I snarled as I spun circles of flames in the dark air, batting the whip away from me and almost setting the retiarius net aflame. “Stay back or burn, you jackals!” One girl screamed in alarm as my torch set her tunic hem smoldering, and she quickly fell back, slapping at the cloth. The firebrands flared and flamed in my hands, trailing smoke and embers in the dimachaerus patterns I’d practiced, as my attackers backed off. When I lunged straight at the girl with the whip, she turned and ran, melting back into the night, the other girls following close on her heels. I shouted after them to come back and face me. In truth, I was just as glad they were gone. My arms and legs throbbed as I let the torches drop to my sides. I squeezed my eyes shut to clear the afterglare of fire blindness. When I opened them again and lifted my head to the cool night breeze, I saw a figure, cloaked and hooded, standing on the balcony above the courtyard, watching me. The Lanista. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew it was her. I could feel her gaze on me, sharp and appraising. I straightened up, standing as tall as I could, and met her gaze. She stood there for a long moment. Then she turned without a word and disappeared into the darkness.
Lesley Livingston (The Valiant (The Valiant, #1))
Depression is a funhouse, with suicidal ideation the wavy, distorting mirrors that have you trapped and stumbling from corner to corner in that box on the midway. You don’t think clearly, and the first thing to disappear is your sense of worth. You believe you don’t matter. You believe you’d be better off dead. When someone dies by their own hand, those left behind spin in wonder: Didn’t they know how loved they were? How valued? How much of a smoking crater they left behind by dying? Well, no, they don’t. When you’re in the funhouse of depression, the opposite becomes true. A deep, pervasive sense of worthlessness seeps across everything like a spreading stain. You fixate on the burden of your incapacity, how messed up and heavy you are, and there’s no talking yourself out of it. You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps because you don’t have bootstraps. You don’t even have boots. You’re treading barefoot over broken glass, day after day, exhausted and sick of the pain. You can’t seem to get it right, and you imagine how things would go much better, people would do so much better, if you weren’t around to drag them down. You’d be doing everyone a favor, really. That’s how dangerous depression can be. Not only do you believe you’d be better off dead, but also that everyone else would be relieved by your absence. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Lily Burana (Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith)
Two-One Alpha, ready for you. Move it. We’re in kind of a hurry to find a quieter place!” Two wounded men were hauled to the helicopter first by four of their buddies, with the rest strafing the hill to keep the Taliban heads down. The fright and panic in the eyes and faces of the soldiers were clearly visible. Their screams rose above the thundering noise of the engines as they pushed the wounded in and then took up position outside the chopper to provide covering fire for the remaining men to get in. “All in. Let’s get out of here!” Leo shouted. “Grab tight. It’s going to be a rough ride boys!” John pulled the chopper into a steep climb while banking away from the hill. With no fire coming from the doorgun to keep them down, the full force and frustration of the enemy was now directed at the chopper and its occupants. They saw their prey escaping out of their hands right in front of their eyes. A burning pain shot through John’s back and legs as the body of the helicopter shuddered under the power of the two Rolls-Royce Gem turboshaft engines at full throttle. Smoke started to billow from the starboard engine. I have to get over that hill three miles away. Why am I dizzy? I have to get these boys out of trouble. I have to level the chopper and save power. I must get over that hill. I must get out of the reach of the bullets. “Doug! Doug! Can you hear me? What’s wrong man?” Leo screamed in a high-pitched, panicked voice. “Oh my God, you’ve been hit! Are you ok? Shit man, put the chopper down now. You’ll crash and kill us all!” “That hill … I have to get over it … out of range … I must get us there ...” Doug stuttered. “What was that? I can’t hear you. For God’s sake put the chopper down!” Leo shouted at the top of his voice. “Going down, going down … radio for help!” John whispered, a few seconds before everything went dark. The nightmare and the math Doug paid little heed to his passengers as he banked away from the canyon rim. Max was back there to help them. Doug had plenty on his mind, between the flashback to his crash in Afghanistan and wondering when whoever had shot two of his passengers would show up and try to shoot the chopper down here and now, over the Grand Canyon. Not to mention nursing the aging machine to do his bidding. Within minutes after takeoff from the canyon site, lying in the back of the chopper, JR and Roy were oblivious to their surroundings due to the morphine injection administered to them by Max Ellis – an ex-Marine medic and the third member of the Rossler boys’ rescue expedition. Others on the chopper had more on their minds. Raj was in his own world, eyes closed, wondering about his wife Sushma, their child, and the future. He and Sushma were not the outdoors adventure and camping types – living in a cave with other people was going to take some getting used to for them. They both grew up and had lived in the city all their lives. How was this going to work out
J.C. Ryan (The Phoenix Agenda (Rossler Foundation, #6))
there were many contacts during the campaign and the transition between Trump associates and Russians—in person, on the phone, and via text and email. Many of these interactions were with Ambassador Kislyak, who was thought to help oversee Russian intelligence operations in the United States, but they included other Russian officials and agents as well. For example, Roger Stone, the longtime Trump political advisor who claimed that he was in touch with Julian Assange, suggested in August 2016 that information about John Podesta was going to come out. In October, Stone hinted Assange and WikiLeaks were going to release material that would be damaging to my campaign, and later admitted to also exchanging direct messages over Twitter with Guccifer 2.0, the front for Russian intelligence, after some of those messages were published by the website The Smoking Gun. We also know now that in December 2016, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, met with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a Kremlin-controlled bank that is under U.S. sanctions and tied closely to Russian intelligence. The Washington Post caused a sensation with its report that Russian officials were discussing a proposal by Kushner to use Russian diplomatic facilities in America to communicate secretly with Moscow. The New York Times reported that Russian intelligence attempted to recruit Carter Page, the Trump foreign policy advisor, as a spy back in 2013 (according to the report, the FBI believed Page did not know that the man who approached him was a spy). And according to Yahoo News, U.S. officials received intelligence reports that Carter Page met with a top Putin aide involved with intelligence. Some Trump advisors failed to disclose or lied about their contacts with the Russians, including on applications for security clearances, which could be a federal crime. Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to Congress about his contacts and later recused himself from the investigation. Michael Flynn lied about being in contact with Kislyak and then changed his story about whether they discussed dropping U.S. sanctions. Reporting since the election has made clear that Trump and his top advisors have little or no interest in learning about the Russian covert operation against American democracy.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (What Happened)
Too bad about that Caspian tern,” and “Where’s the nearest restroom?” She was in the midst of pointing it out when Lucas Holt strode past. He’d shucked his waders and wore work pants tucked into rubber boots, along with an obviously hand-knit sweater the color of smoke. It smelled like smoke, too—like wood smoke curling through crystal clear air on a winter’s night. She had a quick image of him kneeling next to a campfire, blowing on the flames, while she snuggled under a blanket to keep warm. She shook it off. It was just a fantasy, because she and Lucas Holt would never find themselves camping together, anywhere. She’d rather run into Lost Souls Wilderness across the bay and take her chances with the bears. Usually Lucas ignored her and her passengers. They weren’t his speed; they didn’t bring coolers of beer on the boat or boast about the size of their last catch. But this time he paused and cast a charming smile across her little crew of elderly naturalists. “Sorry about the close call out there. I’m training a new guy. He still has a few things to learn. I hope no one got wet because of that bonehead move.” Lucas had dark hair and dark stubble and dark eyes and no wonder she secretly called him Lucifer. But he was good-looking; she had to admit that. Not that it mattered. Character was what counted. Not looks. “You’re seriously going to blame your crew?” she asked. A hint of irritation crossed his face. She hated the way he always looked at her—as if she was a frivolous birdbrain hippie chick. She had part of a PhD, for pete’s sake. But that seemed to mean nothing to him, even though she’d mentioned it more than once. “Just explaining what happened. He got a little carried away. He won’t do it again.” “I hope not because I have witnesses. And I’d really prefer not to go the harbormaster again.” His dark eyebrows quirked together. “On the one hand, I doubt that’s true, because I’m sure it gives you a special kind of joy to report on me. On the other hand, maybe it is true because I hear it didn’t go so well the last time.” She gritted her teeth together. Unfortunately, he had a point. After her third trip to the harbormaster’s office, she’d decided there had to be better ways to handle her feud with Lucas. Sadly, she hadn’t figured them out yet. “I am not easily deterred,” she said stoutly. “Especially when it comes to Ruby’s safety.” Lucas smiled down at Ruby, who glowed back at him. Darn him. That smile changed things in an unfortunate way. If he ever smiled at her like that… She sighed. Luckily, there was no chance of such a thing.
Jennifer Bernard (Mine Until Moonrise (Lost Harbor, Alaska, #1))
The paramedic moved away, giving me a line of sight into the crowd and my gaze latched onto Darcy. I was so starved, I moved before I was even aware of making the decision, colliding with her and driving my fangs into her neck. She squealed in fright and I growled deeply as I drank the sweet nectar of her blood, shutting my eyes and enjoying every second of it. She felt connected to me by it, her spiking pulse seeming to thump within my own body and I relished the feeling of having her power in my grasp. I lost all sense of everything as I fell into the needs of my Order and the desire to devour this girl’s magic. I wanted every last drop. I needed more of her. Everything. She clawed at my arm and I enjoyed the contact, holding her firmly against my hip as my cock began to throb. I was in the middle of a crowd of students and this was the wrong fucking time to get turned on for so many reasons. But hell she tasted so good. And it was more than that, I had her in my arms again and I didn’t want to let go. She was the summer sun after the longest winter of my life and all I wanted to do was bask in her glow. Especially after I’d seen Capella touching her. This girl didn’t belong to him. I’d staked my claim and maybe that should have only been about her blood, but it was becoming clear to me that it was far more than that. I didn’t want anyone but me getting this close to her. And I’d fight any rival I had to to keep it that way. “Hey,” Tory snapped, shoving me roughly to try and force me off of her sister but I was in a frenzy and I couldn’t stop. “That’s enough!” I released a growl in warning for her to back off, but then she shoved me with fire in her palms, the power behind the blast sending me staggering backwards and freeing Blue from my hold. My head was spinning with so much power I felt drunk and my breaths came heavily as I realised how much blood I’d just taken. Far too much. There were two hand marks singed into my chest, my shirt smoking and my flesh reddened, and Tory looked ready to burn me alive if I took so much as a step closer to her sister again. “You’ve had enough!” Tory snarled and I bared my fangs at the challenge in her voice. “Maybe you want to donate to the cause then?” I snapped, but I was just trying to deflect from how much I wanted her sister, how every student close by had witnessed me go fully savage on Darcy Vega like I had no self control at all. Caleb appeared, dropping an arm around Tory’s shoulders and releasing a deep growl in the back of his throat. “You might want to rethink that statement, Professor.” I stared at them when I really wanted to be looking at Darcy, but I feared if I did, I’d lunge at her again. And I wasn’t sure I’d stop this time. Fuck. What’s wrong with me? I shook my head to try and clear it, taking a breath as I realised my magic reserves were full and I didn’t need any more blood. This craving left in me wasn’t anything to do with my power reserves. It was purely about the girl I could see glaring at me in the corner of my eye. I couldn’t believe what I’d just done. I’d taken too much blood and it was wrong. It went against the Vampire Code. I swallowed the lasting taste of her and finally glanced her way, finding so much hatred in her eyes it scolded me.(ORION POV)
Caroline Peckham (The Awakening as Told by the Boys (Zodiac Academy, #1.5))
The Cheskin company demonstrated a particularly elegant example of sensation transference a few years ago, when they studied two competing brands of inexpensive brandy, Christian Brothers and E & J (the latter of which, to give some idea of the market segment to which the two belong, is known to its clientele as Easy Jesus). Their client, Christian Brothers, wanted to know why, after years of being the dominant brand in the category, it was losing market share to E & J. Their brandy wasn’t more expensive. It wasn’t harder to find in the store. And they weren’t being out-advertised (since there is very little advertising at this end of the brandy segment). So, why were they losing ground? Cheskin set up a blind taste test with two hundred brandy drinkers. The two brandies came out roughly the same. Cheskin then decided to go a few steps further. “We went out and did another test with two hundred different people,” explains Darrel Rhea, another principal in the firm. “This time we told people which glass was Christian Brothers and which glass was E & J. Now you are having sensation transference from the name, and this time Christian Brothers’ numbers are up.” Clearly people had more positive associations with the name Christian Brothers than with E & J. That only deepened the mystery, because if Christian Brothers had a stronger brand, why were they losing market share? “So, now we do another two hundred people. This time the actual bottles of each brand are in the background. We don’t ask about the packages, but they are there. And what happens? Now we get a statistical preference for E & J. So we’ve been able to isolate what Christian Brothers’ problem is. The problem is not the product and it’s not the branding. It’s the package.” Rhea pulled out a picture of the two brandy bottles as they appeared in those days. Christian Brothers looked like a bottle of wine: it had a long, slender spout and a simple off-white label. E & J, by contrast, had a far more ornate bottle: more squat, like a decanter, with smoked glass, foil wrapping around the spout, and a dark, richly textured label. To prove their point, Rhea and his colleagues did one more test. They served two hundred people Christian Brothers Brandy out of an E & J bottle, and E & J Brandy out of a Christian Brothers bottle. Which brandy won? Christian Brothers, hands-down, by the biggest margin of all. Now they had the right taste, the right brand, and the right bottle. The company redesigned their bottle to be a lot more like E & J’s, and, sure enough, their problem was solved.
Malcolm Gladwell (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking)
I’d like to think that I am somewhat self-aware. I’ve got some blind spots, that’s obvious, but all in all, I feel like I’ve got a pretty clear view of reality. More often than not, I know when, and why, I’m making a bad decision. Most of us do—and by us, I mean broke people. Take smoking, for example. If Mom didn’t smoke away ten bucks a day, we never would’ve had to rent out the guest cottage to Freddy in the first place, right? Mom knows that, she’s done the math a million times. But there’s more to consider. For starters, she’s perpetually tired. She’s been working fifty-hour weeks for as long as I can remember. And there’s a good chance she’s clinically depressed. Smoking gets her through that second shift. It relaxes her when the pressure is mounting. It gives her something to look forward to during her break and after work, and before work, and when she wakes up in the morning. It makes her heart beat faster. At ten bucks a day, that’s a bargain.
Jonathan Evison (Lawn Boy)
It was so fucking funny, I decided I had no regrets whatsoever. “My dearest Enzo,” she said, clearly trying not to clench her teeth. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know why I was so mean to you when we were kids. I think now I was afraid of the way I felt for you. I had never met anyone so good-looking and awesome at baseball before.” She paused for a breath and hitched her weight over to one foot. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life ironing your shirts and cooking your favorite foods and watching you win the Allegan County Senior Men’s Baseball Championship year after year. It is my dream come true. P.S. I won’t even care if you snore because it is such a manly sound. I love everything about you and always will.” She looked up from the page, and I swear to God I thought smoke was going to puff out of her ears.
Melanie Harlow (Call Me Crazy (Bellamy Creek, #3))
Older fathers are more likely to have girls, but older mothers are more likely to have boys. Women with infectious hepatitis or schizophrenia have slightly more daughters than sons. So do women who smoke or drink. So did women who gave birth after the thick London smog of 1952. So do the wives of test pilots, abalone divers, clergymen, and anesthetists. In parts of Australia that depend on rainfall for drinking water, there is a clear drop in the proportion of sons born 320 days after a heavy storm fills the dams and churns up the mud. Women with multiple sclerosis have more sons, as do women who consume small amounts of arsenic.
Matt Ridley (The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature)
In any disease, say smoking-induced lung or heart disease, organs and tissues are damaged and function in pathological ways. When the brain is diseased, the functions that become pathological are the person’s emotional life, thought processes and behaviour. And this creates addiction’s central dilemma: if recovery is to occur, the brain, the impaired organ of decision making, needs to initiate its own healing process. An altered and dysfunctional brain must decide that it wants to overcome its own dysfunction: to revert to normal — or, perhaps, become normal for the very first time. The worse the addiction is, the greater the brain abnormality and the greater the biological obstacles to opting for health. The scientific literature is nearly unanimous in viewing drug addiction as a chronic brain condition, and this alone ought to discourage anyone from blaming or punishing the sufferer. No one, after all, blames a person suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for having a relapse, since relapse is one of the characteristics of chronic illness. The very concept of choice appears less clear-cut if we understand that the addict’s ability to choose, if not absent, is certainly impaired. “The evidence for addiction as a different state of the brain has important treatment implications,” writes Dr. Charles O’Brien. “Unfortunately,” he adds, “most health care systems continue to treat addiction as an acute disorder, if at all.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
It had been often commented upon that Vibe offspring tended to be crazy as bedbugs. ‘Fax’s brother Cragmont had run away with a trapeze girl, then brought her back to New York to get married, the wedding being actually performed on trapezes, groom and best man, dressed in tails and silk opera hats held on with elastic, swinging upside down by their knees in perfect synchrony across the perilous Æther to meet the bride and her father, a carnival “jointee” or concessionaire, in matched excursion from their own side of the ring, bridesmaids observed at every hand up twirling by their chins in billows of spangling, forty feet above the faces of the guests, feathers dyed a deep acid green sweeping and stirring the cigar smoke rising from the crowd. Cragmont Vibe was but thirteen that circus summer he became a husband and began what would become, even for the day, an enormous family. The third brother, Fleetwood, best man at this ceremony, had also got out of the house early, fast-talking his way onto an expedition heading for Africa. He kept as clear of political games as of any real scientific inquiry, preferring to take the title of “Explorer” literally, and do nothing but explore. It did not hurt Fleetwood’s chances that a hefty Vibe trust fund was there to pick up the bills for bespoke pith helmets and meat lozenges and so forth. Kit met him one spring weekend out at the Vibe manor on Long Island. “Say, but you’ve never seen our cottage,” ‘Fax said one day after classes. “What are you doing this weekend? Unless there’s another factory girl or pizza princess or something in the works.” “Do I use that tone of voice about the Seven Sisters material you specialize in?” “I’ve nothing against the newer races,” ‘Fax protested. “But you might like to meet Cousin Dittany anyway.” “The one at Smith.” “Mount Holyoke, actually.” “Can’t wait.” They arrived under a dourly overcast sky. Even in cheerier illumination, the Vibe mansion would have registered as a place best kept clear of—four stories tall, square, unadorned, dark stone facing looking much older than the known date of construction. Despite its aspect of abandonment, an uneasy tenancy was still pursued within, perhaps by some collateral branch of Vibes . . . it was unclear. There was the matter of the second floor. Only the servants were allowed there. It “belonged,” in some way nobody was eager to specify, to previous occupants. “Someone’s living there?” “Someone’s there.” . . . from time to time, a door swinging shut on a glimpse of back stairway, a muffled footfall . . . an ambiguous movement across a distant doorframe . . . a threat of somehow being obliged to perform a daily search through the forbidden level, just at dusk, so detailed that contact with the unseen occupants, in some form, at some unannounced moment, would be inevitable . . . all dustless and tidy, shadows in permanent possession, window-drapes and upholstery in deep hues of green, claret, and indigo, servants who did not speak, who would or could not meet one’s gaze . . . and in the next room, the next instant, waiting . . . “Real nice of you to have me here, folks,” chirped Kit at breakfast. “Fellow sleeps like a top. Well, except . . .” Pause in the orderly gobbling and scarfing. Interest from all around the table. “I mean, who came in the room in the middle of the night like that?” “You’re sure,” said Scarsdale, “it wasn’t just the wind, or the place settling.” “They were walking around, like they were looking for something.” Glances were exchanged, failed to be exchanged, were sent out but not returned. “Kit, you haven’t seen the stables yet,” Cousin Dittany offered at last. “Wouldn’t you like to go riding?
Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)
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)
Without cultural change, we are hopeless to change existing results.5 Of all changes, cultural change is the most difficult. It is essentially changing the collective DNA of an entire group of people. To understand how to change culture, it is helpful to know how change works in general. Changing Church Culture Change is extremely difficult. One of the most vivid and striking examples of this painful reality is the inability of heart patients to change even when confronted with grim reality. Roughly six hundred thousand people have a heart bypass each year in the United States. These patients are told they must change. They must change their eating habits, must exercise, and quit smoking and drinking. If they do not, they will die. The case for change is so compelling that they are literally told, “Change or die.”6 Yet despite the clear instructions and painful reality, 90 percent of the patients do not change. Within two years of hearing such brutal facts, they remain the same. Change is that challenging for people. For the vast majority of patients, death is chosen over change. Yet leadership is often about change, about moving a group of people to a new future. Perhaps the most recognized leadership book on leading an organization to change is John Kotter’s Leading Change. And when ministry leaders speak or write about leadership, they often look to the wisdom found in the book of Nehemiah, as it chronicles Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah led wide-scale change. Nehemiah never read Kotter’s book, and he led well without it. The Lord well equipped Nehemiah for the task of leading God’s people. But it is fascinating to see how Nehemiah’s actions mirror much of what Kotter has observed in leaders who successfully lead change. With a leadership development culture in mind, here are the eight steps for leading change, according to Kotter, and how one can see them in Nehemiah’s leadership. 1. Establish a sense of urgency. Leaders must create dissatisfaction with an ineffective status quo. They must help others develop a sense of angst over the brokenness around them. Nehemiah heard a negative report from Jerusalem, and it crushed him to the point of weeping, fasting, and prayer (Neh. 1:3–4). Sadly, the horrible situation in Jerusalem had become the status quo. The disgrace did not bother the people in the same way that it frustrated Nehemiah. After he arrived in Jerusalem, he walked around and observed the destruction. Before he launched the vision of rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah pointed out to the people that they were in trouble and ruins. He started with urgency, not vision. Without urgency, plans for change do not work. If you assess your culture and find deviant behaviors that reveal some inaccurate theological beliefs, you must create urgency by pointing these out. If you assess your culture and find a lack of leadership development, a sense of urgency must be created. Leadership development is an urgent matter because the mission the Lord has given us is so great.
Eric Geiger (Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development)
Janner and Tink joined her and stared out at the sea, her song conjuring images of Anniera, feelings of home, of fire in the hearth. Then the song changed. It took on a sad tone, the notes bending upward like the croon of a lonely bird, and Janner knew Leeli was playing for Nugget. She poured her heart into the song and filled it with everything she felt. Suddenly, like a dream hovering at the front of his mind, Janner could see Nugget. The image swirled like a reflection in a pot of stirred water, gathering itself into clear, moving pictures of little Nugget running through the pasture, fetching a ball, wagging his tail as Leeli stooped to hand him a hogpig bone. The images hovered like smoke from a pipe, scene after beautiful scene of Nugget in all the stages of his life.
Andrew Peterson (North! or Be Eaten)
Just as the availability of vast computational power drives the implementation of global surveillance, so its logic has come to dictate how we respond to it, and to other existential threats to our cognitive and physical well-being. The demand for some piece of evidence that will allow us to assert some hypothesis with 100 per cent certainty overrides our ability to act in the present. Consensus - such as the broad scientific agreement around the urgency of the climate crisis - is disregarded in the face of the smallest quantum of uncertainty. We find ourselves locked in a kind of stasis, demanding that Zeno's arrow hit the target even as the atmosphere before it warms and thickens. The insistence upon some ever-insufficient confirmation creates the deep strangeness of the present moment: everybody knows what's going on, and nobody can do anything about it. Reliance on the computational logics of surveillance to derive truth about the world leaves us in a fundamentally precarious and paradoxical position. Computational knowing requires surveillance, because it can only produce its truth from the data available to it directly. In turn, all knowing is reduced to that which is computationally knowable, so all knowing becomes a form of surveillance. Thus computational logic denies our ability to think the situation, and to act rationally in the absence of certainty. It is also purely reactive, permitting action only after sufficient evidence has been gathered and forbidding action in the present when it is most needed. The operation of surveillance, and our complicity in it, is one of the most fundamental characteristics of the new dark age, because it insists on a kind of blind vision: everything is illuminated, but nothing is seen. We have become convinced that throwing light upon the subject is the same thing as thinking it, and thus having agency over it. But the light of computation just as easily renders us powerless - either through information overload, or a false sense of security. It is a lie we have been sold by the seductive power of computational thinking. Our vision is increasingly universal, but our agency is ever more reduced. We know more and more about the world, while being less and less able to do anything about it. The resulting sense of helplessness, rather than giving us pause to reconsider our assumptions, seems to be driving us deeper into paranoia and social disintegration: more surveillance, more distrust, an ever-greater insistence on the power of images and computation to rectify a situation that is produced by our unquestioning belief in their authority. Surveillance does not work, and neither does righteous exposure. There is no final argument to be made on either side, no clinching statement that will ease our conscience and change the minds of our opponents. There is no smoking gun, no total confirmation or clear denial. The Glomar response, rather than the dead words of a heedless bureaucracy, turns out to be the truest description of the world that we can articulate.
James Bridle (New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future)
His hatred of modern lawlessness had been crowned also by an accident. It happened that he was walking in a side street at the instant of a dynamite outrage. He had been blind and deaf for a moment, and then seen, the smoke clearing, the broken windows and the bleeding faces. After that he went about as usual—quiet, courteous, rather gentle; but there was a spot on his mind that was not sane. He did not regard anarchists, as most of us do, as a handful of morbid men, combining ignorance with intellectualism. He regarded them as a huge and pitiless peril, like a Chinese invasion. He
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday)
His hatred of modern lawlessness had been crowned also by an accident. It happened that he was walking in a side street at the instant of a dynamite outrage. He had been blind and deaf for a moment, and then seen, the smoke clearing, the broken windows and the bleeding faces. After that he went about as usual—quiet, courteous, rather gentle; but there was a spot on his mind that was not sane. He did not regard anarchists, as most of us do, as a handful of morbid men, combining ignorance with intellectualism. He regarded them as a huge and pitiless peril, like a Chinese invasion. He poured perpetually into newspapers and their waste-paper baskets a torrent of tales, verses and violent articles, warning men of this deluge of barbaric denial. But he seemed to be getting no nearer his enemy, and, what was worse, no nearer a living.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday)
Perhaps that is why I continue to burn and burn for him. Because in these brief moments of reprieve, like now, where just for a second, the noose loosens, the flames retreat just enough for the smoke to clear, and gravity no longer feels like a curse but a relief… I can remember what it’s like to breathe freely again. -- Mason
Jessie Walker (Every Breath After (Lost Boys Book 3): Part I)