Bush Stupid Quotes

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Every single person is a fool, insane, a failure, or a bad person to at least ten people.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
People who claim to know jackrabbits will tell you they are primarily motivated by Fear, Stupidity, and Craziness. But I have spent enough time in jack rabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives; they are bored with their daily routines: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now and then....No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenalin rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. . . . No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you. Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn’t vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today—and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us—they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America.
George W. Bush
I think one of the most important differences between us is that you are excellent at living in a way that is commensurate with your values, whereas I am not. For instance, I didn’t recycle until I watched An Inconvenient Truth and I’m still sort of iffy on it. And also, I didn’t vote in 2000, even though I could have voted in Florida *hits self on head repeatedly* Ahh George Bush! It’s all my fault! God! So stupid! *sigh* Let’s change the subject. Also, we have vastly different happy dances.
John Green
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Will picked a single blossom from a gorse bush beside him; it shone bright yellow on his grubby hand. "People are very complicated," he said sadly. "So they are," John Rowlands said. His voice deepened a little, louder and clearer than it had been. "But when the battles between you and your adversaries are done, Will Stanton, in the end the fate of all the world will depend on just those people, and on how many of them are good or bad, stupid or wise. And indeed it is all so complicated that I would not dare foretell what they will do with their world. Our world.
Susan Cooper
Nevertheless, four years later, at the end of August 2004, a Zogby poll discovered the critical fact that 57 percent of the undecided voters in that year's election would rather have a beer with George Bush than with John Kerry. The question was odd enough on its face, but a nation to which it would matter is odder still. Be honest. Consider all the people with whom you've tossed back a beer. How many of them would you trust with nuclear launch codes?
Charles P. Pierce (Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free)
Instead of finding myself in the future, I traveled about fifty metres along the sidewalk at 200mph before finding myself in a bush. When asked by the nurse filling out the hospital accident reports 'Cause of accident?' I stated, 'time travel attempt' but she wrote down 'stupidity'.
David Thorne (I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs. The Unpublished Emails.)
By comparison, George W. Bush was light and breezy and apparently forgot during one debate that Social Security was a federal program. In fact, his depth, and his unfamiliarity with the complexities of the issues, to say nothing of the simple declarative sentence, worked remarkably to his advantage.
Charles P. Pierce (Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free)
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses. While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us -- they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
Sexually active? Sexually active? Patrick and I hadn't even learned the fine points of kissing yet! I marched on down. 'For your information,' I said from the doorway, as both Dad and Lester jerked to attention, 'I am about as sexually active as a bag of spinach, and if you want to keep me on the porch and not out in the park somewhere behind the bushes, you'll keep the stupid porch light off when I come home with a boy.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Alice on the Outside (Alice, #11))
New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails, and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad, because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which (a) proves my point, and (b) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him. Now, before I go about demonstration how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness that's dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life-and-death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, thirty-four percent still do. Or look at the health-care debate: At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways. This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls. Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket. Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen ad a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge." Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll say eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first. I rest my case.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so... I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! "This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico ... They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them." "No, no, no, no," [Carlos replies] "This is absurd don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone." "Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you? ... You haven't heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal." "'But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. "'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?" "'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now." "I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear." "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat." "There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Carlos Castaneda (The Active Side of Infinity)
GEORGE AND MARLEE UP IN A TREE! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! We stopped. There was a kid over there, standing by a hackberry bush. I’d never seen him before, not at Mary Day or anywhere else. He wasn’t but four and a half feet tall, and stocky. He had on gray shorts that went down all the way to his knees, and a green sweater with orange stripes. It was rounded out up top with little boy-tits and a poochy belly underneath. He had a beanie on his head, the stupid kind with a plastic propeller. His
Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams)
I knew there was something that separated me from Ferdinand and the life of the bush about me. And it was because I had no means in my day-to-day life of asserting this difference, of exhibiting my true self, that I fell into the stupidity of exhibiting my things.
V.S. Naipaul (A Bend in the River)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
The Republican establishment is haunted by painful memories of what happened to Old Man Bush in 1992. He peaked too early and he had no response to “It’s the economy, stupid.” Which has always been the case. Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the military-industrial complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous “trickle-down” theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow “trickle down” to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson)
I think that when people hear the president [George W. Bush] speak, frankly, they think he's really stupid. But what people don't realize is that there's a genius behind that stupidity, and that genius is Harlan McCraney.
Arianna Huffington
New Rule: You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap. President Bush recently suggested that public schools should teach "intelligent design" alongside the theory of evolution, because after all, evolution is "just a theory." Then the president renewed his vow to "drive the terrorists straight over the edge of the earth." Here's what I don't get: President Bush is a brilliant scientist. He's the man who proved you could mix two parts booze with one part cocaine and still fly a jet fighter. And yet he just can't seem to accept that we descended from apes. It seems pathetic to be so insecure about your biological superiority to a group of feces-flinging, rouge-buttocked monkeys that you have to make up fairy tales like "We came from Adam and Eve," and then cover stories for Adam and Eve, like intelligent design! Yeah, leaving the earth in the hands of two naked teenagers, that's a real intelligent design. I'm sorry, folks, but it may very well be that life is just a series of random events, and that there is no master plan--but enough about Iraq. There aren't necessarily two sides to every issue. If there were, the Republicans would have an opposition party. And an opposition party would point out that even though there's a debate in schools and government about this, there is no debate among scientists. Evolution is supported by the entire scientific community. Intelligent design is supported by the guys on line to see The Dukes of Hazzard. And the reason there is no real debate is that intelligent design isn't real science. It's the equivalent of saying that the Thermos keeps hot things hot and cold things cold because it's a god. It's so willfully ignorant you might as well worship the U.S. mail. "It came again! Praise Jesus!" Stupidity isn't a form of knowing things. Thunder is high-pressure air meeting low-pressure air--it's not God bowling. "Babies come from storks" is not a competing school of throught in medical school. We shouldn't teach both. The media shouldn't equate both. If Thomas Jefferson knew we were blurring the line this much between Church and State, he would turn over in his slave. As for me, I believe in evolution and intelligent design. I think God designed us in his image, but I also think God is a monkey.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Since at least the year 2000 and the election of George Bush, Americans have shown themselves to be increasingly enamored with the heroic couplet of men and stupidity. As the election in 2004 proved, playing dumb means playing to "the people," who, apparently, find intellectual acumen to be a sign of overeducation, elitism, and Washington insider status. As many critics have pointed out, no one could be more of a Washington insider than George W. Bush, the son of a former president and the brother of the governor of Florida. Even so, in both of his election campaigns Bush made a populist version of stupidity into a trademark and sold himself to the public as a down-home guy, a fun BBQpaI, a man's man, a student privileged enough to go to Yale but "real" enough to only get Cs-in other words, an inarticulate, monolingual buffoon who was a safe bet for the White House because he was not trying to befuddle an increasingly uneducated populace with facts, figures, or, god forbid, ideas. His opponent in the election, John Kerry, was fluent in French, well educated, well spoken, and highly suspicious on all counts.
J. Jack Halberstam (The Queer Art of Failure)
My best advice about writer’s block is: the reason you’re having a hard time writing is because of a conflict between the GOAL of writing well and the FEAR of writing badly. By default, our instinct is to conquer the fear, but our feelings are much, much, less within our control than the goals we set, and since it’s the conflict BETWEEN the two forces blocking you, if you simply change your goal from “writing well” to “writing badly,” you will be a veritable fucking fountain of material, because guess what, man, we don’t like to admit it, because we’re raised to think lack of confidence is synonymous with paralysis, but, let’s just be honest with ourselves and each other: we can only hope to be good writers. We can only ever hope and wish that will ever happen, that’s a bird in the bush. The one in the hand is: we suck. We are terrified we suck, and that terror is oppressive and pervasive because we can VERY WELL see the possibility that we suck. We are well acquainted with it. We know how we suck like the backs of our shitty, untalented hands. We could write a fucking book on how bad a book would be if we just wrote one instead of sitting at a desk scratching our dumb heads trying to figure out how, by some miracle, the next thing we type is going to be brilliant. It isn’t going to be brilliant. You stink. Prove it. It will go faster. And then, after you write something incredibly shitty in about six hours, it’s no problem making it better in passes, because in addition to being absolutely untalented, you are also a mean, petty CRITIC. You know how you suck and you know how everything sucks and when you see something that sucks, you know exactly how to fix it, because you’re an asshole. So that is my advice about getting unblocked. Switch from team “I will one day write something good” to team “I have no choice but to write a piece of shit” and then take off your “bad writer” hat and replace it with a “petty critic” hat and go to town on that poor hack’s draft and that’s your second draft. Fifteen drafts later, or whenever someone paying you starts yelling at you, who knows, maybe the piece of shit will be good enough or maybe everyone in the world will turn out to be so hopelessly stupid that they think bad things are good and in any case, you get to spend so much less time at a keyboard and so much more at a bar where you really belong because medicine because childhood trauma because the Supreme Court didn’t make abortion an option until your unwanted ass was in its third trimester. Happy hunting and pecking!
Dan Harmon
For a moment his voice stilled the hubbub in the room. Dogs can arouse grander passions then love. ‘A retriever’s s’posed to retrieve what’s shot yes? ‘Sall right for you. Spaniels only have to rampage around the bushes, scaring out anything that’s stupid enough to pay attention to them. They can’t retrieve worth a damn anyway.
Gerald Hammond (Dog in the Dark (Three Oaks, #1))
There are two kinds of learning, from the inside and from the outside. The fist is regarded as the best, or even the only kind. And so people learn through distant journeys, watching, reading, universities and lectures — they learn from what is happening outside them. Man is a stupid creature who had to learn. So he tacks knowledge onto himself, he gathers it like a bee, gaining more and more of it, putting it to use and processing it. But the thing inside that is "stupid" and needs learning doesn't change. Cornspike learned by absorbing things from the outside to the inside. Knowledge that is only grown on the outside changes nothing inside a man, or merely changes him on the surface, as one garment is changed for another. But he who learns by taking things inside himself undergoes constant transformation, because he incorporates what he learns into his being. So by taking the stinking, dirty peasants from Primeval and the district into herself, Cornspike became just like them, was drunk just like them, frightened by the war just like them, and aroused just like them. What's more, by taking them into herself in the bushes behind the inn, Cornspike also took in their wives, their children, and their stuffy, stinking wooden cottages around Maybug Hill. In a way she took the entire village into herself, every pain in the village, and every hope.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
I am for that thing in your genome that demands it. I am for that thing which keeps you animals alive. I am, at most, a slice of monkey suspended within the stuff of universal intelligence. You are a monkey in nice clothes. In the harsh environment you refer to as a habitable planet, group behaviors are required to survive long enough to procreate. Since you are stupid monkeys, you have no natural affinity for group altruism. And so you have evolved a genetic pump that delivers pleasant chemicals to your monkey brains. One that is triggered by awe and fear of an anthropomorphism of your environment. Earth mothers. Sky gods. Bits of bush that catch fire. Interesting-looking rocks. An oddly-shaped branch. You’re not fussy. When your brain does this idiot work, you stop in front of that bump or stick and consider it fiercely. Other monkeys will, like as not, stop next to you and emulate you. Your genetic pump delivers morphine for your souls. You have your fellow monkeys join in. Perhaps so they can feel it too. Perhaps because you feel it might please the stick god to have more monkeys gaze at it in narcotic awe. The group must be defended. Because as many monkeys as possible must please the stick god, and you can continue to get your fix off praying to it. You draw up rules to organize and protect the group. Two hundred thousand years later, you put Adolf Hitler into power. Because you are, after all, just monkeys. I am your stash.
Warren Ellis (Supergod)
Much of American domestic policy, and almost all of US foreign policy, is determined by elites who are only somewhat constrained by voter preferences and decisions. What seemed remarkable and worthy of sociological inquiry was not Bush's own personal stupidity or viciousness but the lack, until late in his presidency, of a credible challenge to his policies from any significant power base. ... The small achievements of popular forces in post-hegemonic Britain and the Netherlands illustrate the highly limited parameters of reform and redistribution unless and until those reactions create or revivify political organizations that can challenge elites.
Richard Lachmann (First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great Powers)
We had spent hours combing the forest for the biggest, brownest, heaviest, cleanest pine cones it could offer, hoping that maybe, just maybe, if we found exactly the right ones, our mother would let us go home. We had bled for them. And now she was telling us that we had to abandon them. We were confused and more than a little demoralized, but we dutifully piled our pine cones near some bushes while our mom started playing “who can yell ‘help’ the loudest and the most” by herself. It was a pretty anticlimactic game and we lost interest quickly. We didn’t understand why she had suddenly become so intensely interested in playing these stupid games. Did she not realize it was getting dark?
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half)
A dachshund came out of the bushes. Ruzena's father extended his pole toward him, but the dog alertly evaded it and ran over to the boy, who lifted him up and hugged him. Other old men rushed over to help Ruzena's father and tear the dachshund out of the boy's arms. The boy was crying, shouting, and grappling with them so that the old men had to twist his arms and put a hand over his mouth because his cries were attracting too much attention from the passersby, who were turning to look but not daring to intervene. [...] Jakub was leading the dog by the collar toward the hotel steps when one of the old men shouted: "Release that dog at once!" And the other old man: "In the name of the law!" Jakub pretended not to notice the old men and kept going, but behind him a pole slowly descended alongside his body and the wire loop wavered clumsily over the boxer's head. Jakub grabbed the end of the pole and brusquely pushed it aside. A third old man ran up and shouted: "Its an attack on law and order! I'm going to call the police!" And the high-pitched voice of another old man complained: "He ran on the grass! He ran in the playground, where it's prohibited! He pissed in the kids' sandbox! Do you like dogs more than children?" The boxer scampered around the room curiously, unaware that he had just escaped danger. Jakub stretched out on the daybed, wondering what to do with him. He liked the lively, good-natured dog. The insouciance with which, in a few minutes, he had made himself at home in a strange room and struck up a friendship with a strange man was nearly suspicious and seemed to verge on stupidity. After sniffing all corners of the room, he leaped up on the daybed and lay down beside Jakub. Jakub was startled, but he welcomed without reservation this sign of camaraderie. He put his hand on the dog's back and felt with delight the warmth of the animal's body. He had always liked dogs. They were familiar, affectionate, devoted, and at the same time entirely incomprehensible. We will never know what actually goes on in the heads and hearts of these confident, merry emissaries from incomprehensible nature.
Milan Kundera (Farewell Waltz)
Moving on, while he wondered, the dark through which Mr. Lecky's light cut grew more beautiful with scents. Particles of solid matter so minute, gases so subtle, that they filtered through stopping and sealing, hung on the unstirred air. Drawn in with Mr. Lecky's breath came impalpable dews cooked out of disintegrating coal. Distilled, chemically split and reformed, they ended in flawless simulation of the aromas of gums, the scent of woods and the world's flowers. The chemists who made them could do more than that. Loose on the gloom were perfumes of flowers which might possibly have bloomed but never had, and the strong-smelling saps of trees either lost or not yet evolved. Mixed in the mucus of the pituitary membrane, these volatile essences meant more than synthetic chemistry to Mr. Lecky. Their microscopic slime coated the bushed-out ends of the olfactory nerve; their presence was signaled to the anterior of the brain's temporal lobe. At once, thought waited on them, tossing down from the great storehouse of old images, neglected ideas - sandalwood and roses, musk and lavender. Mr. Lecky stood still, wrung by pangs as insistent and unanswerable as hunger. He was prodded by the unrest of things desired, not had; the surfeit of things had, not desired. More than anything he could see, or words, or sounds, these odors made him stupidly aware of the past. Unable to remember it, whence he was, or where he had previously been, all that was sweet, impermanent and gone came back not spoiled by too much truth or exact memory. Volatile as the perfumes, the past stirred him with longing for what was not - the only beloved beauty which you will have to see but which you may not keep. Mr. Lecky's beam of light went through glass top and side of a counter, displayed bottles of colored liquid - straw, amber, topaz - threw shadows behind their diverse shapes. He had no use for perfume. All the distraction, all the sense of loss and implausible sweetness which he felt was in memory of women. Behind the counter, Mr. Lecky, curious, took out bottles, sniffed them, examined their elaborately varied forms - transparent squares, triangles, cones, flattened ovals. Some were opaque, jet or blue, rough with embedded metals in intricate design. This great and needless decoration of the flasks which contained it was one strange way to express the inexpressible. Another way was tried in the names put on the bottles. Here words ran the suggestive or symbolic gamut of idealized passion, or festive night, of desired caresses, or of abstractions of the painful allure yet farther fetched. Not even in the hopeful, miracle-raving fancy of those who used the perfumes could a bottle of liquid have any actual magic. Since the buyers at the counters must be human beings, nine of every ten were beyond this or other help. Women, young, but unlovely and unloved, women, whatever they had been, now at the end of it and ruined by years or thickened to caricature by fat, ought to be the ones called to mind by perfume. But they were not. Mr. Lecky held the bottle in his hand a long while, aware of the tenth woman.
James Gould Cozzens
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
We got us a good sergeant, is what I’m saying.’ Maybe nodded, and glanced back at Crump. ‘You listening, soldier? Don’t mess it up.’ The tall, long-faced man with the strangely wide-spaced eyes blinked confusedly. ‘They stepped on my cussers,’ he said. ‘Now I ain’t got any more.’ ‘Can you use that sword on your belt, sapper?’ ‘What? This? No, why would I want to do that? We’re just marching.’ Lagging behind, breath coming in harsh gasps, Limp said, ‘Crump had a bag of munitions. Stuck his brain in there, too. For, uh, safekeeping. It all went up, throwing Nah’ruk everywhere. He’s just an empty skull now, Maybe.’ ‘So he can’t fight? What about using a crossbow?’ ‘Never seen him try one of those. But fight? Crump fights, don’t worry about that.’ ‘Well, with what, then? That stupid bush knife?’ ‘He uses his hands, Maybe.’ ‘Well, that’s just great then.’ ‘We’re just marching,’ said Crump again, and then he laughed.
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))
Pastor Max Lucado of San Antonio, Texas, said in an editorial for the Washington Post in February 2016 that he was “chagrined” by Trump’s antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made a mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to a former first lady, Barbara Bush, as “mommy” and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people “stupid” and “dummy.” One writer catalogued 64 occasions that he called someone “loser.” These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded and presented.18 Lucado went on to question how Christians could support a man doing these things as a candidate for president, much less as someone who repeatedly attempted to capture evangelical audiences by portraying himself as similarly committed to Christian values. He continued, “If a public personality calls on Christ one day and calls someone a ‘bimbo’ the next, is something not awry? And to do so, not once, but repeatedly, unrepentantly and unapologetically? We stand against bullying in schools. Shouldn’t we do the same in presidential politics?” Rolling Stone reported on several evangelical leaders pushing against a Trump nomination, including North Carolina radio host and evangelical Dr. Michael Brown, who wrote an open letter to Jerry Falwell Jr., blasting his endorsement of Donald Trump. Brown wrote, “As an evangelical follower of Jesus, the contrast is between putting nationalism first or the kingdom of God first. From my vantage point, you and other evangelicals seem to have put nationalism first, and that is what deeply concerns me.”19 John Stemberger, president and general counsel for Florida Family Action, lamented to CNN, “The really puzzling thing is that Donald Trump defies every stereotype of a candidate you would typically expect Christians to vote for.” He wondered, “Should evangelical Christians choose to elect a man I believe would be the most immoral and ungodly person ever to be president of the United States?”20 A
Ben Howe (The Immoral Majority: Why Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian Values)
Permission Granted" You do not have to choose the bruised peach or misshapen pepper others pass over. You don't have to bury your grandmother's keys underneath her camellia bush as the will states. You don't need to write a poem about your grandfather coughing up his lung into that plastic tube—the machine's wheezing almost masking the kvetching sisters in their Brooklyn kitchen. You can let the crows amaze your son without your translation of their cries. You can lie so long under this summer shower your imprint will be left when you rise. You can be stupid and simple as a heifer. Cook plum and apple turnovers in the nude. Revel in the flight of birds without dreaming of flight. Remember the taste of raw dough in your mouth as you edged a pie. Feel the skin on things vibrate. Attune yourself. Close your eyes. Hum. Each beat of the world's pulse demands only that you feel it. No thoughts. Just the single syllable: Yes ... See the homeless woman following the tunings of a dead composer? She closes her eyes and sways with the subways. Follow her down, inside, where the singing resides.
David Allen Sullivan
When Dad came home a couple of days later, Mom told him about the fish I’d caught and how much money we’d made. I could see the smile on his face. But then he went outside to check his boat and noticed that a paddle was missing. Instead of saying, “Good job, son,” he yelled at me for losing a paddle! I couldn’t believe he was scolding me over a stupid oar! I’d worked from daylight to dusk and earned enough money for my family to buy a dozen paddles! Where was the gratitude? I was so mad that I jumped in the boat and headed to the nets to see if I could find the missing paddle. After checking about seventy nets, I was resigned to the fact that it was probably gone. But when I finally reached the seventy-ninth net, I saw the paddle lying in a few bushes where I’d tied up a headliner, which is a rope leading to the net. It was almost like a religious experience for me. What were the odds of my finding a lost paddle floating in a current on a washed-out river? It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I took the paddle back to my dad, but he was still mad at me for losing it in the first place. I have never liked the line “up a creek without a paddle” because of the trouble boat paddles caused me. I swore I would never lose another one, but lo and behold, the next year, I broke the same paddle I’d lost while trying to kill a cottonmouth water moccasin that almost bit me. My dad wasn’t very compassionate even after I told him his prized paddle perhaps saved my life. I finally concluded that everyone has quirks, and apparently my dad has some sort of weird love affair with boat paddles.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
The front door is locked—what’s up with that?” “Logan fixed the lock,” I tell her. Her bright red, heart-shaped mouth smiles. “Good job, Kevin Costner. You should staple the key to Ellie’s forehead, though, or she’ll lose it.” She has names for the other guys too and when her favorite guard, Tommy Sullivan, walks in a few minutes later, Marlow uses his. “Hello, Delicious.” She twirls her honey-colored, bouncy hair around her finger, cocking her hip and tilting her head like a vintage pinup girl. Tommy, the fun-loving super-flirt, winks. “Hello, pretty, underage lass.” Then he nods to Logan and smiles at me. “Lo . . . Good morning, Miss Ellie.” “Hey, Tommy.” Marlow struts forward. “Three months, Tommy. Three months until I’m a legal adult—then I’m going to use you, abuse you and throw you away.” The dark-haired devil grins. “That’s my idea of a good date.” Then he gestures toward the back door. “Now, are we ready for a fun day of learning?” One of the security guys has been walking me to school ever since the public and press lost their minds over Nicholas and Olivia’s still-technically-unconfirmed relationship. They make sure no one messes with me and they drive me in the tinted, bulletproof SUV when it rains—it’s a pretty sweet deal. I grab my ten-thousand-pound messenger bag from the corner. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Elle—you should have a huge banger here tonight!” says Marlow. Tommy and Logan couldn’t have synced up better if they’d practiced: “No fucking way.” Marlow holds up her hands, palms out. “Did I say banger?” “Huge banger,” Tommy corrects. “No—no fucking way. I meant, we should have a few friends over to . . . hang out. Very few. Very mature. Like . . . almost a study group.” I toy with my necklace and say, “That actually sounds like a good idea.” Throwing a party when your parents are away is a rite-of-high-school passage. And after this summer, Liv will most likely never be away again. It’s now or never. “It’s a terrible idea.” Logan scowls. He looks kinda scary when he scowls. But still hot. Possibly, hotter. Marlow steps forward, her brass balls hanging out and proud. “You can’t stop her—that’s not your job. It’s like when the Bush twins got busted in that bar with fake IDs or Malia was snapped smoking pot at Coachella. Secret Service couldn’t stop them; they just had to make sure they didn’t get killed.” Tommy slips his hands in his pockets, laid back even when he’s being a hardass. “We could call her sister. Even from an ocean away, I’d bet she’d stop her.” “No!” I jump a little. “No, don’t bother Liv. I don’t want her worrying.” “We could board up the fucking doors and windows,” Logan suggests. ’Cause that’s not overkill or anything. I move in front of the two security guards and plead my case. “I get why you’re concerned, okay? But I have this thing—it’s like my motto. I want to suck the lemon.” Tommy’s eyes bulge. “Suck what?” I laugh, shaking my head. Boys are stupid. “You know that saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’?—well, I want to suck the lemon dry.” Neither of them seems particularly impressed. “I want to live every bit of life, experience everything it has to offer, good and bad.” I lift my jeans to show my ankle—and the little lemon I’ve drawn there. “See? When I’m eighteen, I’m going to get this tattooed on for real. As a reminder to live as much and as hard and as awesome as I can—to not take anything for granted. And having my friends over tonight is part of that.” I look back and forth between them. Tommy’s weakening—I can feel it. Logan’s still a brick wall. “It’ll be small. And quiet—I swear. Totally controlled. And besides, you guys will be here with me. What could go wrong?” Everything. Everything goes fucking wrong.
Emma Chase (Royally Endowed (Royally, #3))
So now what do I do? Do I just approach and start slamming my palms on the window, demanding answers? That seemed somewhat logical. It also seemed kind of stupid. Do I sit here and wait? For how long? And what if the car drives off? Then what? I was still hunched behind the bush, trying to decide what to do, when the decision was made for me. The front passenger door opened and the bald guy stepped out. He still wore the dark suit, and despite the hour, he even had the sunglasses on. For a moment the man stood perfectly still, his back to the bush. Then he slowly turned his head and said, “Mickey.” Gulp. I had no idea how he had seen me, but it didn’t matter now. I stood up. He stared at me from behind those sunglasses, and in spite of the heat, I swear I felt a chill. “You have questions,” the bald man said to me. He spoke with one of those exaggerated British accents that almost sound phony. Like he’d gone to some fancy prep school and wanted to make sure you knew it. “But you’re not yet ready for the answers.” “What does that mean?” “It means,” he said, still with that accent, “just what it sounds like.” I frowned. “It sounds like something you’d read on a bad fortune cookie.” There was the hint of a smile on the bald man’s face. “Don’t tell anyone about us.” “Like who?” “Like anyone. Like your uncle.” “Myron? What would I tell him anyway? I don’t know anything. Who exactly are you? Or, as you put it, us?” “You’ll know,” he said, “when the time is right.” “And when will that be?” The man slid back into the car. He never seemed to hurry, but every moment was almost supernaturally fast and fluid. “Wait!” I shouted. I moved quickly, trying to reach the car door before it closed. “What were you doing in that house? Who are you?” But it was too late. He slammed the door shut. The car started up. Now, as I semi-planned earlier, I slapped the tinted windows with my palm. “Stop!” The
Harlan Coben (Shelter (Micky Bolitar, #1))
Needless to say, Mexico carefully controls its own borders. In 2005, it caught and deported nearly a quarter million illegals, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Mexico thinks so little of our border, however, that its soldiers have made hundreds of incursions. In 2008, Edward Tuffy, head of the Border Patrol’s largest union called on President Bush to stop illegal crossings in which Mexican soldiers have threatened and even fired on US agents. On August 3 of that year, four Mexican soldiers crossed the clearly marked border and held a Border Patrol agent at gunpoint. “Time after time they have gotten away with these incursions,” said Mr. Tuffy, “and time after time our government has not taken a forceful stand against them.” All political factions in Mexico are united in the view that the United States has no right to control its southern border. Felipe Calderon, who succeeded Mr. Fox, unswervingly maintained this policy. During his first state-of-the-nation address in 2007, he won a standing ovation by repeating the traditional government position: “Mexico does not end at its borders,” and, “Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.” The view that Mexicans have a natural right to enter the United States explains the vitriol that met American discussions in 2006 about ways to stop illegal crossings, and an eventual congressional vote to build a wall along certain parts of the border. President Vicente Fox called the plan for a wall “disgraceful and shameful,” and promised that if it were ever built it would be torn down like the Berlin Wall. Interior Minister Santiago Creel boasted that “there is no wall that can stop” Mexicans from crossing into the US. Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez warned that “Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall.” He even said he would ask the United Nations to declare the American plan illegal.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
Somewhere in between are the rest of us natives, in whom such change revives long-buried anger at those faraway people who seem to govern the world: city people, educated city people who win and control while the rest of us work and lose. Snort at the proposition if you want, but that was the view I grew up with, and it still is quite prevalent, though not so open as in those days. These are the sentiments the fearful rich and the Republicans capitalize on in order to kick liberal asses in elections. The Democrats' 2006 midterm gains should not fool anyone into thinking that these feelings are not still out here in this heartland that has so rapidly become suburbanized. It is still politically profitable to cast matters as a battle between the slick people, liberals all, and the regular Joes, people who like white bread and Hamburger Helper and "normal" beer. When you are looking around you in the big cities at all those people, it's hard to understand that there are just as many out here who never will taste sushi or, in all likelihood, fly on an airplane other than when we are flown to boot camp, compliments of Uncle Sam. Only 20 percent of Americans have ever owned a passport. To the working people I grew up with, sophistication of any and all types, and especially urbanity, is suspect. Hell, those city people have never even fired a gun. Then again, who would ever trust Jerry Seinfeld or Dennis Kucinich or Hillary Clinton with a gun? At least Dick Cheney hunts, even if he ain't safe to hunt with. George W. Bush probably knows a good goose gun when he sees one. Guns are everyday tools, like Skil saws and barbecue grills. So when the left began to demonize gun owners in the 1960s, they not only were arrogant and insulting because they associated all gun owners with criminals but also were politically stupid. It made perfect sense to middle America that the gun control movement was centered in large urban areas, the home to everything against which middle America tries to protect itself—gangbangers, queer bars, dope-fiend burglars, swarthy people jabbering in strange languages. From the perspective of small and medium-size towns all over the country, antigun activists are an overwrought bunch.
Joe Bageant (Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War)
Almost as though this thought had fluttered through the open window, Vernon Dursley, Harry’s uncle, suddenly spoke. “Glad to see the boy’s stopped trying to butt in. Where is he anyway?” “I don’t know,” said Aunt Petunia unconcernedly. “Not in the house.” Uncle Vernon grunted. “Watching the news . . .” he said scathingly. “I’d like to know what he’s really up to. As if a normal boy cares what’s on the news — Dudley hasn’t got a clue what’s going on, doubt he knows who the Prime Minister is! Anyway, it’s not as if there’d be anything about his lot on our news —” “Vernon, shh!” said Aunt Petunia. “The window’s open!” “Oh — yes — sorry, dear . . .” The Dursleys fell silent. Harry listened to a jingle about Fruit ’N Bran breakfast cereal while he watched Mrs. Figg, a batty, cat-loving old lady from nearby Wisteria Walk, amble slowly past. She was frowning and muttering to herself. Harry was very pleased that he was concealed behind the bush; Mrs. Figg had recently taken to asking him around for tea whenever she met him in the street. She had rounded the corner and vanished from view before Uncle Vernon’s voice floated out of the window again. “Dudders out for tea?” “At the Polkisses’,” said Aunt Petunia fondly. “He’s got so many little friends, he’s so popular . . .” Harry repressed a snort with difficulty. The Dursleys really were astonishingly stupid about their son, Dudley; they had swallowed all his dim-witted lies about having tea with a different member of his gang every night of the summer holidays. Harry knew perfectly well that Dudley had not been to tea anywhere; he and his gang spent every evening vandalizing the play park, smoking on street corners, and throwing stones at passing cars and children. Harry had seen them at it during his evening walks around Little Whinging; he had spent most of the holidays wandering the streets, scavenging newspapers from bins along the way. The opening notes of the music that heralded the seven o’clock news reached Harry’s ears and his stomach turned over. Perhaps tonight — after a month of waiting — would be the night — “Record numbers of stranded holidaymakers fill airports as the Spanish baggage-handlers’ strike reaches its second week —” “Give ’em a lifelong siesta, I would,” snarled Uncle Vernon over the end of the newsreader’s sentence, but no matter: Outside in the flower bed, Harry’s stomach seemed to unclench.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
After my dad started making duck calls, he’d leave town for a few days, driving all over Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas trying to sell them. He left me in charge of the fishing operation. I was only a teenager, but it was my responsibility to check almost eighty hoop nets three times a week. Looking back now, it was pretty dangerous work for a teenager on the river, especially since I’d never done it alone. If you fell out of the boat and into the river, chances were you might drown if something went wrong and you were alone. But I was determined to prove to my father that I could do it, so I left the house one morning and spent all day on the river. I checked every one of our hoop nets and brought a mound of fish back to Kay to take to market. I was so proud of myself for pulling it off without anyone’s help! When Dad came home a couple of days later, Mom told him about the fish I’d caught and how much money we’d made. I could see the smile on his face. But then he went outside to check his boat and noticed that a paddle was missing. Instead of saying, “Good job, son,” he yelled at me for losing a paddle! I couldn’t believe he was scolding me over a stupid oar! I’d worked from daylight to dusk and earned enough money for my family to buy a dozen paddles! Where was the gratitude? I was so mad that I jumped in the boat and headed to the nets to see if I could find the missing paddle. After checking about seventy nets, I was resigned to the fact that it was probably gone. But when I finally reached the seventy-ninth net, I saw the paddle lying in a few bushes where I’d tied up a headliner, which is a rope leading to the net. It was almost like a religious experience for me. What were the odds of my finding a lost paddle floating in a current on a washed-out river? It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I took the paddle back to my dad, but he was still mad at me for losing it in the first place. I have never liked the line “up a creek without a paddle” because of the trouble boat paddles caused me. I swore I would never lose another one, but lo and behold, the next year, I broke the same paddle I’d lost while trying to kill a cottonmouth water moccasin that almost bit me. My dad wasn’t very compassionate even after I told him his prized paddle perhaps saved my life. I finally concluded that everyone has quirks, and apparently my dad has some sort of weird love affair with boat paddles.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
This is not a hypothetical example. In the middle of the nineteenth century Karl Marx reached brilliant economic insights. Based on these insights he predicted an increasingly violent conflict between the proletariat and the capitalists, ending with the inevitable victory of the former and the collapse of the capitalist system. Marx was certain that the revolution would start in countries that spearheaded the Industrial Revolution – such as Britain, France and the USA – and spread to the rest of the world. Marx forgot that capitalists know how to read. At first only a handful of disciples took Marx seriously and read his writings. But as these socialist firebrands gained adherents and power, the capitalists became alarmed. They too perused Das Kapital, adopting many of the tools and insights of Marxist analysis. In the twentieth century everybody from street urchins to presidents embraced a Marxist approach to economics and history. Even diehard capitalists who vehemently resisted the Marxist prognosis still made use of the Marxist diagnosis. When the CIA analysed the situation in Vietnam or Chile in the 1960s, it divided society into classes. When Nixon or Thatcher looked at the globe, they asked themselves who controls the vital means of production. From 1989 to 1991 George Bush oversaw the demise of the Evil Empire of communism, only to be defeated in the 1992 elections by Bill Clinton. Clinton’s winning campaign strategy was summarised in the motto: ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Marx could not have said it better. As people adopted the Marxist diagnosis, they changed their behaviour accordingly. Capitalists in countries such as Britain and France strove to better the lot of the workers, strengthen their national consciousness and integrate them into the political system. Consequently when workers began voting in elections and Labour gained power in one country after another, the capitalists could still sleep soundly in their beds. As a result, Marx’s predictions came to naught. Communist revolutions never engulfed the leading industrial powers such as Britain, France and the USA, and the dictatorship of the proletariat was consigned to the dustbin of history. This is the paradox of historical knowledge. Knowledge that does not change behaviour is useless. But knowledge that changes behaviour quickly loses its relevance. The more data we have and the better we understand history, the faster history alters its course, and the faster our knowledge becomes outdated.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
When the Afang growled, the bushes shook and the oak leaves trembled on the branches, as if a strong wind was blowing. But after its dinner, when it had swallowed down a man, or two calves, or four sheep, or a fat heifer, or three goats, its body swelled up like a balloon. Then it usually rolled over, lay along the ground, or in the soft mud, and felt very stupid and sleepy, for a long while. All around its lair, lay wagon loads of bones of the creatures, girls, women, men, boys, cows, and occasionally a donkey, which it had devoured.
William Elliot Griffis (Welsh Fairy Tales)
American academia, though, is reaping what it has sowed. From places designed expressly for the free exchange of ideas, today’s colleges and universities have become straitjackets of collectivist thought. The individual means nothing. Remember all those protesters and bumper stickers proclaiming during the George W. Bush administration that “Dissent Is Patriotic”? Turns out it’s only patriotic if it’s liberals dissenting against a conservative in power. The other way around? Racism, xenophobia, bigotry, and general stupidity.
Eric Bolling (Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great—and Why We Need Them More Than Ever)
In the real world, ideas are ridiculed, experiments fail, budgets are cut, and good people are fired for stupid reasons. Companies fall apart and their best projects remain buried, sometimes forever. The Three Deaths tells the honest history, as opposed to the revisionist history, of nearly every important breakthrough I’m aware of or have personally experienced (the Three often stretches to Four, Five, or Ten). The need to nurture and protect fragile loonshots so they can survive those stumbles and setbacks, whether self-inflicted or caused by others, is the central idea behind the systems of Bush and Vail. As we will see, failing to understand the surprising fragility of the loonshot—assuming that the best ideas will blast through barriers, fueled by the power of their brilliance—can be a very expensive mistake. It can mean missing one of the most important discoveries in medicine of the century.
Safi Bahcall (Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries)
I don’t guess you can outrun an explosion, right?” Sam asked doubtfully. Jack rolled his eyes and sighed his condescending geek sigh. “Seriously? Brianna runs in miles per hour. Explosions happen in feet per second. Don’t believe what you see in movies.” “Yeah, Sam,” Dekka said. “In the old days I always had Astrid around to humiliate me when I asked a stupid question,” Sam said. “It’s good to have Jack to take over that job.” He’d said it lightheartedly, but the mention of Astrid left an awkward hole in the conversation. Brianna said, “I can’t outrun an explosion, but I’ll tie the string around the wire.” She zipped over to the wire and zipped back holding the loose end. “Who gets to yank the string?” “She who ties the string pulls it,” Sam said. “But first—” BOOOOM! The containers, the sand, pieces of driftwood, bushes on the bluff all erupted in a fireball. Sam felt a blast of heat on his face. His ears rang. His eyes scrunched on sand. Debris seemed to take a long time to fall back down to earth. In the eventual silence Sam said, “I was going to say first we should all lie flat so we didn’t get blown up. But I guess that was good, too, Breeze.
Michael Grant (Fear (Gone, #5))
For God’s sake, Eve Windham, it was just a kiss under the mistletoe, probably inspired by your papa’s wassail more than anything else.” She had to put her hand on his arm while the feeling of the ground shifting beneath her feet swept over her. “My brothers said it was white rum.” “The occasional tot makes the holiday socializing less tedious. You really do not look well.” The last observation was grudging, almost worried. “I did not mean to swill from your glass, Deene. You should have stopped me.” They had to get to the coach. The night felt like it was closing in, and Deene’s voice—a perfect example of male aristocratic euphony—was swelling and shrinking in the oddest way. “I might have stopped you, except you downed the whole drink before I realized what was afoot, and then you were accosting me in the most passionate—” Eve clutched his arm and swayed into him, breathing shallowly through her mouth. “If you insist on arguing with me, my lord, I will be ill all over these bushes.” “Why didn’t you say so?” He slipped an arm around her waist and promenaded her down the steps. By the time they got to the garden gate, the nausea was subsiding, though Eve was leaning heavily on her escort. She had the notion that the scents of cedar and lavender coming from Deene’s jacket might have helped quiet her stomach. Deene ushered her through the gate, which put them on a quiet, mercifully dark side street. “How often do these headaches befall you?” “Too often. Sometimes I go for months between attacks, sometimes only days. The worst is when it hits on one side, subsides for a day, then strikes on the other.” Deene pulled one of his gloves off with his teeth, then used two fingers to give a piercing, three-blast whistle. “Sorry.” All the while he kept his arm around Eve’s waist, a solid, warm—and quite unexpected—bulwark against complete disability. “The coach will here in moments. Is there anything that helps?” “Absolute quiet, absolute dark, time.” Though her mother used to rub her neck, and that had helped the most. He said nothing more—Deene wasn’t stupid—and Eve just leaned on him. Her grandmother had apparently suffered from these same headaches, though neither Eve’s parents nor her siblings were afflicted. The clip-clop of hooves sounded like so much gunfire in Eve’s head, but it was the sound of privacy, so Eve tried to welcome it. Deene gave the coachy directions to the Windham mansion and climbed in after Eve. “Shall I sit beside you, my lady?” An odd little courtesy, that he would even ask. “Please. The less I move, the less uncomfortable I am.” He settled beside her and looped an arm around her shoulders. Without a single thought for dignity, skirmishes, or propriety, Eve laid her head on his shoulder, closed her eyes, and was grateful. ***
Grace Burrowes (Lady Eve's Indiscretion (The Duke's Daughters, #4; Windham, #7))
Everything looked like death to me, a bush was hunched-over grizzly, a skinny tree stump was a wolf staring right at me. My heart was thumping and kicking in me like it was trying to get free a' my stupid.
Beth Lewis
The two eyed each other, each through her own prejudices. The woman was tall and powerfully built, although her dark uniform made her look smaller. Her brown hair had gone fuzzy in the sea wind, bushing out and making her face look even more like a bright-eyed potato. She outweighed Merry by a hundred pounds, and her strong hands could have crushed a throat with ease. There were tales of mad bodyguards who’d turned on their employers. Merry sometimes thought of those stories when she looked at Worth. The woman saw just another child, featureless—her job. At least this one was polite, but then quite often her type used manners to mask contempt, as this one’s parents did. But that was part of the job, putting up with their attitude. At least the pay was good and the living quarters better than most. For that she could put up with listening to this kid whose idea of casual conversation was telling you about some stupid old book she’d read or some boring fact she’d learned. But then most members of the ruling class were a little crazy.
Helen Mary Hoover (The Shepherd Moon)
As she led them out onto the mud, Dovepaw glanced back to see Thornclaw pull a long stick out from under the roots of an elder bush at the edge of the bank. Before he could carry it off, Jayfeather erupted from the undergrowth, a bundle of herbs in his jaws. "Hey, that's mine!" he protested, spitting leaves everywhere. "Put it back!" "Are you mouse-brained?" Thornclaw mumbled around the stick. "I need it. It's only a stick." "It's my stick." Dovepaw was startled to see how worked up Jayfeather was, his eyes blazing and neck fur bristling, as if he was facing an enemy. "If you don't bring it back to me in one piece, I'll... I'll..." "Okay, I'll bring back your stupid stick," Thornclaw snarled. "Keep your fur on." He raced back across the mud with the stick in his jaws. Dovepaw and Ivypaw followed more slowly behind their mentors. Dovepaw was trying to lift each paw as soon as it touched the scorching ground. Her pads would be shriveled by the time she reached the water. "Do you think the heat is getting to Jayfeather?" Ivypaw whispered. "Thornclaw's right. It's only a stick." Dovepaw shrugged. "Maybe it's medicine cat stuff." "Yes, but what happens to us if our medicine cat gets bees in his brains?
Erin Hunter (The Fourth Apprentice (Warriors: Omen of the Stars, #1))
The whole world stands to be engulfed. The destruction, when it is unleashed, will be unprecedented. The totalitarians in Russia, China, Iran and the Arab world are preparing for war. Now that Bush's position is collapsing and the Party of Outright Appeasement has begun its reign, the enemies of freedom see their chance. Cowardice and stupidity have conspired, and the result is "opportunity." Western progress has finally given the totalitarian regimes a generation of "last men," about whom Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote: "The earth hath become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small." The "last man" comes at the end, when civilization begins to die. And indeed, the Western democracies are dying. I am reminded of Titus Livius's description of Rome's descent into despotism as "the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them." We congratulate ourselves on the interest-group demagogy that produces policy in the West, throwing up words like "democracy" and "freedom" when the reality of the situation is better described by words like "anarchy" and "licentiousness.
J.R. Nyquist
The inside joke became—echoing Karl Rove as Bush’s brain and later Steve Bannon as Trump’s brain—that now it was Sean Hannity who had become Trump’s resident genius. Trump had ended up with someone even stupider than he was. Yet this was fitting, because Trump deeply resented the implication that he ever needed to depend on someone else’s acumen or intelligence—or, really, that there could possibly be anyone who was smarter than he was. But with Hannity as his sidekick, he could feel quite certain that no one would think he was relying on someone smarter. (This, in fact, was a frequent internal debate: Who was stupider, Trump or Hannity?)
Michael Wolff (Siege: Trump Under Fire)
What are your feelings from Bush to Obama? Besides being responsible for the death of half a million people, I feel like Bush dealt a huge economic and social blow to the USA, one from which we may never fully recover. He directly flushed 3 trillion dollars down the toilet on hopeless, pointlessly destructive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq …and they’re not even over! For years to come, we’ll be paying costs for all the injured veterans (over 50,000) and destabilizing three countries, because you have to look at the impact that the Afghan war has on Pakistan. Bush expanded the use of torture, and created a whole new layer of government bureaucracy (the “Department of Homeland Security”) to spy on Americans. He created Indefinite Detention (at Guantanamo and other US military bases) and expanded the use of executive-ordered assassinations using the new drone technology. On economic issues, his administration allowed corporations to run things and regulate themselves. The agency that was supposed to regulate oil drilling had lobbyist-paid prostitutes sleeping with employees while oil industry lobbyists basically ran the agency. Energy companies like Enron, and the country’s investment banks were deregulated at the end of the Clinton administration and Bush allowed them to run wild. Above all, he was incompetent and appointed some really stupid people to important positions at every level of government. Certainly, Obama has been involved in many of these same activities. A few he’s increased, such as the use of drone assassinations, but most of them he has at least tried to scale back. At the beginning of his first term, he tried to close the Guantanamo prison and have trials for many of the detainees in the United States but conservatives (including many Democrats) stirred up public resistance and blocked this from happening. He tried to get some kind of universal healthcare because over 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance. This is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcies and foreclosures because someone gets sick in a family, loses their job, loses their health insurance (because American employers are source of most people’s healthcare) and they can’t pay their health bills or their mortgage. Or they use up all their money caring for a sick family member. So many people in the US wanted health insurance reform or single-payer, universal health care similar to what you have in the UK. Members of Obama’s own party (The Democrats) joined with Republicans to narrowly block “The public option” but they managed to pass a half-assed but not-unsubstantial reform of health insurance that would prevent insurers from denying you coverage when you’re sick or have a “preexisting condition.” The minute it was signed into law, Republicans sued in the courts (all the way to the supreme court) and fought, tooth and nail to block its implementation. Same thing with gun control, even as we’re one of the most violent industrial countries in the world. (Among industrial countries, our murder rate is second only to Russia). Obama has managed to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan over Republican opposition but, literally, everything he tries to do, they blast it in the media and fight it in Congress. So, while I have a lot of criticisms of Obama, he is many orders of magnitude less awful than Bush and many of the positive things he’s tried to do have been blocked. That said, the Democratic and Republican parties agree on more things than they disagree. Both signed off on the Afghan and Iraq wars. Both signed off on deregulation of banks, of derivatives, of mortgage regulations and of the energy and telecom business …and we’ve been living with the consequences ever since. I’m guessing it’s the same thing with Labor and Conservatives in the UK. Labor or Democrats will SAY they stand for certain “progressive” things but they end up supporting the same old crap... (2014 interview with iamhiphop)
Andy Singer
What’s THAT?!” Laurent screeched as the bushes directly next to them began to move. A hundred things ran through Madi’s mind: that serial killers really should choose more productive ways to spend their time, that her sister Sarah was going to be out-of-control when their parents broke the news Madi’d been murdered, that it was a really stupid twist of fate that Madi’d found the man of her dreams only to lose him, and lastly— That really looks like a squirrel. “RUN!” Laurent bellowed as the little creature took two bouncing steps toward them and stopped, staring at them with interest.
Danika Stone (Internet Famous)
Portrait of the Author" The birches are mad with green points the wood's edge is burning with their green, burning, seething—No, no, no. The birches are opening their leaves one by one. Their delicate leaves unfold cold and separate, one by one. Slender tassels hang swaying from the delicate branch tips— Oh, I cannot say it. There is no word. Black is split at once into flowers. In every bog and ditch, flares of small fire, white flowers!—Agh, the birches are mad, mad with their green. The world is gone, torn into shreds with this blessing. What have I left undone that I should have undertaken? O my brother, you redfaced, living man ignorant, stupid whose feet are upon this same dirt that I touch—and eat. We are alone in this terror, alone, face to face on this road, you and I, wrapped by this flame! Let the polished plows stay idle, their gloss already on the black soil. But that face of yours—! Answer me. I will clutch you. I will hug you, grip you. I will poke my face into your face and force you to see me. Take me in your arms, tell me the commonest thing that is in your mind to say, say anything. I will understand you—! It is the madness of the birch leaves opening cold, one by one. My rooms will receive me. But my rooms are no longer sweet spaces where comfort is ready to wait on me with its crumbs. A darkness has brushed them. The mass of yellow tulips in the bowl is shrunken. Every familiar object is changed and dwarfed. I am shaken, broken against a might that splits comfort, blows apart my careful partitions, crushes my house and leaves me—with shrinking heart and startled, empty eyes—peering out into a cold world. In the spring I would be drunk! In the spring I would be drunk and lie forgetting all things. Your face! Give me your face, Yang Kue Fei! your hands, your lips to drink! Give me your wrists to drink— I drag you, I am drowned in you, you overwhelm me! Drink! Save me! The shad bush is in the edge of the clearing. The yards in a fury of lilac blossoms are driving me mad with terror. Drink and lie forgetting the world. And coldly the birch leaves are opening one by one. Coldly I observe them and wait for the end. And it ends.
William Carlos Williams (Sour Grapes)
Have you ever seen a documentary about those birds that make gardens and towers and clearings in the bushes where they perform their mating dances? Did you know that the only ones that find a mate are the ones that make the best gardens, the best towers, the best clearings, the ones that perform the most elaborate dances? Haven't you ever seen those ridiculous birds that practically dance themselves to death to woo the female? That's what Arturo Belano was like, a stupid, conceited peacock. And visceral realism was his exhausting dance of love for me. The thing was, I didn't love him anymore. You can woo a girl with a poem, but you can't hold on to her with a poem. Not even with a poetry movement. Why did I keep hanging out with the same people he hung out with for a while? Well, they were my friends too, my friends still, although it wasn't long before I got tired of them. Let me tell you something. The university was real, the biology department was real, my professors were real, my classmates were real. By that I mean tangible, with goals that were more or less clear, plans that were more or less clear. Those people weren't real. The great poet Alí Chumacero (who I guess shouldn't be blamed for having a name like that) was real, do you see what I mean?, what he left behind was real. What they left behind, on the other hand, wasn't real. Poor little mice hypnotized by Ulises and led to the slaughter by Arturo. Let me put it as concisely as I can: the real problem was that they were almost all at least twenty and they acted like they were barely fifteen. Do you see what I mean?
Roberto Bolaño (The Savage Detectives)
There’s something you should know about Svanja’s father.” I met her eyes unwillingly. “He’s a lot like you,” she said quietly. “It takes some time for him to get his temper up. Right now, he just feels grief over what his daughter is doing. But as it becomes common talk in town, there will be men who will goad him about it. Grief will change to shame, and not long after that, to fury. But it won’t be against Svanja that he vents it. He’ll go after Hap, as the culprit who has deceived and seduced his daughter. By then, he’ll be righteous as well as angry. And he is strong as a bull.” When I sat silent, she added, “I told Hap this.” Fennel came to her and wafted up into her lap, displacing her knitting. She petted him absently. “What did Hap say?” She made a disgusted sound. “That he wasn’t afraid. I told him that had nothing to do with it. And that sometimes being stupid and not being afraid were two twigs of the same bush.
Robin Hobb (Golden Fool (Tawny Man, #2))