Great Air Force Quotes

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How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I)
Perfectly Imperfect We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path. Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are. Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
But somebody else had spoken Snape’s name, quite softly. “Severus . . .” The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading. Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face. “Severus . . . please . . .” Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore. “Avada Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once -somewhere- far away in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses size. The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows. You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die? Or one might take the tip of the pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become league, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity. If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through the shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that have dared On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth So great an object: can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt? O, pardon! since a crooked figure may Attest in little place a million; And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work. Suppose within the girdle of these walls Are now confined two mighty monarchies, Whose high upreared and abutting fronts The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; Into a thousand parts divide on man, And make imaginary puissance; Think when we talk of horses, that you see them Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times, Turning the accomplishment of many years Into an hour-glass: for the which supply, Admit me Chorus to this history; Who prologue-like your humble patience pray, Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
If you are ever forced to take a chemistry class, you will probably see, at the front of the classroom, a large chart divided into squares, with different numbers and letters in each of them. This chart is called the table of elements, and scientists like to say that it contains all the substances that make up our world. Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element of aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise. The element of surprise is not a gas like oxygen, or a solid, like aluminum. The element of surprise is an unfair advantage, and it can be found in situations in which one person has sneaked up on another. The surprised person - or, in this sad case, the surprised person - are too stunned to defend themselves and the sneaky person has the advantage of the element of surprise.
Lemony Snicket (The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6))
Identify you as messenger...to other Riders." The words were gasped as if he were forcing air in and out of his lungs by sheer will to extend his life. "Fly...Rider, with great speed. Don't read m-message. Then they can't tor-torture...it from you. If captured, shred it and toss it to the winds." Then, because his voice had grown so faint, she had to lean very close to hear his final words. "Beware the shadow man." A cold tremor ran through Karigan's body. "I'll do my best," she told him.
Kristen Britain
Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overschadowed distances. [...] And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
We are accustomed to think of ourselves as an emancipated people; we say that we are democratic, liberty-loving, free of prejudices and hatred. This is the melting-pot, the seat of a great human experiment. Beautiful words, full of noble, idealistic sentiment. Actually we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such like. To call this a society of free peoples is blasphemous. What have we to offer the world beside the superabundant loot which we recklessly plunder from the earth under the maniacal delusion that this insane activity represents progress and enlightenment? The land of opportunity has become the land of senseless sweat and struggle. The goal of all our striving has long been forgotten. We no longer wish to succor the oppressed and homeless; there is no room in this great, empty land for those who, like our forefathers before us, now seek a place of refuge. Millions of men and women are, or were until very recently, on relief, condemned like guinea pigs to a life of forced idleness. The world meanwhile looks to us with a desperation such as it has never known before. Where is the democratic spirit? Where are the leaders?
Henry Miller (The Air-Conditioned Nightmare)
The heat finally left space for breathing and crisp air. The trees undressed and coloured the streets and I found myself changing with the season. I so badly wanted to be that force of nature, that fire no one can touch, but I was tired. Tired, tired, tired, of being me and if I had one inch of energy to be something beautiful, I would have, but all I could care about was to make it home before it got dark.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
What is this earth and sea of which I have seen so much? Whence is it produced? And what am I and all the other creatures, wild and tame, humane and brutal? Whence are we? Sure we are all made by some secret power, who formed the earth and sea, the air and sky; and who is that? Then it followed most naturally, It is God that has made it all. Well, but then it came on strangely, if God has made all these things, He guides and governs them all, and all things that concern them; for the power that could make all things must certainly have power to guide and direct them. If so, nothing can happen in the great circuit of His works, either without His knowledge or appointment. And if nothing happens without His knowledge, He knows that I am here, and am in this dreadful condition; and if nothing happens without His appointment, He has appointed all this to befall me. Nothing occurred to my thought to contradict any of these conclusions; and therefore it rested upon me with the greater force that it must need be, that God had appointed all this to befall me; that I was brought to this miserable circumstance by His direction, He having the sole power, not of me only, but of every thing that happened in the world. Immediately it followed: Why has God done this to me? What have I done to be thus used?
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe, #1))
Salt Lake City has a monument to the seagulls, which in 1848 swooped down from the sky to devour a swarm of locusts, thereby saving Utah crops. They were known affectionately as the “Mormon Air Force.” Someday New Orleans should likewise honor the dragonfly. With their large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and outstretched bodies, dragonflies frighten most people. On Tuesday dragonflies blanketed New Orleans, hovering just inches above the smelly floodwater, eating every mosquito in sight.
Douglas Brinkley (The Great Deluge)
A final depressing point about inequality and violence. As we’ve seen, a rat being shocked activates a stress response. But a rat being shocked who can then bite the hell out of another rat has less of a stress response. Likewise with baboons—if you are low ranking, a reliable way to reduce glucocorticoid secretion is to displace aggression onto those even lower in the pecking order. It’s something similar here—despite the conservative nightmare of class warfare, of the poor rising up to slaughter the wealthy, when inequality fuels violence, it is mostly the poor preying on the poor. This point is made with a great metaphor for the consequences of societal inequality.41 The frequency of “air rage”—a passenger majorly, disruptively, dangerously losing it over something on a flight—has been increasing. Turns out there’s a substantial predictor of it: if the plane has a first-class section, there’s almost a fourfold increase in the odds of a coach passenger having air rage. Force coach passengers to walk through first class when boarding, and you more than double the chances further. Nothing like starting a flight by being reminded of where you fit into the class hierarchy. And completing the parallel with violent crime, when air rage is boosted in coach by reminders of inequality, the result is not a crazed coach passenger sprinting into first class to shout Marxist slogans. It’s the guy being awful to the old woman sitting next to him, or to the flight attendant.*
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
It was a lie, of course, and she was prepared to confess it to her priest. But she’d be damned if she’d tell him she’d been playing with his music. Her pride was worth the penance. He felt a quiver in his heart that he took for sympathy. “There, Brenna darling. Have you gone and fallen in love on me?” She jerked, whirled, gaped at him. He was watching her with such—such bloody affection, such patience and sympathy. She could have beaten him black and blue. Instead, she just shoved clear of him and snatched up her toolbox. “Shawn Gallagher, you are truly a great idiot of a man.” With her nose in the air and her tools clanking, she stalked out. He only shook his head, then went back to his cleaning up. With that little quiver around his heart again, he wondered who it was that O’Toole had set her sights on. Whoever, Shawn thought, slamming a cupboard door just a little too forcefully, the man had better be worthy of her.
Nora Roberts (Tears of the Moon (Gallaghers of Ardmore, #2))
Approaching the Williamsburg Bridge - not really certain of how he had managed to find himself there - he experienced an extraordinary moment of buoyancy, of grace. There was a lot more traffic now, but his shifting was smooth and the sturdy little car was adroit at changing lanes. He launched himself out over the East River. He could feel the bridge humming underneath his wheels and all around him could sense the engineering of it, the forces and tensions and rivets that were all conspiring to keep him aloft. To the south, he glimpsed the Manhattan Bridge, with its Parisian air, refined, elegant, its skirts hiked to reveal tapered steel legs, and, beyond, the Brooklyn Bridge, like a great ropy strand of muscle. In the other direction lay the Queensboro Bridge, like two great iron tsarinas linking hands to dance. And before him, the city that had sheltered him and swallowed him and made him a modest fortune loomed, gray and brown, festooned with swags and boas of some misty gray stuff, a compound of harbor fog and spring dew and its own steamy exhalations. Hope had been his enemy, a frailty that he must at all costs master, for so long now that it was a moment before he was willing to concede that he had let it back into his heart.
Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay)
People spoke to foreigners with an averted gaze, and everybody seemed to know somebody who had just vanished. The rumors of what had happened to them were fantastic and bizarre though, as it turned out, they were only an understatement of the real thing. Before going to see General Videla […], I went to […] check in with Los Madres: the black-draped mothers who paraded, every week, with pictures of their missing loved ones in the Plaza Mayo. (‘Todo mi familia!’ as one elderly lady kept telling me imploringly, as she flourished their photographs. ‘Todo mi familia!’) From these and from other relatives and friends I got a line of questioning to put to the general. I would be told by him, they forewarned me, that people ‘disappeared’ all the time, either because of traffic accidents and family quarrels or, in the dire civil-war circumstances of Argentina, because of the wish to drop out of a gang and the need to avoid one’s former associates. But this was a cover story. Most of those who disappeared were openly taken away in the unmarked Ford Falcon cars of the Buenos Aires military police. I should inquire of the general what precisely had happened to Claudia Inez Grumberg, a paraplegic who was unable to move on her own but who had last been seen in the hands of his ever-vigilant armed forces [….] I possess a picture of the encounter that still makes me want to spew: there stands the killer and torturer and rape-profiteer, as if to illustrate some seminar on the banality of evil. Bony-thin and mediocre in appearance, with a scrubby moustache, he looks for all the world like a cretin impersonating a toothbrush. I am gripping his hand in a much too unctuous manner and smiling as if genuinely delighted at the introduction. Aching to expunge this humiliation, I waited while he went almost pedantically through the predicted script, waving away the rumored but doubtless regrettable dematerializations that were said to be afflicting his fellow Argentines. And then I asked him about Senorita Grumberg. He replied that if what I had said was true, then I should remember that ‘terrorism is not just killing with a bomb, but activating ideas. Maybe that’s why she’s detained.’ I expressed astonishment at this reply and, evidently thinking that I hadn’t understood him the first time, Videla enlarged on the theme. ‘We consider it a great crime to work against the Western and Christian style of life: it is not just the bomber but the ideologist who is the danger.’ Behind him, I could see one or two of his brighter staff officers looking at me with stark hostility as they realized that the general—El Presidente—had made a mistake by speaking so candidly. […] In response to a follow-up question, Videla crassly denied—‘rotondamente’: ‘roundly’ denied—holding Jacobo Timerman ‘as either a journalist or a Jew.’ While we were having this surreal exchange, here is what Timerman was being told by his taunting tormentors: Argentina has three main enemies: Karl Marx, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of society; Sigmund Freud, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of the family; and Albert Einstein, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of time and space. […] We later discovered what happened to the majority of those who had been held and tortured in the secret prisons of the regime. According to a Navy captain named Adolfo Scilingo, who published a book of confessions, these broken victims were often destroyed as ‘evidence’ by being flown out way over the wastes of the South Atlantic and flung from airplanes into the freezing water below. Imagine the fun element when there’s the surprise bonus of a Jewish female prisoner in a wheelchair to be disposed of… we slide open the door and get ready to roll her and then it’s one, two, three… go!
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
There are four forces which work together if you want to put something into the sky and have it stay there. One of these is lift. Lift is made when the air pressure under a wing is greater than the air pressure over the wing. Then the wing gets pushed upwards. That’s how birds fly. That’s how kites fly – a kite is basically just a solitary wing. That’s how airplanes fly. But people need lift too. People don’t get moving, they don’t soar, they don’t achieve great heights, without something buoying them up.
Elizabeth Wein (Rose Under Fire)
Throughout my career, I always had great respect for the British Special Air Service, the famed SAS. The SAS motto was “Who Dares Wins.” The motto was so widely admired that even moments before the bin Laden raid, my Command Sergeant Major, Chris Faris, quoted it to the SEALs preparing for the mission. To me the motto was more than about how the British special forces operated as a unit; it was about how each of us should approach our lives. Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.
William H. McRaven (Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World)
Every great phenomenon is followed by degeneration, particularly in the realm of art. The model of the great man stimulates vainer natures to imitate him outwardly or to surpass him; in addition, all great talents have the fateful quality of stifling many weaker forces and needs, and seem to devastate the nature around them. The most fortunate instance in the development of art is when several geniuses reciprocally keep each other in check; in this kind of a struggle, weaker and gentle natures are generally also allowed air and light.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
For Woman, in her weakness, is yet the strongest force upon the earth. She is the helm of all things human; she comes in many shapes and knocks at many doors; she is quick and patient, and her passion is not ungovernable like that of man, but as a gentle steed that she can guide e'en where she will, and as occasion offers can now bit up and now give rein. She has a captain's eye, and stout must be that fortress of the heart in which she finds no place of vantage. Does thy blood beat fast in youth? She will outrun it, nor will her kisses tire. Art thou set toward ambition? She will unlock thy inner heart, and show thee roads that lead to glory. Art thou worn and weary? She has comfort in her breast. Art thou fallen? She can lift thee up, and to the illusion of thy sense gild defeat with triumph. Ay, Harmachis, she can do these things, for Nature ever fights upon her side; and while she does them she can deceive and shape a secret end in which thou hast no part. And thus Woman rules the world. For her are wars; for her men spend their strength in gathering gains; for her they do well and ill, and seek for greatness, to find oblivion. But still she sits like yonder Sphinx, and smiles; and no man has ever read all the riddle of her smile, or known all the mystery of her heart. Mock not! mock not! Harmachis; for he must be great indeed who can defy the power of Woman, which, pressing round him like the invisible air, is often strongest when the senses least discover it.
H. Rider Haggard (Cleopatra)
One day, soon after her disappearance, an attack of abominable nausea forced me to pull up on the ghost of an old mountain road that now accompanied, now traversed a brand new highway, with its population of asters bathing in the detached warmth of a pale-blue afternoon in late summer. After coughing myself inside out I rested a while on a boulder and then thinking the sweet air might do me good, walked a little way toward a low stone parapet on the precipice side of the highway. Small grasshoppers spurted out of the withered roadside weeds. A very light cloud was opening its arms and moving toward a slightly more substantial one belonging to another, more sluggish, heavenlogged system. As I approached the friendly abyss, I grew aware of a melodious unity of sounds rising like vapor from a small mining town that lay at my feet, in a fold of the valley. One could make out the geometry of the streets between blocks of red and gray roofs, and green puffs of trees, and a serpentine stream, and the rich, ore-like glitter of the city dump, and beyond the town, roads crisscrossing the crazy quilt of dark and pale fields, and behind it all, great timbered mountains. But even brighter than those quietly rejoicing colors - for there are colors and shades that seem to enjoy themselves in good company - both brighter and dreamier to the ear than they were to the eye, was that vapory vibration of accumulated sounds that never ceased for a moment, as it rose to the lip of granite where I stood wiping my foul mouth. And soon I realized that all these sounds were of one nature, that no other sounds but these came from the streets of the transparent town, with the women at home and the men away. Reader! What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, remote and magically near, frank and divinely enigmatic - one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita's absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
One also, in our milieu, simply didn't meet enough Americans to form an opinion. And when one did—this was in the days of crew-cuts and short-legged pants—they, too, often really did sport crew-cuts and trousers that mysteriously ended several inches short of the instep. Why was that? It obviously wasn't poverty. A colleague of my father's had a daughter who got herself married and found that an American friend she had met on holiday had offered to pay the whole cost of the nuptial feast. I forget the name of this paladin, but he had a crew-cut and amputated trouser-bottoms and a cigar stub and he came from a place called Yonkers, which seemed to me a ridiculous name to give to a suburb. (I, who had survived Crapstone… ) Anyway, once again one received a Henry Jamesian impression of brash generosity without overmuch refinement. There was a boy at my boarding school called Warren Powers Laird Myers, the son of an officer stationed at one of the many U.S. Air Force bases in Cambridgeshire. Trousers at The Leys School were uniform and regulation, but he still managed to show a bit of shin and to buzz-cut his hair. 'I am not a Yankee,' he informed me (he was from Norfolk, Virginia). 'I am a CON-federate.' From what I was then gleaning of the news from Dixie, this was unpromising. In our ranks we also had Jamie Auchincloss, a sprig of the Kennedy-Bouvier family that was then occupying the White House. His trousers managed to avoid covering his ankles also, though the fact that he shared a parent with Jackie Kennedy meant that anything he did was accepted as fashionable by definition. The pants of a man I'll call Mr. 'Miller,' a visiting American master who skillfully introduced me to J.D. Salinger, were also falling short of their mark. Mr. Miller's great teacher-feature was that he saw sexual imagery absolutely everywhere and was slightly too fond of pointing it out [...]. Meanwhile, and as I mentioned much earlier, the dominant images projected from the United States were of the attack-dog-and-firehose kind, with swag-bellied cops lying about themselves and the political succession changed as much by bullets as by ballots.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Ma'am," he said, reaching for the door. He held it open, his posture as erect and sturdy as a pole. I eyed the man's uniform, the pins and badges that signified his military rank and position. At that moment I felt opposing forces wash over me, clashing internally like a cold and warm front meeting in the air. At first I was hit by a burning sense of respect and gratitude. How privileged a person I was to have this soldier unbar the way for me, maintaining a clear path that I might advance unhindered. The symbolism marked by his actions did strike me with remarkable intensity. How many virtual doors would be shut in my face if not for dutiful soldiers like him? As I went to step forward, my feet nearly faltered as if they felt unworthy. It was I who ought to be holding open the door for this gentleman—this representative of great heroes present and past who did fight and sacrifice and continue to do so to keep doors open, paths free and clear for all of humanity. I moved through the entrance and thanked him. "Yes, ma'am," he said. How strange that I should feel such pride while passing through his open door.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
If you are ever forced to take a chemistry class, you will probably see, at the front of the classroom, a large chart divided into squares, with different numbers and letters in each of them. This chart is called the table of the elements, and scientists like to say that it contains all the substances that make up our world. Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of the elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of the elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise
Lemony Snicket (The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6))
Dr. Chanter, in his brilliant History of Human Thought in the Twentieth Century, has made the suggestion that only a very small proportion of people are capable of acquiring new ideas of political or social behaviour after they are twenty-five years old. On the other hand, few people become directive in these matters until they are between forty and fifty. Then they prevail for twenty years or more. The conduct of public affairs therefore is necessarily twenty years or more behind the living thought of the times. This is what Dr. Chanter calls the "delayed realisation of ideas". In the less hurried past this had not been of any great importance, but in the violent crises of the Revolutionary Period it became a primary fact. It is evident now that whatever the emergency, however obvious the new problem before our species in the nineteen-twenties, it was necessary for the whole generation that had learned nothing and could learn nothing from the Great War and its sequelae, to die out before any rational handling of world affairs could even begin. The cream of the youth of the war years had been killed; a stratum of men already middle-aged remained in control, whose ideas had already set before the Great War. It was, says Chanter, an inescapable phase. The world of the Frightened Thirties and the Brigand Forties was under the dominion of a generation of unteachable, obstinately obstructive men, blinded men, miseducating, misleading the baffled younger people for completely superseded ends. If they could have had their way, they would have blinded the whole world for ever. But the blinding was inadequate, and by the Fifties all this generation and its teachings and traditions were passing away, like a smoke-screen blown aside. Before a few years had passed it was already incredible that in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century the whole political life of the world was still running upon the idea of competitive sovereign empires and states. Men of quite outstanding intelligence were still planning and scheming for the "hegemony" of Britain or France or Germany or Japan; they were still moving their armies and navies and air forces and making their combinations and alliances upon the dissolving chess-board of terrestrial reality. Nothing happened as they had planned it; nothing worked out as they desired; but still with a stupefying inertia they persisted. They launched armies, they starved and massacred populations. They were like a veterinary surgeon who suddenly finds he is operating upon a human being, and with a sort of blind helplessness cuts and slashes more and more desperately, according to the best equestrian rules. The history of European diplomacy between 1914 and 1944 seems now so consistent a record of incredible insincerity that it stuns the modern mind. At the time it seemed rational behaviour. It did not seem insincere. The biographical material of the period -- and these governing-class people kept themselves in countenance very largely by writing and reading each other's biographies -- the collected letters, the collected speeches, the sapient observations of the leading figures make tedious reading, but they enable the intelligent student to realise the persistence of small-society values in that swiftly expanding scene. Those values had to die out. There was no other way of escaping from them, and so, slowly and horribly, that phase of the moribund sovereign states concluded.
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
Ruby,” Kai said in a strained voice that was a far cry from his usual lackadaisical tones, “I know I am far from worthy of you, but would you do me the great honor of consenting to be my wife?” If the sky had rained fire, I would have been less shocked. I turned to stone. At least, that’s what it felt like. I didn’t move, didn’t breathe, didn’t even blink for what felt like a full minute. Then Kai lifted a brow and the air rushed back into my lungs. “You’re not serious” was all I could manage. He produced a winning, though forced, smile. “I assure you, the queen—that is, I—am quite serious. I’m asking for your hand in marriage.” “To…you,” I said with heavy emphasis. “Yes, that is why I am the one asking.” Despite his blinding display of teeth, he spoke as if his jaw was too rigid to form words properly. “To me.” I said it carefully, as if testing out new words in a foreign language. “Which is why it is your hand I’m asking for.
Elly Blake (Fireblood (Frostblood Saga, #2))
All this attempt to control... We are talking about Western attitudes that are five hundred years old... The basic idea of science - that there was a new way to look at reality, that it was objective, that it did not depend on your beliefs or your nationality, that it was rational - that idea was fresh and exciting back then. It offered promise and hope for the future, and it swept away the old medieval system, which was hundreds of years old. The medieval world of feudal politics and religious dogma and hateful superstitions fell before science. But, in truth, this was because the medieval world didn't really work any more. It didn't work economically, it didn't work intellectually, and it didn't fit the new world that was emerging... But now... science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting to not fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it can not tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways - air, and water, and land - because of ungovernable science... At the same time, the great intellectual justification of science has vanished. Ever since Newton and Descartes, science has explicitly offered us the vision of total control. Science has claimed the power to eventually control everything, through its understanding of natural laws. But in the twentieth century, that claim has been shattered beyond repair. First, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle set limits on what we could know about the subatomic world. Oh well, we say. None of us lives in a subatomic world. It doesn't make any practical difference as we go through our lives. Then Godel's theorem set similar limits to mathematics, the formal language of science. Mathematicians used to think that their language had some inherent trueness that derived from the laws of logic. Now we know what we call 'reason' is just an arbitrary game. It's not special, in the way we thought it was. And now chaos theory proves that unpredictability is built into our daily lives. It is as mundane as the rain storms we cannot predict. And so the grand vision of science, hundreds of years old - the dream of total control - has died, in our century. And with it much of the justification, the rationale for science to do what it does. And for us to listen to it. Science has always said that it may not know everything now but it will know, eventually. But now we see that isn't true. It is an idle boast. As foolish, and misguided, as the child who jumps off a building because he believes he can fly... We are witnessing the end of the scientific era. Science, like other outmoded systems, is destroying itself. As it gains in power, it proves itself incapable of handling the power. Because things are going very fast now... it will be in everyone's hands. It will be in kits for backyard gardeners. Experiments for schoolchildren. Cheap labs for terrorists and dictators. And that will force everyone to ask the same question - What should I do with my power? - which is the very question science says it cannot answer.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
He was wearing a purple cloak over his shoulders in a strange, foreign fashion, his arms folded inside it. His face was deathly pale, but as his great black eyes stared at me, a dagger seemed to pierce my heart. A feeling of horror ran through me, and quickly turning my face away, I summoned all my strength and continued speaking. But as though compelled by some magic force, I could not help looking over towards him again and again. He still stood there, impassive and motionless, his ghostly eyes fixed upon me. Something resembling bitter scorn and hatred lay on his high, furrowed brow and his drawn lips. The whole figure had a horrible, frightening air about it. It was... it was the mysterious painter from the Holy Linden. Cruel, icy fingers clutched at my heart. A fearful sweat on my forehead; my phrases stuck in my throat, and my speech became more and more incoherent. But the terrible stranger still leant silently against the pillar, his glassy eyes set unwaveringly on me.
E.T.A. Hoffmann (The Devil's Elixirs)
He got into the tub and ran a little cold water. Then he lowered his thin, hairy body into the just-right warmth and stared at the interstices between the tiles. Sadness--he had experienced that emotion ten thousand times. As exhalation is to inhalation, he thought of it as the return from each thrust of happiness. Lazily soaping himself, he gave examples. When he was five and Irwin eight, their father had breezed into town with a snowstorm and come to see them where they lived with their grandparents in the small Connecticut city. Their father had been a vagabond salesman and was considered a bum by people who should know. But he had come into the closed, heated house with all the gimcrack and untouchable junk behind glass and he had smelled of cold air and had had snow in his curly black hair. He had raved about the world he lived in, while the old people, his father and mother, had clucked sadly in the shadows. And then he had wakened the boys in the night and forced them out into the yard to worship the swirling wet flakes, to dance around with their hands joined, shrieking at the snow-laden branches. Later, they had gone in to sleep with hearts slowly returning to bearable beatings. Great flowering things had opened and closed in Norman's head, and the resonance of the wild man's voice had squeezed a sweet, tart juice through his heart. But then he had wakened to a gray day with his father gone and the world walking gingerly over the somber crust of dead-looking snow. It had taken him some time to get back to his usual equanimity. He slid down in the warm, foamy water until just his face and his knobby white knees were exposed. Once he had read Wuthering Heights over a weekend and gone to school susceptible to any heroine, only to have the girl who sat in front of him, whom he had admired for some months, emit a loud fart which had murdered him in a small way and kept him from speaking a word to anyone the whole week following. He had laughed at a very funny joke about a Negro when Irwin told it at a party, and then the following day had seen some white men lightly kicking a Negro man in the pants, and temporarily he had questioned laughter altogether. He had gone to several universities with the vague exaltation of Old Man Axelrod and had found only curves and credits. He had become drunk on the idea of God and found only theology. He had risen several times on the subtle and powerful wings of lust, expectant of magnificence, achieving only discharge. A few times he had extended friendship with palpitating hope, only to find that no one quite knew what he had in mind. His solitude now was the result of his metabolism, that constant breathing in of joy and exhalation of sadness. He had come to take shallower breaths, and the two had become mercifully mixed into melancholy contentment. He wondered how pain would breach that low-level strength. "I'm a small man of definite limitations," he declared to himself, and relaxed in the admission.
Edward Lewis Wallant (The Tenants of Moonbloom)
You are no one in my life,” she said in a voice fraught with tension. “You cannot tell me what to—” “Oh, I can,” he bit out, his voice a gravelly purr that abraded her skin and sparked something inside her. His hand slid around her nape and hauled her closer. His pirate’s eyes swallowed her up and forced all the air out from her lungs in one great rush. “I will.” She opened her mouth to protest, but his mouth covered hers. Claimed her. It was the only word for it. This was a taking. And she the taken.
Sophie Jordan (While the Duke Was Sleeping (The Rogue Files, #1))
Saturday, July 2, 2016 1:51 PM "One ancient retired Air Force nurse does nothing but scream 'Help!' for hours at a time from a second-story window. Since the Ennet House residents are drilled in a Boston-AA recovery program that places great emphasis on 'Asking For Help,' the retired shrieking Air Force nurse is the object of a certain grim amusement, sometimes. Not six weeks ago, a huge stolen HELP WANTED sign was found attached to #4's siding right below the retired shrieking nurse's window, and #4's director was less than amused, …
David Foster Wallace
Using the dagger next to him on the nightstand, Dante scored a fresh line on his wrist. He pressed the bleeding cut to Tess’s lips, waiting to feel her respond, wanting to curse to the rafters when her mouth remained unmoving, his blood dripping down, useless, onto her chin. “Come on, angel. Drink for me.” He stroked her cool cheek, brushed a tangle of her honey-blond hair from her forehead. “Please live, Tess . . . drink, and live.” A throat cleared awkwardly from the area near the bedroom doorjamb. “I’m sorry, the uh . . . the door was open.” Chase. Just fucking great. Dante couldn’t think of anyone he’d like to see less right now. He was too entrenched in what he was doing—in what he was feeling—to deal with another interruption, particularly one coming from the Darkhaven agent. He’d hoped the bastard was already long gone from the compound, back to where he came from—preferably with one of Lucan’s size-fourteens planted all the way up his ass. Then again, maybe Lucan was saving the privilege for Dante instead. “Get out,” he growled. “Is she drinking at all?” Dante scoffed, low under his breath. “What part of ‘get out’ did you fail to understand, Harvard? I don’t need an audience right now, and I sure as hell don’t need any more of your bullshit.” He pressed his wrist to Tess’s lips again, parting them with the fingers of his blood by mild force. It wasn’t happening. Dante’s eyes stung as he stared down at her. He felt wetness streaking his cheeks. Tasted the salt of tears gathering at the corner of his mouth. “Shit,” he muttered, wiping his face into his shoulder in a strange mix of confusion and despair. He heard footsteps coming up near the bed. Felt the air around him stir as Chase reached out his hand. “It might work much better if you tilt her head, like th—” “Don’t . . . touch her.” The words came out in a voice Dante hardly recognized as his own, it was so full of venom and deadly warning. He swiveled his head around and met the agent’s eyes, his vision burning and sharp, his fangs having stretched long in an instant. The protective urge boiling through him was fierce, utterly lethal, and Chase evidently understood at once.
Lara Adrian (Kiss of Crimson (Midnight Breed, #2))
The attack was designed as a show of overwhelming strength for which the audience was not the already conquered people of Bukhara, but the still distant army and people of Samarkand, the next city on his march. The Mongol invaders rolled up their newly constructed siege engines—catapults, trebuchets, and mangonels that hurled not only stones and fire, as besieging armies had done for centuries, but also pots of burning liquids, exploding devices, and incendiary materials. They maneuvered immense crossbows mounted on wheels, and great teams of men pushed in portable towers with retractable ladders from which they could shoot down at the defenders of the walls. At the same time that they attacked through the air, miners went to work digging into the earth to undermine the walls by sapping. During this awesome display of technological prowess in the air, on the land, and beneath the earth, Genghis Khan heightened the psychological tension by forcing prisoners, in some cases the captured comrades of the men still in the citadel, to rush forward until their bodies filled the moat and made live ramparts over which other prisoners pushed the engines of war.
Jack Weatherford (Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World)
Emily sighed and accepted the proffered U-shaped metal. Stepping up to the line Marion indicated, Emily swung her arm back with force. When she raised her left arm to swing the horseshoe, the weight of it surprised her, and she lost her balance. The horseshoe flew high into the air, flipped three times, and came down with amazing speed. Before anyone could react, it conked Marion Wormsley on top of his derby-covered bald head, and he slumped to the ground. Emily stared at the dazed man lying prone at her feet. Slowly he sat up, drew off his hat, and rubbed the egg-shaped swelling on the top of his head.
Lorna Seilstad (A Great Catch)
First Edition: January 2018 In honor of Martin Nils “Marty” Richert, my uncle and a retired Air Force colonel.  A kind and humble man, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery during the rescue of a Marine pilot in the Vietnam War.  Marty later served with distinction in Berlin, Germany before the Berlin Wall came down.  He regularly traveled into the former East Germany and has told me many fascinating tales that captivate me to this day.  I credit Marty for planting the initial seeds of my love and fascination for Germany.  He’s a great man. Never was anything great achieved without danger. ​-Niccolo Machiavelli PART ONE The Call CHAPTER
Chuck Driskell (Final Mission: Zion - A World War 2 Thriller)
I once read the most widely understood word in the whole world is ‘OK’, followed by ‘Coke’, as in cola. I think they should do the survey again, this time checking for ‘Game Over’. Game Over is my favorite thing about playing video games. Actually, I should qualify that. It’s the split second before Game Over that’s my favorite thing. Streetfighter II - an oldie but goldie - with Leo controlling Ryu. Ryu’s his best character because he’s a good all-rounder - great defensive moves, pretty quick, and once he’s on an offensive roll, he’s unstoppable. Theo’s controlling Blanka. Blanka’s faster than Ryu, but he’s really only good on attack. The way to win with Blanka is to get in the other player’s face and just never let up. Flying kick, leg-sweep, spin attack, head-bite. Daze them into submission. Both players are down to the end of their energy bars. One more hit and they’re down, so they’re both being cagey. They’re hanging back at opposite ends of the screen, waiting for the other guy to make the first move. Leo takes the initiative. He sends off a fireball to force Theo into blocking, then jumps in with a flying kick to knock Blanka’s green head off. But as he’s moving through the air he hears a soft tapping. Theo’s tapping the punch button on his control pad. He’s charging up an electricity defense so when Ryu’s foot makes contact with Blanka’s head it’s going to be Ryu who gets KO’d with 10,000 volts charging through his system. This is the split second before Game Over. Leo’s heard the noise. He knows he’s fucked. He has time to blurt ‘I’m toast’ before Ryu is lit up and thrown backwards across the screen, flashing like a Christmas tree, a charred skeleton. Toast. The split second is the moment you comprehend you’re just about to die. Different people react to it in different ways. Some swear and rage. Some sigh or gasp. Some scream. I’ve heard a lot of screams over the twelve years I’ve been addicted to video games. I’m sure that this moment provides a rare insight into the way people react just before they really do die. The game taps into something pure and beyond affectations. As Leo hears the tapping he blurts, ‘I’m toast.’ He says it quickly, with resignation and understanding. If he were driving down the M1 and saw a car spinning into his path I think he’d in react the same way. Personally, I’m a rager. I fling my joypad across the floor, eyes clenched shut, head thrown back, a torrent of abuse pouring from my lips. A couple of years ago I had a game called Alien 3. It had a great feature. When you ran out of lives you’d get a photo-realistic picture of the Alien with saliva dripping from its jaws, and a digitized voice would bleat, ‘Game over, man!’ I really used to love that.
Alex Garland
After Natalie [Wood] and I got back from our honeymoon, I began The Hunters, with Robert Mitchum, directed by Dick Powell. I adored both of them. Powell was one of the great guys of all time, and Mitchum and I became fast friends. He insisted that I call him "Mother Mitchum." One day we cooked up a juvenile practical joke—we hired a girl to sit on a bench at lunchtime without any underpants on. We were in Arizona, at an Air Force base, and from the reaction you'd have thought the men of the United States Air Force had never seen a woman's private parts before. As word spread, we gradually brought the entire base to a halt. The fact that it was juvenile didn't make it any less funny; actually, it made it funnier.
Robert J. Wagner (Pieces of My Heart: A Life)
Rigor Mortis.” I say, almost as an apology. But he won’t have any of it. He locks onto my gaze. He doesn’t lean forward, but he doesn’t need to, suddenly the room feels like it’s filled with him. His presence floats in the air like a noxious gas, and I’m breathing it in. “Ike, you don’t get it. That’s why I wanted to talk to you. Do you think I have the right to talk to anyone? Do you think its fun to have a ‘human’ brain in a pet’s body? Sure, I have Kamu. And that’s fugging great, but guess what? Kamu is queen to be, and emotionally unstable.” I've never heard Rig talk this powerfully before, but he doesn’t seem scary, just sad. “And then I get someone else I can actually talk to, Ike, I get you. And you don’t treat me like I’m a pet and you talk about Kamu like she needs to be protected and you are there. You are there, and you keep being there, and the only one who’s ever there is Kamu, but now there is Ike. And Ike is perfect, albeit a bit dense, but perfect.” “Rig, I’m really sorry bu-“ I start, I don’t know how much more of this I can take. With each sentence Rig loses some of his force, he sounds more pathetic and lost. “I’m not done.” He pronounces the words in such a voice that it makes me shut up more than the context of the sentence does. “And all I want is to be with this boy who is there, this boy who is my friend, this boy who isn’t always caught up in politics. All I want is to have my one good break.” He finishes. I keep holding his eye contact, and his eyes, they already reflect hurt and rejectment. I don’t know if from me…or from life.
Ginny Albinson
Come inside with me,” he urged, increasing the pressure on her elbow, “and I’ll begin making it up to you.” Elizabeth let herself be drawn forward a few steps and hesitated. “This is a mistake. Everyone will see us and think we’ve started it all over again-“ “No, they won’t,” he promised. “There’s a rumor spreading like fire in there that I tried to get you in my clutches two years ago, but without a title to tempt you I didn’t have a chance. Since acquiring a title is a holy crusade for most of them, they’ll admire your sense. Now that I have a title, I’m expected to use it to try to succeed where I failed before-as a way of bolstering my wounded male pride.” Reaching up to brush a wisp of hair from her soft cheek, he said, “I’m sorry. It was the best I could do with what I had to work with-we were seen together in compromising circumstances. Since they’d never believe nothing happened, I could only make them think I was in pursuit and you were evading.” She flinched from his touch but didn’t shove his hand away. “You don’t understand. What’s happening to me in there is no less than I deserve. I knew what the rules were, and I broke them when I stayed with you at the cottage. You didn’t force me to stay. I broke the rules, and-“ “Elizabeth,” he interrupted in a voice edge with harsh remorse, “if you won’t do anything else for me, at least stop exonerating me for that weekend. I can’t bear it. I exerted more force on you than you understand.” Longing to kiss her, Ian had to be satisfied instead with trying to convince her his plan would work, because he now needed her help to ensure its success. In a teasing voice he said, “I think you’re underrating my gift for strategy and subtlety. Come and dance with me, and I’ll prove to you how easily most of the male minds in there have been manipulated.” Despite his confidence, moments after they entered the ballroom Ian noticed the increasing coldness of the looks being directed at them, and he knew a moment of real alarm-until he glanced at Elizabeth as he took her in his arms for a waltz and realized the cause of it. “Elizabeth,” he said in a low, urgent voice, gazing down at her bent head, “stop looking meek! Put your nose in the air and cut me dead or flirt with me, but do not on any account look humble, because these people will interpret it as guilt!” Elizabeth, who had been staring at his shoulder, as she'd done with her other dancing partners, tipped her head back and looked at him in confusion. "What?" Ian's heart turned over when the chandeliers overhead revealed the wounded look in her glorious green eyes. Realizing logic and lectures weren't going to help her give the performance he badly needed her to give, he tried the tack that had, in Scotland, made her stop crying and begin to laugh: He tried to tease her. Casting about for a subject, he said quickly, "Belhaven is certainly in fine looks tonight-pink satin pantaloons. I asked him for the name of his tailor so that I could order a pair for myself." Elizabeth looked at him as if he'd taken leave of his senses; then his warning about looking meek hit home, and she began to understand what he wanted her to do. That added to the comic image of Ian's tall, masculine frame in those absurd pink pantaloons enabled her to manage a weak smile. "I have greatly admired those pantaloons myself," she said. "Will you also order a yellow satin coat to complement the look?" He smiled. "I thought-puce." "An unusual combination," she averred softly, "but one that I am sure will make you the envy of all who behold you.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Here am I, a little animal called a man--a bit of vitalized matter, one hundred and sixty-five pounds of meat and blood, nerve, sinew, bones, and brain,--all of it soft and tender, susceptible to hurt, fallible, and frail. I strike a light back-handed blow on the nose of an obstreperous horse, and a bone in my hand is broken. I put my head under the water for five minutes, and I am drowned. I fall twenty feet through the air, and I am smashed. I am a creature of temperature. A few degrees one way, and my fingers and ears and toes blacken and drop off. A few degrees the other way, and my skin blisters and shrivels away from the raw, quivering flesh. A few additional degrees either way, and the life and the light in me go out. A drop of poison injected into my body from a snake, and I cease to move--for ever I cease to move. A splinter of lead from a rifle enters my head, and I am wrapped around in the eternal blackness. Fallible and frail, a bit of pulsating, jelly-like life--it is all I am. About me are the great natural forces--colossal menaces, Titans of destruction, unsentimental monsters that have less concern for me than I have for the grain of sand I crush under my foot. They have no concern at all for me. They do not know me. They are unconscious, unmerciful, and unmoral. They are the cyclones and tornadoes, lightning flashes and cloud-bursts, tide-rips and tidal waves, undertows and waterspouts, great whirls and sucks and eddies, earthquakes and volcanoes, surfs that thunder on rock-ribbed coasts and seas that leap aboard the largest crafts that float, crushing humans to pulp or licking them off into the sea and to death--and these insensate monsters do not know that tiny sensitive creature, all nerves and weaknesses, whom men call Jack London, and who himself thinks he is all right and quite a superior being.
Jack London (The Cruise of the Snark)
Mommy’s contradictions crashed and slammed against one another like bumper cars at Coney Island. White folks, she felt, were implicitly evil toward blacks, yet she forced us to go to white schools to get the best education. Blacks could be trusted more, but anything involving blacks was probably slightly substandard. She disliked people with money yet was in constant need of it. She couldn’t stand racists of either color and had great distaste for bourgeois blacks who sought to emulate rich whites by putting on airs and “doing silly things like covering their couches with plastic and holding teacups with their pinkies out.” “What fools!” she’d hiss. She wouldn’t be bothered with parents who bragged about their children’s accomplishments, yet she insisted we strive for the highest professional goals. She was against welfare and never applied for it despite our need, but championed those who availed themselves of it.
James McBride (The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother)
All about them the golden girls, shopping for dainties in Lairville. Even in the midst of the wild-maned winter's chill, skipping about in sneakers and sweatsocks, cream-colored raincoats. A generation in the mold, the Great White Pattern Maker lying in his prosperous bed, grinning while the liquid cools. But he does not know my bellows. Someone there is who will huff and will puff. The sophmores in their new junior blazers, like Saturday's magazines out on Thursday. Freshly covered textbooks from the campus store, slide rules dangling in leather, sheathed broadswords, chinos scrubbed to the virgin fiber, starch pressed into straight-razor creases, Oxford shirts buttoned down under crewneck sweaters, blue eyes bobbing everywhere, stunned by the android synthesis of one-a-day vitamins, Tropicana orange juice, fresh country eggs, Kraft homogenized cheese, tetra-packs of fortified milk, Cheerios with sun-ripened bananas, corn-flake-breaded chicken, hot fudge sundaes, Dairy Queen root beer floats, cheeseburgers, hybrid creamed corn, riboflavin extract, brewer's yeast, crunchy peanut butter, tuna fish casseroles, pancakes and imitation maple syrup, chuck steaks, occasional Maine lobster, Social Tea biscuits, defatted wheat germ, Kellogg's Concentrate, chopped string beans, Wonderbread, Birds Eye frozen peas, shredded spinach, French-fried onion rings, escarole salads, lentil stews, sundry fowl innards, Pecan Sandies, Almond Joys, aureomycin, penicillin, antitetanus toxoid, smallpox vaccine, Alka-Seltzer, Empirin, Vicks VapoRub, Arrid with chlorophyll, Super Anahist nose spray, Dristan decongestant, billions of cubic feet of wholesome, reconditioned breathing air, and the more wholesome breeds of fraternal exercise available to Western man. Ah, the regimented good will and force-fed confidence of those who are not meek but will inherit the earth all the same.
Richard Fariña (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me)
It's just that when a woman is kidnapped and forced into agreeing to marriage, she hopes for a bit more... excitement. Than this." He rolled slowly- maddeningly- to face her, the air between them thickened, and Penelope was instantly aware of their position, scant inches apart, on a warm pallet in a small room in an empty house, beneath the same blanket- which happened to be his greatcoat. And she realized that perhaps she should not have implied that the evening was unexciting. Because she was not at all certain that she was prepared for it to become any more exciting. "I didn't mean-" She rushed to correct herself. "Oh, I think you did an excellent job of meaning." The words were low and dark, and suddenly she was not so very sure that she wasn't afraid after all. "I am not stimulating enough for you?" "Not you..." she was quick to reply. "The whole..." She waved one hand, lifting the greatcoat as she thought better of finishing. "Never mind." His gaze was on her, intent and unmoving and, while he had not moved, it seemed as though he had grown larger, more looming. As though he had sucked a great deal of air from the room. "How can I make this night more satisfying for you, my lady?" The soft question sent a thrum of feeling through her... the way the word- satisfying- rolled languid from his tongue set her heart racing and her stomach turning. It seemed the night was becoming very exciting very quickly. And everything was moving much too quickly for Penelope's tastes. "No need," she said, at an alarmingly high pitch. "It's fine." "Fine?" The word rolled lazily from his tongue. "Quite thrilling." She nodded, bringing one hand to her mouth to feign a yawn. "So thrilling, in fact, that I find myself unbearably exhausted." She made to turn her back to him. "I shall bid you good night." "I don't think so," he said, the soft words as loud as a gunshot in the tiny space between them.
Sarah MacLean (A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1))
DEATH’S DIARY: THE PARISIANS Summer came. For the book thief, everything was going nicely. For me, the sky was the color of Jews. When their bodies had finished scouring for gaps in the door, their souls rose up. When their fingernails had scratched at the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by the sheer force of desperation, their spirits came toward me, into my arms, and we climbed out of those shower facilities, onto the roof and up, into eternity’s certain breadth. They just kept feeding me. Minute after minute. Shower after shower. I’ll never forget the first day in Auschwitz, the first time in Mauthausen. At that second place, as time wore on, I also picked them up from the bottom of the great cliff, when their escapes fell awfully awry. There were broken bodies and dead, sweet hearts. Still, it was better than the gas. Some of them I caught when they were only halfway down. Saved you, I’d think, holding their souls in midair as the rest of their being—their physical shells—plummeted to the earth. All of them were light, like the cases of empty walnuts. Smoky sky in those places. The smell like a stove, but still so cold. I shiver when I remember—as I try to de-realize it. I blow warm air into my hands, to heat them up. But it’s hard to keep them warm when the souls still shiver. God. I always say that name when I think of it. God. Twice, I speak it. I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. “But it’s not your job to understand.” That’s me who answers. God never says anything. You think you’re the only one he never answers? “Your job is to …” And I stop listening to me, because to put it bluntly, I tire me. When I start thinking like that, I become so exhausted, and I don’t have the luxury of indulging fatigue. I’m compelled to continue on, because although it’s not true for every person on earth, it’s true for the vast majority—that death waits for no man—and if he does, he doesn’t usually wait very long. On June 23, 1942, there was a group of French Jews in a German prison, on Polish soil. The first person I took was close to the door, his mind racing, then reduced to pacing, then slowing down, slowing down …. Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear. I took them all away, and if ever there was a time I needed distraction, this was it. In complete desolation, I looked at the world above. I watched the sky as it turned from silver to gray to the color of rain. Even the clouds were trying to get away. Sometimes I imagined how everything looked above those clouds, knowing without question that the sun was blond, and the endless atmosphere was a giant blue eye. They were French, they were Jews, and they were you.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once—somewhere—far away—in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time. I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the tin-pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; I had to keep a look-out for the signs of dead wood we could cut up in the night for next day's steaming. When you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality—the reality, I tell you—fades. The inner truth is hidden—luckily, luckily.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
There was balance, harsh and violent like the noxious air in a swamp. But balance, nonetheless. Then somewhere in the fickle mists of creation came humanity, clawing and afraid, grasping and ambitious. Enveloped in a dangerous world, these creatures lived as scavengers; afraid of the greater things of the world. They were beset by disease, lack of claws or fangs, and the lack of habitat to call their own. Lefeyhdie had not provided any particular prey or plant for them to eat. These fleshy, naked beings were doomed to die of attrition. Curiously, these beings never stopped Doing, or Thinking. Breeding to strengthen their numbers. Sharpening rocks, shaping wood, gathering leaves and sticks for clothing and shelter. Eventually they had settlements of great number, crude but effective tools of war. Ancient forces began to pay attention to the growing incursion, plaguing them, slaying stragglers at night. But still the humans held on to the edge of the precipice, knuckles white with effort'.
T.P. Grish (Steel, Magick and Faith (The Remus Rothwyn Chronicles, #1))
The Yogi practices exercises by which he attains control of his body, and is enabled to send to any organ or part an increased flow of vital force or “prana,” thereby strengthening and invigorating the part or organ. He knows all that his Western scientific brother knows about the physiological effect of correct breathing, but he also knows that the air contains more than oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen, and that something more is accomplished than the mere oxygenating of the blood. He knows something about “prana,” of which his Western brother is ignorant, and he is fully aware of the nature and manner of handling that great principle of energy, and is fully informed as to its effect upon the human body and mind. He knows that by rhythmical breathing one may bring himself into harmonious vibration with nature, and aid in the unfoldment of his latent powers. He knows that by controlled breathing he may not only cure disease in himself and others, but also practically do away with fear and worry and the baser emotions.
William Walker Atkinson (Science of Breath)
I’ve sat at the piano for hours already, looking for lyrics and melodies, but everything sounds the same and I feel as uninspired as ever. Does it mean I’m finished? A more sobering thought: if I’m finished, would I miss it? But the truth is, I’ve been here before. Many times. We all have. So how do we find the faith to press on? Remember. Remember, Hebrew children, who you once were in Egypt. Remember the altars set up along the way to remind yourselves that you made the journey and God rescued you from sword and famine, from chariots and pestilence, that once you were there, but now you are here. It happened. Our memories are fallible, residing in that most complex and mysterious organ in the human body (and therefore the known universe), capable of being suppressed, manipulated, altered, but also profoundly powerful and able to transport a person to a place fifty years ago all because of a whiff of your grandfather’s cologne or an old book or the salty air. As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me. Remember with every sip of wine that we shared this meal, you and I. Remember. So I look at the last album, the last book, and am forced to admit that I didn’t know anymore then than I do now. Every song is an Ebenezer stone, evidence of God’s faithfulness. I just need to remember. Trust is crucial. So is self-forgetfulness and risk and a measure of audacity. And now that I think about it, there’s also wonder, insight, familiarity with Scripture, passion, a good night’s sleep, breakfast (preferably an egg sandwich), an encouraging voice, diligence, patience. I need silence. Privacy. Time—that’s what I need: more time. But first I need a vacation, because I’ve been really grinding away at this other stuff and my mental cache is full. A deadline would be great. I work best with deadlines, and maybe some bills piling up. Some new guitar strings would help, and a nice candle. And that’s all I need, in the words of Steve Martin’s The Jerk. This is the truth: all I really need is a guitar, some paper, and discipline. If only I would apply myself.
Andrew Peterson (Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making)
From every direction, the place is under assault—and unlike in the past, the adversary is not concentrated in a single force, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, but takes the form of separate outfits conducting smaller attacks that are, in many ways, far more insidious. From directly above, the air-tour industry has succeeded in scuttling all efforts to dial it back, most recently through the intervention of Arizona’s senators, John Kyl and John McCain, and is continuing to destroy one of the canyon’s greatest treasures, which is its silence. From the east has come a dramatic increase in uranium-mining claims, while the once remote and untrammeled country of the North Rim now suffers from an ever-growing influx of recreational ATVs. On the South Rim, an Italian real estate company recently secured approval for a massive development whose water demands are all but guaranteed to compromise many of the canyon’s springs, along with the oases that they nourish. Worst of all, the Navajo tribe is currently planning to cooperate in constructing a monstrous tramway to the bottom of the canyon, complete with a restaurant and a resort, at the confluence of the Little Colorado and the Colorado, the very spot where John Wesley Powell made his famous journal entry in the summer of 1869 about venturing “down the Great Unknown.” As vexing as all these things are, what Litton finds even more disheartening is the country’s failure to rally to the canyon’s defense—or for that matter, to the defense of its other imperiled natural wonders. The movement that he and David Brower helped build is not only in retreat but finds itself the target of bottomless contempt. On talk radio and cable TV, environmentalists are derided as “wackos” and “extremists.” The country has swung decisively toward something smaller and more selfish than what it once was, and in addition to ushering in a disdain for the notion that wilderness might have a value that extends beyond the metrics of economics or business, much of the nation ignorantly embraces the benefits of engineering and technology while simultaneously rejecting basic science.
Kevin Fedarko (The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon)
To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapable into itself. From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour into us—mostly from the earth. To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often for ever. Earth!—Earth!—Earth! Earth with thy folds, and hollows, and holes, into which a man may fling himself and crouch down. In the spasm of terror, under the hailing of annihilation, in the bellowing death of the explosions, O Earth, thou grantest us the great resisting surge of new-won life. Our being, almost utterly carried away by the fury of the storm, streams back through our hands from thee, and we, thy redeemed ones, bury ourselves in thee, and through the long minutes in a mute agony of hope bite into thee with our lips! At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, in one part of our being, a thousand years. By the animal instinct that is awakened in us we are led and protected. It is not conscious; it is far quicker, much more sure, less fallible, than consciousness. One cannot explain it. A man is walking along without thought or heed;—suddenly he throws himself down on the ground and a storm of fragments flies harmlessly over him;—yet he cannot remember either to have heard the shell coming or to have thought of flinging himself down. But had he not abandoned himself to the impulse he would now be a heap of mangled flesh. It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how. If it were not so, there would not be one man alive from Flanders to the Vosges. We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers—we reach the zone where the front begins and become on the instant human animals. An
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
If you are ever forced to take a chemistry class, you will probably see, at the front of the classroom, a large chart divided into squares, with different numbers and letters in each of them. This chart is called the table of the elements, and scientists like to say that it contains all the substances that make up our world. Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of the elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of the elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise. The element of surprise is not a gas, like oxygen, or a solid, like aluminum. The element of surprise is an unfair advantage, and it can be found in situations in which one person has sneaked up on another. The surprised person—or, in this sad case, the surprised persons—are too stunned to defend themselves, and the sneaky person has the advantage of the element of surprise.
Lemony Snicket
It is not a war, it is a lesson of life (first part) It's a life lesson. It's not a war. War brings hatred, violence, destruction, while we are called, at this particular moment, to rediscover values ​​such as solidarity, fraternity, neighborliness and nature. The war metaphor, so dear to journalists and politicians, has the unique purpose of amplifying the context of a narrative, framing it perfectly for the use of Tg and Talk shows to remind us, rather than to inform us, which are meant to sell news, gaining a broad audience. To say that we are at war is, in my humble opinion, a pure example of lexical inclination. Don't fight at war on the couch at home or by repeatedly posting stories on your favorite social network. No border is in danger, there is no enemy out there to shoot down. And then, to understand it sincerely and serenely: we, as human beings, have been waging wars since the dawn of time. We are so brutal that for thousands of years we have killed each other with stones, sticks, swords, spears, cannons, machine guns and atomic bombs. Imagine if we needed a pandemic to declare war ... who are we? A stupid virus that's part of the nature of things? However, at this time there is a disease that affects and does so without distinguishing borders, nationalities, skin color or social status. And this is already a great first lesson in life. He tells us - as it should - that we are all the same. Diversity and distinctions are the fruit of our limited and limiting mind, the apotheosis of our finitude. We are facing a pandemic that, in order to be addressed, requires a strong sense of personal responsibility and collaboration between communities. It requires a counter-current gesture, of altruism, in an individualistic society, in which everyone thinks for himself and defends his goods. And this is a second life lesson. Let's stop looking at our little miserable garden made of selfishness, greed and spiritual misery. Do you know how this pandemic will end? With mutual help! We will have to help each other! Either the sense of community will predominate, or we will be doomed to eat each other. The message "No one is saved alone" launched by the Pope. This virus, in its way of being contagious, in making us stay a little alone with ourselves, tells us that the error was probably the first. The naiveté in believing that our way of life was right, the blindness in believing that we are happy and not superficial, the folly of seeing a world that burns and gets stuck on itself - and on us - pretending that it is normal. The mistake of considering the law of profit as the driving force of all. Instead of investing in healthcare, for our care, in solidarity, to strengthen the sense of community, we preferred to spend in the armament, to defend ourselves from others, from our fellow citizens. Isn't that a life lesson too? We wake up from the heat of a time when possession was more important than knowledge, it was deception and not truth, inhumanity and not benevolence. But not only that, it was the moment of insensitivity, blindness, selfishness, cowardice, appearance, mediocrity, misunderstanding and especially evil, in all its forms. Maybe, dear readers, it's time to acknowledge that the disease is not the virus. We are the disease! So far we have lived convinced that life, in a subtle way, has deceived us. That she was unfair and cruel. We forgot about ourselves watching the clock, with our all-powerful feeling, convinced that we can control the passage of time. As we were convinced that there is still time, that nothing will happen tomorrow and everything can be postponed. I was wrong. An invisible being, transported into the air we breathe and which, in just over a month, has traversed the seas, mountains and entire continents, was enough to bring to our knees all our beliefs and customs.
Corina Abdulahm Negura
All of the combat was stirring up the magic. It filled the air like steam. But that wasn’t all. There was magic in the trampled grass of the courtyard, in trees surrounding the fort like sentinels, and in the moon and starlight streaming down from the sky. It was all swirling down into the courtyard and down into the earth. There was more magic available than Raziel could have possibly taken in. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t try. Raziel drew in everything he could, pulling magic from every direction. It was like trying to continuously inhale without exhaling. He burst into sweat as his whole body began to burn with the effort of containing the magic. The air around him was swirling, turbulent and constantly shifting directions. Soon it felt like his veins were filled with liquid fire and thunder pounded in his head. When he couldn’t take anymore, he began to force the energy up his shoulder and down his arm into his right hand. Everywhere the magic left felt like it was freezing, but his arm felt like it was being dipped in molten metal. Raziel opened his eyes to find his hand engulfed in a blazing ball of blue light. Hoeru was transfixed by it. There were a few gremlin bodies on the ground nearby, but they weren’t attacking anymore. They were running from the light Raziel held.
Rick Fox (Fate's Pawn)
The framers were wise in their generation and wanted to do the very best possible to secure their own liberty and independence, and that also of their descendants to the latest days. It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies. At the time of the framing of our constitution the only physical forces that had been subdued and made to serve man and do his labor, were the currents in the streams and in the air we breathe. Rude machinery, propelled by water power, had been invested sails to propel ships upon the waters and been set to catch the passing breeze – but the application of steam to propel vessels against both wind and current, and machinery to do all manner of work had not been thought of. The instantaneous transmission of messages around the world by means of electricity would probably that day have been attribute to witchcraft or a league with the Devil. Immaterial circumstances had changed as greatly as material ones. We could not and ought not to be rigidly bound by the rules laid down under circumstances so different for emergencies so utterly unanticipated. The fathers themselves would have been the first to declare that their prerogatives were not irrevocable.
Ulysses S. Grant (Memoirs and Selected Letters)
The important thing is that short and strenuous reverence be paid to the spirit of discipline. Three things keep a body of troops in fighting form: fighting spirit, strength and discipline. Fighting spirit – as I have said before – is the least easy to influence. It is the great prerequisite and justification of war – the spirit of the race and of the blood pledged to the last drop. There lie the roos of the strength whose full development is dependent on outward conditions, fresh air nourishment, clothing, and a lot else. When this soil fails fighting spirit is like a seedling plated in arenaceous quartz – it goes on growing for a while of its own resources and then gives out. It is a tragic destiny when a great enterprise comes to grief from this cause. Finally, the purpose of discipline is to economize and direct the two elements so that they are brought to bear on one aim with overwhelming force. It is a means, not an end; it is in seeing it in its true proportion that the real fighter is distinguished from the soldier. It is one of the danger-points of the Prussian system that it easily loses sight of the spirit in the letter and of real strength in the empty show of it. One of the most terrible apparitions is the sheer drill-master – a machine that goes by clockwork. It is bound to break down for the mere reason that in war there is no rule but the exception.
Ernst Jünger (Copse 125: A Chronicle from the Trench Warfare of 1918)
Partly at Rubel’s urging, Secretary of Defense McNamara later compelled the Minuteman developers, against great resistance, to install the equivalent of an electronic lock on the Minuteman, such that it couldn’t be fired without the receipt of a coded message from higher headquarters. Decades later, long after McNamara’s retirement, Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch control officer, informed the former secretary that the Air Force had ensured that the codes in the launch control centers were all set continuously at 00000000. According to Blair, McNamara responded, “I am shocked, absolutely shocked and outraged. Who the hell authorized that?” “What he had just learned from me,” Blair continues, was that the locks had been installed,52 but everyone knew the combination. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the “locks” to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the “secret unlock code” during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at 00000000.
Daniel Ellsberg (The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner)
What are people saying about me and Rosie?” Ryder asks, his brows drawn. I throw one hand up in the air. “Never mind. It’s not like I care, anyway.” “No, ’course you don’t,” he snaps back. “What’s that supposed to mean?” He shakes his head. “Nothing, Jemma. Just…go to bed, why don’t you?” “What, are you my dad now? How about this? I’ll go to bed when I’m ready to go to bed.” “Wow, that’s real mature.” “You’re such a jerk, Ryder.” “A jerk? That’s the best you’ve got? You’re really off your game tonight.” “You are really getting on my nerves,” I say, my skin flushing hotly. He just shrugs, looking entirely unmoved. “What else is new? I’ve always gotten on your nerves.” “Not always,” I say, and my heart catches a little. I squeeze my eyes shut, forcing back the memories. When I open them again, he’s still standing there, glowering at me. “Great, here we go again.” He starts to walk away and then turns back to face me. “You know what? I have no idea what I did to piss you off, but--” “Seriously?” I sputter. “I’ll give you a hint--eighth grade.” “You’re mad at me about something I did in eighth grade, Jem? That was four fucking years ago. Whatever it was, why don’t you grow up and get over it?” “Why don’t you go to hell,” I shoot back. “I’m leaving now,” he says, turning to stalk away. “Good!” I shout, tears burning behind my eyelids. “Go. I hate you, Ryder Marsden!” “Yeah, well…the feeling’s mutual,” he throws back over one shoulder. Even though I know it’s childish of me, I storm back inside and slam the French doors with as much force as I can muster, nearly rattling them off their hinges. Charming, right?
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
I sucked on a blade of grass and watched the millwheel turn. I was lying on my stomach on the stream's opposite bank, my head propped in my hands. There was a tiny rainbow in the mist above the froth and boil at the foot of the waterfall, and an occasional droplet found its way to me. The steady splashing and the sound of the wheel drowned out all other noises in the wood. The mill was deserted today, and I contemplated it because I had not seen its like in ages. Watching the wheel and listening to the water were more than just relaxing. It was somewhat hypnotic. … My head nodding with each creak of the wheel, I forced everything else from my mind and set about remembering the necessary texture of the sand, its coloration, the temperature, the winds, the touch of salt in the air, the clouds... I slept then and I dreamed, but not of the place that I sought. I regarded a big roulette wheel, and we were all of us on it-my brothers, my sisters, myself, and others whom I knew or had known-rising and falling, each with his allotted section. We were all shouting for it to stop for us and wailing as we passed the top and headed down once more. The wheel had begun to slow and I was on the rise. A fair-haired youth hung upside down before me, shouting pleas and warnings that were drowned in the cacophony of voices. His face darkened, writhed, became a horrible thing to behold, and I slashed at the cord that bound his ankle and he fell from sight. The wheel slowed even more as I neared the top, and I saw Lorraine then. She was gesturing, beckoning frantically, and calling my name. I leaned toward her, seeing her clearly, wanting her, wanting to help her. But as the wheel continued its turning she passed from my sight. “Corwin!” I tried to ignore her cry, for I was almost to the top. It came again, but I tensed myself and prepared to spring upward. If it did not stop for me, I was going to try gimmicking the damned thing, even though falling off would mean my total ruin. I readied myself for the leap. Another click... “Corwin!” It receded, returned, faded, and I was looking toward the water wheel again with my name echoing in my ears and mingling, merging, fading into the sound of the stream. … It plunged for over a thousand feet: a mighty cataract that smote the gray river like an anvil. The currents were rapid and strong, bearing bubbles and flecks of foam a great distance before they finally dissolved. Across from us, perhaps half a mile distant, partly screened by rainbow and mist, like an island slapped by a Titan, a gigantic wheel slowly rotated, ponderous and gleaming. High overhead, enormous birds rode like drifting crucifixes the currents of the air. We stood there for a fairly long while. Conversation was impossible, which was just as well. After a time, when she turned from it to look at me, narrow-eyed, speculative, I nodded and gestured with my eyes toward the wood. Turning then, we made our way back in the direction from which we had come. Our return was the same process in reverse, and I managed it with greater ease. When conversation became possible once more, Dara still kept her silence, apparently realizing by then that I was a part of the process of change going on around us. It was not until we stood beside our own stream once more, watching the small mill wheel in its turning, that she spoke.
Roger Zelazny (The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10))
Wondering how I would make it through a hand-to-hand duel, I glanced around--and just then I saw one of Galdran’s equerries fall from his saddle, his banner-spear spinning through the air toward me. Instinctively my free hand reached up and I caught the spear by the shaft. Ignoring the sting in my hand, I jammed my sword into its sheath and started whirling the spear round and round, making the banner snap and stream as my prancing, sidling horse circled round my brother. Horses turned their heads and backed away; no one was able to edge up and get in a good blow at Bran, who swayed in his saddle, his bad arm hanging limp. The warriors fell back, and no one swung at me. Dimly I became aware of an ugly, harsh voice shouting over the crash and thuds of battle. Keeping the banner whirling, I guided my horse with my knees and risked a glance back over my shoulder--and looked straight into Galdran’s rage-darkened face. He said something, spittle flying from his mouth, as he pointed straight at me. A moment later a flicker of movement on my immediate left caused me to glance round. Shevraeth was there, next to me. “Fall back,” he ordered, his voice sharp. “No. Got to protect Bran--” There was no time for more. The Marquis was beset by furious attackers as the King shouted orders from a short distance away. Then more riders appeared from somewhere, and for a moment everything was too chaotic to follow. I found myself suddenly on the edge of the battle; there were too many fighters on both sides between my brother and me. Too many fighters in the liveries of the Baron and the King. Despair burned through me, cold as winter ice. We were losing. Then my horse plunged aside, I shifted in the saddle, and I found myself face-to-face with Galdran. He glared at me with hatred; I had this sudden, strange feeling that if we had both been small children facing each other in a village squabble he would have screamed at me, It’s all your fault! His lips drew back from his teeth. “You, I will kill myself,” he snarled, and he raised his great, flat-bladed sword. I cast away the flimsy spear and drew my sword just a scarce moment before Galdran struck. The first blow nearly knocked me out off the horse. I parried it--just barely--pain shooting up my arm into my back. My arm was numb, so I used both hands to raise my blade against the expected next blow. But as Galdran’s sword came down toward my head, it was met by a ringing strike that sent sparks arcing through the air. I looked--saw the Marquis, hair flying, horse dancing, circling round Galdran and forcing his attention away. Then the two were fighting desperately, the King falling back. I watched in fascination until two of the King’s guards rode to Galdran’s aid, and Shevraeth was suddenly fighting against three. It seemed that the Marquis was going to lose, and I realized I couldn’t watch. Remembering my brother I forced my mount round so I could ride to his aid. But when I spotted him in the chaos of lunging horses and crashing weapons, he was staring past my shoulder, his eyes distended. “Meliara!” he yelled, trying to ride toward me. I turned my head, saw the Marquis now fighting against three guards; and once again the King was coming directly at me, sword swinging in a blur. I flung my sword at him and ducked. A blow caught me painfully across the back of my helm, and darkness rushed up to swallow me.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
You are God. You want to make a forest, something to hold the soil, lock up energy, and give off oxygen. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to rough in a slab of chemicals, a green acre of goo? You are a man, a retired railroad worker who makes replicas as a hobby. You decide to make a replica of one tree, the longleaf pine your great-grandfather planted- just a replica- it doesn’t have to work. How are you going to do it? How long do you think you might live, how good is your glue? For one thing, you are going to have to dig a hole and stick your replica trunk halfway to China if you want the thing to stand up. Because you will have to work fairly big; if your replica is too small, you’ll be unable to handle the slender, three-sided needles, affix them in clusters of three in fascicles, and attach those laden fascicles to flexible twigs. The twigs themselves must be covered by “many silvery-white, fringed, long-spreading scales.” Are your pine cones’ scales “thin, flat, rounded at the apex?” When you loose the lashed copper wire trussing the limbs to the trunk, the whole tree collapses like an umbrella. You are a sculptor. You climb a great ladder; you pour grease all over a growing longleaf pine. Next, you build a hollow cylinder around the entire pine…and pour wet plaster over and inside the pine. Now open the walls, split the plaster, saw down the tree, remove it, discard, and your intricate sculpture is ready: this is the shape of part of the air. You are a chloroplast moving in water heaved one hundred feet above ground. Hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen in a ring around magnesium…you are evolution; you have only begun to make trees. You are god- are you tired? Finished?
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
SOMETIMES A KIND OF GLORY lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then—the glory—so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men. I don’t know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
He strode forward, heedless of the murmuring that began among the women when they saw him. Then Sara turned, and her gaze met his. Instantly a guilty blush spread over her cheeks that told him all he needed to know about her intent. “Good afternoon, ladies,” he said in steely tones. “Class is over for today. Why don’t you all go up on deck and get a little fresh air?” When the women looked at Sara, she folded her hands primly in front of her and stared at him. “You have no right to dismiss my class, Captain Horn. Besides, we aren’t finished yet. I was telling them a story—” “I know. You were recounting Lysistrata.” Surprise flickered briefly in her eyes, but then turned smug and looked down her aristocratic little nose at him. “Yes, Lysistrata,” she said in a sweet voice that didn’t fool him for one minute. “Surely you have no objection to my educating the women on the great works of literature, Captain Horn.” “None at all.” He set his hands on his hips. “But I question your choice of material. Don’t you think Aristophanes is a bit beyond the abilities of your pupils?” He took great pleasure in the shock that passed over Sara’s face before she caught herself. Ignoring the rustle of whispers among the women, she stood a little straighter. “As if you know anything at all about Aristophanes.” “I don’t have to be an English lordling to know literature, Sara. I know all the blasted writers you English make so much of. Any one of them would have been a better choice for your charges than Aristophanes.” As she continued to glower at him unconvinced, he scoured his memory, searching through the hundreds of verse passages his English father had literally pounded into him. “You might have chosen Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, for example—‘fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow. / And dart not scornful glances from those eyes / to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.’” It had been a long time since he’d recited his father’s favorite passages of Shakespeare, but the words were as fresh as if he’d learned them only yesterday. And if anyone knew how to use literature as a weapon, he did. His father had delighted in tormenting him with quotes about unrepentant children. Sara gaped at him as the other women looked from him to her in confusion. “How . . . I mean . . . when could you possibly—” “Never mind that. The point us, you’re telling them the tale of Lysistrata when what you should be telling them is ‘thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper. /thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee / and for thy maintenance commits his body / to painful labour by both sea and land.’” Her surprise at this knowledge of Shakespeare seemed to vanish as she recognized the passage he was quoting—the scene where Katherine accepts Petruchio as her lord and master before all her father’s guests. Sara’s eyes glittered as she stepped from among the women and came nearer to him. “We are not your wives yet. And Shakespeare also said ‘sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more / men were deceivers ever / one foot on sea and one on shore / to one thing constant never.’” “Ah, yes. Much Ado About Nothing. But even Beatrice changes her tune in the end, doesn’t she? I believe it’s Beatrice who says, ‘contempt, farewell! And maiden pride, adieu! / no glory lives behind the back of such./ and Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, / taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.’” “She was tricked into saying that! She was forced to acknowledge him as surely as you are forcing us!” “Forcing you?” he shouted. “You don’t know the meaning of force! I swear, if you—” He broke off when he realized that the women were staring at him with eyes round and fearful. Sara was twisting his words to make him sound like a monster. And succeeding, too, confound her.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Pirate Lord)
It was the first time that I entered the house on the lake. I had often begged the “trap-door lover,” as we used to call Erik in my country, to open its mysterious doors to me. He always refused. I made very many attempts, but in vain, to obtain admittance. Watch him as I might, after I first learned that he had taken up his permanent abode at the Opera, the darkness was always too thick to enable me to see how he worked the door in the wall on the lake. One day, when I thought myself alone, I stepped into the boat and rowed toward that part of the wall through which I had seen Erik disappear. It was then that I came into contact with the siren who guarded the approach and whose charm was very nearly fatal to me. I had no sooner put off from the bank than the silence amid which I floated on the water was disturbed by a sort of whispered singing that hovered all around me. It was half breath, half music; it rose softly from the waters of the lake; and I was surrounded by it through I knew not what artifice. It followed me, moved with me and was so soft that it did not alarm me. On the contrary, in my longing to approach the source of that sweet and enticing harmony, I leaned out of my little boat over the water, for there was no doubt in my mind that the singing came from the water itself. By this time, I was alone in the boat in the middle of the lake; the voice—for it was now distinctly a voice—was beside me, on the water. I leaned over, leaned still farther. The lake was perfectly calm, and a moonbeam that passed through the air hole in the Rue Scribe showed me absolutely nothing on its surface, which was smooth and black as ink. I shook my ears to get rid of a possible humming; but I soon had to accept the fact that there was no humming in the ears so harmonious as the singing whisper that followed and now attracted me. Had I been inclined to superstition, I should have certainly thought that I had to do with some siren whose business it was to confound the traveler who should venture on the waters of the house on the lake. Fortunately, I come from a country where we are too fond of fantastic things not to know them through and through; and I had no doubt but that I was face to face with some new invention of Erik’s. But this invention was so perfect that, as I leaned out of the boat, I was impelled less by a desire to discover its trick than to enjoy its charm; and I leaned out, leaned out until I almost overturned the boat. Suddenly, two monstrous arms issued from the bosom of the waters and seized me by the neck, dragging me down to the depths with irresistible force. I should certainly have been lost, if I had not had time to give a cry by which Erik knew me. For it was he; and, instead of drowning me, as was certainly his first intention, he swam with me and laid me gently on the bank: “How imprudent you are!” he said, as he stood before me, dripping with water. “Why try to enter my house? I never invited you! I don’t want you there, nor anybody! Did you save my life only to make it unbearable to me? However great the service you rendered him, Erik may end by forgetting it; and you know that nothing can restrain Erik, not even Erik himself.” He spoke, but I had now no other wish than to know what I already called the trick of the siren. He satisfied my curiosity, for Erik, who is a real monster—I have seen him at work in Persia, alas—is also, in certain respects, a regular child, vain and self-conceited, and there is nothing he loves so much, after astonishing people, as to prove all the really miraculous ingenuity of his mind. He laughed and showed me a long reed. “It’s the silliest trick you ever saw,” he said, “but it’s very useful for breathing and singing in the water. I learned it from the Tonkin pirates, who are able to remain hidden for hours in the beds of the rivers.
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows. “You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die? “Or one might take the tip of a pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil-tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become leagues, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity. “If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through that shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
I really should simplify my existence. How much trouble is a person required to have? I mean, is it an assignment I have to carry out? It can’t be, because the only good I ever knew of was done by people when they were happy. But to tell you the truth, Kayo, since you are the kind of guy who will understand it, my pride has always been hurt by my not being able to give an account of myself and always being manipulated. Reality comes from giving an account of yourself, and that’s the worst of being helpless. Oh, I don’t mean like the swimmer on the sea or the child on the grass, which is the innocent being in the great hand of Creation, but you can’t lie down so innocent on objects made by man,” I said to him. “In the world of nature you can trust, but in the world of artifacts you must beware. There you must know, and you can’t keep so many things on your mind and be happy. ‘Look on my works ye mighty and despair!’ Well, never mind about Ozymandias now being just trunkless legs; in his day the humble had to live in his shadow, and so do we live under shadow, with acts of faith in functioning of inventions, as up in the stratosphere, down in the subway, crossing bridges, going through tunnels, rising and falling in elevators where our safety is given in keeping. Things done by man which overshadow us. And this is true also of meat on the table, heat in the pipes, print on the paper, sounds in the air, so that all matters are alike, of the same weight, of the same rank, the caldron of God’s wrath on page one and Wieboldt’s sale on page two. It is all external and the same. Well, then what makes your existence necessary, as it should be? These technical achievements which try to make you exist in their way?” Kayo said, not much surprised by this, “What you are talking about is moha—a Navajo word, and also Sanskrit, meaning opposition of the finite. It is the Bronx cheer of the conditioning forces. Love is the only answer to moha, being infinite. I mean all the forms of love, eros, agape, libido, philia, and ecstasy. They are always the same but sometimes one quality dominates and sometimes another.
Saul Bellow (The Adventures Of Augie March)
I cooked with so many of the greats: Tom Colicchio, Eric Ripert, Wylie Dufresne, Grant Achatz. Rick Bayless taught me not one but two amazing mole sauces, the whole time bemoaning that he never seemed to know what to cook for his teenage daughter. Jose Andres made me a classic Spanish tortilla, shocking me with the sheer volume of viridian olive oil he put into that simple dish of potatoes, onions, and eggs. Graham Elliot Bowles and I made gourmet Jell-O shots together, and ate leftover cheddar risotto with Cheez-Its crumbled on top right out of the pan. Lucky for me, Maria still includes me in special evenings like this, usually giving me the option of joining the guests at table, or helping in the kitchen. I always choose the kitchen, because passing up the opportunity to see these chefs in action is something only an idiot would do. Susan Spicer flew up from New Orleans shortly after the BP oil spill to do an extraordinary menu of all Gulf seafood for a ten-thousand-dollar-a-plate fund-raising dinner Maria hosted to help the families of Gulf fishermen. Local geniuses Gil Langlois and Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard joined forces with Gale Gand for a seven-course dinner none of us will ever forget, due in no small part to Gil's hoisin oxtail with smoked Gouda mac 'n' cheese, Stephanie's roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and light-as-air chickpea fritters, and Gale's honey panna cotta with rhubarb compote and insane little chocolate cookies. Stephanie and I bonded over hair products, since we have the same thick brown curls with a tendency to frizz, and the general dumbness of boys, and ended up giggling over glasses of bourbon till nearly two in the morning. She is even more awesome, funny, sweet, and genuine in person than she was on her rock-star winning season on Bravo. Plus, her food is spectacular all day. I sort of wish she would go into food television and steal me from Patrick. Allen Sternweiler did a game menu with all local proteins he had hunted himself, including a pheasant breast over caramelized brussels sprouts and mushrooms that melted in your mouth (despite the occasional bit of buckshot). Michelle Bernstein came up from Miami and taught me her white gazpacho, which I have since made a gajillion times, as it is probably one of the world's perfect foods.
Stacey Ballis (Off the Menu)
No Big Deal or the End of the World? Here’s something that should be obvious: People don’t like to have their grievances downplayed or dismissed. When that happens, even the smallest irritation can turn into an obsessive crusade. Imagine you’re staying at a hotel, and the air-conditioning isn’t working right. You call the front desk to mention it, and they say, oh yeah, they know about that, and someone is going to come fix that next week (after you’ve left). In the meantime, could you just open a window (down to that noisy, busy street)? Not a word of apology, no tone of contrition. Now what was a mild annoyance—that it’s 74F degrees when you like to sleep at 69F—is suddenly the end of the world! You swell with righteous fury, swear you’ll write a letter to management, and savage the hotel in your online review. Jean-Louis Gassée, who used to run Apple France, describes this situation as the choice between two tokens. When you deal with people who have trouble, you can either choose to take the token that says “It’s no big deal” or the token that says “It’s the end of the world.” Whichever token you pick, they’ll take the other. The hotel staff in the example above clearly took the “It’s no big deal” token and as a result forced you to take the “It’s the end of the world” token. But they could just as well have made the opposite choice. Imagine the staff answering something like this: “We’re so sorry. That’s clearly unacceptable! I can completely understand how it must be almost impossible to sleep when it’s so hot in your room. If I can’t fix this problem for you tonight, would you like me to refund your stay and help you find a different hotel room nearby? In any case, while we’re figuring out the solution, allow me to send up a bottle of ice water and some ice cream. We’re terribly sorry for this ordeal and we’ll do everything to make it right.” With an answer like that, you’re almost forced to pick the “It’s no big deal” token. Yeah, sure, some water and ice cream would be great! Everyone wants to be heard and respected. It usually doesn’t cost much to do, either. And it doesn’t really matter all that much whether you ultimately think you’re right and they’re wrong. Arguing with heated feelings will just increase the burn. Keep that in mind the next time you take a token. Which one are you leaving for the customer?
Jason Fried (It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work)
Inside McClintic Sphere was swinging his ass off. His skin was hard, as if it were part of the skull: every vein and whisker on that head stood out sharp and clear under the green baby spot: you could see the twin lines running down from either side of his lower lip, etched in by the force of his embouchure, looking like extensions of his mustache. He blew a hand-carved ivory alto saxophone with a 4 ½ reed and the sound was like nothing any of them had heard before. The usual divisions prevailed: collegians did not dig, and left after an average of 1 ½ sets. Personnel from other groups, either with a night off or taking a long break from somewhere crosstown or uptown, listened hard, trying to dig. 'I am still thinking,’ they would say if you asked. People at the bar all looked as if they did dig in the sense of understand, approve of, empathize with: but this was probably only because people who prefer to stand at the bar have, universally, an inscrutable look… …The group on the stand had no piano: it was bass, drums, McClintic and a boy he had found in the Ozarks who blew a natural horn in F. The drummer was a group man who avoided pyrotechnics, which may have irritated the college crowd. The bass was small and evil-looking and his eyes were yellow with pinpoints in the center. He talked to his instrument. It was taller than he was and didn’t seem to be listening. Horn and alto together favored sixths and minor fourths and when this happened it was like a knife fight or tug of war: the sound was consonant but as if cross-purposes were in the air. The solos of McClintic Sphere were something else. There were people around, mostly those who wrote for Downbeat magazine or the liners of LP records, who seemed to feel he played disregarding chord changes completely. They talked a great deal about soul and the anti-intellectual and the rising rhythms of African nationalism. It was a new conception, they said, and some of them said: Bird Lives. Since the soul of Charlie Parker had dissolved away into a hostile March wind nearly a year before, a great deal of nonsense had been spoken and written about him. Much more was to come, some is still being written today. He was the greatest alto on the postwar scene and when he left it some curious negative will–a reluctance and refusal to believe in the final, cold fact–possessed the lunatic fringe to scrawl in every subway station, on sidewalks, in pissoirs, the denial: Bird Lives. So that among the people in the V-Note that night were, at a conservative estimate, a dreamy 10 per cent who had not got the word, and saw in McClintic Sphere a kind of reincarnation.
Thomas Pynchon (Inherent Vice)
In Separation, the second volume of his great trilogy on attachment, John Bowlby described what had been observed when ten small children in residential nurseries were reunited with their mothers after separations lasting from twelve days to twenty-one weeks. The separations were in every case due to family emergencies and the absence of other caregivers, and in no case due to any intent on the parents’ part to abandon the child. In the first few days following the mother's departure the children were anxious, looking everywhere for the missing parent. That phase was followed by apparent resignation, even depression on the part of the child, to be replaced by what seemed like the return of normalcy. The children would begin to play, react to caregivers, accept food and other nurturing. The true emotional cost of the trauma of loss became evident only when the mothers returned. On meeting the mother for the first time after the days or weeks away, every one of the ten children showed significant alienation. Two seemed not to recognize their mothers. The other eight turned away or even walked away from her. Most of them either cried or came close to tears; a number alternated between a tearful and an expressionless face. The withdrawal dynamic has been called “detachment” by John Bowlby. Such detachment has a defensive purpose. It has one meaning: so hurtful was it for me to experience your absence that to avoid such pain again, I will encase myself in a shell of hardened emotion, impervious to love — and therefore to pain. I never want to feel that hurt again. Bowlby also pointed out that the parent may be physically present but emotionally absent owing to stress, anxiety, depression, or preoccupation with other matters. From the point of view of the child, it hardly matters. His encoded reactions will be the same, because for him the real issue is not merely the parent's physical presence but her or his emotional accessibility. A child who suffers much insecurity in his relationship with his parents will adopt the invulnerability of defensive detachment as his primary way of being. When parents are the child's working attachment, their love and sense of responsibility will usually ensure that they do not force the child into adopting such desperate measures. Peers have no such awareness, no such compunctions, and no such responsibility. The threat of abandonment is ever present in peer-oriented interactions, and it is with emotional detachment that children automatically respond. No wonder, then, that cool is the governing ethic in peer culture, the ultimate virtue. Although the word cool has many meanings, it predominately connotes an air of invulnerability. Where peer orientation is intense, there is no sign of vulnerability in the talk, in the walk, in the dress, or in the attitudes.
Gabor Maté (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
Here is my six step process for how we will first start with ISIS and then build an international force that will fight terrorism and corruption wherever it appears. “First, in dedication to Lieutenant Commander McKay, Operation Crapshoot commenced at six o’clock this morning. I’ve directed a handpicked team currently deployed in Iraq to coordinate a tenfold increase in aerial bombing and close air support. In addition to aerial support, fifteen civilian security companies, including delegations from our international allies, are flying special operations veterans into Iraq. Those forces will be tasked with finding and annihilating ISIS, wherever they walk, eat or sleep. I’ve been told that they can’t wait to get started. “Second, going forward, our military will be a major component in our battle against evil. Militaries need training. I’ve been assured by General McMillan and his staff that there is no better final training test than live combat. So without much more expenditure, we will do two things, train our troops of the future, and wipe out international threats. “Third, I have a message for our allies. If you need us, we will be there. If evil raises its ugly head, we will be with you, arm in arm, fighting for what is right. But that aid comes with a caveat. Our allies must be dedicated to the common global ideals of personal and religious freedom. Any supposed ally who ignores these terms will find themselves without impunity. A criminal is a criminal. A thief is a thief. Decide which side you’re on, because our side carries a big stick. “Fourth, to the religious leaders of the world, especially those of Islam, though we live with differing traditions, we are still one people on this Earth. What one person does always has the possibility of affecting others. If you want to be part of our community, it is time to do your part. Denounce the criminals who besmirch your faith. Tell your followers the true meaning of the Koran. Do not let the money and influence of hypocrites taint your religion or your people. We request that you do this now, respectfully, or face the scrutiny of America and our allies. “Fifth, starting today, an unprecedented coalition of three former American presidents, my predecessor included, will travel around the globe to strengthen our alliances. Much like our brave military leaders, we will lead from the front, go where we are needed. We will go toe to toe with any who would seek to undermine our good intentions, and who trample the freedoms of our citizens. In the coming days you will find out how great our resolve truly is. “Sixth, my staff is in the process of drafting a proposal for the members of the United Nations. The proposal will outline our recommendations for the formation of an international terrorism strike force along with an international tax that will fund ongoing anti-terrorism operations. Only the countries that contribute to this fund will be supported by the strike force. You pay to play.
C.G. Cooper (Moral Imperative (Corps Justice, #7))
As each German and Italian and Frankish nobleman arrived in Constantinople with his own private army, ready to cross over the Bosphorus Strait and face the enemy, Alexius had demanded a sacred oath. Whatever “cities, countries or forces he might in future subdue . . . he would hand over to the officer appointed by the emperor.” They were, after all, there to fight for Christendom; and Alexius Comnenus was the ruler of Christendom in the east.1 Just as Alexius had feared, the chance to build private kingdoms in the Holy Land proved too tempting. The first knight to bite the apple was the Norman soldier Bohemund, who had arrived in Constantinople at the start of the First Crusade and immediately became one of the foremost commanders of the Crusader armies. Spearheading the capture of the great city Antioch in 1098, Bohemund at once named himself its prince and flatly refused to honor his oath. (“Bohemund,” remarked Alexius’s daughter and biographer, Anna, “was by nature a liar.”) By 1100, Antioch had been joined by two other Crusader kingdoms—the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Edessa—and Bohemund himself was busy agitating the Christians of Asia Minor against Byzantium. By 1103, Bohemund was planning a direct attack against the walls of Constantinople itself.2 To mount this assault, Bohemund needed to recruit more soldiers. The most likely source for reinforcements was Italy; Bohemund’s late father, Robert Guiscard, had conquered himself a kingdom in the south of Italy (the grandly named “Dukedom of Apulia and Calabria”), and Bohemund, who had been absent from Italy since heading out on crusade, had theoretically inherited its crown. Alexius knew this as well as Bohemund did, so Byzantine ships hovered in the Mediterranean, waiting to intercept any Italy-bound ships from the principality of Antioch. So Bohemund was forced to be sneaky. Anna Comnena tells us that he spread rumors everywhere: “Bohemond,” it was said, “is dead.” . . . When he perceived that the story had gone far enough, a wooden coffin was made and a bireme prepared. The coffin was placed on board and he, a still breathing “corpse,” sailed away from Soudi, the port of Antioch, for Rome. . . . At each stop the barbarians tore out their hair and paraded their mourning. But inside Bohemond, stretched out at full length, was . . . alive, breathing air in and out through hidden holes. . . . [I]n order that the corpse might appear to be in a state of rare putrefaction, they strangled or cut the throat of a cock and put that in the coffin with him. By the fourth or fifth day at the most, the horrible stench was obvious to anyone who could smell. . . . Bohemond himself derived more pleasure than anyone from his imaginary misfortune.3 Bohemund was a rascal and an opportunist, but he almost always got what he wanted; when he arrived in Italy and staged a victorious resurrection, he was able to rouse great public enthusiasm for his fight against Byzantium. In fact, his conquest of Antioch in the east had given him hero stature back in Italy. People swarmed to see him, says one contemporary historian, “as if they were going to see Christ himself.”4
Susan Wise Bauer (The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople)
Antonia Valleau cast the first shovelful of dirt onto her husband’s fur-shrouded body, lying in the grave she’d dug in their garden plot, the only place where the soil wasn’t still rock hard. I won’t be breakin’ down. For the sake of my children, I must be strong. Pain squeezed her chest like a steel trap. She had to force herself to take a deep breath, inhaling the scent of loam and pine. I must be doing this. She drove the shovel into the soil heaped next to the grave, hefted the laden blade, and dumped the earth over Jean-Claude, trying to block out the thumping sound the soil made as it covered him. Even as Antonia scooped and tossed, her muscles aching from the effort, her heart stayed numb, and her mind kept playing out the last sight of her husband. The memory haunting her, she paused to catch her breath and wipe the sweat off her brow, her face hot from exertion in spite of the cool spring air. Antonia touched the tips of her dirty fingers to her lips. She could still feel the pressure of Jean-Claude’s mouth on hers as he’d kissed her before striding out the door for a day of hunting. She’d held up baby Jacques, and Jean-Claude had tapped his son’s nose. Jacques had let out a belly laugh that made his father respond in kind. Her heart had filled with so much love and pride in her family that she’d chuckled, too. Stepping outside, she’d watched Jean-Claude ruffle the dark hair of their six-year-old, Henri. Then he strode off, whistling, with his rifle carried over his shoulder. She’d thought it would be a good day—a normal day. She assumed her husband would return to their mountain home in the afternoon before dusk as he always did, unless he had a longer hunt planned. As Antonia filled the grave, she denied she was burying her husband. Jean-Claude be gone a checkin’ the trap line, she told herself, flipping the dirt onto his shroud. She moved through the nightmare with leaden limbs, a knotted stomach, burning dry eyes, and a throat that felt as though a log had lodged there. While Antonia shoveled, she kept glancing at her little house, where, inside, Henri watched over the sleeping baby. From the garden, she couldn’t see the doorway. She worried about her son—what the glimpse of his father’s bloody body had done to the boy. Mon Dieu, she couldn’t stop to comfort him. Not yet. Henri had promised to stay inside with the baby, but she didn’t know how long she had before Jacques woke up. Once she finished burying Jean-Claude, Antonia would have to put her sons on a mule and trek to where she’d found her husband’s body clutched in the great arms of the dead grizzly. She wasn’t about to let his last kill lie there for the animals and the elements to claim. Her family needed that meat and the fur. She heard a sleepy wail that meant Jacques had awakened. Just a few more shovelfuls. Antonia forced herself to hurry, despite how her arms, shoulders, and back screamed in pain. When she finished the last shovelful of earth, exhausted, Antonia sank to her knees, facing the cabin, her back to the grave, placing herself between her sons and where their father lay. She should go to them, but she was too depleted to move.
Debra Holland (Healing Montana Sky (Montana Sky, #5))
DANCING ANGELS During October 2001, the Lord began to speak to me about traveling to Newfoundland, Canada. I had no desire to go there, especially in the middle of the winter! At this time I was still concerned about my inability to “feel the Lord” and began to press into God all the more. At times I locked myself into the little house and fasted and prayed for up to seven days, or until the presence of God fell. After many confirmations in the spirit, I pooled all of my earthly wealth and made the trip to the great white North. The night before I was to depart, the Lord instructed me to “pray in tongues all the way to Newfoundland.” Somehow through the grace of God I succeeded in praying in the Spirit for about 18 hours until I touched down in Canada. In Springdale, Newfoundland, Canada, the Lord began instructing me to complete a series of prophetic actions. I attended an intercessory prayer meeting on Wednesday, November 21. We were interceding for an upcoming series of healing meetings. During this meeting, I began to “see” into the spirit. As the Lord opened my spiritual eyes, I incrementally saw the heavens open over Living Waters Ministries Church. In addition to this, I also began to hear angelic voices singing along with the worship team. At one point during the meeting, I saw a stream of golden oil pour out from Heaven and land on a certain spot in the sanctuary. At the leading of the Lord, I knelt upon that spot. The glory and anointing began to flow into and over my body. The sensation and anointing was very similar to what I experienced when the angel put his hands upon me the night of August 22, 2001. As I knelt under the spot where the golden oil was beginning to pour onto the altar, I was praying earnestly. I could feel the liquid oil raining down on my body. I could sense and smell this heavenly oil as it rolled off my head. The Holy Spirit began to talk to me in a very clear and direct way that I had never experienced before. I collapsed onto the carpet in a pool of golden oil and laid there in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Then I sensed angels dancing all around the pool and me. I felt an angel as it brushed its wings across my face. I had a “knowing” that the angel was asking me to raise my hands into the air. When I raised my hands up to about two feet, the angel would push my hands back down with its strong, warm hands. I tried again, and when my hands were almost totally up, the angel tickled my nose with the feathers of its wings. I laughed, and my hands fell. The angel and I continued to interact in this fashion for nearly an hour. I did not actually see this angel, but the force and reality of its touch was very tangible. There was no doubt that I was interacting with a heavenly being. This experience was both refreshing and real. SEEING IS BELIEVING On Thursday, November 22, the healing meetings started; they would last through Sunday, the 25th. In these meetings God began to open my spiritual eyes beyond anything I could have ever imagined. On the first night of these meetings, I began to see an “open heaven” forming in the sanctuary. I could also hear and sense the activity of angels as the heavens continued to open up to a greater degree. On Friday, I began to see “bolts of light” shoot through the church, and again the stream of golden oil was flowing from the open heaven in a greater volume. On Saturday night during the worship service, I began to see feathers falling around the church and
Kevin Basconi (How to Work with Angels in Your Life: The Reality of Angelic Ministry Today (Angels in the Realms of Heaven, Book 2))
You’re going to do great,” Lizzy said as they reached the mini Tiki bar. The air was cool in the high fifties and the scent of various meats on the grill filled the air. Even though they’d had the party catered, apparently Grant had insisted on grilling some things himself. “I wouldn’t have recommended you apply for it otherwise.” Athena ducked behind the bar and grinned at the array of bottles and other garnishes. She’d been friends with Lizzy the past couple months and knew her friend’s tastes by now. As she started mixing up their drinks she said, “If I fail, hopefully they won’t blame you.” Lizzy just snorted but eyed the drink mix curiously. “Purple?” “Just wait. You’ll like it.” She rolled the rims of the martini glasses in sugar as she spoke. “Where’d you learn to do this?” “I bartended a little in college and there were a few occasions on the job where I had to assist because staff called out sick for an event.” There’d been a huge festival in Madrid she’d helped out with a year ago where three of the staff had gotten food poisoning, so in addition to everything else she’d been in charge of, she’d had to help with drinks on and off. That had been such a chaotic, ridiculous job. “At least you’ll have something to fall back on if you do fail,” Lizzy teased. “I seriously hope not.” She set the two glasses on the bar and strained the purple concoction into them. With the twinkle lights strung up around the lanai and the ones glittering in the pool, the sugar seemed to sparkle around the rim. “This is called a wildcat.” “You have to make me one of those too!” The unfamiliar female voice made Athena look up. Her eyes widened as her gaze locked with Quinn freaking Brody, the too-sexy-man with an aversion to virgins. He was with the tall woman who’d just asked Athena to make a drink. But she had eyes only for Quinn. Her heart about jumped out of her chest. What was he doing here of all places? At least he looked just as surprised to see her. She ignored him because she knew if she stared into those dark eyes she’d lose the ability to speak and then she’d inevitably embarrass herself. The tall, built-like-a-goddess woman with pale blonde hair he was with smiled widely at Athena. “Only if you don’t mind,” she continued, nodding at the drinks. “They look so good.” “Ah, you can have this one. I made an extra for the lush here.” She tilted her head at Lizzy with a half-smile. Athena had planned to drink the second one herself but didn’t trust her hands not to shake if she made another. She couldn’t believe Quinn was standing right in front of her, looking all casual and annoyingly sexy in dark jeans and a long-sleeved sweater shoved up to his elbows. Why did his forearms have to look so good? “Ha, ha.” Lizzy snagged her drink as Athena stepped out from behind the bar. “Athena, this is Quinn Brody and Dominique Castle. They both work for Red Stone but Dominique is almost as new as you.” Forcing a smile on her face, Athena nodded politely at both of them—and tried to ignore the way Quinn was staring at her. She’d had no freaking idea he worked for Red Stone. He looked a bit like a hungry wolf. Just like on their last date—two months ago. When he’d decided she was too much trouble, being a virgin and all. Jackass. “It’s so nice to meet you both.” She did a mental fist pump when her voice sounded normal. “I promised Belle I’d help out inside but I hope to see you both around tonight.” Liar, liar. “Me too. Thanks again for the drink,” Dominique said cheerfully while Lizzy just gave Athena a strange look. Athena wasn’t sure what Quinn’s expression was because she’d decided to do the mature thing—and studiously ignore him.
Katie Reus (Sworn to Protect (Red Stone Security, #11))
Elvis was pretty slick. Nonetheless, I knew that he was cheating. His four-of-a-kind would beat my full house. I had two choices. I could fold my hand and lose all the money I’d contributed to the pot, or I could match Elvis’s bet and continue to play. If a gambler thought he was in an honest game, he would probably match the bet thinking his full house was a sure winner. The con artist would bet large amounts of money on the remaining cards, knowing he had a winning hand. I narrowed my eyes and pursed my lips, as if struggling to decide whether to wager five hundred pesos or fold my hand and call it quits. I knew there were five men between me and the door and watched them from the corner of my eye. Even if I folded and accepted my losses, I knew they would not let me leave without taking all my cash. They had strength in numbers and would strong arm me if they could. The men stared, intently watching my next move. I set down my beer and took five one hundred peso notes from my wallet. The men at the bar relaxed. My adrenaline surged, pumping through my brain, sharpening my focus as I prepared for action. I moved as if to place my bet on the table, but instead my hand bumped my beer bottle, spilling it onto Elvis’ lap. Elvis reacted instinctively to the cold beer, pushing back from the table and rising to his feet. I jumped up from my chair making a loud show of apologizing, and in the ensuing pandemonium I snatched all the money off the table and bolted for the door! My tactics took everyone by complete surprise. I had a small head start, but the Filipinos recovered quickly and scrambled to cut off my escape. I dashed to the door and barely made it to the exit ahead of the Filipinos. The thugs were nearly upon me when I suddenly wheeled round and kicked the nearest man square in the chest. My kick cracked ribs and launched the shocked Filipino through the air into the other men, tumbling them to the ground. For the moment, my assailants were a jumble of tangled bodies on the floor. I darted out the door and raced down the busy sidewalk, dodging pedestrians. I looked back and saw the furious Filipinos swarming out of the bar. Running full tilt, I grabbed onto the rail of a passing Jeepney and swung myself into the vehicle. The wide-eyed passengers shrunk back, trying to keep their distance from the crazy American. I yelled to the driver, “Step on the gas!” and thrust a hundred peso note into his hand. I looked back and saw all six of Johnny’s henchmen piling onto one tricycle. The jeepney driver realized we were being pursued and stomped the gas pedal to the floor. The jeepney surged into traffic and accelerated away from the tricycle. The tricycle was only designed for one driver and two passengers. With six bodies hanging on, the overloaded motorcycle was slow and unstable. The motorcycle driver held the throttle wide open and the tricycle rocked side to side, almost tipping over, as the frustrated riders yelled curses and flailed their arms futilely. My jeepney continued to speed through the city, pulling away from our pursuers. Finally, I could no longer see the tricycle behind us. When I was sure I had escaped, I thanked the driver and got off at the next stop. I hired a tricycle of my own and carefully made my way back to my neighborhood, keeping careful watch for Johnny and his friends. I knew that Johnny was in a frustrated rage. Not only had I foiled his plans, I had also made off with a thousand pesos of his cash. Even though I had great fun and came out of my escapade in good shape, my escape was risky and could’ve had a very different outcome. I feel a disclaimer is appropriate for those people who think it is fun to con street hustlers, “Kids. Don’t try this at home.
William F. Sine (Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World's Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force)
Rowan coughed and spluttered on his gulp of beer. “I’ve never played with my pussy,” he said with an amused glint in his eye.” Her cheeks heated at his dirty language, but the tingles running under her skin made her aware of her reaction to being alone in the hotel room with Rowan, sitting on the big bed and playing silly games. “I’ve never touched a woman’s breasts beside my own.” “I’ve never given a blow job.” “I’ve never received a blow job,” she said, tilting the mini wine bottle to her mouth and realizing it was empty. “I’ve never played I never with a woman I love before,” he said, setting his beer can on the nightstand with a clink. “I’ve never kissed a man in a hotel room before.” She pressed forward onto her hands and knees to reach and kiss him. Their lips lingered for a long moment before she leaned back and waited for his next I never. “I’ve never removed a woman’s shirt in a hotel room.” Now it was his turn to lean forward and tug her sweater up over her head. She thought long and hard about her next words, knowing he would act on whatever she said. “I’ve never ordered a man to take off his shirt in a hotel room,” she said finally and watched happily as he removed his long sleeve navy cotton T–shirt. She’d never tire of seeing his smooth skin over hard pectorals. A narrow line of hair trailed down the center of his belly disappearing into jeans. She’d licked her way along that line yesterday and licked her lips now in anticipation of tasting him again. “I’ve never kissed a woman’s nipples in a hotel room,” he said. In a flash, her bra was flying through the air to land in a pile on the carpet in front of the window, and Rowan’s mouth was on her breasts. Sensation spiraled through her as she shuddered and her arousal built. She’d been on edge since their heated kisses in the car in the parking lot, and it didn’t take much for Rowan’s tongue to turn her into a shuddering, needy wanton. “I think this game has turned from I Never into Truth or Dare,” she said, clasping Rowan’s head to her chest. He pulled away from his decadent kisses to look her in the face. “Let’s do it. Dare me, Jill.” The look in his eye told her she might’ve taken on more than she could handle. Though she’d been an active participant in their lovemaking up to now, Rowan had taken the lead and guided her. She had the power here. The question was what to do with it. “I dare you to”—she licked her lips thoughtfully—“I dare you to get naked and lie on your back. Eyes closed,” she added. When all was as she wanted, she leaned over him and planted a kiss on his lips. Then she kissed her way down his body, stopping at all the best spots. His chin, where his unshaven beard scratched at her skin. His pectorals, one nipple, then another. His belly button. “You’re ticklish,” she observed. “Yeah.” Then she made her way lower to his erection, lying over his belly pointing at the chin. She freaking loved his body and how it reacted to her every touch. Being alone with him in the hotel room was even better. Here there were no echoes of footsteps in the hallway, no clock ticking signaling the end of their hour together, no narrow bed forcing them to get creative in their positions. They had a king–size bed and a whole night to explore. Kneeling at the side, she took him in her mouth, eliciting a moan. His musky taste filled her mouth, and she lovingly used her tongue to drive him wild. His hand found the crease of her jeans between her legs and explored her while she used her mouth on him. She parted her legs, giving him better access, and it was all she could do to concentrate on giving him pleasure when he was making her feel so good. She wanted to straddle him so bad. The temptation to stop the foreplay and ride this thing to completion was great, but she held off. “Are you ready for me?” Rowan asked. “You want my cock in you?” His eyes remained closed, and a smile lingered on his face.
Lynne Silver (Desperate Match (Coded for Love, #5))
It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. If love comes from the heart, where does hate come from? Children aren’t born knowing how to hate. They must be taught. Therefore, the lesson is simple. Let’s not teach our children hatred and prejudice, because what they don’t know won’t hurt them — or others. PEACE IS PATRIOTIC.
Jeanine Cummins (A Rip in Heaven)
The English aristocracy knew better how to work together; the reason perhaps being that, whereas in France the parliament passed into the hands of the lawyers and so became an instrument of the crown, in England it remained an organ of the social authorities and a rallying-point for their opposition. So well did it understand the art of giving to its resistance a plausible show of public advantage that the Magna Carta, to take one instance, though in reality nothing more than a capitulation of the king to vested interests acting in their own defence, contained phrases about law and liberty which are valid for all time. Whereas the French nobles got themselves known to the people as petty tyrants, often more unruly and exacting than a great one would be, the English nobles managed to convey to the yeoman class of free proprietors the feeling that they too were aristocrats on a small scale, with interests to defend in common with the nobles. This island English aristocracy achieved its master-stroke in 1689. With Harrington rather than John Locke for inspiration, it riveted on the Power given the king whom it had brought from overseas limits so cleverly contrived that they were to last a long time. The essential instrument of Power is the army. An article of the Bill of Rights made standing armies illegal, and the Mutiny Act sanctioned courts martial and imposed military discipline for the space of only a year; in this way, the government was compelled to summon Parliament every year to bring the army to life again, as it were, when it was on the verge of legal dissolution. Hence the fact that, even today, there are the “Royal” Navy and the “Royal” Air Force, but not the “Royal” Army. In this way, the tradition of the Army's dependence on Parliament is preserved.
Bertrand De Jouvenel (On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth)
I may love the great outdoors in winter, but even I draw the line at sunset. When November comes, I have no desire to leave the house after dark. My instinct is to hibernate the evenings away. I hate those strange walks along the high street, lit only by street lamps and the glow of shop windows, the cold seeping up your coat sleeves. I don’t like the way that 4 o’clock can feel so desolate, the air damp without the corrective force of the sun./ The very thought of driving seems nightmarish – those impenetrable roads their edges uncertain; the dance you have to perform with the full beam, flicking it on and off, on and off. Far better to stay at home.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
All that has happened let it flow in, all that flows in let it shape you, all that leaves let it go even if that crumbles you, let it all go, let it evaporate in the flames of Time. Don't regret any part of your life, any decision that you had once taken, because that's exactly what it needed to be like at that very moment to make you come this far in this exact space that you occupy now. Sometimes you would be happy with that present space and sometimes you won't, but when you find yourself distraught and broken in that state remind yourself that your journey is not over yet. Sometimes when you look back and see that in some parts of your Life, Life didn't treat you great, know that it isn't Life it is those few people and those chosen situations that Life had planned in chiselling you into your soul's very armour. Sometimes things that happen would never make sense but that's when you know that they are not meant to make sense and you accept them gracefully as a part of God's plans. That is when you learn to accept, in its absolute fullness. At times Life may look stagnant as if nothing makes sense and looking back you might like to put up questions before Life but then you have to keep going, one step at a time, seeping in every breath of air in a single moment, trying to nourish every bit of your soul and that is all around. Pain is immensely powerful and it can either ruin you entirely or form you into something beyond your imagination, but that only happens when you surrender to the summit of the pain and let it flow in each atom of your soul. Let your suffering absorb you into its shell, feel it, embrace it and above all cherish it. Not everyone is given the power to assemble a force so pure and so vulnerably strong. And then each time something comes with a face of anger, envy, fear or grief or anything that is disruptive you walk upon it gently with grace, a smile of calmness, the one that only the ocean finds to reduce the waves of a turbulent gust. That is the cost you have paid. Rather, that is the reward you have earned.
Debatrayee Banerjee
Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett had tried to block the entrance to the University of Mississippi of James Meredith, an African American veteran of the United States Air Force. Georgia Senator Richard Russell, after whom one of the three United States Senate office buildings is named, lauded the “great and courageous governor of Mississippi” and lamented: “It is regretful that we have no one on the Supreme Court that recognizes the fundamentals of democracy.
Sherrod Brown (Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America)
But alas, I’m here, drunk off my ass, boobs practically spilling out of my shirt, and my mascara slowly melting off my eyelashes and onto my face, morphing me from new-in-town college girl, to trash panda from the raccoon clan. “Dottie, Lindsay,” I say weakly, moving my head from side to side. “Where art thou?” “You need help?” a deep voice slurs next to me. I look to my right through very blurry vision and make out what I’m going to assume is an incredibly attractive man. But then again, I’m drunk—the whole mascara melting off my eyes in full swing—and I’ve been fooled once before. But hey, I think those are blue eyes. Can’t go wrong with that . . . reasoning that will be thought better of in the morning. “Have you seen Dottie or Lindsay?” “Can’t say that I have,” he answers, resting against the wall with me. “Damn it. I think they’re making out with some baseball players. Have you seen any of those around?” “Baseball players?” “Mm-hmm.” I nod, shutting my eyes for a second but then shooting them back open when I feel myself wobble to the side. The guy catches me by the hand before I topple over, but thanks to his alcohol intake, he’s not steady enough to hold us up and . . . timber . . . we fall to the couch next to me. “Whoa, great placement of furniture,” I say, as the guy topples on top of me. “Damn near saved our lives.” I rub my face against the scratchy and worn-out fabric. “How many people do you think have had sex on this thing?” “Probably less than what you’re thinking.” The couch is deep, giving me enough room to lie on my side with the guy in front of me, so we’re both facing each other. He smells nice, like vodka and cupcakes. “So, have you seen any baseball players around? I’m looking for my friends.” “Nah, but if you see any, let me know. I can’t find my room.” “You live here?” I ask, eyes wide. “Yup,” he answers, enunciating the P. “For two years now.” “And you don’t remember where your room is?” “It has a yellow door. If the damn room would stop spinning I’d be able to find it.” “Well . . . maybe if we find your room, we’ll find my friends,” I say, my drunk mind making complete sense. “That’s a great idea.” He rolls off the couch and then stands to his feet, wobbling from side to side as he holds out his hand to me. Without even blinking, I take it in mine and let him help me to my feet. “Yellow door, let’s go,” I say, raising my crumpled cup to the air. “We’re on the move.” He keeps my hand clasped in his and we stumble together past beer pong, people making out against walls, the kitchen, to an open space full of doors. “Yellow door, do you see one?” I blink a few times and then see a flash of sunshine. “There.” I point with force. “Yellow, right there.” His head snaps to where I’m pointing. A beam of light illuminates the color of the door, making it seem like we’re about to walk right into the sun. I’m a little chilly, so I welcome the heat. “Fuck, there it is. You’re good.” 
Meghan Quinn (The Locker Room (The Brentwood Boys, #1))
This point is made with a great metaphor for the consequences of societal inequality.41 The frequency of “air rage”—a passenger majorly, disruptively, dangerously losing it over something on a flight—has been increasing. Turns out there’s a substantial predictor of it: if the plane has a first-class section, there’s almost a fourfold increase in the odds of a coach passenger having air rage. Force coach passengers to walk through first class when boarding, and you more than double the chances further. Nothing like starting a flight by being reminded of where you fit into the class hierarchy. And completing the parallel with violent crime, when air rage is boosted in coach by reminders of inequality, the result is not a crazed coach passenger sprinting into first class to shout Marxist slogans. It’s the guy being awful to the old woman sitting next to him, or to the flight attendant.*
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
The cold not only bears down on human bodies, but also bends sound. The forest sits under an inversion, chilled air pooling under a warmer cap. The colder air is like molasses for sound waves, slowing them as they pass, causing them to lag sound travelling in higher, warmer air. The difference in speed turns the temperature gradient into a sound lens. Waves curve down. Sound energy , instead of dissipating in a three dimensional dome, is forced to spread in two dimensions, spilling across the ground, focusing its vigor on the surface. What would have been muffled, distant sounds leap closer, magnified by the jeweler’s icy loupe. The aggressive whine of the snowmobile mingles with the churr and chip of red squirrels and chickadees. Here are modern and ancient sunlight, manifest in the boreal soundscape. Squirrels nipping the buds of fir trees, chickadee poking for hidden seeds and insects, all powered by last summer’s photosynthesis; diesel and gasoline, sunlight squeezed and fermented for tens or hundreds of millions of years, now finally freed in an exultant engine roar. Nuclear fusion pounds its energy into my eardrums, courtesy of life’s irrepressible urge to turn sunlight into song.
David George Haskell (The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors)
Given this American interest, how might war between the United States and China develop? Assume the year is 2010. American troops are out of Korea, which has been reunified, and the United States has a greatly reduced military presence in Japan. Taiwan and mainland China have reached an accommodation in which Taiwan continues to have most of its de facto independence but explicitly acknowledges Beijing’s suzerainty and with China’s sponsorship has been admitted to the United Nations on the model of Ukraine and Belorussia in 1946. The development of the oil resources in the South China Sea has proceeded apace, largely under Chinese auspices but with some areas under Vietnamese control being developed by American companies. Its confidence boosted by its new power projection capabilities, China announces that it will establish its full control of the entire sea, over all of which it has always claimed sovereignty. The Vietnamese resist and fighting occurs between Chinese and Vietnamese warships. The Chinese, eager to revenge their 1979 humiliation, invade Vietnam. The Vietnamese appeal for American assistance. The Chinese warn the United States to stay out. Japan and the other nations in Asia dither. The United States says it cannot accept Chinese conquest of Vietnam, calls for economic sanctions against China, and dispatches one of its few remaining carrier task forces to the South China Sea. The Chinese denounce this as a violation of Chinese territorial waters and launch air strikes against the task force. Efforts by the U.N. secretary general and the Japanese prime minister to negotiate a cease-fire fail, and the fighting spreads elsewhere in East Asia. Japan prohibits the use of U.S. bases in Japan for action against China, the United States ignores that prohibition, and Japan announces its neutrality and quarantines the bases. Chinese submarines and land-based aircraft operating from both Taiwan and the mainland impose serious damage on U.S. ships and facilities in East Asia. Meanwhile Chinese ground forces enter Hanoi and occupy large portions of Vietnam.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
Meidanov responded to the poetic fibres of her nature; a man of rather cold temperament, like almost all writers, he forced himself to convince her, and perhaps himself, that he adored her, sang her praises in endless verses, and read them to her with a peculiar enthusiasm, at once affected and sincere. She sympathised with him, and at the same time jeered at him a little; she had no great faith in him, and after listening to his outpourings, she would make him read Pushkin, as she said, to clear the air.
Ivan Turgenev (First Love)
The most important speaks to the issue of character and integrity, traits noted in many of his ERs. He was more concerned with the welfare of his men than with his own advancement, a rare trait in the Air Force and a sign of a great leader.
Robert Coram (American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day)
The elemental forces must be invoked and combined. Whoever controls this force will have the power to create great change. I have picked four individuals to represent the elements. You personify the element of air, for the dragon known as the cockatrice.
Storm Constantine (The Way of Light (The Chronicles of Magravandias, #3))
ChiroCynergy - Dr. Matthew Bradshaw | Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) in Leland, NC What exactly is Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)? ART is a patented, state-of-the-art, soft tissue management system developed by Dr. Michael Leahy (an Air Force engineer/chiropractor) that treats problems occurring with: - Muscles - Tendons - Ligaments - Fascia - Nerves Injuries to these tissues can occur in 3 different ways: Acute trauma injury – a sprained ankle playing racquetball is a great example of this type of injury. Compression injury – an example of a compression injury would be back stiffness and pain and/or numbness down the leg (sciatica) caused by sitting behind a computer frequently and for long periods of time. Sitting causes reduced oxygen flow to the tissues, which in turn causes the numbness and/or pain. Overuse injuries – frequently seen in people whose jobs involve typing all day. The repetitive motion can produce wrist and hand pain (i.e. carpal tall syndrome) due to the accumulation of small tears in the tissues. Each of these changes causes your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up: Muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension on tendons causes tendonitis. Nerves can become trapped. This can result in reduced ranges of motion, loss of strength, and pain. With trapped nerves, you may also feel tingling, numbness, shooting pains, burning sensations, weakness, muscle atrophy and circulatory changes. Even when most doctors say medications or surgery is the only answer, ART may still be able to resolve the symptoms and put you back on the field or back to work and into your best game. ChiroCynergy can help! We offer Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) in Leland, NC. Call us: (910) 368-1528 #chiropractor_Leland_nc #best_chiropractor_Leland_nc #chiropractor_near_Leland_nc #chiropractic_in_Leland_nc #best_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #chiropractic_near_me #chiropractor_near_me #family_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #female_chiropractors_in_Leland_nc #physical_therapy_in_Leland_nc #sports_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #pregnancy_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #sciatica_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #car_accident_chiropractor_in_Leland_nc #Active_Release_Technique_in_Leland_nc #Cold_Laser_Therapy_in_Leland_nc #Spinal_Decompression_in_Leland_nc
ChiroCynergy - Dr. Matthew Bradshaw | Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) in Leland, NC
In 1918, the world population was 1.8 billion, and the pandemic probably killed 50 to 100 million people, with the lowest credible modern estimate at 35 million. Today the world population is 7.6 billion. A comparable death toll today would range from roughly 150 to 425 million. Chiefly because antibiotics would slash the toll from secondary bacterial infections, if a virus caused a 1918-like pandemic today, modern medicine could likely prevent significantly more than half of those deaths—assuming adequate supplies of antibiotics, which is quite an assumption—but tens of millions would still die. And a severe influenza pandemic would hit like a tsunami, inundating intensive-care units even as doctors and nurses fall ill themselves and generally pushing the health care system to the point of collapse and possibly beyond it. Hospitals, like every other industry, have gotten more efficient by cutting costs, which means virtually no excess capacity—on a per capita basis the United States has far fewer hospital beds than a few decades ago. Indeed, during a routine influenza season, usage of respirators rises to nearly 100 percent; in a pandemic, most people who needed a mechanical respirator probably would not get one. (The strain influenza puts on health care was driven home to me in a personal way on my book tour. In Kansas City, a flare-up of ordinary seasonal influenza forced eight hospitals to close emergency rooms, yet this was only a tiny fraction of the pressure a pandemic would exert.) This and similar problems—such as if a particular secondary bacterial invader is resistant to antibiotics, or shortages of such seemingly trivial items as hypodermic needles or bags to hold IV fluids (a severe shortage of these bags is a major problem as I write this)—could easily moot many medical advances since 1918. Disease impact would also ripple through the economy to disastrous effect. With everyone from air traffic controllers to truck drivers out sick, just-in-time inventory systems would crash, supply chains would collapse, for lack of some part production lines would shut down, while schools and day-care facilities might close for weeks, and an overburdened “last mile” would limit the ability of people to work from home.
John M. Barry (The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History)
Many of the construction workers chafed at the primitive living conditions. Still, many remember the experience as a great adventure and as their own contribution to winning the war. “It was exciting,” said one many years later. “I had three hots and a cot. I had a good-paying job that wasn’t too hard. I was free to come and go as I pleased, and nobody was shooting at me.” They were patriotic about what they were doing, even though they had no idea what the gigantic plants they were building would make. In 1944, the craft unions organized a campaign to ask everyone for a day’s pay, raising $162,000 in seven weeks. With the funds, the unions bought a four-engine B-17 bomber for the US Army Air Forces. Named “Day’s Pay,” the bomber flew from Boeing Field in Seattle to the Hanford airstrip to be presented to the Fourth Air Force. “This activity, conceived by the workmen and handled by them, . . . was the most effective single morale booster during the job,” Matthias recalled. It did more “to develop an attitude of teamwork and desire to help the war than any other thing.
Steve Olson (The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age)
I know of no pleasure more reliable than consuming a great American brand against the backdrop featured in its advertising. Driving a Ford pickup down brown dirt roads. Swigging a Coke on the beach in Malibu. Flying Great West over central Colorado. It's a feeling of restfulness and order akin, I suspect, to how the ancient Egyptians felt watching the planets line up over the Pyramids. You're in the right place, you're running with the right forces, and if the wind should howl tomorrow, let it.
Walter Kirn (Up in the Air)
Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore. “Avada Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6))
Military force is another element of power. It provides a nation the capability to impose it's will on another nation through the threat or use of violence. Military force also provides a state the capability to resist another's coercive actions. The types of military forces required will depend on the state's physical characteristics and its enemies' capabilities. A landlocked state has little need for a navy. If a nation's opponent has a strong air force, then the nation should have strong air defenses. The size and composition of military force available will dictate the types of operations a state may conduct. A landlocked power with no navy will never dominate the seas. A state without an air force or navy today will have great difficulty projecting and sustaining military forces over great distances. A strong army with no ability to move to another area has little impact on foreign policy, except on protecting its homeland. The technological sophistication of its weaponry versus that of an opponent's will provide a state an advantage or disadvantage in projecting its will. All other things being equal, a state weapons that can kill an opponent's soldiers faster and more efficiency that those of the opponent's has an advantage. Of course, rarely are all other things equal. Technological superiority can provide an advantage, but it cannot guarantee success. Technology will also affect the state's ability to sustain its forces. Commonality of the civilian and military technological base will enhance logistical capabilities by making it easy for civilian industry to provide military forces the equipment needed. The location of military forces with respect to the theater of war and the enemy is another component of military power. If the military forces are near their warfighting positioning, their deterrent and warfare capabilities are greater. The degree of civilian control and willingness to employ military force prescribes the manner in which a state may employ its military power. This point relates to the national will element of power. If the will to employ the military force available does not exist, the military force has no utility. No power results from the simple existence of the military force. Power results from the will to use military power, or at least an enemy's perception of the willingness to do so, and the capability of that military force to defeat all enemy. Available reserves limit the duration of combat a state can endure. Once all the trained or trainable men and women are casualties, a state cannot continue. A state's manpower pool always serves as a limit on the size of the military force it can raise.
John M. House (Why War? Why an Army?)
Technological innovations that produced certain major components of the United States military cannot be understood as resulting from a qualitative arms race. Those involved in decisions about new military technologies for the U.S. Army and Air Force simply do not appear to have had access to good intelligence about the Soviet military technological developments. How, then, were decisions made as to technologies to develop? Military research and development decisions are made amid great uncertainties. In an ideal world, such decisions would be managed by estimating the future costs of alternative programs and their prospective military values, and then pursuing the program with the best ratio of cost to value. But...there are tremendous difficulties in forecasting the real value and costs of weapons development programs. These uncertainties, combined with the empirical difficulty American technology managers had in collecting intelligence on the Soviet Union, meant that research and development strategies in the real world tended to become strategies for managing uncertainties. At least two such strategies are conceivable. One of the most politically important can be called, for want of a better phrase, "let the scientists choose." [This approach should be] compared with the theoretical and practical arguments for a strategy that concentrates on low-cot hedges against various forms of uncertainty.
Stephen Peter Rosen (Winning the Next War)
In this world, anything is possible. The United States might win a future war relying solely on air power for the first time in history, with no American or local ground forces involved and no meaningful threat of their deployment. That possibility cannot be excluded. The Rumsfeld vision of military transformation, however, does not pursue that as a possibility: it relies on it as a certainty. By focusing all of America's defense resources on the single medium of air power, Rumsfeld is betting America's future security on the conviction that the U.S. armed forces will be able to do every time what no military to date has ever been able to do. In doing so, he is greatly simplifying the task of those preparing to fight the United States by presenting them with only one threat to defeat. A sound program of military transformation would proceed in exactly the opposite way. It would recognize the value of America's technological advantage in the area of PGMs. It would continue to enlarge and enhance them, much as Rumsfeld currently proposes. But it would not do so at the expense of the unique capabilities that ground forces bring to bear. It would focus, instead, on developing the capabilities provided by air power. Ground forces can seize and hold terrain, separate hostile groups, and comb through urban with infinitely greater precision and distinction between combatant and non-combatant that can air power. They can present the enemy with unacceptable situations simply by occupying a given piece of land, forcing the enemy to take actions that reveal intentions and expose the enemy to destruction. And it goes without saying that only ground forces can execute the peacemaking, peacekeeping, and reconstruction activities that have been essential to success in most of the wars America has fought in the past hundred years. Above all, the United States must avoid the search for "efficiency" in military affairs. Redundancy is inherently a virtue in war. America's leaders should intentionally design systems with overlapping capabilities, spread across the services, and should intentionally support weapons that do not directly contribute to the overarching vision of war that they are pursuing. America should continue to try to build armed forces that are the best in every category and have the latent capabilities to meet challenges that cannot now even be imagined.
Frederick Kagan
What are we looking at here, General? A chemical agent?” asked Backlund. “Of sorts. Based on this imagery, we believe it’s a compound that hasn’t yet been utilized in combat. In tests, it greatly accelerates the mental capacity and physical strength of reptiles. While it’s not the scientific nomenclature for the liquid, it’s been referred to as ‘GatorAid’ in some circles.
Dan Ryckert (Air Force Gator)
They were children of parents who’d acted grotesquely, some might say violently, toward them, even when they were fairly little, and when, in their early thirties, they met and began sharing confidences, their discovery of this common ground—for that was how she thought of it—seemed to her a great, welcome solace. At last! she thought more than once during the weeks and months after they’d started going to bed together—always at friends’ places, because they were both in transitional periods and didn’t have anywhere comfortably private; she was saving money by sleeping on a foldout sofa in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment in the East Twenties that she shared with her friend Susan, while he, also recently forced to cut expenses, was installed uptown in a rented room in the apartment of an older, intimidating former co-worker, also named Susan. At last! Jennifer said to herself many times before falling asleep after sex in some friend’s or friend of a friend’s freshly changed bed. Then she would squeeze his hand.
Donald Antrim (The Emerald Light in the Air)
But upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, “Can it be that Noah was in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?” Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground.
Ellen Gould White (Patriarchs And Prophets)
Craig Bryan, a University of Texas psychologist and suicide expert who recently left the air force, told Time magazine that the military finds itself in a catch-22: “We train our warriors to use controlled violence and aggression, to suppress strong emotional reactions in the face of adversity, to tolerate physical and emotional pain, and to overcome the fear of injury and death. These qualities are also associated with increased risk for suicide.” Bryan then explained that the military can’t decrease the intensity of that conditioning “without negatively affecting the fighting capability of our military.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Our auditory skills certainly demand just as many superlatives as our vocal abilities. We hear because the pressure of the air is great enough to move the eardrum, and yet the extraordinary responsiveness of the ear to tiny vibrations in pressure almost defies belief. The force brought to bear on the ear is measured in dynes-very small units of force. To support the weight of one ounce against the force of gravity, for instance, we have to exert an upward force of 28,000 dynes. Yet the ear can detect a force of 0.0002 dynes. In other words, the force acting on the eardrum is around 140 million times smaller than the force needed to lift a weight of an ounce. At the threshold of hearing, the eardrum moves roughly one-tenth of the diameter of a hydrogen molecule. It's even been argued (astonishingly) that, if there were nothing between you and an airport ten miles away, with no competing sounds or intervening objects for the sound to reflect off, in theory you could hear a piece of chalk drop at the airport.
Anne Karpf (The Human Voice: How This Extraordinary Instrument Reveals Essential Clues About Who We Are)
During NASA’s first fifty years the agency’s accomplishments were admired globally. Democratic and Republican leaders were generally bipartisan on the future of American spaceflight. The blueprint for the twenty-first century called for sustaining the International Space Station and its fifteen-nation partnership until at least 2020, and for building the space shuttle’s heavy-lift rocket and deep spacecraft successor to enable astronauts to fly beyond the friendly confines of low earth orbit for the first time since Apollo. That deep space ship would fly them again around the moon, then farther out to our solar system’s LaGrange points, and then deeper into space for rendezvous with asteroids and comets, learning how to deal with radiation and other deep space hazards before reaching for Mars or landings on Saturn’s moons. It was the clearest, most reasonable and best cost-achievable goal that NASA had been given since President John F. Kennedy’s historic decision to land astronauts on the lunar surface. Then Barack Obama was elected president. The promising new chief executive gave NASA short shrift, turning the agency’s future over to middle-level bureaucrats with no dreams or vision, bent on slashing existing human spaceflight plans that had their genesis in the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush White Houses. From the starting gate, Mr. Obama’s uncaring space team rolled the dice. First they set up a presidential commission designed to find without question we couldn’t afford the already-established spaceflight plans. Thirty to sixty thousand highly skilled jobs went on the chopping block with space towns coast to coast facing 12 percent unemployment. $9.4 billion already spent on heavy-lift rockets and deep space ships was unashamedly flushed down America’s toilet. The fifty-year dream of new frontiers was replaced with the shortsighted obligations of party politics. As 2011 dawned, NASA, one of America’s great science agencies, was effectively defunct. While Congress has so far prohibited the total cancellation of the space agency’s plans to once again fly astronauts beyond low earth orbit, Obama space operatives have systematically used bureaucratic tricks to slow roll them to a crawl. Congress holds the purse strings and spent most of 2010 saying, “Wait just a minute.” Thousands of highly skilled jobs across the economic spectrum have been lost while hundreds of billions in “stimulus” have been spent. As of this writing only Congress can stop the NASA killing. Florida’s senior U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, a former spaceflyer himself, is leading the fight to keep Obama space advisors from walking away from fifty years of national investment, from throwing the final spade of dirt on the memory of some of America’s most admired heroes. Congressional committees have heard from expert after expert that Mr. Obama’s proposal would be devastating. Placing America’s future in space in the hands of the Russians and inexperienced commercial operatives is foolhardy. Space legend John Glenn, a retired Democratic Senator from Ohio, told president Obama that “Retiring the space shuttles before the country has another space ship is folly. It could leave Americans stranded on the International Space Station with only a Russian spacecraft, if working, to get them off.” And Neil Armstrong testified before the Senate’s Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee that “With regard to President Obama’s 2010 plan, I have yet to find a person in NASA, the Defense Department, the Air Force, the National Academies, industry, or academia that had any knowledge of the plan prior to its announcement. Rumors abound that neither the NASA Administrator nor the President’s Science and Technology Advisor were knowledgeable about the plan. Lack of review normally guarantees that there will be overlooked requirements and unwelcome consequences. How could such a chain of events happen?
Alan Shepard (Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon)
Once upon a time, there was a colony of water bugs. They were a close colony, a family. Where one went, the others went. But every so often, one would straggle away on their own, crawl onto a lily pad, and never return. This was a great mystery to the family of water bugs. They couldn’t figure out what was happening to their family members, or why they disappeared. They talked about it often, and worried about it, but they could never figure it out.” Finn opens his eyes now, and stares out at the water, past me, past the waves, and out to the horizon. He fixes his gaze on the red lighthouse in the distance, on the pelicans that dive for their dinner around it, and the waves that break apart against the rocks. “Well, one day, another water bug climbed onto the lily pad, drawn there by invisible forces from within itself, forces it didn’t understand and couldn’t control. As it sat there in the sun, it transformed into a beautiful dragonfly. It shed its water bug skin, and sprouted iridescent wings that gleamed in the sunlight. Wings so large and strong, it was able to fly into the air, doing loops in the sky. “The new dragonfly was ecstatic with it’s new body and thought to itself, ‘I need to go back and tell the others. They need to know that this is what happens so they won’t be scared.’ So he dipped and dove through the air, directly at the water. But unfortunately, he couldn’t dive below the surface to where the water-bugs were swimming. In his new form, the dragonfly was no longer able to communicate with his family. He felt at peace, though, because he knew that someday, his family would all transform too, and they’d all be together again.” Finn
Courtney Cole (The Nocte Trilogy: The Complete Set)
For example, expositor Dr. John Gill in the 1700s said: The lower part of it, the atmosphere above, which are the clouds full of water, from whence rain descends upon the earth; and which divided between them and those that were left on the earth, and so under it, not yet gathered into one place; as it now does between the clouds of heaven and the waters of the sea. Though Mr. Gregory is of the opinion, that an abyss of waters above the most supreme orb is here meant; or a great deep between the heavens and the heaven of heavens.6 Gill agrees that clouds were inclusive of these waters above but that the waters also extend to the heaven of heavens, at the outer edge of the universe. Matthew Poole noted this possibility as well in his commentary in the 1600s: . . . the expansion, or extension, because it is extended far and wide, even from the earth to the third heaven; called also the firmament, because it is fixed in its proper place, from whence it cannot be moved, unless by force.7 Matthew Henry also concurs that this expanse extends to the heaven of heavens (third heaven): The command of God concerning it: Let there be a firmament, an expansion, so the Hebrew word signifies, like a sheet spread, or a curtain drawn out. This includes all that is visible above the earth, between it and the third heavens: the air, its higher, middle, and lower, regions — the celestial globe, and all the spheres and orbs of light above: it reaches as high as the place where the stars are fixed, for that is called here the firmament of heaven Ge 1:14,15, and as low as the place where the birds fly, for that also is called the firmament of heaven, Ge 1:20.8 The point is that a canopy model about the earth is simply that . . . an interpretation. It should be evaluated as such, not taken as Scripture itself.
Ken Ham (A Flood of Evidence: 40 Reasons Noah and the Ark Still Matter)
Physical Invasion The normative principle I am suggesting for the law is simply this: No action should be considered illicit or illegal unless it invades, or aggresses against, the person or just property of another. Only invasive actions should be declared illegal, and combated with the full power of the law. The invasion must be concrete and physical. There are degrees of seriousness of such invasion, and hence, different proper degrees of restitution or punishment. "Burglary," simple invasion of property for purposes of theft, is less serious than "robbery," where armed force is likely to be used against the victim. Here, however, we are not concerned with the questions of degrees of invasion or punishment, but simply with invasion per se. If no man may invade another person's "just" property, what is our criterion of justice to be? There is no space here to elaborate on a theory of justice in property titles. Suffice it to say that the basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a selfowner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or "mixes his labor with." From these twin axioms — self-ownership and "homesteading" — stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free-market society. This system establishes the right of every man to his own person, the right of donation, of bequest (and, concomitantly, the right to receive the bequest or inheritance), and the right of contractual exchange of property titles. Legal and political theory have committed much mischief by failing to pinpoint physical invasion as the only human action that should be illegal and that justifies the use of physical violence to combat it. The vague concept of "harm" is substituted for the precise one of physical violence. Consider the following two examples. Jim is courting Susan and is just about to win her hand in marriage, when suddenly Bob appears on the scene and wins her away. Surely Bob has done great "harm" to Jim. Once a nonphysical-invasion sense of harm is adopted, almost any outlaw act might be justified. Should Jim be able to "enjoin" Bob's very existence? Similarly, A is a successful seller of razor blades. But then B comes along and sells a better blade, teflon-coated to prevent shaving cuts. The value of A's property is greatly affected. Should he be able to collect damages from B, or, better yet, to enjoin B's sale of a better blade? The correct answer is not that consumers would be hurt if they were forced to buy the inferior blade, although that is surely the case. Rather, no one has the right to legally prevent or retaliate against "harms" to his property unless it is an act of physical invasion. Everyone has the right to have the physical integrity of his property inviolate; no one has the right to protect the value of his property, for that value is purely the reflection of what people are willing to pay for it. That willingness solely depends on how they decide to use their money. No one can have a right to someone else's money, unless that other person had previously contracted to transfer it to him. "Legal and political theory have committed much mischief by failing to pinpoint physical invasion as the only human action that should be illegal and that justifies the use of physical violence to combat it.
Murray N. Rothbard (Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution)
The normative principle I am suggesting for the law is simply this: No action should be considered illicit or illegal unless it invades, or aggresses against, the person or just property of another. Only invasive actions should be declared illegal, and combated with the full power of the law. The invasion must be concrete and physical. There are degrees of seriousness of such invasion, and hence, different proper degrees of restitution or punishment. "Burglary," simple invasion of property for purposes of theft, is less serious than "robbery," where armed force is likely to be used against the victim. Here, however, we are not concerned with the questions of degrees of invasion or punishment, but simply with invasion per se. If no man may invade another person's "just" property, what is our criterion of justice to be? There is no space here to elaborate on a theory of justice in property titles. Suffice it to say that the basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a selfowner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or "mixes his labor with." From these twin axioms — self-ownership and "homesteading" — stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free-market society. This system establishes the right of every man to his own person, the right of donation, of bequest (and, concomitantly, the right to receive the bequest or inheritance), and the right of contractual exchange of property titles. Legal and political theory have committed much mischief by failing to pinpoint physical invasion as the only human action that should be illegal and that justifies the use of physical violence to combat it. The vague concept of "harm" is substituted for the precise one of physical violence. Consider the following two examples. Jim is courting Susan and is just about to win her hand in marriage, when suddenly Bob appears on the scene and wins her away. Surely Bob has done great "harm" to Jim. Once a nonphysical-invasion sense of harm is adopted, almost any outlaw act might be justified. Should Jim be able to "enjoin" Bob's very existence? Similarly, A is a successful seller of razor blades. But then B comes along and sells a better blade, teflon-coated to prevent shaving cuts. The value of A's property is greatly affected. Should he be able to collect damages from B, or, better yet, to enjoin B's sale of a better blade? The correct answer is not that consumers would be hurt if they were forced to buy the inferior blade, although that is surely the case. Rather, no one has the right to legally prevent or retaliate against "harms" to his property unless it is an act of physical invasion. Everyone has the right to have the physical integrity of his property inviolate; no one has the right to protect the value of his property, for that value is purely the reflection of what people are willing to pay for it. That willingness solely depends on how they decide to use their money. No one can have a right to someone else's money, unless that other person had previously contracted to transfer it to him. Legal and political theory have committed much mischief by failing to pinpoint physical invasion as the only human action that should be illegal and that justifies the use of physical violence to combat it. (1/2)
Murray N. Rothbard (Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution)
Lawrence hid himself in the Air Force under the name of Shaw to avoid being introduced for the rest of his life as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. I do not want C. R. Milne ever to wish that his names were Charles Robert. The comparison between Lawrence of Arabia and Christopher Robin, which at first seems rather ridiculous, has real reverberations. Robert Graves once wrote of Lawrence, ‘He both despised and loved the legend that surrounded him’, and this was also true of Christopher Milne at different stages of his life. The great difference, of course, was that Lawrence’s legend was based on his own achievements, Christopher Robin’s on nothing he had done himself –and his mixed feelings would eventually transfer from the legend to his father, the author of it.
Ann Thwaite (Goodbye Christopher Robin: A. A. Milne and the Making of Winnie-the-Pooh)
We followed Captain Skinny inside, and as we stepped into the lobby the cool air hit me with a force that numbed my lips and made time slow down. But we all made it over to reception somehow without slipping into hypothermic shock. The man at the desk inclined his head at us with great gravity and said, “Good afternoon, sir. Do you have a reservation?” I nodded back and said we had, in fact, reserved a room—and Rita leaned in front of me and blurted out, “Not a room, it’s a suite? Because it’s supposed to be, I mean, and anyway when we got it—online? And Dexter said—my husband. I mean, Morgan.” “Very good, ma’am,” the clerk said. He turned to his computer, and I left Rita to go through all the little rituals of registration while I took Lily Anne and followed Cody and Astor over to a large rack holding pamphlets for all the many charming and glamorous attractions this Magic Isle held for even the most jaded traveler. Apparently, one could do almost anything in Key West—as long as one had a couple of major credit cards and an overwhelming urge to buy T-shirts. The kids stared at the dozens of brightly colored brochures. Cody would frown and point to one, and Astor would pull it from its slot. Then their two heads came together over the pictures as they studied the page, Astor whispering to her brother and Cody nodding and frowning back at her, and then their eyes would snap up and they’d go back to the rack to pick another one. By the time Rita had us registered and came to join us, Astor held at least fifteen brochures.
Jeff Lindsay (Double Dexter (Dexter #6))
These are the doubts and motives whose solution involveth only so much doctrine as will suffice to lay bare the intimate and radical errors of the current philosophy, and the weight and force of our own. Here is the reason wherefore we must not fear that any object may disappear, or any particle veritably melt away or dissolve in space or suffer dismemberment by annihilation. Here too is the reason of the constant change of all things, so that there existeth no evil beyond escape, nor good which is unattainable, since throughout infinite space and throughout endless change all substance remaineth one and the same. From these reflections, if we apply ourselves attentively, we shall see that no strange happening can be dismissed by grief or by fear, and that no good fortune can be advanced by pleasure or hope. Whereby we find the true path to true morality; we will be high minded, despising that which is esteemed by childish minds; and we shall certainly become greater than those whom the blind public doth adore, for we shall attain to true contemplation of the story of nature which is inscribed within ourselves, and we shall follow the divine laws which are engraved upon our hearts. We shall recognize that there is no distinction between flight from here to heaven and from heaven hither, nor between ascent from there hither and from here to there; nor yet is there descent between one and the other. We are not more circumferential to those others than they to us; they are not more central to us than we to them. Just as we do tread our star and are contained in our heaven, so also are they. Behold us therefore beyond reach of jealousy, liberated from vain anxiety and from foolish concern to covet from afar that great good which we possess close by and at hand. Behold us moreover freed from panic lest others should fall upon us, rather than encouraged in the hope that we may fall upon them. Since the air which sustaineth our globe is as infinite as that which sustaineth theirs, and this animal [the earth] wandereth through her own space and reacheth her own destination as freely as do those others. When we have pondered and understood this, ah, how much further shall we be led to ponder and understand. Thus by means of this science we shall certainly attain to that good which by other sciences is sought in vain.
Giordano Bruno (On the Infinite, the Universe and the Worlds: Five Cosmological Dialogues (Collected Works of Giordano Bruno Book 2))
Well, it was a kind of back-to-front program. It’s funny how many of the best ideas are just an old idea back-to-front. You see there have already been several programs written that help you to arrive at decisions by properly ordering and analysing all the relevant facts so that they then point naturally towards the right decision. The drawback with these is that the decision which all the properly ordered and analysed facts point to is not necessarily the one you want.’ ‘Yeeeess...’ said Reg’s voice from the kitchen. ‘Well, Gordon’s great insight was to design a program which allowed you to specify in advance what decision you wished it to reach, and only then to give it all the facts. The program’s task, which it was able to accomplish with consummate ease, was simply to construct a plausible series of logical-sounding steps to connect the premises with the conclusion. ‘And I have to say that it worked brilliantly. Gordon was able to buy himself a Porsche almost immediately despite being completely broke and a hopeless driver. Even his bank manager was unable to find fault with his reasoning. Even when Gordon wrote it off three weeks later.’ ‘Heavens. And did the program sell very well?’ ‘No. We never sold a single copy.’ ‘You astonish me. It sounds like a real winner to me.’ ‘It was,’ said Richard hesitantly. ‘The entire project was bought up, lock, stock and barrel, by the Pentagon. The deal put WayForward on a very sound financial foundation. Its moral foundation, on the other hand, is not something I would want to trust my weight to. I’ve recently been analysing a lot of the arguments put forward in favour of the Star Wars project, and if you know what you’re looking for, the pattern of the algorithms is very clear. ‘So much so, in fact, that looking at Pentagon policies over the last couple of years I think I can be fairly sure that the US Navy is using version 2.00 of the program, while the Air Force for some reason only has the beta-test version of 1.5. Odd, that.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
In Florida we got to hang out with some of America’s finest at Eglin Air Force Base. The army Rangers there had been clearing a section of bush for doing operations and had encountered a huge eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Diamondbacks grow to be the largest rattlers anyway, but this one was big for another reason: She was pregnant. Not long after the Rangers’ reptile handlers had transported her back to a holding facility, she gave birth. We watched as the newborn rattlers worked their way out, lay still for a short moment, and then immediately began striking at everything and anything nearby. Although it was a great defense mechanism, in case a predator was about to eat them, it appeared pretty comical. Bite, bite, bite, strike, strike, strike. Then they would curl up and hide for a while. Soon enough it was back on the offensive: bite, strike, bite. They were all fang, and trying to look tough. An interesting way to greet the world. Steve and I scooped up the baby rattlesnakes and held them until they went through their strike phase. We made sure to set them down before they went back to their frenzied biting. “What happens if you’re bitten by a venomous snake while you are breastfeeding?” Steve asked. “I don’t know,” I answered. “I’d probably have to stop breastfeeding, right?” “Just be sure not to get bitten,” Steve said. “Deal,” I said. I scooped up a little wet rattler, talked to the camera, then set the snake back down. Boing, boing, boing went the baby rattler, jumping madly around, trying to bite everything. Even the Rangers laughed. Once the Rangers had completed their training mission, all the dangerous wildlife they collected (including the rattlers) would go right back where they came from. We were very proud to have worked with some of America’s heroes.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
North of Las Vegas, desert and mountainous scrub land stretches for hundreds of miles. The earth still bears the scars from above-ground nuclear bomb tests at Yucca Flats, the flash of mushroom clouds visible from the early Las Vegas casinos. Secret tests of another sort take place in Area 51, the Air Force’s clandestine base and sprawling testing facility shrouded in mystery and baked by an unrelenting sun. In the 450 miles between Vegas and Reno, ghost towns slowly crumble, Great Basin rattlesnakes hunt for rodents, and US Highway 95 stretches up and down the arid landscape, connecting the state’s only two metropolitan areas.
Mark S. Bacon (Desert Kill Switch ~ A Nostalgia City Mystery ~ Book 2)
At GM, “it was taken for granted that we have met the enemy and he is the EPA,” Colucci says. “It was instilled in us, it was just the ethic. Because they’re going to force us to spend more money.” When the laws and rules came through, the company mostly did what it had to, but the remarkable improvements in America’s air wouldn’t have happened had the industry been left to its own devices. “I can’t think of where this country would be now if we didn’t have the state of California and the EPA beating us over the head to get these things done,” he tells me. Indeed, California has long played a crucial role in America’s pollution struggles, dragging the nation along behind it. Because it had already begun regulating car emissions when the Clean Air Act passed, the law allowed it to continue doing so. No other state can set its own rules, but they can sign on to California’s, and the size of that collective market has given Sacramento great power.
Beth Gardiner (Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution)
The Air Force has never valued a sense of humor in its career men, and in high-risk fields like flight testing, a sense of the absurd will cripple a man’s future just as surely as an LSD habit.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time)
Air Force One is much better than any plane that anyone else has anywhere. You can start a nuclear war from Air Force One. That’s how great it is.
Selina Meyer (A Woman First: First Woman: A Memoir)
Speech to the Reichstag Berlin, December 11 Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag! Ever since the rejection of my last peace proposal in July 1940, we have been aware that this war has to be fought to the bitter end. That the Anglo-American, Jewish-capitalist world formed a front with Bolshevism does not come as a surprise to us National Socialists. At home, we found them in the same union, and we succeeded in our struggle at home by defeating our enemies after a sixteen-year-long struggle for power. When I decided twenty-three years ago to enter politics in order to reverse the decline of the nation, I was a nameless, unknown soldier. Many of you know how difficult the first years of this struggle were. The way from a small movement of seven men to the taking over of responsible government on January 30, 1933, was so miraculous that Providence itself must have made it possible through its blessings. Today, I head the strongest army in the world, the mightiest air force, and a proud navy. Behind me, I am conscious of the sworn community of the party, which made me great and which became great through me. The enemies that I confront have been known to be our enemies for over twenty years. Alas, the road that lies ahead of me cannot be compared to the one lying behind me. The German Volk realizes the decisiveness of the hour for its existence. Under the most difficult circumstances, millions of soldiers are obediently and loyally doing their duty. The American President and his plutocratic clique have called us a people of have nots. That is right! And these have-nots want to live. In any event, they will not allow the owners to rob them of the little that they have to live on. My party comrades, you know my relentless resolve to conclude a struggle victoriously once it has begun. You know my intention not to shy away from anything in such a fight and to break all the resistance that has to be broken. In my speech on September 1, 1939, I assured you that, in this struggle, neither the force of arms nor time will defeat Germany. I want to assure my enemies that neither will the force of arms nor time defeat us, but neither inner doubts make us falter in the fulfillment of our duty. When we consider the sacrifices of our soldiers, how they risk their lives, then the sacrifices of the homeland become completely insignificant and unimportant. When we think of the numbers of those who, generations before us, fell for the existence and greatness of the German Volk, then we become all the more aware of the greatness of the duty imposed on us. Whoever seeks to forsake this duty has no right to expect treatment as a Volksgenosse in our midst. Therefore, no one can expect to live who thinks that he can depreciate the front’s sacrifices at home. Irrespective of the form of disguise for this attempt to disrupt this German front, to undermine this Volk’s willingness to resist, to weaken the authority of this regime, to sabotage the efforts of the homeland, the offender will fall! There will be only one difference: the soldier honorably makes this sacrifice at the front, while the other, who wishes to depreciate this honorable sacrifice, dies in shame. Our enemies should not deceive themselves. In the two thousand years of the history known to us, our German Volk has never been more unified and united than it is today. The Lord of the Worlds has done so many great things for us in the last years that we bow in gratitude before Providence, which has permitted us to be members of such a great Volk. We thank Him that, in view of past and future generations of the German Volk, we were also allowed to enter our names honorably in the undying book of German history.
Adolf Hitler
Chapter 13 - 1 Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then—the glory—so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men. I don’t know how it will be in the years to come. There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know. Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good. It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man. A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform. When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking. In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against? Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man. And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time. As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
the practitioner perceives the inner activity of the body as the manifestation of numerous energy currents (rlung). The term rlung literally means “moving air,” such as the “wind,” or the “breath.” Here it refers to subtle energy currents that move throughout the body. They move in channels (rtsa), which become increasingly discernible with experience. The quality of movement of these currents as well as their direction are correlated with both the rhythm of the breath and the flow of events within the mental continuum. The more chaotic the elaboration of thought within the mental continuum, the greater the disorganization of energy flow within the body. There are five main channels (rlung lnga) as well as numerous subsidiary ones (yan lag gi rlung) described in the Buddhist tantras. Each of the five main channels is associated with one of the five elements (’byung ba lnga), one of the five conflicting emotional states (nyon mong), one of the coarse bodily functions, and one of the body points. Table 6 gives these correlations. TABLE 6: CORRELATION OF ENERGY CURRENTS WITH BODY POINTS AND PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONSa Name of Energy Current Related Body Points Physiological Function 1. Inspiration (thur sel) Crossed legs Excretion 2. Expiration (kyen rgyu) Hands in equipose Speaking 3. Firelike (me mnyam) Spine and upper trunk Digestion 4. All-pervasive (khyab byed) Neck and tongue Muscular activity 5. Vital force (srog ’dzin) Gaze Breathing a
Daniel P. Brown (Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition)
A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
When my prince had fallen, the spirit ofthe depths opened my vision and let me become aware of the birth of the new God. The divine child approached me out of the terrible ambiguity, the hateful-beautiful, the evil-good, the laughable-serious, the sick-healthy, the inhuman-human and the ungodly-godly.129 I understood that the Godl3o whom we seek in the absolute was not to be found in absolute beauty, goodness, seriousness, elevation, humanity or even in godliness. Once the God was there. I understood that the new God would be in the relative. If the God is absolute beauty and goodness, how should he encompass the of life, which is beautiful and hateful, good and evil, laughable and serious, human and inhuman? How can man live in the womb of the God if the Godhead himself attends only to one-half of him?131 If we have risen near the heights of good and evil, then our badness and hatefulness lie in the most extreme torment. Man's torment is so great and the air of the heights so wealc that he can hardly live anymore. The good and the beautiful freeze to the ice of the absolute idea/32 and the bad and hateful become mud puddles full of crazy life. Therefore after his death Christ had to journey to Hell, otherwise the ascent to Heaven would have become impos- sible for him. Christ first had to become his Antichrist, his underworldly brother. No one knows what happened during the three days Christ was in Hell. I have experienced it.133 The men ofyore said that he had preached there to the deceased.134 What they say is true, but do you know how this happened? It was folly and monkey business, an atrocious Hell's masquerade of the holiest mysteries. How else could Christ have saved his Antichrist? Read the unknown books of the ancients, and you will learn much from them. Notice that Christ did not remain in Hell, but rose to the heights in the beyond.135 Our conviction of the value of the good and beautiful has become strong and unshakable, that is why life can extend beyond this and still fulfil everything that lay bound and yearning. But the bound and yearning is also the,hateful and bad. Are you again indignant about the hateful and the bad? Through this you can recognize h()w great are their force and value for life. Do you think that it is dead in you? But this dead can also change into serpents.136These serpents will extinguish the prince ofyour days.
C.G. Jung
The questions about frontiers, about material affairs didn't interest us very much. Living ceaselessly face to face with death, we came to understand to an intense degree the importance of spiritual forces. The front held only because at the front there were souls, souls which believed, which burned with ardor, which radiated strength. Our victories were won not only with weapons, but with virtues. The problems of the post-war period would be identical. Economic victories would not be enough. Political reorganizations would not be enough. A great moral redemption would be necessary, which would cleanse away the blemishes of our time, which would restore our souls with the fresh air of passion and of unconditional service. National revolution, yes. Social revolution, yes. European revolution, yes. But above all else a spiritual revolution a thousand times more necessary than external order, than external justice, than fraternity in words alone. The world emerging from the killing and the hatred of the war would need, first, pure hearts, believing in their mission, dedicating themselves to it, pure hearts in whom the masses could believe and to whom they could devote themselves.
Leon Degrelle (Campaign in Russia: The Waffen SS on the Eastern Front)
We’ve got a problem, Snape,” said the lumpy Amycus, whose eyes and wand were fixed alike upon Dumbledore, “the boy doesn’t seem able —” But somebody else had spoken Snape’s name, quite softly. “Severus . . .” The sound frightened Harry beyond anything he had experienced all evening. For the first time, Dumbledore was pleading. Snape said nothing, but walked forward and pushed Malfoy roughly out of the way. The three Death Eaters fell back without a word. Even the werewolf seemed cowed. Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face. “Severus . . . please . . .” Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore. “Avada Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6))
The 72nd Division, which had opened the battle with 12,000 men, had lost nearly 10,000 men in three days; this is as many as all the Allied armies, navies and air forces lost on D-Day 1944 - and the French losses came from a single division.
Robin Neillands (Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front – 1916)
The gorgeous beauty of black girls With each step, the heat of passion of love and excitement only intensifies. I burn with fire from the love of passion, he can fill the whole world. And the sky turned pink. The sky glitters with glitter. The air is filled with the fragrance of love and the world is more beautiful and you are becoming more and more divine in my eyes, I bow to your extraterrestrial beauty and belong to you alone, the goal of all my lives for all eternity. You are the one that I will always dream of and my heart will forever love and want you alone. The goddess appearing to me in erotic thoughts and depraved dreams of passion. Up close you are beautiful to tears - these are tears of sincere happiness and admiration. You are more beautiful than the most beautiful. Merge together forever and ever with the spirit of yours, and your inner world, my lonely soul dreams. See the depths of your amazing me. To give you your eternal devotion: you are my life, eternity and my destiny, you are my only right choice, you are everything that I love and want. Both my heart and my mind are open only to you. You look so romantic and beautiful, your charm, your spell beckons my mind to you, it is useless for them to resist you, they can only fully obey, surrender to you alone. My legs go only to you, my eyes look only at you, and I focus only on you. Everything in me is overwhelmed with you. And inside, from the love of you, is incredible, absolute lightness. And from the fact that you are not with me, my heart hurts almost to a heart attack. Epochally, I fell in love with you totally, beyond erotic-poetic, overly sexy. Yes, truly, you are my empress, and only I worship you, look at this temple of my love, dedicated to you, on this great altar, look around, you are everywhere, sit on this throne of love, my great and beautiful goddess. Each your kiss is indescribable and priceless, it is vital. Every your look, fantastically-romantically-touchingly beautiful. He kindles the fire of love and passion in men. Your charm is a powerful force that attracts everything and everyone to itself. Awakening true, sparkling love for you, of universal scale. This throne of eternal praise and worship is only for you alone, and the chorus, singing about your beauty only for you. In you, every millimeter of your perfect, hot, hot-sexy body is beautiful. My world is in your uniquely beautiful eyes, in your feelings and emotions, and I’m not tired of talking about your perfect proportions. Only your caresses give such feelings as love and happiness. Striking, powerful, attractive appearance. The magnificent grace of your body has no equal. Only your divinely beautiful body is worthy of the highest praise and points. I am only waiting for you. You're all I think about. The empress of my subconscious, in my inner world, dreams, and memories, you are everywhere. I always wait only for you. You are my only eternal thought that helps to live in this world, my beautiful emotion, and an amazing feeling. Only, like you, can excite with a look and fall in love with yourself forever. Life without you is unthinkable, impossible. Believe me, I know this for sure, your beauty shines gently with honey, golden light and brilliance. Your beauty is powerful hypnosis. You are tremendously in love with you totally. You are the highest goddess: beauty, love and erotica. For me, you are the supreme being of all universes. You rule and command over male minds and hearts. Please do not be offended by this truth, but you are so beautiful that you don’t even need cosmetics, only you can look so natural and beautiful, but you are also very powerful sexual attraction, arousal, my only hobby, I’m madly obsessed with you. Your voice sounds sleeker than a violin, more touching than a piano, lighter than a harp, thinner than a triangle. So amazing, your beautiful skin glitters sexually, it is perfect, sweet, juicy. And your perfect figure, perfection itself.
Musin Almat Zhumabekovich
6 Powerful Fruits To Lose Weight And Burn Belly Fat Instantly These half-dozen superb fruits will definitely assist you lose those additional pounds: 1. Watermelon Because ninety % of a watermelon’s weight is water, it’s one in all the most effective fruits to eat if you’re attempting to slim. A 100-gram serving contains solely thirty calories. It’s conjointly an excellent supply of an organic compound known as essential amino acid, that helps burn fat quickly. Additionally to serving to the body keep hydrous, a watermelon snack can cause you to feel full therefore you won’t have cravings between meals. 2. Guava A powerhouse of nutrients, guavas may facilitate weight loss while not compromising your intake of proteins, vitamins and fibre. This delicious tropical fruit is jam-choked with foodstuff, vitamins, proteins and minerals. It’s a win-win after you think about these edges with its tiny variety of pre-digested carbohydrates and also the undeniable fact that guava contains zero steroid alcohol. Raw guavas have abundant less sugar compared to fruits like apples, oranges and grapes, and that they keep the metabolism regulated. 3. Apple An apple on a daily basis might keep the doctor away, however it may assist you slim additional quickly. the great news is that consumption only one apple on a daily basis — with the skin on — offers the body and average of four.4 grams of fibre, that is concerning simple fraction of our daily would like. Apples area unit a fashionable supply of a strong fibre known as cellulose. Consumption apples or pears before meals resulted in vital weight loss in step with a study printed in Nutrition Journal. 4. Grapefruit This delicious fruit, that was initial created by crossing a pomelo with AN orange within the eighteenth century, is additionally an incredible supply of cellulose. It contains an excellent quantity of vitamin C, vitamin M and K. Pink and red grapefruits area unit jam-choked with anti-ophthalmic factor and carotenoid, a phytochemical that protects blood vessel walls from aerophilic injury. consumption 0.5 a grapefruit a couple of half-hour before daily meals can assist you feel additional sated, which can lead to less consumption of food and calories. 5. Banana Considered the proper pre- or post-workout snack, bananas area unit healthier than most energy bars, which regularly contain various sugar and chemicals. though the typical banana contains twenty seven grams of carbs, the fruit will facilitate stop weight gain as a result of it's solely one hundred and five calories and 3 grams of filling fibre. Bananas are proverbial to fight muscle cramps, keep force per unit area low and stop acidity. simply try to persist with one banana on a daily basis. 6. Tomato Let’s not forget that the tomato could be a fruit and not a vegetable. This powerful red ally is packed with antioxidants and may facilitate cut back water retention's. It conjointly fights leptin resistance. (Leptin could be a style of macromolecule that forestalls our body from losing weight.) Plus, tomatoes area unit terribly low in calories; AN average-sized tomato is simply twenty two calories and an oversized one is thirty three calories. Tomatoes are thought of AN appetite-suppressant “high-volume” food, which suggests they need high amounts of water, air and fibre. It ought to be evident, however you can’t simply burn fat and shed weight by merely consumption these seven fruits alone. you may slim after you burn additional calories than you consume. By physical exercise and work high-calorie food like cheese, meat or rice with low-calorie fruits like tomatoes, you may be able to reach your ideal weight.
Sunrise nutrition hub
1934 it became apparent that the Germans were swiftly rearming, the leader of the British Labour Party vowed “to close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force,” and he got his candidate elected by saying so.7 The Peace Ballot, a national survey of public opinion, was distributed throughout Great Britain in 1935 and a majority of those polled stated that while they supported collective national security, they did so only “by all means short of war.” At a time when Hitler was
Winston Groom (1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls)
There were a great many holidays at Plumfield, and one of the most delightful was the yearly apple-picking. For then the Marches, Laurences, Brookes and Bhaers turned out in full force and made a day of it. Five years after Jo's wedding, one of these fruitful festivals occurred, a mellow October day, when the air was full of an exhilarating freshness which made the spirits rise and the blood dance healthily in the veins. The old orchard wore its holiday attire. Goldenrod and asters fringed the mossy walls. Grasshoppers skipped briskly in the sere grass, and crickets chirped like fairy pipers at a feast. Squirrels were busy with their small harvesting. Birds twittered their adieux from the alders in
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women (Illustrated))
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER THE Royal Physician’s Visit PER OLOV ENQUIST Translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally Set in Denmark in the 1760s, The Royal Physician’s Visit magnificently recasts the dramatic era of Danish history when Johann Friedrich Struensee, a German doctor from Altona, student of Enlightenment philosophers Diderot and Voltaire, and court physician to mad young King Christian, stepped through the aperture history had opened for him and became for two years the holder of absolute power in Denmark. Dr. Struensee, tall, handsome, and charismatic, introduced hundreds of reforms, many of which would become hallmarks of the French Revolution twenty years later, including freedom of the press and improvement of the treatment of the peasantry. He also took young Queen Caroline Mathilde—unsatisfied by her unstable, childlike husband—as his mistress. He was a brilliant intellectual and brash reformer, yet Struensee lacked the cunning and subtlety of a skilled politician and, most tragically, lacked the talent to choose the right enemies at court, a flaw which would lead to his torture and execution. An international sensation sold in twenty countries, The Royal Physician’s Visit is a view from the seat of absolute power, a gripping tale, vividly and entertainingly told. Enquist’s talent is in full force as he brilliantly explores the connections that will always run between political theory and practice, power, sex, love, and the life of the mind. “A great book, a powerful book—it effortlessly and self-confidently surmounts the standard works of fiction.” —Die Zeit “Incomparably exciting in its uncompromising lucidity and at the same time unsettling.” —Suddeutsche Zeitung “Time and time again the story takes to the air on the wings of fantasy … a magnificent adventure.” —Upsala Nya Tidning “The erotic scenes are among the most beautiful I have read in modern literature.” —Kvällsposten
Per Olov Enquist (The Royal Physician's Visit)
The President of Oz Presidents Trump, Clinton, and Obama are flying together on Air Force On when they are caught in a tornado, and off they spin to OZ. After great difficulty, they finally make it down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and come before the Great Wizard. "WHAT BRINGS YOU BEFORE THE GREAT AND POWERFUL WIZARD OF OZ? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" Barack Obama steps forward timidly, "My foreign policy was pretty bad. I had a terrible time getting bullied by Iran and Syria and Russia and Libya, so I've come for some courage." "NO PROBLEM!" says the Wizard, "WHO IS NEXT?" Donald Trump steps forward, "Well, this job is harder than I thought. I... I think I need a brain. A yuge brain!” "DONE" says the Wizard. "WHO COMES NEXT BEFORE THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ?" Then there is a great silence in the hall. Bill Clinton is just standing there, looking around, but doesn't say a word. Irritated, the Wizard finally asks, "WHAT BRINGS YOU TO THE EMERALD CITY?" Bill replies, "Is Dorothy around?
mad comedy (World's Greatest Truly Offensive Jokes 2018 (World's Greatest Jokes Book 3))
The President of Oz Presidents Trump, Clinton, and Obama are flying together on Air Force On when they are caught in a tornado, and off they spin to OZ. After great difficulty, they finally make it down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and come before the Great Wizard. "WHAT BRINGS YOU BEFORE THE GREAT AND POWERFUL WIZARD OF OZ? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" Barack Obama steps forward timidly, "My foreign policy was pretty bad. I had a terrible time getting bullied by Iran and Syria and Russia and Libya, so I've come for some courage." "NO PROBLEM!" says the Wizard, "WHO IS NEXT?" Donald Trump steps forward, "Well, this job is harder than I thought. I... I think I need a brain. A yuge brain!” "DONE" says the Wizard. "WHO COMES NEXT BEFORE THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ?" Then there is a great silence in the hall. Bill Clinton is just standing there, looking around, but doesn't say a word. Irritated, the Wizard finally asks, "WHAT BRINGS YOU TO THE EMERALD CITY?" Bill replies, "Is Dorothy around?" Politics A little boy goes to his father and asks, "Dad, what is politics?" The dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I'm the breadwinner of the family, so let's call me capitalism. Your mother, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the government. We're here to take care of your needs, so we'll call you the people.” The boy nodded. His father continued, “The nanny, we'll consider her the working class. And your baby brother, we'll call him the future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense." The little boy nodded again, and went off to bed thinking about what dad had said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has soiled his diaper. The little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now." The father says, "Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about." The little boy replies, "Well, while capitalism is screwing the working class, the government is sound asleep, the people are being ignored, and the future is in deep shit.
mad comedy (World's Greatest Truly Offensive Jokes 2018 (World's Greatest Jokes Book 3))
Stalin’s dictatorship, as we shall see, was a product of immense structural forces: the evolution of Russia’s autocratic political system; the Russian empire’s conquest of the Caucasus; the tsarist regime’s recourse to a secret police and entanglement in terrorism; the European castle-in-the-air project of socialism; the underground conspiratorial nature of Bolshevism (a mirror image of repressive tsarism); the failure of the Russian extreme right to coalesce into a fascism despite all the ingredients; global great-power rivalries, and a shattering world war.
Stephen Kotkin (Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928)
Short story: The true and incredible tale of David Kirkpatrick, a Scottish ex-boy scout, and miner, serving in WW2 with 2nd Highland Light Infantry and the legendary elite corps 2nd SAS. A man who becomes a hero playing his bagpipe during a secret mission in Italy, March 1945, where he saved the lives of hundreds just playing during the attack. After he fought in North Africa, Greece, Albania, Sicily and being reported as an unruly soldier, (often drunk, insulting superiors and so on) in Tuscany, 23 march 1945 he joined as volunteer in the 2nd Special Air Service ( the British elite forces), for a secret mission behind enemy line in Italy. He parachuted in the Italian Apennines with his kilt on (so he becomes known as the 'mad piper' ) for a mission organized with British elite forces and an unruly group of Italian-Russian partisans (code name: 'Operation Tombola' organized from the British secret service SOE and 2nd SAS and the "Allied Battalion") against the Gothic Line german headquarter of the 51 German Mountains Corps in Albinea, Italy. The target of the anglo-partisan group's mission is to destroy the nazi HQ to prepare the big attack of the Allied Forces (US 5th Army, British 8th Army) to the German Gothic Line in North Italy at the beginning of April. It's the beginning of the liberation of Italy from the nazi fascist dictatorship. The Allied Battalion guided by major Roy Farran, captain Mike Lees Italian partisan Glauco Monducci, Gianni Ferrari, and the Russian Viktor Pirogov is an unruly brigade of great fighters of many nationalities. Among them also not just British, Italian, and Russian but also a dutch, a greek, one Austrian paratrooper who deserted the German Forces after has killed an SS, a german who deserted Hitler's Army being in love with an Italian taffeta's, two Jewish escaped from nazi reprisal and 3 Spanish anti-Franchise who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War and then joined first the French Foreign Legion and the British Elite Forces. The day before the attack, Kirkpatrick is secretly guested in a house of Italian farmers, and he donated his white silk parachute to a lady so she could create her wedding dress for the Wedding with his love: an Italian partisan. During the terrible attack in the night of 27th March 1945, the sound of his bagpipe marks the beginning of the fight and tricked the nazi, avoiding a terrible reprisal against the civilian population of the Italian village of Albinea, saving in this way the life of hundreds The German HQ based in two historical villa's is destroyed and in flames, several enemy soldiers are killed, during the attack, the bagpipe of David played for more than 30 minutes and let the german believe that the "British are here", not also Italian and Russian partisan (in war for Hitler' order: for partisans attack to german forces for every german killed nazi were executing 10 local civilians in terrible and barbarian reprisal). During the night the bagpipe of David is also hit after 30 minutes of the fight and, three British soldiers of 2nd SAS are killed in the action in one of the two Villa. The morning later when Germans bring their bodies to the Church of Albinea, don Alberto Ugolotti, the local priest notes in his diary: "Asked if they were organizing a reprisal against the civilian population, they answered that it was a "military attack" and there would.
Mark R Ellenbarger
It won’t be long now.” Such an odd old holy man, young Scytale thought. Even compared to the smells of disinfectant, medicine, and sickness, he’d always had an odd smell about him. Sounding compassionate, Yueh said, “There isn’t much we can do.” Gasping for air, old Scytale croaked out, “A Tleilaxu Master should not be so weak and decrepit. It is . . . unseemly.” His youthful counterpart tried again to trigger the flow of memories, to squeeze them into his brain by sheer force of will, as he had attempted to do countless times before. The essential past must be in there somewhere, buried deep. But he felt no tickle of possibilities, no glimmer of success. What if they are not there at all? What if something had gone terribly wrong? His pulse pounded as the panic began to rise. Not much time. Never enough time. He tried to cut off the thought. The body provided a wealth of cellular material. They could create more Scytale gholas, try again and again if necessary. But if his own memories had failed to resurface, why should an identical ghola have any better luck without the guidance of the original? I am the only one who knew the Master so intimately. He wanted to shake Yueh, demand to know how he had managed to remember his past. Tears were in full flow now, falling onto the old man’s hand, but Scytale knew they were inadequate. His father’s chest spasmed in an almost imperceptible death rattle. The life-support equipment hummed with more intensity, and the instrument readings fluctuated. “He’s slipped into a coma,” Yueh reported. The Rabbi nodded. Like an executioner announcing his plans, he said, “Too weak. He’s going to die now.” Scytale’s heart sank. “He has given up on me.” His father would never know if he succeeded now; he would perish wondering and worrying. The last great calamity in a long line of disasters that had befallen the Tleilaxu race. He gripped the old man’s hand. So cold, too cold. He felt the life ebbing. I have failed! As if felled by a stunner, Scytale dropped to his knees at the bedside. In his crashing despair, he knew with absolute certainly that he could never resurrect the recalcitrant memories. Not alone. Lost! Forever lost! Everything that comprised the great Tleilaxu race. He could not bear the magnitude of this disaster. The reality of his defeat sliced like shattered glass into his heart. Abruptly, the Tleilaxu youth felt something changing inside, followed by an explosion between his temples. He cried out from the excruciating pain. At first he thought he was dying himself, but instead of being swallowed in blackness, he felt new thoughts burning like wildfire across his consciousness. Memories streamed past in a blur, but Scytale locked onto each one, absorbing it again and reprocessing it into the synapses of his brain. The precious memories returned to where they had always belonged. His father’s death had opened the barriers. At last Scytale retrieved what he was supposed to know, the critical data bank of a Tleilaxu Master, all the ancient secrets of his race. Instilled with pride and a new sense of dignity, he rose to his feet. Wiping away warm tears, he looked down at the discarded copy of himself on the bed. It was nothing more than a withered husk. He no longer needed that old man.
Brian Herbert (Sandworms of Dune (Dune, #8))
I’d say there was no chivalry at all. You mean between the German Air Force and the British? I’d say absolutely none. Not as far as I was concerned. I hated them. They were trying to do something to us. They were trying to enslave us.28 During the Battle of Britain was the only time I really felt … a territorial possession. One used to look down and see one’s own country, one’s own people, and see these hideous great hordes of aircraft flying over. One thought, ‘Bloody hell’, you know – one can’t possibly allow this to happen.’29
Stephen Bungay (The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain)
sir?’ ‘The ship’s captain on such occasions will be in bed with a high fever and will be asleep.’ It might have been a better idea, Magnusson thought, to have made him the ship’s captain, but he supposed a naval ship had to have a naval captain. ‘I see, sir,’ he said. The admiral gestured. ‘A great deal will depend on you, my lad,’ he said briskly. ‘Which is why you’re being done the honour of a personal briefing, something not normally granted to a junior officer. At the right time a sighting will be reported, showing you to be in mid-Atlantic, and inevitably the Germans will pick it up. Another sighting will be arranged later to show you off the Faeroes. In fact, you will sail up the Irish Sea, through the Minches, and, keeping well out from land to avoid being spotted, you will make your landfall west of the Lofotens and put into Narvik. There, you will be informed of what’s going on by our contact, a woman called Annie Egge, who runs the Norwegian equivalent of our Missions to Seamen. She will give you – you, Magnusson, because as the linguist, she’ll be dealing with you – she will give you your information. I don’t know what she’s like – like most middle-aged ladies who run Missions to Seamen, I suppose – all God and woollen comforts – but she has been feeding us reliable information for some time about German shipping, gleaned no doubt over the cups of tea and the meat and potato pie or whatever it is they serve up in Norway. Since, in the event of a German move into Norway, we shall need to know a few facts, you will keep your eyes open and take note of all Norwegian naval vessels, fortifications and movements, and all army and air force installations. You will remain there for several days under the guise of Finnish sailors making repairs after the voyage across the North Atlantic to enable you to reach Mariehamn.
Max Hennessy (North Strike (WWII Naval Thrillers Book 4))
The formula of YHVH divides the macrocosm into four descending worlds: Atziluth70 (the archetypal world, the environment of the consciousness of supreme deity), Briah (the creative world, the world of the great archangelic forces), Yetzirah (the formative world, the world of the angelic forces that execute the specific duties of their archangel masters), and Assiah (the material world). At the same time, the formula of YHVH divides the microcosm (and the human soul) into four descending levels: Chiah (the life force), Neshamah (the divine soul-intuition), Ruach (the intellect), and Nephesh (the animal soul). Finally, all of these four-part concepts can be expressed metaphorically as the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth, which in the tarot are represented by the four suits, Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks. When
Lon Milo DuQuette (Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot)
As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours. Of the universal mind each individual man is one more incarnation.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
Every evening I sat on the music-stool and wrote down my day, and it was as if I, Anna, were nailing Anna to the page. Every day I shaped Anna, said: Today I got up at seven, cooked breakfast for Janet, sent her to school, etc. etc., and felt as if I had saved that day from chaos. Yet now I read those entries and feel nothing. I am increasingly afflicted by vertigo where words mean nothing. Words mean nothing. They have become, when I think, not the form into which experience is shaped, but a series of meaningless sounds, like nursery talk, and away to one side of experience. Or like the sound track of a film that has slipped its connection with the film. When I am thinking I have only to write a phrase like ‘I walked down the street’, or take a phrase from a newspaper, ‘economic measures which lead to the full use of …’ and immediately the words dissolve, and my minds starts spawning images which have nothing to do with the words, so that every word I see or hear seems like a small raft bobbing about on an enormous sea of images. So I can’t write any longer. Or only when I write fast, without looking back at what I have written. For if I look back, then the words swim and have no sense and I am conscious only of me, Anna, as a pulse in a great darkness, and the words that I, Anna, write down are nothing, or like the secretions of a caterpillar that are forced out in ribbons to harden in the air.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
… The frayed and gritty edges of everyone’s world were being worried away by neighbors you’d never noticed until the air spilled over with the tragedy of their loss. The war had taken them or their children; killed them, lost them, torn off body parts, shipped them back brain-fried…. … Tales fell from hearts in heavy, wet tones of grief and confusion…. … Even when rare moments of relative calm and clarity crept briefly through our days, they crawled in with head hanging through that most familiar of all tunnels, our sense of loss. Each new friend seemed only to step in and announce himself with his last breath. Why hadn’t we loved him earlier when there had been more time? That overriding sense of loss was the dismal cloud through which you viewed the world. Dreading life’s relentless advance, but knowing your locks could never keep it out…. … As the late 60’s gave in and died, and I trudged through my first year as an art student in college, even the old folks were growing up. Their World War II glories clouded over. Someone had shot the president, his brother, and a great civil rights leader, dragging us all out of our warm, snuggly innocence. People seemed infested by life, burdened by the stifling weight of it, until we could only force shallow, labored breaths. Each new day was just an old one playing through again, a dust-laden August, a storm always riding right on top of you that never quite cut loose. It settled into your joints until they grew achy, too heavy to lift; tarring all hearts with a dark, heavy plaque. Days stuck together as walking and breathing grew tedious. Until even my bubbly sister couldn’t offer up a smile without a shadow lurking inside it. We trudged through life as our mighty nation killed our sons and broke our buddies, defending itself from skinny barefoot farmers with sticks, in rice swamps somewhere on the other side of existence, where you couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad. Some lost tiny nowhere that hadn’t even existed when you’d been a kid; when the world had been innocent and untainted. Back when Father Knew Best, Beaver’s mom fed his dad all the answers, and Annie Oakley never had to shoot to kill…. - From “Entertaining Naked People
Edward Fahey (Entertaining Naked People)
Yesterday on Boston Common I saw a young man on a skateboard collide with a child. The skateboarder was racing down the promenade and smashed into the child with full force. I saw this happen from a considerable distance. It happened without a sound. It happened in dead silence. The cry of the terrified child as she darted to avoid the skateboard and the scream of the child’s mother at the moment of impact were absorbed by the gray wool of the November day. The child’s body simply lifted up into the air and, in slow motion, as if in a dream, floated above the promenade, bounced twice like a rubber ball, and lay still. All of this happened in perfect silence. It was as if I were watching the tragedy through a telescope. It was as if the tragedy were happening on another planet. I have seen stars exploding in space, colossal, planet-shattering, distanced by light-years, framed in the cold glass of a telescope, utterly silent. It was like that. During the time the child was in the air, the spinning Earth carried her half a mile to the east. The motion of the Earth about the sun carried her back again forty miles westward. The drift of the solar system among the stars of the Milky Way bore her silently twenty miles toward the star Vega. The turning pinwheel of the Milky Way Galaxy carried her 300 miles in a great circle about the galactic center. After that huge flight through space she hit the ground and bounced like a rubber ball. She lifted up into the air and flew across the Galaxy and bounced on the pavement. It is a thin membrane that separates us from chaos. The child sent flying by the skateboarder bounced in slow motion and lay still. There was a long pause. Pigeons froze against the gray sky. Promenaders turned to stone. Traffic stopped on Beacon Street. The child’s body lay inert on the asphalt like a piece of crumpled newspaper. The mother’s cry was lost in the space between the stars. How are we to understand the silence of the universe? They say that certain meteorites, upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, disintegrate with noticeable sound, but beyond the Earth’s skin of air the sky is silent. There are no voices in the burning bush of the Galaxy. The Milky Way flows across the dark shoals of the summer sky without an audible ripple. Stars blow themselves to smithereens; we hear nothing. Millions of solar systems are sucked into black holes at the centers of the galaxies; they fall like feathers. The universe fattens and swells in a Big Bang, a fireball of Creation exploding from a pinprick of infinite energy, the ultimate firecracker; there is no soundtrack. The membrane is ruptured, a child flies through the air, and the universe is silent.
Chet Raymo (The Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage)
He shuddered, and for lack of any other notion, kissed her forehead. Her arms came up sudden as a snare and held him fiercely, pulling him down onto her again and he seized her, too, crushing her to him hard enough to feel the breath go out of her, unable to let go. He thought vaguely of Brianna’s talk of giant orbs that whirled through space, the thing called gravity—and what was grave about it? He saw that well enough just now: a force so great as to balance some body unthinkably immense in thin air, unsupported—or send two such bodies crashing into each other, in an explosion of destruction and the smoke of stars.
Diana Gabaldon (A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6))
Severus … please …” Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore. “Avada Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot from the end of Snape’s wand and hit Dumbledore squarely in the chest. Harry’s scream of horror never left him; silent and unmoving, he was forced to watch as Dumbledore was blasted into the air. For a split second, he seemed to hang suspended beneath the shining skull, and then he fell slowly backward, like a great rag doll, over the battlements and out of sight.
Anonymous
Something moving toward us in the darkness. Huge, shambling, hairy, moist, it came toward us. We couldn’t even see it, but there was the ponderous impression of bulk, heaving itself toward us. Great weight was coming at us, out of the darkness, and it was more a sense of pressure, of air forcing itself into a limited space, expanding the invisible walls of a sphere. Benny began to whimper. Nimdok’s lower lip trembled and he bit it hard, trying to stop it. Ellen slid across the metal floor to Gorrister and huddled into him. There was the smell of matted, wet fur in the cavern. There was the smell of charred wood. There was the smell of dusty velvet. There was the smell of rotting orchids. There was the smell of sour milk. There was the smell of sulphur, of rancid butter, of oil slick, of grease, of chalk dust, of human scalps. AM was keying us. He was tickling us. There was the smell of — I heard myself shriek,
Harlan Ellison (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream)
Yo momma is so fat… when a bus hit her she said, “Who threw the pebble?” Yo momma is so fat… when she puts on her yellow rain coat and walks down the street people shout out “taxi”! Yo momma is so fat… she uses the interstate as a slip and slide. Yo momma is so fat… you could use her bellybutton as a wishing well. Yo momma is so fat… the government forced her to wear taillights and blinkers so no one else would get hurt. Yo momma is so fat… she supplies 99% of the world’s gas. Yo momma is so fat… when she goes to Taco Bell, they run for the border! Yo momma is so fat… she rolled out of bed and everybody thought there was an earthquake. Yo momma is so fat… when God said, “Let there be light,” he had to ask her to move out of the way. Yo momma is so fat… she has more chins than a Chinese phone book. Yo momma is so fat… she jumped in the air and got stuck. Yo momma is so fat… she's got to wake up in sections. Yo momma is so skinny… Yo momma is so skinny… she can hang glide with a Dorito! Yo momma is so skinny… she swallowed a meatball and thought she was pregnant. Yo momma is so skinny… she turned sideways and disappeared. Yo momma is so skinny… she hula hoops with a cheerio. Yo momma is so skinny… she has to run around in the shower just to get wet. Yo momma is so skinny… she don’t get wet when it rains. Yo momma is so skinny… her nipples touch. Yo momma is so skinny… she has to wear a belt with her spandex pants. Yo momma is so skinny… she can see through peepholes with both eyes. Yo momma is so skinny… she can dive through a chain-linked fence. Yo momma is so skinny… she uses cotton balls for pillows. Yo momma is so old… Yo momma is so old… she knew the Great Wall of China when it was only good! Yo momma is so old… that her bus pass is in hieroglyphics! Yo momma is so old… she was wearing a Jesus starter jacket! Yo momma is so old… her birth certificate is in Roman numerals. Yo momma is so old… she ran track with dinosaurs. Yo momma is so old… she knew Burger King while he was still a prince. Yo momma is so old… her birth certificate says expired on it. Yo momma is so old… she has a picture of Moses in her yearbook. Yo momma is so old… that when she was in school there was no history class. Yo momma is so old… her social security number is 1! Yo momma is so old… I told her to act her own age, and she died. Yo momma is so short… Yo momma is so short… she does backflips under the bed. Yo momma is so short … she can play handball on the curb. Yo momma is so short… she can use a sock for a sleeping bag. Yo momma is so short… she can tie her shoes while standing up. Yo momma is so short… she can sit on a dime and swing her legs. Yo momma is so short … she has to use a ladder to pick up a dime. Yo momma is so short … she poses for trophies! Yo momma is so short… she has a job as a teller at a piggy bank. Yo momma is so short… she has to use rice to roll her hair up. Yo momma is so short… she uses a toothpick as pool stick. Yo momma is so short… she can surf on a popsicle stick.
Various (151+ Yo Momma Jokes)
My grandpa used to be in the Royal Air Force when he was younger,” Liam tells me. “He loved to fly. He had his own airplane. Still does. When I was twelve, he told me that he thought it was time that I learned how to fly a plane.” “You flew a plane when you were twelve?” I give him a shocked look. “My grandpa’s not exactly on the conventional side.” The fondness on his face tells me that his grandpa means a great deal to him. “And when I say ‘fly’”—he air quotes—“it was him flying and me being copilot. But twelve-year-old me thought that he meant literally fly the plane. So, I was shitting myself.” “I can imagine. I’d shit if someone said that to me now, and I’m twenty-two.” Liam laughs. “I think you’d probably surprise yourself.” “No, I’m pretty sure I’d surprise the person sitting with me—you know, after I shit myself.
Samantha Towle (The Ending I Want)
Normandy operations, typified by Quesada's armored column cover and Broadhurst's contact cars, thus fulfilled a concept born a quarter-century earlier, amid the mud of Flanders: the notion of the airplane as a partner of the tank, as a "counter antitank" weapon. In that war, then-Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, Great Britain's greatest armor advocate, had recognized that cooperation between air and armor forces was "of incalculable importance.
Richard P. Hallion (D-Day 1944 - Air Power Over The Normandy Beaches And Beyond [Illustrated Edition])
Blast at close range. Ugh! Autumn flipped and turned through the air as she was pushed away by the powerful force. “OH! I think this fight is over, folks! No one can withstand such a powerful attack at close range!” yelled Rex. The gladiator landed in the dirt and rolled for several more blocks before coming to a stop. Rex ran over to Autumn’s body and started counting down. “10… 9… 8…” Jasmine stood far away as she watched her rival’s motionless body. “7… 6… 5…” Finally, Autumn lifted her head. She looked up at Rex, who was counting loudly in her ear. “4… 3…” The gladiator got up to her hands and knees. “2… 1…” She got up to a one knee kneeling position, but it wasn’t enough. “0!” yelled Rex. “That’s it, folks! This fight is over! And what a fight it was!” “I told you it was over…” said the fierce monk. Autumn fell back and sat on the dirt. “Jasmine has won the match! Wowee! That was intense!” announced Rex. The audience cheered and clapped for the both of them. “Whoa… that match was insane,” I said to Bob. “Yeah, I know… but it’s kind of weird to watch them fight so hard just for the glory of it,” Bob said. I nodded. “They’re both really competitive, I guess.” With that said, we both continued watching as Rex ran over to Jasmine and asked, “So, how does it feel to be the winner?” “Great…” she replied simply. “And Autumn, how do you feel?” Rex asked. “Ugh… how do you think I feel?” the gladiator replied. “Okay, then!” Rex continued making announcements about the fight. Meanwhile, Jasmine looked over at Autumn and said, “Hey… good fight.” “Yeah… good fight...” Then Jasmine walked over to the sitting gladiator, and they both bumped fists. Rex returned to Jasmine, grabbed her hand and raised it up in the air. “The winner of today’s last match! Let’s give it up for Jasmine the monk!” “Autumn! Are you okay?!” yelled Arthur as everyone around him cheered and clapped. “Also, please give it up for Autumn for putting up an amazing fight!” yelled Rex. The audience cheered just as loudly as before. Bob and I clapped as we watched medical personnel rush in to take care of the two combatants. “Man, I’m not sure that was worth it,” I said. “For some, it might be,” said Bob. “Yeah, I guess there are people who love glory more than their own wellbeing.” Bob nodded. “Come on, let’s go in and check up on the two of them.” “Are we allowed in there?” “Well, we’re basically in the fighting area already.” “Yeah, we got some front row seats, huh?” I nodded, and then we went in toward the center. “How are you feeling, Autumn?” I asked as I rolled up to the medics working on the gladiator. “I’m alright… but I can’t believe I lost…” Autumn said softly. “It’s okay, it was quite a fight,” I said, trying to comfort her. “I’m sorry that I let you down, Steve…” “Huh? What? You didn’t let me down.” “By losing, I let down gladiators everywhere.” I shook my head. “Nah, don’t be too hard on yourself, Autumn.” She just looked down at the ground. “Plus, I’m sure you’ve won if you had taken that Blood Lust potion earlier, instead of saving it for later.” “You think so?” Autumn said as she looked up. “Yeah, you took quite a beating in the beginning. If you were Blood Lusted from the get-go, you could’ve avoided most of that damage,” I explained. “Ah, yeah, huh?” “Speaking of the potion, how did you get one, anyway?” “I put in a special order at Paul’s Potions Shop. It took like a month to get made.” Bob nodded. “Yeah, they’re super busy over there.” “Ah, so Cindy brewed it for you, huh?” I said. “I guess she’s the only one who would know the recipe. Anyway, you really surprised me with that Blood Lust potion.” “Heh… my secret weapon…” Autumn said. “And I thought that I wouldn’t even need it.” “Who knew monks were such fierce fighters,” Bob said.
Steve the Noob (Diary of Steve the Noob 34)
putting off. Feeling good is great, but there is a power to completion that goes beyond good feeling into the whole of life. What I’ve come to see is that the act of completing something, no matter how large or how small, puts you into harmony with the universe. If I say to you, “I’ll call you today,” I have created a new force in the universe, a new agreement about how things will be. If I then make good on my agreement and call you today, I line myself up in harmony with those forces. If I don’t call you today, I leave a loose end, an open circuit, an unresolved story line. By not calling you, I communicate something that affects my life and our relationship: my word is no good, and you are not worth my effort to keep my word. My experience has been that each incompletion saps my energy and clouds my relationship with the people on the other end. The act of completion restores my energy and clears the air that circulates through my relationships. Further, though, each act of completion celebrates our connection to the universe
Gay Hendricks (Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True)
As a traditionalist, I didn’t carry an umbrella, even in the face of a darkening sky, and by the time we reached the reception, we were drenched. As it dried, my uniform began shrinking around my arms and legs. I sensed an uncomfortable tension from the tightening fabric, and when a button on my chest actually popped, I felt absurdly like the Incredible Hulk in the early 1980s TV show. I tried to melt into the crowd, but too late. General Colin Powell, of all people, resplendent in his dry dress Army service uniform, spotted me, smiled, and with obvious joy and great zeal, launched into a public razzing about Air Force uniforms and dress standards. It took my bruised ego several months to recover.
James R. Clapper (Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence)
The Queen peered down at Jack and mused, “Aren’t you a little young to be in my Royal Air Force?
David Walliams (Grandpa's Great Escape)
The only reason I have alluded to this is that the ascetic ideal has, for the present, even in the most spiritual sphere, only one type of real enemy and injurer: these are the comedians of this ideal – because they arouse mistrust. Everywhere else where spirit is at work in a rigorous, powerful and honest way, it now completely lacks an ideal – the popular expression for this abstinence is ‘atheism’ –: except for its will to truth. But this will, this remnant of an ideal, if you believe me, is that ideal itself in its strictest, most spiritual formulation, completely eso- teric, totally stripped of externals, and thus not so much its remnant as its kernel. Unconditional, honest atheism (– its air alone is what we breathe, we more spiritual men of the age!) is therefore not opposed to the ascetic ideal as it appears to be; instead, it is only one of the ideal’s last phases of development, one of its final forms and inherent logical conclusions, – it is the awe-inspiring catastrophe of a two-thousand-year discipline in truth-telling, which finally forbids itself the lie entailed in the belief in 127 ‘the religion of suffering’. 118 Third essay God. (The same process of development in India, completely independ- ently, which therefore proves something; the same ideal forcing the same conclusion; the decisive point was reached five centuries before the European era began, with Buddha or, more precisely: already with the Sankhya philosophy subsequently popularized by Buddha and made into a religion.) What, strictly speaking, has actually conquered the Christian God? The answer is in my Gay Science (section 357):128 ‘Christian moral- ity itself, the concept of truthfulness which was taken more and more seriously, the confessional punctiliousness of Christian conscience, trans- lated and sublimated into scientific conscience, into intellectual rigour at any price. Regarding nature as though it were a proof of God’s goodness and providence; interpreting history in honour of divine reason, as a con- stant testimonial to an ethical world order and ethical ultimate purpose; explaining all one’s own experiences in the way pious folk have done for long enough, as though everything were providence, a sign, intended, and sent for the salvation of the soul: now all that is over, it has conscience against it, every sensitive conscience sees it as indecent, dishonest, as a pack of lies, feminism, weakness, cowardice, – this severity makes us good Europeans if anything does, and heirs to Europe’s most protracted and bravest self-overcoming!’ . . . All great things bring about their own demise through an act of self-sublimation: that is the law of life, the law of necessary ‘self-overcoming’ in the essence of life, – the lawgiver himself is always ultimately exposed to the cry: ‘patere legem, quam ipse tulisti’.129 In this way, Christianity as a dogma was destroyed by its own morality, in the same way Christianity as a morality must also be destroyed, – we stand on the threshold of this occurrence. After Christian truthfulness has drawn one conclusion after another, it will finally draw the strongest con- clusion, that against itself; this will, however, happen when it asks itself, ‘What does all will to truth mean?’ . . . and here I touch on my problem again, on our problem, my unknown friends (– because I don’t know of any friend as yet): what meaning does our being have, if it were not that that will to truth has become conscious of itself as a problem in us? . . . Without a doubt, from now on, morality will be destroyed by the will to truth’s becoming-conscious-of-itself: that great drama in a hundred acts reserved for Europe in the next two centuries, the most terrible, most questionable drama but perhaps also the one most rich in hope . . .
nietsczhe
I blurt out my story, how I had hired Nicola to be the maîtress d'hôtel at our restaurant, Grappa, when I was seven months pregnant. How I suspected Jake and Nicola had begun having an affair when Chloe was just hours old; and how one night, when Chloe woke up and Jake still wasn't home at two-thirty in the morning, I bundled her up and strapped her into the portable infant carrier, walked the three blocks to the restaurant, and snuck in the side door. The door was locked, but the alarm wasn't on, the first odd thing, because Jake always locks up and sets the alarm before leaving the restaurant. Chloe had fallen back to sleep in her infant seat on the way over, so I carefully nestled the carrier into one of the leather banquettes. I crept through the dining room and into the darkened kitchen, where I could see the office at the far end was aglow with candlelight. As I moved closer I could hear music. "Nessun dorma," from Turandot, Jake's favorite. How fitting. On the marble pastry station I found an open bottle of wine and two empty glasses. It was, to add insult to what was about to be serious injury, a 1999 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto Toscano- the most expensive wine in our cellar. Three hundred and eighty dollar foreplay. I picked up the bottle and followed the trail of clothes to the office. Jake's checkered chef's pants and tunic, Nicola's slinky black dress, which I hated her for being able to wear, and a Victoria's Secret lacy, black bra. They were on the leather couch, Nicola on top, her wild, black hair spilling over Jake's chest, humping away like wild dogs. Carried away by their passion, they were oblivious to my approach. I drained the last of the wine from the bottle and hurled it over their backsides where it smashed against the wall, announcing my arrival. Before Jake could completely extricate himself, I jumped on Nicola's back and grabbed hold of her hair and pulled with all the strength of my hot-blooded Mediterranean ancestors. Nicola screamed, and clawed the air, her flailing hands accidentally swiping Jake squarely on the chin. He squirmed out from under her and tried to tackle me, but I'm not a small woman. Armed with my humiliation and anger, I was a force in motion. In desperation, Jake butted his head into the middle of my back, wrapped his hands around my waist, and pulled with all his might. He succeeded, pulling so hard that Nicola's hair, which I had resolutely refused to yield, came away in great clumps in my hands. Nicola's screams turned to pathetic whimpers as she reached to cover her burning scalp. She then curled herself into a fetal position, naked and bleeding, and began to keen.
Meredith Mileti (Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses)
The pursuit of your power takes all that you have, if you will be great—it leaves neither time, nor energy, for anything else. We are born with the seeds of power in us and driven to be what we are by a hunger that knows no slaking. Knowledge—power—to know what songs the stars sing; to center all the forces of creation upon a rune drawn in the air—we can never give over the seeking of it. It is the stuff of loneliness.
Barbara Hambly (Dragonsbane (Winterlands, #1))
Tactics programmed for the SIOP are in two principal categories,” the head of the Joint Chiefs later explained, “the penetration phase and the delivery phase.” SAC would attack the Soviet Union “front-to-rear,” hitting air defenses along the border first, then penetrating more deeply into the nation’s interior and destroying targets along the way, a tactic called “bomb as you go.” Great Britain’s strategic weapons were controlled by the SIOP, as well. The Royal Air Force showed little interest in SAC’s ideas about counterforce. The British philosophy of strategic bombing had changed little since the Second World War, and the RAF’s Bomber Command wanted to use its nuclear weapons solely for city busting. The SIOP respected the British preference, asking Bomber Command to destroy three air bases, six air defense targets, and forty-eight cities.
Eric Schlosser (Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety)
For Aristotle, physics works as follows: first, it is necessary to distinguish between the heavens and Earth. In the heavens, everything is made up of a crystalline substance that moves in a circular motion and turns eternally around Earth in great concentric circles, with the spherical Earth at the center of everything. On Earth, on the other hand, it is necessary to distinguish between forced motion and natural motion. Forced motion is caused by a thrust and ends when the thrust ends. Natural motion is vertical—upward or downward—and depends both on the substance and the location. Each substance has a “natural place,” that is to say, a proper altitude to which it always returns; earth at the bottom, water a little way above it, air a little higher still, and fire even higher. When you pick up a stone and let it fall, the stone moves downward because it wants to return to its natural level. Air bubbles in water, fire in the air, or children’s flying balloons move upward instead, again seeking their natural place.
Carlo Rovelli (Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Elusive Structure of the Universe and the Journey to Quantum Gravity)
Fredericksburgh, whence there is a railway to Richmond. The tract of country through which it takes its course was once productive; but the soil has been exhausted by the system of employing a great amount of slave labour in forcing crops, without strengthening the land: and it is now little better than a sandy desert overgrown with trees. Dreary and uninteresting as its aspect is, I was glad to the heart to find anything on which one of the curses of this horrible institution has fallen; and had greater pleasure in contemplating the withered ground, than the richest and most thriving cultivation in the same place could possibly have afforded me. In this district, as in all others where slavery sits brooding, (I have frequently heard this admitted, even by those who are its warmest advocates:) there is an air of ruin and decay abroad, which is inseparable from the system. The barns and outhouses are mouldering away; the sheds are patched and half roofless; the log cabins (built in Virginia with external chimneys made of clay or wood) are squalid in the last degree. There is no look of decent comfort anywhere. The miserable stations by the railway side, the great wild wood-yards, whence the engine is supplied with fuel; the negro children rolling on the ground before the cabin doors, with dogs and pigs; the biped beasts of burden slinking past: gloom and dejection are upon them all.
Charles Dickens (American Notes and Pictures from Italy)
I was very close to the age where I would have been sent to train, but was saved from that fate when we were forced out of Pinyudo, all forty thousand of us, by the Ethiopian forces that overthrew President Mengistu. ... The area near the river was marshy and the group was soaked, wading through the heavy water. The river, when we arrived, was high and moving quickly. Trees and debris flew with the current. The first shots seemed small and distant. I turned to follow the sound. I saw nothing, but the gunfire continued and grew louder. The attackers were nearby. The sounds multiplied, and I heard the first screams. A woman up the river spat a stream of blood from her mouth before falling, lifeless, into the water. She had been shot by an unseen assailant, and the current soon took “her toward my group. Now the panic began. Tens of thousands of us splashed through the shallows of the river, too many unable to swim. To stay on the bank meant certain death, but to jump into that river, swollen and rushing, was madness. “The Ethiopians were attacking, their Eritrean cohorts with them, the Anyuak doing their part. They wanted us out of their country, they were avenging a thousand crimes and slights. I paddled and kicked. I looked again for the spot on the riverbank where I had last seen the crocodiles. They were gone. —The crocodiles! —Yes. We must swim fast. Come. There are so many of us. We’re at a mathematical advantage. Swim, Achak, just keep paddling. A scream came from very close. I turned to see a boy in the jaws of a crocodile. The river bloomed red and the boy’s face disappeared. —Keep going. Now he’s too busy to eat you. We were halfway across the river now, and my ears heard the hiss under the water and the bullets and mortars cracking the air. Each time my ears fell below the surface, a hiss overtook my head, and it felt like the sound of the crocodiles coming for me. I tried to keep my ears above the surface, but when my head was too high, I pictured a bullet entering the back of my skull. ... I pushed my face into the dirt, but secretly I watched the slaughter below. Thousands of boys and men and women and babies were crossing the river, and soldiers were killing them randomly and sometimes with great care. There were a few SPLA troops fighting from our side of the river, but for the most part they had already escaped, leaving the Sudanese civilians alone and unprotected. The Ethiopians, then, had their choice of targets, most of them unarmed. “they chased the Sudanese from their land with machetes and the few rifles they possessed. They hacked and shot those running to the river, and they shot those flailing across the water. Shells exploded, sending plumes of white twenty feet into the air. Women dropped babies in the river. Boys who could not swim simply drowned... Some of the dead were then eaten by crocodiles. The river ran in many colors that day, green and white, black and brown and red. “—Come here!" a woman said. I looked to find the source of the voice, and turned to see an Ethiopian woman in a soldier’s uniform. —Come here and I will help you find Pochalla! she said. The other boys began walking toward her. —No! I said. —See how she’s dressed! —Don’t fear me, she said. I am just a woman! I am a mother trying to help you boys. Come to me, children! I am your mother! Come to me! The unknown boys ran toward her. Achor stayed with me. When they were twenty feet from her, the woman turned, lifted a gun from the grass, and with her eyes full of white, she shot the taller boy through the heart. I could see the bullet leaving his back. His body kneeled and then fell on its side, his head landing before his shoulder. “Run! he said, grabbing my shirt from behind. We ran from her, diving into the grass and then crawling and hurtling away fom the woman, who was still shouting at us. "Come back!" she said. "I am your mother, come back, my children!
Dave Eggers (What Is the What)
Under these circumstances the most anodyne book was a source of danger from the simple fact that love was alluded to, and woman depicted as an attractive creature; and this was enough to account for all—for the inherent ignorance of Catholics, since it was proclaimed as the preventive cure for temptations—for the instinctive horror of art, since to these craven souls every written and studied work was in its nature a vehicle of sin and an incitement to fall. Would it not really be far more sensible and judicious to open the windows, to air the rooms, to treat these souls as manly beings, to teach them not to be so much afraid of their own flesh, to inculcate the firmness and courage needed for resistance? For really it is rather like a dog which barks at your heels and snaps at your legs if you are afraid of him, but who beats a retreat if you turn on him boldly and drive him off. The fact remains that these schemes of education have resulted, on the one hand, in the triumph of the flesh in the greater number of men who have been thus brought up and then thrown into a worldly life, and on the other, in a wide diffusion of folly and fear, an abandonment of the possessions of the intellect and the capitulation of the Catholic army surrendering without a blow to the inroads of profane literature, which takes possession of territory that it has not even had the trouble of conquering. This really was madness! The Church had created art, had cherished it for centuries; and now by the effeteness of her sons she was cast into a corner. All the great movements of our day, one after the other—romanticism, naturalism—had been effected independently of her, or even against her will. If a book were not restricted to the simplest tales, or pleasing fiction ending in virtue rewarded and vice punished, that was enough; the propriety of beadledom was at once ready to bray. As soon as the most modern form of art, the most malleable and the broadest—the Novel—touched on scenes of real life, depicted passion, became a psychological study, an effort of analysis, the army of bigots fell back all along the line. The Catholic force, which might have been thought better prepared than any others to contest the ground which theology had long since explored, retired in good order, satisfied to cover its retreat by firing from a safe distance, with its old-fashioned match-lock blunderbusses, on works it had neither inspired nor written. The Church party, centuries behind the time, and having made no attempt to follow the evolution of style in the course of ages, now turned to the rustic who can scarcely read; it did not understand more than half of the words used by modern writers, and had become, it must be said, a camp of the illiterate. Incapable of distinguishing the good from the bad, it included in one condemnation the filth of pornography and real works of art; in short, it ended by emitting such folly and talking such preposterous nonsense, that it fell into utter discredit and ceased to count at all. And it would have been so easy for it to work on a little way, to try to keep up with the times, and to understand, to convince itself whether in any given work the author was writing up the Flesh, glorifying it, praising it, and nothing more, or whether, on the contrary, he depicted it merely to buffet it—hating it. And, again, it would have done well to convince itself that there is a chaste as well as a prurient nude, and that it should not cry shame on every picture in which the nude is shown. Above all, it ought to have recognized that vices may well be depicted and studied with a view to exciting disgust of them and showing their horrors.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (The Cathedral)
Perhaps it was foolhardy to suppose that in real life we could undo what had been done, cancel our knowledge of evil, uninvent our weapons, stow away what remained in some safe hiding place. With the devastation of World War II still grimly visible, its stench hardly gone from the air, the community of nations started to fragment, its members splitting into factions, resorting to threats and, finally, to violence and to war. The certainty of peace had proved little more than a fragile dream. “And so the great democracies triumphed,” Sir Winston Churchill wrote later. “And so were able to resume the follies that had nearly cost them their life.” Prophetic as he was, Churchill did not foresee the awesome extremes to which these follies would extend: diplomacy negotiated within a balance of nuclear terror; resistance tactics translated into guidelines for fanatics and terrorists; intelligence agencies evolving technologically to a level where they could threaten the very principles of the nations they were created to defend. One way or another, such dragon’s teeth were sown in the secret activities of World War II. Questions of utmost gravity emerged: Were crucial events being maneuvered by elite secret power groups? Were self-aggrandizing careerists cynically displacing principle among those entrusted with the stewardship of intelligence? What had happened over three decades to an altruistic force that had played so pivotal a role in saving a free world from annihilation or slavery? In the name of sanity, the past now had to be seen clearly. The time had come to open the books.
William Stevenson (A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win World War II)
The first Superfortress reached Tokyo just after midnight, dropping flares to mark the target area. Then came the onslaught. Hundreds of planes—massive winged mechanical beasts roaring over Tokyo, flying so low that the entire city pulsed with the booming of their engines. The US military’s worries about the city’s air defenses proved groundless: the Japanese were completely unprepared for an attacking force coming in at five thousand feet. The full attack lasted almost three hours; 1,665 tons of napalm were dropped. LeMay’s planners had worked out in advance that this many firebombs, dropped in such tight proximity, would create a firestorm—a conflagration of such intensity that it would create and sustain its own wind system. They were correct. Everything burned for sixteen square miles. Buildings burst into flame before the fire ever reached them. Mothers ran from the fire with their babies strapped to their backs only to discover—when they stopped to rest—that their babies were on fire. People jumped into the canals off the Sumida River, only to drown when the tide came in or when hundreds of others jumped on top of them. People tried to hang on to steel bridges until the metal grew too hot to the touch, and then they fell to their deaths. After the war, the US Strategic Bombing Survey concluded: “Probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a six-hour period than at any time in the history of man.” As many as 100,000 people died that night. The aircrews who flew that mission came back shaken. [According to historian] Conrad Crane: “They’re about five thousand feet, they are pretty low... They are low enough that the smell of burning flesh permeates the aircraft...They actually have to fumigate the aircraft when they land back in the Marianas, because the smell of burning flesh remains within the aircraft. (...) The historian Conrad Crane told me: I actually gave a presentation in Tokyo about the incendiary bombing of Tokyo to a Japanese audience, and at the end of the presentation, one of the senior Japanese historians there stood up and said, “In the end, we must thank you, Americans, for the firebombing and the atomic bombs.” That kind of took me aback. And then he explained: “We would have surrendered eventually anyway, but the impact of the massive firebombing campaign and the atomic bombs was that we surrendered in August.” In other words, this Japanese historian believed: no firebombs and no atomic bombs, and the Japanese don’t surrender. And if they don’t surrender, the Soviets invade, and then the Americans invade, and Japan gets carved up, just as Germany and the Korean peninsula eventually were. Crane added, The other thing that would have happened is that there would have been millions of Japanese who would have starved to death in the winter. Because what happens is that by surrendering in August, that givesMacArthur time to come in with his occupation forces and actually feedJapan...I mean, that’s one of MacArthur’s great successes: bringing in a massive amount of food to avoid starvation in the winter of 1945.He is referring to General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander for the Allied powers in the Pacific. He was the one who accepted theJapanese emperor’s surrender.Curtis LeMay’s approach brought everyone—Americans and Japanese—back to peace and prosperity as quickly as possible. In 1964, the Japanese government awarded LeMay the highest award their country could give a foreigner, the First-Class Order of Merit of the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun, in appreciation for his help in rebuilding the Japanese Air Force. “Bygones are bygones,” the premier of Japan said at the time.
Malcolm Gladwell
There was another guy in my barracks named Jack, a wonderful guy. He introduced me to a lot of the Vietnamese people. I fell in love with these people. They were great people. Jack was due to come home the next day and that was going to complete his four years in the Air Force. His plan was to return to Ohio and work through immigration to bring his bride over to the States. Well, before that could happen, a rocket came through and he was the only one killed.
J. Stephen Jorge (A Wartime Book: When to Keep Your Heart in Your Boot)