Minute Manager Quotes

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EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?" STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.
Thornton Wilder (Our Town)
How?" I demanded. "How could you have screwed this one up?" "When I got in, they said the manager was on the phone and would be a few minutes. So, I sat down and ordered a drink." This time, I did lean my forehead against the steering wheel. "What did you order?" "A martini." "A martini." I lifted my head. "You ordered a martini before a job interview." "It's a bar, Sage. I figured they'd be cool with it.
Richelle Mead (Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1))
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." [From the Preface]
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
While Adrian was interviewing in the back, I got a table and some coffee. Trey came to visit me after about fifteen minutes. "Is that really your brother?" he demanded. "Yes," I said, hoping I sounded convincing. "When you said he was looking for a job, I pictured a male version of you. I figured he'd want to color code the cups or something." "What's your point?" I asked. Trey shook his head. "My point is that you'd better keep looking. I was just back there and overheard him talking with my manager. She was explaining the cleanup he would have to do each night. Then he said something about his hands and manual labor.
Richelle Mead (Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1))
Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Toss him over,” Zoya said. “Break his heart cruelly. I will gladly give our poor prince comfort, and I would make a magnificent queen.” I laughed. “You actually might, Zoya. If you could stop being horrible for a minute.” “With that kind of incentive, I can manage a minute. Possibly two.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
The roller-coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and feeling angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
Concentrate every minute like a Roman— like a man— on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered , irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
At dawn, Aedion had burst in, demanding why they weren’t ready to leave—to go home. Lysandra had shifted into a ghost leopard and chased him out. Then she returned, lingering in her massive feline form, and again sprawled beside Aelin. They managed to get another thirty minutes of sleep before Aedion came back and chucked a bucket of water on them. He was lucky to escape alive.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
Secret #1 : One minute Goal Setting "People who feel good about themselves produce good results
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Help People Reach Their Full Potential Catch Them Doing Something Right
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Secret #3 : One minute Reprimand "We are not just our behavior. We are the person managing our behavior
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
He roared at me furiously for ten minutes after he finally managed to put out the sulky and determined fire, calling me a witless muttonheaded spawn of pig farmers-"My father's a wood-cutter," I said- "adOf axe-swinging lummocks!" he snarled.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
Secret #2 : One Minute Praising Help People to Reach Their Full Potential. Catch Them Doing Something Right
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Goals begin behaviors, consequences maintain them.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Effective managers,” he thought, “manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the organization and the people profit from their presence.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
I could not hold my breath for seven minutes. I couldn’t even make it to one. I once tried to run a mile in seven minutes after hearing some athletes could do it in four but failed spectacularly when a side stitch crippled me about halfway in. However, there was one thing I managed to do in seven minutes that most would say is quite impressive: I became queen. By seven tiny minutes I beat my brother, Ahren, into the world, so the throne that ought to have been his was mine. Had I been born a generation earlier, it wouldn’t have mattered. Ahren was the male, so Ahren would have been the heir. Alas, Mom and Dad couldn’t stand to watch their firstborn be stripped of a title by an unfortunate but rather lovely set of breasts. So they changed the law, and the people rejoiced, and I was trained day by day to become the next ruler of Illéa.
Kiera Cass (The Heir (The Selection, #4))
I shall destroy capitalism! Do you hear! I shall destroy every single capitalist! And I shall start with you, you dog, if you don't help us with the bomb!' Allan noted that the had managed to be both a rat and a dog in the course of a minute or so. And that Stalin was being rather inconsistent, because now he wanted to use Allan's services after all. But Allan wasn't going to sit there and listen to this abuse any longer. He had come to Moscow to help them out, not to be shouted at. Stalin would have to manage on his own. 'I've been thinking,' said Allan. 'What,' said Stalin angrily. 'Why don't you shave off that moustache?' With that the dinner was over, because the interpreter fainted.
Jonas Jonasson (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (The Hundred-Year-Old Man, #1))
Her eyes widened. “My.” She looked at him hesitantly and then bit her lip. “This might be more difficult than I realized. You’re a large man, aren’t you?” She blushed. “I mean, all over.” He managed to nod. Yes, damn it. And getting excruciatingly larger by the minute.
Monica McCarty (Highlander Unmasked (MacLeods of Skye Trilogy, #2))
The people who work with you as their manager will look to you as one of their sources of wisdom
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
How often do you find yourself saying, “In a minute”, “I’ll get to it” or “Tomorrow’s good enough” and every other possible excuse in the book? Compare it with how often you decide it’s got to be done, so let’s get on and do it! That should tell you just how serious your procrastinating problem really is.
Stephen Richards (The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination)
We were all just as brave,’ finished Julia Abatemarco. ‘Neither of the sides had the strength to be braver. But we … We managed to be brave for a minute longer.
Andrzej Sapkowski (The Lady of the Lake (The Witcher, #5))
Life is a fast, dizzing game; life is a parachute jump; it's taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it's mountaineering; it's wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don't manage it.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
الناس تحتاج أن ترتبط بمن يهتمون بهم، ليشعروا بأنهم مقبولون وذوو قيمة لمجرد أنهم بشر (..) أيضاً أن الناس يحتاجون إلى معين ليجدوا من يهتم بهم، عندما يجانبهم الصواب ص 91
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Yesterday I bought myself a new, very sharp kitchen knife. And I managed to cut my finger within 5 minutes of getting home! Those plastic packages are bloody dangerous!!!
Gary Edward Gedall
If you can´t tell me what you'd like to be happening, you don't have a problem yet. You're just complaining. A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
They-" He stopped and just blinked at me for a minute. "You know, people are always saying that you're cuckoo. Looney Tunes. Off the freaking edge. But I tell 'em, no, she's okay. She's got some...anger management issues. But you know what? They're right. You're nuts.
Karen Chance (Fury's Kiss (Dorina Basarab, #3))
When I first came to work her i spotted a problem that needed to be solved, but I didn't know what to do. So I called the One Minute Manager. When he answered the phone, I said, Sir, I have a problem. Befor I could get another word out, he said, Good! That's what you've been hired to solve.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
Creativity can only come from silence. If we maintain two minutes of silence every day, then we will see that a whole new dimension of life opens up.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Management Mantras)
من غير المناسب إخفاء مشاعرك السلبية نحو ضعف أداء موظف Page: 86
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
The roller coaster is my life; Life is a fast, dizzying game. Life is a parachute jump; it's taking chances; falling over and getting up again. It's mountaineering; it's wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don't manage it. But if we are talking in terms of making progress in life, we must understand that "good enough" is very different from the "Best.
Paulo Coelho
Where are you going?" I asked, as Frank swung his feet off the bed. "I'd hate the dear old thing to be disappointed in us," he answered. Sitting up on the side of the ancient bed, he bounced gently up and down, creating a piercing rhythmic squeak. The Hoovering in the hall stopped abruptly. After a minute or two of bouncing, he gave a loud, theatrical groan and collapsed backward with a twang of protesting springs. I giggled helplessly into a pillow, so as not to disturb the breathless silence outside. Frank waggled his eyebrows at me. "You're supposed to moan ecstatically, not giggle," he admonished in a whisper. "She'll think I'm not a good lover." "You'll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans," I answered. "Two minutes doesn't deserve any more than a giggle." "Inconsiderate little wench. I came here for a rest, remember?" "Lazybones. You'll never manage the next branch on your family tree unless you show a bit more industry than that.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
A minute teaches me sixty different ways to think about you.
Faraaz Kazi (Truly, Madly, Deeply)
Everyone Is A Potential Winner. Some People Are Disguised As Losers. Don’t Let Their Appearances Fool You.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The New One Minute Manager)
Manage me, I am a mess, swept under the rug of yesterday’s home improvement, a whimsical urge tossed aside for the easy reassurance of home and comfort. I am the photograph tucked away as a book-mark, in a book left half unread, once reopened to find memories crawling back into peripheral sight, faded, creased and lonely. I long to be admired, long to be held, torn and laughed at, laughed with, like a distant relative or an old friend breathing in their last breath. I missed the moment when time collapsed and memory was erased, replaced by finicky social experiments, lost in the blur of intoxication, sucked through multi-colored bendy-straws, making way for a spinning world where hub-caps stood still, but our vision didn’t. If I could leave you with only one thing, it would be small, foldable, and made from trees, with a few careless words, scribbled in blue; Take a minute to learn me, take a moment to love me, because I need your love to live,and without it, I am nothing.
Alex Gaskarth
The next morning I had Twentieth-Century American Poetry at MCC. This old woman gave a lecture wherein she managed to talk for ninety minutes about Sylvia Plath without ever once quoting a single word of Sylvia Plath.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Ritual he liked, but compulsory routine he hated. Thus, he resented every minute that he now had to surrender to showering, shampooing, shaving, and flossing and brushing his teeth. If mere men could devise self-defrosting refrigerators and self-cleaning ovens, why couldn't nature, in all its complex, inventive magnificence, have managed to come up with self-cleaning teeth? "There's birth," he grumbled, "there's death, and in between there's maintenance.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
We rose from our chairs and bowed at each other, Japanese-style. The eight of them sat on the opposite side of the table to us, leaving the middle chair empty. All looking at us, no-one speaking a word. A long minute later, a very short, rather elderly lady – also dressed in funereal black – waddled in and seated herself in the empty chair in the middle of the row, directly facing us. She smiled; well, she attempted to twist her mouth. Too much effort. Her expression reverted to seriousness. Lin, sitting next to her, now spoke and introduced her as the Managing Director. She didn’t speak any English. Nor, it transpired, did any of the others – or if they did, we would never know, as either they weren’t brave enough to try or were inhibited by the business hierarchy. A scene that could have come out of Kafka.
Oliver Dowson (There's No Business Like International Business: Business Travel – But Not As You Know It)
You're suicidal.You know how impossible this sounds?" "Yes." I pause. "But I don't really have much choice." "Well,go on.What about the square?" "Diversion." My eyes lock onto Kaede's. "Create chaos in Batalla Square, as much chaos as you can manage. Enough chaos to force most of the soldiers guarding the back exits to enter the square and help contain the crowd-if only for a couple of minutes. That's what the electro-bomb might help you with. Set it off in the air, and it'll shake up the ground in Batalla Hall and around it. It shouldn't hurt anyone, but it'll definitely stir up some panic. And if the guns in the vicinity are disabled,they can't shoot at Day even if they see him escaping along a rooftop.They'll have to chase him or try their luck with less accurate stun guns." "Okay,genius." Kaede laughs, a little too sarcastically. "Let me ask you this, though. How the hell are you going to get Day out of the building at all? You think you're going to be the only soldier escorting him to the firing squad? Other soldiers will probably flank you.Hell,a whole patrol might join you." I smile at her. "There will be other soldiers. But who says they can't be Patriots in disguise?" She doesn't answer me,not in words. But I can see the grin spreading on her face, and I realize that even though she thinks I'm crazy,she has also agreed to help.
Marie Lu (Legend (Legend, #1))
Anything could be endured, she had discovered, if she could only package the time into discrete little packets. She imagined taking the minutes, each one like a pellet, and wrapping them up - one minute, five minutes, fifteen, thirty. Once she had managed to survive a full hour, she could put the packets of time into a box, tie it with string, and push it down a conveyor belt. Just one more minute, one more hour, one more day.
Lynne Kutsukake (The Translation of Love)
Arthur sighed and barely managed to whisper, “Key... hold the Hour Hand for... a minute... a minute...
Garth Nix
When I put off a task until the last minute, I'm not procrastinating—I'm exercising great patience. I learned that from my ducks, who do nothing all day, but still manage to accomplish everything they are supposed to do.
Jarod Kintz (Ducks are the stars of the karaoke bird world (A BearPaw Duck And Meme Farm Production))
In order for us to practice self-control, we must have a goal. We must have something we are saying “yes” to, which necessarily comes with things that we must say “no” to. We use self-control to maneuver ourselves toward this “yes.” This goal must be entirely our own. The minute another person is choosing and managing our goals for us, we have left self-control behind.
Danny Silk (Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries)
If you can’t tell me what you’d like to be happening,’ he said, ‘you don’t have a problem yet. You’re just complaining. A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The New One Minute Manager)
She had been so fiercely alive. She had spoken honestly, and lived with an honesty that few could claim to match. She had made the most of every minute she was given. She bargained and rationed and managed the seconds. She burned up the days.
Ann Napolitano (A Good Hard Look)
Between now and when we graduate next year there are at least ten weeks' holiday and five random public holidays. There's email and if you manage to get down to the town, there's text messaging and mobile phone calls. If not, the five minutes you get to speak to me on your communal phone is better than nothing. There are the chess nerds who want to invite you to our school for the chess comp next March and there's this town in the middle, planned by Walter Burley Griffin, where we can meet up and protest against our government's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.
Stephane Nappo
ضع الأهداف، امدح، انتقد السلوكيات، شجّع الناس، قل الحق، اضحك، اعمل، استمتع
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The One Minute Manager)
When we talk about time management, it seems ridiculous to worry about speed before direction, about saving minutes when we may be wasting years.
Stephen R. Covey (First Things First)
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: ça y est. But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday. Fermina Daza was in the kitchen tasting the soup for supper when she heard Digna Pardo's horrified shriek and the shouting of the servants and then of the entire neighborhood. She dropped the tasting spoon and tried to run despite the invincible weight of her age, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what had happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back in the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death's final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: "Only God knows how much I loved you.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
When she was in Djibouti and I was in Aden, and I used to go and see her for twenty-four hours, she managed to multiply the misunderstandings between us until there were exactly sixty minutes before I had to leave; sixty minutes, just long enough to make you feel the seconds passing one by one.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
very often our victories were squeaked out in the last few minutes, after we had drained the life from our opponents. Games – like life – are all about waiting for chances and then pouncing on them.
Alex Ferguson (Leading: Lessons in leadership from the legendary Manchester United manager)
Once upon a time there was a mother who, in order to become a mother, had agreed to change her name; who set herself the task of falling in love with her husband bit-by-bit, but who could n ever manage to love one part, the part, curiously enough, which made possible her motherhood; whose feet were hobbled by verrucas and whose shoulders were stooped beneath the accumulating guilts of the world; whose husband's unlovable organ failed to recover from the effects of a freeze; and who, like her husband, finally succumbed to the mysteries of telephones, spending long minutes listening to the words of wrong-number callers . . . shortly after my tenth birthday (when I had recovered from the fever which has recently returned to plague me after an interval of nearly twenty-one years), Amina Sinai resumed her recent practice of leaving suddenly, and always immediately after a wrong number, on urgent shopping trips.
Salman Rushdie (Midnight's Children)
I lay in my bed a few minutes later, resigned as the pain finally made its appearance. It was a crippling thing, this sensation that a huge hole had been pushed through my chest, excising my most vital organs and leaving ragged, unhealed gashes around the edges that continued to throb and bleed despite the passage of time. Rationally, I knew my lungs must still be intact, yet I gasped for air and my head spun like my efforts yielded me nothing. My heart must have been beating, too, but I couldn't hear the sound of my pulse in my ears; my hands felt blue with cold. I curled inward, hugging my ribs to hold myself together. I scrambled for my numbness, my denial, but it evaded me. And yet, I found I could survive. I was alert, I felt the pain--the aching loss that radiated out from my chest, sending wracking waves of hurt through my limbs and head--but it was managable. I could live through it. It didn't feel like the pain had weakened over time, rather that I'd grown strong enough to bear it.
Stephenie Meyer (New Moon (The Twilight Saga, #2))
And what is your current complaint?" I don't like Barrayar, I want to go home, my father-in-law wants to murder my baby, half my friends are running for their lives, and I can't get ten minutes alone with my husband, whom you people are consuming before my eyes, my feet hurt, my head hurts, my soul hurts... It was all too complicated. The poor man just wanted something to put in his blank, not an essay. "Fatigue," Cordelia managed at last.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7))
I am no theologian, and do not have the answers to these questions, and one of the reasons I enjoy the animals on the farm so much is that they don't think about their pain, or question it, they accept it and endure it, true stoics. I have never heard a donkey or cow whine (although I guess dogs do). I told my friend this: pain, like joy, is a gift. It challenges us, tests, defines us, causes us to grow, empathize, and also, to appreciate its absence. If nothing else, it sharpens the experience of joy. The minute something happens to me that causes pain, I start wondering how I can respond to it, what I can learn from it, what it has taught me or shown me about myself. This doesn't make it hurt any less, but it puts it, for me, on a more manageable level. I don't know if there is a God, or if he causes me or anybody else to hurt, or if he could stop pain. I try to accept it and live beyond it. I think the animals have taught me that. The Problem of Pain is that it exists, and is ubiquitous. The Challenge of Pain is how we respond to it.
Jon Katz
At the end of the day, taking 50% off a $250 dress still means walking out of the store $125 poorer.
Ian Lamont (Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Volume 1: How to cut expenses, reduce debt, and better align spending & priorities)
Divide the infinite future into five-minute blocks, and take them one by one.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7))
People have trouble admitting there are problems, but everyone has an area he or she would like
Kenneth H. Blanchard (Putting the One Minute Manager to Work: How to Turn the 3 Secrets into Skills)
But if she could somehow manage to be strong at the right time, at the right minute, if that was all the grace that was allowed her—that would be enough. Had to be.
Michelle West (The Hidden City (The House War, #1))
People Who Feel Good About Themselves Produce Good Results. *
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The New One Minute Manager)
Our Manager makes sure we know what good performance looks like because he shows us. In other words, expectations are clear to both of us.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (The New One Minute Manager)
I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't---till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'" "But glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected. "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean---neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "Which is to be master---that's all." Alive was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them---particularly, verbs, they're the proudest---adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs---however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!
Lewis Carroll
I was a fool!" Percy roared,so loudly that Lupin nearly dropped his photograph. "I was a pompous prat, I was a- a-" "Ministry loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron," said Fred. Percy swallowed. "Yes, I was!" "Well, you can't say fairer than that," said Fred, holding out his hand to Percy. Mrs Weasley burst into tears. She ran forwards, pushed Fred aside and pulled Percy into a strangling hug, while he patted her on the back, his eyes on his father. "I'm sorry, Dad," Percy said. Mr Weasley blinked rather rapidly, then he, too, hurried to hug his son. "What made you see sence, Perce?" enquired George. " It's been coming on for a while," said Percy, mopping his eyes under his glasses with a corner of his travelling cloak. "But I had to find a way out and it's not so easy at the Ministry, they're imprisoning traitors all the time. I managed to make contact with Aberforth and he tipped me off ten minutes ago that Hogwarts was going to make a fight of it, so here I am." "Well, we do look to our prefects to take a lead at times such as these," said George, in a good imitation of Percy's most pompous manner. "Now let's get upstairs and fight, or all the good Death Eaters''ll be taken.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Just say after Wednesday we never see each-" "Don't" he says, angry. "Jonah, you live six hundred kilometres away from me," I argue. "Between now and when we graduate next year there are at least ten weeks' holiday and five random public holidays. There's email and if you manage to get down to the town, there's text messaging and mobile phone calls. If not, the five minutes you get to speak to me on your communal phone is better than nothing. There are the chess nerds who want to invite you to our school for the chess comp next March and there's this town in the middle, planned by Walter Burley Griffin, where we can meet up and protest against our government's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
The Vandy said that real witches escaped trial by water by pretending to drown, then freeing themselves with their powers. So she wants you to sink, then save yourself." "I think I can manage the sinking part," I muttered. "The rest...not so sure." "You'll be fine," he said. "And if you're not up in a few minutes, I'll save you.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Lysandra had shifted into a ghost leopard and chased him out. Then she returned, lingering in her massive feline form, and again sprawled beside Aelin. They managed to get another thirty minutes of sleep before Aedion came back and chucked a bucket of water on them.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
...it occurred to me, not for the first time, what a remarkably small world Britain is. That is its glory, you see--that it manages at once to be intimate and small scale, and at the same time packed to bursting with incident and interest. I am constantly filled with admiration at this--at the way you can wander through a town like Oxford and in the space of a few hundred yards pass the home of Christopher Wren, the buildings where Halley found his comet and Boyle his first law, the track where Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, the meadow where Lewis Carroll strolled; or how you can stand on Snow's Hill at Windsor and see, in a single sweep, Windsor Castle, the playing fields of Eton, the churchyard where Gray wrote his "Elegy," the site where The Merry Wives of Windsor was performed. Can there anywhere on earth be, in such a modest span, a landscape more packed with centuries of busy, productive attainment?
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
When I’d checked into the bathroom with Seymour’s diary under my arm, and had carefully secured the door behind me, I spotted a message almost immediately. It was not, however, in Seymour’s handwriting but, unmistakably, in my sister Boo Boo’s. With or without soap, her handwriting was always almost indecipherably minute, and she had easily managed to post the following message up on the mirror; 'Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. Love, Irving Sappho, formerly under contract to Elysium Studios Ltd. Please be happy happy happy with your beautiful Muriel. This is an order. I outrank everybody on this block.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
The roller-coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
...a kid, maybe eight years old, ran up and poked her in the ribs with a plastic laser weapon, making electric zinging noises as he repeatedly pulled the trigger. “You’re dead,” he said victoriously. His mother came hurrying up, looking harassed and helpless. “Damian, stop that!” She gave him a smile that was little more than a grimace. “Don’t bother the nice people.” “Shut up,” he said rudely. “Can’t you see they’re Terrons from Vaniot.” The kid poked her in the ribs again. “Ouch!” He made those zinging noises again, taking great pleasure in her discomfort. She plastered a big smile on her face and leaned down closer to precious Damian, then cooed in her most alienlike voice, “Oh, look, a little earthling.” She straightened and gave Sam a commanding look. “Kill it.” Damian’s mouth fell open. His eyes went as round as quarters as he took in the big pistol on Sam’s belt. From his open mouth began to issue a series of shrill noises that sounded like a fire alarm. Sam cursed under his breath, grabbed Jaine by the arm, and began tugging her at a half-trot toward the front of the store. She managed to snag her purse from the buggy as she went past. “Hey, my groceries!” she protested. “You can spend another three minutes in here tomorrow and get them,” he said with pent-up violence. “Right now I’m trying to keep you from getting arrested.” “For what?” she asked indignantly as he dragged her out of the automatic doors. People were turning to look at them, but most were following the sounds of Damian’s shrieks to aisle seven. “How about threatening to kill that brat and causing a riot?” “I didn’t threaten to loll him! I just ordered you to.
Linda Howard (Mr. Perfect)
Let me insist that erudition is important to me. It signals genuine intellectual curiosity. It accompanies an open mind and the desire to probe the ideas of others. Above all, an erudite can be dissatisfied with his own knowledge, and such dissatisfaction is a wonderful shield against Platonicity, the simplifications of the five-minute manager, or the philistinism of the overspecialized scholar. Indeed, scholarship without erudition can lead to disasters.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
We’re creatures of habit when it comes to mobile contracts and the wires piping high-speed data into our homes. It’s a pain to deal with transfers, installations, and customer service interactions, so we shrug and keep paying a premium.
Ian Lamont (Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Volume 1: How to cut expenses, reduce debt, and better align spending & priorities)
But Smithy,” said Stephanopoulis. “I don’t believe in respectable businessmen. I’ve been a copper for more than five minutes. And the constable here doesn’t think you’re respectable either, because it happens he is a card-carrying member of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party and so regards all forms of property as a crime against the proletariat.” That one caught me by surprise and the best I could manage was “Power to the people.
Ben Aaronovitch (Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London #2))
It was easier for girls. They could say This hurts, or I don’t like how this feels, and have the complaint be socially acceptable. Boys, though, didn’t speak that language. They didn’t learn it as children and they didn’t manage to pick it up as adults, either.
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)
A 15-minute gap in your day is plenty of time to write and read, but not if you check your email first.
M.J. Pullen
Problems rarely exist at the level at which they are expressed. If you are arguing for more than ten minutes then you are probably not discussing the real conflict.
Kare Anderson (Mutuality Matters How You Can Create More Opportunity, Adventure & Friendship With Others)
One of the biggest obstacles to high performance in organizations comes from unclear expectations and accountability.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership II)
By attempting to “write bad” for twenty minutes, they’d somehow managed to produce remarkable work. From AWP - The Writer's Notebook
Steve Almond
We all have 1440 minutes of life today. How, what or who will you spend it on? Choose wisely. You have 1439 left.
Sotero M Lopez II
Time is the single most important resource that we have. Every single minute we lose is never coming back.
Tarun Sharma
Your minute is your hour is your day is your week is your month is your year. If you want to make this year better, make each minute better.
Saji Ijiyemi
People who can manage their time can also manage their money. After all, managing minutes and managing money is the same exact principle.
Ann Marie Sabath (What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don't: 52 Ways to Create Your Own Success)
Here’s what I need to do to stay centered: sleep eight hours, exercise for forty-five minutes, and have both breakfast and dinner with my family. If I skip one or two of those things for a day or two, it’s OK. But that’s the routine. Also, every so often I need to read a novel (ideally one a week), go away for a romantic weekend with my husband (ideally four times a year), and take a two-week vacation with siblings and parents (once a year). If I can manage to do those things, I can usually stay centered no matter what storms are raging around me.
Kim Malone Scott (Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity)
Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I'm dead. You're a grandmother, Mama! Wally's dead, too. His appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it - don't you remember? But, just for a moment now we're all together. Mama, just for a moment we're happy. Let's really look at one another!...I can't. I can't go on.It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back -- up the hill -- to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute? Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some. Emily: I'm ready to go back.
Thornton Wilder (Our Town)
Value your time poorly and you will be poor. When time is wasted as a lifestyle choice you will be stranded in places you don't want to be. Take a look around. How do your friends, family, and peers value their time? Are they standing in line to save four bucks? Are they driving 40 minutes to save 10 dollars? Are they parked on the sofa anxiously waiting to see who wins Dancing With the Stars?
M.J. DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!)
These drugs were advertised mostly to primary care physicians, who had little pain-management training and were making their money by churning patients through their offices at a thirteen-minute clip.
Sam Quinones (Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic)
Any daily work task that takes 5 minutes will cost over 20 hours a year, or over half of a work week. Even if it takes 20 hours to automate that daily 5 minute task, the automation will break even in a year.
Anthony J. Stieber (Breaking into Information Security: Crafting a Custom Career Path to Get the Job You Really Want)
I’ll be fine.” She felt terrified, but she wasn’t about to admit it. She drew her dagger Katoptris and tried to look confident. “Anyone gets close, I’ll skewer them.” Jason hesitated. “I’ll leave you the pack. If I’m not back in five minutes—” “Panic?” she suggested. He managed a smile. “Glad you’re back to normal. The makeup and the dress were a lot more intimidating than the dagger.” “Get going, Sparky, before I skewer you.” “Sparky?” Even offended, Jason looked hot. It wasn’t fair. Then he made his way to the stairs and disappeared into the dark.
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
Hopefully not another employee stealing credit cards, Brooke mused. Or any sort of headache-inducing “oops moment,” like the time one of the restaurant managers called to ask if he could fire a line cook after discovering that the man was a convicted murderer. “Jeez. How’d you learn that?” Brooke had asked. “He made a joke to one of the waiters about honing his cooking skills in prison. The waiter asked what he’d been serving time for, and he said, ‘Murder.’” “I bet that put an end to the conversation real fast. And yes, you can fire him,” Brooke had said. “Obviously, he lied on his employment application.” All of Sterling’s employees, regardless of job position, were required to answer whether they’d ever been convicted of a crime involving “violence, deceit, or theft.” Pretty safe to say that murder qualified. Ten minutes later, the manager had called her back. “Um . . . what if he didn’t exactly lie? I just double-checked his application, and as it turns out, he did check the box for having been convicted of a crime.” Brooke had paused at that. “And then the next question, where we ask what crime he’d been convicted for, what did he write?” “Uh . . . ‘second-degree murder.’” “I see. Just a crazy suggestion here, Cory, but you might want to start reading these applications a little more closely before making employment offers.” “Please don’t fire me.
Julie James (Love Irresistibly (FBI/US Attorney, #4))
For some reason, he belonged more in Wisconsin. Because of me, because I was there. Not that I ever managed to talk to him for more than ten minutes, and not that I ever had the nerve to ask him out. But still, I loved him. Deeply.
Catherine Clark (Picture Perfect)
It's worth remembering that [having a baby] is not of vital use to you as a woman. Yes, you could learn thousands of interesting things about love, strength, faith, fear, human relationships, genetic loyalty, and the effect of apricots on an immune digestive system. But I don't think there's a single lesson that motherhood has to offer that couldn't be learned elsewhere. If you want to know what's in motherhood for you, as a woman, then-in truth-it's nothing you couldn't get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whiskey with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in the winter; growing foxgloves, peas, and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a minute that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer and crippled by it. Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Newton, Faraday, Plato, Aquinas, Beethoven, Handel, Kant, Hume, Jesus. They all seem to have managed quite well.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Tradition can be a dirty word, especially around Christmas. Families all over the globe get together and enjoy each other's company for all of a few minutes. For an hour, they endure each other. After that, they just manage to stomach each other.
Markus Zusak (I Am the Messenger)
The only acceptable hobby, throughout all stages of life, is cookery. As a child: adorable baked items. Twenties: much appreciated spag bol and fry-ups. Thirties and forties: lovely stuff with butternut squash and chorizo from the Guardian food section. Fifties and sixties: beef wellington from the Sunday Telegraph magazine. Seventies and eighties: back to the adorable baked items. Perfect. The only teeny tiny downside of this hobby is that I HATE COOKING. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore the eating of the food. It's just the awful boring, frightening putting together of it that makes me want to shove my own fists in my mouth. It's a lovely idea: follow the recipe and you'll end up with something exactly like the pretty picture in the book, only even more delicious. But the reality's rather different. Within fifteen minutes of embarking on a dish I generally find myself in tears in the middle of what appears to be a bombsite, looking like a mentally unstable art teacher in a butter-splattered apron, wondering a) just how I am supposed to get hold of a thimble and a half of FairTrade hazelnut oil (why is there always the one impossible-to-find recipe ingredient? Sesame paste, anyone?) and b) just how I managed to get flour through two closed doors onto the living-room curtains, when I don't recall having used any flour and oh-this-is-terrible-let's-just-go-out-and-get-a-Wagamama's-and-to-hell-with-the-cost, dammit.
Miranda Hart (Is It Just Me?)
Put any two people together and each will seek ways of feeling superior to the other. If a ship went down in the Pacific and a single sailor managed to swim to a desert island, would he be pleased to see, ten minutes later, another sailor emerging from the surf? Quite possibly - but only if the new arrival accepted that the first man was now a landed aristocrat while he himself was an illegal immigrant.
Michael Foley (Embracing the Ordinary: Lessons From the Champions of Everyday Life)
The old clock on the kitchen wall still clicked its minutes with fussy punctuality. A life had come and gone and nature had not paused a second for it. The machine of time and space grinds on, and people are fed through it like grist through the mill. Isabel had managed to sit up a little against the wall, and she sobbed at the sight of the diminutive form, which she had dared to imagine as bigger, as stronger – as a child of this world. ‘My baby my baby my baby my baby,’ she whispered like a magic incantation that might resuscitate him. The face of the creature was solemn, a monk in deep prayer, eyes closed, mouth sealed shut: already back in that world from which he had apparently been reluctant to stray. Still the officious hands of the clock tutted their way around. Half an hour had passed and Isabel had said nothing.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
Feeling the reverberations of my panic, Jack pulled me between his thighs and gathered me against his chest. He held me wordlessly, with infinite patience. “I guess . . . ,” I managed to say eventually, “I don’t feel all-the-way safe.” “Probably because you’re not.” Jack hooked his fingers at the side of my panties, drawing them down. “But in a few minutes, darlin’, you’re not going to give a damn.” -Ella & Jack
Lisa Kleypas (Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3))
I don't think there is life beyond death, I don't. But I do believe that we get this clarity in the last minute of our life. The titles we achieved, the honors we managed, they all vanish. You are left alone with you and your deeds and the things you didn't do. And that moment of clarity gives you either peace or the most tremendous fear, because you finally have no cover, and you finally realize exactly who you are.
Guillermo del Toro
You have a backbone of steel. You went through months of hell looking after a small child, a dying husband and an entire household, with unholy patience. You missed meals and went without sleep, but you never forgot to read Justin a bedtime story and tuck him in at night. When you let yourself cry and fall apart, it was only in private, for a few minutes, and then you washed your face, put your broken heart back together, and went out with a cheerful expression and a half-dozen handkerchiefs in your pockets. And you did all of it while feeling queasy most of the time because you were expecting another child. You never failed the people who needed you. You're not going to fail them now." Shocked down to her soul, Phoebe could only manage a whisper. "Who told you all that?" "No one." The smile at the corners of his eyes deepened. "Phoebe... anyone who knows you, even a little, would know these things about you.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
What in Bursin’s holy name is that?” he snarled. If it were possible to die of embarrassment, Martise was sure she wouldn’t survive the next few minutes.  “I was singing.” His eyebrows rose almost to his hairline.  “Singing.  Is that what you call it?  It sounded like someone was torturing a cat.” “I thought I might work faster if I sang.”  She wiped the perspiration from her forehead with a gloved hand and regretted the action.  The swipe of citrus oil she’d left on her skin burned.  Cael continued to howl, and a door shut with a bang. "That will be Gurn coming to rescue us from whatever demon he thinks is attacking."  The branch supporting Silhara creaked as he adjusted his stance and leaned closer to her.  “Tell me something, Martise.”  A leaf slapped him in the eye, and he ripped it off its twig with an irritated snap.  “How is it that a woman, blessed with a voice that could make a man come, sings badly enough to frighten the dead?” She was saved from having to answer the outlandish question by the quick thud of running footsteps.  Silhara disappeared briefly from view when he bent to greet their visitor.  Unfortunately, his answers to Gurn’s unspoken questions were loud and clear. “That was Martise you heard.  She was…singing. “Trust me, I’m not jesting.  You can unload your bow.” His next indignant response made her smile.  “No, I wasn’t beating her!  She’s the one tormenting me with that hideous wailing!” Martise hid her smile when he reappeared before her.  His scowl was ferocious.  “Don’t sing.”  He pointed a finger at her for emphasis.  “You’ve scared my dog, my birds and my servant with your yowling.”  He paused.  “You’ve even managed to scare me.
Grace Draven (Master of Crows (Master of Crows, #1))
Hold on a minute. Do you really think that somebody this special would have managed to live his or her entire life without making any connections before he or she encountered you? So be careful if somebody seems too good to be true. The best partners are just good enough to be true, and get better with age.
Barbara "Cutie" Cooper (Fall in Love for Life: Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage)
Now she took the pills and, just before she closed her eyes, she summoned Lockie and his smile, and then the dreams would come.In her dream her golden boy tries again and again and again to stand up on the boogie board until he manages to remain upright for at least a minute. In her dream Sarah can feel the tears on her cheeks. Her golden boy was lost and she was too. She tried to dream that they found each other again but she couldn’t control her dreams any more than she could control her nightmares.
Nicole Trope (The Boy Under the Table)
While most of humanity was scrabbling for a piece of bread,a roof over their head and a job that would allow them to live with dignity,Ralf Hart had all of that,and it only made him feel more wretched.If he looked back on what his life had been lately,he had perhaps managed two or three days when he had woken up,looked at the sun-or the rain-and felt glad to see the morning,just happy,without wanting anything,planning anything or asking anything in exchange.Apart from those days,the rest of his existence had been wasted on dreams,both frustrated and realized-a desire to go beyond himself,to go beyond his limitations;he had spent his life trying to prove something,but he didn't know what or to whom.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
He knows that he should go to his wife –to help her, to console her –but he knows also that it will make no difference and so is putting it off. The truth? He wants just a little longer like this, looking out on the lawn. In this strange space, this addition to the house that has never really worked –always too hot or too cold, despite all the blinds and the big dust- magnet fan they had installed at ridiculous expense –he has managed somehow to drift into a state of semi- consciousness, a place in which his mind can roam beyond his body, beyond time, out into the garden where this very minute, in the early morning light, he is listening to them whispering in their den in the bushes. Anna and Jenny.
Teresa Driscoll (I Am Watching You)
Because alcohol is primarily a depressant, we reach for it to take the edge off. Which it does, initially. However, the counteractive process (or the B process) to the depressant nature of alcohol is a release of cortisol and adrenaline into the body. If you drink one glass of wine, you might have about twenty minutes of the desired “relaxed” effect before the drug (A process) wears off, and you’re left with increased amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, which fuel anxiety. This means alcohol causes anxiety; it doesn’t manage it.
Holly Whitaker (Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol)
Thomas Hardy does his best to distract me, and it's the slow-building rage against all men ever that manages to keep my attention for a solid thirty-five-minute stretch.
Alexa Donne (The Ivies)
Once, after a long night of sex and alcohol consecutively and concurrently, he told me somewhat drunkenly that he measured my rages by how long he perceived it would be between the time he made me angry and the time I would sleep with him again; this had made me so furious with him that I'd managed to withhold sex for nearly a full ten minutes. (Tristan in White Lines)
Shukyou (This Year's Prom King)
Adrian", I whispered, my tears starting to flow faster. His head snapped up--and then he moved with his incredible speed, gripping me in those powerful arms. Tilting my head back and covering my mouth in a bruising kiss that made joy rip through me with all the intensity of the pain I'd felt before. When he finally broke away several minutes later, I could hardly breathe, but I still managed to speak. "I love you," I choked out. "I love you, I love you, I love you--" His kiss cut me off again, and this time, I wasn't crying when I kissed him back. I was smiling.
Jeaniene Frost (The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny, #1))
Every happiness to you, Lady Mareena. I can see this one suits you." She jerks her head towards Maven. "Not like fancy Samos," she adds in a playful whisper. "She'll make a sad queen, and you a happy princess, mark my words" "Marked," I breathe. I manage to smile, even though the colonel's life will soon be at an end. No matter how many kind words she says, her minutes are numbered.
Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen (Red Queen, #1))
This determination to manage—to cope—to do as much unassisted as possible—is the Widow’s prerogative. You might argue that it’s a sign of her wish to appear to be—which is not the same as being—self-sufficient; or you might argue that it is a symptom of her derangement. But then, in the early minutes/hours/days of Widowhood—what is not, if examined closely, a symptom of derangement?
Joyce Carol Oates (A Widow's Story)
Feeling witless and utterly drained, Lillian let herself collapse over him, her head coming to rest on the center of his chest. His heart pounded and thundered beneath her ear for long minutes before it eased into something approaching a normal rhythm. “My God,” he muttered, his arms sliding around her, then falling away as if even that required too much effort. “Lillian. Lillian.” “Mmm?” She blinked drowsily, experiencing an overwhelming need to sleep. “I’ve changed my mind about negotiating. You can have whatever you want. Any conditions, anything that’s in my power to accomplish. Just put my mind at ease and say you’ll be my wife.” Lillian managed to lift her head and stare into his heavy-lidded eyes. “If this is an example of your bargaining ability,” she said, “I’m rather worried about your corporate affairs. You don’t surrender this easily to your business partners’ demands, I hope.” “No. Nor do I sleep with them.” A slow grin spread across her face. If Marcus was willing to take a leap of faith, then she would do no less. “Then to put your mind at ease, Westcliff… yes, I’ll be your wife. Though I warn you… you may be sorry you didn’t negotiate when you learn my conditions later. I may want a board position on the soap company, for example…” “God help me,” he muttered, and with a deep sigh of contentment, he fell asleep.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
It doesn’t have to be black and white. You have a structured workout and sure that makes your life easier. You have a template to follow. But if you don’t have 45 minutes to do that workout, you can do 10 minutes of it. If you don’t have time to train, you can take your dog for a walk. There’s so many ways you can make these incremental changes that will lead to overall better habits.
Kellie Davis (Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body)
5. Concentrate every minute like a Roman—like a man—on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can—if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
We hire for perfect, we manage for perfect, we measure for perfect, and we reward for perfect. So why are we surprised that people spend their precious minutes of self-directed, focused work time trying to achieve perfect? The problem is simple: Art is never defect-free. Things that are remarkable never meet spec, because that would make them standardized, not worth talking about. Rough
Seth Godin (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?)
You’re right.” A wicked little grin tugged at his lips. “I think we should celebrate.” Pausing, he waggled his brows at me. “We have fifty minutes now. I only need, like, five of them.” “Oh my God,” I laughed, shoving at his shoulders. “You’re terrible.” “I’m not terrible.” His eyes met mine, and the flutter was back, deeper and more dizzying. “I’m in love.” Oh, gosh. My heart swelled like a balloon, and all I could do was stare at him for several seconds before I managed to whisper, “I love you, too.” “I know.” Rider lowered his mouth to mine, and the kiss scattered my thoughts.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (The Problem with Forever)
He made a noise that sounded like a strangled laugh, and then said: Ah, I like your style. I’ll give you that. You’re not easy to get the upper hand on, are you? Obviously I’m not going to manage it. It’s funny, because you carry on like you’d let me walk all over you, answering my texts at two in the morning, and then telling me you’re in love with me, blah blah blah. But that’s all your way of saying, just try and catch me, because you won’t. And I can see I won’t. You’re not going to let me have it for a minute. Nine times out of ten you’d have someone fooled with the way you go on. They’d be delighted with themselves, thinking they were really the boss of you. Yeah, yeah, but I’m not an idiot. You’re only letting me act badly because it puts you above me, and that’s where you like to be. Above, above. And I don’t take it personally, by the way, I don’t think you’d let anyone near you. Actually, I respect it. You’re looking out for yourself, and I’m sure you have your reasons. I’m sorry I was so harsh on you with what I said, because you were right, I was just trying to hurt you. And I probably did hurt you, big deal. Anyone can hurt anyone if they go out of their way. But then instead of getting mad with me, you go saying I’m welcome to stay over and you still love me and all this. Because you have to be perfect, don’t you? No, you really have a way about you, I must say. And I’m sorry, alright? I won’t be trying to take a jab at you again. Lesson learned. But from now on you don’t need to act like you’re under my thumb, when we both know I’m nowhere near you. Alright? Another long silence fell. Their faces were invisible in darkness. Eventually, in a high and strained voice, straining perhaps for an evenness or lightness it did not attain, she replied: Alright. If I ever do get a hold of you, you won’t need to tell me, he said. I’ll know. But I’m not going to chase too much. I’ll just stay where I am and see if you come to me. Yes, that’s what hunters do with deer, she said. Before they kill them.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
Kai kissed Sehun's lips one last time before letting Sehun rest his head on his arm. When Sehun caressed Kai's cheek, he realized that the boy's hand was colder than it had been just several minutes ago. Even then, he managed to smile. "Merry Christmas, Kai." 'Merry Christmas, Sehun.' he tugged Sehun close until their foreheads brushed as he watched Sehun close his sleepy eyes just before Kai closed his.
FishMeAnEXo
As Sloan approached the door, Paul Lyons lifted his eyes to watch her leave. He found himself wondering why after all these years they couldn’t manage to get along for a lousy twenty minutes. Perhaps it was the result of their inability to compromise—to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Or maybe they’d both simply lost the ability to trust another human being and believe anything good could come of this world.
Kaylin McFarren (Banished Threads (Threads #3))
Here’s the short version of how to practice mindfuless: 1. Start with two minutes. For two minutes a day, direct your attention to your breath: the way the air comes into your body and your chest and belly expand, and the way the breath leaves your body and your chest and belly deflate. 2. The first thing that will happen is your mind will wander to something else. That’s normal. That’s healthy. That’s actually the point. Notice that your mind wandered, let those extraneous thoughts go—you can return to them as soon as the two minutes are up—and allow your attention to return to your breath. 3. Noticing that your mind wandered and then returning your attention to your breath is the real work of mindfulness. It’s not so much about paying attention to your breath as it is about noticing what you’re paying attention to without judgment, and making a choice about whether you want to pay attention to it. What you’re “mindful” of is both your breath and your attention to your breath. By practicing this skill of noticing what you’re paying attention to, you are teaching yourself to be in control of your brain, so that your brain is not in control of you. This regular two-minute practice will gradually result in periodic moments throughout the day when you notice what you’re paying attention to and then decide if that’s what you want to pay attention to right now, or if you want to pay attention to something else. What you pay attention to matters less than how you pay attention. This is a sideways strategy for weeding trauma out of your garden. It’s a way of simply noticing a weed and then deciding if you want to water it or not, pull it or not, fertilize it or not. The weed of trauma will gradually disappear as long as at least half the time you choose not to nurture it. And the more you choose to withdraw your protection from the trauma, the faster it will wither and die. Mindfulness is good for everyone and everything. It is to your mind what exercise and green vegetables are to your body. If you change only one thing in your life as a result of reading this book, make it this daily two-minute practice. The practice grants the opportunity to “cultivate deep respect for emotions,” differentiating their causes from their effects and granting you choice over how you manage them.
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)
I had long since managed a degree of detachment when dealing with photographs from homicide cases. They no longer upset me as they once did, although I make it a point not to dwell on them. By the time I stood in Shirley Lewis’s office, I had seen thousands of body pictures. I had seen pictures of Kathy Devine and Brenda Baker in Thurston County, but that was months before it was known there was a “Ted.” Of course, there were no bodies to photograph in the other Washington cases, and I had had no access to Colorado or Utah pictures. Now, I was staring down at huge color photographs of the damage done to girls young enough to be my daughters—at pictures of damage alleged to be the handiwork of a man I thought I knew. That man who only minutes before had smiled the same old grin at me, and shrugged as if to say, “I have no part of this.” It hit me with a terrible sickening wave. I ran to the ladies’ room and threw up.
Ann Rule (The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story)
Has Stalin understood correctly?’ asked Stalin. ‘You were on Franco’s side, you have fought against Comrade Mao, you have… saved the life of the pig in London and you have put the deadliest weapon in the world in the hands of the arch-capitalists in the USA. ‘I might have known,’ Stalin mumbled and in his anger forgot to talk in the third person. ‘And now you are here to sell yourself to Soviet socialism? One hundred thousand dollars, is that the price for your soul? Or has the price gone up during the course of the evening?’ Allan no longer wanted to help. Of course, Yury was still a good man and he was the one who actually needed the help. But you couldn’t get away from the fact that the results of Yury’s work would end up in the hands of Comrade Stalin, and he was not exactly Allan’s idea of a real comrade. On the contrary, he seemed unstable, and it would probably be best for all concerned if he didn’t get the bomb to play with. ‘Not exactly,’ said Allan. ‘This was never about money…’ He didn’t get any further before Stalin exploded again. ‘Who do you think you are, you damned rat? Do you think that you, a representative of fascism, of horrid American capitalism, of everything on this Earth that Stalin despises, that you, you, can come to the Kremlin, to the Kremlin, and bargain with Stalin, and bargain with Stalin?’ ‘Why do you say everything twice?’ Allan wondered, while Stalin went on: ‘The Soviet Union is prepared to go to war again, I’ll tell you that! There will be war, there will inevitably be war until American imperialism is wiped out.’ ‘Is that what you think?’ asked Allan. ‘To do battle and to win, we don’t need your damned atom bomb! What we need is socialist souls and hearts! He who knows he can never be defeated, can never be defeated!’ ‘Unless of course somebody drops an atom bomb on him,’ said Allan. ‘I shall destroy capitalism! Do you hear! I shall destroy every single capitalist! And I shall start with you, you dog, if you don’t help us with the bomb!’ Allan noted that he had managed to be both a rat and a dog in the course of a minute or so. And that Stalin was being rather inconsistent, because now he wanted to use Allan’s services after all. But Allan wasn’t going to sit there and listen to this abuse any longer. He had come to Moscow to help them out, not to be shouted at. Stalin would have to manage on his own. ‘I’ve been thinking,’ said Allan. ‘What,’ said Stalin angrily. ‘Why don’t you shave off that moustache?’ With that the dinner was over, because the interpreter fainted
Jonas Jonasson (Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand)
The toll from the two attacks: twenty-one pro-American leaders and their employees dead, twenty-six taken prisoner, and a few who could not be accounted for. Not one member of the Taliban or al-Qaeda was among the victims. Instead, in a single thirty-minute stretch the United States had managed to eradicate both of Khas Uruzgan’s potential governments, the core of any future anti-Taliban leadership—stalwarts who had outlasted the Russian invasion, the civil war, and the Taliban years but would not survive their own allies. People in Khas Uruzgan felt what Americans might if, in a single night, masked gunmen had wiped out the entire city council, mayor’s office, and police department of a small suburban town: shock, grief, and rage.
Anand Gopal (No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes)
I have a system with bathrooms. I spend a lot of time in them. They are sanctuaries, public places of peace spaced throughout the world for people like me. When I pop into Aaron’s, I continue my normal routine of wasting time. I turn the light off first. Then I sigh. Then I turn around, face the door I just closed, pull down my pants, and fall on the toilet— I don’t sit; I fall like a carcass, feeling my butt accommodate the rim. Then I put my head in my hands and breathe out as I, well, y’know, piss. I always try to enjoy it, to feel it come out and realize that it’s my body doing something it has to do, like eating, although I’m not too good at that. I bury my face in my hands and wish that it could go on forever because it feels good. You do it and it’s done. It doesn’t take any effort or any planning. You don’t put it off. That would be really screwed up, I think. If you had such problems that you didn’t pee. Like being anorexic, except with urine. If you held it in as self-punishment. I wonder if anyone does that? I finish up and flush, reaching behind me, my head still down. Then I get up and turn on the light. (Did anyone notice I was in here in the dark? Did they see the lack of light under the crack and notice it like a roach? Did Nia see?) Then I look in the mirror. I look so normal. I look like I’ve always looked, like I did before the fall of last year. Dark hair and dark eyes and one snaggled tooth. Big eyebrows that meet in the middle. A long nose, sort of twisted. Pupils that are naturally large—it’s not the pot— which blend into the dark brown to make two big saucer eyes, holes in me. Wisps of hair above my upper lip. This is Craig. And I always look like I’m about to cry. I put on the hot water and splash it at my face to feel something. In a few seconds I’m going to have to go back and face the crowd. But I can sit in the dark on the toilet a little more, can’t I? I always manage to make a trip to the bathroom take five minutes.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
I watched the light flicker on the limestone walls until Archer said, "I wish we could go to the movies." I stared at him. "We're in a creepy dungeon. There's a chance I might die in the next few hours. You are going to die in the next few hours. And if you had one wish, it would be to catch a movie?" He shook his head. "That's not what I meant. I wish we weren't like this. You know, demon, demon-hunter. I wish I'd met you in a normal high school, and taken you on normal dates, and like, carried your books or something." Glancing over at me, he squinted and asked, "Is that a thing humans actually do?" "Not outside of 1950s TV shows," I told him, reaching up to touch his hair. He wrapped an arm around me and leaned against the wall, pulling me to his chest. I drew my legs up under me and rested my cheek on his collarbone. "So instead of stomping around forests hunting ghouls, you want to go to the movies and school dances." "Well,maybe we could go on the occasional ghoul hunt," he allowed before pressing a kiss to my temple. "Keep things interesting." I closed my eyes. "What else would we do if we were regular teenagers?" "Hmm...let's see.Well,first of all, I'd need to get some kind of job so I could afford to take you on these completely normal dates. Maybe I could stock groceries somewhere." The image of Archer in a blue apron, putting boxes of Nilla Wafers on a shelf at Walmart was too bizarre to even contemplate, but I went along with it. "We could argue in front of our lockers all dramatically," I said. "That's something I saw a lot at human high schools." He squeezed me in a quick hug. "Yes! Now that sounds like a good time. And then I could come to your house in the middle of the night and play music really loudly under your window until you took me back." I chuckled. "You watch too many movies. Ooh, we could be lab partners!" "Isn't that kind of what we were in Defense?" "Yeah,but in a normal high school, there would be more science, less kicking each other in the face." "Nice." We spent the next few minutes spinning out scenarios like this, including all the sports in which Archer's L'Occhio di Dio skills would come in handy, and starring in school plays.By the time we were done, I was laughing, and I realized that, for just a little while, I'd managed to forget what a huge freaking mess we were in. Which had probably been the point. Once our laughter died away, the dread started seeping back in. Still, I tried to joke when I said, "You know, if I do live through this, I'm gonna be covered in funky tattoos like the Vandy. You sure you want to date the Illustrated Woman, even if it's just for a little while?" He caught my chin and raised my eyes to his. "Trust me," he said softly, "you could have a giant tiger tattooed on your face, and I'd still want to be with you." "Okay,seriously,enough with the swoony talk," I told him, leaning in closer. "I like snarky, mean Archer." He grinned. "In that case, shut up, Mercer.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
The book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000-hour theory–that almost anyone can master a skill if they dedicate 10,000 hours to it. The same is true for your side hustle. If you put in the right hours–into the right places–then you can build a successful side hustle, too. The rate at which you put these hours in is up to you. Yes, if you go slower, then it will take longer. But compared to your other option–doing nothing at all–what’s the hurry? Here’s the tried and true technique I use to put the necessary time into any new project without overwhelming myself: Set aside 20 minutes–no more!–every single day to work on your project, and protect those 20 minutes with everything you have. Never let anything get in the way of this time.
Rebecca Scott (Hustling 101: Selling your Talents without Selling your Soul)
There’s a wonderful story about a Nobel Prize winner…He was asked by some corporation to talk about time planning. He gets up in front of the group with a glass jar, and he says, “All I can tell you about time planning, I can show you in two minutes.” Then he takes out a bunch of big stones and puts them into the jar, filling it up to the top, then he takes out a pocketful of tiny stones and puts them in, then he pours some sand in, and then finally he pours some water into the jar—and that’s how it all fits.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
The managing editor shared Bernstein's fondness for doping things out on the basis of sketchy information. At the same time, he was cautious about what eventually went into print. On more than one occasion, he told Bernstein and Woodward to consider delaying a story or, if necessary, to pull it at the last minute if they had any doubts. 'I don't care if it's a word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, a whole story or an entire series of stories,' he said. 'When in doubt, leave it out.' -- Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Carl Bernstein (All the President's Men)
Good evening," it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, "I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body? It harrumphed and gurgled a bit, wriggled its hind quarters into a more comfortable position and gazed peacefully at them. Its gaze was met by looks of startled bewilderment from Arthur and Trillian, a resigned shrug from Ford Prefect and naked hunger from Zaphod Beeblebrox. "Something off the shoulder perhaps?" suggested the animal. "Braised in a white wine sauce?" "Er, your shoulder?" said Arthur in a horrified whisper. "But naturally my shoulder, sir," mooed the animal contentedly, "nobody else's is mine to offer." Zaphod leapt to his feet and started prodding and feeling the animal's shoulder appreciatively. "Or the rump is very good," murmured the animal. "I've been exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there's a lot of good meat there." It gave a mellow grunt, gurgled again and started to chew the cud. It swallowed the cud again. "Or a casserole of me perhaps?" it added. "You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?" whispered Trillian to Ford. "Me?" said Ford, with a glazed look in his eyes. "I don't mean anything." "That's absolutely horrible," exclaimed Arthur, "the most revolting thing I've ever heard." "What's the problem, Earthman?" said Zaphod, now transferring his attention to the animal's enormous rump. "I just don't want to eat an animal that's standing there inviting me to," said Arthur. "It's heartless." "Better than eating an animal that doesn't want to be eaten," said Zaphod. "That's not the point," Arthur protested. Then he thought about it for a moment. "All right," he said, "maybe it is the point. I don't care, I'm not going to think about it now. I'll just ... er ..." The Universe raged about him in its death throes. "I think I'll just have a green salad," he muttered. "May I urge you to consider my liver?" asked the animal, "it must be very rich and tender by now, I've been force-feeding myself for months." "A green salad," said Arthur emphatically. "A green salad?" said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly at Arthur. "Are you going to tell me," said Arthur, "that I shouldn't have green salad?" "Well," said the animal, "I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am." It managed a very slight bow. "Glass of water please," said Arthur. "Look," said Zaphod, "we want to eat, we don't want to make a meal of the issues. Four rare steaks please, and hurry. We haven't eaten in five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years." The animal staggered to its feet. It gave a mellow gurgle. "A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good," it said. "I'll just nip off and shoot myself." He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur. "Don't worry, sir," he said, "I'll be very humane." It waddled unhurriedly off to the kitchen. A matter of minutes later the waiter arrived with four huge steaming steaks.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
I couldn't motivate myself. I was subject to occasional depression, relatively mild, certainly not suicidal, and not long episodes so much as passing moments like this, when meaning and purpose and all prospect of pleasure drained away and left me briefly catatonic. For minutes on end I couldn't remember what kept me going. As I stared at the litter of cups and pot and jug in front of me, I thought it was unlikely I would ever get out of my wretched little flat. The two boxes I called rooms, the stained ceilings walls and floors would contain me to the end. There was a lot like me in the neighbourhood, but thirty or forty years older. I had seen them in Simon's shop, reaching for the quality journals from the top shelf. I noted the men especially and their shabby clothes. They had swept past some crucial junction in their lives many years back - a poor career choice, a bad marriage, the unwritten book, the illness that never went away. Now there options were closed, they managed to keep themselves going with some shred of intellectual longing or curiosity. But their boat was sunk.
Ian McEwan (Machines Like Me)
Gary didn't get up until 11:30, but I managed to squeeze ten minutes alone with him in the kitchen before Chris drove me home. Asked him how things had gone with Samantha. 'Not entirely successful.' 'Told you so.' 'Might have been better if I hadn't spotted the open balcony door and decided to climb up and sneak in.' 'You idiot Gary. Bet Samantha freaked out.' 'Actually, no, she didn't. But the girl whose flat I broke into did. Those balconies all look the same you know.' 'Oh my God.' 'Yeah she made quite a fuss. Wouldn't let me explain- just ran out screaming and called the police. Thank God Samantha was next door and heard her. She managed to convince the girl I wasn't a vampire or pervert prowler but an upright citizen who'd made an honest mistake.' 'Idiot, you mean.' Gary grinned. 'She may have used that term.
Liz Rettig (My Rocky Romance Diary (Diaries of Kelly Ann, #4))
A paradox of life; be it good or bad, joy or sorrow, comfort or discomfort, appointment or disappointment, encouragement or discouragement, deception or loyalty, faithfulness or unfaithfulness, a good day or a bad day, things in life never remains static. Things keep moving and things keep changing. Seconds keep galloping, minutes keep changing into hours and hours keep turning into days. Free your mind from such things which are capable of crippling it from thinking distinctively. Notwithstanding the situation, keep moving to the purposeful land.
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
We go quiet as the next episode picks up exactly where it left off. Antoine manages to subdue Marie-Thérèse, and the two proceed to argue for ten minutes. Don’t ask me about what, because it’s in French, but I do notice that the same word—héritier—keeps popping up over and over again during their fight. “Okay, we need to look up that word,” I say in aggravation. “I think it’s important.” Allie grabs her cell phone and swipes her finger on the screen. I peek over her shoulder as she pulls up a translation app. “How do you think you spell it?” she asks. We get the spelling wrong three times before we finally land on a translation that makes sense: heir. “Oh!” she exclaims. “They’re talking about the father’s will.” “Shit, that’s totally it. She’s pissed off that Solange inherited all those shares of Beauté éternelle.” We high five at having figured it out, and in the moment our palms meet, pure clarity slices into me and I’m able to grasp precisely what my life has become. With a growl, I snatch the remote control and hit stop. “Hey, it’s not over yet,” she objects. “Allie.” I draw a steady breath. “We need to stop now. Before my balls disappear altogether and my man-card is revoked.” One blond eyebrow flicks up. “Who has the power to revoke it?” “I don’t know. The Man Council. The Stonemasons. Jason Statham. Take your pick.” “So you’re too much of a manly man to watch a French soap opera?” “Yes.” I chug the rest of my margarita, but the salty flavor is another reminder of how low I’ve sunk. “Jesus Christ. And I’m drinking margaritas. You’re bad for my rep, baby doll.” I shoot her a warning look. “Nobody can ever know about this.” “Ha. I’m going to post it all over the Internet. Guess what, folks—Dean Sebastian Kendrick Heyward-Di Laurentis is over at my place right now watching soaps and drinking girly drinks.” She sticks her tongue out at me. “You’ll never get laid again.” She’s right about that. “Can you at least add that the night ended with a blowjob?” I grumble. “Because then everyone will be like, oh, he suffered through all that so he could get his pole waxed.” “Your pole waxed? That’s such a gross description.” But her eyes are bright and she’s laughing as she says it.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
The longer someone ignores an email before finally responding, the more relative social power that person has. Map these response times across an entire organization and you get a remarkably accurate chart of the actual social standing. The boss leaves emails unanswered for hours or days; those lower down respond within minutes. There’s an algorithm for this, a data mining method called “automated social hierarchy detection,” developed at Columbia University.8 When applied to the archive of email traffic at Enron Corporation before it folded, the method correctly identified the roles of top-level managers and their subordinates just by how long it took them to answer a given person’s emails. Intelligence agencies have been applying the same metric to suspected terrorist gangs, piecing together the chain of influence to spot the central figures.
Daniel Goleman (Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence)
I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest…. Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasure, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living? Thus it daily makes the exercise of free choice less useful and rarer, restricts the activity of free will within a narrower compass, and little by little robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties. Equality has prepared men for all this, predisposing them to endure it and often even regard it as beneficial. Having thus taken each citizen in turn in its powerful grasp and shaped him to its will, government then extends its embrace to include the whole of society. It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which even men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd. It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends, and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits, action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
The spell is at its strongest in the center of the room,” I added. “So whatever you want to hold, you wanna put it as close to dead center as you can.” “You must’ve been awesome at Memory as a kid,” Archer mused. I shrugged. “When you’re perusing a book full of the most powerful dark magic ever, you pay attention.” Our gazes fell to the center of the room, where there was nothing but one of the cellar’s bazillion shelves. And under that shelf, drag marks in the dirt. We both moved to either end of the shelf. It took a minute (and a couple of impolite words from both of us), but we managed to move it several feet over. Then we stood there, breathing hard and sweating a little, and stared at the trap door in the floor. “Whatever’s down there,” Archer said after a moment, “it’s hard core enough that Casnoff went to all this trouble to hold it. Are you sure you want to do this, Mercer?” “Of course I don’t,” I said, grabbing the iron ring affixed to the trap door. “But I’m gonna.” I yanked at the ring, and the door came up easily. Cool air, smelling faintly of dirt and decay, wafted up. A metal ladder was bolted to the side of the opening, and I counted ten rungs before it disappeared into the blackness below. Archer made a move to stop into the hole, but I stopped him. “I’ll go down first. You’ll just look up my skirt if I go after you.” “Sophie-“ But it was too late. Trying to shake the feeling that I was stepping into a grave, I grabbed the ladder and started to climb down.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
She went to her room and curled into a ball of misery and decided that she would die of a broken heart. Minstrels would write songs about how she had turned her face to the wall and died of the false-heartedness of men. She could not quite make up her mind whether she wanted to be a ghost who would haunt the convent or not. It would be very satisfying to be a sad-eyed, beautiful ghost who drifted through the halls, gazing up at the moon and weeping silently, as a warning to other young women. On the other hand, she was still short and round-faced and sturdy, and there were very few ghost stories about short, sturdy women. Marra had not managed to be pale and willowy and consumptive at any point in eighteen years of life and did not think she could achieve it before she died. Possibly it would be better to just have songs made about her. The Sister Apothecary came to her, the nun who doctored all the residents of the convent for various ailments, and who compounded medicines and salves and treatments for the farmer’s wives who lived nearby. She studied Marra intensely for a few minutes. “It’s a man, is it?” she said finally. Marra grunted. It occurred to her about an hour earlier that she did not know how the minstrels would find out that she existed in order to write the sad songs in the first place, and her mind was somewhat occupied by this problem. Did you write them letters?
T. Kingfisher (Nettle & Bone)
If I ever managed to get to heaven after everything I'd done, I hoped I would get just a few minutes for a private conference with God. I wanted to say, Look, I know you meant well creating the world and all, but how could you let it get away from you like this? How come you couldn't stick with your original idea of paradise? People's lives were a mess.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees)
Still lying on the ground, half tingly, half stunned, I held my left hand in front of my face and lightly spread my fingers, examining what Marlboro Man had given me that morning. I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful ring, or a ring that was a more fitting symbol of my relationship with Marlboro Man. It was unadorned, uncontrived, consisting only of a delicate gold band and a lovely diamond that stood up high--almost proudly--on its supportive prongs. It was a ring chosen by a man who, from day one, had always let me know exactly how he felt. The ring was a perfect extension of that: strong, straightforward, solid, direct. I liked seeing it on my finger. I felt good knowing it was there. My stomach, though, was in knots. I was engaged. Engaged. I was ill-prepared for how weird it felt. Why hadn’t I ever heard of this strange sensation before? Why hadn’t anyone told me? I felt simultaneously grown up, excited, shocked, scared, matronly, weird, and happy--a strange combination for a weekday morning. I was engaged--holy moly. My other hand picked up the receiver of the phone, and without thinking, I dialed my little sister. “Hi,” I said when Betsy picked up the phone. It hadn’t been ten minutes since we’d hung up from our last conversation. “Hey,” she replied. “Uh, I just wanted to tell you”--my heart began to race--“that I’m, like…engaged.” What seemed like hours of silence passed. “Bullcrap,” Betsy finally exclaimed. Then she repeated: “Bullcrap.” “Not bullcrap,” I answered. “He just asked me to marry him. I’m engaged, Bets!” “What?” Betsy shrieked. “Oh my God…” Her voice began to crack. Seconds later, she was crying. A lump formed in my throat, too. I immediately understood where her tears were coming from. I felt it all, too. It was bittersweet. Things would change. Tears welled up in my eyes. My nose began to sting. “Don’t cry, you butthead.” I laughed through my tears. She laughed it off, too, sobbing harder, totally unable to suppress the tears. “Can I be your maid of honor?” This was too much for me. “I can’t talk anymore,” I managed to squeak through my lips. I hung up on Betsy and lay there, blubbering on my floor.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
The gunnery sergeant didn’t crack a smile at the radio intercept of Faith’s concept of a backup plan, an intercept that had caused Commander Bradburn, skipper of the Dallas, to literally fall out of his command chair laughing. Sands managed to watch the video stone-faced as she boarded the Voyage and began her “fifteen minutes of mayhem,” set in the video to the tune of Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping. He managed to keep a straight face the third time she popped back up like a jack-in-the-box after being dogpiled by zombies. He held it in during her overheard running commentary as the rest of the Marines, even the NCOs, started rolling on the deck. It was when she got the Halligan tool stuck in a zombie’s head and overbalanced that he snorted. When she unstuck her bent machete and it caught a male zombie in the groin he started laughing out loud. When the, admittedly not petite, girl stuck a boot knife in a zombie’s eye then threw him over the side, tears started running down his face and he completely lost his composure as a senior NCO of the United States Marine Corps.
John Ringo (To Sail a Darkling Sea (Black Tide Rising, #2))
Time was minutely calculated everywhere in the vast plant so that top managers knew precisely what everyone was supposed to be doing at a given moment. Bell was struck, for instance, by how General Motors “divides the hour into ten six-minute periods…the worker is paid by the numbers of tenths of an hour he works.”27 This minute engineering of work time was connected to very long measures of time in the corporation as well. Seniority pay was finely tuned to the total number of hours a man or woman had worked for General Motors; a laborer could minutely calculate benefits of vacation time and sick leave. The micrometrics of time governed the lower echelons of white-collar offices as well as manual labor on the assembly line, in terms of promotion and benefits.
Richard Sennett (The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism)
By the end of the seventies, some nights I was so out of it our road manager, Joe Baptista, would have to carry me onstage. The promoter would be sitting there in the dressing room with a look of horror on his face. I’m almost comatose, he’s hyper-ventilating. He thinks he’s presenting the legendary cash cow Aerosmith, and now he’s going to lose his shirt because the lead singer’s down for the count. Is he dead or alive? What am I going to do? “You’d better get him on that stage. I don’t know how he’s going to do this how, but we’ve got too many kids out there.” Not to worry. The minute my feet hit the stage, I’m off and running. I don’t know how it happens, but hey, you get up there in front of twenty thousand people and it’s a high in itself, it’s a charged space. Still, the train kept a rollin’ and we kept getting high until one night in late ’78, I don’t know where we were, maybe in Springfield, Illinois, I blacked out in the middle of “Reefer Headed Woman.” I got a reefer headed woman She fell right down from the sky Well, I gots to drink me two fifths of whiskey Just to get half as high When the — And then I hit the stage like a fish out of water.
Steven Tyler (Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?)
Imperial is like Robert Caro’s The Power Broker with the attitude of Mike Davis’s City of Quartz, if Robert Caro had been raised in an abandoned grain silo by a band of feral raccoons, and if Mike Davis were the communications director of a heavily armed libertarian survivalist cult, and if the two of them had somehow managed to stitch John McPhee’s cortex onto the brain of a Gila monster, which they then sent to the Mexican border to conduct ten years of immersive research, and also if they wrote the entire manuscript on dried banana leaves with a toucan beak dipped in hobo blood, and then the book was line-edited during a 36-hour peyote séance by the ghosts of John Steinbeck, Jack London, and Sinclair Lewis, with 200 pages of endnotes faxed over by Henry David Thoreau’s great-great-great-great grandson from a concrete bunker under a toxic pond behind a maquiladora, and if at the last minute Herman Melville threw up all over the manuscript, rendering it illegible, so it had to be re-created from memory by a community-theater actor doing his best impression of Jack Kerouac. With photographs by Dorothea Lange. (Viking has my full blessing to use that as a blurb.)
Sam Anderson
A woman named Cynthia once told me a story about the time her father had made plans to take her on a night out in San Francisco. Twelve-year-old Cynthia and her father had been planning the “date” for months. They had a whole itinerary planned down to the minute: she would attend the last hour of his presentation, and then meet him at the back of the room at about four-thirty and leave quickly before everyone tried to talk to him. They would catch a tram to Chinatown, eat Chinese food (their favourite), shop for a souvenir, see the sights for a while and then “catch a flick” as her dad liked to say. Then they would grab a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the pool for a quick swim (her dad was famous for sneaking in when the pool was closed), order a hot fudge sundae from room service, and watch the late, late show. They discussed the details over and over again before they left. The anticipation was part of the whole experience. This was all going according to plan until, as her father was leaving the convention centre, he ran into an old college friend and business associate. It had been years since they had seen each other, and Cynthia watched as they embraced enthusiastically. His friend said, in effect: “I am so glad you are doing some work with our company now. When Lois and I heard about it we thought it would be perfect. We want to invite you, and of course Cynthia, to get a spectacular seafood dinner down at the Wharf!” Cynthia’s father responded: “Bob, it’s so great to see you. Dinner at the wharf sounds great!” Cynthia was crestfallen. Her daydreams of tram rides and ice cream sundaes evaporated in an instant. Plus, she hated seafood and she could just imagine how bored she would be listening to the adults talk all night. But then her father continued: “But not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special date planned, don’t we?” He winked at Cynthia and grabbed her hand and they ran out of the door and continued with what was an unforgettable night in San Francisco. As it happens, Cynthia’s father was the management thinker Stephen R. Covey (author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) who had passed away only weeks before Cynthia told me this story. So it was with deep emotion she recalled that evening in San Francisco. His simple decision “Bonded him to me forever because I knew what mattered most to him was me!” she said.5 One simple answer is we are unclear about what is essential. When this happens we become defenceless. On the other hand, when we have strong internal clarity it is almost as if we have a force field protecting us from the non-essentials coming at us from all directions. With Rosa it was her deep moral clarity that gave her unusual courage of conviction. With Stephen it was the clarity of his vision for the evening with his loving daughter. In virtually every instance, clarity about what is essential fuels us with the strength to say no to the non-essentials. Stephen R. Covey, one of the most respected and widely read business thinkers of his generation, was an Essentialist. Not only did he routinely teach Essentialist principles – like “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – to important leaders and heads of state around the world, he lived them.6 And in this moment of living them with his daughter he made a memory that literally outlasted his lifetime. Seen with some perspective, his decision seems obvious. But many in his shoes would have accepted the friend’s invitation for fear of seeming rude or ungrateful, or passing up a rare opportunity to dine with an old friend. So why is it so hard in the moment to dare to choose what is essential over what is non-essential?
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
Miss Selina, you have over the past minutes—as in the past months, and indeed, in all the years of your association with him—demonstrated an understanding of Master Bruce, his aspirations, his desires and his demons, that would be the envy of his closest colleagues, who believe they know him better than anybody. It is quite impossible to credit your fear that you ‘will not be good at this,’ for there is clearly no one in his life better suited to comfort him in tragedy, rejoice with him in triumph, and keep him from being alone in the days and nights in between. If he should ‘give up hope,’ I have no doubt you would manage the situation with the same sublime felinity you have used to such advantage in the past. Now drink your tea, young woman, and the next time you enjoy, or even sniff, this particular brew, I dare say you will understand how it helps.
Chris Dee (Polishing Silver: The Journal of Alfred Pennyworth)
They had found out. Before I could panic, I made myself stretch my fingers wide and take a calming breath. You already knew this was bound to happen. At least that’s what I told myself. The more I thought about it, the more I should have been appreciative that the people at the chapel in Las Vegas hadn’t recognized him. Or that people on the street had been oblivious and hadn’t seen us going in and out of there. Or that the receptionist at the acupuncturist hadn’t snapped a picture on her phone and posted it online. Because I might not understand all people, much less most of them, but I understood nosey folks. And nosey folks would do something like that without a second thought. Yet, I reminded myself that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. It would be fine. So, one gossip site posted about us getting married. Whoop-de-do. There was probably a thousand sites just like it. I briefly thought about Diana hearing about it, but I’d deal with that later. There was no use in getting scared now. She was the only one whose reaction I cared about. My mom and sisters’ opinions and feelings weren’t exactly registering at the top of my list now… or ever. I made myself shove them to the back of my thoughts. I was tired of being mad and upset; it affected my work. Plus, they’d made me sad and mad enough times in my life. I wasn’t going to let them ruin another day. Picking my phone up again, I quickly texted Aiden back, swallowing my nausea at the same time. Me: Who told you? Not even two minutes passed before my phone dinged with a response. Miranda: Trevor’s blowing up my phone. Eww. Trevor. Me: We knew it was going to happen eventually, right? Good luck with Trev. I’m glad he doesn’t have my number. And I was even gladder there wasn’t a home phone; otherwise, I’m positive he would have been blowing it up too. I managed to get back to looking at images on the screen for a few more minutes—a bit more distracted than usual—when the phone beeped again. It was Aiden/Miranda. I should really change his contact name. Miranda: Good luck? I’m not answering his calls. What? Me: That psycho will come visit if you don’t. Was that me being selfish? Yes. Did I care? No. Aiden: I know. Uh. Me: You’re always at practice… Aiden: Have fun. This asshole! I almost laughed, but before I could, he sent me another message. Aiden: I’ll get back to him in a couple days. Don’t worry. Snorting, I texted back. Me: I’m not worried. If he drops by, I’ll set him up in your room. Aiden: You genuinely scare me. Me: You don’t know how many times you barely made it through the day alive, for the record. He didn’t text me back after that
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
Watching him then, I simply couldn’t think of him doing anything other than winning. Loss wasn’t the norm, it couldn’t be. I didn’t have the words for it then, what it felt like to watch my cousin, whom I love and whose worries are our worries and whose pain is our pain, manage to be so good at something, to triumph so completely. More than a painful life, more than a culture or a society with the practice and perfection of violence as a virtue and a necessity, more than a meanness or a willingness to sacrifice oneself, what I felt—what I saw—were Indian men and boys doing precisely what we’ve always been taught not to do. I was seeing them plainly, desperately, expertly wanting to be seen for their talents and their hard work, whether they lost or won. That old feeling familiar to so many Indians—that we can’t change anything; can’t change Columbus or Custer, smallpox or massacres; can’t change the Gatling gun or the legislative act; can’t change the loss of our loved ones or the birth of new troubles; can’t change a thing about the shape and texture of our lives—fell away. I think the same could be said for Sam: he might not have been able to change his sister’s fate or his mother’s or even, for a while, his own. But when he stepped in the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful Indian men. That disease is more potent than most people imagine: that feeling that we’ve lost, that we’ve always lost, that we’ve already lost—our land, our cultures, our communities, ourselves. This disease is the story told about us and the one we so often tell about ourselves. But it’s one we’ve managed to beat again and again—in our insistence on our own existence and our successful struggles to exist in our homelands on our own terms. For some it meant joining the U.S. Army. For others it meant accepting the responsibility to govern and lead. For others still, it meant stepping into a metal cage to beat or be beaten. For my cousin Sam, for three rounds of five minutes he gets to prove that through hard work and natural ability he can determine the outcome of a finite struggle, under the bright, artificial lights that make the firmament at the Northern Lights Casino on the Leech Lake Reservation.
David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present)
That's the only way I can somehow get close to it, to that goddamn it, without it killing me, you know? I have to dance around in front of it, I have to move, not freeze like a mouse who sees a snake. I have to feel, even just for a minute, for half a second, the last free place I may still have inside me, the fraction of a spark that still somehow glows inside, which that lousy it couldn't extinguish. Ugh! I have no other way. You have to get that: I have no other way. And maybe there is no other way, huh? I don't know, and you wouldn't understand, so at least write it down, quick. I want to knead it--yes, it, the thing that happened, the thing that struck like lightening and burned everything I had, including the words, goddamn it and its memory, the bastard burned the words that could have described it for me. And I have to mix it up with some part of me. I must, from deep inside me, and then exhale into it with my pathetic breath so I can try and make it a bit--how can I explain this to you--a bit mine, mine...Because a part of me, of mine, already belongs to it, deep inside it, in its damn prison, so there might be an opening, we might be able to haggle...What? Write it down, you criminal! Don't stop writing. You stand there staring at me? Now that I've finally managed to get out a single word about it, and breathe...I have to create characters. That's what I want, what I need. I must, it's always like that with me. Characters that flow into the story, swarm it, that can maybe air out my cell a little and surprise it--and me. Yes, I want them to betray me, betray it, the motherfucker. I want them to jump it from this side and the other and from every direction...just so long as they make it budge even one millimeter, that's enough, so that at least it moves a little on my page, so it twitches, and just makes it not so so impossible to anything.
David Grossman (Falling Out of Time)
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))
From the short story (and anthology containing it) DONNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE : Donny acted like he didn’t hear me. “You can’t send your mom off into eternity looking like that, Artie. She wouldn’t like it.” He reached into my mother’s casket, shoved his fingers into her mouth like it was the most logical thing in the world. 
“Donny, you can’t --!” 
“I’m just making her look right, Artie. It’s what she would want.” He tugged hard at my mom’s lips. I knew they were cold because I had kissed them a few moments earlier, and for a moment I felt convinced my friend had completely lost his mind. But when I looked inside Mom’s casket I knew Donny had done something only a best friend would think to do. My mother was smiling again. And she looked just the way I remembered her, the way I would always want to remember her. I got so choked up I couldn’t talk for a few minutes. 
Finally I managed, “My mother always told me you could make her smile.
Kenneth C. Goldman (Donny Doesn't Live Here Anymore)
A tall, leggy French girl on her way to work was looking at her phone and almost walked into me as I crossed the street. I dodged her just in time and she glanced back to give me a dirty look. How dare I not realize the importance of her early morning text message. I wondered how humanity managed to work and accomplish things before our time in history; the invention of electricity, the radio and the light bulb; creating the combustion engine and then building roads for people to travel on; creating aircraft so mankind could travel faster between great cities they planned and built; the industrial revolution; NASA landing a man on the moon; the invention of the microwave so single guys could make TV dinners and not starve. How had mankind managed it all without texting each other every five minutes? Or had they been able to accomplish all these things because they didn’t have this frivolous distraction disconnecting them from dreaming and inventing, and human interaction?
Bobby Underwood (The Long Gray Goodbye (Seth Halliday #2))
I could feel Devon’s gaze on my face, reading my body language despite how hard I had tried to keep the irritation from showing. “They’d like you to move them to a tank they have set up. They’re going to trap them for this week and then let them go.” Of course they did. I managed to keep from rolling my eyes but between Devon’s presence and immediately being swarmed by otters the minute we got near the water, I end up wishing that I had. Otters are fast little mammals in the water; the fur keeps the water off their skin while making them slick and fast while in their preferred environment. The hard lesson I’d learned had been that they could scamper and bound pretty darn quickly on land. Nearly twenty of the brown friendly creatures swarmed up the banks of the tributary and made raucous sounds of greetings at me. Two vets stood nearby with nets and silly grins on their faces and a puny four otters ready to be transported to where ever in two tanks on trucks quietly humming with earth energy. Mags and Evan had backed up when I’d been swarmed but Devon had stuck by my side and seemed highly amused by the otters climbing over and around him to get to me. “They weren’t kidding about you and otters.” I shoot him a ‘no duh’ look and scoop up a pair to hand off to one of the Earth Elementals. We were saturating their habitat with majick, we’d been asked not to use majick on them, and so catching my willing victims by hand was the way I was going to do my task...
Sara Brackett (Elemental)
She sometimes takes her little brother for a walk round this way," explained Bingo. "I thought we would meet her and bow, and you could see her, you know, and then we would walk on." "Of course," I said, "that's enough excitement for anyone, and undoubtedly a corking reward for tramping three miles out of one's way over ploughed fields with tight boots, but don't we do anything else? Don't we tack on to the girl and buzz along with her?" "Good Lord!" said Bingo, honestly amazed. "You don't suppose I've got nerve enough for that, do you? I just look at her from afar off and all that sort of thing. Quick! Here she comes! No, I'm wrong!" It was like that song of Harry Lauder's where he's waiting for the girl and says, "This is her-r-r. No, it's a rabbut." Young Bingo made me stand there in the teeth of a nor'-east half-gale for ten minutes, keeping me on my toes with a series of false alarms, and I was just thinking of suggesting that we should lay off and give the rest of the proceedings a miss, when round the corner there came a fox-terrier, and Bingo quivered like an aspen. Then there hove in sight a small boy, and he shook like a jelly. Finally, like a star whose entrance has been worked up by the personnel of the ensemble, a girl appeared, and his emotion was painful to witness. His face got so red that, what with his white collar and the fact that the wind had turned his nose blue, he looked more like a French flag than anything else. He sagged from the waist upwards, as if he had been filleted. He was just raising his fingers limply to his cap when he suddenly saw that the girl wasn't alone. A chappie in clerical costume was also among those present, and the sight of him didn't seem to do Bingo a bit of good. His face got redder and his nose bluer, and it wasn't till they had nearly passed that he managed to get hold of his cap. The girl bowed, the curate said, "Ah, Little. Rough weather," the dog barked, and then they toddled on and the entertainment was over.
P.G. Wodehouse
The last time I’d been unwell, suicidally depressed, whatever you want to call it, the reactions of my friends and family had fallen into several different camps: The Let’s Laugh It Off merchants: Claire was the leading light. They hoped that joking about my state of mind would reduce it to a manageable size. Most likely to say, ‘Feeling any mad urges to fling yourself into the sea?’ The Depression Deniers: they were the ones who took the position that since there was no such thing as depression, nothing could be wrong with me. Once upon a time I’d have belonged in that category myself. A subset of the Deniers was The Tough Love people. Most likely to say, ‘What have you got to be depressed about?’ The It’s All About Me bunch: they were the ones who wailed that I couldn’t kill myself because they’d miss me so much. More often than not, I’d end up comforting them. My sister Anna and her boyfriend, Angelo, flew three thousand miles from New York just so I could dry their tears. Most likely to say, ‘Have you any idea how many people love you?’ The Runaways: lots and lots of people just stopped ringing me. Most of them I didn’t care about, but one or two were important to me. Their absence was down to fear; they were terrified that whatever I had, it was catching. Most likely to say, ‘I feel so helpless … God, is that the time?’ Bronagh – though it hurt me too much at the time to really acknowledge it – was the number one offender. The Woo-Woo crew: i.e. those purveying alternative cures. And actually there were hundreds of them – urging me to do reiki, yoga, homeopathy, bible study, sufi dance, cold showers, meditation, EFT, hypnotherapy, hydrotherapy, silent retreats, sweat lodges, felting, fasting, angel channelling or eating only blue food. Everyone had a story about something that had cured their auntie/boss/boyfriend/next-door neighbour. But my sister Rachel was the worst – she had me plagued. Not a day passed that she didn’t send me a link to some swizzer. Followed by a phone call ten minutes later to make sure I’d made an appointment. (And I was so desperate that I even gave plenty of them a go.) Most likely to say, ‘This man’s a miracle worker.’ Followed by: ‘That’s why he’s so expensive. Miracles don’t come cheap.’ There was often cross-pollination between the different groupings. Sometimes the Let’s Laugh It Off merchants teamed up with the Tough Love people to tell me that recovering from depression is ‘simply mind over matter’. You just decide you’re better. (The way you would if you had emphysema.) Or an All About Me would ring a member of the Woo-Woo crew and sob and sob about how selfish I was being and the Woo-Woo crew person would agree because I had refused to cough up two grand for a sweat lodge in Wicklow. Or one of the Runaways would tiptoe back for a sneaky look at me, then commandeer a Denier into launching a two-pronged attack, telling me how well I seemed. And actually that was the worst thing anyone could have done to me, because you can only sound like a self-pitying malingerer if you protest, ‘But I don’t feel well. I feel wretched beyond description.’ Not one person who loved me understood how I’d felt. They hadn’t a clue and I didn’t blame them, because, until it had happened to me, I hadn’t a clue either.
Marian Keyes
Jacob," Rose persisted, "I still want to know what gave you the idea of singing like that. You weren't really drunk, were you?" "Jews don't get drunk." "You don't know everybody I do." "Anyway, it was this." He laid a finger across the bridge of his nose and swept it down to the tip. "Put me in a lineup with a Chinaman, a Choctow, and a Hottentot, and ask anybody to pick out the Jew and they'll get it right on the first try." "But--" "But nothing, Rose. It's the old Poe gimmick. Hide in plain sight. If a Jew tried to infiltrate that bunch of Nazis, what's the obvious thing to do? He'd head to the darkest corner he could find, he'd keep his head down and his trap shut and hope that nobody'd notice him. And do you think that would work? In a pig's ass - pardon my French, Rose - they'd catch him out in a minute. So I stood up and acted drunk and sang Nazi songs. No Jew would do that; so they just figured I was an unlucky Aryan who managed to pick up a bad gene from a wandering ancestor. So maybe this drunk wasn't quite one hundred percent pure Aryan, but he was obviously as good Nazi, so let him be. At least for now.
Richard A. Lupoff
As I walked toward the front door, a little motion to the left caught my eye. Jenny Sells stood in the hallway, a silent wraith. She regarded me with luminous green eyes, like her mother’s, like the dead aunt whose namesake she was. I stopped and faced her. I’m not sure why. “You’re the wizard,” she said, quietly. “You’re Harry Dresden. I saw your picture in the newspaper, once. The Arcane.” I nodded. She studied my face for a long minute. “Are you going to help my mom?” It was a simple question. But how do you tell a child that things just aren’t that simple, that some questions don’t have simple answers—or any answer at all? I looked back into her too-knowing eyes, and then quickly away. I didn’t want her to see what sort of person I was, the things I had done. She didn’t need that. “I’m going to do everything I can to help your mom.” She nodded. “Do you promise?” I promised her. She thought that over for a moment, studying me. Then she nodded. “My daddy used to be one of the good guys, Mr. Dresden. But I don’t think that he is anymore.” Her face looked sad. It was a sweet, unaffected expression. “Are you going to kill him?” Another simple question. “I don’t want to,” I told her. “But he’s trying to kill me. I might not have any choice.” She swallowed and lifted her chin. “I loved my Aunt Jenny,” she said. Her eyes brightened with tears. “Momma won’t say, and Billy’s too little to figure it out, but I know what happened.” She turned, with more grace and dignity than I could have managed, and started to leave. Then said, quietly, “I hope you’re one of the good guys, Mr. Dresden. We really need a good guy. I hope you’ll be all right.” Then she vanished down the hall on bare, silent feet.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
The man who had abused him would ask, ”I abused you yesterday, why did you not reply yesterday? You are very strange.” No one waits for a second when you abuse him. He retorts immediately.” Junnaid answered, ”My master taught me not to hurry in anything. Take some time. I must wait a little when someone insults me. If I were to give an immediate answer, the heat of the happening would catch hold of me; the smoke would blind my eyes. So I have to wait and let the cloud pass. When twenty-four hours have passed and the skies are clear again, then I can give my reply in full consciousness. Now I realize how tricky my guru was. Because I have never been able to answer my opponents since then.” Is it possible to hold on to anger for twenty-four hours? It is impossible to maintain it for twenty-four minutes or even twenty-four seconds. The truth is that, even if you hold back and watch for a single second, the anger vanishes. But you do not wait even for a moment. A person abuses you – as if someone switches the button, and the fan starts whirring. There is not the slightest gap between the two, no distance! And you pride yourself in your alertness! You have no control of yourself. How can an unconscious person be master of himself? Anybody can push the button and goad him into action. Someone comes and flatters you, and you are filled with joy; you are happy. Someone insults you, you are full of tears. Are you your own master or anyone can manipulate you? You are the slave of slaves. And those who are manipulating are not their own masters either! And the irony is that everyone is expert in manipulating others and none of them is conscious. What greater insult can there be for your soul than the fact that anyone can affect you?
Osho (Bliss: Living beyond happiness and misery)
I had tracked down a little cafe in the next village, with a television set that was going to show the World Cup Final on the Saturday. I arrived there mid-morning when it was still deserted, had a couple of beers, ordered a sensational conejo au Franco, and then sat, drinking coffee, and watching the room fill up. With Germans. I was expecting plenty of locals and a sprinkling of tourists, even in an obscure little outpost like this, but not half the population of Dortmund. In fact, I came to the slow realisation as they poured in and sat around me . . . that I was the only Englishman there. They were very friendly, but there were many of them, and all my exits were cut off. What strategy could I employ? It was too late to pretend that I was German. I’d greeted the early arrivals with ‘Guten Tag! Ich liebe Deutschland’, but within a few seconds found myself conversing in English, in which they were all fluent. Perhaps, I hoped, they would think that I was an English-speaker but not actually English. A Rhodesian, possibly, or a Canadian, there just out of curiosity, to try to pick up the rules of this so-called ‘Beautiful Game’. But I knew that I lacked the self-control to fake an attitude of benevolent detachment while watching what was arguably the most important event since the Crucifixion, so I plumped for the role of the ultra-sporting, frightfully decent Upper-Class Twit, and consequently found myself shouting ‘Oh, well played, Germany!’ when Helmut Haller opened the scoring in the twelfth minute, and managing to restrain myself, when Geoff Hurst equalised, to ‘Good show! Bit lucky though!’ My fixed grin and easy manner did not betray the writhing contortions of my hands and legs beneath the table, however, and when Martin Peters put us ahead twelve minutes from the end, I clapped a little too violently; I tried to compensate with ‘Come on Germany! Give us a game!’ but that seemed to strike the wrong note. The most testing moment, though, came in the last minute of normal time when Uwe Seeler fouled Jackie Charlton, and the pig-dog dolt of a Swiss referee, finally revealing his Nazi credentials, had the gall to penalise England, and then ignored Schnellinger’s blatant handball, allowing a Prussian swine named Weber to draw the game. I sat there applauding warmly, as a horde of fat, arrogant, sausage-eating Krauts capered around me, spilling beer and celebrating their racial superiority.
John Cleese (So, Anyway...: The Autobiography)
I grow more intolerant of fools as the years roll on. If I had a son, I was saying, I would take him from school at the age of fourteen, not a moment later, and put him for two years in a commercial house. Wake him up; make an English citizen of him. Teach him how to deal with men as men, to write a straightforward business letter, manage his own money and gain some respect for those industrial movements which control the world. Next, two years in some wilder part of the world, where his own countrymen and equals by birth are settled under primitive conditions, and have formed their rough codes of society. The intercourse with such people would be a capital invested for life. The next two years should be spent in the great towns of Europe, in order to remove awkwardness of manner, prejudices of race and feeling, and to get the outward forms of a European citizen. All this would sharpen his wits, give him more interest in life, more keys to knowledge. It would widen his horizon. Then, and not a minute sooner, to the University, where he would go not as a child but a man capable of enjoying its real advantages, attend lectures with profit, acquire manners instead of mannerisms and a University tone instead of a University taint.
Norman Douglas (South Wind)
Our appetite for destruction grew with feeding. I started gingerly, pulling some books out of a case, but soon was tearing out pages by the handfuls and throwing them around. Jerry got a knife and ripped the stuffing out of the mattresses. He threw feathers from the sofa cushions. McQuilly, driven by some dark Scottish urge, found a crowbar and reduced wooden things to splinters. And Bill was like a fury, smashing, overturning, and tearing. But I noticed he kept back some things and put them in a neat heap on the dining-room table, which he forbade us to break. They were photographs. The old people must have had a large family, and there were pictures of young people and wedding groups and what were clearly grandchildren everywhere. When at last we had done as much damage as we could, the pile on the table was a large one. "Now for the finishing touch," said Bill. "And this is going to be all mine." He jumped up on the table, stripped down his trousers, and squatted over the photographs. Clearly he meant to defecate on them, but such things cannot always be commanded, and so for several minutes we stood and stared at him as he grunted and swore and strained and at last managed what he wanted, right on the family photographs.
Robertson Davies (The Manticore (The Deptford Trilogy, #2))
Sable sauntered in to the Burger Lord. It was exactly like every other Burger Lord in America. [But not like every other Burger Lord across the world. German Burger Lords, for example, sold lager instead of root beer, while English Burger Lords managed to take any American fast food virtues (the speed with which your food was delivered, for example) and carefully remove them; your food arrived after half an hour, at room temperature, and it was only because of the strip of warm lettuce between them that you could distinguish the burger from the bun. The Burger Lord pathfinder salesmen had been shot twenty-five minutes after setting foot in France.]
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Lillian kept her face against Marcus’s shoulder. As mortified as she had been on the day that he had seen her playing rounders in her knickers, this was ten times worse. She would never be able to face Simon Hunt again, she thought, and groaned. “It’s all right,” Marcus murmured. “He’ll keep his mouth shut.” “I don’t care whom he tells,” Lillian managed to say. “I’m not going to marry you. Not if you compromised me a hundred times.” “Lillian,” he said, a sudden tremor of laughter in his voice, “it would be my greatest pleasure to compromise you a hundred times. But first I would like to know what I’ve done this morning that is so unforgivable.” “To begin with, you talked to my father.” His brows lifted a fraction of an inch. “That offended you?” “How could it not? You’ve behaved in the most highhanded manner possible by going behind my back and trying to arrange things with my father, without one word to me—” “Wait,” Marcus said sardonically, rolling to his side and sitting up in an easy movement. He reached out with a broad hand to pull Lillian up to face him. “I was not being high-handed in meeting with your father. I was adhering to tradition. A prospective bridegroom usually approaches a woman’s father before he makes a formal proposal.” A gently caustic note entered his voice as he added, “Even in America. Unless I’ve been misinformed?” The clock on the mantel dispensed a slow half-minute before Lillian managed a grudging reply. “Yes, that’s how it’s usually done. But I assumed that you and he had already made a betrothal agreement, regardless of whether or not it was what I wanted—” “Your assumption was incorrect. We did not discuss any details of a betrothal, nor was anything mentioned about a dowry or a wedding date. All I did was ask your father for permission to court you.” Lillian stared at him with surprised chagrin, until another question occurred to her. “What about your discussion with Lord St. Vincent just now?” Now it was Marcus’s turn to look chagrined. “That was high-handed,” he admitted.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
Is there a bird among them, dear boy?” Charity asked innocently, peering not at the things on the desk, but at his face, noting the muscle beginning to twitch at Ian’s tense jaw. “No.” “Then they must be in the schoolroom! Of course,” she said cheerfully, “that’s it. How like me, Hortense would say, to have made such a silly mistake.” Ian dragged his eyes from the proof that his grandfather had been keeping track of him almost from the day of his birth-certainly from the day when he was able to leave the cottage on his own two legs-to her face and said mockingly, “Hortense isn’t very perceptive. I would say you are as wily as a fox.” She gave him a little knowing smile and pressed her finger to her lips. “Don’t tell her, will you? She does so enjoy thinking she is the clever one.” “How did he manage to have these drawn?” Ian asked, stopping her as she turned away. “A woman in the village near your home drew many of them. Later he hired an artist when he knew you were going to be somewhere at a specific time. I’ll just leave you here where it’s nice and quiet.” She was leaving him, Ian knew, to look through the items on the desk. For a long moment he hesitated, and then he slowly sat down in the chair, looking over the confidential reports on himself. They were all written by one Mr. Edgard Norwich, and as Ian began scanning the thick stack of pages, his anger at his grandfather for this outrageous invasion of his privacy slowly became amusement. For one thing, nearly every letter from the investigator began with phrases that made it clear the duke had chastised him for not reporting in enough detail. The top letter began, I apologize, Your Grace, for my unintentional laxness in failing to mention that indeed Mr. Thornton enjoys an occasional cheroot… The next one opened with, I did not realize, Your Grace, that you would wish to know how fast his horse ran in the race-in addition to knowing that he won. From the creases and holds in the hundreds of reports it was obvious to Ian that they’d been handled and read repeatedly, and it was equally obvious from some of the investigator’s casual comments that his grandfather had apparently expressed his personal pride to him: You will be pleased to know, Your Grace, that young Ian is a fine whip, just as you expected… I quite agree with you, as do many others, that Mr. Thornton is undoubtedly a genius… I assure you, Your Grace, that your concern over that duel is unfounded. It was a flesh wound in the arm, nothing more. Ian flipped through them at random, unaware that the barricade he’d erected against his grandfather was beginning to crack very slightly. “Your Grace,” the investigator had written in a rare fit of exasperation when Ian was eleven, “the suggestion that I should be able to find a physician who might secretly look at young Ian’s sore throat is beyond all bounds of reason. Even if I could find one who was willing to pretend to be a lost traveler, I really cannot see how he could contrive to have a peek at the boy’s throat without causing suspicion!” The minutes became an hour, and Ian’s disbelief increased as he scanned the entire history of his life, from his achievements to his peccadilloes. His gambling gains and losses appeared regularly; each ship he added to his fleet had been described, and sketches forwarded separately; his financial progress had been reported in minute and glowing detail.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Your father’s death was an accident,” Kate said. “An accident. A terrible, horrible twist of fate that no one could have predicted.” Anthony shrugged fatalistically. “I’ll probably go the same way.” “Oh, for the love of—” Kate managed to bite her tongue a split second before she blasphemed. “Anthony, I could die tomorrow as well. I could have died today when that carriage rolled on top of me.” He paled. “Don’t ever remind me of that.” “My mother died when she was my age,” Kate reminded him harshly. “Did you ever think of that? By your laws, I should be dead by my next birthday.” “Don’t be—” “Silly?” she finished for him. Silence reigned for a full minute. Finally, Anthony said, his voice barely above a whisper, “I don’t know if I can get past this.” “You don’t have to get past it,” Kate said. She caught her lower lip, which had begun to tremble, between her teeth, and then laid her hand on an empty spot on the bed. “Could you come over here so I can hold your hand?” Anthony responded instantly; the warmth of her touch flooded him, seeping through his body until it caressed his very soul. And in that moment he realized that this was about more than love. This woman made him a better person. He’d been good and strong and kind before, but with her at his side, he was something more. And together they could do anything. It almost made him think that forty might not be such an impossible dream. “You don’t have to get past it,” she said again, her words blowing softly between them. “To be honest, I don’t see how you could get completely past it until you turn thirty-nine. But what you can do”— she gave his hand a squeeze, and Anthony somehow felt even stronger than he had just moments before—“ is refuse to allow it to rule your life.” “I realized that this morning,” he whispered, “when I knew I had to tell you I loved you. But somehow now— now I know it.” She nodded, and he saw that her eyes were filling with tears. “You have to live each hour as if it’s your last,” she said, “and each day as if you were immortal." -Kate & Anthony
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
That was where I went wrong,” the madman yelled, “I actually said that I preferred scallops and he said it was because I hadn’t had real lobster like they did where his ancestors came from, which was here, and he’d prove it. He said it was no problem, he said the lobster here was worth a whole journey, let alone the small diversion it would take to get here, and he swore he could handle the ship in the atmosphere, but it was madness, madness!” he screamed, and paused with his eyes rolling, as if the word had rung some kind of bell in his mind. “The ship went right out of control! I couldn’t believe what we were doing and just to prove a point about lobster which is really so overrated as a food, I’m sorry to go on about lobsters so much, I’ll try and stop in a minute, but they’ve been on my mind so much for the months I’ve been in this tank, can you imagine what it’s like to be stuck in a ship with the same guys for months eating junk food when all one guy will talk about is lobster and then spend six months floating by yourself in a tank thinking about it. I promise I will try and shut up about the lobsters, I really will. Lobsters, lobsters, lobsters—enough! I think I’m the only survivor. I’m the only one who managed to get to an emergency tank before we went down. I sent out the Mayday and then we hit. It’s a disaster, isn’t it? A total disaster, and all because the guy liked lobsters.
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1-5))
This is textbook Bad Idea. We're driving with a stranger, no one knows where we are, and we have no way of getting in touch with anyone. This is exactly how people become statistics." "Exactly?" I asked, thinking of all the bizarre twists and turns that had led us to this place. Ben ceded the point with a sideways shrug. "Maybe not exactly. But still..." He let it go, and the cab eventually stopped at the edge of a remote, forested area. Sage got out and paid. "Everybody out!" Ben looked at me, one eyebrow raised. He was leaving the choice to me. I gave his knee a quick squeeze before I opened the door and we piled out of the car. Sage waited for the cab to drive away, then ducked onto a forest path, clearly assuming we'd follow. The path through the thick foliage was stunning in the moonlight, and I automatically released my camera from its bag. "I wish you wouldn't," Sage said without turning around. "You know I'm not one for visitors." "I'll refrain from selling the pictures to Travel and Leisure, then," I said, already snapping away. "Besides, I need something to take my mind off my feet." My shoes were still on the beach, where I'd kicked them off to dance. "Hey, I offered to carry you," Sage offered. "No, thank you." I suppose I should have been able to move swiftly and silently without my shoes, but I only managed to stab myself on something with every other footfall, giving me a sideways, hopping gait. Every few minutes Sage would hold out his arms, offering to carry me again. I grimaced and denied him each time. After what felt like about ten miles, even the photos weren't distracting enough. "How much farther?" I asked. "We're here." There was nothing in front of us but more trees. "Wow," Ben said, and I followed his eyes upward to see that several of the tree trunks were actually stilts supporting a beautifully hidden wood-and-glass cabin, set high among the branches. I was immediately charmed. "You live in a tree house," I said. I aimed my camera the façade, answering Sage's objection before he even said it. "For me, not for Architectural Digest." "Thank you," Sage said.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
He seemed every bit as riled and menacing as the bull had a few minutes ago. But Phoebe wasn't about to let him make his injury worse out of pure male stubbornness. "Forgive me if I'm being tyrannical," she said in her most soothing tone. "I tend to do that when I'm concerned about someone. It's your decision, naturally. But I wish you would indulge me in this, if only to spare me from worrying over you every step of the way home." The mulish set of his jaw eased. "I manage other people," he informed her. "People don't manage me." "I'm not managing you." "You're trying," he said darkly. An irrepressible grin spread across her face. "Is it working?" Slowly Mr. Ravenel's head lifted. He didn't reply, only gave her a strange, long look that spurred her heartbeat until she was light-headed from the force of its pounding. No man had ever stared at her like this. Not even her husband, for whom she'd always been close and attainable, her presence woven securely into the fabric of his days. Since childhood, she'd always been Henry's safe harbor. But whatever it was this man wanted from her, it wasn't safety. "You should humor my daughter's wishes, Ravenel," Sebastian advised from behind her. "The last time I tried to refuse her something, she launched into a screaming fit that lasted at least an hour." The comment broke the trance. "Father," Phoebe protested with a laugh, twisting to glance at him over her shoulder. "I was two years old!" "It made a lasting impression.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
Teddy Roosevelt?" I suggested. Sadie and I had been trying to figure out the second mathlete's costume for a few minutes. He was wearing a 1930's-style suit,had his hair slicked down carefully, and was sporting a fake mustache. "No glasses. And I can't even begin to imagine the connection between Davy Jone's Locker and Teddy Roosevelt." Sadie pulled a long gold hair from her pumpkin-orange punch and sighed. Maybe her mother hadn't topped her Sleepy Hollow triumph, but it wasn't from lack of determination. What Mrs. Winslow hadn't achieved in creativity (she'd gone the mermaid route), she'd made up in the details. The tailed skirt was intricately beaded and embroidered in a dozen shades of blue and green. It was pretty amazing.The problem was the bodice: not a bikini, but not much better as far as Sadie was concerned. It was green, plunging, and edged with itchy-looking scallops. She was managing to stay covered by the wig, but that was an issue in itself. It was massive,made up of hundreds of trailing corkscrew curls in a metallic blonde. To top it all off, the costume included a glittering, three point crown, and a six-foot trident, complete with jewels and trailing silk seaweed. "Sadie," I'd asked quietly when she'd appeared at my house, shivering and tangled in her wig, "why don't you..." Just tell her where she can shove her trident? But that would just have been mean. Sadie gives in and wears the costumes because it's infinitely easier than fighting. "...come next door and we'll see if Sienna has a shawl you can borrow?
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of Truth or Dare)
We were able to successfully downplay the whole going-to-the-dance-together thing to our parents. I guess our history of acting like we despise each other worked in our favor, because they actually believed that I changed my mind at the last minute and called Ryder to take me--just because he lives down the street. And then, since I didn’t have an escort, Ryder offered to stand in. Mama saw this as a perfect opportunity to remind me what a gentleman Ryder is--how selfless and generous and downright perfect he is. Only, this time, I agreed wither. Secretly, of course. I have no idea how Ryder and I are going to manage this from here on out. We didn’t talk about it last night. We didn’t really talk, period. We danced. We laughed. We had fun with our friends. We saved the kissing for later, when Ryder brought me home. He parked the Audi at the end of our road, far away from prying eyes. We leaned against the car under the bright moonlight and kissed until we were breathless, until my lips were swollen and my cheeks were flushed and I thought I was going to melt into a puddle of goo from the sheer rightness of it all. And then we’d driven up to the house and he’d walked me to the front door. We were careful then, keeping our distance. I figured my mom had her nose pressed to the glass, waiting for us. She probably did, considering how quickly she’d burst into the living room when I walked in the front door, firing a barrage of questions at me before I’d even made it out of the mudroom. And now I’m just lying in bed, purportedly napping since I’d gotten up early to go to church, but really texting with Ryder.
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
Lily Chadwick knew there was something different about the fiercely scowling gentleman the first moment she saw him. She could feel it. The instant their gazes met, caught, held, something skittered across her skin like a rain of white sparks. It entered her bloodstream, heating her from the inside until her breath became stilted and her knees went alarmingly weak. He stared at her from beneath a brow drawn low in a forbidding expression. His eyes were so dark, even the light of the glittering ballroom could not be reflected there. The angles of his face were hard, his jaw sharply defined, and he held his mouth in a harsh line that attempted to harden the full curve of his lower lip but didn't quite manage it. Lily tried to glance away demurely, but she couldn't seem to manage. She felt a flutter that became a tightening in her belly. Her heart stopped, skipped a few beats, then started up again in a frantic rhythm as he just kept watching her. Despite his severe, aloof appearance, something about him reached out to her, touching her with an intrinsic sort of recognition. It left her feeling as though she stood in the heart of a firestorm. She sensed with a certainty beyond rational explanation that his unyielding manner was a facade, as if he were a hero in some gothic novel. There was passion in him. She felt it in every quickened, prey-like breath she took while frozen under his intent stare. The silent interaction between them was becoming more inappropriate by the minute, yet she could not compel herself to break away. As though caught in an invisible trap, she stared back at him while her hands began to sweat and her stomach trembled.
Amy Sandas (The Untouchable Earl (Fallen Ladies, #2))
MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT AFTER BEING ORDAINED as a pastor almost finished me. I was called to be the assistant pastor in a large and affluent suburban church. I was glad to be part of such an obviously winning organization. After I had been there a short time, a few people came to me and asked that I lead them in a Bible study. “Of course,” I said, “there is nothing I would rather do.” We met on Monday evenings. There weren’t many—eight or nine men and women—but even so that was triple the two or three that Jesus defined as a quorum. They were eager and attentive; I was full of enthusiasm. After a few weeks the senior pastor, my boss, asked me what I was doing on Monday evenings. I told him. He asked me how many people were there. I told him. He told me that I would have to stop. “Why?” I asked. “It is not cost-effective. That is too few people to spend your time on.” I was told then how I should spend my time. I was introduced to the principles of successful church administration: crowds are important, individuals are expendable; the positive must always be accented, the negative must be suppressed. Don’t expect too much of people—your job is to make them feel good about themselves and about the church. Don’t talk too much about abstractions like God and sin—deal with practical issues. We had an elaborate music program, expensively and brilliantly executed. The sermons were seven minutes long and of the sort that Father Taylor (the sailor-preacher in Boston who was the model for Father Mapple in Melville’s Moby Dick) complained of in the transcendentalists of the last century: that a person could no more be converted listening to sermons like that than get intoxicated drinking skim milk.[2] It was soon apparent that I didn’t fit. I had supposed that I was there to be a pastor: to proclaim and interpret Scripture, to guide people into a life of prayer, to encourage faith, to represent the mercy and forgiveness of Christ at special times of need, to train people to live as disciples in their families, in their communities and in their work. In fact I had been hired to help run a church and do it as efficiently as possible: to be a cheerleader to this dynamic organization, to recruit members, to lend the dignity of my office to certain ceremonial occasions, to promote the image of a prestigious religious institution. I got out of there as quickly as I could decently manage it. At the time I thought I had just been unlucky. Later I came to realize that what I experienced was not at all uncommon.
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem. That’s why the average person is quite willing to do their banking online and why nobody is afraid of entering their credit card number on Amazon. At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow: 1. All computers must use hard drive encryption, like the built-in FileVault feature in Apple’s OS X operating system. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency and a scramble to change passwords and worry about what documents might be leaked. 2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes. 3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, especially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL. Look for the little lock icon in front of the Internet address. (We forced all 37signals products onto SSL a few years back to help with this.) 4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely. On the iPhone, you can do this through the “Find iPhone” application. This rule is easily forgotten as we tend to think of these tools as something for the home, but inevitably you’ll check your work email or log into Basecamp using your tablet. A smartphone or tablet needs to be treated with as much respect as your laptop. 5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.§ We’re sorry to say, “secretmonkey” is not going to fool anyone. And even if you manage to remember UM6vDjwidQE9C28Z, it’s no good if it’s used on every site and one of them is hacked. (It happens all the time!) 6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmail, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code (this means that someone who gets hold of your login and password also needs to get hold of your phone to login). And keep in mind: if your email security fails, all other online services will fail too, since an intruder can use the “password reset” from any other site to have a new password sent to the email account they now have access to. Creating security protocols and algorithms is the computer equivalent of rocket science, but taking advantage of them isn’t. Take the time to learn the basics and they’ll cease being scary voodoo that you can’t trust. These days, security for your devices is just simple good sense, like putting on your seat belt.
Jason Fried (Remote: Office Not Required)
Put your glasses on mate ….. Come down from there, you’re gonna kill yourself …. Well, what does your Method Statement say? …. Right, let’s get you re-inducted. You need a reminder of site rules ….. Where are your outriggers, mate? ….. Put your glasses on ….. Put your glasses on …. Put your glasses on …. Oh, they steam up, do they? I’ve never heard that one before …. Where’s your mask? If you breathe this shit in you’re going to kill yourself. Silicosis is incurable ….. Right STOP! Do not reverse another inch without a banksman ….. Don’t put your glasses on just because you see me walk around the corner. They won’t protect MY eyes …. Hook yourself on, what’s the matter with you? Are all you scaffolders superhuman or something? ….. Put your glasses on ….. Oi! What stops me walking right in there? Where’s your barriers and signage? ….. Oi! I’m getting showered in fucking sparks here. And so is that can of petrol ….. Put your glasses on …. Where’s the flashback arrestor on this bottle of propane? ….. Hey, pal, stop welding until you’ve sheeted up ….. What are you doing climbing up there? Where’s your supervisor? What did he say about access in this morning’s Safe Start briefing? Nothing? Right, he can sit through another induction tomorrow ….. Where are the retaining pins to the joint clamps in this concrete pump line? SEAMUS! Fucking deal with this, will you? ….Put your glasses on …. Hey! Hey! Come here! Why have you got a nail instead of an ‘R’ clip to the quick-hitch system on your excavator bucket? NO! IT WON’T DO! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? If that bucket falls on someone they’re not going to get up again. And you trust a fucking nail to hold it in position! Take this machine out of service immediately until you’ve got the proper ‘R’ clip! ….. Put your glasses on …. Where’s the edge protection. Who removed the edge protection? Right, let me phone for a scaffolder ….. Put your glasses on ….. Oi! Get out from under there! Never, ever stand underneath a suspended load. Even if all the equipment’s been inspected, which it obviously has, you can never trust the crane driver. He can be taken ill suddenly ….. Come here, mate, let’s have a little chat. Why are you working on Fall Arrest? You’re supposed to be working on Fall Restraint (FR ‘restrains’ you going near the perimeter edge of the building, FA ‘arrests’ your fall if, well, if you fall. If you’re hanging off a building we’ve got less than ten minutes to reach you before you start going into toxic shock brought on by suspension trauma. In other words, we need a Rescue Plan, which is why we’d prefer people work on Fall Restraint)
Karl Wiggins (Dogshit Saved My Life)
He was a big, rather clumsy man, with a substantial bay window that started in the middle of the chest. I should guess that he was less muscular than at first sight he looked. He had large staring blue eyes and a damp and pendulous lower lip. He didn't look in the least like an intellectual. Creative people of his abundant kind never do, of course, but all the talk of Rutherford looking like a farmer was unperceptive nonsense. His was really the kind of face and physique that often goes with great weight of character and gifts. It could easily have been the soma of a great writer. As he talked to his companions in the streets, his voice was three times as loud as any of theirs, and his accent was bizarre…. It was part of his nature that, stupendous as his work was, he should consider it 10 per cent more so. It was also part of his nature that, quite without acting, he should behave constantly as though he were 10 per cent larger than life. Worldly success? He loved every minute of it: flattery, titles, the company of the high official world...But there was that mysterious diffidence behind it all. He hated the faintest suspicion of being patronized, even when he was a world figure. Archbishop Lang was once tactless enough to suggest that he supposed a famous scientist had no time for reading. Rutherford immediately felt that he was being regarded as an ignorant roughneck. He produced a formidable list of his last month’s reading. Then, half innocently, half malevolently: "And what do you manage to read, your Grice?" I am afraid", said the Archbishop, somewhat out of his depth, "that a man in my position doesn't really have the leisure..." Ah yes, your Grice," said Rutherford in triumph, "it must be a dog's life! It must be a dog's life!
C.P. Snow
In the words of Andy Grove: “To understand a company’s strategy, look at what they actually do rather than what they say they will do.”…. Here is a way to frame the investments that we make in the strategy that becomes our lives: we have resources – which include personal time, energy, talent and wealth – and we are using them to try to grow several “businesses” in our personal lives… How should we devote our resources to these pursuits? Unless you manage it mindfully, your personal resource allocation process will decide investments for you according to the “default” criteria that essentially are wired into your brain and your heart. As is true in companies, your resources are not decided and deployed in a single meeting or when you review your calendar for the week ahead. It is a continuous process –and you have, in your brain, a filter for making choices about what to prioritize. But it’s a messy process. People ask for your time and energy every day, and even if you are focused on what’s important to you, it’s still difficult to know which are the right choices. If you have an extra ounce of energy or a spare 30 minutes, there are a lot of people pushing you to spend them here rather than there. With so many people and projects wanting your time and attention, you can feel like you are not in charge of your own destiny. Sometimes that’s good: opportunities that you never anticipated emerge. But other times, those opportunities can take you far off course… The danger for high-achieving people is that they’ll unconsciously allocate their resources to activities that yield the most immediate, tangible accomplishments… How you allocate your own resources can make your life turn out to be exactly as you hope or very different from what you intend.
Clayton M. Christensen (Aprendizagem organizacional os melhores artigos da Harvard Business Review)
She gives just enough hints about him to make you wonder why he became so villainous. And if he dies, I’ll never learnt the answer.” Oliver eyes her closely. “Perhaps he was born villainous.” “No one is born villainous.” “Oh?” he said with raised eyebrow. “So we’re all born good?” “Neither. We start as animals, with an animal’s needs and desires. It takes parents and teachers and other good examples to show us how to restrain those needs and desires, when necessary, for the greater good. But it’s still our choice whether to heed that education or to do as we please.” “For a woman who loves murder and mayhem, you’re quite the philosopher.” “I like to understand how things work. Why people behave as they do.” He digested that for a moment. “I happen to think that some of us, like Rockton, are born with a wicked bent.” She chose her words carefully. “That certainly provides Rockton with a convenient excuse for his behavior.” His features turned stony. “What do you mean?” “Being moral and disciplined is hard work. Being wicked requires no effort at all-one merely indulges every desire and impulse, no matter how hurtful or immoral. By claiming to be born wicked, Rockton ensures that he doesn’t have to struggle to be god. He can just protest that he can’t help himself.” “Perhaps he can’t,” he clipped out. “Or maybe he’s simply unwilling to fight his impulses. And I want to know the reason for that. That’s why I keep reading Minerva’s books.” Did Oliver actually believe he’d been born irredeemably wicked? How tragic! It lent a hopelessness to his life that helped to explain his mindless pursuit of pleasure. “I can tell you the reason for Rockton’s villainy.” Oliver rose to round the desk. Propping his hip on the edge near her, he reached out to tuck a tendril of hair behind her ear. A sweet shudder swept over her. Why must he have this effect on her? It simply wasn’t fair. “Oh?” she managed. “Rockton knows he can’t have everything he wants,” he said hoarsely, his hand drifting to her cheek. “He can’t have the heroine, for example. She would never tolerate his…wicked impulses. Yet he still wants her. And his wanting consumes him.” Her breath lodged in her throat. It had been days since he’d touched her, and she hadn’t forgotten what it was like for one minute. To have him this near, saying such things… She fought for control over her volatile emotions. “His wanting consumes him precisely because he can’t have her. If he thought he could, he wouldn’t want her after all.” “Not true.” His voice deepening, he stroked the line of her jaw with a tenderness that roused an ache in her chest. “Even Rockton recognizes when a woman is unlike any other. Her very goodness in the face of his villainy bewitches him. He thinks if he can just possess that goodness, then the dark cloud lying on his soul will lift, and he’ll have something other than villainy to sustain him.” “Then he’s mistaken.” Her pulse trebled as his finger swept the hollow of her throat. “The only person who can lift the dark cloud on his soul is himself.” He paused in his caress. “So he’s doomed, then?” “No!” Her gaze flew to his. “No one is doomed, and certainly not Rockton. There’s still hope for him. There is always hope.” His eyes burned with a feverish light, and before she could look away, he bent to kiss her. It was soft, tender…delicious. Someone moaned, she wasn’t sure who. All she knew was that his mouth was on hers again, molding it, tasting it, making her hungry in the way that only he seemed able to do. “Maria…” he breathed. Seizing her by the arms, he drew her up into his embrace. “My God, I’ve thought of nothing but you since that day in the carriage.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
When at last he finally hooked one, despite Elizabeth’s best efforts to prevent it, she scrambled to her feet and backed up a step. “You-you’re hurting it!” she cried as he pulled the hook from its mouth. “Hurting what? The fish?” he asked in disbelief. “Yes!” “Nonsense,” said he, looking at her as if she was daft, then he tossed the fish on the bank. “It can’t breathe, I tell you!” she wailed, her eyes fixed on the flapping fish. “It doesn’t need to breathe,” he retorted. “We’re going to eat it for lunch.” “I certainly won’t!” she cried, managing to look at him as if he were a cold-blooded murderer. “Lady Cameron,” he said sternly, “am I to believe you’ve never eaten a fish?” “Well, of course I have.” “And where do you think the fish you’ve eaten came from?” he continued with irate logic. “It came from a nice tidy package wrapped in paper,” Elizabeth announced with a vacuous look. “They come in nice, tidy paper wrapping.” “Well, they weren’t born in that tidy paper,” he replied, and Elizabeth had a dreadful time hiding her admiration for his patience as well as for the firm tone he was finally taking with her. He was not, as she had originally thought, a fool or a namby-pamby. “Before that,” he persisted, “where was the fish? How did that fish get to the market in the first place?” Elizabeth gave her head a haughty toss, glanced sympathetically at the flapping fish, then gazed at him with haughty condemnation in her eyes. “I assume they used nets or something, but I’m perfectly certain they didn’t do it this way.” “What way?” he demanded. “The way you have-sneaking up on it in its own little watery home, tricking it by covering up your hook with that poor fuzzy thing, and then jerking the poor fish away from its family and tossing it on the bank to die. It’s quite inhumane!” she said, and she gave her skirts an irate twitch. Lord Marchman stared at her in frowning disbelief, then he shook his head as if trying to clear it. A few minutes later he escorted her home. Elizabeth made him carry the basket containing the fish on the opposite side from where she walked. And when that didn’t seem to discomfit the poor man she insisted he hold his arm straight out-to keep the basket even further from her person. She was not at all surprised when Lord Marchman excused himself until supper, nor when he remained moody and thoughtful throughout their uncomfortable meal. She covered the silence, however, by chattering earnestly about the difference between French and English fashions and the importance of using only the best kid for gloves, and then she regaled him with detailed descriptions of every gown she could remember seeing. By the end of the meal Lord Marchman looked dazed and angry; Elizabeth was a little hoarse and very encouraged.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Looking at the sky, he suddenly saw that it had become black. Then white again, but with great rippling circles. The circles were vultures wheeling around the sun. The vultures disappeared, to be replaced by checkers squares ready to be played on. On the board, the pieces moved around incredibly rapidly, winning dozens of games every minute. They were scarcely lined up before they started rushing at each other again, banging into each other, forming fighting combinations, wiping the other side out in the wink of an eye. Then the squares scattered, giving way to the grille of a crossword puzzle, and here, too, words flashed, drove each other away, clustered, were erased. They were all very long words, like Catalepsy, Thunderbird, Superrequeteriquísímo and Anticonstitutionally. The grille faded away, and suddenly the whole sky was covered with linked words, long sentences full of semicolons and inverted commas. For the space of a few seconds, there was this gigantic sheet of paper on which were written sentences that moved forward jerkily, changing their meaning, modifying their construction, altering completely as they advanced. It was beautiful, so beautiful that nothing like that had ever been read anywhere, and yet it was impossible to decipher the writing. It was all about death, or pity, or the incredible secrets that are hidden somewhere, at one of the farthest points of time. It was about water, too, about vast lakes floating just above the mountains, lakes shimmering under the cold wind. For a split second, Y. M. H., by screwing up his eyes, managed to read the writing, but it vanished with lightning speed and he could not be sure. It seemed to go like this: There's no reason to be afraid. No, there's no reason to be afraid. There's no reason to be afraid. There's no reason to be afraid. No. No, there's no reason to be afraid. No, there's no reason to be afraid.
J.M.G. Le Clézio (The Book of Flights)
The day wore on.While yet Rycca slept, Dragon did all the things she had said he would do-paced back and forth, contemplated mayhem,and even honed his blade on the whetstone from the stable.All except being oblivious to her,for that he could never manage. But when she awoke,sitting up heavy-lidded, her mouth so full and soft it was all he could do not to crawl back into bed with her,he put aside such pursuits and controlled himself admirably well,so he thought. Yet in the midst of preparing a meal for them from the provisions in the pantry of the lodge,he was stopped by Rycca's hand settling upon his. "Dragon," she said softly, "if you add any more salt to that stew, we will need a barrel of water and more to drink with it." He looked down, saw that she was right, and cursed under his breath. Dumping out the spoiled stew, he started over. They ate late but they did eat.He was quite determined she would do so,and for once she seemed to have a decent appetite. "I'm glad to see your stomach is better," he said as she was finishing. She looked up,startled. "What makes you say that?" "You haven't seemed able to eat regularly of late." "Oh,well,you know...so many changes...travel...all that." He nodded,reached for his goblet, and damn near knocked it over as a sudden thought roared through him. "Rycca?" She rose quickly,gathering up the dishes. His hand lashed out, closing on her wrist. Gently but inexorably, he returned her to her seat. Without taking his eyes from her,he asked, "Is there something you should tell me?" "Something...?" "I ask myself what sort of changes may cause a woman to be afflicted with an uneasy stomach and it occurs to me I've been a damned idiot." "Not so! You could never be that." "Oh,really? How otherwise would I fail to notice that your courses have not come of late? Or is that also due to travel,wife?" "Some women are not all that regular." "Some women do not concern me.You do,Rycca. I swear,if you are with child and have not told me, I will-" She squared her shoulders,lifted her head,and met his eyes hard on. "Will what?" "What? Will what? Does that mean-" "I'm sorry,Dragon." Truly repentant, Rycca sighed deeply. "I was going to tell you.I was just waiting for a calmer time.I didn't want you to worry more." Still grappling with what she had just revealed,he stared at her in astonishment. "You mean worry that my wife and our child are bait for a murderous traitor?" "I know you're angry and you have a right to be.But if I had told you, we wouldn't be here now." "Damn right we wouldn't be!" He got up from the table so abruptly that his chair toppled over and crashed to the floor.Ignoring it,Dragon paced back and forth,glaring at her. Rycca waited,trusting the storm to pass. As she did,she counted silently, curious to see just how long it would take her husband to grasp fully what he had discovered. Nine...ten... "We're going to have a baby." Not long at all. She nodded happily. "Yes,we are, and you're going to be a wonderful father." He walked back to the table,picked her up out of her chair,held her high against his chest,and stared at her. "My God-" Rycca laughed. "You can't possibly be surprised.It's not as though we haven't been doing our best to make this happen." "True,but still it's absolutely incredible." Very gently,she touched his face. "Perhaps we think of miracles wrongly. They're supposed to be extraordinarily rare but in fact they're as commonplace as a bouquet of wildflowers plucked by a warrior...or a woman having a baby." Dragon sat down with her still in his arms and held her very close.He swallowed several times and said nothing. Both could have remained contentedly like that for a long while, but only a few minutes passed before they were interrupted. The raven lit on the sill of the open window just long enough to catch their attention,then she was gone into the bloodred glare of the dying day.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
James finished his curry and wandered off on his own. He noticed a girl leaning against a tree smoking. Long hair, baggy jeans. She was about James’s age, nice looking. He didn’t remember her from any of the intelligence files. “Hey, can I have a drag?” James said, trying to sound cool. “Sure,” the girl said. She passed James the cigarette. James had never tried one before and hoped he wasn’t about to make an idiot of himself. He gave it a little suck. It burned his throat, but he managed not to cough. “Not seen you here before,” the girl said. “I’m Ross,” James said. “Staying here with my aunt for a bit.” “Joanna,” the girl said. “I live in Craddogh.” “Haven’t been there yet,” James said. “It’s a dump, two shops and a post office. Where you from?” “London.” “I wish I was,” Joanna said. “You like it here?” “I’m always covered in mud. I want to go to bed, but there’s a guy playing guitar three meters from where I sleep. I wish I could go home, have a warm shower, and see my mates.” Joanna smiled. “So why are you staying with your aunt?” “Long story: Parents are getting divorced. Mum freaking out. Got expelled from school.” “So you’re good-looking and you’re a rebel,” Joanna said. James was glad it was quite dark because he felt himself blush. “You want the last puff, Ross?” “No, I’m cool,” James said. Joanna flicked the cigarette butt into the night. “So, I paid you a compliment,” Joanna said. “Yeah.” Joanna laughed. “So do I get one back?” she asked. “Oh, sure,” James said. “You’re really like . . . nice.” “Can’t I get any better than nice?” “Beautiful,” James said. “You’re beautiful.” “That’s more like it,” Joanna said. “Want to kiss me?” “Um, OK,” James said. James was nervous. He’d never had the courage to ask a girl out. Now he was about to kiss someone he’d known for three minutes. He pecked her on the cheek. Joanna shoved James against the tree and started kissing his face and neck. Her hand went in the back pocket of James’s jeans, then she jumped backwards.
Robert Muchamore (The Recruit (CHERUB, #1))
He whirled,almost violently,and stared at her accusingly. "Damn it, Gennie, I've had my head lopped off." It was her turn to stare.Her fingers went numb against the stoneware. Her pulse seemed to stop long enough to make her head swim before it began to race. The color drained from her face until it was like porcelain against the glowing green of her eyes.On another oath, Grant dragged a hand through his hair. "You're spilling the coffee," he muttered, then stuck his hands in his pockets. "Oh." Gennie looked down foolishly at the tiny twin puddles that were forming on the floor,then set down the mugs. "I'll-I'll wipe it up." "Leave it." Grant grabbed her arm before she could reach for a towel. "Listen,I feel like someone's just given me a solid right straight to the gut-the kind that doubles you over and makes your head ring at the same time.I feel that way too often when I look at you." When she said nothing, he took her other arm and shook. "In the first place I never asked to have you walk into my life and mess up my head. The last thing I wanted was for you to get in my way,but you did.So now I'm in love with you, and I can tell you,I'm not crazy about the idea." Gennie found her voice, though she wasn't quite certain what to do with it. "Well," she managed after a moment, "that certainly puts me in my place." "Oh,she wants to make jokes." Disgusted, Grant released her to storm over to the coffee. Lifting a mug, he drained half the contents, perversely pleased that it scalded his throat. "Well, laugh this off," he suggested as he slammed the mug down again and glared. "You're not going anywhere until I figure out what the hell I'm going to do about you." Struggling against conflicting emotions of amusement,annoyance,and simple wonder, she put her hands on her hips. The movement shifted the too-big robe so that it threatened to slip off one shoulder. "Oh,really? So you're going to figure out what to do about me, like I was an inconvenient head cold." "Damned inconvenient," he muttered. "You may not have noticed, but I'm a grown woman with a mind of my own, accustomed to making my own decisions. You're not going to do anything about me," she told him as her temper began to overtake everything else. She jabbed a finger at him,and the gap in the robe widened. "If you're in love with me, that's your problem. I have one of my own because I'm in love with you." "Terrific!" he shouted at her. "That's just terrific.We'd both have been better off if you'd waited out that storm in a ditch instead of coming here." "You're not telling me anything I don't already know," Gennie retorted, then spun around to leave the room. "Just a minute." Grant had her arm again and backed her into the wall. "You're not going anywhere until this is settled." "It's settled!" Tossing her hair out of her face, she glared at him. "We're in love with each other and I wish you'd go jump off that cliff.If you had any finesse-" "I don't." "Any sensitivty," she continued, "you wouldn't announce that you were in love with someone in the same tone you'd use to frighten small children.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
How long does it last?" Said the other customer, a man wearing a tan shirt with little straps that buttoned on top of the shoulders. He looked as if he were comparing all the pros and cons before shelling out $.99. You could see he thought he was pretty shrewd. "It lasts for as long as you live," the manager said slowly. There was a second of silence while we all thought about that. The man in the tan shirt drew his head back, tucking his chin into his neck. His mind was working like a house on fire "What about other people?" He asked. "The wife? The kids?" "They can use your membership as long as you're alive," the manager said, making the distinction clear. "Then what?" The man asked, louder. He was the type who said things like "you get what you pay for" and "there's one born every minute" and was considering every angle. He didn't want to get taken for a ride by his own death. "That's all," the manager said, waving his hands, palms down, like a football referee ruling an extra point no good. "Then they'd have to join for themselves or forfeit the privileges." "Well then, it makes sense," the man said, on top of the situation now, "for the youngest one to join. The one that's likely to live the longest." "I can't argue with that," said the manager. The man chewed his lip while he mentally reviewed his family. Who would go first. Who would survive the longest. He cast his eyes around to all the cassettes as if he'd see one that would answer his question. The woman had not gone away. She had brought along her signed agreement, the one that she paid $25 for. "What is this accident waiver clause?" She asked the manager. "Look," he said, now exhibiting his hands to show they were empty, nothing up his sleeve, "I live in the real world. I'm a small businessman, right? I have to protect my investment, don't I? What would happen if, and I'm not suggesting you'd do this, all right, but some people might, what would happen if you decided to watch one of my movies in the bathtub and a VCR you rented from me fell into the water?" The woman retreated a step. This thought had clearly not occurred to her before.
Michael Dorris (A Yellow Raft in Blue Water)
Two men enter the room, one old and mustached and the other young and tawny-headed, wearing sweats and a worn T-shirt. He looks like Silas, actually—god, what am I, obsessed? But there really is something of the woodsman in the younger man’s face, with his full lips, his slightly curled hair that turns like tendrils around his ears . . . I look away before studying him too closely. “All right, ladies, are we ready?” the older man says enthusiastically. There’s a loud rustling of paper as well flip the enormous sketchbooks on our easels until we find blank sheets. I draw a few soft lines on my page, unsure what— Non-Silas rips off his T-shirt, revealing lightly defined muscles on his pale chest. I raise an eyebrow just as he tugs at the waist of the sweatpants. They drop to the floor in a fluid, sweeping motion. There’s nothing underneath them. At all. My charcoal slips through my suddenly sweaty fingers. Non-Silas steps out of the puddle of his clothes and moves to the center of the room, fluorescent lights reflecting off his slick abdomen. He’s smiling as though he isn’t naked, smiling as though I didn’t somehow manage to get the seat closest to him. As if I can’t see . . . um . . . everything only a few feet from my face, making my mind clumsily spiral. I squeeze my eyes shut for a moment; he looks like Silas in the face, and because of that I keep wondering if he looks akin to Silas everywhere else. “All right, ladies, this will be a seven-minute pose. Ready?” the older man says, positioning himself behind the other empty easel. The roomful of housewives nod in one hungry motion. I quiver. “Go!” the older man says, starting the stopwatch. Non-Silas poses, something reminiscent of Michelangelo’s David, only instead of marble eyes looking into nothingness, non-Silas is staring almost straight at me. Draw. I’m supposed to be drawing. I grab a new piece of charcoal from the bottom of the easel and begin hastily making lines in my sketchbook. I can’t not look at him, or he’ll think I’m not drawing him. I glance hurriedly, trying to avoid the region my eyes continuously return to. I start to feel fluttery. How long has it been? Surely it’s been seven minutes. I try to add some tone to my drawing’s chest. I wonder what Silas’s chest looks like . . . Stop! Stop stop stop stop stop—” “Right, then!” the older man says as his stopwatch beeps loudly and the scratchy sound of charcoal on paper ends. Thank you, sir, thank you—” “Annnnd next pose!” Non-Silas turns his head away, till all I can see is his wren-colored hair and his side, including a side view of . . . how many times am I going to have to draw this man’s area? What’s worse is that he looks even more like Silas now that I can’t see his eyes. Just like Silas, I bet. My eyes linger longer than necessary now that non-Silas isn’t staring straight at me. By the end of class, I’ve drawn eight mediocre pictures of him, each one with a large white void in the crotch area. The housewives compare drawings with ravenous looks in their eyes as non-Silas tugs his pants back on and leaves the room, nodding politely. I picture him naked again. I sprint from the class, abandoning my sketches—how could I explain them to Scarlett or Silas? Stop thinking of Silas, stop thinking of Silas.
Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1))
Ionizing radiation takes three principal forms: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. Alpha particles are relatively large, heavy, and slow moving and cannot penetrate the skin; even a sheet of paper could block their path. But if they do manage to find their way inside the body by other means—if swallowed or inhaled—alpha particles can cause massive chromosomal damage and death. Radon 222, which gathers as a gas in unventilated basements, releases alpha particles into the lungs, where it causes cancer. Polonium 210, a powerful alpha emitter, is one of the carcinogens in cigarette smoke. It was also the poison slipped into the cup of tea that killed former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. Beta particles are smaller and faster moving than alpha particles and can penetrate more deeply into living tissue, causing visible burns on the skin and lasting genetic damage. A piece of paper won’t provide protection from beta particles, but aluminum foil—or separation by sufficient distance—will. Beyond a range of ten feet, beta particles can cause little damage, but they prove dangerous if ingested in any way. Mistaken by the body for essential elements, beta-emitting radioisotopes can become fatally concentrated in specific organs: strontium 90, a member of the same chemical family as calcium, is retained in the bones; ruthenium is absorbed by the intestine; iodine 131 lodges particularly in the thyroid of children, where it can cause cancer. Gamma rays—high-frequency electromagnetic waves traveling at the speed of light—are the most energetic of all. They can traverse large distances, penetrate anything short of thick pieces of concrete or lead, and destroy electronics. Gamma rays pass straight through a human being without slowing down, smashing through cells like a fusillade of microscopic bullets. Severe exposure to all ionizing radiation results in acute radiation syndrome (ARS), in which the fabric of the human body is unpicked, rearranged, and destroyed at the most minute levels. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, hemorrhaging, and hair loss, followed by a collapse of the immune system, exhaustion of bone marrow, disintegration of internal organs, and, finally, death.
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
There was a scuffling and a great thump: Someone else had clambered out of the tunnel, overbalanced slightly, and fallen. He pulled himself up on the nearest chair, looked around through lopsided horn-rimmed glasses, and said, “Am I too late? Has it started? I only just found out, so I--I--” Percy spluttered into silence. Evidently he had not expected to run into most of his family. There was a long moment of astonishment, broken by Fleur turning to Lupin and saying, in a wildly transparent attempt to break the tension, “So--’ow eez leetle Teddy?” Lupin blinked at her, startled. The silence between the Weasleys seemed to be solidifying, like ice. “I--oh yes--he’s fine!” Lupin said loudly. “Yes, Tonks is with him--at her mother’s--” Percy and the other Weasleys were still staring at one another, frozen. “Here, I’ve got a picture!” Lupin shouted, pulling a photograph from inside his jacket and showing it to Fleur and Harry, who saw a tiny baby with a tuft of bright turquoise hair, waving fat fists at the camera. “I was a fool!” Percy roared, so loudly that Lupin nearly dropped his photograph. “I was an idiot, I was a pompous prat, I was a--a--” “Ministry-loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron,” said Fred. Percy swallowed. “Yes, I was!” “Well, you can’t say fairer than that,” said Fred, holding out his hand to Percy. Mrs. Weasley burst into tears. She ran forward, pushed Fred aside, and pulled Percy into a strangling hug, while he patted her on the back, his eyes on his father. “I’m sorry, Dad,” Percy said. Mr. Weasley blinked rather rapidly, then he too hurried to hug his son. “What made you see sense, Perce?” inquired George. “It’s been coming on for a while,” said Percy, mopping his eyes under his glasses with a corner of his traveling cloak. “But I had to find a way out and it’s not so easy at the Ministry, they’re imprisoning traitors all the time. I managed to make contact with Aberforth and he tipped me off ten minutes ago that Hogwarts was going to make a fight of it, so here I am.” “Well, we do look to our prefects to take a lead at times such as these,” said George in a good imitation of Percy’s most pompous manner. “Now let’s get upstairs and fight, or all the good Death Eaters’ll be taken.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Behind her, Annabelle heard Daisy say to Lillian accusingly, “I thought you said that no one ever comes to this meadow!” “That’s what I was told,” Lillian replied, her voice muffled as she stepped into the circle of her gown and bent to jerk it upward. The earl, who had been mute until that point, spoke with his gaze trained studiously on the distant scenery. “Your information was correct, Miss Bowman,” he said in a controlled manner. “This field is usually unfrequented.” “Well, then, why are you here?” Lillian demanded accusingly, as if she, and not Westcliff, was the owner of the estate. The question caused the earl’s head to whip around. He gave the American girl an incredulous glance before he dragged his gaze away once more. “Our presence here is purely coincidental,” he said coldly. “I wished to have a look at the northwest section of my estate today.” He gave the word my a subtle but distinct emphasis. “While Mr. Hunt and I were traveling along the lane, we heard your screaming. We thought it best to investigate, and came with the intention of rendering aid, if necessary. Little did I realize that you would be using this field for…for…” “Rounders-in-knickers,” Lillian supplied helpfully, sliding her arms into her sleeves. The earl seemed incapable of repeating the ridiculous phrase. He turned his horse away and spoke curtly over his shoulder. “I plan to develop a case of amnesia within the next five minutes. Before I do so, I would suggest that you refrain from any future activities involving nudity outdoors, as the next passersby who discover you may not prove to be as indifferent as Mr. Hunt and I.” Despite Annabelle’s mortification, she had to repress a skeptical snort at the earl’s claim of indifference on Hunt’s behalf, not to mention his own. Hunt had certainly managed to get quite an eyeful of her. And though Westcliff’s scrutiny had been far more subtle, it had not escaped her that he had stolen a quick but thorough glance at Lillian before he had veered his horse away. However, in light of her current state of undress, it was hardly the time to deflate Westcliff’s holier-than-thou demeanor. “Thank you, my lord,” Annabelle said with a calmness that pleased her immensely. “And now, having dispensed such excellent advice, I would ask that you allow us some privacy to restore ourselves.” “With pleasure,” Westcliff growled.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
We stopped talking about Zampanô then. She paged her friend Christina who took less than twenty minutes to come over. There were no introductions. We just sat down on the floor and snorted lines of coke off a CD case, gulped down a bottle of wine and then used it to play spin the bottle. They kissed each other first, then they both kissed me, and then we forgot about the bottle, and I even managed to forget about Zampanô, about this, and about how much that attack in the tattoo shop had put me on edge. Two kisses in one kiss was all it took, a comfort, a warmth, perhaps temporary, perhaps false, but reassuring nonetheless, and mine, and theirs, ours, all three of us giggling, insane giggles and laughter with still more kisses on the way, and I remember a brief instant then, out of the blue, when I suddenly glimpsed my own father, a rare but oddly peaceful recollection, as if he actually approved of my play in the way he himself had always laughed and played, always laughing, surrendering to its ease, especially when he soared in great updrafts of light, burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage, throwing him up like an angel, high above the red earth, deep into the sparkling blank, the tender sky that never once let him down, preserving his attachment to youth, propriety and kindness, his plane almost, but never quite, outracing his whoops of joy, trailing him in his sudden turn to the wind, followed then by a near vertical climb up to the angles of the sun, and I was barely eight and still with him and yes, that the thought that flickered madly through me, a brief instant of communion, possessing me with warmth and ageless ease, causing me to smile again and relax as if memory alone could lift the heart like the wind lifts a wing, and so I renewed my kisses with even greater enthusiasm, caressing and in turn devouring their dark lips, dark with wine and fleeting love, an ancient memory love had promised but finally never gave, until there were too many kisses to count or remember, and the memory of love proved not love at all and needed a replacement, which our bodies found, and then the giggles subsided, and the laughter dimmed, and darkness enfolded all of us and we gave away our childhood for nothing and we died and condoms littered the floor and Christina threw up in the sink and Amber chuckled a little and kissed me a little more, but in a way that told me it was time to leave.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Soon, droves of children start to show up, keeping us rather busy. We start tallying up the number of Trolls, Batmans, Lego men, and princesses we see. The most popular costume? Batman and Superwoman with the fabrics and accessories varying from child to child. But my favorite so far is the girl who dressed as Little Debbie, but then again, I may be biased. “I think she might be my new favorite,” Emma says as a little girl dressed as a nurse walks away. “That’s because you’re a nurse, but you can’t play favorites,” I say, reminding Emma of the rules. She levels with me. “This coming from the guy whose favorite child was dressed as Little Debbie.” “Come on.” I lean back in my chair and motion to my head. “She had the rim of blue on her hat. That’s attention to detail.” “And good fucking parenting,” Tucker chimes in, and we clink our beer bottles together. Amelia chuckles next to me as Emma shakes her head. “Ridiculous. What about you, Amelia? What costume has been your favorite so far?” “Hmm, it’s been a tough competition. There has been some real winning costumes and some absolute piss-poor ones.” She shakes her head. “Just because you put a scarf around your neck and call yourself Jack Frost doesn’t mean you dressed up.” “Ugh, that costume was dumb.” “It shouldn’t be referred to as a costume, but that’s beside the point.” I like how much Amelia is getting into this little pretend competition. She’s a far cry from the girl who first came home earlier. I love that having Tucker and Emma over has given me more time with Amelia, getting to know the woman she is today, but also managed to put that beautiful smile back on her face. “So who takes the cake for you?” I ask, nudging her leg with mine. Smiling up at me, she says, “Hands down it’s the little boy who dressed as Dwight Schrute from The Office. I think I giggled for five minutes straight after he left. That costume was spot on.” “Oh shit, you’re right,” I reply as Emma and Tucker agree with me. “He even had the watch calculator.” “And the small nose Dwight always complains about.” Emma chuckles. “Yeah, he has to be the winner.” “Now, now, now, let’s not get too hasty. Little Debbie is still in the running,” Tucker points out. Amelia leans forward, seeming incredibly comfortable, and says, “There is no way Little Debbie beats Dwight. Sorry, dude.” The shocked look on Tucker’s face is comical. He’s just been put in his place and the old Amelia has returned. I fucking love it.
Meghan Quinn (The Other Brother (Binghamton, #4))
I can’t help thinking,” she confided when he finished answering her questions about women in India who covered their faces and hair in public, “that it is grossly unfair that I was born a female and so must never know such adventures, or see but a few of those places. Even if I were to journey there, I’d only be allowed to go where everything was as civilized as-as London!” “There does seem to be a case of extreme disparity between the privileges accorded the sexes,” Ian agreed. “Still, we each have our duty to perform,” she informed him with sham solemnity. “And there’s said to be great satisfaction in that.” “How do you view your-er-duty?” he countered, responding to her teasing tone with a lazy white smile. “That’s easy. It is a female’s duty to be a wife who is an asset to her husband in every way. It is a male’s duty to do whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, so long as he is prepared to defend his country should the occasion demand it in his lifetime-which it very likely won’t. Men,” she informed him, “gain honor by sacrificing themselves on the field of battle while we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of matrimony.” He laughed aloud then, and Elizabeth smiled back at him, enjoying herself hugely. “Which, when one considers it, only proves that our sacrifice is by far the greater and more noble.” “How is that?” he asked, still chuckling. “It’s perfectly obvious-battles last mere days or weeks, months at the very most. While matrimony lasts a lifetime! Which brings to mind something else I’ve often wondered about,” she continued gaily, giving full rein to her innermost thoughts. “And that is?” he prompted, grinning, watching her as if he never wanted to stop. “Why do you suppose, after all that, they call us the weaker sex?” Their laughing gazes held, and then Elizabeth realized how outrageous he must be finding some of her remarks. “I don’t usually go off on such tangents,” she said ruefully. “You must think I’m dreadfully ill-bred.” “I think,” he softly said, “that you are magnificent.” The husky sincerity in his deep voice snatched her breath away. She opened her mouth, thinking frantically for some light reply that could restore the easy camaraderie of a minute before, but instead of speaking she could only draw a long, shaky breath. “And,” he continued quietly, “I think you know it.” This was not, not the sort of foolish, flirtatious repartee she was accustomed to from her London beaux, and it terrified her as much as the sensual look in those golden eyes. Pressing imperceptibly back against the arm of the sofa, she told herself she was only overacting to what was nothing more than empty flattery. “I think,” she managed with a light laugh that stuck in her throat, “that you must find whatever female you’re with ‘magnificent.’” “Why would you say a thing like that?” Elizabeth shrugged. “Last night at supper, for one thing.” When he frowned at her as if she were speaking in a foreign language, she prodded, “You remember Lady Charise Dumont, our hostess, the same lovely brunette on whose every word you were hanging at supper last night?” His frown became a grin. “Jealous?” Elizabeth lifted her elegant little chin and shook her head. “No more than you were of Lord Howard.” She felt a small bit of satisfaction as his amusement vanished. “The fellow who couldn’t seem to talk to you without touching your arm?” he inquired in a silky-soft voice. “That Lord Howard? As a matter of fact, my love, I spent most of my meal trying to decide whether I wanted to shove his nose under his right ear or his left.” Startled, musical laughter erupted from her before she could stop it. “You did nothing of the sort,” she chuckled. “Besides, if you wouldn’t duel with Lord Everly when he called you a cheat, you certainly wouldn’t harm poor Lord Howard merely for touching my arm.” “Wouldn’t I?” he asked softly. “Those are two very different issues.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
She woke to find dawn light, pearly silver tinged with pink, washing into the room. For a moment, she wondered what had woken her, then she glanced at Breckenridge-into his hazel eyes. "You're awake!" She only just managed not to squeal. The joy leaping through her was near impossible to contain. He smiled weakly. His lids drooped, fell. "I've been awake for some time, but didn't want to wake you." His voice was little more than a whisper. She realized it was the faint pressure of his fingers on hers that had drawn her rom sleep. Those fingers, his hand, were no longer over-warm. Reaching out, she laid her fingers on his forehead. "Your temperature's normal-the fever's broken. Thank God." Retrieving her hand, refocusing on his face, she felt relief crash through her in a disorienting, almost overpowering wave. "You have to rest." That was imperative; she felt driven by flustered urgency to ensure he understood. "You're mending nicely. Now the crisis has passed, you'll get better day by day. Catriona says that with time you'll be as good as new." Algaria had warned her to assure him of that. He swallowed; eyes closed, he shifted his head in what she took to be a nod. "I'll rest in a minute. But first...did you mean what you said out there by the bull pen? That you truly want a future with me?" "Yes." She clutched his hand more tightly between hers. "I meant every word." His lips curved a fraction, then he sighed. Eyes still closed-she sensed he found his lids too heavy to lift-he murmured, "Good. Because I meant every word, too." She smiled through sudden tears. "Even about our daughters being allowed to look like Cordelia?" His smile grew more definite. "Said that aloud, did I? Yes, I meant that, but for pity's sake don't tell her--she'll never let me hear the end of it, and Constance will have my head to boot." His words were starting to slur again; he was slipping back into healing sleep. Catriona's words, her warning, rang in Heather's head. She remembered her vow. Rising, she leaned over him; his hand still clasped between hers, and kissed him gently. "Go to sleep and get well, but before you do, I need to tell you this. I love you. I will until the end of my days. I don't expect you to love me back, but that doesn't matter anymore. You have my love regardless, and always will." She kissed him again, sensed he'd heard, but that he was stunned, surprised. He didn't respond. She drew back. "And now you need to put your mind to getting better. We have a wedding to attend, after all." She knew he heard that-his features softened, eased. As he slid into sleep, he was, very gently, smiling.
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
Lord,it's hot in here!" she exclaimed, waving a bedraggled towel in front of her face. "Wouldn't mind a swim myself." Paying him no mind, she unfastened a couple of buttons on her shirt, parted it, and blotted the swells of her breasts with the towel. As she bent down and reached into a cupboard, the shirt gaped. Paralysis afflicted Rider from his eyeballs down. Unaware of his stymied condition, Willow rummaged though the cupboard and asked, "Did Juan and Taylo get back yet?" No answer. "Sinclair?" She found a chunk of soap and a towel and rose from her stooped position to find Rider's eyes glued to her breasts. The soap thunked Rider on his chest and broke his trance. He glanced up just in time to get a towel in his face but managed to catch it before it joined the soap on the floor. "I'm sorry. What did you say?" "Never mind," She spun away to face the stove and to conceal her flaming face. Busily stirring with one hand, she nonchalantly rebuttoned her blouse with the other. "Don't tarry," she warned over her shoulder, "supper is almost ready." Tarry? Tarry? If he remained a minute longer, he was going to have dessert here and now and to hell with supper! He lowered his hat a few discreet inches to hide the evidence of his stirring desire. Then,with an ease he didn't feel, he picked up the soap. "I'll hurry, and thanks for the soap." He turned to leave, then stopped, a devilish glint in his eye. After the emotional turmoil she'd just put him through, she more than deserved a little teasing. "You're welcome to join me for a swim, if you like." His smile was wide and audacious. "I'm not shy." Willow turned to face him, fork in hand. "Let's you and me get something straight, Sinclair. I ain't shy and I don't shock easy neither. You see, I reckon you ain't got nothin' my brothers don't." Her bald remark shocked him as intended but Rider was not to be outdone. "Maybe I don't." He grinned rakishly. "But I've been told I have a rather...exceptional physique." Willow rolled her eyes. "Well, as you can see, I ain't got time to do any comparing. Now,go take your bath and get outta my hair!" Rider swung the towel over his shoulder and turned to leave again. Disappointed by his inability to rile her, he added, "Shucks, Freckles. I was kind of hoping you'd scrub my back. I've been told my back is a mighty fi-" She jabbed the air with the big fork, motioning to the door. "I'm going! I'm going! This place is hazardous to a man's health." He ducked out the door,laughing. "And stop calling me Freckles!" she yelled after him. Grinning and shaking her head, Willow directed her attention back to the stove. Rider Sinclair was an odd egg if ever she saw one. One minute the man was purely obnoxious, the next, teasing and charming.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
Buster Friendly said, “We may never know. Nor can we fathom the peculiar purpose behind this swindle. Yes, folks, swindle. Mercerism is a swindle!” “I think we know,” Roy Baty said. “It’s obvious. Mercerism came into existence—” “But ponder this,” Buster Friendly continued. “Ask yourselves what is it that Mercerism does. Well, if we’re to believe its many practitioners, the experience fuses—” “It’s that empathy that humans have,” Irmgard said. “—men and women throughout the Sol System into a single entity. But an entity which is manageable by the so-called telepathic voice of ‘Mercer.’ Mark that. An ambitious politically minded would-be Hitler could—” “No, it’s that empathy,” Irmgard said vigorously. Fists clenched, she roved into the kitchen, up to Isidore. “Isn’t it a way of proving that humans can do something we can’t do? Because without the Mercer experience we just have your word that you feel this empathy business, this shared, group thing. How’s the spider?” She bent over Pris’s shoulder. With the scissors, Pris snipped off another of the spider’s legs. “Four now,” she said. She nudged the spider. “He won’t go. But he can.” Roy Baty appeared at the doorway, inhaling deeply, an expression of accomplishment on his face. “It’s done. Buster said it out loud, and nearly every human in the system heard him say it. ‘Mercerism is a swindle.’ The whole experience of empathy is a swindle.” He came over to look curiously at the spider. “It won’t try to walk,” Irmgard said. “I can make it walk.” Roy Baty got out a book of matches, lit a match; he held it near the spider, closer and closer, until at last it crept feebly away. “I was right,” Irmgard said. “Didn’t I say it could walk with only four legs?” She peered up expectantly at Isidore. “What’s the matter?” Touching his arm she said, “You didn’t lose anything; we’ll pay you what that—what’s it called?—that Sidney’s catalogue says. Don’t look so grim. Isn’t that something about Mercer, what they discovered? All that research? Hey, answer.” She prodded him anxiously. “He’s upset,” Pris said. “Because he has an empathy box. In the other room. Do you use it, J. R.?” she asked Isidore. Roy Baty said, “Of course he uses it. They all do—or did. Maybe now they’ll start wondering.” “I don’t think this will end the cult of Mercer,” Pris said. “But right this minute there’re a lot of unhappy human beings.” To Isidore she said, “We’ve waited for months; we all knew it was coming, this pitch of Buster’s.” She hesitated and then said, “Well, why not. Buster is one of us.” “An android,” Irmgard explained. “And nobody knows. No humans, I mean.” Pris, with the scissors, cut yet another leg from the spider. All at once John Isidore pushed her away and lifted up the mutilated creature. He carried it to the sink and there he drowned it. In him, his mind, his hopes, drowned, too. As swiftly as the spider.
Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
If man had wings, he would have polluted the sky. Houston we have a problem. The era when scientific progress seemed unstoppable has stopped today, showing the weaknesses of governments and peoples to the whole world in the face of any virus. Fifty years ago the question that afflicted some "powerful" states, concerned the ability to reach the mysterious space, an undertaking that, given the age, seemed increasingly difficult. Today, however, the biggest mission the world is facing is to survive, trying to make people holed up in their homes. But where is the meaning of all this? How did we go from the time when everything was possible and the economy seemed unstoppable, to that in which there are no ways to produce simple masks in a short time? Why did we spend almost a century trying to reach the Moon, Mars and the whole Universe, rather than taking care of our fellow men and our planet that collapsed towards extinction minute by minute? It is certainly no coincidence that while the world is facing a Covid-19 pandemic, NASA is committed to managing the upcoming "Mars 2020" mission with launch scheduled for 17 July 2020. The main objective of this new mission it to look for traces of possible Martian microbes and collect soil samples. You would agree with me in affirming that the sense of the space mission, nowadays, could look more like a demonstration of man's superiority over nature and towards the unknown, than a journey to get to know and understand the infinite mysteries of space and its planets? There is something within our world that pushes us to never appreciate what we have, to want more and more, to the point where we begin to sacrifice the most important and indispensable things, in order to reach questionable new horizons. In this way, governments prefer to invest in weapons rather than in health, in multinationals, rather than supporting education, in space missions rather than taking care of our environment, making the world unprepared for an emergency like a pandemic. And here we are, while fifty years ago we were with our eyes glued to a screen and our breath suspended in order to become witnesses of the Apollo 13 mission, today we stare at our televisions while we see the hundreds of thousands in the mouth of death that our world has to spare them. And so, while we have to deal with our indifference and our mistakes, Mother Nature, who for centuries and centuries has been disfigured of all beauty, today comes back to life, showing herself more alive than ever. Nature is regaining its footing and repopulating lands and seas, cities are less polluted and finally you can breathe clean air. Once again, our planet shows us how powerful it is and how it can put man in his place in a few moments. So, for the umpteenth time we are forced to face the fate that we built with indifference and arrogance, forgetting about our eternal vulnerability. Yes Houston, we still have a problem. It's called "human ignorance" disguised as a philosophy of futility.
Corina Abdulahm-Negura
But if her idiot suitors were staying at Halstead Hall with her, then by thunder, he'd be here, too. They wouldn't take advantage of her on his watch. "We're agreed that you won't do any of that foolish nonsense you mentioned, like spying on them, right?" "Of course not. That's what I have you for." Her private lackey to jump at her commands. He was already regretting this. "Surely the gentlemen will accept the invitation," she went on, blithely ignoring his disgruntlement. "It's hunting season, and the estate has some excellent coveys." "I wouldn't know." She cast him an easy smile. "Because you generally hunt men, not grouse. And apparently you do it very well." A compliment? From her "No need to flatter me, my lady," he said dryly. "I've already agreed to your scheme." Her smile vanished. "Really, Mr. Pinter, sometimes you can be so..." "Honest?" he prodded. "Irritating." She tipped up her chin. "It will be easier to work together if you're not always so prickly." He felt more than prickly, and for the most foolish reasons imaginable. Because he didn't like her trawling for suitors. Or using him to do it. And because he hated her "lady of the manor" role. It reminded him too forcibly of the difference in their stations. "I am who I am, madam," he bit out, as much a reminder for himself as for her. "You knew what you were purchasing when you set out to do this." She frowned. "Must you make it sound so sordid?" He stepped as close as he dared. "You want me to gather information you can use in playing a false role to catch s husband. I am not the one making it sordid." "Tell me, sir, will I have to endure your moralizing at every turn?" she said in a voice dripping with sugar. "Because I'd happily pay extra to have you keep your opinions to yourself." "There isn't enough money in all the world for that." Her eyes blazed up at him. Good. He much preferred her in a temper. At least then she was herself, not putting on some show. She seemed to catch herself, pasting an utterly false smile to her lips. "I see. Well then, can you manage to be civil for the house party? It does me no good to bring suitors here if you'll be skulking about, making them uncomfortable." He tamped down the urge to provoke her further. If he did she'd strike off on her own, and that would be disastrous. "I shall try to keep my 'skulking' to a minimum." "Thank you." She thrust out her hand. "Shall we shake on it?" The minute his fingers closed about hers, he wished he'd refused. Because having her soft hand in his roused everything he'd been trying to suppress during this interview. He couldn't seem to let go. For such a small-boned female, she had a surprisingly firm grip. Her hand was like her-fragility and strength all wrapped in beauty. He had a mad impulse to lift it to his lips and press a kiss to her creamy skin. But he was no Lancelot to her Guinevere. Only in legend did lowly knights dare to court queens. Releasing her hand before he could do something stupid, he sketched a bow. "Good day, my lady. I'll begin my investigation at once and report to you as soon as I learn something." He left her standing there, a goddess surrounded by the aging glories of an aristocrat's mansion. God save him-this had to be the worst mission he'd ever undertaken, one he was sure to regret.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
This could get a little hairy,” I tell them in interruption. Seriously, I don’t want to know this secret. I’ve got too much other shit going on. I grimace at the very questionable intestines that belong to some fabled creature that surely can’t exist under the radar if all that fit inside it. “If you’re a respawner instead of an unkillable being, get out of the kitchen and at least a mile from the house.” Mom assured me there’s a five mile seclusion radius. Damien starts speaking to me, almost as though he’s too tired to deal with my tinkering right now. “Violet, that potion has to be fresh. There’s no need-" ... There’s a loud, bubbling, sizzling noise that cracks through the air, and I drop to the floor, as a pulse shoots from the pot. Damien yelps, as he and Emit are thrown into one wall, and Mom curses seconds before she and Arion are launched almost into each other, hitting opposing walls instead, when they manage to twist in the air to avoid touching. Everyone crashes to the ground at almost the same time. Groans and grunts and coughs of pain all ring out in annoyed unison. “I warned you,” I call out, even as most of them narrow their eyes in my direction. Damien shoots me a look of exasperation, and I shrug a shoulder. “She did warn us,” Mom grumbles as she remains lying on the floor, while everyone else pushes to their feet. “No one fucks up a potion better than I do. If I fuck it up enough, less power will be needed to raise them,” I go on, smiling over at Emit…who is just staring at me like he’s confused. “But it’s the exact right ingredients,” he says warily, as he stands. “She’s apples and oranges. You can’t compare her to anyone else using those ingredients for that reason,” Mom says dismissively, as I gesture to Vance. “Take him with you; I’m going to be a while. That was just the first volatile ingredient. I don’t think you want to be here for the yacktite—” “Ylacklatite,” they all correct in unison. “You don’t want to be here for those gross, possibly toxic, hard-to-say, fabled-creature intestines. It’s going to probably get crazy up in here,” I say as I twirl my finger around, staying on the floor for a minute longer. Sometimes there’s an echo. “Raise your heartbeat. You’re not taking this seriously enough,” Mom scolds. “What are you doing letting your heartbeat drop so much?” “You really should go. It gets unpredictable when—” The echo pulse I worried would come knocks Arion, Emit, and Damien to the ceiling this time, and I cringe when I hear things crack. When they drop, Arion and Emit land in a crouch, and Damien lands hard on his back, cursing the pot on the stove like it’s singled him out and has it in for sexual deviants. Arion’s lips twitch as he stares over at me, likely thinking what sort of punch a pencil could pack with this concoction. But I’ll be damned if Shera steals any of this juice for his freaky pencils. “Do you rip up those dolls to use them as a timer?” the vampire asks, as he stays on the floor, causing Mom to sneer in his direction. Another pulse cracks some glass, but everyone is under the reach of it now. Damien just shakes his head. “You have drawers full of toxic pencils I don’t even want to know the purpose of,” I tell him dryly. “You don’t get to judge.” His grin grows like he’s pleased with something. I think Mom is seconds away from a brain aneurism
Kristy Cunning (Gypsy Moon (All The Pretty Monsters, #4))
My morning schedule saw me first in Cannan’s office, conferring with my advisor, but our meeting was interrupted within minutes by Narian, who entered without knocking and whose eyes were colder than I had seen them in a long time. “I thought you intended to control them,” he stated, walking toward the captain’s desk and standing directly beside the chair in which I sat.” He slammed a lengthy piece of parchment down on the wood surface, an unusual amount of tension in his movements. I glanced toward the open door and caught sight of Rava. She stood with one hand resting against the frame, her calculating eyes evaluating the scene while she awaited orders. Cannan’s gaze went to the parchment, but he did not reach for it, scanning its contents from a distance. Then he looked at Narian, unruffled. “I can think of a dozen or more men capable of this.” “But you know who is responsible.” Cannan sat back, assessing his opposition. “I don’t know with certainty any more than you do. In the absence of definitive proof of guilt on behalf of my son and his friends, I suggest you and your fellows develop a sense of humor.” Then the captain’s tone changed, becoming more forbidding. “I can prevent an uprising, Narian. This, you’ll have to get used to.” Not wanting to be in the dark, I snatched up the parchment in question. My mouth opened in shock and dismay as I silently read its contents, the men waiting for me to finish. On this Thirtieth Day of May in the First Year of Cokyrian dominance over the Province of Hytanica, the following regulations shall be put into practice in order to assist our gracious Grand Provost in her effort to welcome Cokyri into our lands--and to help ensure the enemy does not bungle the first victory it has managed in over a century. Regulation One. All Hytanican citizens must be willing to provide aid to aimlessly wandering Cokyrian soldiers who cannot on their honor grasp that the road leading back to the city is the very same road that led them away. Regulation Two. It is strongly recommended that farmers hide their livestock, lest the men of our host empire become confused and attempt to mate with them. Regulation Three. As per negotiated arrangements, crops grown on Hytanican soil will be divided with fifty percent belonging to Cokyri, and seventy-five percent remaining with the citizens of the province; Hytanicans will be bound by law to wait patiently while the Cokyrians attempt to sort the baffling deficiency in their calculations. Regulation Four. The Cokyrian envoys assigned to manage the planting and farming effort will also require Hytanican patience while they slowly but surely learn what is a crop and what is a weed, as well as left from right. Regulation Five. Though the Province Wall is a Cokyrian endeavor, it would be polite and understanding of Hytanicans to remind the enemy of the correct side on which to be standing when the final stone is laid, so no unfortunates may find themselves trapped outside with no way in. Regulation Six. When at long last foreign trade is allowed to resume, Hytanicans should strive to empathize with the reluctance of neighboring kingdoms to enter our lands, for Cokyri’s stench is sure to deter even the migrating birds. Regulation Seven. For what little trade and business we do manage in spite of the odor, the imposed ten percent tax may be paid in coins, sweets or shiny objects. Regulation Eight. It is regrettably prohibited for Hytanicans to throw jeers at Cokyrian soldiers, for fear that any man harried may cry, and the women may spit. Regulation Nine. In case of an encounter with Cokyrian dignitaries, the boy-invader and the honorable High Priestess included, let it be known that the proper way in which to greet them is with an ass-backward bow.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
We came to the city because we wished to live haphazardly, to reach for only the least realistic of our desires, and to see if we could not learn what our failures had to teach, and not, when we came to live, discover that we had never died. We wanted to dig deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to be overworked and reduced to our last wit. And if our bosses proved mean, why then we’d evoke their whole and genuine meanness afterward over vodka cranberries and small batch bourbons. And if our drinking companions proved to be sublime then we would stagger home at dawn over the Old City cobblestones, into hot showers and clean shirts, and press onward until dusk fell again. For the rest of the world, it seemed to us, had somewhat hastily concluded that it was the chief end of man to thank God it was Friday and pray that Netflix would never forsake them. Still we lived frantically, like hummingbirds; though our HR departments told us that our commitments were valuable and our feedback was appreciated, our raises would be held back another year. Like gnats we pestered Management— who didn’t know how to use the Internet, whose only use for us was to set up Facebook accounts so they could spy on their children, or to sync their iPhones to their Outlooks, or to explain what tweets were and more importantly, why— which even we didn’t know. Retire! we wanted to shout. We ha Get out of the way with your big thumbs and your senior moments and your nostalgia for 1976! We hated them; we wanted them to love us. We wanted to be them; we wanted to never, ever become them. Complexity, complexity, complexity! We said let our affairs be endless and convoluted; let our bank accounts be overdrawn and our benefits be reduced. Take our Social Security contributions and let it go bankrupt. We’d been bankrupt since we’d left home: we’d secure our own society. Retirement was an afterlife we didn’t believe in and that we expected yesterday. Instead of three meals a day, we’d drink coffee for breakfast and scavenge from empty conference rooms for lunch. We had plans for dinner. We’d go out and buy gummy pad thai and throat-scorching chicken vindaloo and bento boxes in chintzy, dark restaurants that were always about to go out of business. Those who were a little flush would cover those who were a little short, and we would promise them coffees in repayment. We still owed someone for a movie ticket last summer; they hadn’t forgotten. Complexity, complexity. In holiday seasons we gave each other spider plants in badly decoupaged pots and scarves we’d just learned how to knit and cuff links purchased with employee discounts. We followed the instructions on food and wine Web sites, but our soufflés sank and our baked bries burned and our basil ice creams froze solid. We called our mothers to get recipes for old favorites, but they never came out the same. We missed our families; we were sad to be rid of them. Why shouldn’t we live with such hurry and waste of life? We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to decrypt our neighbors’ Wi-Fi passwords and to never turn on the air-conditioning. We vowed to fall in love: headboard-clutching, desperate-texting, hearts-in-esophagi love. On the subways and at the park and on our fire escapes and in the break rooms, we turned pages, resolved to get to the ends of whatever we were reading. A couple of minutes were the day’s most valuable commodity. If only we could make more time, more money, more patience; have better sex, better coffee, boots that didn’t leak, umbrellas that didn’t involute at the slightest gust of wind. We were determined to make stupid bets. We were determined to be promoted or else to set the building on fire on our way out. We were determined to be out of our minds.
Kristopher Jansma (Why We Came to the City)
Variations on a tired, old theme Here’s another example of addict manipulation that plagues parents. The phone rings. It’s the addict. He says he has a job. You’re thrilled. But you’re also apprehensive. Because you know he hasn’t simply called to tell you good news. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. Then comes the zinger you knew would be coming. The request. He says everybody at this company wears business suits and ties, none of which he has. He says if you can’t wire him $1800 right away, he won’t be able to take the job. The implications are clear. Suddenly, you’ve become the deciding factor as to whether or not the addict will be able to take the job. Have a future. Have a life. You’ve got that old, familiar sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. This is not the child you gladly would have financed in any way possible to get him started in life. This is the child who has been strung out on drugs for years and has shown absolutely no interest in such things as having a conventional job. He has also, if you remember correctly, come to you quite a few times with variations on this same tired, old story. One variation called for a car so he could get to work. (Why is it that addicts are always being offered jobs in the middle of nowhere that can’t be reached by public transportation?) Another variation called for the money to purchase a round-trip airline ticket to interview for a job three thousand miles away. Being presented with what amounts to a no-choice request, the question is: Are you going to contribute in what you know is probably another scam, or are you going to say sorry and hang up? To step out of the role of banker/victim/rescuer, you have to quit the job of banker/victim/rescuer. You have to change the coda. You have to forget all the stipulations there are to being a parent. You have to harden your heart and tell yourself parenthood no longer applies to you—not while your child is addicted. Not an easy thing to do. P.S. You know in your heart there is no job starting on Monday. But even if there is, it’s hardly your responsibility if the addict goes well dressed, badly dressed, or undressed. Facing the unfaceable: The situation may never change In summary, you had a child and that child became an addict. Your love for the child didn’t vanish. But you’ve had to wean yourself away from the person your child has become through his or her drugs and/ or alcohol abuse. Your journey with the addicted child has led you through various stages of pain, grief, and despair and into new phases of strength, acceptance, and healing. There’s a good chance that you might not be as healthy-minded as you are today had it not been for the tribulations with the addict. But you’ll never know. The one thing you do know is that you wouldn’t volunteer to go through it again, even with all the awareness you’ve gained. You would never have sacrificed your child just so that you could become a better, stronger person. But this is the way it has turned out. You’re doing okay with it, almost twenty-four hours a day. It’s just the odd few minutes that are hard to get through, like the ones in the middle of the night when you awaken to find that the grief hasn’t really gone away—it’s just under smart, new management. Or when you’re walking along a street or in a mall and you see someone who reminds you of your addicted child, but isn’t a substance abuser, and you feel that void in your heart. You ache for what might have been with your child, the happy life, the fulfilled career. And you ache for the events that never took place—the high school graduation, the engagement party, the wedding, the grandkids. These are the celebrations of life that you’ll probably never get to enjoy. Although you never know. DON’T LET    YOUR KIDS  KILL  YOU  A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children PART 2
Charles Rubin (Don't let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children)