Recently Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Recently. Here they are! All 200 of them:

There was a clatter as the basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione's arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet. "Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!" Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other. "I know, mate," said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, "so it's now or never, isn't it?" "Never mind that, what about the Horcrux?" Harry shouted. "D'you think you could just --- just hold it in, until we've got the diadem?" "Yeah --- right --- sorry ---" said Ron, and he and Hermione set about gathering up fangs, both pink in the face.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
You remember too much, my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said, Where can I put it down?
Anne Carson (Glass, Irony and God)
And quit baring your fangs at me. It's making me nervous." "Good," Simon said. "if you want to know why, it's because you smell like blood." "It's my cologne. Eau de Recent Injury." Jace raised his left hand.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?
Neil Gaiman
The only French word I know is oui, which means “yes,” and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-​u-​i and not w-​e-​e.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Have you been out in society recently? 'Cause it's SHIT.
Russell Brand
Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.
George Carlin (George Carlin Reads to You: An Audio Collection Including Recent Grammy Winners Braindroppings and Napalm & Silly Putty)
The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.
George Carlin
It's my special magical power. I can read your mind when you're thinking dirty thoughts." "So, ninety-five percent of the time." She craned her head back to look up at him. "Ninety-five percent? What's the other five percent?" "Oh, you know, the usual--demons I might kill, runes I need to learn, people who've annoyed me recently, people who've annoyed me not so recently, ducks." "Ducks?
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
Now we're in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated. But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Isabelle snorted. 'All the boys are gay. In this truck, anyway. Well, not you, Simon.' 'You noticed' said Simon. 'I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual,' added Magnus. 'Please never say those words in front of my parents,' said Alec. 'Especially my father.' 'I thought your parents were okay with you, you know, coming out,' Simon said, leaning around Isabelle to look at Alec, who was — as he often was — scowling, and pushing his floppy dark hair out of his eyes. Aside from the occasional exchange, Simon had never talked to Alec much. He wasn’t an easy person to get to know. But, Simon admitted to himself, his own recent estrangement from his mother made him more curious about Alec’s answer than he would have been otherwise. 'My mother seems to have accepted it,' Alec said. 'But my father — no, not really. Once he asked me what I thought had turned me gay.' Simon felt Isabelle tense next to him. 'Turned you gay?' She sounded incredulous. 'Alec, you didn’t tell me that.' 'I hope you told him you were bitten by a gay spider,' said Simon. Magnus snorted; Isabelle looked confused. 'I’ve read Magnus’s stash of comics,' said Alec, 'so I actually know what you’re talking about' A small smile played around his mouth. 'So would that give me the proportional gayness of a spider?' 'Only if it was a really gay spider,' said Magnus, and he yelled as Alec punched him in the arm. 'Ow, okay, never mind.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho,and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A recent survey or North American males found 42% were overweight, 34% were critically obese and 8% ate the survey.
Banksy
A pattern of raised crisscrossed scars, some old and white, others more recent in various shades of pink and red. Exposing the stress of the structure underneath its paint
Amy Efaw (After)
I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)
There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.
George Carlin
Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
Ethics and I had crossed paths recently, and I’m not sure that I fell on the right side of the morality line.
S.C. Stephens (Effortless (Thoughtless, #2))
Did you recently turn into a jerk or have you been one since birth?
Priya Ardis (My Boyfriend Merlin (My Merlin, #1))
Every day I think, ‘Gosh, you look a bit tired today,’ and it’s just recently occurred to me that it’s not that I’m tired, it’s that this is the way I look now.
Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)
I just recently figured out how mirrors work. Pretty cool. That guy always hungrily staring at my naked body was me!
Jarod Kintz ($3.33 (the title is the price))
You think these recent events are everything. You think Aaron fell in love with your friend of several months, a rebel girl named Juliette. You don't know. You don't know. You don't know that Aaron has been in love with Ella for the better part of his entire life. They've known each other since childhood...…..The reason he had to keep wiping their memories was because it didn't matter how many times he reset the story or remade the introductions - Aaron always fell in love with her. Every time. - Delalieu
Tahereh Mafi (Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5))
I whirled around and saw no one. No psychotic mad scientists, anyway. "Jackpot, Max! Jackpot!" It was was Fang, and he was giggling hysterically. For those of you just joining us, Fang doesn't giggle. Especially hysterically. So for a second, this seemed like one of the weirder dreams of recent days.
James Patterson (Fang (Maximum Ride, #6))
There’s nothing like that feeling of waiting for a guy. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world. Holding that cell phone in your hand as you take out the trash, use the bathroom, change the litter box. Fearful that the one second you aren’t looking will be when they call. Pathetic. And something I have done as recently as last week.
Hilary Winston (My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me: And Other Stories I Shouldn't Share with Acquaintances, Coworkers, Taxi drivers, Assistants, Job Interviewers, Bikini Waxers, and Ex/Current/Future Boyfriends but Have)
Leo had recently discovered how to change the display, like the Times Square JumboTron,so now the banner read: Merry Christmas! All your presents belong to Leo!
Rick Riordan
In other news, a recent report suggests that things may not be as they seem.
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there's nothing there, how can anything go wrong?
Richard Brautigan
She is in all of his spaces and all of his thoughts. He contemplates formulas and degrees of rationality and they all turn into her. He thinks about time, which has only recently begun, or at least now feels different. He thinks: the Babylonians were wrong; time is made of her.
Olivie Blake (Alone With You in the Ether)
Until recently, I didn’t think that humans could choose loneliness. That there were sometimes forces more powerful than the wish to avoid loneliness.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Klara and the Sun)
I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he's up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans - it all comes from the same place.
Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter, #2))
Not nearly enough. Not recently, anyway.” And she was sad about that. “I know,” he said, and kissed the back of her hand. “We’ll fix it. Get some sleep.” “Night,” she said, and watched him walk toward the door. “Hey. How’d you get in?” He wiggled his fingers at her in a spooky oogie-boogie pantomime. “I’m a vampire. I have secret powers ,” he said with a full-on fake Transylvanian accent, which he dropped to say, “Actually, your mom let me in.” “Seriously? My mom? Let you in my room? In the middle of the night?” He shrugged. “Moms like me.” He gave her a full-on Hollywood grin, and slipped out the door.
Rachel Caine (Carpe Corpus (The Morganville Vampires, #6))
Recently abandoned women can be complicated.
Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian)
He smiled tolerantly at her. Rubbing his smooth chin its recently assassinated chin hairs, he studied her. She barely came up to Ronan's shoulder, but she was every bit as big as he, every bit as present.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we've learned most of what we know. Recently, we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?" I ask. "Oh, not now. Now we're in a sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says. "But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction. Although who knows? Maybe this will be it, Katniss.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
A recent police study found that you're much more likely to get shot by a fat cop if you run.
Dennis Miller
It's my cologne. Eau de Recent Injury." (Jace)
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
…Tell me, has anything odd happened to you recently? What do you mean, odd?' Unusual. Deviating from the customary. Something outside the usual parameters of normalcy. An occurrence of unprecedented weird.
Jasper Fforde (Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, #2))
I've apparently been the victim of growing up, which apparently happens to all of us at one point or another. It's been going on for quite some time now, without me knowing it. I've found that growing up can mean a lot of things. For me, it doesn't mean I should become somebody completely new and stop loving the things I used to love. It means I've just added more things to my list. Like for example, I'm still beyond obsessed with the winter season and I still start putting up strings of lights in September. I still love sparkles and grocery shopping and really old cats that are only nice to you half the time. I still love writing in my journal and wearing dresses all the time and staring at chandeliers. But some new things I've fallen in love with -- mismatched everything. Mismatched chairs, mismatched colors, mismatched personalities. I love spraying perfumes I used to wear when I was in high school. It brings me back to the days of trying to get a close parking spot at school, trying to get noticed by soccer players, and trying to figure out how to avoid doing or saying anything uncool, and wishing every minute of every day that one day maybe I'd get a chance to win a Grammy. Or something crazy and out of reach like that. ;) I love old buildings with the paint chipping off the walls and my dad's stories about college. I love the freedom of living alone, but I also love things that make me feel seven again. Back then naivety was the norm and skepticism was a foreign language, and I just think every once in a while you need fries and a chocolate milkshake and your mom. I love picking up a cookbook and closing my eyes and opening it to a random page, then attempting to make that recipe. I've loved my fans from the very first day, but they've said things and done things recently that make me feel like they're my friends -- more now than ever before. I'll never go a day without thinking about our memories together.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift)
Don't you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don't you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death? No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no. One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out "Don't you believe in anything?" Yes", I said. "I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
Isaac Asimov
Don't you know that boys don't cry?' Adam grinned. 'Shall I tell you something I've only recently discovered,' I replied, not attempting to hide the tears rolling down my face and not the least bit ashamed of them. 'Boys don't cry, but real men do.
Malorie Blackman (Boys Don't Cry)
We talked--recent history only--and Lucas relayed the story of how Francis came to be his roommate. "He showed up at the door one night, demanding to be let in. Napped on the sofa for an hour, then demanded to be let out. It turned into a nightly ritual, with him staying longer and longer, until at some point I realized he'd moved in. He's basically the most brazen squatter ever.
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
The story of my recent life.' I like that phrase. It makes more sense than 'the story of my life', because we get so many lives between birth and death. A life to be a child. A life to come of age. A life to wander, to settle, to fall in love, to parent, to test our promise, to realize our mortality- and in some lucky cases, to do something after that realization.
Mitch Albom (Have a Little Faith: a True Story)
I don't have a reason to lie to you. Not now.' Jace's gaze remained steady. 'And quit baring your fangs at me. It's making me nervous.' 'Good,' Simon said. 'If you want to know why it's because you smell like blood.' 'It's my cologne. Eau de Recent Injury.' Jace raised his left hand. It was a glove of white bandages, stained across the knucles where blood had seeped through.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
Of course.. some people, me included, believe that punk is just the most recent manifestation of this, this spirit, this feeling, you know, that things aren't right and that in fact things are so wrong that the only thing we can do is to say Fuck It, over and over again, really loud, until someone stops us.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
Tony squeezed her hand and whispered, “It’s as beautiful as I remember.” “Have you been here – recently?” “No, I’d be lost without you.
Aleatha Romig (Truth (Consequences, #2))
The image I'd had of myself as a child was someone I'd never be, and it was only recently that I realized it was okay to be who I was. - Cat
Jeaniene Frost (This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, #5))
I had recently come into the possession of a Thesaurus. You would not believe how many words there are! When I opened that book, I was like, whoa! Word party!
The Harvard Lampoon (Nightlight: A Parody)
I knew the legends of the birds. Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls were the souls of women. Doves were the recently departed souls of unmarried girls. Was there a bird for the souls of people like me?
Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
On the nights I can’t sleep, like that one, like so many recently, I wish I could just turn my mind off like a lamp.
Iain Reid (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
One thing I've learnt recently: how to think nothing. Here's the trick: don't have any interest in the world around you, don't have any hope for the future, and be warm.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
I learned something recently: our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Did you ever find it?" Cyn asked. "What's that?" "Something he wouldn't give you?" "You know, Cynthia, I did. Very recently,in fact. "What was it?" "You
D.B. Reynolds (Jabril (Vampires in America, #2))
We live in a country where our young ladies who have recently attained the age of puberty cannot afford sanitary pads, but our men and women in public offices have ipads which they do not even know how to use.
Patrick L.O. Lumumba
It was only recently that Isabelle had realized other girls weren’t just for envying, avoiding, or disliking.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
The band has decided to give him and his wife a much needed break from the road to start a life and have a proper honeymoon and do all the things a newlywed couple should do. I'm very proud to announce my brother's recent marriage. Watching him grow up into a man and finding love makes me the happiest brother alive. I know this is upsetting news, as it is for us, but we will continues to tour with a temporary replacement until he has situated himself in his new life.
Gerard Way
So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together. In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the page: I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me. Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page. Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a FRIEND… I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest, open to this most recent assurance. In the morning when I wake up, I can still smell a faint trace of depression’s lingering smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, he got up and left. And his buddy loneliness beat it, too.
Elizabeth Gilbert
Sig Sauer. Nine millimetres. Thirteen in the magazine. Big bullets. One of these hits you and it could blow your head off; something even the magic can't fix. Other than that you should be all right, presuming you remembered to wear the regulation above-ground micro-fibre jumpsuit recently patented by me. Then again, being a Recon jock, you probably didn't.
Eoin Colfer (The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, #2))
You know, the New Testament is pretty old. I think they should call them the Old Testament and the Most Recent Testament.
Steven Wright
I recently concluded that there’s no other explanation for how you and I could end up on the same planet, in the same species, in the same century, in the same country, in the same state, in the same town, in the same hallway, in front of the same door for the same reason at the exact same time. If God didn’t believe in me, then I’d have to believe you were just a coincidence. And you being a coincidence in my life is a lot harder for me to fathom than the mere existence of a higher power.
Colleen Hoover (All Your Perfects)
Lei had recently discovered how to change the display, like the Times Square JumboTron,so now the banner read: Merry Christmas! All your presents belong to Leo!
Rick Riordan (The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus))
I'm Galladon, from the sovereign realm of Duladel. I'm most recently from Elantris, land of sludge, insanity, and eternal perdition. Nice to meet you.
Brandon Sanderson (Elantris (Elantris, #1))
If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress. . . . Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen by social laws. . . . It happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success — in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.
Noam Chomsky
It is extraordinarily entertaining to watch the historians of the past ... entangling themselves in what they were pleased to call the "problem" of Queen Elizabeth. They invented the most complicated and astonishing reasons both for her success as a sovereign and for her tortuous matrimonial policy. She was the tool of Burleigh, she was the tool of Leicester, she was the fool of Essex; she was diseased, she was deformed, she was a man in disguise. She was a mystery, and must have some extraordinary solution. Only recently has it occrurred to a few enlightened people that the solution might be quite simple after all. She might be one of the rare people were born into the right job and put that job first.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society)
Don't you want to join us?" I was recently asked by an acquaintance when he ran across me alone after midnight in a coffeehouse that was already almost deserted. "No, I don't," I said.
Franz Kafka (Diaries, 1910-1923)
Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently we have had our difficulties and there are many things I want to ask you.
Richard Siken (Crush)
On the information sheet in a New York hotel, I recently read: 'Dear guest! To guarantee that you will fully enjoy your stay with us, this hotel is totally smoke-free. For any infringement of this regulation, you will be charged $200.' The beauty of this formulation, taken literally, is that you are to be punished for refusing to fully enjoy your stay.
Slavoj Žižek (First as Tragedy, Then as Farce)
I became quietly seized with that nostalgia that overcomes you when you have reached the middle of your life and your father has recently died and it dawns on you that when he went he took some of you with him.
Bill Bryson (The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America)
My advice.” She pressed her fingers to her chest. “But didn’t you recently say that I was a ‘mad creature’ who was ‘soft in the head’? Sniff, sniff, Rydstrom. Sniff, sniff. I was so crushed that I ate a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s, except I didn’t because Valkyrie don’t eat.
Kresley Cole (Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Immortals After Dark, #4))
These are delicious! What are they?" "Double chocolate chip with peanut butter filling." "They're the second best thing I've ever tasted." I laughed. "You said the same thing at dinner." "I recently readjusted the ranking.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Quest (The Tiger Saga, #2))
We were not having any fun, he had recently begun pointing out. I would take exception (didn't we do this, didn't we do that) but I had also known what he meant. He meant doing things not because we were expected to do them or had always done them or should do them but because we wanted to do them. He meant wanting. He meant living.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
God is not needed to create guilt or to punish. Our fellow men suffice, aided by ourselves. You were speaking of the Last Judgement. Allow me to laugh respectfully. I shall wait for it resolutely, for I have known what is worse, the judgement of men. For them, no extenuating circumstances; even the good intention is ascribed to crime. Have you at least heard of the spitting cell, which a nation recently thought up to prove itself the greatest on earth? A walled-up box in which the prisoner can stand without moving. The solid door that locks him in the cement shell stops at chin level. Hence only his face is visible, and every passing jailer spits copiously on it. The prisoner, wedged into his cell, cannot wipe his face, though he is allowed, it is true. to close his eyes. Well, that, mon cher, is a human invention. They didn't need God for that little masterpiece.
Albert Camus (The Fall)
I MAY HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF SOME FLICKER OF EMOTION IN THE RECENT PAST, said Death, BUT I CAN GIVE IT UP ANY TIME I LIKE.
Terry Pratchett (Soul Music (Discworld, #16; Death, #3))
All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently: "O God, make me a normal twentieth-century girl!" Thanks to our labors, this will mean increasingly: "Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
A three-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. The human embryos that are destroyed in stem-cell research do not have brains, or even neurons. Consequently, there is no reason to believe they can suffer their destruction in any way at all. It is worth remembered, in this context, that when a person's brain has died, we currently deem it acceptable to harvest his organs (provided he has donated them for this purpose) and bury him in the ground. If it is acceptable to treat a person whose brain has died as something less than a human being, it should be acceptable to treat a blastocyst as such. If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst. Perhaps you think that the crucial difference between a fly and a human blastocyst is to be found in the latter's potential to become a fully developed human being. But almost every cell in your body is a potential human being, given our recent advances in genetic engineering. Every time you scratch your nose, you have committed a Holocaust of potential human beings.
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
You remember too much, my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said, Where do I put it down?
Anne Carson (Glass and God)
Recently , crowds of thousands gathered throughout the Muslim world - burning European embassies, issuing threats, taking hostages, even killing people - in protest over twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in a Danish newspaper. When was the last atheist riot?
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
I’m awesome, Sam. Have you not gotten the memo recently? It’s supposed to go out every Friday morning with Twitter alerts. #Logansawesomenooneforgetit.
Tijan (Fallen Fourth Down (Fallen Crest High, #4))
At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal's behavior is embedded and by which it is secured. Such security, like paradise, is closed to man forever; man has to make choices. In addition to this, however, man has suffered another loss in his more recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people tell him to do (totalitarianism).
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
But I can now understand why people read, why they like to get lost in somebody else's life. Sometimes I'll read a sentence and it will make me sit up, jolt me, because it is something that I have recently felt but never said out loud. I want to reach into the page and tell the characters that I understand them, that they're not alone, that I'm not alone, that it's ok to feel like this. And then the lunch bell rings, the book closes, and I'm plunged back into reality.
Cecelia Ahern (Flawed (Flawed, #1))
I don't think you've been in love. Not recently, anyway. I'm not sure you remember what it's like. It compromises you. It takes over your body. Like a bareword. I think love is a bareword.
Max Barry (Lexicon)
My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently, and therefore… I may have omitted to tell you that I love you.” He took a breath. “That’s all.
K.J. Charles (A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies, #2))
Looks to me like it sorted itself out. The girl’s been laid, my guess, fairly recently, guessin’ again, good and proper. Next problem!” I closed my eyes. Someone, please tell me that Shirleen didn’t just announce to the entire store that I’d been laid “good and proper
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick Regret (Rock Chick, #7))
I lost something recently," he tells me. My heart swells at the familiar voice, and I spin around to drop-dead-gorgeous cheekbones, a ruby-red visor, and lips that pull into a breathtaking smile. "Found her," he says.
Krista Ritchie (Thrive (Addicted #4))
My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn't exist, and there are some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.
Donald Miller
Until recently each generation found it more expedient to plead guilty to the charge of being young and ignorant, easier to take the punishment meted out by the older generation (which had itself confessed to the same crime short years before). The command to grow up at once was more bearable than the faceless horror of wavering purpose, which was youth.
Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #1))
He stepped to her again, laid his lips on her brow. "But I want children with you, my lovely Eve. One day." "One day being far, far in the future. Like, I don't know, say a decade when...Hold on. Children is plural." He eased back, grinned. "Why, so it is--nothing slips by my canny cop." "You really think if I ever actually let you plant something in me--they're like aliens in there, growing little hands and feet." She shuddered. "Creepy. If I ever did that, popped a kid out--which I think is probably as pleasant a process as having your eyeballs pierced by burning, poisonous sticks, I'd say, 'Whoopee, let's do this again?' Have you recently suffered head trauma?" "Not to my knowledge." "Could be coming. Any second.
J.D. Robb (Survivor In Death (In Death, #20))
I read a jaw-dropping online defense of these weapons from a California woman recently. Guns, she said, are just tools. Like spoons, she said. Would you outlaw spoons simply because some people use them to eat too much? Lady, let’s see you try to kill twenty schoolkids with a fucking spoon.
Stephen King (Guns (Kindle Single))
I was with a friend of mine recently who was dying and while he was lying there with his family around his bed, I just knew that was it, that was the best you can hope for in life - to have your family and the people who love you around you at the end.
Ewan McGregor
There are other ways women have been made to disappear. There is the business of naming.In some cultures women keep their names, but in most their children take the father's name, and in the English-speaking world until very recently, prefaced by Mrs. You stopped, for example, being Charlotte Bronte and became Mrs. Arthur Nicholls. Names erased a woman's genealogy and even her existence.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
Ada girl, adored girl, [...] I'm a radiant void. I'm convalescing after a long and dreadful illness. You cried over my unseemly scar, but now life is going to be nothing but love and laughter, and corn in cans. I cannot brood over broken hearts, mine is too recently mended.
Vladimir Nabokov
You can't wish for more wishes or for vague generalities like happiness that are impossible to grant. Your wish has to be something specific enough that I can use my wand to make it happen. Oh, and recently there's been a ban on inserting yourself into the Twilight series. The Cullens are tired of different teenage girls pinging into their story every time they turn around.
Janette Rallison (My Unfair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #2))
That casual kiss on my cheek would have meant nothing up until recently, I realized I was in love with him. Not that, 'I love you, man,' type of love. Nope. I was ass over teacup in love with my best friend. The 'let's get married and grow old together' type of love.
Summer Michaels (Lucky Boy)
I love the autumn—that melancholy season that suits memories so well. When the trees have lost their leaves, when the sky at sunset still preserves the russet hue that fills with gold the withered grass, it is sweet to watch the final fading of the fires that until recently burnt within you.
Gustave Flaubert (Memoirs of a Madman and November)
I want you to understand something. That man? He’s not some boyfriend in a line of them. He is my alpha and omega. He is the sky over me. Without him, I’m lost. There’s no one else, no one whose soul balances mine the way his does. I’ve waited my life for him, and when he came, I didn’t recognize him. Not until recently. If I lose him, I swear, as God is my witness, I will be alone. No man can match him.
C.D. Reiss (Sing (Songs of Submission, #7))
In fact I no longer value this kind of memento. I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted. There was a period, a long period, dating from my childhood until quite recently, when I thought I did. A period during which I believed that I could keep people fully present, keep them with me, by preserving their mementos, their "things," their totems.
Joan Didion (Blue Nights)
In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children...The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth.
Thomas L. Friedman
Too large a proportion of recent "mathematical" economics are mere concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest on, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols.
John Maynard Keynes
Yes, peasants,” he repeated slowly. “The lowliest of the low among humans.” Then he enunciated, “Exceedingly backward and vulgar hillbillies.” “Been called worse, mister.” At his raised brows, she exhaled impatiently. “Bootlegger, moonshiner, Elly May Clampett, mountain mama, redneck, backwoods Bessie, hick, trailer trash, yokel, and, more recently, death-row con.” “No references to mining? I’m disappointed.
Kresley Cole (Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #11))
Whenever I tell people I'm a misanthrope they react as though that's a bad thing, the idiots. I live in London, for God's sake. Have you walked down Oxford Street recently? Misanthropy's the only thing that gets you through it. It's not a personality flaw, it's a skill. It's nothing to do with sheer numbers. Move me to a remote cottage in the Hebrides and I'd learn to despise the postman, even if he only visited once a year. I can't abide other people, with their stink and their noise and their irritating ringtones. Bill Hicks called the human race 'a virus with shoes', and if you ask me he was being unduly hard on viruses; I'd consider a career in serial killing if the pay wasn't so bad.
Charlie Brooker (Screen Burn)
People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness. It is the look of someone who walks from the ophthalmologist's office into the bright daylight with dilated eyes, or of someone who wears glasses and is suddenly made to take them off. These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible. I myself felt invisible for a period of time, incorporeal. I seemed to have crossed one of those legendary rivers that divide the living from the dead, entered a place in which I could be seen only by those who were themselves recently bereaved. I understood for the first time the power in the image of the rivers, the Styx, the Lethe, the cloaked ferryman with his pole. I understood for the first time the meaning in the practice of suttee. Widows did not throw themselves on the burning raft out of grief. The burning raft was instead an accurate representation of the place to which their grief (not their families, not the community, not custom, their grief) had taken them.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
We seem to live in a world where forgetting and oblivion are an industry in themselves and very, very few people are remotely interested or aware of their own recent history, much less their neighbors'. I tend to think we are what we remember, what we know. The less we remember, the less we know about ourselves, the less we are. (Interview with Three Monkeys Online, October 2008)
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
After the rains departed the skies and settled on earth - clear skies; moist brilliant earth - greater clarity returned to life alone with the blue above and made the world below rejoice with the freshness of the recent rain. It left heaven in our souls and a freshness in our hearts.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
my sweet old etcetera aunt lucy during the recent war could and what is more did tell you just what everybody was fighting for, my sister isabel created hundreds (and hundreds) of socks not to mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers etcetera wristers etcetera, my mother hoped that i would die etcetera bravely of course my father used to become hoarse talking about how it was a privilege and if only he could meanwhile my self etcetera lay quietly in the deep mud et cetera (dreaming, et cetera, of Your smile eyes knees and of your Etcetera)
E.E. Cummings
Oh. My. God. You're Rose Hathaway aren't you?" "Yeah." I said with surprise. "Do you know me?" "Everyone knows you. I mean, everyone heard about you. You're the one who ran away. And then you came back and killed the Strigoi. That is so cool! Did you get molnija marks?" Her words came out in one long string. She hardly took a breath. "Yeah. I have two." Thinking about the tiny tattoos on the back of my neck made my skin itch. Her pale green eyes—if possible—grew wider. "Oh my God. Wow." I usually grew irate when people made a big deal about molnija marks. After all, the circumstances had not been cool. But this girl was young, and there was something appealing about her. "What's your name?" I asked. "Jillian—Jill. I mean, just Jill. Not both. Jillian's my full name. Jill's what everyone calls me." "Right." I said, hiding a smile. "I figured it out." "I heard Moroi used magic on that trip to fight. Is that true? I would love to do that. I wish someone would teach me. I use air. Do you think i could fight Strigoi with that? Everyone says I'm crazy!" For centuries, Moroi using magic to fight had been viewed as a sin. Everyone believed it should be used peacefully. Recently, some had started to question that, particularly after Christian had proved useful in the Spokane escape. "I don't know." I said. "You should talk to Christian Ozera." She gaped. "Would he talk to me?" "If you bring up fighting the establishment, yeah he'll talk to you." "Okay, cool. Was that Guardian Belikov?" she asked, switching subjects abruptly. "Yeah." I swore I thought she might faint then and there. "Really? He's even cuter then I heard. He's your teacher right? Like, your own personal teacher?" "Yeah." I wondered where he was. Talking to Jill was exhausting. "Wow. You know you guys don't even act like teacher and student. You seem like friends. Do you hang out when you're not training?" "Er, well, kind of. Sometimes." I remembered my earlier thoughts, about how I was one of the few people Dimitri was social with outside of his guardian duties. "I knew it! I can't even imagine that—I'd be freaking out all the time around him. I'd never get anything done, but your so cool about it all, kind of like, 'Yeah. I'm with this totally hot guy, but whatever it doesn't matter!'" I laughed in spite of myself. "I think you're giving me more credit than I deserve." "No way. And I don't believe any of those stories, you know." "Um, stories?" "Yeah about you beating up Christian Ozera." "Thanks." I said.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
Sometimes, life seems to have a higher meaning. Events unfold in uncanny sequences. Long-forgotten acquaintances turn up with news that changes lives. A stranger appears and speaks a few words of wisdom, solving a previously insoluble problem, or something in a recent dream transpires in reality. Suddenly the existence of God seems confirmed.
Dean Koontz (Winter Moon)
Ladies and gentleman," he said over the speakers, "welcome aboard this recently liberated Gulfstream V. If I could have your attention for just a few moments, I'd like to go over the safety features of this aircraft. It has an engine, to make us go, and wings, to keep us in the air. There are seatbelts, which won't do you an awful lot of good if we fly into the side of a mountain.
Derek Landy (The Maleficent Seven (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7.5))
He pulled the Carstairs family ring from his finger and held it out to Will. "Take it." Will let his eyes drift down toward it, and then up to Jem's face. A dozen awful things he could say, or do, went through his mind. One did not slough off a persona so quickly, he had found. He had pretended to be cruel for so many years that the pretense was still what he reached for first, as a man might absently turn his carriage toward the home he had lived in for all his life, despite the fact that he had recently moved. "You wish to marry me now?" he said, at last.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Afterward, I curl around her. We lie in silence until darkness falls, and then, haltingly, she begins to talk...She speaks without need or even room for response, so I simply hold her and stroke her hair. She talks of the pain, grief, and horror of the past four years; of learning to cope with being the wife of a man so violent and unpredictable his touch made her skin crawl and of thinking, until quite recently, that she'd finally managed to do that. And then, finally, of how my appearance had forced her to realize she hadn't learned to cope at all.
Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
When, as happened recently in France, an attempt is made to coerce women out of the burqa rather than creating a situation in which a woman can choose what she wishes to do, it’s not about liberating her, but about unclothing her. It becomes an act of humiliation and cultural imperialism. It’s not about the burqa. It’s about the coercion. Coercing a woman out of a burqa is as bad as coercing her into one. Viewing gender in this way, shorn of social, political and economic context, makes it an issue of identity, a battle of props and costumes. It is what allowed the US government to use western feminist groups as moral cover when it invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Afghan women were (and are) in terrible trouble under the Taliban. But dropping daisy-cutters on them was not going to solve their problems.
Arundhati Roy
When Republicans recently charged the President with promoting 'class warfare,' he answered it was 'just math.' But it's more than math. It's a matter of morality. Republicans have posed the deepest moral question of any society: whether we're all in it together. Their answer is we're not. President Obama should proclaim, loudly and clearly, we are.
Robert B. Reich
You wouldn't think that people would believe that we all got so incredibly beat up—in so many interesting ways—from a bear attack. Especially not when Carmel is sporting a bite mark that is a spot-on match for wounds found at one of the most horrifying crime scenes in recent history. But I never fail to be surprised by what people will believe.
Kendare Blake (Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1))
Imagine saying to somebody that you have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, and being told to pull yourself together or get over it. Imagine being terribly ill and too afraid to tell anyone lest it destroys your career. Imagine being admitted to hospital because you are too ill to function and being too ashamed to tell anyone, because it is a psychiatric hospital. Imagine telling someone that you have recently been discharged and watching them turn away, in embarrassment or disgust or fear. Comparisons are odious. Stigmatising an illness is more odious still.
Sally Brampton (Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression)
I remember watching an episode of The West Wing about education in America, which the majority of people rightfully believe is the key to opportunity. In it, the fictional president debates whether he should push school vouchers (giving public money to schoolchildren so that they escape failing public schools) or instead focus exclusively on fixing those same failing schools. That debate is important, of course—for a long time, much of my failing school district qualified for vouchers—but it was striking that in an entire discussion about why poor kids struggled in school, the emphasis rested entirely on public institutions. As a teacher at my old high school told me recently, “They want us to be shepherds to these kids. But no one wants to talk about the fact that many of them are raised by wolves.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Leigh did what any sane female faced with such an e-mail would do: deleted it to resist the temptation of replying, cleared her trash to resist the temptation of recalling it, and then called tech support to restore all her recently deleted e-mails. (Chasing Harry Winston)
Lauren Weisberger
Every morning the maple leaves. Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out You will be alone always and then you will die. So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog of non-definitive acts, something other than the desperation. Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party. Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party and seduced you and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing. You want a better story. Who wouldn’t? A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing. Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on. What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon. Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly flames everywhere. I can tell already you think I’m the dragon, that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon. I’m not the princess either. Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure, I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow glass, but that comes later. Let me do it right for once, for the record, let me make a thing of cream and stars that becomes, you know the story, simply heaven. Inside your head you hear a phone ringing and when you open your eyes only a clearing with deer in it. Hello deer. Inside your head the sound of glass, a car crash sound as the trucks roll over and explode in slow motion. Hello darling, sorry about that. Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud. Especially that, but I should have known. Inside your head you hear a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up in a stranger’s bathroom, standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away from the dirtiest thing you know. All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly darkness, suddenly only darkness. In the living room, in the broken yard, in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of unnatural light, my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away. I arrived in the city and you met me at the station, smiling in a way that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade, up the stairs of the building to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things, I looked out the window and said This doesn’t look that much different from home, because it didn’t, but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights. We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too, smiling and crying in a way that made me even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I just couldn’t say it out loud. Actually, you said Love, for you, is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s terrifying. No one will ever want to sleep with you. Okay, if you’re so great, you do it— here’s the pencil, make it work … If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing river water. Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently we have had our difficulties and there are many things I want to ask you. I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again, years later, in the chlorinated pool. I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have these luxuries. I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together. I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes. Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you. Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
Richard Siken
I believe order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
Sometimes we need to do things we'd rather not do, in order to get the peace that we need; to look after our own well-being and to return to a healthy state. Decisions we may make may hurt others at times. Sometimes it hurts us too. I have found myself in situations like this recently. It a hard choice. But truly, there are times that we have to take care of ourselves. Sometimes there are no good choices, just painful ones... Sometimes that's just how real life is.
José N. Harris (MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love)
A culture that denies death is a barrier to achieving a good death. Overcoming our fears and wild misconceptions about death will be no small task, but we shouldn't forget how quickly other cultural prejudices--racism, sexism, homophobia--have begun to topple in the recent past. It is high time death had its own moment of truth.
Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory)
Young men!” he snorted to Erak. “They think a pretty face can cure every ill.” “Some of us can remember back that far. Halt,” Erak told him with a grin. “I suppose that’s all far behind an old hack like you. Svengal told me you were settling down. Some plump, motherly widow seizing her last chance with a broken-down old gray bear, is she?” Erak, of course, had been told by Svengal that Halt had recently married a great beauty. But he enjoyed getting a reaction from the smaller man. Halt’s one-eyed stare locked onto the Oberjarl. “When we get back, I’d advise you not to refer to Pauline as a ‘plump, motherly widow’ in her hearing. She’s very good with that dagger she carries and you need your ears to keep that ridiculous helmet of yours in place.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
More recently, books, especially paperbacks, have been printed in massive and inexpensive editions. For the price of a modest meal you can ponder the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the origin of species, the interpretation of dreams, the nature of things. Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
I have had much experience with the unclean and uncivilized in the recent past. Shall I tell you what I discovered? I am not the state of my feet. I am not the dirt on my hands or the hygiene of my private parts. If I were these things, I would not have been at liberty to pray at any time since my arrest. But I did pray, because I am not these things. In the end, I am not even myself. I am a string of bones speaking the word God.
G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen)
I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.
Tara Brach
Mother, recently I have discovered the one way in which human beings differ completely from other animals. Man has, I know, language, knowledge, principles, and social order, but don't all the other animals have them too, granted the difference of degree? Perhaps the animals even have religions. Man boasts of being the lord of all creation, but it would seem as if essentially he does not differ in the least from other animals. But, Mother, there was one way I thought of. Perhaps you won't understand. It's a faculty absolutely unique to man - having secrets. Can you see what I mean?
Osamu Dazai (The Setting Sun)
I see,” I said, which was not entirely true. But it did seem to explain a bit of what I’d recently seen and heard. “Er . . . at this moment, are you kissing me?” “No, only almost,” murmured Gideon, with his lips just above my skin. “I mean, no way do I want to exploit the fact that you’re drunk and may be mistaking me for some kind of god right now. But it doesn’t come easy . . .” I closed my eyes and leaned my head against his shoulder, and he held me closer. “Like I said, you really don’t make things easy for me. You always give me the wrong sort of ideas in churches . . .
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say, Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Philip Larkin
Why do people kill themselves? I think they do it when they can no longer find a reason to keep going. When nothing in heir lives is good enough to balance out the bad. And they do it when they no longer have the courage to carry on past some recent painful experience. They commit what is, in the end, a desperate, final call for help, that is hopefully heard in time by someone else. And what if it's not heard in time? I ask although I know the answer. Then they die.
Mary Beth Miller (Aimee)
How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d'Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity. Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought be could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking. Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we've been given? ... His name was privilege, but hers was possibility. His was the same old story, but hers was a new one about the possibility of changing a story that remains unfinished, that includes all of us, that matters so much, that we will watch but also make and tell in the weeks, months, years, decades to come.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
In China, we say: 'There are many dreams in a long night.' It has been a long night, but I don't know if I want to continue the dreams. It feels like I am walking on a little path, both sides are dark mountains and valleys. I am walking towards a little light in the distance. Walking, and walking, I am seeing that light diminishing. I am seeing myself walk towards the end of the love, the sad end. I love you more than I loved you before. I love you more than I should love you. But I must leave. I am losing myself. It is painful that I can't see myself. It is time for me to say those words you kept telling me recently. 'Yes, I agree with you. We can't be together.
Xiaolu Guo (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers)
In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust. Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
But recently I have learned from discussions with a variety of scientists and other non-philosophers (e.g., the scientists participating with me in the Sean Carroll workshop on the future of naturalism) that they lean the other way: free will, in their view, is obviously incompatible with naturalism, with determinism, and very likely incoherent against any background, so they cheerfully insist that of course they don't have free will, couldn’t have free will, but so what? It has nothing to do with morality or the meaning of life. Their advice to me at the symposium was simple: recast my pressing question as whether naturalism (materialism, determinism, science...) has any implications for what we may call moral competence. For instance, does neuroscience show that we cannot be responsible for our choices, cannot justifiably be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished? Abandon the term 'free will' to the libertarians and other incompatibilists, who can pursue their fantasies untroubled. Note that this is not a dismissal of the important issues; it’s a proposal about which camp gets to use, and define, the term. I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of discarding the term 'free will' altogether, but that course too involves a lot of heavy lifting, if one is to avoid being misunderstood.
Daniel C. Dennett (Consciousness Explained)
There was a lot of pain in that kiss. There was so much hurt and so much fear in it. I felt tears rolling down the both of our faces. But, in that kiss, there was even more want. We both wanted to smother out that pain, to not have so many horrible things in the all too recent past, to just be normal, to do the types of things we were supposed to be dealing with besides death and disability.
Keary Taylor (What I Didn't Say)
In recent weeks it has come to my attention that many caravans have met with disaster; they have not gotten through." I grunted wisely. "Probably ran out of water. That's the thing about deserts. Dry." "Indeed. A fascinating analysis. But survivors reaching Hebron report differently: monsters fell upon them in the wastes." "What, fell upon them in a squashed-them kind of way?" "More the leaped-out-and-slew-them kind. (...)
Jonathan Stroud (The Ring of Solomon (Bartimaeus, #0.5))
The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation. One night at a bar, I met a man, and within five minutes he explained that he had just been released from prison. Another drinker told me that his wife had passed away, and he had recently suffered a heart attack, and now he hoped that he would die within the year. I learned that there's no reliable small talk in America; at any moment a conversation can become personal.
Peter Hessler
Sanjit says his apartment, the same one in which he grew up, has been flooded many times by the midsummer torrents. For what has been for millennia a primarily agricultural society, rains simultaneously destroy, create, and preserve life in India, similar to the functions of the three premier Hindu gods, Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. Every time Kolkata gets pounded by a cyclone, or when the monsoon first erupts in June (although the recent warming of the Indian Ocean increasingly disturbs a once-consistent timeline), Sanjit never fails to send along a video, his house flooded – seemingly destroyed – but the smiles on his, Bajju’s, or other house-guest’s faces signify just the opposite, having been cooled and relieved of perpetual heat. Flooded, they remain preserved.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Why should the spread of ideas and people result in reforms that lower violence? There are several pathways. The most obvious is a debunking of ignorance and superstition. A connected and educated populace, at least in aggregate and over the long run, is bound to be disabused of poisonous beliefs, such as that members of other races and ethnicities are innately avaricious or perfidious; that economic and military misfortunes are caused by the treachery of ethnic minorities; that women don't mind to be raped; that children must be beaten to be socialized; that people choose to be homosexual as part of a morally degenerate lifestyle; that animals are incapable of feeling pain. The recent debunking of beliefs that invite or tolerate violence call to mind Voltaire's quip that those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
I learned something recently: our true friends are those are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with the sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives. When things were bad last year, various people I had never ever seen before turned up to ‘console’ me. I hate that.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Samuel Vimes dreamed about Clues. He had a jaundiced view of Clues. He instinctively distrusted them. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!
Terry Pratchett (Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19; City Watch, #3))
Until recently, I was an ebook sceptic, see; one of those people who harrumphs about the “physical pleasure of turning actual pages” and how ebook will “never replace the real thing”. Then I was given a Kindle as a present. That shut me up. Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut. First they said CDs were no match for vinyl. Then they said MP3s were no match for CDs. Now they say streaming music services are no match for MP3s. They’re only happy looking in the rear-view mirror.
Charlie Brooker
As recently as fifty years ago my grandmother was picking cotton with bleeding fingers. I think about her all the time while I'm getting overpaid to sit at a computer, eat Chinese takeout, and think up things in my pajamas, The half century separating my fingers, which are moisturized with cucumber lotion and type eighty words per minute, and her bloody digits is an ordinary Land of Opportunity parable, and don't think I don't appreciate it.
Sarah Vowell (The Partly Cloudy Patriot)
Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARDER and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done-a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old's nose, don't be disgusted if the Kleenex didn't catch it all because soon he'll be wiping his own. If you've recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you're eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.
Kyle Lake
...he asked, "Where are you today, right now?" Eagerly, I started talking about myself. However, I noticed that I was still being sidetracked from getting answers to my questions. Still, I told him about my distant and recent past and about my inexplicable depressions. He listened patiently and intently, as if he had all the time in the world, until I finished several hours later. "Very well," he said. "But you still have not answered my question about where you are." "Yes I did, remember? I told you how I got to where I am today: by hard work." "Where are you?" "What do you mean, where am I?" "Where Are you?" he repeated softly. "I'm here." "Where is here?" "In this office, in this gas station!" I was getting impatient with this game. "Where is this gas station?" "In Berkeley?" "Where is Berkeley?" "In California?" "Where is California?" "In the United States?" "On a landmass, one of the continents in the Western Hemisphere. Socrates, I..." "Where are the continents? I sighed. "On the earth. Are we done yet?" "Where is the earth?" "In the solar system, third planet from the sun. The sun is a small star in the Milky Way galaxy, all right?" "Where is the Milky Way?" "Oh, brother, " I sighed impatiently, rolling my eyes. "In the universe." I sat back and crossed my arms with finality. "And where," Socrates smiled, "is the universe?" "The universe is well, there are theories about how it's shaped..." "That's not what I asked. Where is it?" "I don't know - how can I answer that?" "That is the point. You cannot answer it, and you never will. There is no knowing about it. You are ignorant of where the universe is, and thus, where you are. In fact, you have no knowledge of where anything is or of What anything is or how is came to be. Life is a mystery. "My ignorance is based on this understanding. Your understanding is based on ignorance. This is why I am a humorous fool, and you are a serious jackass.
Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives)
He does have immaculate taste. He's sensitive to the most minuscule of aesthetic failures, in painting, in cinema, even in novels or television shows. Sometimes when Marianne mentions a film she has recently watched, he waves his hand and says: It fails for me. This quality of discernment, she has realised, does not make Lukas a good person. He has managed to nurture a fine artistic sensitivity without ever developing any real sense of right and wrong. The fact that this is even possible unsettles Marianne, and makes art seem pointless suddenly.
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
– But here is a question that is troubling me: if there is no God, then, one may ask, who governs human life and, in general, the whole order of things on earth? – Man governs it himself, – Homeless angrily hastened to reply to this admittedly none-too-clear question. – Pardon me, – the stranger responded gently, – but in order to govern, one needs, after all, to have a precise plan for a certain, at least somewhat decent, length of time. Allow me to ask you, then, how can man govern, if he is not only deprived of the opportunity of making a plan for at least some ridiculously short period, well, say, a thousand years , but cannot even vouch for his own tomorrow? And in fact, – here the stranger turned to Berlioz, – imagine that you, for instance, start governing, giving orders to others and yourself, generally, so to speak, acquire a taste for it, and suddenly you get ...hem ... hem ... lung cancer ... – here the foreigner smiled sweetly, and if the thought of lung cancer gave him pleasure — yes, cancer — narrowing his eyes like a cat, he repeated the sonorous word —and so your governing is over! You are no longer interested in anyone’s fate but your own. Your family starts lying to you. Feeling that something is wrong, you rush to learned doctors, then to quacks, and sometimes to fortune-tellers as well. Like the first, so the second and third are completely senseless, as you understand. And it all ends tragically: a man who still recently thought he was governing something, suddenly winds up lying motionless in a wooden box, and the people around him, seeing that the man lying there is no longer good for anything, burn him in an oven. And sometimes it’s worse still: the man has just decided to go to Kislovodsk – here the foreigner squinted at Berlioz – a trifling matter, it seems, but even this he cannot accomplish, because suddenly, no one knows why, he slips and falls under a tram-car! Are you going to say it was he who governed himself that way? Would it not be more correct to think that he was governed by someone else entirely?
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
There's an old, frequently-used definition of insanity, which is "performing the same action over and over, expecting different results."... Now, I'm no doctor, but I am on TV. And in my professional opinion, George Bush is a paranoid schizophrenic. ... ...Other symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are: Do you see things that aren't there? Such as a link between 9/11 and Iraq? Do you - do you feel things that you shouldn't be feeling, like a sense of accomplishment? Do you have trouble organizing words into a coherent sentence? Do you hear voices that aren't really there? Like, oh, I don't know, your imaginary friend, Jesus? Telling you to start a war in the Middle East. Well, guess what? There are a large number of people out there also suffering from the same delusions, because there are Republicans, there are conservatives, and then there are the Bushies. This is the 29 percent of Americans who still think he's doing "a heck of a job, Whitey." And I don't believe that it's coincidence that almost the same number of Americans - 25 percent - told a recent pollster that they believe that this year - this year, 2007 - would bring the Second Coming of Christ! I have a hunch these are the same people. Because, if you think that you're going to meet Jesus before they cancel "Ugly Betty," then you're used to doing things by faith. And if you have so much blind faith that you think this war is winnable, you're nuts and you shouldn't be allowed near a voting booth.
Bill Maher
Owen," Henry said excitedly, "I think Coach wants you to hit for Meccini." Owen closed The Voyage of the Beagle, on which he had recently embarked. "Really?" "Runners on first and second," Rick said. "I bet he wants you to bunt." "What's the bunt sign?" "Two tugs on the left earlobe," Henry told him. "But first he has to give the indicator, which is squeeze the belt. But if he goes to his cap with either hand or says your first name, that's the wipe-off, and then you have to wait and see whether--" "Forget it," Owen said. "I'll just bunt.
Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding)
The senior wizards of Unseen University stood and looked at the door. There was no doubt that whoever had shut it wanted it to stay shut. Dozens of nails secured it to the door frame. Planks had been nailed right across. And finally it had, up until this morning, been hidden by a bookcase that had been put in front of it. 'And there's the sign, Ridcully,' said the Dean. 'You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door"?' 'Of course I've read it,' said Ridcully. 'Why d'yer think I want it opened?' 'Er ... why?' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. 'To see why they wanted it shut, of course.' This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilization. At least, those bits of it that are now under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
The only way death is not meaningless is to see yourself as part of something greater: a family, a community, a society. If you don’t, mortality is only a horror. But if you do, it is not. Loyalty, said Royce, “solves the paradox of our ordinary existence by showing us outside of ourselves the cause which is to be served, and inside of ourselves the will which delights to do this service, and which is not thwarted but enriched and expressed in such service.” In more recent times, psychologists have used the term “transcendence” for a version of this idea. Above the level of self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they suggest the existence in people of a transcendent desire to see and help other beings achieve their potential.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
He was sound asleep, his long legs stretched out in front of him, the blessed fire blazing, an empty bottle of wine by his side. He hadn't been shaved recently, and he looked rumpled, dissolute and beautiful. Like a fallen angel. She moved to stand in front of him and pointed the pistol directly at his heart. "I wouldn't do that if I were you," he murmured, and then he opened his extraordinary eyes. "It's always unwise to shoot the man you're in love with.
Anne Stuart (The Devil's Waltz)
One hand planted on the top rail, slick from a recent rain, I swung my legs sideways, up and over. Home free. Until my bottom foot clipped the post, and I spun as if caught in a crocodile’s death roll. Good news? The spongy forest floor cushioned my fall. Bad news? Momentum slammed my torso into a tree trunk. Couldn’t breathe. But good news again. I’d rolled under a fat, bushy pine, which, along with the fading twilight, concealed my position. I heard the beast fly overhead in pursuit, taking out a few treetops on its way by. Yeah, that was my plan all along. Man, I’m good. Except my body. It hurt.
A. Kirk (Demons at Deadnight (Divinicus Nex Chronicles, #1))
Many African societies divide humans into three categories: those still alive on the earth, the sasha, and the zamani. The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalised ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. Many … can be recalled by name. But they are not the living-dead. There is a difference.
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
So, ninety-five percent of the time." She craned her head back to look up at time. "Ninety-five percent? What's the other five percent?" "Oh, you know, the usual--demons I might kill, runes I need to learn, people who've annoyed me recently, people who've annoyed me not so recently, ducks." "Ducks?" He waved her question away. "All right. Now watch this." He took her shoulders and turned her gently, so they were both facing the same way. A moment later--she wasn't sure how--the walls of the room seemed to melt away around them, and she found herself stepping out onto cobblestones. She gasped, turning to look behind her, and saw only a black wall, windows high up in an old stone building. Rows of similar house lined the canal they stood besides. If she craned her head to the left, she could see in the distance that the canal opened out into a much larger waterway, lined with grand buildings. Everywhere was the smell of water and stone. "Cool, huh?" Jace said proudly. She turned and looked at him. "Ducks?" She said again. A smile tugged the edge of his mouth. "I hate ducks. Don't know hy. I just always have.
Cassandra Clare
I'd been making desicions for days. I picked out the dress Bailey would wear forever- a black slinky one- innapropriate- that she loved. I chose a sweater to go over it, earrings, bracelet, necklace, her most beloved strappy sandals. I collected her makeup to give to the funeral director with a recent photo- I thought it would be me that would dress her; I didn't think a strange man should see her naked touch her body shave her legs apply her lipstick but that's what happened all the same. I helped Gram pick out the casket, the plot at the cemetery. I changed a few lines in the obituary that Big composed. I wrote on a piece of paper what I thought should go on the headstone. I did all this without uttering a word. Not one word, for days, until I saw Bailey before the funeral and lost my mind. I hadn't realized that when people say so-and-so snapped that's what actually happens- I started shaking her- I thought I could wake her up and get her the hell out of that box. When she didn't wake, I screamed: Talk to me. Big swooped me up in his arms, carried me out of the room, the church, into the slamming rain, and down to the creek where we sobbed together under the black coat he held over our heads to protect us from the weather.
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
Catherine," said the Marquess, placing one hand on Cath’s shoulder and one on his wife’s. "We know you’ve been through some . . . difficult things recently." Anger, hot and throbbing, blurred in her vision. "But we want you to be sure . . . absolutely sure this is what you want." His eyes turned wary beneath his bushy eyebrows. "We want you to be happy. That’s all we’ve ever wanted. Is this what’s going to make you happy?" Cath held his gaze, feeling the puncture of Raven’s talons on her shoulder, the weight of the rubies around her throat, the itch of her petticoat on her thighs. "How different everything could have been," she said, "if you had thought to ask me that before." She shrugged his arm away and pushed between them. She didn’t look back.
Marissa Meyer (Heartless)
How many mental health problems, from drug addiction to self-injurious behavior, start as attempts to cope with the unbearable physical pain of our emotions? If Darwin was right, the solution requires finding ways to help people alter the inner sensory landscape of their bodies. Until recently, this bidirectional communication between body and mind was largely ignored by Western science, even as it had long been central to traditional healing practices in many other parts of the world, notably in India and China. Today it is transforming our understanding of trauma and recovery.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost. The word ‘lost’ comes from the old Norse ‘los’ meaning the disbanding of an army…I worry now that people never disband their armies, never go beyond what they know. Advertising, alarmist news, technology, incessant busyness, and the design of public and private life conspire to make it so. A recent article about the return of wildlife to suburbia described snow-covered yards in which the footprints of animals are abundant and those of children are entirely absent. Children seldom roam, even in the safest places… I wonder what will come of placing this generation under house arrest.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
A family in my sister's neighborhood was recently stricken with a double tragedy, when both the young mother and her three-year-old son were diagnosed with cancer. When Catherine told me about this, I could only say, shocked, "Dear God, that family needs grace." She replied firmly, "That family needs casseroles," and proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this IS grace.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
My, my," he said, looking the note over. "If only students would write this much in their essays. One of you has considerably worse writing than the other, so forgive me if I get anything wrong here." He cleared his throat."'So, I saw J last night,' begins the person with bad handwriting, to which the response is,'What happened,' followed by no fewer than five question marks. Understandable, since sometimes one—let alone four—just won't get the point across, eh?" The class laughed, and I noticed Mia throwing me a particularly mean smile. "The first speaker responds:'What do you think happened? We hooked up in one of the empty lounges.'“ Mr. Nagy glanced up after hearing some more giggles in the room. His British accent only added to the hilarity. "May I assume by this reaction that the use of 'hook up' pertains to the more recent, shall we say,carnal application of the term than the tamer one I grew up with?” More snickers ensued. Straightening up, I said boldly, "Yes, sir, Mr. Nagy. That would be correct, sir." A number of people in the class laughed outright. "Thank you for that confirmation, Miss Hathaway. Now, where was I? Ah yes, the other speaker then asks,'How was it?' The response is,'Good,' punctuated with a smiley face to confirm said adjective. Well. I suppose kudos are in order for the mysterious J, hmmm?'So, like, how far did you guys go?' Uh, ladies," said Mr. Nagy, "I do hope this doesn't surpass a PG rating.'Not very.We got caught.'And again, we are shown the severity of the situation, this time through the use of a not-smiling face.'What happened?' 'Dimitri showed up. He threw Jesse out and then bitched me out.'“ The class lost it, both from hearing Mr. Nagy say "bitched" and from finally getting some participants named. "Why, Mr.Zeklos, are you the aforementioned J? The one who earned a smiley face from the sloppy writer?
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
Trehan &Lothaire “My Bride poisoned me so that I would lose a match against the demon male she loves.” Lothaire hiked his shoulders. “So?” “Did you not hear me? She dumped toxins into a goblet of blood, then handed it to me, urging me to drink” “Who doesn’t have petty spats during courtship? So fucking what?” “So she doesn’t fucking want me!” Lothaire roared back, “She doesn’t get a godsdamned say in the matter!” “Trehan’s brows drew together. “What are you advising “advising—that I abduct her? As you recently did the Forbearer king? And your Bride before him?” Lothaire snapped his fingers. “Exactly
Kresley Cole (Shadow's Claim (Immortals After Dark, #12; The Dacians, #1))
If you believe that hard work pays off, then you work hard; if you think it’s hard to get ahead even when you try, then why try at all? Similarly, when people do fail, this mind-set allows them to look outward. I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life. I don’t doubt that the Obama economy has affected many, but this man is assuredly not among them. His status in life is directly attributable to the choices he’s made, and his life will improve only through better decisions. But for him to make better choices, he needs to live in an environment that forces him to ask tough questions about himself. There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
A smile is the best way to get oneself out of a tight spot, even if it is a fake one. Surprisingly enough, everyone takes it at face value. I read that in a book." "If you keep staring at me, I'll hit you." "I only became part of your team recently when I replaced Sasuke, so I don't know everything that's going on. I don't really understand people either. But even I can tell that Naruto really loves you. Naruto's been shouldering that promise for a long time...I think he means to shoulder it for the rest of his life. I don't know what you said to him, but it's just like what's been done to me - it feels like a curse. Sasuke causes Naruto pain, but I think you do too." "Sasuke is only helping spread his darkness across the world. Letting him live will only sow the seeds of another war. He's just another criminal now. Sasuke lost all hope of coming back when his group, Akatsuki, attacked our village. Your fellow Konoha shinobi would never accept him now. Sakura's not stupid, either. She understands the position he's put us all in. That's why she came out here, to tell you herself.
Masashi Kishimoto
You need to come with us right now," one of the queen's guards said. "If you resist, we'll take you by force." "Leave him alone!" I yelled, looking from face to face. That angry darkness exploded within me. How could they still not believe? Why were they still coming after him? "He hasn't done anything! Why can't you guys accept that he's really a dhampir now?" The man who'd spoken arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't talking to him." "You're...you're here for me?" I asked. I tried to think of any new spectacles I might have caused recently. I considered the crazy idea that the queen had found out I'd spent the night with Adrian and was pissed off about it. That was hardly enough to send the palace guard for me, though...or was it? Had I really gone too far with my antics? "What for?" demanded Dimitri. That tall, wonderful bod of his—the one that could be so sensual sometimes—was filled with tension and menace now. The man kept his gaze on me, ignoring Dimitri. "Don't make me repeat myself: Come with us quietly, or we will make you." The glimmer of handcuffs showed in his hands. My eyes went wide. "That's crazy! I'm not going anywhere until you tel me how the hell this—" That was the point at which they apparently decided I wasn't coming quietly. Two of the royal guardians lunged for me, and even though we technically worked for the same side, my instincts kicked in. I didn't understand anything here except that I would not be dragged away like some kind of master criminal. I shoved the chair I'd been sitting in earlier at the one of the guardians and aimed a punch at the other. It was a sloppy throw, made worse because he was taller than me. That height difference allowed me to dodge his next grab, and when I kicked hard at his legs, a grunt told me I'd hit home. [...] Meanwhile, other guardians were joining the fray. Although I got a couple of good punches in, I knew the numbers were too overwhelming. One guardian caught hold of my arm and began trying to put the cuffs on me. He stopped when another set of hands grabbed me from the other side and jerked me away. Dimitri. "Don't touch her," he growled. There was a note in his voice that would have scared me if it had been directed toward me. He shoved me behind him, putting his body protectively in front of mine with my back to the table. Guardians came at us from all directions, and Dimitri began dispatching them with the same deadly grace that had once made people call him a god. [...] The queen's guards might have been the best of the best, but Dimitri...well, my former lover and instructor was in a category all his own. His fighting skills were beyond anyone else's, and he was using them all in defense me. "Stay back," he ordered me. "They aren't laying a hand on you.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Every so often in life, you randomly cross paths with someone that touches you in a way that you really can't explain, but somehow you know that you will never be the same again. A person that is unknowingly, so incredibly beautiful, both inside and out, that they take your breath away. Recently, I met someone exactly like that. As a matter of fact, I'm still not convinced that she isn't an angel here to protect me from myself and the rest of you crazies... these next few songs are for my angel. I hope the rest of you find your angel someday. Just remember, don't let go when you do, even if they try to fly away.
Erin Noelle (Metamorphosis (Book Boyfriend, #1))
I read a lot. I listen a lot. I think a lot. But so little remains. The books I read, their plots, their protagonists fade. The university lectures that I had found pretty impressive on first hearing, have faded away. Now I am listening to one on Pirandello. Names of people, books, cities. They are already fading away. Even the titles of films I’ve seen recently — they have already faded. Authors of thousands of books I’ve read... All that remains are the colours of their bindings, their covers. I don’t remember much about Beauty and the Beast, but I remember clearly, vividly the hear of the day as we were crossing the Rhine bridge, to see the film. Everything that I see, or red, or listen to, connects, translates into moods, bits of surroundings, colors. No, I am not a novelist. No precision of observation, detail. With me, everything is mood, mood, or else —simply nothingness.
Jonas Mekas (I Had Nowhere to Go)
Irene closed her book and stared at the older Van Holtz. “I don’t dislike him. But that was recent. I used to not like him but he’s been very kind since I’ve been here. So now I like him. I’d almost say we are friendly…but perhaps that’s too big a leap at this stage.” He gave a soft laugh. “I see. Are you always this…uh…” “Brutally honest?” “I was going to say direct, but brutally honest works as well.” “Yes. I am. And I know—it’s a character flaw.” “Not at all. I love honest people.” “Everyone says that…until I say something they don’t like. Then I’m a bitch.
Shelly Laurenston (When He Was Bad (Magnus Pack, #3.5; Pride, #0.75; Smith's Shifter World, #3.5))
It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will. “They might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools are so protective,” he said. “If you call someone a name, you get sent home. When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, ‘Whatever. Shake it off.’ Even if there was a little blood, but not a lot, it was fine. What do I do? Create artificial adversity? How do you do that? The biggest battle I have is restricting their video game time because they want to play all the time. The rule is they have to read more than they play video games. They also can’t play completely stupid video games. There’s one game they downloaded recently called Cookies or something. You literally tap a fucking cookie. It’s like a Psych 101 experiment. I made them delete the cookie game. They had to play Flappy Golf instead, which is like Flappy Bird, but at least there is some physics involved.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
At some time in the recent past someone had decided to brighten the ancient corridors of the University by painting them, having some vague notion that Learning Should Be Fun. It hadn’t worked. It’s a fact known throughout the universes that no matter how carefully the colors are chosen, institutional decor ends up as either vomit green, unmentionable brown, nicotine yellow or surgical appliance pink. By some little-understood process of sympathetic resonance, corridors painted in those colors always smell slightly of boiled cabbage—even if no cabbage is ever cooked in the vicinity.
Terry Pratchett (Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1))
Share and Enjoy' is the company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium-sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years. The motto stands-- or rather stood-- in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young Complaints executives-- now deceased. The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig," and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide: Five Complete Novels and One Story (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1-5))
Whenever we doubt our own ability to achieve, it is worthwile pondering the obstacles that others have overcome. To name a few... *Napoleon overcame his considerable handicap, his tiny stature, to lead his conquering armies across Europe. *Abraham Lincon failed in business aged 31, lost a legislative race and 32, again failed in business at 34, had his sweetheart die when he was 35, had a nervous breakdown at 36, lost congressional races aged 43, 46 and 48, lost a senatorial race at 55, failed in his efforts to become vice president of the U.S.A aged 56 and lost a further senatorial contest at 58. At 60 years of age he was elected president of the U.S.A and is now remembered as one of the great leaders in world history. *Winston Churchill was a poor student with a speech impediment. Not only did he win a Nobel Prize at 24, but he became one of the most inspiring speakers of recent times. It is not where you start that counts, but where you choose to finish.
Andrew Matthews (Being Happy!)
The wish of death had been palpably hanging over this otherwise idyllic paradise for a good many years. All business and politics is personal in the Philippines. If it wasn't for the cheap beer and lovely girls one of us would spend an hour in this dump. They [Jehovah's Witnesses] get some kind of frequent flyer points for each person who signs on. I'm not lazy. I'm just motivationally challenged. I'm not fat. I just have lots of stored energy. You don't get it do you? What people think of you matters more than the reality. Marilyn. Despite standing firm at the final hurdle Marilyn was always ready to run the race. After answering the question the woman bent down behind the stand out of sight of all, and crossed herself. It is amazing what you can learn in prison. Merely through casual conversation Rick had acquired the fundamentals of embezzlement, fraud and armed hold up. He wondered at the price of honesty in a grey world whose half tones changed faster than the weather. The banality of truth somehow always surprises the news media before they tart it up. You've ridden jeepneys in peak hour. Where else can you feel up a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl without even trying? [Ralph Winton on the Philippines finer points] Life has no bottom. No matter how bad things are or how far one has sunk things can always get worse. You could call the Oval Office an information rain shadow. In the Philippines, a whole layer of criminals exists who consider that it is their right to rob you unhindered. If you thwart their wicked desires, to their way of thinking you have stolen from them and are evil. There's honest and dishonest corruption in this country. Don't enjoy it too much for it's what we love that usually kills us. The good guys don't always win wars but the winners always make sure that they go down in history as the good guys. The Philippines is like a woman. You love her and hate her at the same time. I never believed in all my born days that ideas of truth and justice were only pretty words to brighten a much darker and more ubiquitous reality. The girl was experiencing the first flushes of love while Rick was at least feeling the methadone equivalent. Although selfishness and greed are more ephemeral than the real values of life their effects on the world often outlive their origins. Miriam's a meteor job. Somewhere out there in space there must be a meteor with her name on it. Tsismis or rumours grow in this land like tropical weeds. Surprises are so common here that nothing is surprising. A crooked leader who can lead is better than a crooked one who can't. Although I always followed the politics of Hitler I emulate the drinking habits of Churchill. It [Australia] is the country that does the least with the most. Rereading the brief lines that told the story in the manner of Fox News reporting the death of a leftist Rick's dark imagination took hold. Didn't your mother ever tell you never to trust a man who doesn't drink? She must have been around twenty years old, was tall for a Filipina and possessed long black hair framing her smooth olive face. This specter of loveliness walked with the assurance of the knowingly beautiful. Her crisp and starched white uniform dazzled in the late-afternoon light and highlighted the natural tan of her skin. Everything about her was in perfect order. In short, she was dressed up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Suddenly, she stopped, turned her head to one side and spat comprehensively into the street. The tiny putrescent puddle contrasted strongly with the studied aplomb of its all-too-recent owner, suggesting all manner of disease and decay.
John Richard Spencer
Something is very wrong with Bunce. She's collapsed in the back seat like a dead rabbit. But I can't really focus on it because of the sun and also the wind and because I'm very busy making a list. Things I hate, a list: 1. The sun. 2. The wind. 3. Penelope Bunce, when she hasn't got a plan. 4. American sandwiches. 5. America. 6. The band, America. Which I didn't know about an hour ago. 7. Kansas, also a band I've recently become acquainted with. 8. Kansas, the state. Which isn't that far from Illinois, so it must be wretched. 9. The State of Illinois, for fucking certain. 10. The sun. In my eyes. 11. The wind in my hair. 12. Convertible automobiles. 13. Myself, most of all. 14. My soft heart. 15. My foolish optimism. 16. The words "road" and "trip" when said together with any enthusiasm. 17. Being a vampire, if we're being honest. 18. Being a vampire in a fucking convertible. 19. A deliriously thirsty vampire in a convertible at midday. In Illinois, which is apparently the brightest place on the planet. 20. The sun. Which hangs miles closer to Minooka, Illinois, than it does over London blessed England. 21. Minooka, Illinois. Which seems dreadful. 22. These sunglasses. Rubbish. 23. The fucking sun! We get it - you're very fucking bright! 24. Penelope Bunce, who came up with this idea. An idea not accompanied by a plan. Because all she cared about was seeing her rubbish boyfriend, who clearly cocked it all up. Which we all should have expected from someone from Illinois, land of the damned - a place that manages to be both hot and humid at the same time. You might well expect hell to be hot, but you don't expect it to also be humid. That's what makes it hell, the surprise twist! The devil is clever!
Rainbow Rowell (Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2))
Host: For those of you just tuning in, our guests tonight are the amazing Murder Magician, and his lovely minion, The Assistant... Assistant: Charmed, I'm sure Host: Who recently killed The Rumor. And you were awarded the Oppenheimer prize for villainy at last week's annual summit for dastardly deeds-- what are you going to do with all that money? Murder Magician: Well, I'm so glad you asked that-- because I spent all the money on this giant MURDERBOT, and I've been dying to show it off! Assistant: It's true... every penny. Host: Wow! That's impressive! So what does it do? Murder Magician: Well, Mr. Clark... it murders people. Laughter. Murder Magician: I'm serious. Assistant: He is.
Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite)
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another. That is a recent, stupid, and damaging idea. You don’t have to be unscientific to make beautiful art, to write beautiful things. If you need proof: Twain, Adams, Vonnegut, McEwen, Sagan, Shakespeare, Dickens. For a start. You don’t need to be superstitious to be a poet. You don’t need to hate GM technology to care about the beauty of the planet. You don’t have to claim a soul to promote compassion. Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankind’s incremental acquisition of understanding through observation. Science is awesome.
Tim Minchin
The glass ceiling of happiness is held in place by two stout pillars, one psychological, the other biological. On the psychological level, happiness depends on expectations rather than objective conditions. We don’t become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon. Dramatic improvements in conditions, as humankind has experienced in recent decades, translate into greater expectations rather than greater contentment. If we don’t do something about this, our future achievements too might leave us as dissatisfied as ever. On
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
Nothing but the natural ignorance of the public, countenanced by the inoculated erroneousness of the ordinary general medical practitioners, makes such a barbarism as vaccination possible.......Recent developments have shown that an inoculation made in the usual general practitioner's light-hearted way, without previous highly skilled examination of the state of the patient's blood, is just as likely to be a simple manslaughter as a cure or preventive. But vaccination is nothing short of attempted murder. A skilled bacteriologist would just as soon think of cutting his child's arm and rubbing the contents of the dustpan into the wound, as vaccinating it in the same.
George Bernard Shaw
A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn't know he is a hoary and venerable antique — but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby — with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.
Carl Sandburg
The Frays had never been a religiously observant family, but Clary loved Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. The air smelled like sweet roasted chestnuts, and the window displays sparkled with silver and blue, green and red. This year there were fat round crystal snowflakes attached to each lamppost, sending back the winter sunlight in shafts of gold. Not to mention the huge tree at Rockefeller Center. It threw its shadow across them as she and Simon draped themselves over the gate at the side of the skating rink, watching tourists fall down as they tried to navigate the ice. Clary had a hot chocolate wrapped in her hands, the warmth spreading through her body. She felt almost normal—this, coming to Fifth to see the window displays and the tree, had been a winter tradition for her and Simon for as long as she could remember. “Feels like old times, doesn’t it?” he said, echoing her thoughts as he propped his chin on his folded arms. She chanced a sideways look at him. He was wearing a black topcoat and scarf that emphasized the winter pallor of his skin. His eyes were shadowed, indicating that he hadn’t fed on blood recently. He looked like what he was—a hungry, tired vampire. Well, she thought. Almost like old times. “More people to buy presents for,” she said. “Plus, the always traumatic what-to-buy-someone-for-the-first-Christmas-after-you’ve-started-dating question.” “What to get the Shadowhunter who has everything,” Simon said with a grin. “Jace mostly likes weapons,” Clary sighed. “He likes books, but they have a huge library at the Institute. He likes classical music …” She brightened. Simon was a musician; even though his band was terrible, and was always changing their name—currently they were Lethal Soufflé—he did have training. “What would you give someone who likes to play the piano?” “A piano.” “Simon.” “A really huge metronome that could also double as a weapon?” Clary sighed, exasperated. “Sheet music. Rachmaninoff is tough stuff, but he likes a challenge.” “Now you’re talking. I’m going to see if there’s a music store around here.” Clary, done with her hot chocolate, tossed the cup into a nearby trash can and pulled her phone out. “What about you? What are you giving Isabelle?” “I have absolutely no idea,” Simon said. They had started heading toward the avenue, where a steady stream of pedestrians gawking at the windows clogged the streets. “Oh, come on. Isabelle’s easy.” “That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” Simon’s brows drew together. “I think. I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. The relationship, I mean.” “You really have to DTR, Simon.” “What?” “Define the relationship. What it is, where it’s going. Are you boyfriend and girlfriend, just having fun, ‘it’s complicated,’ or what? When’s she going to tell her parents? Are you allowed to see other people?” Simon blanched. “What? Seriously?” “Seriously. In the meantime—perfume!” Clary grabbed Simon by the back of his coat and hauled him into a cosmetics store that had once been a bank. It was massive on the inside, with rows of gleaming bottles everywhere. “And something unusual,” she said, heading for the fragrance area. “Isabelle isn’t going to want to smell like everyone else. She’s going to want to smell like figs, or vetiver, or—” “Figs? Figs have a smell?” Simon looked horrified; Clary was about to laugh at him when her phone buzzed. It was her mother. where are you? It’s an emergency.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child's chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition--a billion--had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition--800 million.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
My present self is formed almost completely of the people around me. I am currently made up of 30 percent Mrs. Izumi, 30 percent Sugawara, 20 percent the manager, and the rest absorbed from past colleagues such as Sasaki, who left six months ago, and Okasaki, who was our supervisor until a year ago. My speech is especially infected by everyone around me and is currently a mix of that of Mrs. Izumi and Sugawara. I think the same goes for most people. When some of Sugawara’s band members came into the store recently they all dressed and spoke just like her. After Mrs. Izumi came, Sasaki started sounding just like her when she said, “Good job, see you tomorrow!” Once a woman who had gotten on well with Mrs. Izumi at her previous store came to help out, and she dressed so much like Mrs. Izumi I almost mistook the two. And I probably infect others with the way I speak too. Infecting each other like this is how we maintain ourselves as human is what I think.
Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman)
One of the most terrible losses man endures in his lifetime is not even noticed by most people, much less mourned. Which is astonishing, because what we lose is in many ways one of the essential qualities that sets us apart from other creatures. I'm talking about the loss of the sense of wonder that is such an integral part of our world when we are children. However, as we grow older, that sense of wonder shrinks from cosmic to microscopic by the time we are adults. Kids say "Wow!" all the time. Opening their mouths fully, their eyes light up with genuine awe and glee. The word emanates not so much from a voice box as from an astonished soul that has once again been shown that the world is full of amazing unexpected things. When was the last time you let fly a loud, truly heartfelt "WOW?" NOt recently I bet. Because generally speaking wonder belongs to kids, with the rare exception of falling madly in love with another person, which invariably leads to a rebirth of wonder. As adults, we are not supposed to say or feel Wow, or wonder, or even true surprise because those things make us sound goofy, ingenuous, and childlike. How can you run the world if you are in constant awe of it?... The human heart has a long memory though and remembers what it was like to live through days where it was constantly surprised and delighted by the world around it.
Jonathan Carroll
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line. But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over. You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
Joni Mitchell
Nell did not imagine that Constable Moore wanted to get into a detailed discussion of recent events, so she changed the subject. "I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent," she said. The Constable brightened all at once. "Pleased to hear it." The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code– but their children believe it for entirely different reasons." They believe it," the Constable said, "because they have been indoctrinated to believe it." Yes. Some of them never challenge it– they grow up to be smallminded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel– as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw." Which path do you intend to take, Nell?" said the Constable, sounding very interested. "Conformity or rebellion?" Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded– they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
I made sure to pay attention to everything I was doing. To be fully in the moment. Because that's all life is, really, a string of moments that you knot together and carry with you. Hopefully most of those moments are wonderful, but of course they won't all be. The trick is to recognize an important one when it happens. Even if you share the moment with someone else, it is still yours. Your string is different from anyone else's. It is something no one can ever take away from you. It will protect you and guide you, because it IS you. What you hold here, in your hand, in this box, this is my string. "Until recently, I thought it was death that gave meaning to life--that having an endpoint is what spurred us on to embrace life while we had it. But I was wrong. It isn't death that gives meaning to life. Life gives meaning to life. The answer to the meaning of life is hidden right there inside the question. "What matters is holding tight to that string, and not letting anyone tell us our goals aren't big enough or our interests are silly. But the voices of others aren't the only ones we need to worry about. We tend to be our own worst critics. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: 'Most of the shadows in this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.' ... Wisdom is found in the least expected places. Always keep your eyes open. Don't block your own sunshine. Be filled with wonder.
Wendy Mass (Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life)
Wylan cleared his throat. “The chemistry is complicated. I was hoping Kuwei would help.” Nina said something to Kuwei in Shu. He shrugged and looked away, lip jutting out slightly. Whether it was the recent death of his father or the fact that he’d found himself stuck in a cemetery with a band of thieves, the boy had become increasingly sullen. “Well?” Jesper prodded. “I have other interests,” Kuwei replied. Kaz’s black gaze pinned Kuwei like the tip of a dagger. “I suggest rethinking your priorities.” Jesper gave Kuwei another nudge. “That’s Kaz’s way of saying, ‘Help Wylan or I’ll seal you up in one of these tombs and see how that suits your interests.’ ” Matthias was no longer sure what the Shu boy understood or didn’t, but apparently he’d received the message. Kuwei swallowed and nodded grudgingly. “The power of negotiation,” Jesper said, and shoved a cracker in his mouth.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades. Why is religion such a potent source of violence? There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us–them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If you really believe that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics.
Sam Harris
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flied in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by night fall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, noting to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
The consolidation of power at the federal level in the guise of public safety is a national trend and should be guarded against at all costs. This erosion of rights, however incremental, is the slow death of freedom. We have reached a point where the power of the federal government is such that they can essentially target anyone of their choosing. Recent allegations that government agencies may have targeted political opponents should alarm all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. Revisionist views of the Constitution by opportunistic politicians and unelected judges with agendas that reinterpret the Bill of Rights to take power away from the people and consolidate it at the federal level threaten the core principles of the Republic. As a free people, keeping federal power in check is something that should be of concern to us all. The fundamental value of freedom is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are citizens, not subjects, and we must stay ever vigilant that we remain so.
Jack Carr (The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1))
Three years in London had not changed Richard, although it had changed the way he perceived the city. Richard had originally imagined London as a gray city, even a black city, from pictures he had seen, and he was surprised to find it filled with color. It was a city of red brick and white stone, red buses and large black taxis, bright red mailboxes and green grassy parks and cemeteries. It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces; a city of hundreds of districts with strange names - Crouch End, Chalk Farm, Earl's Court, Marble Arch - and oddly distinct identities; a noisy, dirty, cheerful, troubled city, which fed on tourists, needed them as it despised them, in which the average speed of transportation through the city had not increased in three hundred years, following five hundred years of fitful road-widening and unskillful compromises between the needs of traffic, whether horse-drawn, or, more recently, motorized, and the need of pedestrians; a city inhabited by and teeming with people of every color and manner and kind.
Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere (London Below, #1))
In this pilgrimage in search of modernity I lost my way at many points only to find myself again. I returned to the source and discovered that modernity is not outside but within us. It is today and the most ancient antiquity; it is tomorrow and the beginning of the world; it is a thousand years old and yet newborn. It speaks in Nahuatl, draws Chinese ideograms from the 9th century, and appears on the television screen. This intact present, recently unearthed, shakes off the dust of centuries, smiles and suddenly starts to fly, disappearing through the window. A simultaneous plurality of time and presence: modernity breaks with the immediate past only to recover an age-old past and transform a tiny fertility figure from the neolithic into our contemporary. We pursue modernity in her incessant metamorphoses yet we never manage to trap her. She always escapes: each encounter ends in flight. We embrace her and she disappears immediately: it was just a little air. It is the instant, that bird that is everywhere and nowhere. We want to trap it alive but it flaps its wings and vanishes in the form of a handful of syllables. We are left empty-handed. Then the doors of perception open slightly and the other time appears, the real one we were searching for without knowing it: the present, the presence.
Octavio Paz
I was reading a book about the cosmos recently,” he says, and then he looks around and goes, “Hold on, trust me, this relates.” The crowd laughs again. “And I was reading about different theories about the universe. I was really taken with this one theory that states that everything that is possible happens. That means that when you flip a quarter, it doesn’t come down heads or tails. It comes up heads and tails. Every time you flip a coin and it comes up heads, you are merely in the universe where the coin came up heads. There is another version of you out there, created the second the quarter flipped, who saw it come up tails. This is happening every second of every day. The world is splitting further and further into an infinite number of parallel universes where everything that could happen is happening. This is completely plausible, by the way. It’s a legitimate interpretation of quantum mechanics. It’s entirely possible that every time we make a decision, there is a version of us out there somewhere who made a different choice. An infinite number of versions of ourselves are living out the consequences of every single possibility in our lives. What I’m getting at here is that I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices that led me somewhere else, led me to someone else.” He looks at Gabby. “And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (Maybe in Another Life)
You'll get over it...' It's the cliches that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don't get over it because 'it' is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to greive over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to? I've thought a lot about death recently, the finality of it, the argument ending in mid-air. One of us hadn't finished, why did the other one go? And why without warning? Even death after long illness is without warning. The moment you had prepared for so carefully took you by storm. The troops broke through the window and snatched the body and the body is gone. The day before the Wednesday last, this time a year ago, you were here and now you're not. Why not? Death reduces us to the baffled logic of a small child. If yesterday why not today? And where are you? Fragile creatures of a small blue planet, surrounded by light years of silent space. Do the dead find peace beyond the rattle of the world? What peace is there for us whose best love cannot return them even for a day? I raise my head to the door and think I will see you in the frame. I know it is your voice in the corridor but when I run outside the corridor is empty. There is nothing I can do that will make any difference. The last word was yours. The fluttering in the stomach goes away and the dull waking pain. Sometimes I think of you and I feel giddy. Memory makes me lightheaded, drunk on champagne. All the things we did. And if anyone had said this was the price I would have agreed to pay it. That surprises me; that with the hurt and the mess comes a shaft of recognition. It was worth it. Love is worth it.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission. A more subtle version of this claim argues that their strength allows men to monopolize tasks that demand hard manual labor, such as plowing and harvesting. This gives them control of food production, which in turn translates into political clout. There are two problems with this emphasis on muscle power. First, the statement that men are stronger is true only on average and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease, and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men. Furthermore, and most problematically for this theory, women have, throughout history, mainly been excluded from jobs that required little physical effort, such as the priesthood, law, and politics, while engaging in hard manual labor in the fields....and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it. Even more importantly, there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twenty-somethings are much stronger than their elders. ...Boxing matches were not used to select Egyptian pharaohs or Catholic popes. In forager societies, political dominance generally resides with the person possessing the best social skills rather than the most developed musculature. In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labor. Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed, and abuse are concern, but when push comes to shove…men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why, throughout history, warfare has been a masculine prerogative. In times of war, men’s control of the armed forces has made them the masters of civilian society too. They then use their control of civilian society to fight more and more wars. …Recent studies of the hormonal and cognitive systems of men and women strengthen the assumption that men indeed have more aggressive and violent tendencies and are…on average, better suited to serve as common soldiers. Yet, granted that the common soldiers are all men, does it follow that the ones managing the war and enjoying its fruits must also be men? That makes no sense. It’s like assuming that because all the slaves cultivating cotton fields are all Black, plantation owners will be Black as well. Just as an all-Black workforce might be controlled by an all-White management, why couldn’t an all-male soldiery be controlled by an all-female government?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?' Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?' 'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?' 'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...' 'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.' Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks: 'There was Manicheanism...' 'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...' Snow pondered for a while: 'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.' I kept on: 'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...' 'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.' 'If you're going to take what I say literally...' ...Snow asked abruptly: 'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?' 'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
Thank you for inviting me here today " I said my voice sounding nothing like me. "I'm here to testify about things I've seen and experienced myself. I'm here because the human race has become more powerful than ever. We've gone to the moon. Our crops resist diseases and pests. We can stop and restart a human heart. And we've harvested vast amounts of energy for everything from night-lights to enormous super-jets. We've even created new kinds of people, like me. "But everything mankind" - I frowned - "personkind has accomplished has had a price. One that we're all gonna have to pay." I heard coughing and shifting in the audience. I looked down at my notes and all the little black words blurred together on the page. I just could not get through this. I put the speech down picked up the microphone and came out from behind the podium. "Look " I said. "There's a lot of official stuff I could quote and put up on the screen with PowerPoint. But what you need to know what the world needs to know is that we're really destroying the earth in a bigger and more catastrophic was than anyone has ever imagined. "I mean I've seen a lot of the world the only world we have. There are so many awesome beautiful tings in it. Waterfalls and mountains thermal pools surrounded by sand like white sugar. Field and field of wildflowers. Places where the ocean crashes up against a mountainside like it's done for hundreds of thousands of years. "I've also seen concrete cities with hardly any green. And rivers whose pretty rainbow surfaces came from an oil leak upstream. Animals are becoming extinct right now in my lifetime. Just recently I went through one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded. It was a whole lot worse because of huge worldwide climatic changes caused by... us. We the people." .... "A more perfect union While huge corporations do whatever they want to whoever they want and other people live in subway tunnels Where's the justice of that Kids right here in America go to be hungry every night while other people get four-hundred-dollar haircuts. Promote the general welfare Where's the General welfare in strip-mining toxic pesticides industrial solvents being dumped into rivers killing everything Domestic Tranquility Ever sleep in a forest that's being clear-cut You'd be hearing chain saws in your head for weeks. The blessings of liberty Yes. I'm using one of the blessings of liberty right now my freedom of speech to tell you guys who make the laws that the very ground you stand on the house you live in the children you tuck in at night are all in immediate catastrophic danger.
James Patterson (The Final Warning (Maximum Ride, #4))
Pearl Harbor Address to the Nation Delivered on December 8, 1941 Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives: Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace. The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island. Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’M LOSING FAITH IN MY FAVORITE COUNTRY Throughout my life, the United States has been my favorite country, save and except for Canada, where I was born, raised, educated, and still live for six months each year. As a child growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I aggressively bought and saved baseball cards of American and National League players, spent hours watching snowy images of American baseball and football games on black and white television and longed for the day when I could travel to that great country. Every Saturday afternoon, me and the boys would pay twelve cents to go the show and watch U.S. made movies, and particularly, the Superman serial. Then I got my chance. My father, who worked for B.F. Goodrich, took my brother and me to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball in the Mistake on the Lake in Cleveland. At last I had made it to the big time. I thought it was an amazing stadium and it was certainly not a mistake. Amazingly, the Americans thought we were Americans. I loved the United States, and everything about the country: its people, its movies, its comic books, its sports, and a great deal more. The country was alive and growing. No, exploding. It was the golden age of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream was alive and well, but demanded hard work, honesty, and frugality. Everyone understood that. Even the politicians. Then everything changed. Partly because of its proximity to the United States and a shared heritage, Canadians also aspired to what was commonly referred to as the American dream. I fall neatly into that category. For as long as I can remember I wanted a better life, but because I was born with a cardboard spoon in my mouth, and wasn’t a member of the golden gene club, I knew I would have to make it the old fashioned way: work hard and save. After university graduation I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The second half was spent with one of the smallest oil companies in the world: my own. Then I sold my company and retired into obscurity. In my case obscurity was spending summers in our cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, and winters in our home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. My wife, Ann, and I, (and our three sons when they can find the time), have been enjoying that “obscurity” for a long time. During that long time we have been fortunate to meet and befriend a large number of Americans, many from Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” One was a military policeman in Tokyo in 1945. After a very successful business carer in the U.S. he’s retired and living the dream. Another American friend, also a member of the “Greatest Generation”, survived The Battle of the Bulge and lived to drink Hitler’s booze at Berchtesgaden in 1945. He too is happily retired and living the dream. Both of these individuals got to where they are by working hard, saving, and living within their means. Both also remember when their Federal Government did the same thing. One of my younger American friends recently sent me a You Tube video, featuring an impassioned speech by Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida. In the speech, Rubio blasts the spending habits of his Federal Government and deeply laments his country’s future. He is outraged that the U.S. Government spends three hundred billion dollars, each and every month. He is even more outraged that one hundred and twenty billion of that three hundred billion dollars is borrowed. In other words, Rubio states that for every dollar the U.S. Government spends, forty cents is borrowed. I don’t blame him for being upset. If I had run my business using that arithmetic, I would be in the soup kitchens. If individual American families had applied that arithmetic to their finances, none of them would be in a position to pay a thin dime of taxes.
Stephen Douglass