Thumb Wars Quotes

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Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
Wars fought over a face like this,” he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. “A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it,” his eyes came to mine, “poison his brother to possess a face like this.
Kristen Ashley (Knight (Unfinished Hero, #1))
A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
I'm a fucking coward." "Maybe." Craw jerked his thumb over his shoulder at Whirrun's corpse. "There's a hero. Tell me who's better off.
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
The eye turned to the fire gave back no light and he closed it with his thumb and sat by her and put his hand upon her bloodied forehead and closed his own eyes that he could see her running in the mountains, running in the starlight where the grass was wet and the sun's coming as yet had not undone the rich matrix of creatures passed in the night before her. Deer and hare and dove and groundvole all richly empaneled on the air for her delight, all nations of the possible world ordained by God of which she was one among and not separate from. Where she ran the cries of the coyotes clapped shut as if a door had closed upon them and all was fear and marvel. He took up her stiff head out of the leaves and held it or he reached to hold what cannot be held, what already ran among the mountains at once terrible and of great beauty, like flowers that feed on flesh. What blood and bone are made of but can themselves not make on any altar nor by any wound of war. What we may well believe has power to cut and shape and hollow out the dark form of the world surely if wind can, if rain can. But which cannot be held never be held and is no flower but is swift and a huntress and the wind itself is in terror of it and the world cannot lose it.
Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
His thumb skims my cheek. "You're my goddess.
Trisha Wolfe (Of Silver and Beasts (Goddess Wars, #1))
You're not supposed to interject feelings into science, but part of the reason it's so fascinating that we're 8 percent (or more) fossilized virus is that it's so creepy that we're 8 percent (or more) fossilized virus.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
For ages anthropologists lumped all African peoples into one ‘race,’ but the genetic truth is that the larger world’s diversity is more or less a subset of African diversity.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
My general rule of thumb is that you´re always a little bit closer to the conditions that led to the outbreak of the Second World War than you think you are.
Caitlin Moran (Moranifesto)
Don't give me some stupid lecture about war when the person we're talking about losing is you!" I said, surprised by the savagery in my tone. At least my voice didn't shake. His face blurred and I tasted salt on my lips. It was warm, warm like Pritkin's hands coming up and framing my face, his thumbs brushing over my eyelids, soft as his fingers in my hair. "One person is not so important in the scheme of things", he said, and his voice was gentle, gentle when it never was, and that almost broke me. But you are important, I thought. And yet he couldn't see that. In Pritkin's mind, he was an experiment gone wrong, a child cast out, a man valued by his peers only for his ability to kill the things they feared. Just once, I wished he could see what I did. "Then neither is this", I said, leaning in and pressing my mouth to his, the kiss lightened by desperation and weighted down by everything he meant to me.
Karen Chance (Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer, #4))
The irony is too rich not to point out. When arranging the different human races in tiers, from just below the angels to just above the brutes, smug racialist scientists of the 1800s always equated black skin with ‘subhuman’ beasts like Neanderthals. But facts is facts: pure Nordic Europeans carry far more Neanderthal DNA than any modern African.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Nationalism emerged to agitate the world only after the war, and the first visible phenomenon which this intellectual epidemic of our century brought about was xenophobia; morbid dislike of the foreigner, or at least fear of the foreigner. The world was on the defensive against strangers, everywhere they got short shrift. The humiliations which once had been devised with criminals alone in mind now were imposed upon the traveler, before and during every journey. There had to be photographs from right and left, in profile and full face, one’s hair had to be cropped sufficiently to make the ears visible; fingerprints were taken, at first only the thumb but later all ten fingers; furthermore, certificates of health, of vaccination, police certificates of good standing, had to be shown; letters of recommendation were required, invitations to visit a country had to be procured; they asked for the addresses of relatives, for moral and financial guarantees, questionnaires, and forms in triplicate and quadruplicate needed to be filled out,
Stefan Zweig (The World of Yesterday)
A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things they have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made a victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. Listen to Rat Kiley. Cooze, he says. He does not say bitch. He certainly does not say woman, or girl. He says cooze. Then he spits and stares. He’s nineteen years old — it’s too much for him — so he looks at you with those big sad gentle killer eyes and says cooze, because his friend is dead, and because it’s so incredibly sad and true: she never wrote back. You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty. Listen to Rat: “Jesus Christ, man, I write this beautiful fuckin’ letter, I slave over it, and what happens? The dumb cooze never writes back.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Art, in other words, betrays a sexy mental fitness.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
All night I have bad dreams about severed hands. In one I’m eating chili and a hand comes out of my bowl and gives me the thumbs-down. I
George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline)
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
I once went toe to toe with an international thumb war champion.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
I call my thumb Napoleon, because I rarely ever lose a thumb war. Also because my thumb's so small, and I wear a tiny funny hat and cape on it.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
Do not oppose my opposable thumbs. If you do, we’ll have a thumb war.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
Fruit fly scientists, God bless ‘em, are the big exceptions. Morgan’s team always picked sensibly descriptive names for mutant genes, like ‘speck,’ ‘beaded,’ ‘rudimentary,’ ‘white,’ and ‘abnormal.’ And this tradition continues today, as the names of most fruit fly genes eschew jargon and even shade whimsical… The ‘turnip’ gene makes flies stupid. ‘Tudor’ leaves males (as with Henry VIII) childless. ‘Cleopatra’ can kill flies when it interacts with another gene, ‘asp.’ ‘Cheap date’ leaves flies exceptionally tipsy after a sip of alcohol… And thankfully, this whimsy with names has inspired the occasional zinger in other areas of genetics… The backronym for the “POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic” gene in mice—‘pokemon’—nearly provoked a lawsuit, since the ‘pokemon’ gene (now known, sigh, as ‘zbtb7’) contributes to the spread of cancer, and the lawyers for the Pokemon media empire didn’t want their cute little pocket monsters confused with tumors.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
ancestor. In fact, this clock tells us that all seven billion people alive today can trace their maternal lineage to one woman who lived in Africa 170,000 years ago, dubbed “Mitochondrial Eve.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Victory was for those willing to fight and die. Intellectuals could theorize until they sucked their thumbs right off their hands, but in the real world, power still flowed from the barrel of a gun.
Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War)
Richard rubbed his temples. He had a headache from lack of sleep. "Don't you understand? This isn't about conquering lands and taking things from others; this is about fighting oppression." The general rested a boot on the gilded rung of a chair and hooked a thumb behind his wide belt. "I don't see much difference. From my experience, the Master Rahl always thinks he knows best, and always wants to rule the world. You are your father's son. War is war. Reasons make no difference to us; we fight because we are told to, same as those on the other side. Reasons mean little to a man swinging his sword, trying to keep his head.
Terry Goodkind (Blood of the Fold (Sword of Truth, #3))
How would we even know who to help?" "Easy rule of thumb: you help the side whose village is being burned. In all the wars we've seen, have you ever known the village-burners to be on the right side of justice?
Edward W. Robertson (The Red Sea (The Cycle of Galand #1))
Morning struck with the promise of a blazing summer's day. More of a threat than a promise. When you watch from a shaded veranda, sipping iced wine as the Red March summer paints lemons onto garden boughs—that's promise. When you have to toil a whole day in the dust to cover a thumb's distance on the map—that's threat.
Mark Lawrence (Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War, #1))
Kaz snagged her wrist. “Inej.” His gloved thumb moved over her pulse, traced the top of the feather tattoo. “If we don’t make it out, I want you to know…” She waited. She felt hope rustling its wings inside her, ready to take flight at the right words from Kaz. She willed that hope into stillness. Those words would never come. The heart is an arrow. She reached up and touched his cheek. She thought he might flinch again, even knock her hand away. In nearly two years of battling side by side with Kaz, of late-night scheming, impossible heists, clandestine errands, and harried meals of fried potatoes and hutspot gobbled down as they rushed from one place to another, this was the first time she had touched him skin to skin, without the barrier of gloves or coat or shirtsleeve. She let her hand cup his cheek. His skin was cool and damp from the rain. He stayed still, but she saw a tremor pass through him, as if he were waging a war with himself. “If we don’t survive this night, I will die unafraid, Kaz. Can you say the same?
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Tears streaked his cheeks. I wiped them away with my thumb. “I love you,” I whispered—because what else could I offer him? I could not erase his past. I could not take away his grief. But I could love him, no matter what, always. Was that enough?
Carissa Broadbent (Mother of Death and Dawn (The War of Lost Hearts, #3))
Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Masses of warring men animated the horizon, crashing into stubborn ranks, churning in melee. The air didn’t so much thunder as hiss with the sound of distant battle, like a sea heard through a conch shell, Martemus thought—an angry sea. Winded, he watched the first of Conphas’s assassins stride up behind Prince Kellhus, raise his short-sword … There was an impossible moment—a sharp intake of breath. The Prophet simply turned and caught the descending blade between his thumb and forefinger. “No,” he said, then swept around, knocking the man to the turf with an unbelievable kick. Somehow the assassin’s sword found its way into his left hand. Still crouched, the Prophet drove it down through the assassin’s throat, nailing him to the turf. A mere heartbeat had passed.
R. Scott Bakker (The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing, #2))
In a touch Buckland would have appreciated, this multipronged dispersal from Africa is sometimes called the Weak Garden of Eden theory. But this tale is actually better than the biblical version; we didn’t lose Eden but learned to make other Edens across the world.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Tenways showed his rotten teeth. ‘Fucking make me.’ ‘I’ll give it a try.’ A man came strolling out of the dark, just his sharp jaw showing in the shadows of his hood, boots crunching heedless through the corner of the fire and sending a flurry of sparks up around his legs. Very tall, very lean and he looked like he was carved out of wood. He was chewing meat from a chicken bone in one greasy hand and in the other, held loose under the crosspiece, he had the biggest sword Beck had ever seen, shoulder-high maybe from point to pommel, its sheath scuffed as a beggar’s boot but the wire on its hilt glinting with the colours of the fire-pit. He sucked the last shred of meat off his bone with a noisy slurp, and he poked at all the drawn steel with the pommel of his sword, long grip clattering against all those blades. ‘Tell me you lot weren’t working up to a fight without me. You know how much I love killing folk. I shouldn’t, but a man has to stick to what he’s good at. So how’s this for a recipe…’ He worked the bone around between finger and thumb, then flicked it at Tenways so it bounced off his chain mail coat. ‘You go back to fucking sheep and I’ll fill the graves.’ Tenways licked his bloody top lip. ‘My fight ain’t with you, Whirrun.’ And it all came together. Beck had heard songs enough about Whirrun of Bligh, and even hummed a few himself as he fought his way through the logpile. Cracknut Whirrun. How he’d been given the Father of Swords. How he’d killed his five brothers. How he’d hunted the Shimbul Wolf in the endless winter of the utmost North, held a pass against the countless Shanka with only two boys and a woman for company, bested the sorcerer Daroum-ap-Yaught in a battle of wits and bound him to a rock for the eagles. How he’d done all the tasks worthy of a hero in the valleys, and so come south to seek his destiny on the battlefield. Songs to make the blood run hot, and cold too. Might be his was the hardest name in the whole North these days, and standing right there in front of Beck, close enough to lay a hand on. Though that probably weren’t a good idea. ‘Your fight ain’t with me?’ Whirrun glanced about like he was looking for who it might be with. ‘You sure? Fights are twisty little bastards, you draw steel it’s always hard to say where they’ll lead you. You drew on Calder, but when you drew on Calder you drew on Curnden Craw, and when you drew on Craw you drew on me, and Jolly Yon Cumber, and Wonderful there, and Flood – though he’s gone for a wee, I think, and also this lad here whose name I’ve forgotten.’ Sticking his thumb over his shoulder at Beck. ‘You should’ve seen it coming. No excuse for it, a proper War Chief fumbling about in the dark like you’ve nothing in your head but shit. So my fight ain’t with you either, Brodd Tenways, but I’ll still kill you if it’s called for, and add your name to my songs, and I’ll still laugh afterwards. So?’ ‘So what?’ ‘So shall I draw?
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
There are guys bleeding to death who don't know it, they're smiling, they're talking, they don't feel pain because they're in shock, they ask you for some water and then they're dead. On D-day I ran past a guy lying on his spilled guts with his eyes closed and his thumb in his mouth. Eisenhower's speech had been read to us over the loudspeaker by our commander when we crossed the channel that morning. What valor and inspiration were in his words- all about how we were embarked on a great crusade, that the hopes and prayers of a liberty loving people were going with us....I got gooseflesh when he asked for the blessing of almighty god on this great and noble undertaking. But how to reconcile that with spilled guts on a beach and flies in the eyes of some dead nineteen year old kid who traded his life for some words on paper?
Elizabeth Berg (Dream When You're Feeling Blue)
He isn’t a government or an army. He’s a guy. No matter what you think of any particular war, you’ve got to feel something for some poor guy ripped out of his life and handed a gun and sent somewhere to kill other guys who’ve been ripped out of their lives and sent to do the same thing, and while they’re both shivering in their foxholes, scared they’re not going to see another sunrise, all the fat cats, all the generals and politicos and priests and mullahs and tribal elders who started the whole damn thing, sit way to the rear, moving their chess pieces around.” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder as he took a breath. “He got handed the dirty end of a dirty stick but he handled it. You’ve got to respect that.
F. Paul Wilson (All the Rage (Repairman Jack, #4))
The emerging and vital truth isn’t who is more Neanderthal than whom. It’s that all peoples, everywhere, enjoyed archaic human lovers whenever they could. These DNA memories are buried deeper inside us than even our ids, and they remind us that the grand saga of how humans spread across the globe will need some personal, private, all-too-human amendments and annotations—rendezvous here, elopements there, and the commingling of genes most everywhere.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
RESISTANCE AND FEAR Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance. Have you ever watched Inside the Actors Studio? The host, James Lipton, invariably asks his guests, "What factors make you decide to take a particular role?" The actor always answers: "Because I'm afraid of it." The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself. Is he scared? Hell, yes. He's petrified. (Conversely, the professional turns down roles that he's done before. He's not afraid of them anymore. Why waste his time?) So if you're paralyzed with fear, it's a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Great literature remains great when it says new things to new generations, and the loops of a knot quite nicely parallel the contours and convolutions of Carroll’s plot anyway.What’s more, he probably would have been delighted at how this whimsical branch of math invaded the real world and became crucial to understanding our biology.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
His Omega felt weak from her loss of the war. She needed him to prove he was stronger—strong enough for both of them. That was their way... a relic from the Undercroft he’d taught her. “Scream all you want. Fight me.” Shepherd licked his lips and eyed her jerking body each time he forcefully fucked into her slippery pussy. “You won’t win.” A thumb swiped over her pulsing carotid artery. “You want to be conquered by your mate. Constrained submission calms you when you rage—when you feel lost and confused.
Addison Cain (Reborn (Alpha's Claim, #3))
But she was so happy in her gilded cage, wasn’t she? She ate well, slept well, enjoyed herself She lacked nothing. And then, look, a bunch of mental cases turn her away from her happiness and send her to -- how did you put it? -- to ‘blow herself away’?. The good doctor lives next door to a war but he doesn’t want to hear a word about it. And he thinks his wife shouldn’t worry about it, either. … We’re at war. Some people take up arms; others twiddle their thumbs. And still others make a killing in the name of the Cause. That’s life. … Your wife chose her side. The happiness you offered her smelled of decay. It repulsed her, you get it? She didn’t want your happiness. She couldn’t work on her suntan while her people were bent under the Zionist yoke. Do I have to draw you a picture to make you understand, or do you refuse to look reality in the face?
Yasmina Khadra (The Attack)
A syndrome is small, portable, not weighed down by theory, episodic. You can explain something with it and then discard it. A disposable instrument of cognition. Mine is called Recurrent Detoxification Syndrome. Without the bells and whistles, its description boils down to the insistence of one’s consciousness on returning to certain images, or even the compulsive search for them. It is a variant of the Mean World Syndrome, which has been described fairly exhaustively in neuropsychological studies as a particular type of infection caused by the media. It’s quite a bourgeois ailment, I suppose. Patients spend long hours in front of the TV, thumbing at their remote controls through all the channels till they find the ones with the most horrendous news: wars, epidemics, and disasters. Then, fascinated by what they’re seeing, they can’t tear themselves away. The symptoms themselves
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
You live in your own world, dear one.” “I do,” Arjun agreed, running his thumb across the hand terminal’s screen. He looked up. “You don’t mind, do you?” “I love you for it. Stay
James S.A. Corey (Caliban's War (Expanse, #2))
And the dog?’ ‘The dog, sire?’ Sears asked, confused. ‘The dog told you this?’ ‘Not me, sire, him.’ Sears jerked the thumb of his good hand to Gitsham
J.P. Ashman (Black Cross (Black Powder Wars, #1))
I looked at him, into his warm gray eyes, and suddenly understood what he was trying to tell me. The message hidden beneath the words. You’re not alone. Because he understood. He understood how it felt to be abandoned. He understood the insults. Understood me. I pushed myself onto my tiptoes and kissed him-really kissed him. It was more than just a precursor to sex. There was no war between our mouths. My hips rested lightly beneath his, not pressed tightly. Our lips moved in soft, perfect harmony with each other. This time it meant something. What that something was, I didn’t know at the time, but I knew that there was a real connection between us. His hands stroked gently through my hair, his thumb grazing my cheek-still damp from crying earlier. And it didn’t feel sick or twisted or unnatural. Actually, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I slid off his shirt, and he pulled mine over my head. Then he laid me down on the bed. No rush. This time things were slow and earnest. This time I wasn’t looking for an escape. This time it was about him. About me. About honesty and compassion and everything I’d never expected to find in Wesley Rush. This time, when our bodies connected, it didn’t feel dirty or wrong. It felt horrifyingly right.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
In his airport bestseller from 2018, Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker, the leading voice in the choir of bourgeois optimism, revelled in the ‘conquest of infectious disease’ all over the globe – Europe, America, but above all the developing countries – as proof that ‘a rich world is a healthier world’, or, in transparent terms, that a world under the thumb of capital is the best of all possible worlds. ‘ “Smallpox was an infectious disease” ’, Pinker read on Wikipedia – ‘yes, “smallpox was” ’; it exists no more, and the diseases not yet obliterated are being rapidly decimated. Pinker closed the book on the subject by confidently predicting that no pandemic would strike the world in the foreseeable future. Had he cared to read the science, he would have known that waves from a rising tide were already crashing against the fortress he so dearly wished to defend. He could, for instance, have opened the pages of Nature, where a team of scientists in 2008 analysed 335 outbreaks of ‘emerging infectious diseases’ since 1940 and found that their number had ‘risen significantly over time’.
Andreas Malm (Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century)
Polar bears began evolving their impressive vitamin A–fighting capabilities around 150,000 years ago, when small groups of Alaskan brown bears split off and migrated north to the ice caps.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Kaz snagged her wrist. "Inej." His gloved thumb moved over her pulse, traced the top of the feather tattoo. "If we don't make it out, I want you to know..." She waited. She felt hope rustling its wings inside her, ready to take flight at the right words from Kaz. She willed that hope in to stillness. Those words would never come. The heart is an arrow. She reached up and touched his cheek. She thought he might flinch again, even knock her hand away. In nearly two years of battling side by side with Kaz, of late-night scheming, impossible heists, clandestine errands, and harried meals of fried potatoes and hutspot gobbled down as they rushed from one place to another, this was the first time she had touched him skin to skin, without the barrier of gloves or coat or shirtsleeve. She let her hand cup his cheek. His skin was cool and damp from the rain. He stayed still, but she saw a tremor pass through him, as if he were waging a war with himself. "If we don't die this night, I will die unafraid, Kaz. Can you say the same?" His eyes were nearly black, the pupils dilated. She could see it took every last bit of his terrible will for him to remain still beneath her touch. And yet, he did not pull away. She knew it was the best he could offer. It was not enough. She dropped her hand. He took a deep breath. Kaz had said he didn't want her prayers and she wouldn't speak them, but she wished him safe nonetheless. She had her aim now, her heart had direction, and though it hurt to know that path led away from him, she could endure it.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
I took the thin magazine from the pouch in front of me and began to thumb through it. I felt self-conscious, as if I shouldn't be there. My mind began to wander, as I knew it would, back to the boonies. I was on patrol again. Monaco was on point. Peewee and Walowick followed him. Lobel and Brunner were next, then Johnson, the sixty cradled in his arm as if it were a child. We were walking the boonies, past rice paddies, toward yet another hill. I was in the rear, and for some reason I turned back. Behind me, trailing the platoon, were the others. Brew, Jenkins, Sergeant Dongan, Turner, and Lewis, the new guys, and Lieutenant Carroll. I knew I was mixing my prayers, but it didn't matter. I just wanted God to care for them, to keep them whole. I knew they were thinking about me and Peewee.
Walter Dean Myers
S-A-T-O-R A-R-E-P-O T-E-N-E-T O-P-E-R-A R-O-T-A-S The palindrome means something like “The farmer Arepo works with his plow,” with rotas, literally “wheels,” referring to the back-and-forth motion that plows make as they till. This “magic square” has delighted enigmatologists for centuries ... The magic square also reportedly kept away the devil, who traditionally (so said the church) got confused when he read palindromes.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
But for years questions persisted about whether most cannibalism was religiously motivated and selective or culinary and routine. DNA suggests routine. Every known ethnic group worldwide has one of two genetic signatures that help our bodies fight off certain diseases that cannibals catch, especially mad-cow-like diseases that come from eating each other’s brains. This defensive DNA almost certainly wouldn’t have become fixed worldwide if it hadn’t once been all too necessary.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Lebedev: France has a clear and defined policy... The French know what they want. They just want to wipe out the Krauts, finish, but Germany, my friend, is playing a very different tune. Germany has many more birds in her sights than just France... Shabelsky: Nonsense! ...In my view the German are cowards and the French are cowards... They're just thumbing their noses at each other. Believe me, things will stop there. They won't fight. Borkin: And as I see it, why fight? What's the point of these armaments, congresses, expenditures? You know what I'd do? I'd gather together dogs from all over the country, give them a good dose of rabies and let them loose in enemy country. In a month all my enemies would be running rabid.
Anton Chekhov (Ivanov)
Jackson went happily into the field anyway, calmly picking and eating the ripe fruit even though, as Douglas observed, “the bullets seemed to be as plentiful as blackberries.” At one point he turned to his increasingly anxious aide and, with a large, juicy berry between his thumb and finger, asked Douglas casually “in what part of the body I preferred being shot.” Douglas, nervously handing the general berries while minié balls whistled overhead and buried themselves in the trees around them, replied that while his first choice was to be hit in his clothing, he preferred anyplace other than his face or joints. Jackson said he had “the old-fashioned horror of being shot in the back and so great was his prejudice on the subject that he often found himself turning his face in the direction from which the bullets came.” Just then a bullet thudded into a sapling near their heads, and Jackson, with a “vague remark about getting his horse killed,” reluctantly left the feast.18
S.C. Gwynne (Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson)
As Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art describes: “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Pat Flynn
Very few people know where they will die, But I do; in a brick-faced hospital, Divided, not unlike Caesarean Gaul, Into three parts; the Dean Memorial Wing, in the classic cast of 1910, Green-grated in unglazed, Aeolian Embrasures; the Maud Wiggin Building, which Commemorates a dog-jawed Boston bitch Who fought the brass down to their whipcord knees In World War I, and won enlisted men Some decent hospitals, and, being rich, Donated her own granite monument; The Mandeville Pavilion, pink-brick tent With marble piping, flying snapping flags Above the entry where our bloody rags Are rolled in to be sponged and sewn again. Today is fair; tomorrow, scourging rain (If only my own tears) will see me in Those jaundiced and distempered corridors Off which the five-foot-wide doors slowly close. White as my skimpy chiton, I will cringe Before the pinpoint of the least syringe; Before the buttered catheter goes in; Before the I.V.’s lisp and drip begins Inside my skin; before the rubber hand Upon the lancet takes aim and descends To lay me open, and upon its thumb Retracts the trouble, a malignant plum; And finally, I’ll quail before the hour When the authorities shut off the power In that vast hospital, and in my bed I’ll feel my blood go thin, go white, the red, The rose all leached away, and I’ll go dead. Then will the business of life resume: The muffled trolley wheeled into my room, The off-white blanket blanking off my face, The stealing secret, private, largo race Down halls and elevators to the place I’ll be consigned to for transshipment, cased In artificial air and light: the ward That’s underground; the terminal; the morgue. Then one fine day when all the smart flags flap, A booted man in black with a peaked cap Will call for me and troll me down the hall And slot me into his black car. That’s all.
L.E. Sissman
And Mallow laughed joyously. "You've missed, Sutt, missed as badly as the Commdor himself. You've missed everything, and understood nothing. The Empire has always been a realm of colossal resources. They've calculated everything in planets, in stellar systems, in whole sectors of the Galaxy. Their generators are gigantic because they thought in gigantic fashion. "But we,—we, our little Foundation, our single world almost without metallic resources,—have had to work with brute economy. Our generators have had to be the size of our thumb, because it was all the metal we could afford. We had to develop new techniques and new methods,—techniques and methods the Empire can't follow because they have degenerated past the stage where they can make any vital scientific advance. "With all their nuclear shields, large enough to protect a ship, a city, an entire world; hey could never build one to protect a single man. To supply light and heat to a city, they have motors six stories high,—I saw them—where ours could fit into this room. And when I told one of their nuclear specialists that a lead container the size of a walnut contained a nuclear generator, he almost choked with indignation on the spot. "Why, they don't even understand their own colossi any longer. The machines work from generation to generation automatically and the caretakers are a hereditary caste who would be helpless if a single D-tube in all that vast structure burnt out. "The whole war is a battle between these two systems; between the Empire and the Foundation; between the big and the little. To seize control of a world, they bribe with immense ships that can make war, but lack all economic significance. We, on the other hand, bribe with little things, useless in war, but vital to prosperity and profits. "A king, or a Commdor, will take the ships and even make war. Arbitrary rulers throughout history have bartered their subjects' welfare for what they consider honor, and glory, and conquest. But it's still the little things in life that count—and Asper Argo won't stand up against the economic depression that will sweep all Korell in two or three years.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
Mace flipped up a thumb. “You think being armed and ruthless means you can do whatever you want.” He folded his thumb and flipped up his forefinger. “You think nobody will stand up to you when they’re naked.” He folded that one again and flipped up the next. “And you think you’re going to look inside my bag.
Matthew Woodring Stover (Star Wars: Shatterpoint)
talked. “Is my accent so obvious?” she asked Kitay. “It’s getting better,” he said. “Just try rolling the ends of your words more. Shorten your vowels. And add the r sound where it doesn’t exist. That’s a good rule of thumb.” “Ar. Arrr.” Rin gagged. “Why do Sinegardians have to sound like they’re chewing cud?
R.F. Kuang (The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1))
For example, he looks at 21 different hunter-gatherer societies for which we have solid historical evidence, from the Walbiri of Australia to the Tauade of New Guinea to the Ammassalik of Greenland to the Ona of Tierra Del Fuego and found that the average number of people in their villages was 148.4. The same pattern holds true for military organization. "Over the years military planners have arrived at a rule of thumb which dictates that functional fighting units cannot be substantially larger than 200 men." Dunbar writes. "This, I suspect, is not simply a matter of how the generals in the rear exercise control and coordination, because companies have remained obdurately stuck at this size despite all the advances in communications technology since the first world war. Rather, it is as thought the planners have discovered, by trial and error over the centuries, that it is hard to get more than this number of men sufficiently familiar with each other so that they can work together as a functional unit." It is still possible, ofcourse, to run an army with larger groups. But at a bigger size you have to impose complicated hierarchies and rules and regulations and formal measures to try to command loyalty and cohesion. But below 150, Dunbar argues, it is possible to achieve these same goals informally: "At this size, orders can be implemented and unruly behavior controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct man-to-man contacts. With larger groups this becomes impossible.
Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference)
I think we must only a few of us go," Laurence said, low. "I will take a few volunteers - " "Oh, the devil you will!" Granby exclaimed furiously. "No, this time I damned well put my foot down, Laurence. Send you off to go scrambling about in that warren with no notion where you are going, and nothing more likely than running into a dozen guards round every corner; I should like to see myself do it. I am not going back to England to tell them I sat about twiddling my thumbs whilst you got yourself cut to pieces. Temeraire, you are not to let him go, do you hear me? He is sure to be killed; I give you my word." "If the party are sure to be killed, I am not going to let anyone go!" Temeraire said, in high alarm, and sat up sharp, quite prepared to physically hold anyone back who made an attempt to leave. "Temeraire, this is plain exaggeration," Laurence said. "Mr. Granby, you overstate the case, and you overstep your bounds." "Well, I don't," Granby said defiantly. "I have bit my tongue a dozen times over, because I know it is wretched hard to sit about watching and you haven't been trained up to it, but you are a captain, and you must be more careful of your neck. It isn't only your own but the Corps' affair if you snuff it, and mine too." "If I may," Tharkay said quietly, interrupting when Laurence would have remonstrated further with Granby, "I will go; alone I am reasonably sure I can find a way to the eggs, without rousing any alarm, and then I can return and guide the rest of the party there." "Tharkay," Laurence said, "this is no service you owe us; I would not order even a man under oath of arms to undertake it, without he were willing." "But I am willing," Tharkay gave his faint half-smile, "and more likely to come back whole from it than anyone else here." "At the cost of running thrice the risk, going and coming back and going again," Laurence said, "with a fresh chance of running into the guards every time through." "So it is very dangerous, then," Temeraire said, overhearing to too much purpose, and pricking up his ruff further. "You are not to go, at all, Granby is quite right; and neither is anyone else." "Oh, Hell," Laurence said, under his breath. "It seems there is very little alternative to my going," Tharkay said. "Not you either!" Temeraire contradicted, to Tharkay's startlement, and settled down as mulish as a dragon could look; and Granby had folded his arms and wore an expression very similar. Laurence had ordinarily very little inclination to profanity, but he was sorely tempted on this occasion. An appeal to Temeraire's reason might sway him to allow a party to make the attempt, if he could be persuaded to accept the risk as necessary for the gain, like a battle; but he would surely balk at seeing Laurence go, and Laurence had not the least intention of sending men on so deadly an enterprise if he were not going himself, Corps rules be damned.
Naomi Novik (Black Powder War (Temeraire, #3))
At the very same time that we witnessed the explosion of white celebrity moms, and the outpouring of advice to a surveillance of middle-class mothers, the welfare mother, trapped in a "cycle of dependency," became ubiquitous in our media landscape, and she came to represent everything wrong with America. She appeared not in the glossy pages of the women's magazines but rather as the subject of news stories about the "crisis" in the American family and the newly declared "war" on welfare mothers. Whatever ailed America--drugs, crime, loss of productivity--was supposedly her fault. She was portrayed as thumbing her nose at intensive mothering. Even worse, she was depicted as bringing her kids into the realm of market values, as putting a price on their heads, by allegedly calculating how much each additional child was worth and then getting pregnant to cash in on them. For middle-class white women in the media, by contrast, their kids were priceless, these media depictions reinforced the divisions between "us" (minivan moms) and "them" (welfare mothers, working-class mothers, teenage mothers), and did so especially along the lines of race. For example, one of the most common sentences used to characterize the welfare mother was, "Tanya, who has_____ children by ______ different men" (you fill in the blanks). Like zoo animals, their lives were reduced to the numbers of successful impregnations by multiple partners. So it's interesting to note that someone like Christie Brinkley, who has exactly the same reproductive MO, was never described this way. Just imagine reading a comparable sentence in Redbook. "Christie B., who has three children by three different men." But she does, you know.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
I have something for you,” she said as she pulled his leather gloves from the sleeve of her prison tunic. He stared at them. “How—” “I got them from the discarded clothes. Before I made the climb.” “Six stories in the dark.” She nodded. She wasn’t going to wait for thanks. Not for the climb, or the gloves, or for anything ever again. He pulled the gloves on slowly, and she watched his pale, vulnerable hands disappear beneath the leather. They were trickster hands—long, graceful fingers made for prying open locks, hiding coins, making things vanish. “When we get back to Ketterdam, I’m taking my share, and I’m leaving the Dregs.” He looked away. “You should. You were always too good for the Barrel.” It was time to go. “Saints’ speed, Kaz.” Kaz snagged her wrist. “Inej.” His gloved thumb moved over her pulse, traced the top of the feather tattoo. “If we don’t make it out, I want you to know…” She waited. She felt hope rustling its wings inside her, ready to take flight at the right words from Kaz. She willed that hope into stillness. Those words would never come. The heart is an arrow. She reached up and touched his cheek. She thought he might flinch again, even knock her hand away. In nearly two years of battling side by side with Kaz, of late-night scheming, impossible heists, clandestine errands, and harried meals of fried potatoes and hutspot gobbled down as they rushed from one place to another, this was the first time she had touched him skin to skin, without the barrier of gloves or coat or shirtsleeve. She let her hand cup his cheek. His skin was cool and damp from the rain. He stayed still, but she saw a tremor pass through him, as if he were waging a war with himself. “If we don’t survive this night, I will die unafraid, Kaz. Can you say the same?” His eyes were nearly black, the pupils dilated. She could see it took every last bit of his terrible will for him to remain still beneath her touch. And yet, he did not pull away. She knew it was the best he could offer. It was not enough. She dropped her hand. He took a deep breath. Kaz had said he didn’t want her prayers and she wouldn’t speak them, but she wished him safe nonetheless. She had her aim now, her heart had direction, and though it hurt to know that path led away from him, she could endure it.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
I shudder to imagine an equal and opposite incursion—may causality forbid Commandant ever dispatch me to one of your viny-hivey elfworlds, profusely floral, all arcing elder trees, neural pollen, bees gathering memories from eyes and tongue, honey libraries dripping knowledge from the comb. I harbor no illusions I’d succeed. You would find me in an instant, crush me faster—I’d walk a swath of rot through your verdancy, no matter how light I tried to step. I have a Cherenkov-green thumb.
Amal El-Mohtar (This is How You Lose the Time War)
Any flesh or fluid from any beast was eligible for ingestion, be it blood, skin, gristle, or worse. While touring a church once, Buckland startled a local vicar—who was showing off the miraculous “martyr’s blood” that dripped from the rafters every night—by dropping to the stone floor and dabbing the stain with his tongue. Between laps Buckland announced, “It’s bat urine.” Overall Buckland found few animals he couldn’t stomach: “The taste of mole was the most repulsive I knew,” he once mused. “Until I tasted a bluebottle [fly].”*
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Hey, have you guys seen Rachel?” “I’m looking at her,” Sam said. Ethan stepped out, and relief settled over his face. He stopped beside Garret and glanced between Rachel and Sean and then at the others. “You okay?” he asked. She smiled, not wanting him to worry. “I’m fine. I stepped out for some fresh air not realizing this was a time-honored tradition of escaping Marlene’s get-togethers.” Ethan relaxed and stuck his thumbs in his belt loops. “Yeah, it’s become something that rivals war games. He who survives the longest without being hauled back in by Mom wins.
Maya Banks (The Darkest Hour (KGI, #1))
And she didn’t take it well. I saw that for myself. I’m convinced that she’s Lissa’s half-sister, now, but she’s in the same position Lissa was in—under Gavin’s thumb." "You think I haven’t considered that?" Winkler’s words were a growl. "We have no claim on this one, Weldon. The vamps have full control, although Bill says they have no idea she can walk in daylight." "I heard her asking for fruit, so that’s not the only similarity," Weldon huffed. "Lissa got used by the vampires and killed by her father’s interference." "Let’s hope Griffin stays the hell away from this one, then.
Connie Suttle (Blood Revolution (God Wars, #3))
Dear Kid President: Kids are awesome because: •     They inspire us to believe in our dreams. •     They know that what really matters in life is hugs, animals, kindness, friendship, and love! •     For kids, words like “can’t,” “don’t,” and “stop” are the real bad words. •     Kids don’t declare wars (except the occasional thumb war, which is harmless). •     Their official language is laughter. •     They believe in things that they can’t see but know are real. •     Kids look beyond race, religion, and ethnicity to recognize that we’re all connected. •     They remind us that life is precious, play is important, and art, dance, and music make the world better. •     They color outside the lines, can turn anything into a toy, and feel lots of feelings. •     Kids are awesome because we are awesome, and if we look deep enough, we’d see that we are all still kids. I believe with all my heart that we should try to be more like kids instead of making them more like us! Let’s listen to their concerns, learn from their wisdom, and be inspired by their imagination. When we empower kids, we change the world. There’s more JOY, more HOPE, more POSSIBILITY. Kids aren’t who we were; they’re who we could be! Kid Ideas + Kid Leadership + Kid Lunches = Awesomesauce!
Robby Novak (Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome)
And what about your brother, Agus? Will he be entertaining us with his pipes?” “Agg,” Shanks rasped, wrinkling his nose. “I didn’t tell you? He ain’t with us no more.” A heavy fist slammed on the arm of the Viidun’s chair as he growled, “The idiot went off and got himself killed!” “What?” Derian and Eena replied in unison, both horrified by the news. “You heard me!” Shanks bellowed. “The crazy fool should’ve known when to duck. He died in a bloody challenge with some brainless Deramptium! A downright disgraceful way to die! I’m ashamed to say he was my brother!” “That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?” Eena muttered, mostly speaking to Derian. “What was that?” the Viidun demanded. Derian whispered a hush to Eena. Addressing Shanks, he expressed their condolences. “We are truly sorry for your loss. Your brother will be sorely missed. On the other hand, we look forward to welcoming you and your crew aboard the Kemeniroc.” Derian held up his right hand, extending his thumb and two adjoining fingers. “Strength, truth, and honor, friend,” he said, ending their conversation. “Strength, truth, and honor,” Shanks repeated. The screen went black. The captain turned to Eena who was still in shock. “You have to understand,” he explained, “the Viiduns are a fiercely competitive people with proud, warring ways. Their culture doesn’t call for much sympathy, especially when it appears one of their own has failed to live up to expectations.” Eena was still disturbed by the lack of compassion. “But that was his brother.” “I know. I can hardly believe it myself. Shanks and Agus were very close. They traveled everywhere together. All I can figure is it’s easier for Shanks to express his anger than his anguish.” “After all that, I’m not sure I want to meet him in person. He scares me,” she admitted. Derian laughed. “He scares everyone. That’s why you want to keep him as an ally and not make him an enemy.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Eena, The Return of a Queen (The Harrowbethian Saga #2))
But to understand what DNA and genes really are, we have to decouple the two words. They’re not identical and never have been. DNA is a thing—a chemical that sticks to your fingers. Genes have a physical nature, too; in fact, they’re made of long stretches of DNA. But in some ways genes are better viewed as conceptual, not material. A gene is really information—more like a story, with DNA as the language the story is written in. DNA and genes combine to form larger structures called chromosomes, DNA-rich volumes that house most of the genes in living things. Chromosomes in turn reside in the cell nucleus, a library with instructions that run our entire bodies.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
His eyes dragged over her. “Arin, your slave looks positively wild.” Lack of sleep made her thoughts broken and shiny, like pieces of mirrors on strings. Cheat’s words spun in her head. Arin tensed beside her. “No offense,” Cheat told him. “It was a compliment to your taste.” “What do you want, Cheat?” Arin said. The man stroked a thumb over his lower lip. “Wine.” He looked straight at Kestrel. “Get some.” The order itself wasn’t important. It was how Cheat had meant it: as the first of many, and how, in the end, they translated into one word: obey. The only thing that kept Kestrel’s face clean of her thoughts was the knowledge that Cheat would take pleasure in any resistance. Yet she couldn’t make herself move. “I’ll get the wine,” Arin said. “No,” Kestrel said. She didn’t want to be left alone with Cheat. “I’ll go.” For an uncertain moment, Arin stood awkwardly. Then he walked to the door and motioned a Herrani girl into the room. “Please escort Kestrel to the wine cellar, then bring her back here.” “Choose a good vintage,” Cheat said to Kestrel. “You’ll know the best.” As she left the room, his eyes followed her, glittering. She returned with a clearly labeled bottle of Valorian wine dated to the year of the Herran War. She placed it on the table in front of the two seated men. Arin’s jaw set, and he shook his head slightly. Cheat lost his grin. “This was the best,” Kestrel said.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
He had less than thirty seconds to finish his ritual. Using his toes, West loaded the bipod, pushing his body tight into the buttstock. He set his cheek on the rest, locked into the gun, his body set up to absorb the recoil. His mind calculated the data needed to put a 750-grain armor-piercing bullet into the bow tie affixed to the grille. Hitting a target the size of a coffee can was hard enough. When the target was moving at 80 miles per hour West knew he had to be right on the money. He focused on breathing normally—even breaths in and out. The reticle was locked in high and to the right of the spot he actually wanted to put the bullet, and then he flicked the safety off with his thumb
Sean Parnell (Man of War (Eric Steele #1))
In a hurry to escape he let himself out of the house and walked to the truck. Before he could climb inside Marilee raced down the steps. Breathless,she came to a sudden halt in front of him. At the dark look in his eyes she swallowed. "Please don't go,Wyatt. I've been such a fool." "You aren't the only one." He studied her with a look that had her heart stuttering.A look so intense, she couldn't look away. "I've been neating myself up for days,because I wanted things to go my way or no way." "There's no need.You're not the only one." Her voice was soft,throaty. "You've always respected my need to be independent.But I guess I fought the battle so long,I forgot how to stop fighting even after I'd won the war." "You can fight me all you want. You know Superman is indestructable." Again that long,speculative look. "I know I caught you off guard with that proposal. It won't happen again. Even when I understood your fear of commitment, I had to push to have things my way.And even though I still want more, I'm willing to settle for what you're willing to give,as long as we can be together." She gave a deep sigh. "You mean it?" "I do." "Oh,Wyatt.I was so afraid I'd driven you away forever." He continued studying her. "Does this mean you're suffering another change of heart?" "My heart doesn't need to change. In my heart,I've always known how very special you are.It's my head that can't seem to catch up." She gave a shake of her head,as though to clear it. "I'm so glad you understand me. I've spent so many years fighting to be my own person, it seems I can't bear to give up the battle." A slow smile spread across his face, changing it from darkness to light. "Marilee,if it's a sparring partner you want,I'm happy to sigh on. And if,in time,you ever decide you want more, I'm your man." He framed her face with his hands and lowered his head,kissing her long and slow and deep until they were both sighing with pleasure. Her tears started again,but this time they were tears of joy. Wyatt brushed them away with his thumbs and traced the tracks with his lips. Marilee sighed at the tenderness. It was one of the things she most loved about this man. Loved. Why did she find it so hard to say what she was feeling? Because,her heart whispered, love meant commitment and promises and forever after,and that was more than she was willing to consider. At least for now. After a moment he caught her hand. "Where are we going?" "Your place.It's closer than the ranch, and we've wasted too much time already." "i can't leave the ambulance..." "All right." He turned away from the ranch truck and led her toward her vehicle. "See how easy I am?" At her little laugh he added, "I'm desperate for some time alone with you." Alone. She thought about that word. She'd been alone for so long.What he was offering had her heart working overtime. He was willing to compromise in order to be with her. She was laughing through her tears as she turned the key in the ignition. The key that had saved his life. "Wyatt McCord,I can't think of anything I'd rather be than alone with you.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
Well, good luck,’ the Vietnam verbal tic...It was as though people couldn’t stop themselves from saying it, even when they actually meant to express the opposite wish, like, ‘Die, motherfucker.’ Usually it was only an uninhabited passage of dead language, sometimes it came out five times in a sentence, like punctuation, often it was spoken flat side up to telegraph the belief that there wasn’t any way out; tough shit, sin loi, smack it, good luck. Sometimes, though, it was said with such feeling and tenderness that it could crack your mask, that much love where there was so much war. Me too, every day, compulsively, good luck: to friends in the press corps going out on operations, to grunts I’d meet at firebases and airstrips, to the wounded, the dead and all the Vietnamese I ever saw getting fucked over by us and each other, less often but most passionately to myself, and though I meant it every time I said it, it was meaningless. It was like telling someone going out in a storm not to get any on him, it was the same as saying, ‘Gee, I hope you don’t get killed or wounded or see anything that drives you insane.’ You could make all the ritual moves, carry your lucky piece, wear your magic jungle hat, kiss your thumb knuckle smooth as stones under running water, the Inscrutable Immutable was still out there, and you kept on or not at its pitiless discretion. All you could say that wasn’t fundamentally lame was something like, ‘He who bites it this day is safe from the next,’ and that was exactly what nobody wanted to hear.
Michael Herr (Dispatches)
A true war story is never moral. it does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you fell uplifted or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. ... You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
Already it is twilight down in the Laredito. Bats fly forth from their roostings in courthouse and tower and circle the quarter. The air is full of the smell of burning charcoal. Children and dogs squat by the mud stoops and gamecocks flap and settle in the branches of the fruit trees. They go afoot, these comrades, down along a bare adobe wall. Band music carries dimly from the square. They pass a watercart in the street and they pass a hole in the wall where by the light of a small forgefire an old man beats out shapes of metal. They pass in a doorway a young girl whose beauty becomes the flowers about. They arrive at last before a wooden door. It is hinged into a larger door or gate and all must step over the foot-high sill where a thousand boots have scuffled away the wood, where fools in their hundreds have tripped or fallen or tottered drunkenly into the street. They pass along a ramada in a courtyard by an old grape arbor where small fowl nod in the dusk among the gnarled and barren vines and they enter a cantina where the lamps are lit and they cross stooping under a low beam to a bar and belly up one two three. There is an old disordered Mennonite in this place and he turns to study them. A thin man in a leather weskit, a black and straightbrim hat set square on his head, a thin rim of whiskers. The recruits order glasses of whiskey and drink them down and order more. There are monte games at tables by the wall and there are whores at another table who look the recruits over. The recruits stand sideways along the bar with their thumbs in their belts and watch the room. They talk among themselves of the expedition in loud voices and the old Mennonite shakes a rueful head and sips his drink and mutters. They'll stop you at the river, he says. The second corporal looks past his comrades. Are you talking to me? At the river. Be told. They'll jail you to a man. Who will? The United States Army. General Worth. They hell they will. Pray that they will. He looks at his comrades. He leans toward the Mennonite. What does that mean, old man? Do ye cross that river with yon filibuster armed ye'll not cross it back. Don't aim to cross it back. We goin to Sonora. What's it to you, old man? The Mennonite watches the enshadowed dark before them as it is reflected to him in the mirror over the bar. He turns to them. His eyes are wet, he speaks slowly. The wrath of God lies sleeping. It was hid a million years before men were and only men have power to wake it. Hell aint half full. Hear me. Ye carry war of a madman's making into a foreign land. Ye'll wake more than the dogs. But they berated the old man and swore at him until he moved off down the bar muttering, and how else could it be? How these things end. In confusion and curses and blood. They drank on and the wind blew in the streets and the stars that had been overhead lay low in the west and these young men fell afoul of others and words were said that could not be put right again and in the dawn the kid and the second corporal knelt over the boy from Missouri who had been named Earl and they spoke his name but he never spoke back. He lay on his side in the dust of the courtyard. The men were gone, the whores were gone. An old man swept the clay floor within the cantina. The boy lay with his skull broken in a pool of blood, none knew by whom. A third one came to be with them in the courtyard. It was the Mennonite. A warm wind was blowing and the east held a gray light. The fowls roosting among the grapevines had begun to stir and call. There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto, said the Mennonite. He had been holding his hat in his hands and now he set it upon his head again and turned and went out the gate.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
Saturday and Sunday nights the long gray car would be parked among Fords and Chevrolets, as if it had littered or spawned on the gravel quay beside the club. Inside, the five-man Negro band pumped jazz—Button Up Your Overcoat and I’ll Get By and That’s My Weakness Now, interspersed with numbers that had been living before and would be living after: San and Tiger Rag and High Society—while the planters and bankers, the doctors and lawyers, the cotton men and merchants made a show of accompanying each other’s wives through the intricacies of the Charleston, the Black Bottom, the Barney Google, or else backed off and watched one of the women take a solo break, improvising, bobbing and weaving, wetting her thumbs and rolling her eyes, ritualistic, clinging desperately to the tail end of the jazz age—so desperately, so frantically indeed, that a person looking back upon that time might almost believe they had foreseen the depression and Roosevelt and another war and were dancing thus, Cassandra-like, in a frenzy of despair. Jeff
Shelby Foote (Love in a Dry Season)
Cheat wore a Valorian jacket Kestrel was sure she had seen on the governor the night before. He sat at the right hand of the empty head of the dining table, but stood when Kestrel and Arin entered. He approached. His eyes dragged over her. “Arin, your slave looks positively wild.” Lack of sleep made her thoughts broken and shiny, like pieces of mirrors on strings. Cheat’s words spun in her head. Arin tensed beside her. “No offense,” Cheat told him. “It was a compliment to your taste.” “What do you want, Cheat?” Arin said. The man stroked a thumb over his lower lip. “Wine.” He looked straight at Kestrel. “Get some.” The order itself wasn’t important. It was how Cheat had meant it: as the first of many, and how, in the end, they translated into one word: obey. The only thing that kept Kestrel’s face clean of her thoughts was the knowledge that Cheat would take pleasure in any resistance. Yet she couldn’t make herself move. “I’ll get the wine,” Arin said. “No,” Kestrel said. She didn’t want to be left alone with Cheat. “I’ll go.” For an uncertain moment, Arin stood awkwardly. Then he walked to the door and motioned a Herrani girl into the room. “Please escort Kestrel to the wine cellar, then bring her back here.” “Choose a good vintage,” Cheat said to Kestrel. “You’ll know the best.” As she left the room, his eyes followed her, glittering. She returned with a clearly labeled bottle of Valorian wine dated to the year of the Herran War. She placed it on the table in front of the two seated men. Arin’s jaw set, and he shook his head slightly. Cheat lost his grin. “This was the best,” Kestrel said. “Pour.” Cheat shoved his glass toward her. She uncorked the bottle and poured--and kept pouring, even as the red wine flowed over the glass’s rim, across the table, and onto Cheat’s lap. He jumped to his feet, swatting wine from his fine stolen clothes. “Damn you!” “You said I should pour. You didn’t say I should stop.” Kestrel wasn’t sure what would have happened next if Arin hadn’t intervened. “Cheat,” he said, “I’m going to have to ask you to stop playing games with what is mine.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Fusionism as a political philosophy falls short (as do its modern analogues, such as “conservatarianism”) because, at the end of the day, liberty and order or freedom and virtue cannot be permanently reconciled. They are at once mutually dependent and at war, a bickering couple that cannot live without each other. At any given moment, one may have the better argument than the other, but tomorrow is another day. Life is full of contradictions and conflicts, and the story of Western civilization—the only true fundament of modern conservatism—is the story of these contradictions and conflicts being worked out over millennia. Fusionism is a failure if one looks to it as a source for what to think. But it is a shining success if one sees it as a guide for how to think. It tells us that we must always try to balance these conflicting principles—albeit with a thumb on the scales of liberty. That’s fine, because in the classical liberal tradition, the benefit of the doubt should always go to liberty, while the forces of coercion should meet an extra burden of proof.
Jonah Goldberg
We are here today to raise the flag of victory over the capital of our greatest adversary . . . we must remember that . . . we are raising it in the name of the people of the United States, who are looking forward to a better world, a peaceful world, a world in which all the people will have an opportunity to enjoy the good things of life, and not just a few at the top. Let us not forget that we are fighting for peace, and for the welfare of mankind. We are not fighting for conquest. There is not one piece of territory or one thing of a monetary nature that we want out of this war. We want peace and prosperity for the world as a whole. [Here the thumbs came out of the coat pockets, his freed hands chopped the air in unison, the familiar gesture, as he stressed each word, “peace and prosperity for the world as a whole.”] We want to see the time come when we can do the things in peace that we have been able to do in war. If we can put this tremendous machine of ours, which has made victory possible, to work for peace, we can look forward to the greatest age in the history of mankind. That is what we propose to do.
David McCullough (Truman)
Eric Steele was strapped in and rubbing a rag over his father’s 1911. Demo had brought the pistol with the rest of Steele’s gear on board the C-17. In the cockpit, the pilot pushed the throttle forward, shoving Steele back in his seat. He barely noticed because he was thinking about the first time his father let him hold the pistol. It had felt so heavy in his hands back then. So much I never got to ask him. He ran his thumb over the spot where the serial number should have been. It was silver and all traces of the file marks were smoothed out by years of use. The pistol was one of John Moses Browning’s masterpieces, the same design that the American infantryman had carried in the Battle of Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Korea, and Vietnam. It was the only thing he had to remind him of the father he never really knew. Steele had made the pistol his own by modifying it to shoot 9mm, adding a threaded barrel, and installing suppressor sights, which were taller than the factory ones. It was his gun now, and he slipped it away before taking an amphetamine tablet out of his pocket and downing it with a sip of water.
Sean Parnell (Man of War (Eric Steele #1))
Ode to the Beloved’s Hips" Bells are they—shaped on the eighth day—silvered percussion in the morning—are the morning. Swing switch sway. Hold the day away a little longer, a little slower, a little easy. Call to me— I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock right now—so to them I come—struck-dumb chime-blind, tolling with a throat full of Hosanna. How many hours bowed against this Infinity of Blessed Trinity? Communion of Pelvis, Sacrum, Femur. My mouth—terrible angel, ever-lasting novena, ecstatic devourer. O, the places I have laid them, knelt and scooped the amber—fast honey—from their openness— Ah Muzen Cab’s hidden Temple of Tulúm—licked smooth the sticky of her hip—heat-thrummed ossa coxae. Lambent slave to ilium and ischium—I never tire to shake this wild hive, split with thumb the sweet- dripped comb—hot hexagonal hole—dark diamond— to its nectar-dervished queen. Meanad tongue— come-drunk hum-tranced honey-puller—for her hips, I am—strummed-song and succubus. They are the sign: hip. And the cosign: a great book— the body’s Bible opened up to its Good News Gospel. Alleluias, Ave Marías, madre mías, ay yay yays, Ay Dios míos, and hip-hip-hooray. Cult of Coccyx. Culto de cadera. Oracle of Orgasm. Rorschach’s riddle: What do I see? Hips: Innominate bone. Wish bone. Orpheus bone. Transubstantiation bone—hips of bread, wine-whet thighs. Say the word and healed I shall be: Bone butterfly. Bone wings. Bone Ferris wheel. Bone basin bone throne bone lamp. Apparition in the bone grotto—6th mystery— slick rosary bead—Déme la gracia of a decade in this garden of carmine flower. Exile me to the enormous orchard of Alcinous—spiced fruit, laden-tree—Imparadise me. Because, God, I am guilty. I am sin-frenzied and full of teeth for pear upon apple upon fig. More than all that are your hips. They are a city. They are Kingdom— Troy, the hollowed horse, an army of desire— thirty soldiers in the belly, two in the mouth. Beloved, your hips are the war. At night your legs, love, are boulevards leading me beggared and hungry to your candy house, your baroque mansion. Even when I am late and the tables have been cleared, in the kitchen of your hips, let me eat cake. O, constellation of pelvic glide—every curve, a luster, a star. More infinite still, your hips are kosmic, are universe—galactic carousel of burning comets and Big Big Bangs. Millennium Falcon, let me be your Solo. O, hot planet, let me circumambulate. O, spiral galaxy, I am coming for your dark matter. Along las calles de tus muslos I wander— follow the parade of pulse like a drum line— descend into your Plaza del Toros— hands throbbing Miura bulls, dark Isleros. Your arched hips—ay, mi torera. Down the long corridor, your wet walls lead me like a traje de luces—all glitter, glowed. I am the animal born to rush your rich red muletas—each breath, each sigh, each groan, a hooked horn of want. My mouth at your inner thigh—here I must enter you—mi pobre Manolete—press and part you like a wound— make the crowd pounding in the grandstand of your iliac crest rise up in you and cheer.
Natalie Díaz
In the last week of April 2004, a handful of the Abu Ghraib photographs were broadcast on 60 minutes and published in The New Yorker, and within a couple of days they had been rebroadcast and republished pretty much everywhere on earth. Overnight, the human pyramid, the hooded man on the box, the young woman soldier with a prisoner on a leash, and the corpse packed in ice had become the defining images of the Iraq war...Never before had such primal dungeon scenes been so baldly captured on camera...But above all, it was the posing soldiers, mugging for their buddies' cameras while dominating the prisoners in trophy stances, that gave the photographs the sense of unruly and unmediated reality. The staging was part of the reality they documented. And the grins, the thumbs-up, the arms crossed over puffed-out chests—all this unseemly swagger and self-regard was the height of amateurism. These soldier-photographers stood, at once, inside and outside the events they recorded, watching themselves take part in the spectacle, and their decision not to conceal but to reveal what they were doing indicated that they were not just amateur photographers, but amateur torturers. So the amateurism was not merely a formal dimension of the Abu Ghraib pictures. It was part of their content, part of what we saw in them, and it corresponded to an aspect of the Iraq War that troubled and baffled nearly everyone: the reckless and slapdash ineptitude with which it had been prosecuted. It was an amateur-run war, a murky and incoherent war. It was not clear why it was waged; too many reasons were given, none had held up, and the stories we invented to explain it to ourselves hardly seemed to matter, since once it was started the war had become its own engine—not a means to an end but an end in itself. What had been billed as a war of ideas and ideals had been exposed as a war of poses and posturing.
Philip Gourevitch (Standard Operating Procedure)
Then Janie’s baby voice rose above the din. “Ma-ma!” My steps halted. So did my heart. The plaintive cry filled every crevice of my being. “Ma-ma!” The caterwauling ceased. I turned. Ollie’s horror-stricken face told me I’d heard right. Gripping the handle of my suitcase and clenching my teeth, I tried to hold in my own keening. Janie dropped to her pudgy knees in the middle of the road. “Ma-ma!” She fell on her face in the dirt and sobbed. My gaze rose past her to Frank, who stood at the top of the steps. His horror seemed to mirror my own. I’d thought by leaving I’d alleviate his suffering, but it seemed I’d only deepened it. He made his way across the yard, his eyes fixed on mine. He passed his frozen children as if they were merely trees in a human forest and stopped in front of me, so close I could smell Ol’ Bob on his shirt. I tilted my head back, looked into his face. My heart bumped against my chest, though I’d felt sure it had stopped beating altogether. His arms reached for me, then fell back to his side. “Please, Rebekah. Please stay. They need you. I told you that.” “I can’t.” My vision blurred as I shook my head. His thumb caught a tear on my cheek, wiped it dry. I glanced at Janie, still lying heartbroken in the dirt. I ached to go to her, but I didn’t want to make things worse. Ollie seemed to read my thoughts. She picked up her sister, but her attention remained on me. I looked back at Frank. “Can’t you see? I’m giving you your life back. Your whole life. Your house. Your family.” I tasted the salt of my tears. He grabbed my shoulders. “But don’t you understand, Rebekah? I can’t have my whole life back. When I left for the war, I knew nothing would ever be the same. And it isn’t. Clara is gone. I have to make a new life now.” He sucked in a deep breath. “And I want to make it with you.” “Me? Are you saying . . . ” I held my breath, holding the words inside me, afraid they’d meet the air and burst like a soap bubble. His lips curled into a smile that chased every trace of gray from his eyes. “Marry me?
Anne Mateer (Wings of a Dream)
Kneading her hand, touching her ring, Alexander said, “In America, when two people get married, they say their vows. Do you know what those are?” Tatiana was hardly listening. She had been thinking of America. She wanted to ask Alexander if there were villages in America, villages with cabins on the banks of rivers. In America where there was no war, and no hunger, and no Dimitri. “Are you listening? The priest says, ‘Do you, Alexander, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?’” “Lawfully bedded?” He laughed. “That too. No, lawfully wedded. And then we say our vows. Do you want me to tell you what they are?” “What what are?” Tatiana brought his fingers to her lips. “You have to repeat after me.” “Repeat after me.” “I, Tatiana Metanova, take this man to be my husband—” “I, Tatiana Metanova, take this great man to be my husband.” Kissing his thumb and forefinger and middle finger. He had wonderful fingers. “To live together in the covenant of marriage—” “To live together in the covenant of marriage.” Kissing his ring finger. “I will love him, comfort him, honor and keep him—” “I will love him, comfort him, honor and keep him.” Kissing the ring on his ring finger. Kissing his little finger. “And obey him.” Tatiana smiled, rolling her eyes. “And obey him.” “And, forsaking all others, be faithful to him until death do us part—” Kissing the palm of his hand. Wiping tears from her face with the palm of his hand. “And, forsaking all others, be faithful to him until death do us part.” “I, Alexander Barrington, take this woman to be my wife.” “Don’t, Shura.” Sitting on top of him, rubbing her breasts into his chest. “To live together in the covenant of marriage—” Kissing the middle of his chest. “I will love her”—his voice cracked—“love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her—” Pressing her cheek to his chest and listening for the iambic rhyme of his heart. “And, forsaking all others, be faithful to her until—” “Don’t, Shura.” His chest wet from her tears. “Please.” His hands above his head. “There are things worse than death.” Her heart full, overwhelmed. Remembering her mother’s body tilted over her sewing. Remembering Marina’s last words, to the end saying, I don’t want to die…and not feel just once what you feel. Remembering a laughing Dasha braiding her young hair already a lifetime ago. “Oh, yes? Like what?” He didn’t reply. She understood anyway. “I’d rather have a bad life in the Soviet Union than a good death. Wouldn’t you?” “If it was a life with you, then yes.
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
The key point is that these patterns, while mostly stable, are not permanent: certain environmental experiences can add or subtract methyls and acetyls, changing those patterns. In effect this etches a memory of what the organism was doing or experiencing into its cells—a crucial first step for any Lamarck-like inheritance. Unfortunately, bad experiences can be etched into cells as easily as good experiences. Intense emotional pain can sometimes flood the mammal brain with neurochemicals that tack methyl groups where they shouldn’t be. Mice that are (however contradictory this sounds) bullied by other mice when they’re pups often have these funny methyl patterns in their brains. As do baby mice (both foster and biological) raised by neglectful mothers, mothers who refuse to lick and cuddle and nurse. These neglected mice fall apart in stressful situations as adults, and their meltdowns can’t be the result of poor genes, since biological and foster children end up equally histrionic. Instead the aberrant methyl patterns were imprinted early on, and as neurons kept dividing and the brain kept growing, these patterns perpetuated themselves. The events of September 11, 2001, might have scarred the brains of unborn humans in similar ways. Some pregnant women in Manhattan developed post-traumatic stress disorder, which can epigenetically activate and deactivate at least a dozen genes, including brain genes. These women, especially the ones affected during the third trimester, ended up having children who felt more anxiety and acute distress than other children when confronted with strange stimuli. Notice that these DNA changes aren’t genetic, because the A-C-G-T string remains the same throughout. But epigenetic changes are de facto mutations; genes might as well not function. And just like mutations, epigenetic changes live on in cells and their descendants. Indeed, each of us accumulates more and more unique epigenetic changes as we age. This explains why the personalities and even physiognomies of identical twins, despite identical DNA, grow more distinct each year. It also means that that detective-story trope of one twin committing a murder and both getting away with it—because DNA tests can’t tell them apart—might not hold up forever. Their epigenomes could condemn them. Of course, all this evidence proves only that body cells can record environmental cues and pass them on to other body cells, a limited form of inheritance. Normally when sperm and egg unite, embryos erase this epigenetic information—allowing you to become you, unencumbered by what your parents did. But other evidence suggests that some epigenetic changes, through mistakes or subterfuge, sometimes get smuggled along to new generations of pups, cubs, chicks, or children—close enough to bona fide Lamarckism to make Cuvier and Darwin grind their molars.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Branaric came in. “Ready?” “Nearly,” I said, my fingers quickly starting the braid. I suppose you don’t have extra gloves, or another hat?” I eyed the battered object he held in his hand. “No, obviously not. Well, I can ride bareheaded. Who’s to see me that I care about?” He smiled briefly, then gave me a serious look. “Are you certain you don’t want to join the alliance?” “Yes.” He sank down heavily onto the bed and pulled from his tunic a flat-woven wallet. “I don’t know, Mel. What’s toward? You wouldn’t even listen yesterday, or hardly. Isn’t like you, burn it!” “I don’t trust these cream-voiced courtiers as far as I can spit into a wind,” I said as I watched him pull from the wallet a folded paper. “And I don’t see why we should risk any of our people, or our scarce supplies, to put one of them on the throne. If he wants to be king, let him get it on his own.” Bran sighed, his fingers working at the shapeless brim of his hat. “I think you’re wrong.” “You’re the one who was willed the title,” I reminded him. “I’m not legally a countess--I haven’t sworn anything at Court. Which means it’s just a courtesy title until you marry. You can do whatever you want, and you have a legal right to it.” “I know all that. Why are you telling me again? I remember we both promised when Papa died that we’d be equals in war and in peace. You think I’ll renege, just because we disagree for the first time? If so, you must think me as dishonest as you paint them.” He jerked his thumb back at the rest of the Renselaeus palace. I could see that he was upset. “I don’t question you, Bran. Not at all. What’s that paper?” Instead of answering, he tossed it to me. I unfolded it carefully, for it was so creased and battered it was obvious it had seen a great deal of travel. Slowly and painstakingly I puzzled out the words--then looked up in surprise. “This is Debegri’s letter about the colorwoods!” “Shevraeth asked about proof that the Merindar’s were going to break the Covenant. I brought this along, thinking that--if we were to join them--they could use it to convince the rest of Court of Galdran’s treachery.” “You’d give it to them?” I demanded. Bran sighed. “I thought it a good notion, but obviously you don’t. Here. You do whatever you think best. I’ll bide by it.” He dropped the wallet onto my lap. “But I wish you’d give them a fair listen.” I folded the letter up, slid it inside the waterproof wallet, and then put it inside my tunic. “I guess I’ll have to listen to the father, at any rate, over breakfast.” As I wrapped my braid around my head and tucked the end under, I added, “Which we’d better get to as soon as possible, so we have a full day of light on the road.” “You go ahead--it was you the Prince invited. I’ll chow with Shevraeth. And be ready whenever you are.” It was with a great sense of relief that I went to the meal, knowing that I’d only have to face one of them. And for the last time ever, I vowed as the ubiquitous servants bowed me into a small dining room. The Prince was already seated in a great chair. With a graceful gesture he indicated the place opposite him, and when I was seated, he said, “My wife will regret not having had a chance to meet you, Lady Meliara.” Wondering what this was supposed to mean, I opened my hands. I hoped it looked polite--I was not going to lie and say I wished I might have met her, for I didn’t, even if it was true that she had aided my palace escape.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
I confess, I've thought of this night for many months." George's hand found hers. It was a gentle tough in the dark, followed by the intentional curling of his warm fingers around hers. Her skin tingled with anticipation like the moment of static in the air before a lightning storm. "As have I." "I've enjoyed our letters," he said, his voice low, intimate. "However, I know war can be difficult. If you would prefer to leave yourself open for a man in London -" "No," Grace replied too quickly. They both laughed, shy, nervous chuckles. "I look forward to every letter you write." She ran her thumb over the back of his hand, exploring the newfound closeness. "And whenever I encounter something quizzical or amusing, you and Viv are the first ones I think I must share it with in my next letter." "I have no right to ask you to wait for me." He closed the half step between them, and the air became nearly too thin to breathe. "We don't know how long this war will go on." "You're worth waiting for, George Anderson." Her pulse raced. He lifted his free hand, gently touching the left side of her cheek and lowered his mouth to hers. It was a sweet, tender kiss that robbed her of all thought. He wasn't as eager as Simon Jones had been back in Drayton, and she was glad for it. George wasn't that kind of man. He was thoughtful and careful and put his soul into everything he did. Though the kiss was gentle and light, it touched her in a deep place she knew would forever belong to him.
Madeline Martin (the last bookshop in London)
Not only do I have astonishing talent and strength, I also know how to recite poems. I like you. Do you want to hear it?" "Sure. " Su Ba nodded. Little Nezha the Devil Child grinned and shook his head. "I'm a little monster, free and unfettered. I kill people without blinking, I eat people without spilling salt, seven or eight mouthfuls, my stomach is about to burst, I went to the outhouse to take a shit, and forgot to bring paper. " "How is it, I am talented right?" After the chant, the Devil Child Nezha raised his eyebrows at Su Ba. "You're great. " Su Ba gave him a thumbs up. Although this poem was a bit vulgar, it was still very down-to-earth.
Rage Water (LitRPG: War Spiritual Bloodline: Fantasy Divine System Cultivation Book 10)
Nothing on this earth could take me from you, do you understand?” He was touching Remus’s face, catching the tears with his thumbs, “Not the fighting, not this war—if I died, I think I’d love you even then. Don’t you understand? I can’t leave you, not if I tried, not if I wanted to.” “You can’t know that—” “I can. Remus, when I go, it’s going to be with you at my side. I promise you.” He kissed the tears on Moony’s cheeks, “I promise.” He caught his hand; he kissed the scars on his knuckles, “I promise.” He kissed his temple, his shoulder, his throat. “I promise, Moony. I promise.
Rollercoasterwords (All The Young Dudes - Sirius’s Perspective)
The colonel thought, as he had thought in Cologne after the last war, how, when you saw them with their faces growing out of their clothes, little different those who had fought for the wrong looked from those who had fought for the right and how the hair grew in the same way on the heads of the sons of Belial as on the heads of the sons of God. Beside the great round wheel of a lorry a British and a German soldier were showing each other photographs of their families, jerking with their thumbs the syntax of understanding.
Bruce Marshall (Vespers in Vienna)
J. P. Morgan had started before the war, as the son of a banker who began selling stocks for the railroads for good commissions. During the Civil War he bought five thousand rifles for $3.50 each from an army arsenal, and sold them to a general in the field for $22 each. The rifles were defective and would shoot off the thumbs of the soldiers using them. A congressional committee noted this in the small print of an obscure report, but a federal judge upheld the deal as the fulfillment of a valid legal contract.
Howard Zinn
Maybe. Something like that. Things are certainly set up for a class war based on conveniently established lines of demarkation. And I must say that the basic assumption of the present setup is a grade-A incitement to violence: The smarter you are, the better you are. Used to be that the richer you were, the better you were. Either one is, you'll admit, pretty tough for the have-not's to take. The criterion of brains is better than the one of money, but" - he held his thumb and forefinger about a sixteenth of an inch apart - "about that much better.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Player Piano)
By the end of the year, X-ray burns were front-page news in virtually every prominent electrical, medical, and scientific journal. No one, however, paid a greater price than the men and women on the front lines of this new technology: radiologists and radiology technicians, most of whom saw themselves as noble warriors, “martyrs to science,” in their quest to save lives with X-rays. In November 1896, Walter Dodd, a founding father of radiology in the United States, suffered severe skin burns on both hands. Within five months, the pain was “beyond description” and his face and hands were visibly scalded. When the pain kept him awake at night, Dodd paced the floor of Massachusetts General Hospital with his hands held above his head. In July 1897, he received the first of fifty skin grafts, all of which failed. Bit by bit, his fingers were amputated. Dodd waited as long as he could before amputating his little finger because, as he said, “I needed something to oppose my thumb.” On August 3, 1905, at the age of forty-six, Elizabeth Fleischmann, the most experienced woman radiographer in the world, died from X-ray-induced cancer after a series of amputations. Fleischmann had gained international renown for her X-rays of soldiers in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. Upon her death, almost every major newspaper published eulogies about “America’s Joan of Arc.
Paul A. Offit (You Bet Your Life: From Blood Transfusions to Mass Vaccination, the Long and Risky History of Medical Innovation)
of
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
As in all his little rhetorical dialogues, victory for one side was foreordained. Nixon wanted to become President to command America in the Cold War. He was obsessed with the details of foreign affairs; domestic policy, he said famously a decade later, just takes care of itself. One of the aides Nixon brought with him to Chicago, a thoughtful young political science instructor named Chuck Lichenstein, had produced a campaign book, The Challenges We Face, from Nixon’s speeches. When Nixon had thumbed through it and got to the section on agricultural price subsidies, he asked, “Have I really said all of these things?” “Yes, every word,” replied Lichenstein. “Well, that’s interesting, because I can’t tell.” “But do you accept this as your views?” the nervous deputy asked. “Oh, yes, oh, yes,” Nixon reassured him. The internal dialogue continued: I am not going to waste your time on a dispute over the details of domestic policy, for these things take care of themselves.
Rick Perlstein (Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus)
RESISTANCE IS INFALLIBLE Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North — meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing. We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others. Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Who’s got two thumbs and is going to save the world?” she asked, then jerked both of her thumbs towards her smiling face. “This chick.
Derek Landy (Seasons of War (Skulduggery Pleasant, #13))
swallowed
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
But how can I be a parent? Even you had a better example than I did. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, or how to do it right. I can help you take over Nephilanu, but I don’t know how to talk to a child.” She was talking in circles; nothing she said made sense. Phalue’s calloused thumbs wiped the tears from her cheeks. “We’ll figure it out together.” “If you come back.” “I’ll come back,” Phalue said. “What could keep me from you?” Imprisonment, war, death. But Ranami didn’t say any of this out loud. Giving voice to these fears would make them feel all too real. So she focused on something else.
Andrea Stewart (The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire, #2))
At lunch, I think about your hands, and that's it. That's my spine unloosening for the day. That's all the ocean in my belly heading straight to the shore of my throat. I think about your hands and suddenly, I don't know what to do with mine. Suddenly my fingers are not my fingers but the empty space between them where yours should be. I am all missing, I lose myself for the day and leave to find you. I misplace my throat because it is clasped in the cup of your hand. I leave my bitten lips on your bedside table. My thighs have the ghosts of bruises unfurling into poppies, like bloodstains on snow. I break things because I am shaking and I am shaking because you are not with me and you are not with me because we are just learning to touch each other through the spaces between us. It is violent that we cannot touch each other, yet. It's a war crime. It should be illegal that my fingers still haven't learned the notches of your back. I think about holding your wrist in the O of my thumb and my index finger. I think about kissing the blue veins there. I think about careful mouth touches, and the tender of you. The warm, soft hollow of you, and how I lose my bottom lip wondering about yours. I'll kiss you there, I promise. I promise.
Azra Tabassum
If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
the thumb finger represents Poseidon, god of the sea, a very independent god, who likes to keep all to himself, does not really go anywhere, does not really have any friends and if you’re wearing a ring on that finger it means you’re a bit of a square, you need to get out of the house more often and stop playing PlayStation games all the time. The index finger represents Zeus, god of gods, very dominant, very aggressive. And I noticed that the girls who wear a ring on this finger are very dominant, like to wear the pants in the relationship. (if the girl you’re talking to wears a ring on the index finger, you can teaser her, “I can tell you like to wear the pants in a relationship and that’s why it would never work out between us”) The middle finger is very interesting because a lot of girls wear a ring on this finger which represents Bacchus, the god of wine and party; if you’re wearing a ring on this finger, this tells me you’re a party girl and I don’t know if I can take that; I can’t be home at three o’clock in the morning, worried, waiting for you with home cooked dinner still in the oven and you show up wasted, with a broken shoe and crying. I don’t know if we could get along so let’s just be friends. The ring finger represents Aphrodite, the goddess of love and romance and if you’re wearing a ring on this finger it means you get attached to guys too quickly. What’s kind of cool about this finger is the fact that actually there is a vein here that connects straight to the heart; there is only one vein that connects to the heart and it is located somewhere on the upper side of your left hand’s ring finger. And that’s why this finger is used for exchanging rings when you get married because if I put a ring on your finger it means that I have your heart and if you put a ring on my finger it means you have my heart. The pinky finger represents Mars, god of war and if you’re wearing a ring on this finger it means that you have a criminal mind; you are very aggressive, you like to steal and you’re a naughty, naughty girl; my mom warned me about girls like you.
T.J. Castraw (HOW TO GET THEM APPLES)
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.   We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.   Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Steven Pressfield (The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
I want to show you a body. They are sitting on a rock that is covered in moss. The body is holding a knife and wearing Doc Martens with flowers on the sides and they are whittling something out of dead wood. They are whittling a 3d model of a pulsating blob GIF out of dead wood. It has too many dimensions, and so they are struggling to get it right. As the knife separates the layers of woodskin they are softly chanting the word “caress,” because this is the future, and the word has become a war cry, or a weapon. The knife slips and cuts a minuscule chip out of the brown wood and of their brown thumb. They are smiling and they are bleeding all over it. There is a body and they are sitting on a rock. Let them narrate this story for you, this story of the future.
Linda Stupart (Virus)
Once he’d removed his own he slid under the covers and held her possessively to him, wanting his skin against hers. As she always did, she wriggled a little until she found that groove that seemed to have been made just for her. Then instantly she settled and her expression melted into that sinful-angel look she had when sleeping. Cupping her face and breezing his thumb along her cheekbone, he whispered, “I’m sorry, baby.” Then he nuzzled his face into her hair and closed his eyes, feeling a strange kind of peace now that he was no longer at war with himself and had made the decision to do whatever it took to keep her.
Suzanne Wright (Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack, #1))
Operations aren’t so bad. It’s sitting around with your thumb up your ass that gets you down.
W.E.B. Griffin (The Colonels (Brotherhood Of War, #4))
In war, you seize all the high ground you can.’ He lifted the egg to his lips, looking small between his big finger and thumb. ‘Except the moral kind.’ And he sucked the insides out through the hole. ‘That ain’t worth shit.
Joe Abercrombie (The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness, #2))
Well—I think it’s a grave mistake to put on public record everyone’s I.Q. I think the first thing the revolutionaries would want to do is knock off everybody with an I.Q. over 110, say. If I were on your side of the river, I’d have the I.Q. books closed and the bridges mined.” “Then the 100’s would go after the 110’s, the 90’s after the 100’s, and so on,” said Finnerty. “Maybe. Something like that. Things are certainly set up for a class war based on conveniently established lines of demarkation. And I must say that the basic assumption of the present setup is a grade-A incitement to violence: the smarter you are, the better you are. Used to be that the richer you were, the better you were. Either one is, you’ll admit, pretty tough for the have-not’s to take. The criterion of brains is better than the one of money, but”—he held his thumb and forefinger about a sixteenth of an inch apart—“about that much better.” “It’s about as rigid a hierarchy as you can get,” said Finnerty. “How’s somebody going to up his I.Q.?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Player Piano)
War on Drugs...will only be won when we point our thumbs at ourselves and ask the hard question: “How am I contributing to this problem?
David Walton Earle
Ready?" Aeron called over. Michael span to see him giving a thumbs up to the booth. His eye was drawn down to the huge war hammer hanging from his other hand. "How about we start with a chase? Try to touch the far wall and get back here before I cripple you." He smiled as if he'd said 'tag you', not 'cripple you'.
Dylan Perry (Gods Just Want To Have Fun)
Here's a rule of thumb: If he hasn’t faced the trial yet, or he’s in the midst of it — encourage him. If he’s been to the wars and is limping home wounded — comfort him. Once the wounds are bound up, encourage him to rise and face the fight again. 
Hal Young (Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching And Appreciating Boys)
In another invaluable service to the Allies, the resistance movements in every captive country helped rescue and spirit back to England thousands of British and American pilots downed behind enemy lines, as well as other Allied servicemen caught in German-held territory. In Belgium, for example, a young woman named Andrée de Jongh set up an escape route called the Comet Line through her native country and France, manned mostly by her friends, to return Britons and Americans to England. De Jongh herself escorted more than one hundred servicemen over the Pyrenees Mountains to safety in neutral Spain. As de Jongh and her colleagues knew, being active in the resistance, regardless of gender, was far more perilous than fighting on the battlefield or in the air. If captured, uniformed servicemen on the Western front were sent to prisoner of war camps, where Geneva Convention rules usually applied. When resistance members were caught, they faced torture, the horrors of a German concentration camp, and/or execution. The danger of capture was particularly great for those who sheltered British or American fighting men, most of whom did not speak the language of the country in which they were hiding and who generally stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. As one British intelligence officer observed, “It is not an easy matter to hide and feed a foreigner in your midst, especially when it happens to be a red-haired Scotsman of six feet, three inches, or a gum-chewing American from the Middle West.” James Langley, the head of a British agency that aided the European escape lines, later estimated that, for every Englishman or American rescued, at least one resistance worker lost his or her life. Andrée de Jongh managed to escape that fate. Caught in January 1943 and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, she survived the war because, although she freely admitted to creating the Comet Line, the Germans could not believe that a young girl had devised such an intricate operation. IN
Lynne Olson (Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour)
One of the great ironies of history is that the more similar two groups are, the greater the potential for them to hate each other. God seems to have a particular fondness for contradicting the cliched notion that increased "understanding" between groups or societies will breed peace. Israelis and Palestinians, Greeks and Turks, Indians and Pakistanis understand each other very well, and yet they would probably take exception to this liberal rule of thumb. Academics who share nearly identical worldviews, incomes, and interests are notoriously capable of despising each other-- even as they write learned papers about how increased understanding brings comity. So it was with Communists and Nazis between the two world wars.
Jonah Goldberg
pump,” Marshall added. Brooke had spotted a whimbrel, a yellow wagtail, and five small owls. He had also seen this American argument winging around Anfa many times by now. Out came the red leather folders. “The Germans have forty-four divisions in France,” he said in a monotone that implied exasperation. “That is sufficient strength to overwhelm us on the ground and perhaps hem us in with wire or concrete…. Since we cannot go into the Continent in force until Germany weakens, we should try to make the Germans disperse their forces as much as possible.” There it was, and there it remained. The Americans, whose delegation included but a single logistician frantically thumbing through three loose-leaf notebooks, tended toward observation and generality. British statements bulged with facts and statistics from Bulolo’s humming war room. The Americans had an inclination; the British had a plan.
Rick Atkinson (An Army at Dawn: The War in Africa, 1942-1943)
Because of the parallels between DNA and language, scientists can even analyze literary texts and genomic “texts” with the same tools.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
It turns out that universal music does exist, only it’s closer than we ever imagined, in our DNA.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
My baby is four years old. I know that calling her a baby is really only a matter of semantics now. It’s true, she still sucks her thumb; I have a hard time discouraging this habit. John and I are finally confident that we already enjoy our full complement of children, so the crib is in the crawlspace, awaiting nieces, nephews, or future grandchildren. I cried when I took it down, removing the screws so slowly and feeling the maple pieces come apart in my hands. Before I dismantled it, I spent long vigils lingering in Annie’s darkened room, just watching her sleep, the length of her curled up small. What seems like permanence, the tide of daily life coming in and going out, over and over, is actually quite finite. It is hard to grasp this thought even as I ride the wave of this moment, but I will try. This time of tucking into bed and wiping up spilled milk is a brief interlude. Quick math proves it. Let me take eleven years - my oldest girl’s age - as an arbitrary endpoint to mothering as I know it now. Mary, for instance, reads her own stories. To her already I am becoming somewhat obsolete. That leaves me roughly 2.373 days, the six and half years until Annie’s eleventh birthday, to do this job. Now that is a big number, but not nearly as big as forever, which is how the current moment often seems. So I tuck Annie in every night. I check on Peter and Tommy, touch their crew-cut heads as they dream in their Star Wars pajamas, my twin boys who still need me. I steal into Mary’s room, awash with pink roses, and turn out the light she has left on, her fingers still curled around the pages of her book. She sleeps in the bed that was mine when I was a child. Who will she grow up to be? Who will I grow up to be? I think to myself, Be careful what you wish for. The solitude I have lost, the time and space I wish for myself, will come soon enough. I don’t want to be surprised by its return. Old English may be a dead language, but scholars still manage to find meaning and poetry in its fragments. And it is no small consolation that my lost letters still manage, after a thousand years, to find their way to an essay like this one. They have become part of my story, one I have only begun to write. - Essay 'Mother Tongue' from Brain, Child Magazine, Winter 2009
Gina P. Vozenilek
Widely known as the best horseman in the colonies, Washington was so strong he could break a walnut between his thumb and first finger. Washington
Newt Gingrich (To Try Men's Souls (Revolutionary War, #1))
It may be that mothers have a hard time discerning between when sons need comforting and when they need bucking up. Here's a rule of thumb: If he hasn't faced the trial yet, or he's in the midst of it - encourage him. If he's been to the wars and is limping home wounded - comfort him. Once the wounds are bound up, encourage him to rise and face the fight again.
Hal and Melanie Young
I grabbed Finnegan’s Magic 8 Ball from behind the cash register. My thumb went for the red scuff mark on the back of the ball, trying to rub it out like I always did whenever I got bored. Tucker was now preoccupied with lining up a pepper shaker cavalry across from a hostile regiment of saltshaker footmen. ... While Tucker stepped out back for his break, I commandeered his condiment armies. Gus’s cigarette smoke wafted toward the ceiling, pulled into the vent. The oscillating fan on the wall made the papers on the employee bulletin board flutter. Halfway through my recreation of the Battle of the Bulge, I shook Finnegan’s Magic 8 Ball to find out if the German saltshaker would be successful in his offensive. Ask again later. Useless thing. If the Allies had taken that advice, the Axis would have won the war.
Francesca Zappia (Made You Up)
He leaned against me, holding my arms, but didn't get up. He was crying. He kept crying and crying, then stopped suddenly, and turned my face towards the sky. He asked me what colour I saw. Blue. Then he raised his thumb and pointed his index finger towards my temple, asking me again if the sky was still blue.
Kim Thúy (Ru)
Who is Adrestia?” Ethan put his arm around her shoulders and tucked her into his side, careful not to touch her face. His fingers were still laced in hers and Mika studied their hands, wondering if she would ever be able to do this without all these layers between them. “She is the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite,” Ethan told her, running his thumb over her shoulder in a soothing pattern. “She would go into war with Ares – ‘she who none can escape.’ The goddess of revenge and retribution – she is the equilibrium, the balance between good and evil, and so beautiful that gods and titans fought over her.
Emma Dean (Something Wicked (University of Morgana: Academy of Enchantments and Witchcraft #1))
From the time boys are young, they enter contests, either alone or with their brothers, and their fathers – to see how strong they are. Wrestling, weightlifting, arm-wrestling, “bloody knuckles,” Chinese hot-hands, even thumb wrestling. This wild behavior may seem reminiscent of goats butting their heads against each other, or bears mawing at each other’s necks…. But it’s a part of who we are. We don’t necessarily outgrow it. And that rough and tumble tug-of-war helps shape us, helps bond us together, and helps remind us who we want on our side if there is a time to fight. The call of the wild pushes men to success. It drives men to be refreshed in nature. As long as we wrap it up in silk and lace and soap, it will still be there.
Josh Hatcher
The jackapples were long and red and oddly pointed at one end. One or two had been cut open as Joe dug them up, showing flesh which looked tropically pink in the sun. The boy staggered a little under the weight of the box. "Watch your step," called Joe. "Don't drop 'em. They'll bruise." "But these are just potatoes." "Aye," said Joe, without taking his eyes from the vegetable cutter. "I thought you said they were apples, or something." "Jacks. Spuds. Taters. Jackapples. Poms de Tair." "Don't look like much to me," said Jay. Joe shook his head and began to feed the roots into the vegetable cutter. Their scent was sweetish, like papaya. "I brought seeds for these home from South America after the war," he said. "Grew 'em right here in my back garden. Took me five years just to get the soil right. If you want roasters, you grow King Edwards. If you want salads, it's your Charlottes or your Jerseys. If it's chippers you're after, then it's your Maris Piper. But these..." He reached down to pick one up, rubbing the blackened ball of his thumb lovingly across the pinkish skin. "Older than New York, so old it doesn't even have an English name. Seed more precious than powdered gold. These aren't just potatoes, lad." He shook his head again, his eyes brimful of laughter under the thick gray brows. "These are me Specials." Jay watched him cautiously. "So what are you making?" he asked at last. Joe tossed the last jackapple into the cutter and grinned. "Wine, lad. Wine.
Joanne Harris (Blackberry Wine)
Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
The backronym for the “POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic” gene in mice—pokemon—nearly provoked a lawsuit, since the pokemon gene (now known, sigh, as zbtb7) contributes to the spread of cancer, and the lawyers for the Pokémon media empire didn’t want their cute little pocket monsters confused with tumors.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Mendel died in 1884, not long after the church-state imbroglio; his nurse found him stiff and upright on his sofa, his heart and kidneys having failed. We know this because Mendel feared being buried alive and had demanded a precautionary autopsy. But in one sense, Mendel’s fretting over a premature burial proved prophetic. Just eleven scientists cited his now-classic paper on inheritance in the thirty-five years after his death. And those that did (mostly agricultural scientists) saw his experiments as mildly interesting lessons for breeding peas, not universal statements on heredity. Scientists had indeed buried Mendel’s theories too soon.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Out of the whirling womb of time come millions of men and their feet crowd the earth and they cut one another's throats for room to stand and among them all are not two thumbs alike.
Carl Sandburg (Chicago Poems)
Was there anything in it?” she asked, not bothering to wipe the tear tracing the rim of her nose. “Our summer here, all those long walks and even longer conversations? When you kissed me that night, did it mean anything to you?” When he did not answer, she took three paces in his direction. “I know how proud you must be of those enigmatic silences, but I believe I deserve an answer.” She stood between his icy silence and the heated aura of the fire. Scorched on one side, bitterly cold on the other— like a slice of toast someone had forgotten to turn. “What sort of answer would you like to hear?” “An honest one.” “Are you certain? It’s my experience that young ladies vastly prefer fictions. Little stories, like Portia’s gothic novel.” “I am as fond of a good tale as anyone,” she replied, “but in this instance, I wish to know the truth.” “So you say. Let us try an experiment, shall we?” He rose from his chair and sauntered toward her, his expression one of jaded languor. His every movement a negotiation between aristocratic grace and sheer brute strength. Power. He radiated power in every form— physical, intellectual, sensual— and he knew it. He knew that she sensed it. The fire was unbearably warm now. Blistering, really. Sweat beaded at her hairline, but Cecily would not retreat. “I could tell you,” he said darkly, seductively, “that I kissed you that night because I was desperate with love for you, overcome with passion, and that the color of my ardor has only deepened with time and separation. And that when I lay on a battlefield bleeding my guts out, surrounded by meaningless death and destruction, I remembered that kiss and was able to believe that there was something of innocence and beauty in this world, and it was you.” He took her hand and brought it to his lips. Almost. Warm breath caressed her fingertips. “Do you like that answer?” She gave a breathless nod. She was a fool; she couldn’t help it. “You see?” He kissed her fingers. “Young ladies prefer fictions.” “You are a cad.” Cecily wrenched her hand away and balled it into a fist. “An arrogant, insufferable cad.” “Yes, yes. Now we come to the truth. Shall I give you an honest answer, then? That I kissed you that night for no other reason than that you looked uncommonly pretty and fresh, and though I doubted my ability to vanquish Napoleon, it was some balm to my pride to conquer you, to feel you tremble under my touch? And that now I return from war, to find everything changed, myself most of all. I scarcely recognize my surroundings, except . . .” He cupped her chin in his hand and lightly framed her jaw between his thumb and forefinger. “Except Cecily Hale still looks at me with stars in her eyes, the same as she ever did. And when I touch her, she still trembles.” Oh. She was trembling. He swept his thumb across her cheek, and even her hair shivered. “And suddenly . . .” His voice cracked. Some unrehearsed emotion pitched his dispassionate drawl into a warm, expressive whisper. “Suddenly, I find myself determined to keep this one thing constant in my universe. Forever.” -Cecily & Luke
Tessa Dare (The Legend of the Werestag)
One of three things would occur when she thumbed it, she knew: They would lift off, the ship would blow up, or nothing at all would happen.
Alan Dean Foster (The Force Awakens (Star Wars: Novelizations #7))
One retailer told us that, as a rule of thumb, sales of a brand will be reduced by two-thirds if it is moved from an eye-level to a foot-level position. Presence
Greg Thain (Store Wars: The Worldwide Battle for Mindspace and Shelfspace, Online and In-store)
Adam became an expert, able to navigate through the different war zones, killing everything in his path with relative ease. Moving from scene to scene, the skill of quickly reloading before his magazine emptied was vital to acquiring the most kills in the shortest amount of time. Through repetitive play of Call of Duty, Adam learned how to load the second cartridge in a single fluid motion before the first was emptied by ejecting the magazine with the hand holding the weapon while drawing a new magazine from its place using his fourth and fifth fingers, and inserting a fresh magazine with the thumb and index finger. That skill, called the “tactical reload,” had previously been available only to law enforcement or for military training. Call
Matthew Lysiak (Newtown: An American Tragedy)
What sort of answer would you like to hear?” “An honest one.” “Are you certain? It’s my experience that young ladies vastly prefer fictions. Little stories, like Portia’s gothic novel.” “I am as fond of a good tale as anyone,” she replied, “but in this instance, I wish to know the truth.” “So you say. Let us try an experiment, shall we?” He rose from his chair and sauntered toward her, his expression one of jaded languor. His every movement a negotiation between aristocratic grace and sheer brute strength. Power. He radiated power in every form—physical, intellectual, sensual—and he knew it. He knew that she sensed it. The fire was unbearably warm now. Blistering, really. Sweat beaded at her hairline, but Cecily would not retreat. “I could tell you,” he said darkly, seductively, “that I kissed you that night because I was desperate with love for you, overcome with passion, and that the color of my ardor has only deepened with time and separation. And that when I lay on a battlefield bleeding my guts out, surrounded by meaningless death and destruction, I remembered that kiss and was able to believe that there was something of innocence and beauty in this world, and it was you.” He took her hand and brought it to his lips. Almost. Warm breath caressed her fingertips. “Do you like that answer?” She gave a breathless nod. She was a fool; she couldn’t help it. “You see?” He kissed her fingers. “Young ladies prefer fictions.” “You are a cad.” Cecily wrenched her hand away and balled it into a fist. “An arrogant, insufferable cad.” “Yes, yes. Now we come to the truth. Shall I give you an honest answer, then? That I kissed you that night for no other reason than that you looked uncommonly pretty and fresh, and though I doubted my ability to vanquish Napoleon, it was some balm to my pride to conquer you, to feel you tremble under my touch? And that now I return from war, to find everything changed, myself most of all. I scarcely recognize my surroundings, except . . .” He cupped her chin in his hand and lightly framed her jaw between his thumb and forefinger. “Except Cecily Hale still looks at me with stars in her eyes, the same as she ever did. And when I touch her, she still trembles.” Oh. She was trembling. He swept his thumb across her cheek, and even her hair shivered. “And suddenly . . .” His voice cracked. Some unrehearsed emotion pitched his dispassionate drawl into a warm, expressive whisper. “Suddenly, I find myself determined to keep this one thing constant in my universe. Forever.” She swallowed hard. “Do you intend to propose to me?” “I don’t think so, no.” He caressed her cheek again. “I’ve no reason to.” “No reason?” Had she thought her humiliation complete? No, it seemed to be only beginning. “I’ll get my wish, Cecy, whether I propose to you or not. You can marry Denny, and I’ll still catch you stealing those starry looks at me across drawing rooms, ten years from now. You can share a bed with him, but I’ll still haunt your dreams. Perhaps once a year on your birthday—or perhaps on mine—I’ll contrive to brush a single fingertip oh-so-lightly between your shoulder blades, just to savor that delicious tremor.” He demonstrated, and she hated her body for responding just as he’d predicted. An ironic smile crooked his lips. “You see? You can marry anyone or no one. But you’ll always be mine.” “I will not,” she choked out, pulling away. “I will put you out of my mind forever. You are not so very handsome, you know, for all that.” “No, I’m not,” he said, chuckling. “And there’s the wonder of it. It’s nothing to do with me, and everything to do with you. I know you, Cecily. You may try to put me out of your mind. You may even succeed. But you’ve built a home for me in your heart, and you’re too generous a soul to cast me out now.” She shook her head. “I—” “Don’t.” With a sudden, powerful movement, he grasped her waist and brought her to him, holding her tight against his chest. “Don’t cast me out.” His
Tessa Dare (How to Catch a Wild Viscount)
The first beings probably were multicellular by mistake, sticky cells that couldn’t free themselves.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
Paula had never tired of the road and its secrets: the petrol stations manned by friendly country folk, the sugary treasures hidden in milk bars, the deserted public toilets attached to grassy picnic areas in quiet, shady gullies. Meat pies and cream buns, Big Ms and barley sugar. Her father’s tuneless whistling accompanying Bing Crosby cassettes, the relaxed look on her mother’s face, Jamie’s endless backseat tournaments of I-Spy, Twenty Questions and Thumb Wars. The back aches, the bursting bladders, the bush wees. The exquisite limbo of transit, the mysteries of dirt roads in indeterminate locations. The feelings of optimism and anticipation on departure, rivalled only by the tedium of the return trip.
Fiona Higgins (Wife on the Run)
Did the two of you talk about it?” “There was nothing to talk about. Nothing happened.” “And ‘nothing’ makes you jump every time I get near you.” He tipped his bowl, mopping up with a biscuit. “You know he can’t find you here. I’ll keep you safe.” “It’s not a problem.” “Well then, what is? I’ve promised never to hurt you. I’ve promised not to go in debt. I’ll build you a decent house soon as I can pay cash. I’ll get a haircut the minute there’s a barber within a hundred miles.” His thumb slid under the cuff of her sleeve. “Say, you’re not pining away for some poor soldier who didn’t make it back from the War, are you? My older brother’s sweetheart moped around for two years. They weren’t even engaged. Or maybe there’s someone else you’d rather marry, maybe someone who didn’t ask in time.” “There’s no one.” “So what is the problem? Are you homesick? Miss your folks? Just tell me what’s got you so fidgety, and I’ll fix it.” “It’s nothing.
Catherine Richmond (Spring for Susannah)
There’s something almost orgasmic about getting out from under a heap of trouble, winning free and thumbing your nose at it. Tomorrow maybe that same trouble will be waiting around a corner for you, but today, right now, it’s beaten, left in the dust. Cowards, overburdened with imagination as we are, spend most of our attention on the future, worrying what’s coming next, so when that rare opportunity to live in the moment arrives I seize it with as many hands as I’ve got spare.
Mark Lawrence (Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War, #1))
Some scientists also credit viruses with creating DNA in the first place (from RNA) billions of years ago, and they argue that viruses still invent most new genes today.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
In fact, this clock tells us that all seven billion people alive today can trace their maternal lineage to one woman who lived in Africa 170,000 years ago, dubbed “Mitochondrial Eve.
Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code)
My God!” Sophia sat back, her eyes wide with horror. “It’s a drug! He’s drugging her and she doesn’t even know it.” Here we go. “It’s common knowledge that we’re genetic traders—the fact that we have more than one means to attract a mate of an entirely different species should come as no surprise,” he pointed out. “You…you cold blooded bastard.” Sophia shook her head. “Poor Liv—she has no idea what he’s doing to her.” “It wouldn’t matter even if she did,” Sylvan explained patiently, ignoring her insults. “The mating scent is too strong to fight, even with advanced warning. Stronger species than yours have tried and they have all failed. With very few exceptions.” He closed his eyes briefly thinking of Feenah, of her pure white hair and pale crystal eyes. I’m sorry, Sylvan… “It’s not right. You’re not fighting fair.” Sophia’s words pushed back the painful memory and Sylvan opened his eyes again to see the look of despair and anger on her lovely face. She looked almost on the brink of tears. Wonderful—she was even more upset and irrational than he had thought she would be. He supposed he ought to feel irritated. Instead, the illogical urge to hold and comfort her came over him so strongly that he had to sit back and cross his arms over his chest to keep from reaching for her. “I believe you humans have a saying that covers this—‘All’s fair in love and war.’ Is that right?” he said softly. “Yes, but that doesn’t mean—” Sylvan leaned forward again and took her soft, small hands between his own larger ones. “You must understand, Sophia—Baird isn’t trying to trick your sister into anything. He’s simply using every power at his disposal to keep her. Because he needs her—he loves her. She is the only woman in the entire universe for him and the bond that will form between them will be one of undying love and devotion.” “Maybe for him.” She looked down as though mesmerized by the sight of her own small hands being engulfed in his much larger ones. “But not for Liv. He’s going to trick her into having bonding sex with him —whatever that is—and then she’ll spend the rest of her life hating him once she finds out how he did it.” She looked up at Sylvan. “You don’t know her like I do—she hates being lied to. Her last boyfriend cheated on her and then lied about it and she dumped him and never looked back. If she knew what Baird was doing to her…” “It’s not as though it’s a conscious choice on his part,” Sylvan tried to explain. “It’s the way our bodies react chemically to our chosen mates. We can’t turn it off, even if we try. Sometimes it comes even when it’s not wanted. We have a saying for it—‘The blood knows what the mind does not wish to see.’” Lifting a hand, he cupped her cheek and brushed away the single tear that had escaped her wide green eyes with his thumb. “It cannot be helped.” Sophia
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))