Top Producers Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Top Producers. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?
Frank Herbert (Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5))
When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlighenment and comfort at top speed
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I do wonder why people hate their grey hair so much! I think grey hair is a gift from the moon! When the moon laughs, her eyes produce tears of joy that fall to the earth and onto the tops of people's heads!
C. JoyBell C.
Except in a very few matches, usually with world-class performers, there is a point in every match (and in some cases it's right at the beginning) when the loser decides he's going to lose. And after that, everything he does will be aimed at providing an explanation of why he will have lost. He may throw himself at the ball (so he will be able to say he's done his best against a superior opponent). He may dispute calls (so he will be able to say he's been robbed). He may swear at himself and throw his racket (so he can say it was apparent all along he wasn't in top form). His energies go not into winning but into producing an explanation, an excuse, a justification for losing.
C. Terry Warner (Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves)
Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain - at least in a poor country like Russia - and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
Leon Trotsky
Young Castle called me "Scoop." "Good Morning, Scoop. What's new in the word game?" "I might ask the same of you," I replied. "I'm thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?" "Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out." "Or the college professors." "Or the college professors," I agreed. I shook my head. "No, I don't think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed." "I just can't help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems..." "And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?" I demanded. "They'd die more like mad dogs, I think--snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails." I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolation of literature?" "In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system." "Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested. "No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
(My greatest human flaw and strength, not surprisingly, is that I can always imagine anything--a marriage, a conversation, a government--as being different from how it is, a trait that might make one a top-notch trial lawyer or novelist or realtor, but that also seems to produce a somewhat less than reliable and morally feasible human being.)
Richard Ford (Independence Day (Frank Bascombe, #2))
There is no doubt that the United States has much to atone for, both domestically and abroad...To produce this horrible confection at home, start with our genocidal treatment of the Native Americans, add a couple hundred years of slavery, along with our denial of entry to Jewish refugees fleeing the death camps of the Third Reich, stir in our collusion with a long list of modern despots and our subsequent disregard for their appalling human rights records, add our bombing of Cambodia and the Pentagon Papers to taste, and then top with our recent refusals to sign the Kyoto protocol for greenhouse emissions, to support any ban on land mines, and to submit ourselves to the rulings of the International Criminal Court. The result should smell of death, hypocrisy, and fresh brimstone.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
We became the most successful advanced projects company in the world by hiring talented people, paying them top dollar, and motivating them into believing that they could produce a Mach 3 airplane like the Blackbird a generation or two ahead of anybody else.
Ben R. Rich (Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed)
I say--I've thought of a good plot for a detective story." "Really?" "Top--hole. You know, the sort that people bring out and say 'I've often thought of doing it myself, if only I could find time to sit down and write it.' I gather that sitting down is all that is necessary for producing masterpieces.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey, #5))
Race scholars use the term white supremacy to describe a sociopolitical economic system of domination based on racial categories that benefits those defined and perceived as white. This system of structural power privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people as a group. If, for example, we look at the racial breakdown of the people who control our institutions, we see telling numbers in 2016–2017: - Ten richest Americans: 100 percent white (seven of whom are among the ten richest in the world) - US Congress: 90 percent white - US governors: 96 percent white - Top military advisers: 100 percent white - President and vice president: 100 percent white - US House Freedom Caucus: 99 percent white - Current US presidential cabinet: 91 percent white - People who decide which TV shows we see: 93 percent white - People who decide which books we read: 90 percent white - People who decide which news is covered: 85 percent white - People who decide which music is produced: 95 percent white - People who directed the one hundred top-grossing films of all time, worldwide: 95 percent white - Teachers: 82 percent white - Full-time college professors: 84 percent white - Owners of men’s professional football teams: 97 percent white These numbers are not describing minor organizations. Nor are these institutions special-interest groups. The groups listed above are the most powerful in the country. These numbers are not a matter of “good people” versus “bad people.” They represent power and control by a racial group that is in the position to disseminate and protect its own self-image, worldview, and interests across the entire society.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
The result is rather typical of modern technology, an overall dullness of appearance so depressing that it must be overlaid with a veneer of "style" to make it acceptable. And that, to anyone who is sensitive to romantic Quality, just makes it all the worse. Now it's not just depressingly dull, it's also phony. Put the two together and you get a pretty accurate basic description of modern American technology: stylized cars and stylized outboard motors and stylized typewriters and stylized clothes. Stylized refrigerators filled with stylized food in stylized kitchens in stylized homes. Plastic stylized toys for stylized children, who at Christmas and birthdays are in style with their stylish parents. You have to be awfully stylish yourself not to get sick of it once in a while. It's the style that gets you; technological ugliness syruped over with romantic phoniness in an effort to produce beauty and profit by people who, though stylish, don't know where to start because no one has ever told them there's such a thing as Quality in this world and it's real, not style. Quality isn't something you lay on top of subjects and objects like tinsel on a Christmas tree. Real Quality must be the source of the subjects and objects, the cone from which the tree must start.
Robert M. Pirsig
Before anything," he said as he brought her around to face him, "I want to give you this." Fumbling in his suitcoat, he produced a small package wrapped in brown paper and string, and gave it to Azalea. Curious, she tugged at the strings of the light package until they unkonotted. The paper fell away. It was a silver handkerchief. Supple and soft, just as Mother's had been. In the corner were the ambroidered initials A.K.W. Azalea laughed and cried at once. She threw her arms around Mr. Bradford's neck, wanting to embrace him so deeply she could feel his soul. "Yes," she cried, "Yes! Yes, yes, yes!" "Well-I-never even said anything," he said. Even so, he pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her. Azalea pressed her cheek into his collar, rumpling it, and breathing into his cravat. It smelled of fresh linen. She felt Mr. Bradford's cheek pressing the top of her head. His lips touched her hair. A muffled voice startled them both. "When are you going to kiss her?" They pulled away.In the ballroom windows, noses and hands pressed against te glass, were the girls. They stood among the prickly rosebushes, beaming wicked little grins. Delphinium and Eve whispered and giggled to each other;Bramble wore a magnificent grin on her face and a spark of light in her yellow-green eyes. Another figure stood among them.This one had his arms folded across his chest, stiff and firm and formal... ...Yet he did not look displeased. "Those rotten little spies!" said Azalea.
Heather Dixon Wallwork (Entwined)
...ideas are definitely unstable, they not only CAN be misused, they invite misuse--and the better the idea the more volatile it is. That's because only the better ideas turn into dogma, and it is this process whereby a fresh, stimulating, humanly helpful idea is changed into robot dogma that is deadly. In terms of hazardous vectors released, the transformation of ideas into dogma rivals the transformation of hydrogen into helium, uranium into lead, or innocence into corruption. And it is nearly as relentless. The problem starts at the secondary level, not with the originator or developer of the idea but with the people who are attracted by it, who adopt it, who cling to it until their last nail breaks, and who invariably lack the overview, flexibility, imagination, and most importantly, sense of humor, to maintain it in the spirit in which it was hatched. Ideas are made by masters, dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road. There is a particularly unattractive and discouragingly common affliction called tunnel vision, which, for all the misery it causes, ought to top the job list at the World Health Organization. Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego. It is complicated by exposure to politics. When a good idea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comes out reduced in scale and value but in its new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally was intended. That is how the loving ideas of Jesus Christ became the sinister cliches of Christianity. That is why virtually every revolution in history has failed: the oppressed, as soon as they seize power, turn into the oppressors, resorting to totalitarian tactics to "protect the revolution." That is why minorities seeking the abolition of prejudice become intolerant, minorities seeking peace become militant, minorities seeking equality become self-righteous, and minorities seeking liberation become hostile (a tight asshole being the first symptom of self-repression).
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
It's excellence in leadership when everyone wants to manufacture a black shoe and you manufacture a designer black shoe with gold medal on top. Do something new; do something better!
Israelmore Ayivor
Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view. And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone. When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.
Tom Stoppard
Seek knowledge for its own sake. Not all knowledge needs to be useful. Sometimes it should be pursued for pure pleasure. Leonardo did not need to know how heart valves work to paint the Mona Lisa, nor did he need to figure out how fossils got to the top of mountains to produce Virgin of the Rocks. By allowing himself to be driven by pure curiosity, he got to explore more horizons and see more connections than anyone else of his era.
Walter Isaacson (Leonardo da Vinci)
I am one beautiful and powerful son of a bitch,' he told himself. 'Smart as a whip, respected, prosperous, beloved and valuable. I have the right to be healthy, happy and rich, for I am the baddest player in this arena or any other. I love myself more than I love money and pretty women and fine clothes. I love myself more than I love neat gardens and healthy babies and a good gospel choir. I love myself as I love The Law. I love myself in error and in correctness, waking or sleeping, sneezing, tipsy, or fabulously brilliant I love myself doing the books or sitting down to a good game of poker. I love myself making love expertly, or tenderly and shyly, or clumsily and inept. I love myself as I love The Master's Mind,' he continued his litany, having long ago stumbled upon the prime principle as a player--that self-love produces the gods and the gods are genius. It took genius to run the Southwest Community Infirmary. So he made the rounds of his hospital the way he used to make the rounds of his houses to keep the tops spinning, reciting declarations of self-love.
Toni Cade Bambara (The Salt Eaters)
Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling began to affect the netting under which the three children lay. It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallic sound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This was accompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries. The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead, and chilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brother had already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the little one, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but in a very low tone, and with bated breath:-- "Sir?" "Hey?" said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes. "What is that?" "It's the rats," replied Gavroche. And he laid his head down on the mat again. The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of the elephant, and who were the living black spots which we have already mentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long as it had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the same as their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the good story-teller Perrault calls "fresh meat," they had hurled themselves in throngs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it, and had begun to bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap. Still the little one could not sleep. "Sir?" he began again. "Hey?" said Gavroche. "What are rats?" "They are mice." This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice in the course of his life, and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, he lifted up his voice once more. "Sir?" "Hey?" said Gavroche again. "Why don't you have a cat?" "I did have one," replied Gavroche, "I brought one here, but they ate her." This second explanation undid the work of the first, and the little fellow began to tremble again. The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:-- "Monsieur?" "Hey?" "Who was it that was eaten?" "The cat." "And who ate the cat?" "The rats." "The mice?" "Yes, the rats." The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which ate cats, pursued:-- "Sir, would those mice eat us?" "Wouldn't they just!" ejaculated Gavroche. The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:-- "Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I'm here! Here, catch hold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
The technician consulted the enclosed documents. “Lizard is biting local children. They have a question about identification of the species, and a concern about diseases transmitted from the bite.” She produced a child’s picture of a lizard, signed TINA at the top. “One of the kids drew a picture of the lizard.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
New beginnings always had something special—starting at the bottom and making it to the top produced something magical. When you reach your destination, your goal, that’s when it really hits home. Maybe that’s why I felt the way I did. I knew I was just a kid, but eventually I’d become something much more. Eventually I’d be at the top. Someday.
Alex Rogers (I'm Only Human After All (The Empowerment Series Book 1))
the Reagan years "produced one of the most dramatic redistributions of income in the nation's history....The income of families in the bottom decile fell by 10.4 percent...while the income of those in the top one percent rose by 87.1 percent." Chain Reaction, 23
Thomas B. Edsall
When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Design is not really a way for me to express myself. Design is a product that we produce for a client.
Peleg Top
Every good-to-great company had Level 5 leadership during the pivotal transition years. • “Level 5” refers to a five-level hierarchy of executive capabilities, with Level 5 at the top. Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves. • Level 5 leaders set up their successors for even greater success in the next generation, whereas egocentric Level 4 leaders often set up their successors for failure. • Level 5 leaders display a compelling modesty, are self-effacing and understated. In contrast, two thirds of the comparison companies had leaders with gargantuan personal egos that contributed to the demise or continued mediocrity of the company. • Level 5 leaders are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results. They are resolved to do whatever it takes to make the company great, no matter how big or hard the decisions. • Level 5 leaders display a workmanlike diligence—more plow horse than show horse. • Level 5 leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility. The comparison CEOs often did just the opposite—they looked in the mirror to take credit for success, but out the window to assign blame for disappointing results.
James C. Collins (Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't)
If you are not the free person you want to be you must find a place to tell the truth about that. To tell how things go for you. Candor is like a skein being produced inside the belly day after day, it has to get itself woven out somewhere. You could whisper down a well. You could write a letter and keep it in a drawer. You could inscribe a curse on a ribbon of lead and bury it in the ground to lie unread for thousands of years. The point is not to find a reader, the point is the telling itself. Consider a person standing alone in a room. The house is silent. She is looking down at a piece of paper. Nothing else exists. All her veins go down into this paper. She takes her pen and writes on it some marks no one else will ever see, she bestows on it a kind of surplus, she tops it off with a gesture as private and accurate as her own name
Anne Carson
In the final scene of Power, the Supreme Court justices appear as a striking abstraction: Nine scowling masks line up in a row on top of a giant podium. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes speaks the majority opinion: 'Water power, the right to convert it into electric energy, and the electric energy thus produced constitute property belonging to the United States.
Susan Quinn (Furious Improvisation: How the Wpa and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times)
I was commissioned to write copy for an annual publication produced by Top Tourist Parks of Australia. After a print run of seventy-five thousand and distribution throughout Australia and New Zealand, it was discovered that I had left the letter v out of the word 'dive' and the introduction for a family beach resort activity read, "Die with your children. A new world awaits.
David Thorne (I'll Go Home Then, It's Warm and Has Chairs. The Unpublished Emails.)
People aren’t really needed for anything else in the Griftopia, but since Americans require the illusion of self-government, we have elections. To make sure those elections are effectively meaningless as far as Wall Street is concerned, two things end up being true. One is that voters on both sides of the aisle are gradually weaned off that habit of having real expectations for their politicians, consuming the voting process entirely as culture-war entertainment. The other is that millions of tenuously middle-class voters are conned into pushing Wall Street’s own twisted greed ethos as though it were their own. The Tea Party, with its weirdly binary view of society as being split up cleanly into competing groups of producers and parasites—that’s just a cultural echo of the insane greed-is-good belief system on Wall Street that’s provided the foundation/excuse for a generation of brilliantly complex thievery. Those beliefs have trickled down to the ex-middle-class suckers struggling to stay on top of their mortgages and their credit card bills, and the real joke is that these voters listen to CNBC and Fox and they genuinely believe they’re the producers in this binary narrative. They don’t get that somewhere way up above, there’s a group of people who’ve been living the Atlas dream for real—and building a self-dealing financial bureaucracy in their own insane image.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed. Inaction, no falsifying dream Between my hooked head and hooked feet: Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat. The convenience of the high trees! The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray Are of advantage to me; And the earth's face upward for my inspection. My feet are locked upon the rough bark. It took the whole of Creation To produce my foot, my each feather: Now I hold Creation in my foot Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly - I kill where I please because it is all mine. There is no sophistry in my body: My manners are tearing off heads - The allotment of death. For the one path of my flight is direct Through the bones of the living. No arguments assert my right: The sun is behind me. Nothing has changed since I began. My eye has permitted no change. I am going to keep things like this.
Ted Hughes
We know from extensive experience that appearance and wealth are not predictors of good loving. We try to avoid ranking people as better or worse than each other and are unhappy with those who want to relate to our rank more than our selves. Hierarchies produce victims on the top as well as the bottom, because it is almost as alienating to be approached by too many people for the wrong reasons as it is to be approached by nobody at all.
Dossie Easton (The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love)
My conception of freedom. -- The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it -- what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic -- every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization. These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free -- and how much more the spirit who has become free -- spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, who attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong -- otherwise one will never become strong. Those large hothouses for the strong -- for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known -- the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers
Friedrich Nietzsche
Eleonora is a woman all too aware of her rarity and worth: she possesses not only a body able to produce a string of heirs, but also a beautiful face, with a forehead like carved ivory, eyes wide-set and deep brown, a mouth that looks well in both a smile and a pout. On top of all this, she has a quick and mercurial mind.
Maggie O'Farrell (The Marriage Portrait)
Pettiness often leads both to error and to the digging of a trap for oneself. Wondering (which I am sure he didn't) 'if by the 1990s [Hitchens] was morphing into someone I didn’t quite recognize”, Blumenthal recalls with horror the night that I 'gave' a farewell party for Martin Walker of the Guardian, and then didn't attend it because I wanted to be on television instead. This is easy: Martin had asked to use the fine lobby of my building for a farewell bash, and I'd set it up. People have quite often asked me to do that. My wife did the honors after Nightline told me that I’d have to come to New York if I wanted to abuse Mother Teresa and Princess Diana on the same show. Of all the people I know, Martin Walker and Sidney Blumenthal would have been the top two in recognizing that journalism and argument come first, and that there can be no hard feelings about it. How do I know this? Well, I have known Martin since Oxford. (He produced a book on Clinton, published in America as 'The President We Deserve'. He reprinted it in London, under the title, 'The President They Deserve'. I doffed my hat to that.) While Sidney—I can barely believe I am telling you this—once also solicited an invitation to hold his book party at my home. A few days later he called me back, to tell me that Martin Peretz, owner of the New Republic, had insisted on giving the party instead. I said, fine, no bones broken; no caterers ordered as yet. 'I don't think you quite get it,' he went on, after an honorable pause. 'That means you can't come to the party at all.' I knew that about my old foe Peretz: I didn't then know I knew it about Blumenthal. I also thought that it was just within the limit of the rules. I ask you to believe that I had buried this memory until this book came out, but also to believe that I won't be slandered and won't refrain—if motives or conduct are in question—from speculating about them in my turn.
Christopher Hitchens
The life that you choose to live will produce either positive or negative outcomes, and the conclusion will be based on the choices that you choose to make.
Calvin W. Allison (Standing at the Top of the Hill)
Thus Marx begins his attack on the liberal concept of freedom. The freedom of the market is not freedom at all. It is a fetishistic illusion. Under capitalism, individuals surrender to the discipline of abstract forces (such as the hidden hand of the market made much of by Adam Smith) that effectively govern their relations and choices. I can make something beautiful and take it to market, but if I don’t manage to exchange it then it has no value. Furthermore, I won’t have enough money to buy commodities to live. Market forces, which none of us individually control, regulate us. And part of what Marx wants to do in Capital is talk about this regulatory power that occurs even “in the midst of the accidental and ever-fluctuating exchange relations between the products.” Supply and demand fluctuations generate price fluctuations around some norm but cannot explain why a pair of shoes on average trades for four shirts. Within all the confusions of the marketplace, “the labour-time socially necessary to produce [commodities] asserts itself as a regulative law of nature. In the same way, the law of gravity asserts itself when a person’s house collapses on top of him” (168). This parallel between gravity and value is interesting: both are relations and not things, and both have to be conceptualized as immaterial but objective.
David Harvey (A Companion to Marx's Capital)
Truth had a way of coming out on top—and it was just as well for everybody that it did. If there ever came a day when truth was so soundly defeated that it never emerged, but sank, instead, under the sheer volume of untruth that the world produced, then that would be a sad day for Botswana, and for the people who lived in Botswana. It would be a sad day for the whole world, that day.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #16))
Like most astronauts, I made the mistake of asking about safety during training. My instructor tried not to laugh. “The abort system produces eighteen to twenty gees as it catapults you the hell away from any fireball, but it’s a mixed blessing. How safe would it be to pile eighteen to twenty people directly on top of you? You’ll probably survive. Probably. But you won’t be walking away from an abort.
Peter Cawdron (Losing Mars (First Contact))
In the middle to late 1970s, when Putin joined the KGB, the secret police, like all Soviet institutions, was undergoing a phase of extreme bloating. Its growing number of directorates and departments were producing mountains of information that had no clear purpose, application, or meaning. An entire army of men and a few women spent their lives compiling newspaper clippings, transcripts of tapped telephone conversations, reports of people followed and trivia learned, and all of this made its way to the top of the KGB pyramid, and then to the leadership of the Communist Party, largely unprocessed and virtually unanalyzed.
Masha Gessen (The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin)
Anger is an energy. It really bloody is. It’s possibly the most powerful one-liner I’ve ever come up with. When I was writing the Public Image Ltd song ‘Rise’, I didn’t quite realize the emotional impact that it would have on me, or anyone who’s ever heard it since. I wrote it in an almost throwaway fashion, off the top of my head, pretty much when I was about to sing the whole song for the first time, at my then new home in Los Angeles. It’s a tough, spontaneous idea. ‘Rise’ was looking at the context of South Africa under apartheid. I’d be watching these horrendous news reports on CNN, and so lines like ‘They put a hotwire to my head, because of the things I did and said’, are a reference to the torture techniques that the apartheid government was using out there. Insufferable. You’d see these reports on TV and in the papers, and feel that this was a reality that simply couldn’t be changed. So, in the context of ‘Rise’, ‘Anger is an energy’ was an open statement, saying, ‘Don’t view anger negatively, don’t deny it – use it to be creative.’ I combined that with another refrain, ‘May the road rise with you’. When I was growing up, that was a phrase my mum and dad – and half the surrounding neighbourhood, who happened to be Irish also – used to say. ‘May the road rise, and your enemies always be behind you!’ So it’s saying, ‘There’s always hope’, and that you don’t always have to resort to violence to resolve an issue. Anger doesn’t necessarily equate directly to violence. Violence very rarely resolves anything. In South Africa, they eventually found a relatively peaceful way out. Using that supposedly negative energy called anger, it can take just one positive move to change things for the better. When I came to record the song properly, the producer and I were arguing all the time, as we always tend to do, but sometimes the arguing actually helps; it feeds in. When it was released in early 1986, ‘Rise’ then became a total anthem, in a period when the press were saying that I was finished, and there was nowhere left for me to go. Well, there was, and I went there. Anger is an energy. Unstoppable.
John Lydon (Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored)
this book. One of the core beliefs I hold is the importance of compounding. Compounding takes place when you attempt One More Try, time and time again. When you're successful in implementing a One More Try mentality, you'll create and compound more wins for yourself. Each of those wins creates an incremental advancement toward your goals. You stack them on top of each other to produce significant long‐term changes in your life.
Ed Mylett (The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success)
On September 16, in defiance of the cease-fire, Ariel Sharon’s army circled the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, where Fatima and Falasteen slept defenselessly without Yousef. Israeli soldiers set up checkpoints, barring the exit of refugees, and allowed their Lebanese Phalange allies into the camp. Israeli soldiers, perched on rooftops, watched through their binoculars during the day and at night lit the sky with flares to guide the path of the Phalange, who went from shelter to shelter in the refugee camps. Two days later, the first western journalists entered the camp and bore witness. Robert Fisk wrote of it in Pity the Nation: They were everywhere, in the road, the laneways, in the back yards and broken rooms, beneath crumpled masonry and across the top of garbage tips. When we had seen a hundred bodies, we stopped counting. Down every alleyway, there were corpses—women, young men, babies and grandparents—lying together in lazy and terrible profusion where they had been knifed or machine-gunned to death. Each corridor through the rubble produced more bodies. The patients at the Palestinian hospital had disappeared after gunmen ordered the doctors to leave. Everywhere, we found signs of hastily dug mass graves. Even while we were there, amid the evidence of such savagery, we could see the Israelis watching us. From the top of the tower block to the west, we could see them staring at us through field-glasses, scanning back and forth across the streets of corpses, the lenses of the binoculars sometimes flashing in the sun as their gaze ranged through the camp. Loren Jenkins [of the Washington Post] cursed a lot. Jenkins immediately realized that the Israeli defense minister would have to bear some responsibility for this horror. “Sharon!” he shouted. “That fucker [Ariel] Sharon! This is Deir Yassin all over again.
Susan Abulhawa (Mornings in Jenin)
It is 2009, and sugar consumption continues to increase globally. Sucrose is a toxin and has no nutritional value to the human body. Isn't that a little strange? Particularly, since sugar cane is grown upon thousands of acres of land to produce sucrose. Eight hundred and thirty million people in the world are undernourished, and 791 million of them live in so-called developing countries. Hence, what nourishing foods could these acres potentially grow if (a) sugar cane were no longer in high demand from the U.S. (as well as the rest of the top consumers--Brazil, Australia, and the EU) and (b) the land was used specifically to grow nourishing foods for the population in the global South?
A. Breeze Harper
There is a particularly unattractive and discouragingly common affliction called tunnel vision, which for all the misery it causes, ought to top the job list at the World Health Organization. Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego. It is complicated by exposure to politics. When a good idea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comes out reduced in scale and value but in its new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally was intended.
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
Nothing is as American as these big block monsters made of Detroit pig iron. In its day, this car represented everything that was right about this country. Damn near every piece of it was produced here, from the steel in the frame, to the switches behind the dash, to the scoop popping through the hood, to the real chrome on the fender. They’re pure America; arrogant, brash, and defiant as hell. You look at one and it pulls on you. Every drop of rebellion in your soul rises to the top.
Eden Connor (Turn & Burn (The 'Cuda Confessions, #2))
The Wall Street-based international banks created spies to march in protection of their profits. The armies turned against their masters. They decided they could create their own wealth and power. New York is crumbling. The Pentagon is stronger than ever. Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the top eastern universities haven’t produced a new idea or a constructive change for all their classical education. They have been swallowed by the Pentagon and spy contracts. The USA looks like a dance of death in every major city.
Mae Brussell (The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascism in America)
Liberty has never come from government,” Woodrow Wilson, one of FDR’s predecessors and another Democrat, said. “The history of liberty is the history of limitation of government’s power, not the increase of it.” Somewhere along the line, the liberal Democrats forgot this and changed their party. It was no longer the party of Thomas Jefferson or Woodrow Wilson. The competitive free enterprise system has given us the greatest standard of living in the world, produced generation after generation of technical wizards who consistently lead the world in invention and innovation, and has provided unlimited opportunities enabling industrious Americans from the most humble of backgrounds to climb to the top of the ladder of success. By 1960, I realized the real enemy wasn’t big business, it was big government.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life: The Autobiography)
This is Clive Christian Number One. It's one of my favorite fragrances, and one of the most exquisite. It's made from entirely pure ingredients, mainly natural aged sandalwood from India and Tahitian vanilla, but a lot of the other ingredients - the ones that produce the fine top notes- they change slightly every year, depending on availability and the perfumers' preference." Using her skills, she smelled the scarf. "Pineapple, plum, mirabelle, and peach, heart notes of jasmine, ylang ylang, orris, and carnation. I'm betting this is the '08.
Jeffrey Stepakoff (The Orchard)
It is not by means of a metaphor that a banking or stock-market transaction, a claim, a coupon, a credit, is able to arouse people who are not necessarily bankers. And what about the effects of money that grows, money that produces more money? There are socioeconomic "complexes" that are also veritable complexes of the unconscious, and that communicate a voluptuous wave from the top to the bottom of their hierarchy (the military-industrial complex). And ideology, Oedipus, and the phallus have nothing to do with this, because they depend on it rather than being its impetus. For it is a matter of flows, of stocks, of breaks in and fluctuations of flows; desire is present wherever something flows and runs, carrying along with it interested subjects—but also drunken or slumbering subjects—toward lethal destinations.
Gilles Deleuze
The best description of this book is found within the title. The full title of this book is: "This is the story my great-grandfather told my father, who then told my grandfather, who then told me about how The Mythical Mr. Boo, Charles Manseur Fizzlebush Grissham III, better known as Mr. Fizzlebush, and Orafoura are all in fact me and Dora J. Arod, who sometimes shares my pen, paper, thoughts, mind, body, and soul, because Dora J. Arod is my pseudonym, as he/it incorporates both my first and middle name, and is also a palindrome that can be read forwards or backwards no matter if you are an upright man in the eyes of God or you are upside down in a tank of water wearing purple goggles and grape jelly discussing how best to spread your time between your work, your wife, and the toasted bread being eaten by the man you are talking to who goes by the name of Dendrite McDowell, who is only wearing a towel on his head and has an hourglass obscuring his “time machine”--or the thing that he says can keep him young forever by producing young versions of himself the way I avert disaster in that I ramble and bumble like a bee until I pollinate my way through flowery situations that might otherwise have ended up being more than less than, but not equal to two short parallel lines stacked on top of each other that mathematicians use to balance equations like a tightrope walker running on a wire stretched between two white stretched limos parked on a long cloud that looks like Salt Lake City minus the sodium and Mormons, but with a dash of pepper and Protestants, who may or may not be spiritual descendents of Mr. Maynot, who didn’t come over to America in the Mayflower, but only because he was “Too lazy to get off the sofa,” and therefore impacted this continent centuries before the first television was ever thrown out of a speeding vehicle at a man who looked exactly like my great-grandfather, who happens to look exactly like the clone science has yet to allow me to create
Jarod Kintz (This is the story my great-grandfather told my father, who then told my grandfather, who then told me about how The Mythical Mr. Boo, Charles Manseur Fizzlebush Grissham III, better known as Mr. Fizzlebush, and Orafoura are all in fact me...)
SINCE the start of the industrial revolution, humans have burned through enough fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—to add some 365 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Deforestation has contributed another 180 billion tons. Each year, we throw up another nine billion tons or so, an amount that’s been increasing by as much as six percent annually. As a result of all this, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air today—a little over four hundred parts per million—is higher than at any other point in the last eight hundred thousand years. Quite probably it is higher than at any point in the last several million years. If current trends continue, CO2 concentrations will top five hundred parts per million, roughly double the levels they were in preindustrial days, by 2050. It is expected that such an increase will produce an eventual average global temperature rise of between three and a half and seven degrees Fahrenheit, and this will, in turn, trigger a variety of world-altering events, including the disappearance of most remaining glaciers, the inundation of low-lying islands and coastal cities, and the melting of the Arctic ice cap. But this is only half the story.
Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History)
if one keeps climbing upward in the chain of command within the brain, one finds at the very top those over-all organizational forces and dynamic properties of the large patterns of cerebral excitation that are correlated with mental states or psychic activity…. Near the apex of this command system in the brain…. we find ideas. Man over the chimpanzee has ideas and ideals. In the brain model proposed here, the causal potency of an idea, or an ideal, becomes just as real as that of a molecule, a cell, or a nerve impulse. Ideas cause ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the same brain, in neighboring brains, and, thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact with the external surroundings to produce in toto a burst-wise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit the evolutionary scene yet, including the emergence of the living cell. Who
Douglas R. Hofstadter (I Am a Strange Loop)
I’m getting the feeling you don’t want me to go. Are you ashamed of me? That hurts, Titty-bottum—I’m wounded.” She laughs disdainfully. “No you’re not. And it has nothing to do with me not wanting you to go—you can’t go. There are about thirty Austenites. As soon as they spot you, word will get out that you were in Castlebrook.” “Oh the horror, because Castlebrook is the hub of the social scene and media elites.” That was sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure. Sarah is, which is why her eyes rolls behind her glasses. “It only takes one set of loose lips for the Queen to find out you were there when you’re supposed to be here. And the producers don’t want you going anywhere, anyway.” “I could ditch?” She blows a puff of breath up at her dark bangs, which have fallen too close to her eyes. And now I’m thinking about Sarah blowing things. “And then you’ll have to wear the monkey.” “I fear no man or monkey. But it is sort of creepy, isn’t it?” I groan. “Fucking James.” Sarah mocks me. “Right, fucking James is trying to keep you safe and alive and not kidnapped, like it’s his job or something. Bastard.” Huh, look at that. Sarah can do sarcasm too. That’s sexy. And she said the word fucking—which makes me think about fucking her—on the bed, the sofa . . . Christ, in the nook. She would be absolutely wild in the nook. Talk about a fantasy—that one’s going straight to the top of the wank bank.
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
The after-the-fact rationalizations were strikingly similar to the mind-set that produced the Enron disaster in the first place. The arguments were narrow and rules-based, legalistic in the hairsplitting sense of the word. Some were even arguably true—in the way that Enron itself defined truth. The larger message was that the wealth and power enjoyed by those at the top of the heap in corporate America demand no sense of broader responsibility. To accept those arguments is to embrace the notion that ethical behavior requires nothing more than avoiding the explicitly illegal, that refusing to see the bad things happening in front of you makes you innocent, and that telling the truth is the same thing as making sure that no one can prove you lied. Take
Bethany McLean (The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron)
I like being this guy who says we're all in this together. I've gone right up to the top and said, "You might be the producer, the guy with all the money, but treat people with respect goddammit, because if you don't, you're going to hear from me. We're all equal here, from the lowliest guy to the filmmaker. We are all trying to bring our A-game here, so don't fuck with people.
Ron Perlman
Castle Bravo had been built according to the “Teller-Ulam” scheme—named for its co-designers, Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam—which meant, unlike with the far less powerful atomic bomb, this hydrogen bomb had been designed to hold itself together for an extra hundred-millionth of a second, thereby allowing its hydrogen isotopes to fuse and create a chain reaction of nuclear energy, called fusion, producing a potentially infinite amount of power, or yield. “What this meant,” Freedman explains, was that there was “a one-in-one-million chance that, given how much hydrogen [is] in the earth’s atmosphere, when Castle Bravo exploded, it could catch the earth’s atmosphere on fire. Some scientists were extremely nervous. Some made bets about the end of the world.
Annie Jacobsen (The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency)
We became the most successful advanced projects company in the world by hiring talented people, paying them top dollar, and motivating them into believing that they could produce a Mach 3 airplane like the Blackbird a generation or two ahead of anybody else. Our design engineers had the keen experience to conceive the whole airplane in their mind’s-eye, doing the trade-offs in their heads between aerodynamic needs and weapons requirements. We created a practical and open work environment for engineers and shop workers, forcing the guys behind the drawing boards onto the shop floor to see how their ideas were being translated into actual parts and to make any necessary changes on the spot. We made every shop worker who designed or handled a part responsible for quality control. Any worker—not just a supervisor or a manager—could send back a part that didn’t meet his or her standards. That way we reduced rework and scrap waste. We encouraged our people to work imaginatively, to improvise and try unconventional approaches to problem solving, and then got out of their way. By applying the most commonsense methods to develop new technologies, we saved tremendous amounts of time and money, while operating in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation both with our government customers and between our white-collar and blue-collar employees. In the end, Lockheed’s Skunk Works demonstrated the awesome capabilities of American inventiveness when free to operate under near ideal working conditions. That may be our most enduring legacy as well as our source of lasting pride.
Ben R. Rich (Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed)
Haven't I told you scores of times, that you're always beginners, and the greatest satisfaction was not in being at the top, but in getting there, in the enjoyment you get out of scaling the heights? That's something you don't understand, and can't understand until you've gone through it yourself. You're still at the state of unlimited illusions, when a good, strong pair of legs makes the hardest road look short, and you've such a mighty appetite for glory that the tiniest crumb of success tastes delightfully sweet. You're prepared for a feast, you're going to satisfy your ambition at last, you feel it's within reach and you don't care if you give the skin off your back to get it! And then, the heights are scaled, the summits reached, and you've got to stay there. That's when the torture begins; you've drunk your excitement to the dregs and found it all too short and even rather bitter, and you wonder whether it was really worth the struggle. From that point there is no more unknown to explore, no new sensations to experience. Pride has had its brief portion of celebrity; you know that your best has been given and you're surprised it hasn't brought a keener sense of satisfaction. From that moment the horizon starts to empty of all hopes that once attracted you towards it. There's nothing to look forward to but death. But in spite of that you cling on, you don't want to feel you're played out, you persist in trying to produce something, like old men persist in trying to make love, with painful, humiliating results. ... If only we could have the courage to hang ourselves in front of our last masterpiece!
Émile Zola (The Masterpiece)
When I work with Godfrey, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the image. I look at it once. Maybe twice, but not more than twice. Then I depend on the inaccuracy of my memory to create the appropriate distance between the music and the image. I knew right away that the image and the music could not be on top of each other, because then there would be no room for the spectators to invent a place for themselves. Of course, in commercials and propaganda films, the producers don’t want to leave a space: the strategy of propaganda is not to leave a space, not to leave any question. Commercials are propaganda tools in which image and music are locked together in order to make an explicit point, like “Buy these shoes” or “Go to this casino.” The strategy of art is precisely the opposite. I would describe it this way: When you listen to a piece of music and you look at an image at the same time, you are metaphorically making a journey to that image. It’s a metaphorical distance, but it’s a real one all the same, and it’s in that journey that the spectator forms a relationship to the music and the image. Without that, it’s all made for us and we don’t have to invent anything. In works like Godfrey’s, and in works, for that matter, like Bob Wilson’s, the spectators are supposed to invent something. They are supposed to tell the story of Einstein. In Godfrey’s movies Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi, the words in the title are the only words there are. The journey that we make from the armchair to the image is the process by which we make the image and the music our own. Without that, we have no personal connection. The idea of a personal interpretation comes about through traversing that distance.
Philip Glass
All too often high-income-producing UAWs spend countless hours studying the market—but not the stock market. They can tell you the names of the top auto dealers, but not the top investment advisors. They can tell you how to shop and spend. But they can’t tell you how to invest. They know the styles, prices, and availability at various car dealers. But they know little or nothing about the various values of equity market offerings. As
Thomas J. Stanley (The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy)
When employers designate certain jobs "professional" and insist that employees have professional training – not just the technical skills that seem sufficient to do the work – they must have more in mind than efficiency. Hierarchical organizations need professionals, because through professionals those at the top control the political content of what is produced, and because professionals contribute to the bosses' control of the workforce itself.
Jeff Schmidt (Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives)
I’m thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?” “Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out.” “Or the college professors.” “Or the college professors,” I agreed. I shook my head. “No, I don’t think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
back-scratching of liquor licenses, the netherworld of trash removal, linen, grease disposal. And with every dime you've got tied up in your new place, suddenly the drains in your prep kitchen are backing up with raw sewage, pushing hundreds of gallons of impacted crap into your dining room; your coke-addled chef just called that Asian waitress who's working her way through law school a chink, which ensures your presence in court for the next six months; your bartender is giving away the bar to under-age girls from Wantagh, any one of whom could then crash Daddy's Buick into a busload of divinity students, putting your liquor license in peril, to say the least; the Ansel System could go off, shutting down your kitchen in the middle of a ten-thousand-dollar night; there's the ongoing struggle with rodents and cockroaches, any one of which could crawl across the Tina Brown four-top in the middle of the dessert course; you just bought 10,000 dollars-worth of shrimp when the market was low, but the walk-in freezer just went on the fritz and naturally it's a holiday weekend, so good luck getting a service call in time; the dishwasher just walked out after arguing with the busboy, and they need glasses now on table seven; immigration is at the door for a surprise inspection of your kitchen's Green Cards; the produce guy wants a certified check or he's taking back the delivery; you didn't order enough napkins for the weekend — and is that the New York Times reviewer waiting for your hostess to stop flirting and notice her?
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Hunter's stew is also known as hunter's pot or perpetual stew. It is made in a large pot, and the ingredients are anything you can find. The idea is that it is never finished, never emptied all the way- instead it is topped up perpetually. It is a stew with an unending cycle. It is a stew that can last for years. It dates back to medieval Poland, first made in cauldrons no one bothered to empty or wash. It began with the simmering of game meat- pigeon, hare, hen, pheasant, rabbit- just anything you could get your hands on. It would then be supplemented with foraged vegetables, seasoned with wild herbs. Sometimes spices or even wine would be added. Then, as time went by, additional food scraps and leftovers were thrown in- recently harvested produce, stale hunks of bread, newly slaughtered meat, or beans dried for the winter months. It would exist in perpetuity, always the same, always new. Traditionally the stew has spicy, savory, and sour notes. An element of sourness is absolutely necessary to cut through the rich and intense flavor. It is said to improve with age.
Lara Williams (Supper Club)
My dear nephew was only in his sixth year when I came to be detached from the family circle. But this did not hinder John and I from remaining the most affectionate friends, and many a half or whole holiday he was allowed to spend with me, was dedicated to making experiments in chemistry, where generally all boxes, tops of tea-canisters, pepper-boxes, teacups, &c., served for the necessary vessels, and the sand-tub furnished the matter to be analysed. I only had to take care to exclude water, which would have produced havoc on my carpet.
Caroline Herschel (Memoir and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel)
Many researchers have sought the secret of successful education by identifying the most successful schools in the hope of discovering what distinguishes them from others. One of the conclusions of this research is that the most successful schools, on average, are small. In a survey of 1,662 schools in Pennsylvania, for instance, 6 of the top 50 were small, which is an overrepresentation by a factor of 4. These data encouraged the Gates Foundation to make a substantial investment in the creation of small schools, sometimes by splitting large schools into smaller units. At least half a dozen other prominent institutions, such as the Annenberg Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust, joined the effort, as did the U.S. Department of Education’s Smaller Learning Communities Program. This probably makes intuitive sense to you. It is easy to construct a causal story that explains how small schools are able to provide superior education and thus produce high-achieving scholars by giving them more personal attention and encouragement than they could get in larger schools. Unfortunately, the causal analysis is pointless because the facts are wrong. If the statisticians who reported to the Gates Foundation had asked about the characteristics of the worst schools, they would have found that bad schools also tend to be smaller than average. The truth is that small schools are not better on average; they are simply more variable. If anything, say Wainer and Zwerling, large schools tend to produce better results, especially in higher grades where a variety of curricular options is valuable. Thanks to recent advances in cognitive psychology,
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
In the early 1970s, racial and gender discrimination was still prevalent. The easy camaraderie prevailing in the operating room evaporated at the completion of surgical procedures. There was an unspoken pecking order of seating arrangements at lunch among my fellow physicians. At the top were the white male 'primary producers' in prestigious surgical specialties. They were followed by the internists. Next came the general practitioners. Last on the list were the hospital-based physicians: the radiologists, pathologists and anaesthesiologists - especially non-white, female ones like me. Apart from colour, we were shunned because we did not bring in patients ourselves but, like vultures, lived off the patients generated by other doctors. We were also resented because being hospital-based and not having to rent office space or hire nursing staff, we had low overheads. Since a physician's number of admissions to the hospital and referral pattern determined the degree of attention and regard accorded by colleagues, it was safe for our peers to ignore us and target those in position to send over income-producing referrals. This attitude was mirrored from the board of directors all the way down to the orderlies.
Adeline Yen Mah (Falling Leaves)
Merry Christmas,Ja-" To which he immediately cut her off with a very testy, "Bloody hell it is." Though he did halt his progress to offer her a brief smile, adding, "Good to see you,Molly," then in the very same breath, "Where's that worthless brother of mine?" She was surprised enough to ask, "Ah,which brother would that be?" when she knew very well he would never refer to Edward or Jason, whom the two younger brothers termed the elders, in that way.But then,Jason shared everything with her about his family, so she knew them as well as he did. So his derogatory answer didn't really add to her surprise. "The infant." She winced at his tone,though, as well as his expression, which had reverted to deadly menace at mention of the "infant." Big,blond, and handsome, James Malory was,just like his elder brothers, and rarely did anyone actually see him looking angry. When James was annoyed with someone, he usually very calmly ripped the person to shreds with his devilish wit, and by his inscrutable expression, the victim had absolutely no warning such pointed barbs would be headed his or her way. The infant, or rather, Anthony, had heard James's voice and, unfortunately, stuck his head around the parlor door to determine James's mood, which wasn't hard to misinterpret with the baleful glare that came his way. Which was probably why the parlor door immediately slammed shut. "Oh,dear," Molly said as James stormed off. Through the years she'd become accustomed to the Malorys' behavior, but a times it still alarmed her. What ensued was a tug of war in the reverse, so to speak, with James shoving his considerable weight against the parlor door, and Anthony on the other side doing his best to keep it from opening. Anthony managed for a bit. He wasn't as hefty as his brother, but he was taller and well muscled. But he must have known he couldn't hold out indefinitely, especially when James started to slam his shoulder against the door,which got it nearly half open before Anthony could manage to slam it shut again. But what Anthony did to solve his dilemma produced Molly's second "Oh,dear." When James threw his weight against the door for the third time, it opened ahead of him and he unfortunately couldn't halt his progress into the room. A rather loud crash followed. A few moments later James was up again suting pine needles off his shoulders. Reggie and Molly,alarmed by the noise, soon followed the men into the room. Anthony had picked up his daughter Jamie who had been looking at the tree with her nursemaid and was now holding her like a shield in front of him while the tree lay ingloriously on its side. Anthony knew his brother wouldn't risk harming one of the children for any reason, and the ploy worked. "Infants hiding behind infants, how apropos," James sneered. "Is,aint it?" Anthony grinned and kissed the top of his daughter's head. "Least it works." James was not amused, and ordered, barked, actually. "Put my niece down." "Wouldn't think of it, old man-least not until I find out why you want to murder me." Anthony's wife, Roslynn, bent over one of the twins, didn't turn about to say, "Excuse me? There will be no murdering in front of the children.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
It is not quite true that the Swiss do not have a government. What they do not have is a large central government, or what the common discourse describes as “the” government— what governs them is entirely bottom-up, municipal of sorts, regional entities called cantons, near-sovereign mini-states united in a confederation. There is plenty of volatility, with enmities between residents that stay at the level of fights over water fountains or other such uninspiring debates. This is not necessarily pleasant, since neighbors are transformed into busybodies— this is a dictatorship from the bottom, not from the top, but a dictatorship nevertheless. But this bottom-up form of dictatorship provides protection against the romanticism of utopias, since no big ideas can be generated in such an unintellectual atmosphere— it suffices to spend some time in cafés in the old section of Geneva, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, to understand that the process is highly unintellectual, devoid of any sense of the grandiose, even downright puny (there is a famous quip about how the greatest accomplishment of the Swiss was inventing the cuckoo clock while other nations produced great works— nice story except that the Swiss did not invent the cuckoo clock). But the system produces stability— boring stability— at every possible level.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)
Inarguably, a successful restaurant demands that you live on the premises for the first few years, working seventeen-hour days, with total involvement in every aspect of a complicated, cruel and very fickle trade. You must be fluent in not only Spanish but the Kabbala-like intricacies of health codes, tax law, fire department regulations, environmental protection laws, building code, occupational safety and health regs, fair hiring practices, zoning, insurance, the vagaries and back-alley back-scratching of liquor licenses, the netherworld of trash removal, linen, grease disposal. And with every dime you've got tied up in your new place, suddenly the drains in your prep kitchen are backing up with raw sewage, pushing hundreds of gallons of impacted crap into your dining room; your coke-addled chef just called that Asian waitress who's working her way through law school a chink, which ensures your presence in court for the next six months; your bartender is giving away the bar to under-age girls from Wantagh, any one of whom could then crash Daddy's Buick into a busload of divinity students, putting your liquor license in peril, to say the least; the Ansel System could go off, shutting down your kitchen in the middle of a ten-thousand-dollar night; there's the ongoing struggle with rodents and cockroaches, any one of which could crawl across the Tina Brown four-top in the middle of the dessert course; you just bought 10,000 dollars-worth of shrimp when the market was low, but the walk-in freezer just went on the fritz and naturally it's a holiday weekend, so good luck getting a service call in time; the dishwasher just walked out after arguing with the busboy, and they need glasses now on table seven; immigration is at the door for a surprise inspection of your kitchen's Green Cards; the produce guy wants a certified check or he's taking back the delivery; you didn't order enough napkins for the weekend — and is that the New York Times reviewer waiting for your hostess to stop flirting and notice her?
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
The larger Europe grows, the more diverse must be the forms of co-operation it requires. Instead of a centralised bureaucracy, the model should be a market — not only a market of individuals and companies, but also a market in which the players are governments. Thus governments would compete with each other for foreign investments, top management and high earners through lower taxes and less regulation. Such a market would impose a fiscal discipline on governments because they would not want to drive away expertise and business. It would also help to establish which fiscal and regulatory policies produced the best overall economic results. No wonder socialists don't like it.
Margaret Thatcher
There is a particularly unattractive and discouragingly common affliction called tunnel vision, which for all the misery it causes, ought to top the job list at the World Health Organization. Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego. It is complicated by exposure to politics. When a good dea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comps out reduced in scale and value but in its new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally was intended.
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.” “I just can’t help thinking what a real shaking up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems… “And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?” I demanded. “They’d die more like mad dogs, I think—snarling and snapping at each other and biting their own tails.” I turned to Castle the elder. “Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolations of literature?” “In one of two ways,” he said, “petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.” “Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization. These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong. Those large hothouses for the strong — for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known — the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has or does not have, something one wants, something one conquers.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
It does appear that some parts of our evolutionary process seem inevitable. It is striking that throughout evolutionary history, the eye evolved independently fifty to a hundred times. This is strong evidence for the fact that the different rolls of the dice that have occurred across different species seem to have produced species with eyes regardless of what is going on around them. Lots of other examples illustrate how some features, if they are advantageous, seem to rise to the top of the evolutionary swamp. This is illustrated every time you see the same feature appearing more than once in different parts of the animal kingdom. Dolphins and bats, for example, use echolocation, but they evolved this trait independently at very different points on the evolutionary tree.
Marcus du Sautoy (The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science)
The results of the most recent such study were published in Psychological Science at the end of 2008. A team of University of Michigan researchers, led by psychologist Marc Berman, recruited some three dozen people and subjected them to a rigorous, and mentally fatiguing, series of tests designed to measure the capacity of their working memory and their ability to exert top-down control over their attention. The subjects were then divided into two groups. Half of them spent about an hour walking through a secluded woodland park, and the other half spent an equal amount of time walking along busy down town streets. Both groups then took the tests a second time. Spending time in the park, the researchers found, “significantly improved” people’s performance on the cognitive tests, indicating a substantial increase in attentiveness. Walking in the city, by contrast, led to no improvement in test results. The researchers then conducted a similar experiment with another set of people. Rather than taking walks between the rounds of testing, these subjects simply looked at photographs of either calm rural scenes or busy urban ones. The results were the same. The people who looked at pictures of nature scenes were able to exert substantially stronger control over their attention, while those who looked at city scenes showed no improvement in their attentiveness. “In sum,” concluded the researchers, “simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control.” Spending time in the natural world seems to be of “vital importance” to “effective cognitive functioning.
Nicholas Carr (The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains)
THE CLOWN AND THE COUNTRYMAN A Nobleman announced his intention of giving a public entertainment in the theatre, and offered splendid prizes to all who had any novelty to exhibit at the performance. The announcement attracted a crowd of conjurers, jugglers, and acrobats, and among the rest a Clown, very popular with the crowd, who let it be known that he was going to give an entirely new turn. When the day of the performance came, the theatre was filled from top to bottom some time before the entertainment began. Several performers exhibited their tricks, and then the popular favourite came on empty-handed and alone. At once there was a hush of expectation: and he, letting his head fall upon his breast, imitated the squeak of a pig to such perfection that the audience insisted on his producing the animal, which, they said, he must have somewhere concealed about his person. He, however, convinced them that there was no pig there, and then the applause was deafening. Among the spectators was a Countryman, who disparaged the Clown's performance and announced that he would give a much superior exhibition of the same trick on the following day. Again the theatre was filled to overflowing, and again the Clown gave his imitation amidst the cheers of the crowd. The Countryman, meanwhile, before going on the stage, had secreted a young porker under his smock; and when the spectators derisively bade him do better if he could, he gave it a pinch in the ear and made it squeal loudly. But they all with one voice shouted out that the Clown's imitation was much more true to life. Thereupon he produced the pig from under his smock and said sarcastically, "There, that shows what sort of judges you are!
Aesop (Aesop's Fables)
It truly is a team sport, and we have the best team in town. But it’s my relationship with Ilana that I cherish most. We have such a strong partnership and have learned how we work most efficiently: I need coffee, she needs tea. When we’re stressed, I pace around and use a weird neck massager I bought online that everyone makes fun of me for, and she knits. When we’re writing together she types, because she’s faster and better at grammar. We actually FaceTime when we’re not in the same city and are constantly texting each other ideas for jokes or observations to potentially use (I recently texted her from Asheville: girl with flip-flops tucked into one strap of tank top). Looking back now at over ten years of doing comedy and running a business with her I can see how our collaboration has expanded and contracted. But it’s the problem-solving aspect of this industry, the producing, the strategy, the realizing that we could put our heads together and figure out the best solution, that has made our relationship and friendship what it is. Because that spills into everything. We both have individual careers now, but those other projects have only been motivating and inspiring to each other and the show. We bring back what we’ve learned on the other sets, in the other negotiations, in the other writers’ rooms or press situations. I’m very lucky to have jumped into this with Ilana Rose Glazer, the ballsy, curly-haired, openhearted, nineteen-year-old girl that cracked me up that night at the corner of the bar at McManus. So many wonderful things have happened since we began working together, but there are a lot of confusing, life-altering things in there too, and it’s such a relief to have someone who completely understands the good and the bad.
Abbi Jacobson (I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff)
If you’re going to make an error in life, err on the side of overestimating your capabilities (obviously, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your life). By the way, this is something that’s hard to do, since the human capacity is so much greater than most of us would ever dream. In fact, many studies have focused on the differences between people who are depressed and people who are extremely optimistic. After attempting to learn a new skill, the pessimists are always more accurate about how they did, while the optimists see their behavior as being more effective than it actually was. Yet this unrealistic evaluation of their own performance is the secret of their future success. Invariably the optimists eventually end up mastering the skill while the pessimists fail. Why? Optimists are those who, despite having no references for success, or even references of failure, manage to ignore those references, leaving unassembled such cognitive tabletops as “I failed” or “I can’t succeed.” Instead, optimists produce faith references, summoning forth their imagination to picture themselves doing something different next time and succeeding. It is this special ability, this unique focus, which allows them to persist until eventually they gain the distinctions that put them over the top. The reason success eludes most people is that they have insufficient references of succeeding in the past. But an optimist operates with beliefs such as, “The past doesn’t equal the future.” All great leaders, all people who have achieved success in any area of life, know the power of continuously pursuing their vision, even if all the details of how to achieve it aren’t yet available. If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.
Anthony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!)
While glass had been used by the rich to drink wine for hundreds of years, most beers until the nineteenth century were drunk from opaque vessels such as ceramic, pewter, or wooden mugs. Since most people couldn’t see the color of the liquid they were drinking, it presumably didn’t matter much what these beers looked like, only what they tasted like. Mostly, they were dark brown and murky brews. Then in 1840 in Bohemia, a region in what is now the Czech Republic, a method to mass-produce glass was developed, and it became cheap enough to serve beer to everyone in glasses. As a result people could see for the first time what their beer looked like, and they often did not like what they saw: the so-called top-fermented brews were variable not just in their taste, but in their color and clarity too. Not ten years later, a new beer was developed in Pilsen using bottom-fermenting yeast. It was lighter in color, it was clear and golden, it had bubbles like champagne—it was lager.
Mark Miodownik (Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World)
The road north out of central Lusaka quickly transitions from a world of impressively broad avenues and fancy new commercial districts to a stop-and-start tour of desolate, overcrowded slums. There, half-dressed young men sit around glumly, seemingly lacking the motivation in the face of persistently high unemployment to even bother looking for work. When at last one reaches the highway that leads north to the Copper Belt it is the oncoming traffic that makes the strongest impression. It consists mostly of van after jam-packed van full of poor Zambians. They are overwhelmingly young and desperate to get off the land and they arrive in the capital with dreams of remaking their lives in the big city. When most people think about China’s relationship with Africa they reduce it to a single proposition: securing access to natural resources, of which Africa is the world’s greatest storehouse. As one of the top copper-producing nations, Zambia, a landlocked country in southern Africa, is doubtlessly a very big part of that story.
Howard W. French (China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa)
It seems to me indisputably true that a good many people, the wide world over, of varying ages, cultures, natural endowments, respond with a special impetus, a zing, even, in some cases, to artists and poets who as well as having a reputation for producing great or fine art have something garishly Wrong with them as persons: a spectacular flaw in character or citizenship, a construably romantic affliction or addiction-extreme self-centredness, marital infidelity, stone-deafness, stone-blindness, a terrible thirst, a mortally bad cough, a soft spot for prostitutes, a partiality for grand-scale adultery or incest, a certified or uncertified weakness for opium or sodomy, and so on, God have mercy on the lonely bastards. If suicide isn't at the top of the list of compelling infirmities for creative men, the suicide poet or artist, one can't help noticing, has always been given a very considerable amount of avid attention, not seldom on sentimental grounds almost exclusively, as if he were (to put it much more horribly than I really want to) the floppy-eared runt of the litter. It's a thought, anyway, finally said, that I've lost sleep over many times, and possibly will again. Според мен много и много хора по широкия свят, хора на различна възраст, с различна култура и различни заложби гледат с особен възторг и дори понякога величаят онези художници и поети, които освен дето са си спечелили име с голямото си или добро изкуство имат нещо шантаво в себе си: нетърпими недостатъци в характера или в гражданското поведение, любовна страст или скръб, изключителен егоцентризъм, извънбрачна връзка, глухота, слепота, неутолима жажда, смъртоносна кашлица, слабост към проститутки, склонност към чудовищни прелюбодеяния или кръвосмешение, документирана или недокументирана страст към опиума или содомията и прочее — пази боже, самотните копелета. Макар самоубийството да не стои на първо място в списъка на задължителните за твореца недостатъци, не можем да не забележим, че самоубилият се поет или художник винаги се радва на много голямо, завидно внимание, нерядко само по чисто сантиментални причини, сякаш е (ще се изразя по-ужасно, отколкото ми се ще) клепоухото недорасло кутре от кучилото. Тази мисъл — това е последно — много пъти не ми е давала мира по цели нощи и сигурно пак ще върши същото.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
The successful individual sales producer wins by being as selfish as possible with her time. The more often the salesperson stays away from team members and distractions, puts her phone on Do Not Disturb (DND), closes her door, or chooses to work for a few hours from the local Panera Bread café, the more productive she’ll likely be. In general, top producers in sales tend to exhibit a characteristic I’ve come to describe as being selfishly productive. The seller who best blocks out the rest of the world, who maintains obsessive control of her calendar, who masters focusing solely on her own highest-value revenue-producing activities, who isn’t known for being a “team player,” and who is not interested in playing good corporate citizen or helping everyone around her, is typically a highly effective seller who ends up on top of the sales rankings. Contrary to popular opinion, being selfish is not bad at all. In fact, for an individual contributor salesperson, it is a highly desirable trait and a survival skill, particularly in today’s crazed corporate environment where everyone is looking to put meetings on your calendar and take you away from your primary responsibilities! Now let’s switch gears and look at the sales manager’s role and responsibilities. How well would it work to have a sales manager who kept her office phone on DND and declined almost every incoming call to her mobile phone? Do we want a sales manager who closes her office door, is concerned only about herself, and is for the most part inaccessible? No, of course not. The successful sales manager doesn’t win on her own; she wins through her people by helping them succeed. Think about other key sales management responsibilities: Leading team meetings. Developing talent. Encouraging hearts. Removing obstacles. Coaching others. Challenging data, false assumptions, wrong attitudes, and complacency. Pushing for more. Putting the needs of your team members ahead of your own. Hmmm. Just reading that list again reminds me why it is often so difficult to transition from being a top producer in sales into a sales management role. Aside from the word sales, there is truly almost nothing similar about the positions. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on corporate responsibilities like participating on the executive committee, dealing with human resources compliance issues, expense management, recruiting, and all the other burdens placed on the sales manager. Again,
Mike Weinberg (Sales Management. Simplified.: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team)
The Netherlands capital of Amsterdam amsterdam cruise is a thriving metropolis and one from the world's popular cities. If you are planning a trip to the metropolis, but are unclear about what you should do presently there, why not possess a little fun and spend time learning about how it's stereotypically known for? How come they put on clogs? When was the wind mill first utilised there? In addition, be sure to include all your feels on your journey and taste the phenomenal cheeses along with smell the stunning tulips. It's really recommended that you stay in a city motel, Amsterdam is quite spread out and residing in hotels close to the city-centre allows for the easiest access to public transportation. Beyond the clichés So that you can know precisely why a stereotype exists it usually is important to discover its source. Clogs: The Dutch have already been wearing solid wood shoes, as well as "Klompen" as they are referred to, for approximately 700 years. They were originally made out of a timber sole along with a leather top or band tacked for the wood. Nevertheless, the shoes had been eventually created completely from wood to safeguard the whole base. Wooden shoe wearers state the shoes are usually warm during the cold months and cool during the warm months. The first guild associated with clog designers dates back to a number exceeding 1570 in Holland. When making blockages, both shoes of a set must be created from the same kind of timber, even the same side of a tree, in order that the wood will certainly shrink in the same charge. While most blocks today are produced by equipment, a few shoemakers are left and they normally set up store in vacationer areas near any city hotel. Amsterdam also offers a clog-making museum, Klompenmakerij De Zaanse Schans, that highlights your shoe's history and significance. Windmills: The first windmills have been demonstrated to have existed in Netherlands from about the year 1200. Today, there are eight leftover windmills in the capital. The most effective to visit is De Gooyer, which has been built in 1725 over the Nieuwevaart Canal. Their location in the east involving city's downtown area signifies it is readily available from any metropolis hotel. Amsterdam enjoys its beer and it actually has a brewery right on the doorstep to the wind generator. So if you are enjoying a historic site it's also possible to enjoy a scrumptious ice-cold beer - what more would you ask for? Mozerella: It's impossible to vacation to Amsterdam without sampling several of its wonderful cheeses. In accordance with the locals, probably the most flavourful cheeses are available at the Wegewijs Emporium. With over 50 international cheese and A hundred domestic parmesan cheesse, you will surely have a wide-variety to pick from.
Step Into the Stereotypes of Amsterdam
Graceful? There’s a never-ending worldwide shortage. Graceful is artistic, elegant, subtle and effective. Graceful makes things happen and brings light but not heat. Graceful doesn’t mean invisible, hiding, fearful or by the book. And graceful certainly doesn’t include hectoring, lecturing or bullying. Audrey Hepburn was graceful. Wayne Gretzky too. A graceful person gets things done, but does it in a way you’d be happy to have repeated. A graceful person raises the game of everyone nearby, causing a race to the top, not the bottom. Graceful is the person we can’t live without, the one who makes a difference. The linchpin. Everywhere I turn, I see people bringing grace to their families, their communities and their work. The thing is, no one is born graceful. It’s not a gift, it’s a choice. Every day, we get a chance to give others the benefit of the doubt. Every day, we get the opportunity to give others our support, our confidence and our trust. And yet most days, we hesitate. There are so many things on our agenda, so many people who want a piece of us, so many things to do, so many obligations—of course it’s tempting to merely get it done, to phone it in. None of those shortcuts will make the impact you’re capable of making, and none of those approaches will bring you closer to those you’re here to serve. The industrial age is ending, and a new one is beginning. It produces art instead of stuff and it rewards gracefulness.
Seth Godin (Graceful)
Although Dyatlov, Shift Foreman Akimov, and Senior Reactor Control Engineer Toptunov had violated some operating regulations, they were ignorant of the deadly failing of the RBMK-1000 that meant that insertion of the control rods, instead of shutting down the reactor at the end of the test, could initiate a runaway chain reaction. Every one of the investigators behind the report now agreed that the fatal power surge that destroyed the reactor had begun with the entry of the rods into its core. ‘Thus the Chrnobyl accident comes within the standard pattern of most severe accidents in the world. It begins with an accumulation of small breaches of the regulations. … These produce a set of undesirable properties and occurrences that, when taken separately, do not seem to be particularly dangerous, but finally an initiating event occurs that, in this particular case, was the subjective actions of the personnel that allowed the potentially destructive and dangerous qualities of the reactor to be released.’ IAEA experts revealed at last the true magnitude of the technical cover-up surrounding the causes of the disaster: the long history of previous RBMK accidents, the dangerous design of the reactor, its instability, and the way its operators had been misled about its behavior. In dense scientific detail, it described the inherent problems of the positive void coefficient and the fatal consequences of the control rod ‘tip’ effect. (pp. 347-348)
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
Well, Gordon assigned me to write a major piece of software for the Apple Macintosh. Financial spreadsheet, accounting, that sort of thing, powerful, easy to use, lots of graphics. I asked him exactly what he wanted in it, and he just said, ‘Everything. I want the top piece of all-singing, all-dancing business software for that machine.’ And being of a slightly whimsical turn of mind I took him literally. “You see, a pattern of numbers can represent anything you like, can be used to map any surface, or modulate any dynamic process—and so on. And any set of company accounts are, in the end, just a pattern of numbers. So I sat down and wrote a program that’ll take those numbers and do what you like with them. If you just want a bar graph it’ll do them as a bar graph, if you want them as a pie chart or scatter graph it’ll do them as a pie chart or scatter graph. If you want dancing girls jumping out of the pie chart in order to distract attention from the figures the pie chart actually represents, then the program will do that as well. Or you can turn your figures into, for instance, a flock of seagulls, and the formation they fly in and the way in which the wings of each gull beat will be determined by the performance of each division of your company. Great for producing animated corporate logos that actually mean something. “But the silliest feature of all was that if you wanted your company accounts represented as a piece of music, it could do that as well. Well, I thought it was silly. The corporate world went bananas over it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1))
It is a painful irony that silent movies were driven out of existence just as they were reaching a kind of glorious summit of creativity and imagination, so that some of the best silent movies were also some of the last ones. Of no film was that more true than Wings, which opened on August 12 at the Criterion Theatre in New York, with a dedication to Charles Lindbergh. The film was the conception of John Monk Saunders, a bright young man from Minnesota who was also a Rhodes scholar, a gifted writer, a handsome philanderer, and a drinker, not necessarily in that order. In the early 1920s, Saunders met and became friends with the film producer Jesse Lasky and Lasky’s wife, Bessie. Saunders was an uncommonly charming fellow, and he persuaded Lasky to buy a half-finished novel he had written about aerial combat in the First World War. Fired with excitement, Lasky gave Saunders a record $39,000 for the idea and put him to work on a script. Had Lasky known that Saunders was sleeping with his wife, he might not have been quite so generous. Lasky’s choice for director was unexpected but inspired. William Wellman was thirty years old and had no experience of making big movies—and at $2 million Wings was the biggest movie Paramount had ever undertaken. At a time when top-rank directors like Ernst Lubitsch were paid $175,000 a picture, Wellman was given a salary of $250 a week. But he had one advantage over every other director in Hollywood: he was a World War I flying ace and intimately understood the beauty and enchantment of flight as well as the fearful mayhem of aerial combat. No other filmmaker has ever used technical proficiency to better advantage. Wellman had had a busy life already. Born into a well-to-do family in Brookline, Massachusetts, he had been a high school dropout, a professional ice hockey player, a volunteer in the French Foreign Legion, and a member of the celebrated Lafayette Escadrille flying squad. Both France and the United States had decorated him for gallantry. After the war he became friends with Douglas Fairbanks, who got him a job at the Goldwyn studios as an actor. Wellman hated acting and switched to directing. He became what was known as a contract director, churning out low-budget westerns and other B movies. Always temperamental, he was frequently fired from jobs, once for slapping an actress. He was a startling choice to be put in charge of such a challenging epic. To the astonishment of everyone, he now made one of the most intelligent, moving, and thrilling pictures ever made. Nothing was faked. Whatever the pilot saw in real life the audiences saw on the screen. When clouds or exploding dirigibles were seen outside airplane windows they were real objects filmed in real time. Wellman mounted cameras inside the cockpits looking out, so that the audiences had the sensation of sitting at the pilots’ shoulders, and outside the cockpit looking in, allowing close-up views of the pilots’ reactions. Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers, the two male stars of the picture, had to be their own cameramen, activating cameras with a remote-control button.
Bill Bryson (One Summer: America, 1927)
Guilt. Torment. Sorrow. Shock. Which?” she asked against his chest. “I’m trying,” he murmured on a weary chuckle. “But all I can manage is pride,” he added softly. “I satisfied you completely, didn’t I?” “More than completely,” she murmured against his damp shoulder. Her hand traced his chest, feeling the coolness of his skin, the ripple of muscle. “Hold me close.” He wrapped both arms around her and drew her on top of him, holding her hungrily to him, their legs lazily entwined. “I seduced you.” She pressed a soft kiss to his collarbone. “Mmm-hmm.” He caught his breath as the tiny, insignificant movement produced a sudden, raging arousal. She lifted her head. “Did I do something wrong?” He lifted an eyebrow and nodded toward his flat stomach. She followed his amused glance and caught her breath. He drew her mouth down over his and kissed her ferociously before he sat up and moved off the bed. “Where are you going?” she asked, startled. He drew on his briefs and his slacks, glancing down at her with amused delight. “One of us has to be sensible,” he told her. “Colby’s probably on his way back right now.” “But he just left…” “Almost an hour ago,” he finished for her, nodding toward the clock on the bedside table. She sat up, her eyes wide with surprise. “I took a long time with you,” he said gently. “Didn’t you notice?” She laughed self-consciously. “Well, yes, but I didn’t realize it was that long.” He drew her off the bed and bent to kiss her tenderly, nuzzling her face with his. “Was I worth waiting for?” he asked. She smiled. “What a silly question.” He kissed her again, but when he lifted his head he wasn’t smiling. “I loved what we did together,” he said quietly. “But I should have been more responsible.” She knew what he was thinking. He hadn’t used anything, and he surely knew that she wasn’t. She flattened her hand against his bare chest. “There’s a morning-after pill. I’ll drive into the city tomorrow and get one,” she said, lying like a sailor. She had no intention of doing that, but it would comfort him. He found that he didn’t like that idea. It hurt something deeply primitive in him. He scowled. “That could be dangerous.” “No, it’s not. He traced her fingernails while he tried to think. It seemed like a fantasy, a dream. He’d never had such an experience with a woman in his life. She closed her eyes and moved closer to him. “I could never have done that with anyone else,” she whispered. “It was more beautiful than my dreams.” His heart jumped. That was how it felt to him, too. He tilted her face so that he could search her soft eyes. She was radiant; she almost glowed. “Kiss me,” he murmured softly. She did. But he wasn’t smiling. She could almost see the thoughts in his face. “You didn’t force me, Tate,” she said gently. “I made a conscious decision. I made a choice. I needed to know if what had happened to me had destroyed me as a woman. I found out in the most wonderful way that it hadn’t. I’m not ashamed of what we did together.” “Neither am I.” He turned, his face still tormented. “But it wasn’t my right.” “To be the first?” She smiled gently. “It would have been you eight years ago or eight years from now. I don’t want anyone else-not that way. I never did.” He actually winced. “Cecily…” “I’m not asking for declarations of undying love. I won’t cling. I’m not the type.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
In scale and audacity, the dam was astonishing; engineers were going to anchor a mile-long wall of concrete in bedrock at the bottom of a steep canyon in the Columbia. They would excavate 45 million cubic yards of dirt and rock, and pour 24 million tons of concrete. Among the few dams in the Northwest not built by the Corps of Engineers, the Grand Coulee was the work of the Bureau of Reclamation. When completed, it was a mile across at the top, forty-six stories high, and heralded as the biggest thing ever built by man. The dam backed up the river for 151 miles, creating a lake with 600 miles of shoreline. At the dam’s dedication in 1941, Roosevelt said Grand Coulee would open the world to people who had been beat up by the elements, abused by the rich and plagued by poor luck. But a few months after it opened, Grand Coulee became the instrument of war. Suddenly, the country needed to build sixty thousand planes a year, made of aluminum, smelted by power from Columbia River water, and it needed to build ships—big ones—from the same power source. Near the end of the war, America needed to build an atomic bomb, whose plutonium was manufactured on the banks of the Columbia. Power from the Grand Coulee was used to break uranium into radioactive subelements to produce that plutonium. By war’s end, only a handful of farms were drawing water from the Columbia’s greatest dam. True, toasters in desert homes were warming bread with Grand Coulee juice, and Washington had the cheapest electrical rates of any state in the country, but most of that power for the people was being used by Reynolds Aluminum in Longview and Alcoa in Vancouver and Kaiser Aluminum in Spokane and Tacoma.
Timothy Egan (The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest (Vintage Departures))
Mindy runs to the DVD player and delicately places the disk in the holder and presses play. “Will you sit in this chair, please, Princess Mindy?” I ask, bowing deeply at the waist. Mindy giggles as she replies, ”I guess so.” After Mindy sits down, I take a wide-tooth comb and start gently combing out her tangles. Mindy starts vibrating with excitement as she blurts, “Mr. Jeff, you’re gonna fix my hair fancy, ain’t you?” “We’ll see if a certain Princess can hold still long enough for me to finish,” I tease. Immediately, Mindy becomes as still as a stone statue. After a couple of minutes, I have to say, “Mindy, sweetheart, it’s okay to breathe. I just can’t have you bouncing, because I’m afraid it will cause me to pull your hair.” Mindy slumps down in her chair just slightly. “Okay Mr. Jeff, I was ascared you was gonna stop,” she whispers, her chin quivering. I adopt a very fake, very over-the-top French accent and say, “Oh no, Monsieur Jeff must complete Princess Mindy’s look to make the Kingdom happy. Mindy erupts with the first belly laugh I’ve heard all day as she responds, “Okay, I’ll try to be still, but it’s hard ‘cause I have the wiggles real bad.” I pat her on the shoulder and chuckle as I say, “Just try your best, sweetheart. That’s all anyone can ask.” Kiera comes screeching around the corner in a blur, plunks her purse on the table, and says breathlessly, “Geez-O-Pete, I can’t believe I’m late for the makeover. I love makeovers.” Kiera digs through her purse and produces two bottles of nail polish and nail kit. “It’s time for your mani/pedi ma’am. Would you prefer Pink Pearl or Frosted Creamsicle? Mindy raises her hand like a schoolchild and Kiera calls on her like a pupil, “I want Frosted Cream toes please,” Mindy answers. “Your wish is my command, my dear,” Kiera responds with a grin. For the next few minutes, Mindy gets the spa treatment of her life as I carefully French braid her hair into pigtails. As a special treat, I purchased some ribbons from the gift shop and I’m weaving them into her hair. I tuck a yellow rose behind her ear. I don my French accent as I declare, “Monsieur Jeffery pronounces Princess Mindy finished and fit to rule the kingdom.” Kiera hands Mindy a new tube of grape ChapStick from her purse, “Hold on, a true princess never reigns with chapped lips,” she says. Mindy giggles as she responds, “You’re silly, Miss Kiera. Nobody in my kingdom is going to care if my lips are shiny.” Kiera’s laugh sounds like wind chimes as she covers her face with her hands as she confesses, “Okay, you busted me. I just like to use it because it tastes yummy.” “Okay, I want some, please,” Mindy decides. Kiera is putting the last minute touches on her as Mindy is scrambling to stand on Kiera’s thighs so she can get a better look in the mirror. When I reach out to steady her, she grabs my hand in a death grip. I glance down at her. Her eyes are wide and her mouth is opening and closing like a fish. I shoot Kiera a worried glance, but she merely shrugs. “Holy Sh — !” Mindy stops short when she sees Kiera’s expression. “Mr. Jeff is an angel for reals because he turned me into one. Look at my hair Miss Kiera, there are magic ribbons in it! I’m perfect. I can be anything I want to be.” Spontaneously, we all join together in a group hug. I kiss the top of her head as I agree, “Yes, Mindy, you are amazing and the sky is the limit for you.
Mary Crawford (Until the Stars Fall from the Sky (Hidden Beauty #1))
The United States over the last thirty years has seen a growing gap - indeed, a deepening gulf - between rich and poor. The gap is significantly greater than in any other developed nation. Moreover, the growing gulf between rich and poor is the result of social and economic policy, not because some classes of people worked harder and others slacked off over the last thirty years (all of us, according to most studies, are working harder). The differences among countries generate the same conclusion: social policy, not simply individual effort, is responsible for the distribution of wealth. Our recent social policy may not have been intended to produce this result, but it has. The consequence is increased suffering and desperation among the poor and potentially grave consequences for the society as a whole. Moreover, many people in the middle, who are most often struggling financially, support the individualistic ideology underlying our social policy - namely, the notions that we each have worked hard for what we have and ought to be able to keep all of it, that government is bad (or at least inefficient and wasteful - and hungry for our tax dollars), and that things will be better for all of us if we let the wealthiest people in our country make and keep as much money as possible. Many of us seem not to realize that the people who benefit the most from our politics and economics of individualism are the wealthiest 10 percent, especially the top 1 percent. People will support a tax cut that saves them $300 a year, without considering that the same tax cut will save the very wealthy tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands a year, with significant damage to the social fabric, including not only decreased help for the poor and disadvantaged but also cuts in services such as public schools, road repairs, parks, libraries, and so forth.
Marcus J. Borg (The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith)
Hundreds of men crowded the yard, and not a one among them was whole. They covered the ground thick as maggots on a week old carcass, the dirt itself hardly anywhere visible. No one could move without all feeling it and thus rising together in a hellish contortion of agony. Everywhere men moaned, shouting for water and praying for God to end their suffering. They screamed and groaned in an unending litany, calling for mothers and wives and fathers and sisters. The predominant color was blue, though nauseations of red intruded throughout. Men lay half naked, piled on top of one another in scenes to pitiful to imagine. Bloodied heads rested on shoulders and laps, broken feet upon arms. Tired hands held in torn guts and torsos twisted every which way. Dirty shirts dressed the bleeding bodies and not enough material existed in all the world to sop up the spilled blood. A boy clad in gray, perhaps the only rebel among them, lay quietly in one corner, raised arm rigid with a finger extended, as if pointing to the heavens. His face was a singular portrait of contentment among the misery. Broken bones, dirty white and soiled with the passing of hours since injury, were everywhere abundant. All manner of devices splinted the damaged and battered limbs: muskets, branches, bayonets, lengths of wood or iron from barns and carts. One individual had bone splinted with bone: the dried femur of a horse was lashed to his busted shin. A blind man, his eyes subtracted by the minié ball that had enfiladed him, moaned over and over “I’m kilt, I’m kilt! Oh Gawd, I’m kilt!” Others lay limp, in shock. These last were mostly quiet, their color unnaturally pale. It was agonizingly humid in the still air of the yard. The stink of blood mixed with human waste produced a potent and offensive odor not unlike that of a hog farm in the high heat of a South Carolina summer. Swarms of fat, green blowflies everywhere harassed the soldiers to the point of insanity, biting at their wounds. Their steady buzz was a noise straight out of hell itself, a distress to the ears.
Edison McDaniels (Not One Among Them Whole: A Novel of Gettysburg)
Unlike classically spinning bodies, such as tops, however, where the spin rate can assume any value fast or slow, electrons always have only one fixed spin. In the units in which this spin is measured quantum mechanically (called Planck's constant) the electrons have half a unit, or they are "spin-1/2" particles. In fact, all the matter particles in the standard model-electrons, quarks, neutrinos, and two other types called muons and taus-all have "spin 1/2." Particles with half-integer spin are known collectively as fermions (after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi). On the other hand, the force carriers-the photon, W, Z, and gluons-all have one unit of spin, or they are "spin-1" particles in the physics lingo. The carrier of gravity-the graviton-has "spin 2," and this was precisely the identifying property that one of the vibrating strings was found to possess. All the particles with integer units of spin are called bosons (after the Indian physicist Satyendra Bose). Just as ordinary spacetime is associated with a supersymmetry that is based on spin. The predictions of supersymmetry, if it is truly obeyed, are far-reaching. In a universe based on supersymmetry, every known particle in the universe must have an as-yet undiscovered partner (or "superparrtner"). The matter particles with spin 1/2, such as electrons and quarks, should have spin 0 superpartners. the photon and gluons (that are spin 1) should have spin-1/2 superpartners called photinos and gluinos respectively. Most importantly, however, already in the 1970s physicists realized that the only way for string theory to include fermionic patterns of vibration at all (and therefore to be able to explain the constituents of matter) is for the theory to be supersymmetric. In the supersymmetric version of the theory, the bosonic and fermionic vibrational patters come inevitably in pairs. Moreover, supersymmetric string theory managed to avoid another major headache that had been associated with the original (nonsupersymmetric) formulation-particles with imaginary mass. Recall that the square roots of negative numbers are called imaginary numbers. Before supersymmetry, string theory produced a strange vibration pattern (called a tachyon) whose mass was imaginary. Physicists heaved a sigh of relief when supersymmetry eliminated these undesirable beasts.
Mario Livio (The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry)
Ryder! What’s taking you so long?” “I’m on my way!” he yells back. It feels like forever before he pushes open the door and ducks inside. Then I see why it took him so long. He’s somehow got the three cats tucked under one arm and the cake plate clutched in the other hand. No spare for a flashlight or lantern--so he accomplished this all in the dark. “Here,” he says, handing off the cake to me before releasing Kirk, Spock, and Sulu into the crate and latching the door. “Seriously, Ryder? You brought the cake?” He shrugs. “I was hungry.” Hmm, I guess all that kissing worked up his appetite. For cake. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not. On the plus side, he doesn’t look like he’s about to puke. So we’re making progress as far as his fear of storms goes. I guess that’s something. “Did you happen to bring a fork?” I ask, setting the plate on the makeshift tabletop. He produces two from his pocket, holding them up triumphantly. So we eat cake while the sirens blare. Actually, it doesn’t sound that bad out there. Still, the fact that we’re so calm--that Ryder’s so calm--should tell you how routine this is getting. As long as we don’t hear that awful freight-train sound, we’re good. “What happened to the cake?” he asks between bites. “It looks like someone mutilated it while I was gone.” “Sorry,” I mutter. “Guess I did some stress bingeing. You realize you’re not wearing a shirt, right?” He glances down and shrugs, his cheeks flushing ever so slightly. “Sorry ’bout that.” It might seem silly that he’s apologizing, but at Magnolia Landing, you don’t come to the table unless you’re fully dressed. It’s one of Laura Grace’s most unbendable rules--you dress for meals, even breakfast. Not that this counts as a meal, and I’m not sure you could call this plywood-on-top-of-a-crate thing a “table.” But still… By the time the sirens shut off, we’ve completely cleaned the plate, even scraping off the hardened frosting with our fingers. “That was quick,” I say, setting aside the now-empty plate. Ryder nods. “I guess we should give it a minute or two. You know, make sure it’s not coming back on.” So we wait. Silently. Ryder can’t even meet my eyes, and all I want to do is stare at his lips. This is crazy. I mean, what do we do now--now that the sirens are off and the cake is gone? Apparently, the answer is pretend like nothing happened.
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
Thanks to our discussion in the last chapter, we can also agree that character is a product of perseverance: “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3–4). I don’t know how that idea strikes you, but it sounds a little backward to me. I would expect that a person with character would find it easier to persevere through difficult circumstances. That makes sense. But how does perseverance produce character? When I look at the world around me, it seems to me that most things actually decay over time rather than grow stronger. The longer we live in our home, the more I see spots that need a paint touch-up. The longer I drive my car, the more I find I need to take it in for tune-ups and repairs. And the longer I live, the more I realize my body isn’t what it used to be! But maybe this process of perseverance leading to character works differently. Surely God is the X-factor. When you add God to the equation, persistence over time builds up character and strength instead of taking it away. Consider, if you will, the snowball. Left by itself, it doesn’t amount to much. It’s just a little round chunk of white frozen water. Yet place that snowball at the top of a steep hill on a snowy day, and things begin to change. If you invest some time rolling that snowball across the ground so it picks up snow and grows into a larger ball, you begin to create something big and heavy. If you invest even more time and energy (this is where perseverance comes in), you might get that ball rolling down the hill. And the longer it rolls, the faster it goes, the bigger it gets. Now you’ve got something powerful. This is a force to be reckoned with. This is when people start running for cover. Your little snowball suddenly becomes a runaway freight train! I believe that equation of suffering, which produces perseverance, which produces character, works in a similar fashion. Our willingness to trust and rely on the Lord in a time of trouble invites His power to work in our lives. The more we trust and depend on Him, the easier it becomes. As the Lord says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Pretty soon our perseverance enables the Lord to add character to our “snowball”—and the more we persevere, the stronger we grow. We find ourselves rolling downhill toward a godly life. It still might be a bumpy ride, but the size and momentum of our snowball just about guarantees that as long as we are pursuing God’s will for our lives, nothing will stop us.
Jim Daly (Stronger: Trading Brokenness for Unbreakable Strength)
The top surface of the computer is smooth except for a fisheye lens, a polished glass dome with a purplish optical coating. Whenever Hiro is using the machine, this lens emerges and clicks into place, its base flush with the surface of the computer. The neighborhood loglo is curved and foreshortened on its surface. Hiro finds it erotic. This is partly because he hasn't been properly laid in several weeks. But there's more to it. Hiro's father, who was stationed in Japan for many years, was obsessed with cameras. He kept bringing them back from his stints in the Far East, encased in many protective layers, so that when he took them out to show Hiro, it was like watching an exquisite striptease as they emerged from all that black leather and nylon, zippers and straps. And once the lens was finally exposed, pure geometric equation made real, so powerful and vulnerable at once, Hiro could only think it was like nuzzling through skirts and lingerie and outer labia and inner labia. . . . It made him feel naked and weak and brave. The lens can see half of the universe -- the half that is above the computer, which includes most of Hiro. In this way, it can generally keep track of where Hiro is and what direction he's looking in. Down inside the computer are three lasers -- a red one, a green one, and a blue one. They are powerful enough to make a bright light but not powerful enough to burn through the back of your eyeball and broil your brain, fry your frontals, lase your lobes. As everyone learned in elementary school, these three colors of light can be combined, with different intensities, to produce any color that Hiro's eye is capable of seeing. In this way, a narrow beam of any color can be shot out of the innards of the computer, up through that fisheye lens, in any direction. Through the use of electronic mirrors inside the computer, this beam is made to sweep back and forth across the lenses of Hiro's goggles, in much the same way as the electron beam in a television paints the inner surface of the eponymous Tube. The resulting image hangs in space in front of Hiro's view of Reality. By drawing a slightly different image in front of each eye, the image can be made three-dimensional. By changing the image seventy-two times a second, it can be made to move. By drawing the moving three-dimensional image at a resolution of 2K pixels on a side, it can be as sharp as the eye can perceive, and by pumping stereo digital sound through the little earphones, the moving 3-D pictures can have a perfectly realistic soundtrack. So Hiro's not actually here at all. He's in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
MT: Mimetic desire can only produce evil? RG: No, it can become bad if it stirs up rivalries but it isn't bad in itself, in fact it's very good, and, fortunately, people can no more give it up than they can give up food or sleep. It is to imitation that we owe not only our traditions, without which we would be helpless, but also, paradoxically, all the innovations about which so much is made today. Modern technology and science show this admirably. Study the history of the world economy and you'll see that since the nineteenth century all the countries that, at a given moment, seemed destined never to play anything but a subordinate role, for lack of “creativity,” because of their imitative or, as Montaigne would have said, their “apish” nature, always turned out later on to be more creative than their models. It began with Germany, which, in the nineteenth century, was thought to be at most capable of imitating the English, and this at the precise moment it surpassed them. It continued with the Americans in whom, for a long time, the Europeans saw mediocre gadget-makers who weren't theoretical or cerebral enough to take on a world leadership role. And it happened once more with the Japanese who, after World War II, were still seen as pathetic imitators of Western superiority. It's starting up again, it seems, with Korea, and soon, perhaps, it'll be the Chinese. All of these consecutive mistakes about the creative potential of imitation cannot be due to chance. To make an effective imitator, you have to openly admire the model you're imitating, you have to acknowledge your imitation. You have to explicitly recognize the superiority of those who succeed better than you and set about learning from them. If a businessman sees his competitor making money while he's losing money, he doesn't have time to reinvent his whole production process. He imitates his more fortunate rivals. In business, imitation remains possible today because mimetic vanity is less involved than in the arts, in literature, and in philosophy. In the most spiritual domains, the modern world rejects imitation in favor of originality at all costs. You should never say what others are saying, never paint what others are painting, never think what others are thinking, and so on. Since this is absolutely impossible, there soon emerges a negative imitation that sterilizes everything. Mimetic rivalry cannot flare up without becoming destructive in a great many ways. We can see it today in the so-called soft sciences (which fully deserve the name). More and more often they're obliged to turn their coats inside out and, with great fanfare, announce some new “epistemological rupture” that is supposed to revolutionize the field from top to bottom. This rage for originality has produced a few rare masterpieces and quite a few rather bizarre things in the style of Jacques Lacan's Écrits. Just a few years ago the mimetic escalation had become so insane that it drove everyone to make himself more incomprehensible than his peers. In American universities the imitation of those models has since produced some pretty comical results. But today that lemon has been squeezed completely dry. The principle of originality at all costs leads to paralysis. The more we celebrate “creative and enriching” innovations, the fewer of them there are. So-called postmodernism is even more sterile than modernism, and, as its name suggests, also totally dependent on it. For two thousand years the arts have been imitative, and it's only in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that people started refusing to be mimetic. Why? Because we're more mimetic than ever. Rivalry plays a role such that we strive vainly to exorcise imitation. MT
René Girard (When These Things Begin: Conversations with Michel Treguer (Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture))