Humor

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

James Thurber

A Console Table . . .

Console Table
Console Table
. . . to show off materials. The “windows” allow us to use various clear and translucent glasses, the rest of the table could be chestnut, oak or hemlock. Put some lights inside and it will be quite a looker.

Am I Tired of Talking About It?

By FettFlickr, CC BY 2.0, Link
Asked if he grows tired of talking about ecological stewardship, digging in, and coalition-building, the poet Gary Snyder responds with candor: “Am I tired of talking about it? I’m tired of doing it!” he roars. “But hey, you’ve got to keep doing it. That’s part of politics, and politics is more than winning and losing at the polls.”

An Army Against Love

Herbert Rusche, Public Domain Photo
When Allen met him in 1954, Peter [Orlovsky] had been honorably discharged from the Army – where he worked as an ambulance driver — for telling a psychiatrist, “An army with guns is an army against love.”
–Steve Silberman, in Lion’s Roar

Vidal on People

Vidal, WIlliams, KennedyFrom Gore Vidal‘s memoir Palimpsest:

Recently [1994], a television interviewer quoted me as having said, “I seem to have met everyone, but I know no one.” Grinning like a tiger in anticipation of antelope, she leaned forward, gently salivating, eager to hear a tragic sigh, see a tear of self-pity. Plainly, due to my high and solitary place in the world—am I not the Living Buddha?—and to my cold nature and to my refusal to conform to warm mature family values, I am doomed to be the eternal outsider, the black sheep among those great good white flocks of folks who graze contentedly in the amber fields of the Republic.

I told her briskly that I had never wanted to meet most of the people that I had met and the fact that I never got to know most of them took dedication and steadfastness on my part. By choice and luck, my life has been spent reading other people’s books and making sentences for my own. More to the point, if you have known one person you have known them all. Of course, I am not so sure that I have known even one person well, but, as the Greeks sensibly believed, should you get to know yourself, you will have penetrated as much of the human mystery as anyone need ever know.

Crap

Ted Sturgeon
“I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”

You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man

W. C.In You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, W.C. Fields tells a customer that his grandfather’s last words, “just before they sprung the trap” were, “You can’t cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump.”

Assholes

aholesIf you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.
—Elmore Leonard character Rayland Givens, perhaps from the TV show
(photo by flickr user Guilherme Nicholas)

Pictures from an Institution

1-DelarocheNapoleonSometimes you meet, coming down the leafy path along which you are walking, a man dressed as Napoleon; as he talks to you, you look at him with distrust, pity, amusement—carefully do not look, rather. But as the two of you walk along, and people come up with wallpaper designs full of Imperial bees, rashly offer their condolences on the death of the Duc d’Enghien, ask for a son’s appointment as Assistant Quartermaster-General of the army being sent to the Peninsula, you realize that it is not he but his whole society that has “lost touch with reality.”

—- Randall Jarrell

Cluster Pluck

Molly IvinsIf it’s not true it should be – when Molly Ivins was let go from her gig at the New York Times, she said it was because they objected to her calling a chicken festival a “cluster pluck”.

Unrühe

From a review of “A German Tragedy” by Keith Botsford in the NY Times, 1999:

Grass is important to the German public — I would go so far as to say “necessary” — because he has accepted being the emblem of the “German problem.” For instance, in his play, Grass is trying to force his countrymen, on both sides of the Wall, to admit the truth about at least one incontrovertible fact in German history: that the June, 1953, manifestation, which the East Germans describe, in Grass’s words, “as the work of Nazis sent in by the West” and which the West Germans call a heroic “uprising of the people,” was, in fact, “neither one nor the other, but a simple workers’ demonstration. The intellectuals, the church, the bourgeoisie abstained completely,” Grass said to me (slipping, for the only time in our talk, into real bitterness). “It was neither the Nazis, nor was it the whole German people. That would be too easy. I subtitle my play ‘A German Tragedy’ because, by telling a few lies, everyone got off the hook.”

Naturally enough, I asked Grass what he would have done in the circumstances. He would not, he said with some anger, have told the German people, as the Adenauer Government implied in 1953, that keeping peace and quiet was the citizen’s first duty: “Rühe ist die erster Bürgerpflicht.” For Grass, the horror of this attitude was its calculating hypocrisy, which he finds everywhere in West German society.

Gunter Grass

What Is An Anarchist?

Ammon HennacyThe judge, to Ammon Hennacy, who had just pled “anarchism” to the charge of illegal demonstration, in Salt Lake City – “Mister Hennacy, what is an anarchist?” Hennacy – “Judge, an anarchist is a fellow who don’t need a cop to tell him what to do!”

Pancake

Full MoonOne of my earliest memories, when I was not yet three years old, in Ohio. A neighbor had a reflecting telescope and we were observing the full moon with it. The adults were, anyway. When I was hoisted up and looked into the eyepiece, I was convinced there was a pancake – yellow, with bubbles – at the bottom of this tube and I was baffled by why we would be looking at it through a tube and not taking it out and eating it. Clearly, a hungry child.

An early experience that reinforced my distrust of grownups.

Photo of moon by flickr user coniferconifer

Business Lesson of the Day: Point of View

Watering CanWhen I worked at the outsourcing company, in the call center, for quite a while I was the only one on the night shift. So I was always happy to see people in the morning, and was usually quite chatty.

The company hired a service to take care of their plants. They’d moved twice in the short time I’d been with them, each time to a larger space. Early one morning, I was chatting with the fellow who came around to trim and water the plants. Remarking on the size of the new space and the size of his job, he told me “I remember when you were a three-plant company!”

Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
              And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
              Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safetycatch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
              Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
              They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cockingpiece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almondblossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
              For today we have naming of parts.
                     Henry Reed
Photo of Japonica (Japanese Quince) by Bonita de Boer; adapted.

Japonica glistens like coral

Skills

Full Set Count and Spell Color Recognition Beanbags - by ELLE BELLE on Etsy. Photo by flickr user eraphernalia_vintage“Acquisition of skills requires a regular environment, an adequate opportunity to practice, and rapid and unequivocal feedback about the correctness of thoughts and actions.”

–Daniel Kahneman, Princeton psychology professor and Nobel laureate in economics

Balzer

Balzer
Richard Balzer’s 19th Century Optical Toy gifs
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