Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I never knew a man who was so generally acceptable. He made every body quite easy, overpowered nobody by the superiority of his talents, made no man think worse of himself by being his rival, seemed always to listen, did not oblige you to hear much from him, and did not oppose what you said. Every body liked him; but he had no friend, as I understand the word, nobody with whom he exchanged intimate thoughts.

Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, in his The Life of Samuel Johnson

Saturday, December 23, 2006

All grief for what cannot in the course of nature be helped, soon wears away; in some sooner, indeed, in some later; but it never continues very long, unless where there is madness.

Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, in his The Life of Samuel Johnson

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some change in the form of life, gives from time to time a new epocha of existence. In a new place there is something new to be done, and a different system of thoughts rises in the mind.

Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, in his The Life of Samuel Johnson

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When you live near a mini-golf course,you know you are too far into suburbia.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

He’d never have believed he could become detached so quickly from the ordinary world—after only a few months’ absence. He’d heard about former employees in the Palace of Dreams who had in a manner of speaking withdrawn from life while they were still alive, and who, whenever they found themselves among people they used to know, looked as if they had just come down from the moon.

Ismail Kadare, The Palace of Dreams

Thursday, November 09, 2006

For there is no man’s reality around us that someone else is not dreaming about somewhere in this human ocean tonight, nor is there somebody’s dream that is not becoming the reality of another.

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Monday, November 06, 2006

You are like the girl who always rose late; when she married in the next village and for the first time had to rise early, she saw the hoarfrost on the fields and said to her mother-in-law, "We don’t have that in our village!" Like her, you think there is no love in the world, because you have never been awake early enough to encounter it, although every morning it is there on time....

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Thursday, November 02, 2006

And then I realized there was no more shutting of your eyes to the truth, no salvation in being blindfolded, no dream and reality, no being awake or asleep. Everything is one and the same continuing eternal day and world, coiling around you like a snake. That is when I saw vast, remote happiness as being small but close; when I perceived the great cause as empty, and the small as my love….

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Friday, October 13, 2006

A person’s acts in life are like meals, and his thoughts and feelings like seasoning. Whoever puts salt on cherries or pours vinegar on sweets will fare poorly….

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Thursday, October 12, 2006

One of the sure paths to the real future (because there is also a false future) is to proceed in the direction of your fear.

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

But I tell you all this in vain, for you carry your eyes in your mouth and do not see until you speak.

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

He who reaches the end of a road needs it no longer, and the road is not given to him any more.

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Monday, October 09, 2006

It is only an illusion that our thoughts are in our heads....Our heads and we as a whole are in our thoughts. We and our thoughts are like the sea and the stream that runs through it—our body is the current in the sea, but our thoughts are the sea itself. Hence the body makes room for itself in the world by forging through thoughts. And the soul is the seabed of one and the other....

Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars

Thursday, October 05, 2006

He could see that all his reflections, forethought and his easy mental reconciliation were not worth much and did not help at the moment when the blow fell. For, it is one thing to project your fears in your imagination, to foresee the worst, to work out your attitude and your defense; and at the same time to feel the satisfaction that all is still in order and in its place. It is quite another to find yourself facing an actual breakdown which demands urgent decisions and concrete actions. was difficult not to think, not to remember, not to see. He had spent twenty-five years looking for "the middle way" which would bring peace of mind and give a person the dignity he could not live without. For twenty-five year he had been moving from one "elation" to another, seeking and finding, losing and gaining, and now he had arrived, exhausted, inwardly rent, worn out, back at the point from which he had set out....This meant that all the paths were only apparently going forward, but were in fact leading in a circle, like the deceptive labyrinths of oriental tales, and so they had brought him, tired and faint-hearted, to this place, among the torn papers and jumbled copies, to the point where the circle began again, as from every other point. This meant there could be no middle path, that true path leading forward, into stability, peace and dignity, but that we weretravelinglling in a circle, always along the same, deceptive path, and only the people and the generations change as they travel, constantly deceived....One just travels. And the road has meaning and dignity only in so far as we are able to find those qualities in ourselves. There is no path or purpose. One just travels. Travels and exhausts oneself.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The destiny of all these foreigners, cast up and crammed into this narrow, damp valley and condemned to live in unusual conditions for an unknown length of time, now came to an abrupt maturity. The strange circumstances into which they had been thrown speeded up inner processes already at work in them, driving each of them with more relentless force in the direction of his impulses. The way these impulses developed and were manifested here was different in both degree and form than might have been the case in any other circumstances.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Both the ill-will and the goodness of a people are the product of the circumstances in which they live and develop….I become more and more convinced of how wrong we are…to seek to introduce everywhere our own attitudes, our exclusively rational way of life and government. It seems to me more and more a senseless waste of effort. For it’s pointless to want to remove all abuses and preconceptions if you haven’t the strength or ability to remove what caused them.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Friday, September 08, 2006

During the day…he was a calm, decisive man, with a definite name, profession and rank, a clear aim and set tasks which were the reason for his coming to this remote Turkish province.…But at night, he was both all that he was now and all that he had ever been or should have been. And that man, lying in the darkness of the long February nights, seemed to…himself a stranger, complex, and at times quite unknown.

Ivo Andric, The Days of the Consuls

Sunday, September 03, 2006

In poetry or politics, a Romantic with a sense of the ridiculous can do great great things.

Adam Gopnik, “Life of the Party: Benjamin Disraeli and the politics of performance,” New Yorker, July 3, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Racin' with the risin' tide to my father's door….
Drownin' in the risin' tide in my father's door….
Racin' from the risin' tide to my father's door….

, “Fault Line”, Howl

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hell is Truth Seen Too Late

Thomas Hobbes

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"We’re not stupid! We’re just poor! And we have the right to insist on this distinction.”

Orhan Pamuk, Snow

Sunday, July 02, 2006

...if possibility of evil be to exclude good, no good ever can be done. If nothing is to be attempted in which there is danger, we must all sink into hopeless inactivity.

Samuel Johnson to James Boswell, in his The Life of Samuel Johnson

Thursday, June 15, 2006 he sank below the crust of the visible world, into his dazzling kingdom, he understood that he had travelled a long way from the early days, that he still had far to go, and that, from now on, his life would be difficult and without forgiveness.

Steven Millhauser, "In the Reign of Harad IV," The New Yorker (April 10, 2006)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

People incapable of taking pleasure in expressing themselves are not likely to be much good at conversation.

Russell Baker, “Talking It Up,” NYRB (May 11, 2006)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The glove compartment is inaccurately named
And everybody knows it.
So I'm proposing a swift orderly change.

Death Cab for Cutie, "Title and registration"

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I walk on water
Every chance I get.

Counting Crows, "Time and Time Again"

Monday, April 24, 2006

The study showed that people were most content when they were experiencing … “flow” … “the state of total immersion in a task that is challenging yet closely matched to one’s abilities.”

John Lanchester, The New Yorker, February 27, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

We boil at different degrees.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What seems clear is that the US, which grew more rapidly than other nations for most of its history, came to depend on such growth to solve its social problems in ways other nations did not….If American family incomes do not continue to grow, it may become increasingly difficult to mobilize broad support for a government committed to social equity and public investment.

Jeff Madrick, “The Way to a Fair Deal,” NYRB (January 12, 2006)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In this context, the Director stated that he feels relieved that he is not dismissed for corruption or for not performing of municipal duties but only for construction an individual house at the location for which unfortunately the permits are not issued yet. He also said: "if my house hinders urbanism of the city in any way, I will personally blow it up."

From a dismissed Municipal Director of Inspections in Kosovo to the Municipal Assembly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I talk in pictures not in words.

Peter Gabriel, ...And Through The Wire.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"I think all of my life and all of everybody's life we have had struggles," he said. "You can act like the storm doesn't exist, you can go through it or you can go above it. I have chosen to ride above the storm, and God will carry me over to the other side."

Former Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry, January 15, 2006 (as quoted in the Washington Post).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Every human generation has its own illusions with regard to civilization; some believe that they are taking part in its upsurge, others that they are witnesses of its extinction. In fact, it always both flames up and smolders and is extinguished, according to the place and the angle of view.

Ivo Andric, The Bridge Over The Drina.