Tuesday, October 29, 2002

There was a lady Inzilbêth, renowned for her beauty, and her mother was Lindórië, sister of Eärendur, the Lord of Andúnië in the days of Ar-Sakalthôr father of Ar-Gimilzôr. Gimilzôr took her to wife, though this was little to her liking, for she was in heart of the Faithful, being taught by her mother; but the kings and their sons were grown proud and not to be gainsaid in their wishes. No love was there between Ar-Gimilzôr and his queen, or between their sons. Inziladûn, the elder, was like his mother in mind as in body; but Gimilkhân, the younger, went with his father, unless he were yet prouder and more willful. To him Ar-Gimilzôr would have yielded the scepter rather than to the elder son, if the laws had allowed.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (331-332)

Monday, October 14, 2002

“Both of the frontline Chinese armies in India have been surrounded and the noose is tightening,” said Graff. “I don’t think they have a Stalingrad-style defense in them do you? The Turkic armies have reached the Hwang He and Tibet has just declared its independence and is slaughtering the Chinese troops there. The Indonesians and Arabs are impossible to catch and they’re already making a serious dent in internal communications in China. It’s just a matter of time before they realize it’s pointless to keep killing people when the outcome is inevitable.”

Orson Scott Card, Shadow Puppets (341)

Friday, October 04, 2002

As one whose taste in mental states has always run toward the coma, I have very little patience with the current craze for self-awareness. I am already far too well acquainted with how I feel and frankly, given the choice, I would not. Anyone who is troubled by the inability to feel his or her own feelings is more than welcome to feel mine. It should not be surprising, then, for you to learn that I am something less than enchanted with a concept such as mood jewelry. For those of you fortunate enough to have your lack of awareness extend into the realm of advertising, mood jewelry is jewelry that tells you your feeling via a heat-sensitive stone. And although one would think that stones would have quite enough to do, what with graves and walls and such, it seems that they have now taken on the job of informing people that they are nervous. And although one would think that a person who is nervous would be more than able to ascertain that fact without the aid of a quite unattractive ring, this is apparently not the case.

Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (118)

This afternoon I pay my first visit to the library. When I say ‘library’, I mean three cells whose connecting walls have been knocked down and approximately two thousand books placed inside. The preponderance of the reading material – detective stories and Westerns. The three cons who run the library are overtly homosexual, and all three are in for drugs. One of them, Jerry, seems to know who I am, and is extremely helpful while I look for books that have not been masturbated into. He tells me that most books are ‘damaged’ through masturbation, although there is nothing in their content to induce such reactions. ‘I guess people in here just hate books,’ is the way Jerry explains the phenomenon. My reaction is to say that it’s better than burning them, but not by much. I take out a long, out-of-print book on the history of the world, and thank Jerry for the tips he gave me. Upon returning to my cell and being locked up, I am informed that tomorrow I’m being moved to C-wing, to a cell of my own as befits the orderly of the gym. I am beside myself with anticipation and happiness, as the Loon’s night-time habits are becoming intolerable.

Taki, Nothing to Declare (52)

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

The more vigilant among you may have observed that est-type programs appear in both categories. The reason for this is twofold: one, because those who participate in such programs are as desirous as they are needful, and two, because such programs are the very essence of groupness and therefore the most spectacularly unattractive. That I am totally devoid of sympathy for, or interest in, the world of groups is directly attributable to the fact that my two greatest needs and desires – smoking cigarettes and plotting revenge – are basically solitary pursuits. Oh, sure, sometimes a friend or two drops by and we light up together and occasionally I bounce a few vengeance ideas around with a willing companion, but actual meetings are really unnecessary.

Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life (58-59)

After the 4.30 p.m. tea, which is what dinner is euphemistically called in Pentonville, the countdown begins. As the hour before midnight approaches, the noise level becomes intolerable. Unlike Christmas Eve, which everyone tried to ignore, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity for every con to scream his lungs out. Most of the yelling is racially motivated, and extremely lewd. But at least it keeps me from thinking about past eves. One thing does cross my mind, however, and makes me smile to myself. Tomorrow will be the first time in exactly twenty-eight years that I shall wake up on New Year’s Day without a terrible hangover.

Taki, Nothing to Declare (87)