Thursday, December 28, 2006

At the same time, though, I have to confess that the thought crossed my mind, not once, but several times, that he might drown out there and, though I didn’t linger over this notion, I know that it didn’t bother me. I didn’t care about him, and I knew there was nothing that could connect me with his apparent accident. For that next hour or two, I felt elated at having done what I wanted to do and, if I gave thought to it at all, the only thing I was certain of was that, if Malcolm Kennedy drowned, I would be free of him. Not that I ever considered this a seriously possibility. He wouldn’t drown, because nobody drowned in a twelve-foot-deep pit of water, a few miles from the town.

John Burnside, "The Limeroom," in Granta 96: War Zones (41)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I should like to say for the record I am not a “Bonesman” or indeed a member of any of the exclusive “secret societies” – Book and Snake, Scroll and Key, Snake and Eggs, the Leatherstockingmen, the Yale School of Forestry, etc. Due to their open advocacy of cloak-wearing and their great windowless clubhouses known as “tombs” (many of them carved out of a single block of marble), these societies have prompted much fanciful speculation about bizarre masturbation rituals and hidden plans for world domination.

John Hodgman, The Areas of My Expertise (144)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A representative mid-nineteenth-century traditionalist was being asked to judge the work of a "wholly new" order of craftsman. His reply to the first letter (implied by her second letter to him – his letters do not survive) must have told her that the "Alabaster" poem lacked form, that it was imperfectly rhymed and its metric beat spasmodic, a judgment which would have been shared at the time by most of the fraternity of literary appraisers. The unorthodoxy of melodic pattern controlled by key words, wherein the parts express whole, the altering of metric beat to slow or speed the nature of time itself (the theme of the "Alabaster" poem), give it dimensions which he was not equipped to estimate. He was trying to measure a cube by the rules of plane geometry.

Thomas H. Johnson, editor; The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (vi)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

You get that same beseiged fraternal feeling in a Republican campaign office. There is none of that M*A*S*H ensemble-cast witticizing one-upsmanship you get in the typical Democratic office full of young liberal arts grads. Nobody wears T-shirts that mean something, and nobody looks like an extra from the Czech set of XXX. As I would later find out, most Republicans hate "cool," particularly the older women ("They all think they're so cool and artistic," griped one woman as she watched Fox coverage of Democratic delegates arriving in Boston). Many of the parent-volunteers I met are especially bitter because they think that cool is what liberals use to lure their children away from their early convictions. Which they might very well be right about, of course.

Matt Taibbi, Spanking the Donkey (226)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Of course, I exaggerate [about the aesthetic trends of the 1970s]. At the time, everything seemed normal. Sure, things were a little...brown, a tad more orange than they'd been before. Yes, we knew our clothes were ridiculous when we wore them, but we all knew this wouldn't last. We'd all be nuked into a big long smear of red jam or dumped into a dystopian Soylent Green world, eating pressed wafers made of grandparents and kelp. Crank up the Foghat and get out the ZigZags, boys; let's live it up while we can. The '70s ended in 1977 with the Sex Pistols and New Wave; when college kids started wearing skinny ties and thrift-store Rat Pack jackets, they shot the '70s dead. The corpse remained standing and chatting for a few more years, but the battle was won. If you think the '70s were dumber than the '80s, either you weren't there or you weren't paying attention.

James Lileks, Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s (10)
My favorite thing to buy is underwear. I think buying underwear is the most personal thing you can do, and if you could watch a person buying underwear you would really get to know them. I mean, I would rather watch somebody buy their underwear than read a book they wrote. I think the strangest people are the ones who send someone else to buy their underwear for them. I also wonder about people who don't buy underwear. I can understand not wearing it, but not buying it?

Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (229)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I began staying late at the office. Until ten, eleven at night. I would have given both testicles and possibly an arm to see Uma stick her finger down her throat and then throw up a sandwich. Or maybe? Do something really Hollywood, like dump a bag of coke out on the coffee table and snort it up with a hundred-dollar bill. But none of this happened. The most exciting thing Uma ever did was to pick up the phone, read a script, or have a cigarette.

Augusten Burroughs, Possible Side Effects (152)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

During the mid-1990s the recognized churches, particularly the Church of England, moved from the theology of sin and redemption to a less uncompromising doctrine: corporate social responsibility coupled with a sentimental humanism. Rosie has gone further and has virtually abolished the Second Person of the Trinity together with His cross, substituting a golden orb of the sun in glory, like a garish Victorian pub sign. The change was immediately popular. Even to unbelievers like myself, the cross, stigma of the barbarism of officialdom and of man's ineluctable cruelty, has never been a comfortable model.

P.D. James, The Children of Men