Thursday, August 09, 2007

Catch 22

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.

Catch 22, 1961
Joseph Heller (1923 - 1999)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Where do you want to go?

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where-" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll (January 27, 1832–January 14, 1898)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Brave New World

If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.

Brave New World, 1932
Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)

One of my all time favorite books. Discovered it a long long time ago in the dusty shelves of an almost untouched fiction section in my college library. I have not stopped reading it since. It was just the lateral shift my mind needed.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

High Fidelity

I want to be a well-rounded human being with none of these knotty lumps of rage and guilt and self-disgust. What do I want to do when I see them? I don't know. Just talk. Ask them how they are and whether they have forgiven me for messing them around, when I have messed them around, and tell them that I have forgiven them for messing me around, when they have messed me around. Wouldn't that be great? If I saw all of them in turn and there were no hard feelings left, just soft downy feelings, Brie rather than old hard Parmesan, I'd feel clean, and calm, and ready to start again.

Bruce Springsteen's always doing it in his songs. Maybe not always, but he's done it. You know that one "Bobby Jean" off Born in the USA? Anyway, he phones this girl up but she's left town years before and he's pissed off that he didn't know about it, because he wanted to say good-bye, and tell her that he missed her, and to wish her good luck. And then one of those sax solos comes in, and you get goose pimples, if you like sax solos. And Bruce Springsteen. Well, I'd like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen songs. Just once. I know I'm not born to run, I know that the Seven Sisters' Road is nothing like Thunder Road, but feelings can't be so different, can they? I'd like to phone all those people up and say good luck, and good-bye, and then they'd feel good and I'd feel good. We'd all feel good. That would be good. Great, even.

High Fidelity, 1996
Nick Hornby (1957 - )

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Road goes ever on and on

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Lord Of The Rings , 1954-1955

JRR Tolkien (Jan 3, 1892 to Sept 2,1973)

Monday, June 05, 2006


All of the songs he liked faded out, or most them did. And so I became a connoisseur of fade outs. I bought cassettes...and listened very closely, trying to catch that precise moment when the person in the recording studio had begun to turn the volume dial down, or whatever it was he did. Some times I'd turn the volume dial up at just the same speed. I thought of...the ghostly hand of the producer turning it down, so that the sound stayed on an even plane. I'd got to this sort of trance...where I thought that if I kept turning it up...the song would not stop, it would just continue indefinitely. And so what I had thought of before as a kind of artistic sloppiness, this attempt to imply that oh yeah, we're a bunch of endlessly creative folks who jam all night, and the bad old record producer finally has to turn the volume down on us just so we don't fill the whole album with one monster song, became for me instead this kind of, this kind of summation of hopefulness.


It’s the same with shadows. The beautiful thing isn’t the alligators or bats you can make with your hands, the beautiful thing is the way the shadow image allows you to see so precisely what the outer contour of your own hand really looks like, those little bunches of flesh under bent finger joint.

Vox, 1992
Nicholson Baker (1952 - )

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fifteen Men On The Dead Man's Chest

"Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Treasure Island, 1883
Robert Louis Stevenson (November 13, 1850 – December 3, 1894)

One of my favorite childhood books!