Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Briefing II

You've been dreaming, have you?

I am dreaming now.

No, you are awake now. You are talking to me.

This is no different. A dream, like that.

Oh yes it is different. This is reality. The other is a dream.

How do you know?

You'll have to take my word for it, I'm afraid.

If I did have to, I'd be afraid.

--Doris Lessing, Briefing For a Descent Into Hell, 1971

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Abraham at Gettysburg

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Constitution of France (under the present Fifth Republic) states that the principle of the Republic of France is 'gouvernement du peuple, par le peuple et pour le peuple' ('government of the people, by the people, and for the people,') a literal translation of Lincoln's words."

Monday, November 17, 2008


I spoke to Sylvia. “Do you think this is a good life?” The table held apples, books, long-playing records. She looked up. “No.”

--Donald Barthelme, “The Indian Uprising,” 1968

Monday, November 10, 2008

small problem

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."

--Eric Moody, captain of British Airways Flight 9

Saturday, November 08, 2008


The implications of philosophical truth are so horrifying that the human mind cannot comprehend them and remain sane.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Times of India

"What does a possible Obama victory mean for America and the rest of the world (and judging by the worldwide interest and the number of foreign journalists here, it's the only story for the day)?

"Well, for one, it is expected to restore faith and trust in a more engaged and consensual United States as against the perception of the Bush Republican administration as a mostly unilateral regime. The election of a black minority candidate to the highest office in the world's most powerful and advanced democracy will also be seen as the final vindication that America can overcome racial prejudice.

"It still boggles the imagination -- that could soon be reality -- that the 44th US president may be an African-American son of a Kenyan exchange student."

--The Times of India

The London Times

“We support Obama not as a person but as a new phenomenon,” Denis Twahika, a student, said. “We look at America as a continent that disenfranchised Africa. If Obama is the president, then when I meet an American I meet a brother. That white-black thing, we become one.”

--The Times, UK

Did you vote?

"In every election, many people grapple with the nagging suspicion their vote doesn't count.... They are wrong. In fact, our democracy depends on every citizen recognizing the value of his or her vote.

"And here is the value of that vote. In the most recent presidential election 105,360,260 people cast ballots. That means each person's vote counted .000000949%.... So we can agree, your vote counts. It counts .000000949%."

--Stephen Colbert, "Of Course Your Vote Counts!," America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, 2004

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nov 2

"All Souls’ Day.
The 2nd of November, so called because the Roman Catholics on that day seek by prayer and almsgiving to alleviate the sufferings of souls in purgatory. It was first instituted in the monastery of Clugny, in 993.

"According to tradition, a pilgrim, returning from the Holy Land, was compelled by a storm to land on a rocky island, where he found a hermit, who told him that among the cliffs of the island was an opening into the infernal regions through which huge flames ascended, and where the groans of the tormented were distinctly audible. The pilgrim told Odilo, abbot of Clugny, of this; and the abbot appointed the day following, which was November 2nd, to be set apart for the benefit of souls in purgatory."

--E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898 edition "Revised, Corrected and Enlarged"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nov 1

"All Hallow’s Day (November 1st).
The French call it Toussaint, which we have translated All Saints’ Day. Hallowmas is All-Saints’ festival. (Anglo-Saxon, hálig, but Hálig-mónáth was September, and Hálig-dœg was simply a Holy-day.)"

"All Saints
or All Hallows. In 610 the Pope of Rome ordered that the heathen Pantheon should be converted into a Christian church, and dedicated to the honour of all martyrs. The festival of All Saints was first held on May 1st, but in the year 834 it was changed to November 1st. 'Hallows' is from the Anglo-Saxon hálig (holy)."

--E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898 edition "Revised, Corrected and Enlarged"