The Randymon Bash Blog

Zuckerberg can eat my asshole.

The Great Gatsby

April 24, 2022 — ~randymon
F. Scott Fitzgerald

For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed. His brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days. He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented “place” that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village – appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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Human sympathy has its limits and we were content to let all their tragic arguments fade with the city lights behind. Thirty – the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair. But there was Jordan beside me who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age. As we passed over the dark bridge her wan face fell lazily against my coat’s shoulder and the formidable stroke of thirty died away with the reassuring pressure of her hand.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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When they met again two days later it was Gatsby who was breathless, who was somehow betrayed. Her porch was bright with the bought luxury of star-shine; the wicker of the settee squeaked fashionably as she turned toward him and he kissed her curious and lovely mouth. She had caught a cold and it made her voice huskier and more charming than ever and Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o'clock – until long after there was anyone to give it to if he came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about … like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead,” he suggested. “After that my own rule is to let everything alone.”

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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Then I wandered down to the beach and sprawled out on the sand. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferry boat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes – a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Twenty-Eighteen

April 24, 2022 — ~randymon
I purchased a Windows laptop a couple of years ago as an additional machine (my main platform is Linux), and honestly it’s using Windows which feels masochistic: ads, system prompts which pop up beneath windows, ads, the login screen swallowing my first few characters, ads, massive over-use of the trackpad (but this could be my fault, ads, very poor update experience (compared to Debian), ads, sluggishness, IE, Edge, ads, lack of free software and - oh yes, lest I forget - ads. Did I mention that an OS I paid for shows me ads?

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A weird side-effect of living in SF is cities in movies start to look fake: where is all the feces and shattered glass and tent cities? I’ve always assumed the city govt was just disfunctional, but the speed with which they removed the menace of convenient, ecofriendly scooters makes me wonder if they’re actually malevolent, somehow.

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government is the entertainment division of the industrial-military complex – Frank Zappa

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Up and up the bitcoin goes, beats dollar and the rouble. All at once it drops like shit - Pop goes the bouble!

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“Nothing is cheaper than someone else’s time.” – Charlie Gibb

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The only thing that can’t be solved by another layer of indirection is too many layers of indirection.

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Can someone explain like I have a degree in computer science from a good university, but opted for a career as a software engineer in some relatively high level languages?

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I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Trolls “R” Us kid There are a million sites on the web where I can post shit I don’t wanna grow up, cause maybe if I did I couldn’t be a Trolls “R” Us kid

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What’s the difference between Sarah Palin’s mouth and her vagina? Only half the stuff that comes out of her vagina is retarded.

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A man walks into a pharmacy, and heads to the birth control section. He is looking at condoms when an employee approaches him and asks if he needs help.

“No, I’m just buying condoms for my teenage daughter” he says. “Oh, so she’s sexually active?” the employee asks. “No, she just sort of lays there like her mother does”

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What is something that 9 out of 10 people enjoy? Gang rape.

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What’s black on top and white on bottom?

Rape

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20 years ago I wrote my dissertation using LaTeX. Two years ago I found it in old backups and immediately stuck it into a git repo, built a LaTeX hosting docker container and built the whole ~120 page doc using the makefile I made at the time. I then proceeded to marvel at the ingenuity of people, the hubris of a young man and the futility of it all. I then quenched the rising tide of existential angst with a few craft beers I purchased using proceeds from my day job building silly web-apps in JavaScript for a big multinational mining company.

Had I written it in word I would have tossed the disk into the trash, and watched a movie.

LaTeX, the gift that keeps on giving.

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The Boss, however, is maintaining his reserve.

There are five main exercises undertaken by managers who don’t have the wherewithal to do their job but want to look like they’re contributing:

  1. A Review of “lessons from the past”,
  2. The big push for documentation,
  3. An anal-gazing “Look-to-the-future” exercise,
  4. Team building and/or Group Dynamics, or,
  5. A comprehensive review of something to reach the conclusion they’ve already thought of.

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“But you must have thought about things,” I said. “About your life, about the human condition.”

Chris became surprisingly introspective. “I did examine myself,” he said. “Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing — when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”

“What I miss most,” he eventually continued, “is somewhere between quiet and solitude. What I miss most is stillness.” He said he’d watched for years as a shelf mushroom grew on the trunk of a Douglas fir in his camp. I’d noticed the mushroom when I visited—it was enormous—and he asked me with evident concern if anyone had knocked it down. I assured him it was still there. In the height of summer, he said, he’d sometimes sneak down to the lake at night. “I’d stretch out in the water, float on my back, and look at the stars.”

– Christopher Thomas Knight, the the North Pond Hermit of Maine

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The Internet used to be SMART PEOPLE in front of DUMB TERMINALS. Now, the reverse situation prevails.

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The Internet - the mother-ship of people who don’t know much and aren’t afraid to go public

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I doubt that it will get better. There’s a whole generation starting to fill the FAANG bullpens that never saw anything beyond the cordoned appscapes of their indistinguishable mobile devices. Maybe someone will notice that “hey, I’m using this insanely clever federated way of connecting my microservices with <rpc-du-jour>, what if…”. Probably will end up on something like the suckless/unixpr*n pages and go a few steps too far, banging ASCII rocks together to summon the holy gopher.

  -- seen on Hacker News

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There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

– Lord Byron, Childe Harold Vanto iv. Verse 178

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Ginsberg’s Theorem: 1. You can’t win. 2. You can’t break even. 3. You can’t even quit the game.

Freeman’s Commentary on Ginsberg’s theorem:

Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg’s Theorem. To wit:

  1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
  2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
  3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.

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Why I Wake Early:

Wherever I am, the world comes after me. It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it. Now I understand why the old poets of China went so far and high into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.

– From Mary Oliver’s collection Why I Wake Early.

Jack Handey

March 08, 2022 — ~randymon

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: “Mankind”.   Basically, it’s made up of two separate words - “mank” and “ind”.   What do these words mean?   It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes, when I lie in bed at night and look up at the stars, I think to myself, “Man! I really need to fix that roof.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, “Can’t you make it shoot farther?”

“No, I’m sorry.   That’s as far as it shoots.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset?   And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he’s carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet.   And also, you’re drunk.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the lemons (maybe by shoving them down his throat).

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I’d just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it’s probably best to avoid eye contact.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more money.   And I guess that’s what I like about it.   It’s easy.   Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life.   Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate.   And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays its eggs in my brain, because later you might think you’re having a good idea but it’s just eggs hatching.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Whenever you read a good book, it’s like the author is right there, in the room talking to you, which is why I don’t like to read good books.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk? And after you’re real drunk, maybe go down to the public park and stagger around and ask people for money, and then lay down and go to sleep.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that’s like a regular window.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor because you were “just going down to the corner.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If I ever get real rich, I hope I’m not real mean to poor people, like I am now.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I remember how my great-uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it. And no paint, because he had whittled off the paint.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Here’s a good thing to do if you go to a party and you don’t know anybody: First take out the garbage. Then go around and collect any extra garbage that people might have, like a crumpled napkin, and take that out too. Pretty soon people will want to meet the busy garbage guy.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re a cowboy and you’re dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If your friend is already dead, and being eaten by vultures, I think it’s okay to feed some bits of your friend to one of the vultures, to teach him to do some tricks. But only if you’re serious about adopting the vulture.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Broken promises don’t upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you ever crawl inside an old hollow log and go to sleep, and while you’re in there some guys come and seal up both ends and then put it on a truck and take it to another city, boy, I don’t know what to tell you.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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One thing vampire children have to be taught early on is, don’t run with a wooden stake.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you go to a costume party at your boss’s house, wouldn’t you think a good costume would be to dress up like the boss’s wife? Trust me, it’s not.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Most of the time it was probably real bad being stuck down in a dungeon. But some days, when there was a bad storm outside, you’d look out your little window and think, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not out in that.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Consider the daffodil. And while you’re doing that, I’ll be over here, looking through your stuff.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here’s a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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It’s sad that a family can be torn apart by something as simple as a pack of wild dogs.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus Flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won’t bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can’t scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you’re coming home his face might burn up.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he’s real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think people tend to forget that trees are living creatures. They’re sort of like dogs. Huge, quiet, motionless dogs, with bark instead of fur.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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In weightlifting, I don’t think sudden, uncontrolled urination should automatically disqualify you.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then after you camped at night, you could eat him. How about it, science?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Instead of having ‘answers’ on a math test, they should just call them ‘impressions’ and it you got a different ‘impression’ so what, can’t we all be brothers?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If God dwells inside us, like some people say, I sure hope He like enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting!

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Probably to a shark about the funniest thing there is is a wounded seal, trying to swim to shore, because where does he think he’s going?!

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I’d like to see a nature film where an eagle swoops down and pulls a fish out of a lake, and then maybe he’s flying along, low to the ground, and the fish pulls a worm out of the ground. Now that’s a documentary.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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 Marta says the interesting thing about fly-fishing is that it’s two lives connected by a thin strand.    Come on, Marta. Grow up.   

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Here’s a good trick: Get a job as a judge at the Olympics. Then, if some guy sets a world record, pretend that you didn’t see it and go, “Okay, is everybody ready to start now?"  

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Too bad when I was a kid there wasn’t a guy in our class that everybody called the “Cricket Boy”, because I would have liked to stand up in class and tell everybody, “You can make fun of the Cricket Boy if you want to, but to me he’s just like everybody else.” Then everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I’d invite him over to spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that loud chirping I’d have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town. Bye, Cricket Boy.  

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The whole town laughed at my great-grandfather, just because he worked hard and saved his money. True, working at the hardware store didn’t pay much, but he felt it was better than what everybody else did, which was go up to the volcano and collect the gold nuggets it shot out every day. It turned out he was right. After forty years, the volcano petered out. Everybody left town, and the hardware store went broke. Finally he decided to collect gold nuggets too, but there weren’t many left by then. Plus, he broke his leg and the doctor’s bills were real high.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing, I’d glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. “Wait a minute! I thought we won!”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes you have to be careful when selecting a new name for yourself. For instance, let’s say you have chosen the nickname “Fly Head.” Normally you would think that “fly Head” would mean a person who has beautiful swept-back features, as if flying through the air. But think again. Couldn’t it also mean “having a head like a fly”? I’m afraid some people might actually think that.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Somebody told me how frightening it was how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I hope that after I die, people will say of me: “That guy sure owed me a lot of money.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar, because then, Yahoo!, I’d have all my money back.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you get invited to your first orgy, don’t just show up nude. That’s a common mistake. You have to let nudity “happen.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The tired and thirsty prospector threw himself down at the edge of the watering hole and started to drink. But then he looked around and saw skulls and bones everywhere. “Uh-oh,” he thought. “This watering hole is reserved for skeletons.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If they ever come up with a swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, Then Jumping Off Something.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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When you’re riding in a time machine way far into the future, don’t stick your elbow out the window, or it’ll turn into a fossil.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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At first I thought, if I were Superman, a perfect secret identity would be “Clark Kent, Dentist,” because you could save money on tooth X-rays. But then I thought, if a patient said, “How’s my back tooth?” and you just looked at it with your X-ray vision and said, “Oh it’s okay,” then the patient would probably say, “Aren’t you going to take an X-ray, stupid?” and you’d say, “Aw fuck you, get outta here,” and then he probably wouldn’t even pay his bill.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. “Oh, no,” I said. “Disneyland burned down.” He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite. Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone. “Hear that?” you say. “That’s dynamite, baby.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for “better treatment”? I’d ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you’d probably be able to get a lot of free games.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I’d like to be buried Indian-style, where they put you up on a high rack, above the ground. That way, you could get hit by meteorites and not even feel it.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I’d carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like “Hey, look. He’s carrying a soldering iron!” and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, “That’s right, it’s a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice.” Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I bet when the neanderthal kids would make a snowman, someone would always end up saying, “Don’t forget the thick, heavy brows.” Then they would all get embarrassed because they remembered they had the big hunky brows too, and they’d get mad and eat the snowman.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Fear can sometimes be a useful emotion. For instance, let’s say you’re an astronaut on the moon and you fear that your partner has been turned into Dracula. The next time he goes out for the moon pieces, wham!, you just slam the door behind him and blast off. He might call you on the radio and say he’s not Dracula, but you just say, “Think again, bat man.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Too bad you can’t buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The people in the village were real poor, so none of the children had any toys. But this one little boy had gotten an old enema bag and filled it with rocks, and he would go around and whap the other children across the face with it. Man, I think my heart almost broke. Later the boy came up and offered to give me the toy. This was too much! I reached out my hand, but then he ran away. I chased him down and took the enema bag. He cried a little, but that’s the way of these people.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don’t just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I guess we were all guilty, in a way. We all shot him, we all skinned him, and we all got a complimentary bumper sticker that said, “I helped skin Bob.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don’t want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, “What was THAT?!”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I’d rather be rich than stupid.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you were a poor Indian with no weapons, and a bunch of conquistadors came up to you and asked where the gold was, I don’t think it would be a good idea to say, “I swallowed it. So sue me.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I’m a coward.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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What is it that makes a complete stranger dive into an icy river to save a solid gold baby? Maybe we’ll never know.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can’t scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think someone should have had the decency to tell me the luncheon was free. To make someone run out with potato salad in his hand, pretending he’s throwing up, is not what I call hospitality.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kind of scary. I’ve wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable - until I realized it wasn’t a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Most people don’t realize that large pieces of coral, which have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common wood screws, can make a child look like a deer.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you’re coming home his face might burn up.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I’ll go over to the persons house and ring the doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I’m gone, but you know what I’ve left on the porch? A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of its head with a note that says “You.” After that I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re a horse, and someone gets on you, and falls off, and then gets right back on you, I think you should buck him off right away.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. You see, we build to that.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you’ll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I’d like to see a nude opera, because when they hit those high notes, I bet you can really see it in those genitals.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someones neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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He was a cowboy, mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much he made a woman out of dirt and married her. But when he kissed her, she disintegrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said, “Dust to dust,” some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, “I’ll be waiting for you in heaven–with a gun.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we’d all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I’m not sure where we’d go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called “Dad.” We’d eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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As we were driving, we saw a sign that said “Watch for Rocks.” Marta said it should read “Watch for Pretty Rocks.” I told her she should write in her suggestion to the highway department, but she started saying it was a joke - just to get out of writing a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong, though. It’s Hambone.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Laurie got offended that I used the word “puke.” But to me, that’s what her dinner tasted like.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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We used to laugh at Grandpa when he’d head off and go fishing. But we wouldn’t be laughing that evening when he’d come back with some whore he picked up in town.

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I wish a robot would get elected president. That way, when he came to town, we could all take a shot at him and not feel too bad.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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As the evening sky faded from a salmon color to a sort of flint gray, I thought back to the salmon I caught that morning, and how gray he was, and how I named him Flint.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it’s real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what is I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn’t seem quite so funny.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn’t open, and you friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we’d all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmm, boy.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Whether they find life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate revolver. and since he is so busy, you’d probably have to run up to him real quick and give it to him.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Just because swans mate for life, I don’t think its that big a deal. First of all, if you’re a swan, you’re probably not going to find a swan that looks much better than the one you’ve got, so why not mate for life?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re robbing a bank and your pants fall down, I think it’s okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid looking in a mirror, because I bet that will really throw you into a panic.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes I think I’d be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I can’t stand cheap people. It makes me real mad when someone says something like, “Hey, when are you going to pay me that $100 you owe me?” or “Do you have that $50 you borrowed?” Man, quit being so cheap!

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think the mistake a lot of us make is thinking the state-appointed shrink is our friend.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think one way the cops could make money would be to hold a murder weapons sale. Many people could really use used ice picks.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet you could shoot beer out of you nose.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Even though I was their captive, the Indians allowed me quite a bit of freedom. I could walk freely, make my own meals, and even hurl large rocks at their heads. It was only later that I discovered that they were not Indians at all but only dirty-clothes hampers.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I’d like to have one of those little beds with my name on it.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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It’s true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don’t tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, and Angel gets set on fire.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it’ll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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The next time I have meat and mashed potatoes, I think I’ll put a very large blob of potatoes on my plate with just a little piece of meat. And if someone asks me why I didn’t get more meat, I’ll just say, “Oh, you mean this?” and pull out a big piece of meat from inside the blob of potatoes, where I’ve hidden it. Good magic trick, huh?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Life, to me, is like a quiet forest pool, one that needs a direct hit from a big rock half-buried in the ground. You pull and you pull, but you can’t get the rock out of the ground. So you give it a good kick, but you lose your balance and go skidding down the hill toward the pool. Then out comes a big Hawaiian man who was screwing his wife beside the pool because they thought it was real pretty. He tells you to get out of there, but you start faking it, like you’re talking Hawaiian, and then he gets mad and chases you…

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Sometimes, when I drive across the desert in the middle of the night, with no other cars around, I start imagining: What if there were no civilization out there? No cities, no factories, no people? And then I think: No people or factories? Then who made this car? And this highway? And I get so confused I have to stick my head out the window into the driving rain—unless there’s lightning, because I could get struck on the head by a bolt.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I think a good product would be “Baby Duck Hat”. It’s a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wish I lived back in the old west days, because I’d save up my money for about twenty years so I could buy a solid-gold pick. Then I’d go out West and start digging for gold. When someone came up and asked what I was doing, I’d say, “Looking for gold, ya durn fool.” He’d say, “Your pick is gold,” and I’d say, “Well, that was easy.” Good joke, huh.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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A funny thing to do is, if you’re out hiking and your friend gets bitten by a poisonous snake, tell him you’re going to go for help, then go about ten feet and pretend that you got bit by a snake. Then start an argument with him about who’s going to go get help. A lot of guys will start crying. That’s why it makes you feel good when you tell them it was just a joke.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn’t. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Many people think that history is a dull subject. Dull? Is it “dull” that Jesse James once got bitten on the forehead by an ant, and at first it didn’t seem like anything, but then the bite got worse and worse, so he went to a doctor in town, and the secretary told him to wait, so he sat down and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and then finally he got to see the doctor, and the doctor put some salve on it? You call that dull?

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I scrambled to the top of the precipice where Nick was waiting. “That was fun,” I said. “You bet it was,” said Nick. “Let’s climb higher.” “No,” I said. “I think we should be heading back now.” “We have time,” Nick insisted. I said we didn’t, and Nick said we did. We argued back and forth like that for about 20 minutes, then finally decided to head back. I didn’t say it was an interesting story.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If you’re at Thanksgiving dinner, but you don’t like the stuffing or the cranberry sauce or anything else, just pretend like you’re eating it, but instead, put it all in your lap and form it into a big mushy ball. Then, later, when you’re out back having cigars with the boys, let out a big fake cough and throw the ball to the ground. Then say, “Boy, these are good cigars!”

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said. “I’m off the team, aren’t I?” “Well,” said Coach, “you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you’re wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times.” It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that’s when I felt the handcuffs go on.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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If I ever opened a trampoline store, I don’t think I’d call it Trampo-Land, because you might think it was a store for tramps, which is not the impression we are trying to convey with our store. On the other hand, we would not prohibit tramps from browsing, or testing the trampolines, unless a tramp’s gyrations seemed to be getting out of control.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I can still recall old Mister Barnslow getting out every morning and nailing a fresh load of tadpoles to the old board of his. Then he’d spin it round and round, like a wheel of fortune, and no matter where it stopped he’d yell out, “Tadpoles! Tadpoles is a winner!” We all thought he was crazy. But then we had some growing up to do.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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Once when I was in Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, I met a mysterious old stranger. He said he was about to die and wanted to tell someone about the treasure. I said, “Okay, as long as it’s not a long story. Some of us have a plane to catch, you know.” He stared telling his story, about the treasure and his life and all, and I thought: “This story isn’t too long.” But then, he kept going, and I started thinking, “Uh-oh, this story is getting long.” But then the story was over, and I said to myself: “You know, that story wasn’t too long after all.” I forget what the story was about, but there was a good movie on the plane. It was a little long, though.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I bet a fun thing would be to go way back in time to where there was going to be an eclipse and tell the cave men, “If I have come to destroy you, may the sun be blotted out from the sky.” Just then the eclipse would start, and they’d probably try to kill you or something, but then you could explain about the rotation of the moon and all, and everyone would get a good laugh.

– Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”

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I wouldn’t be surprised if someday some fishermen caught a big shark and cut it open, and there inside was a whole person. Then they cut the person open, and in him is a little baby shark. And in the baby shark there isn’t a person, because it would be too small. But there’s a little doll or something, like a Johnny Combat little toy guy—something like that.

Oglaf

March 08, 2022 — ~randymon

The more you say ‘epic’ the less it means

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The individual can be divided. But it’s not pretty.

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Many parts of my body are still virgins.

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People who choose not to stay at home and masturbate constantly - what’s with them?

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Is there a difference between ‘dick jokes’ and ‘jokes featuring dicks?’

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Balancing hope for a better world against the desire to fuck everything.

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The internet - like a training camp for never amounting to anything.

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Sperm count down but sperm size up. I think they’ve been eating each other.

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I feel part responsible for the mess you made in my pants.

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Sooner or later we’re going to have to stop calling them ‘novels.’

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Anything more than 500 years old - probably evil.

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Highball glasses - why are they called that?

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More griping from the disenchanted forest.

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When a song mentions ‘arms’ I like to shout ‘vagina.’

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The penis: if it’s not evil, why did they get H.R. Giger to design it?

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You’d be surprised how many penises there are in ‘lost property.’

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Making man-pesto with the meat pestle

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I’ve stooped so low I can’t reach your tits.

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Tasteful, moody portraits of cocks with googly eyes.

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All models are over 18. Or over 21 where required by law.

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Some day, this very moment might feature in a flashback.

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‘Hot’ as a synonym for ‘sexy’ is less common from people who’ve been on fire.

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Technically, you never stop touching yourself.

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Compare pornography now to 50 years ago, then extrapolate 50 years into the future. … that shit’s nasty.

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Careful where you point that.

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Show us your pink bits. Not that I’m racist.

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Not from round here, depending on how big ‘round’ is.

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You’ve got that look in your eye. But then I’d hardly expect to see it in your mouth.

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DIY for those without tools.

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Don’t punish me for loving you. That’s the court’s job.

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I think ‘erotica’ just means ‘porn that works for me.’

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Think of it as juicing an ugly fruit.

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“Don’t forget the message.” … uh, no, wait. That wasn’t the message.

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To all the girls I’ve loved before, and the boys I loved after.

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Looking for a God that won’t discriminate by creed.

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Am I too anal about sex?

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No way will I give peace a chance. Not after how it left the place last time.

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I was an angry loner before it was popular.

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I’m not saying you read too many webcomics. Just that it’s possible to.

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Some days, your cock just seems to stare at you.

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Recumbent yet erect.

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Educational in ways you can’t use. Just like trigonometry.

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Love conquers anything. Up to a point.

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Presumably Spiderman’s semen is very sticky indeed.

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Celebrating those happy moments when the penis is an internal organ.

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The mustard burns a bit, but it accentuates my resemblance to ham.

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Cumsprite!

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It’s not really escapism, is it? It’s like day leave at best.

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Whatever you look at while you masturbate is porn. The bedroom ceiling, for instance.

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Don’t fear God’s love. He hasn’t gotten anyone pregnant in 2000 years.

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I’ve still got plenty of ribs, God. Make more women!

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Ships get called ‘she.’ But I bet torpedoes don’t.

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I have a secret. A dark, furry secret with big teeth. Less a secret, really - more a bear.

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I don’t mean to disrespect the dead, but if alive, that guy’s a cunt.

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Heinrich Harrer

March 07, 2022 — ~randymon

Having had no luck with the hook, we stripped and waded into the clear mountain brooks and tried to catch the fish in our hands. But they seemed to have better things to do than to end up in our cooking pot.

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Tibet has not yet been infested by the worst disease of modern life, the everlasting rush. No one overworks here. Officials have an easy life. They turn up at the office late in the morning and leave for their homes early in the afternoon. If an official has guests or any other reason for not coming, he just sends a servant to a colleague and asks him to officiate for him.

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The soft of fatalistic resignation with which they lent themselves to this backbreaking toil always used to infuriate me. As a product of our modern age, I could not understand why the people of Tibet were so rigidly opposed to any form of progress. There obviously must be some better means of transporting these heavy burdens than by manhandling them. The Chinese invented and used the wheel thousands of years ago. But the Tibetans will have none of it, though its use would give an immense impusle to transport and commerce, and would raise the whole standard of living throughout the country.

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An indescribable scene awaited us. There squatted hundreds, nay thousands, of monks wearing their read cowls and busy doing something for which privacy is generally regarded as essential. I did not envy Aufschnaiter his place of work.

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Still, we comforted ourselves with the thought that our life was very tolerable and that we had many reasons for satisfaction. We had a good roof over our heads and were no longer struggling to exist. We did not miss the appliances of Western civilization. Europe with its life of turmoil seemed far away. Often as we sat and listened to the radio brining reports from ou country we shook our heads at the depressing news. There seemed no inducement to go home.

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The daily life of Tibetans is ordered by religious belief. Pious texts are onstantly on their lips; prayer wheels turn without ceasing; prayer flags wave on the roofs of houses and the summits of the mountain passes; the rain, the wind, all the phenomena of nautre, the lonely peaks of the sno-clad mountains, bear witness to the universal presence of the gods whose anger is manifested by the ailstorm, and whose benevolence is displayed by the fruitfulness of the land. The life of the people is regulated by the divine will, whose interpreters the lamas are.

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I listened to the news the first thing every day and often found myself shaking my head and wondering at the things that men seemed to think important. Here it is the yak’s pace that dictates the tempo of life, and so it has been for thousands of years. Would Tibet be happier for being transformed? … by accelerating the tempo of existence it might rob the people of their peace and leisure.

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Christianity and Buddhism have much in common. They are both founded on the belief in happiness in another world, and both preach humility in this life. But there is a difference as things are today. In Tibet one is not hunted from morning till night by the calls of “civilization.” Here one has time to occupy oneself with religion and to call one’s soul one’s own. Here it is religion that occupies most of the life of the individual, as it did in the West during the Middle Ages.

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1997

March 07, 2022 — ~randymon

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Watching bulbous, sodden clouds, those dark sailors of the heavy sky, brush the snowy, veined mountain-tops and shroud the grey landscape below in dancing shadows and veils of wetness. – journal, 1993

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It would have been more prudent to leave the day before. Yes, well it would have been prudent to stay at home. You have to let things go their own way, or why be here at all. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels

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All the way I was saying goodbye. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

Extreme situations always seem absurd until they happen. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

Does it rain because you carry your umbrella, or because you don’t? It’s a personal matter depending on how you remember it. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

There had been no awkwardness, no break even in the mood. The episode had seemed quite natural. It went one way, could as easily have gone another. I sat up with my back against a pillar and smoked another cigarette, lost in the mystery of it. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

Thoreau: “We are in a great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” If Thoreau were alive today he would find full confirmation of his fears. Instant information is instantly obsolete. Only the most banal ideas can successfully cross great distances at the speed of light. And anything that travels very far very fast is scarcely worth transporting, especially the tourist. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

I am learning, as I make my way through my first continent, that it is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

For me this is a landscape and a time to bank up courage in a craven heart, to carry a greater fund of joy into the next cloud of sorrow, to learn even to love the sorrow for the pleasure it divides, like the black notes of a keyboard, or hunger between meals. Perhaps even to discover that pain and pleasure, since they cannot exist without each other, are really the same thing. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

Like all strong prejudices they not only prepared me for the worst. They paved the way. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

… I felt myself to be the most privileged person on the earth to be able to pass through where others saw only normality, and to think myself in paradise. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

… thier happiness had an unusual clarity and depth, like a clear pool, that invited others to jump in and share. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

[the monkeys] seemed so close to enlightenment, as though at any moment they might stumble over it and explode into consciousness. They experiment with any familiar object … just as a human baby does … And nothing comes of it. To be so close, yet never pierce the veil! I looked at myself in the same light, as a monkey given my life to play with, prodding it, trying to stretch it into different shapes, dropping it and picking it up again, suspecting always that it must have some use and meaning, tantalized and frustrated by it but unable to make sense of it. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

The vital instrument of change is detachment and travelling alone was an immense advantage. At a time of change the two aspects of a person exist simultaneously; and with a caterpillar turning into a butterfly there is the image of what you were and the image of what you are about to be, but those who know you well see you only as you were. They are unwilling to recognize change. By their actions they will try to draw you back into your familiar ways. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

The truth obviously does not reveal itself unaided to humans. It has to be uncovered by an effort of consciousness. Or more likely, it exists only in human consciousness. Without man around to recognize it there is no truth, no God. – Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels %

I smiled to myself at the sight of this money, ‘O drug’ said I aloud, ‘what art thou good for? Thou are not worth to me to me, no, not the taking off of the ground; one of those knives is worth all this heap; I have no manner of use for thee, e’en remain where thou art, and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth saving.’ However, upon second thoughts, I took it away … – Robinson Crusoe

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There is an intense but simple thrill in setting off in the morning on a mountain trail knowing that everything you need is on your back. It is a confidence in having left all inessentials behind and of entering a world of natural beauty which has not been violated, where money has no value, and possessions are a deadweight. The person with the fewest possessions is the freest: Thoreau was right. – Paul Theroux

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From what I have said of the natives of New Holland they may appear to be some of the most wretched people on earth. But in reality they are far happier than we Europeans, being wholly unacquainted not only with the necessary Conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in Tranquility. The Earth and the Sea of their own accord furnish them with all things necessary in life. – Captain Cook

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And it is a profound consolation, perhaps the only one, to this haunted animal that wastes most of a long and ghostly life wandering the future and the past on its hind legs, looking for meanings, only to see in the eyes of others of its kind that it must die.

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Whatever this man is - wanderer or evil monk, or saint or sorcerer - he seems touched by what Tibetans call the “crazy wisdom”: he is free. – Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard %

All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow: acquisistions end in dispersion, buildings end in destruction; meetings, in separation; births, in death. Knowing this, one should from the very first renounce acquisition and heaping-up, and building and meeting, and … set about realizing the Truth … Life is short, and the time of death is uncertain; so apply yourselves to meditation … “ – Milarepa

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You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself flows in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars …

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When you are ready, the teacher will appear. – Buddhism (from Peter Matthiessen)

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… Followers of trails and of seasons, breakers of camp in the little dawn wind, seekers of watercourses over the wrinkled rind of the world, o seekers, o finders of reasons to be up and gone …” – Saint John Perse

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It was at that moment that I realized that while it is possible to love two people at the same time, in different ways, in the heart, it is not possible to do so in the world. – David Leavitt

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Playfully, absently, without even giving thought to repercussions, she spoke right back to him. A conversation above the spoken words, beyond their meanings. Some folk call it chemistry, some call it lust; some call it honesty.” – Randall Kenan

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My Sorrow, when she’s here with me, Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the bare, the withered tree; She walks the sodden pasture lane …

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There’s two ways of living here now. There’s the old way, look out for your family, die where you was born, fish, cut your wood, keep a garden, make do with what you got. Then there’s the new way - Work out, have a job, somebody tell you what to do, commute, your brother’s in South Africa, your mother’s in Regina, buy every goddamn cockadoodle piece of Japanese crap you can. Leave home. Go off to look for work. And some has a hard time of it. – Annie Proulx, the Shipping News

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Hard for Bunny, who still measured events on a child’s scale of fair and unfair.
– Annie Proulx, the Shipping News

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How hard it must be to have to appear tougher than you are, and to go round the stray corners of the world with people whose hearts are shallow as far as you are concerned; and to have nothing you wish to be or do that you will risk your life for the reaching of; and to have a face that is pretty only for a time.

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How lucky is a stream, I thought as I lay idly, that has no need to repeat its rounds over the same ground like most of us, looking for something it never finds, but knows its way, and eats through the hills that impede it.

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A very small boy came to drive away the black cows grazing at a distance. Air and water and the busy grass fell silent. In the thickening velvet of the night the moon was soon climbing her steep invisible stair.

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Time and change … [are] visible anywhere and could be seen every morning as one walks to one’s office, since time and space are fluid along Thames as along Euphrates, and everything one looks at is transition. But such basic facts are what the human race, as soon as it has any initiatve at all, pathetically smothers out of sight.

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Ever since the tower of Babel was built in the first adventure against space, people have been aware at intervals of the supremacy of Man. It remains perhaps to be proved, but meanwhile the landscape of our age advertises it, regretfully but with success, pushing the more permanent background out of sight. The mountains are there, but the factories take the foreground, and the seaside villa intrudes before the sea; and it is only in untamed corners that one can forget - or possibly remember - to whom the world belongs. The ‘underdeveloped countries’ (the arrogance of this term was almost incredible) - those poor underdeveloped countries may console themselves with the reflection that no great religion was ever born in a landscape whose foregrounds are completely occupied by men.

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The best thing about him was his wife and the best thing about his wife was a girlfriend named Dezi Duz who did whenever she could and had a Wac uniform that Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife put on every weekend and took off every weekend for every cadet in her husband’s squadron who wanted to creep into her.

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… then drew back the coverlet and stretched herself out luxuriously with an expression of feline expectation. She beckoned to him longingly, with a husky laugh. – Joseph Heller, Catch 22 %

Her own body was such a familiar and unremarkable thing to her that she was puzzled by the convulsive ecstasy men could take from it, by the intense and amusing need they had merely to touch it, to reach out urgently and press it, squeeze it, pinch it, rub it. She did not understand Yossarian’s lust; but she was willing to take his word for it. – Joseph Heller, Catch 22 %

… beckoned him into bed beside her with that look of simpering idiocy of a woman in heat. – Joseph Heller, Catch 22 %

Nately had gone clear out of his mind. He wanted them all to fall in love right away and get married … Nately saw it all very clearly. Love had transmogrified him into a romantic idiot. – Joseph Heller, Catch 22 %

It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. – Joseph Heller, Catch 22 %

… And with his ear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind went whispering so constantly among them. – The Wind in the Willows %

Conversation was impossible for a long time; and when it was slowly resumed, it was that regrettable sort of conversation that results from talking with your mouth full. – The Wind in the Willows %

But it was good to think he had this place to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again, and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome. – The Wind in the Willows %

To his horror he recollected that he had left both coat and waistcoat behind him in his cell, and with them his pocket-book, money, keys, watch, matches, pencil-case - all that makes life worth living, all that distinguished the many-pocketed from the no-pocketed productions that hop or trip about permissively, unequipped for the real contest. – The Wind in the Willows %

It is all very well, when you have a light heart, and a clear conscience, and money in your pocket, and nobody scouring the country for you to drag you off to prison again, to follow where the road beckons and points, not caring wither. – The Wind in the Willows %

The Mole was a good listener, and Toad, with no one to check his statements or to criticize in an unfriendly spirit, rather let himself go. Indeed, much that he related belonged more properly to the category of hwat-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures: and why should they not be truly ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off? – The Wind in the Willows %

I remember the old doctor, ‘It would be interesting to watch the mental changes of individuals on the spot.’ I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting. – Joseph Conrad

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Perhaps I had a little fever, too. One can’t live with one’s finger everlastingly on one’s pulse. I had often ‘a little fever,’ or a little touch of other things - the playful paw-strokes of the wilderness, the preliminary trifling before the more serious onslaught which came in due course. – Joseph Conrad %

There was no sign on the face of nature of this amazing tale that was not so much told as suggested to me in desolate exclamations, completed by shrugs, in interrupted phrases, in hints ending in deep sighs. – Joseph Conrad %

It was enough, when you thought it over, to give you the idea of an immense, potent, and invisible hand thrust into the ant-heap of the earth, laying hold of shoulders, knocking heads together, and setting the unconscious faces of the multitude towards inconceivable goals and in undreamt-of directions. – Joseph Conrad %

The seamen were glad to get back into the alleyway. Secretly each of them thought at the last moment he could rush out on deck - and that was a comfort. There is something horribly repugnant in the idea of being drowned under a deck. – Joseph Conrad %

There was an aneroid glass screwed above the couch. He turned that way, struck another match, and discovered the white face of the other instrument looking at him from the bulkhead, meaningly, not to be gain-said, as though the wisdom of men were made unerring by the indifference of matter. – Joseph Conrad %

He [put the box of matches back] now, but before he removed his hand it occurred to him that perhaps he would never have occasion to use that box anymore. The vividness of the thought checked him and for an infinitesimal fraction of a second his fingers closed again on the small object as though it had been the symbol of all these little habits that chain us to the weary round of life. He released it at last, and letting himself fall on the settee, listened for the first sounds of returning wind. – Joseph Conrad %

Environmentalists, naturalists, and conservationists are often asked to defend their concerns for the well-being of other species of living things besides man. The question is, ‘what good are they?’ meaning, of course, what good are they to man, because if one asked what good they were to the planet, one could just as legitimately ask the same question about mankind. – the View from Great Gull

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We are frightened by the power of nature, discomfited by the weather, confused by the unpredictable in our environment; we want to live more comfortably, to enjoy life more and enjoy it longer, to travel faster and more safely. So we invent and construct things that have the effect of putting bulwarks and distances between ourselves and the earth. This gives us a feeling of safety, of mastery over nature, and that feeling tends to separate us spiritually and psychologically from our roots.

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Now fewer and fewer men, using bigger and bigger machines and increasing amounts of chemicals, supply food for more and more people; another force thrusting man away from the reality of the planet - particularly in those nations that have the greatest impact on the planet.

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‘Free as a bird’ is an expression in which a bird might find ironical amusement, especially as coming from man, the only animal who has, in his individual life, succeeded in achieving some measure of independence from the discipline of nature. – Louis J Halle, Jr.

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The cultural upcurve in society hasn’t kept pace with the technological upcurve … our spiritual relation to the planet is not yet scarcely so so sophisticated as our mechanical relation.

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… nibble at the edges of the unknown …

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There has been in recent years excessive emphasis on a citizen’s rights, and inadequate stress upon his duties and responsibilities. – Paxton Blair

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Animals, because they lack opposable thumbs, carry things in their mouths. Animals release their possessions because it’s too difficult to carry them, and so there isn’t any temptation to accumulate. Being able to grasp leads inevitably and naturally to being able to hold and then to being able to keep. And so humans like me fill our holes with what attracts us, and animals continue to be, as they have been for generations, unfettered.

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Egypt

February 19, 2022 — ~randymon

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But then, wars are won not because one party is the more resourceful, but because the other is a touch more incompetent.

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Vili was unmoved. “There’s only one thing she understands, and all the men in this room know what it is.”

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In the maid Latifa’s room, which was Flora’s now, she had taken off her ring again and her earrings and, depositing her glass of cognac on a makeshift bedstand, had said, “Now you can kiss me.” But she kissed him first. “It means nothing,” she added as she looked away and lit the kerosene lamp, bringing down the wick till it glowed less than her cigarette. “As long as we’re clear that it means nothing,” she said almost enjoying the cruelty with which she foisted despair on everyone.

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“During the days of the war, in the days of Alamein, we all stayed in your great-grandmother’s house. You have no idea how crowded it was. Well, one day, in walks this dark-haired, beautiful, but painfully beautiful woman who plays the piano every evening, who smokes all the time, who looks a trifle worn but sexier for it, and who flirts with all of us, though you’d swear she didn’t know it. In short, we were all madly in love with her. Madly.”

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“So she couldn’t see then,” he said. “She couldn’t see,” he repeated, as though trying to scan in the words and the syllables themselves some secret meaning, some revealed purpose behind the cruelty of fate and the vulnerability of old age. “So she couldn’t see,” he said like someone gripped by a sorrow so powerful that all he can do is repeat the words until they finally bring tears to his eyes.

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Five minutes later, the two mazmazelles could be seen hobbling down the street toward the Camp de Cesar station, one with an unusually wide-rimmed hat, the other carrying a folded fan in one hand, her handbag and a white glove in the other, chattering away in the language that had brought them together and which, despite their repeated reminders to themselves and everyone else in the world that they had absolutely nothing else in common, despite their rivalry, their barbs, their petty distrust of one another, would always rescue a friendship that remained close until the very, very end.

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Since she was always scattered and vague in her speech, once the mood for complaining had set in, she would digress from one woe to another, weaving a never-ending yarn filled with subplots in which the principal villains were her ailments, heartaches, and humiliations, with herself cast in the role of the hapless victim fending off adversities as best she could, a medieval martyr tied to a post surrounded by advancing dragons …

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“She’s been the perfect wife for you: your cook, your maid, your nurse, your seamstress, your barber, your mother even. How many times has she saved you from certain ruin? She’s the most intelligent woman on Rue Memphis.” “I know. God gave her the biggest brain in the world. But he gave her nothing else. In her company even an iceberg would catch cold.”

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When he returned late that night, my father wrote in his diary that he had finally met her. He did not portray her as the woman of his dreams, nor as the most beautiful, nor did he describe any of her features. Superstitious as ever, he even avoided mentioning her name. She was simply and so clearly her that the need to capture her on paper or to probe the more elusive aspects of her personality proved too elaborate a task for the man who had merely written: I want to think of her. He did not write what he felt upon first setting eyes on her or what he thought of each time he caught his mind drifting toward her. He merely described her gray skirt and maroon cardigan and the way she crossed her legs when she sat behind her mother, the skin of her knee pressed against the edge of the card table as she kept her eyes glued to her mother’s cards. At one point she had smiled when she caught him looking at her, a kind, indulgent smile filled with languor and mild apology.

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“It’s such a wonderful evening,” she said. She was wearing a sleeveless white cotton dress, a thin necklace, and white shoes, her ruddy tanned skin glistening in the evening light. With a touch of makeup on, and her wet hair combed back, she looked older and more spirited than the shy neighbor’s daughter who all during her visit earlier that evening had kept her schoolgirl eyes riveted to her pleated skirt and her mother’s cards. There was even a suggestion of self-conscious elegance in the way she carried herself, holding her champagne glass with both hands, her elbows almost resting on her hips. Yet the absence of stockings and a handbag and the white outline of what must have been a missing man’s watch on her tanned wrist betrayed a hastily dressed or vaguely underdressed quality, as if after spending all day at the beach, with barely a few minutes to make it to the ball, she had put on the first thing that came her way without drying her hair or feet. Her toes were probably still lined with sand. Somewhere, he thought, watching the dimmed evening lights play off the liquid sheen of her white gabardine dress, was a wet bathing suit, hurriedly taken off and left crumpled on a wooden bench in a friend’s cabin.

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“The important thing is to eat well,” added the Princess. “But I’ve lost all my appetite. I eat so little.” “Then why do you keep putting on so much weight?” her husband interrupted. “Nerves, that’s why. You’ve been in this room two minutes and already I feel the pain starting.”

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After finishing the wash, Om Ramadan would sit in the kitchen and smoke a cigarette with Abdou. Then, with more tea in her system, she would return to the bathroom, load a large wicker basket with wet clothing, and carry the load on her head up the five flights of circular servants' stairs that led to the roof, taking slow, deliberate steps, stopping to catch her breath on the landing above ours, where another neighbor’s servant would hand her a glass of water. Then she would resume her climb, I alongside her, and the closer we got to the top, the brighter the stairwell grew, with more and more light shining against the walls of the sixth, seventh, and finally the eighth floor, where a sudden, blinding spell of heat and sunlight dazzled our senses. Not a sound on the terrace. Only the faraway whir of distant traffic below. Everything I touched was burning hot, and as I roamed about the empty terrace and looked over the tops of all the other buildings of Smouha, there it was, immense as always, that color blue lining the limitless horizon, quiet, serene, and forever beckoning: the sea. A gridwork of clotheslines awaited us. The sagging gray cords were frayed with use and, all along them, abandoned clusters of unused pins sat like little sparrows idling on electric wires.

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“No, the other wanted to die,” added Dr. Alcabes, our relative and family homeopath. “I told him we could save him,” he added as we were sitting at the third and last luncheon of the centennial. “But when he heard what the cure involved, he wanted no part of it. ‘Cover me that I may die,’ he said, quoting a Turkish proverb. So I told him, ‘Albert, this can lead to only one thing!’ Do you know what he said? ‘Well, that’s got to be better than letting you open me up, scrape me clean of my favorite organs, and leave me as hollow as a bell pepper. No thanks.’ ”

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“I don’t know what to make of it yet,” answered my uncle. Perhaps he was being evasive or, as he would say, diplomatic: say less than you think and mean more than you know.

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Madame Marie, a devout Greek Orthodox from Smyrna, stood up and sat down, dipped her foods in all the requisite dishes and sauces, ate everything she saw us eat, and repeated “Amen” after everyone else, though with the guarded look of a missionary forced to down a tribal brew. Her biggest fear in working for a Jewish family was to be inadvertently converted to Judaism.

Computer Quotes

February 19, 2022 — ~randymon
  1. Some things Man was never meant to know. For everything else, there’s Google. %
  2. Failure is not an option – it comes bundled with Windows. %
  3. Computer games don’t affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music. %
  4. COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods. %
  5. Artificial Intelligence usually beats natural stupidity. %
  6. To err is human… to really foul up requires the root password. %
  7. Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver error. %
  8. If at first you don’t succeed; call it version 1.0 %
  9. If Python is executable pseudocode, then perl is executable line noise. %
  10. Programmers are tools for converting caffeine into code. %
  11. Why do we want intelligent terminals when there are so many stupid users? %
  12. I can’t uninstall it, there seems to be some kind of ‘Uninstall Shield’. %
  13. See daddy ? All the keys are in alphabetical order now. %
  14. Hey! It compiles! Ship it! %
  15. SUPERCOMPUTER: what it sounded like before you bought it. %
  16. Yo moma is like HTML: Tiny head, huge body. %
  17. Windows Vista: It’s like upgrading from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush. %
  18. The more I C, the less I see. %
  19. Life would be so much easier if we only had the source code. %
  20. My software never has bugs. It just develops random features. %
  21. The only problem with troubleshooting is that sometimes trouble shoots back. %
  22. Crap… Someone knocked over my recycle bin… There’s icons all over my desktop… %
  23. Relax, its only ONES and ZEROS ! %
  24. rm -rf /bin/laden %
  25. I don’t care if you ARE getting a PhD in it ! Get away from that damn computer and go find a woman ! %
  26. The great thing about Object Oriented code is that it can make small, simple problems look like large, complex ones. %
  27. If brute force doesn’t solve your problems, then you aren’t using enough. %
  28. Programming is like sex, one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.” %
  29. Unix is user-friendly. It’s just very selective about who its friends are. %
  30. Microsoft: You’ve got questions. We’ve got dancing paperclips. %
  31. I’m not anti-social; I’m just not user friendly %
  32. The world is coming to an end… SAVE YOUR BUFFERS ! %
  33. If you don’t want to be replaced by a computer, don’t act like one. %
  34. Better to be a geek than an idiot. %
  35. I went to a gentleman’s cybercafe — and they offered me a ‘laptop dance’. %
  36. After Perl everything else is just assembly language. %
  37. The Internet: where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents. %
  38. There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t. %
  39. Difference between a virus and windows ? Viruses rarely fail. %
  40. Hacking is like sex. You get in, you get out, and hope that you didn’t leave something that can be traced back to you. %
  41. 1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d %
  42. Helpdesk: There is an icon on your computer labeled My Computer. Double click on it. User: What’s your computer doing on mine? %
  43. “I think Microsoft named .Net so it wouldn’t show up in a Unix directory listing.” %
  44. “If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.” %
  45. Computer dating is fine, if you’re a computer. %
  46. “Any fool can use a computer. Many do.” %
  47. “Hardware: The parts of a computer system that can be kicked.” %
  48. Those who can’t write programs, write help files. %
  49. You know you’re a geek when… You try to shoo a fly away from the monitor with your cursor. That just happened to me. It was scary. %
  50. “Computer language design is just like a stroll in the park. Jurassic Park, that is.” % Just when you think your software is idiot proof, somebody comes up with a better idiot % Who is General Failure ? And why is he reading my disk ? % It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years. John von Neumann, circa 1960 % Keyboard not found…Press any key to continue. % General Failure is a superior of Major Malfunction, who is searching for Private Files. % windows, problems? reboot! linux, problems? be root! % Computers do precisely what you tell them, in so far as they are capable of doing it, but not necessarily what you intended. % The Internet? We are not interested in it. – Bill Gates, 1993 % Microsoft just bought out Hoover vacuum cleaners. When they’re through with working it over, they will finally have a project that doesn’t suck. % Every bit counts!!!!! % The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time - Murphy’s Law % Computers are like Air Conditioners, they stop working when you open Windows. % Are you sure you want to send ‘Internet’ to the Recycle Bin ? Yes No % Ubuntu is an ancient African word, meaning can’t configure Debian % Windows Vista: It’s like upgrading from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush. % The program was working fine until you used it. % 640k ought to be enough for everyone % Windows NT, actually means Windows Nice Try. % …back in 1982 Bill Gates came to see Hermann Hauser, We showed Bill Gates the Econet network and he said ‘What’s a network?’, so Acorn were definately on Microsoft’s radar, but luckily they didn’t know what a radar was either. % I’m not bisexual. I’m cross-platform. % On a clear disk you can seek forever. % There’s a worldwide market for 5 computers - IBM % God is REAL, unless explicitly declared INTEGER. % Software is like sex, it’s better when it’s free… %

Bill Bryson

February 19, 2022 — ~randymon

But then most things in Des Moines in the 1950s were the best of their type. We had the smoothest, most mouth-pleasing banana cream pie at the Toddle House and I’m told the same could be said of the cheesecake at Johnny and Kay’s … Well actually, who could say if they were the best of their kind? To know that, you’d have had to visit thousands of other towns and cities across the nation and tasted all their ice cream and chocolate pie and so on because every place was different then. That was the glory of living in a world that was still largely free of global chains. Every community was special and nowhere was like everywhere else. If our commercial enterprises in Des Moines weren’t the best, they were at least ours. At the very least, they all had things about them that made them interesting and different. (And they were the best).

--  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
         Bill Bryson (2006)

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It’s an inevitable consequence of greater efficiency and continuous amalgamation. Increasingly the old farms clump together into super-farms of three thousand acres or more. By the middle of the present century, it is thought, the number of farms in Iowa could drop to as low as ten thousand. … Without a critical mass of farmers, most small towns in Iowa have pretty well died. Drive anywhere in the state these days and what you see are empty towns, empty roads, collapsing barns, boarded farm-houses. Everywhere you go it looks as if you have just missed a terrible contagion, which in a sense I suppose you have. It’s the same story in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri, and even worse in Nebraska and the Dakotas. Wherever there were once small towns, there are now empty main streets.

--  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
         Bill Bryson (2006)

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The strippers' tent had the brightest lights and most pulsating music. From time to time the barker would bring out some of the girls, chastely robed, and parade them around a little open-air stage while suggesting – and looking each of us straight in the eye – that these girls could conceive of no greater satisfaction in life than to share their natural bounties with an audience of appreciative, red-blooded young men. They all seemed to be amazingly good-looking – but then I was running a temperature of over 113 degrees just from the thought of being on the same planet as young women of such miraculously obliging virtue, so I might have been a touch delirious.

--  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
         Bill Bryson (2006)

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By the closing years of the 1950s most people – certainly most middle-class people – had pretty much everything they had ever dreamed of, so increasingly there was nothing much to do with their wealth but buy more and bigger versions of things they didn’t truly require: second cars, lawn tractors, double-width fridges, hi-fis with bigger speakers and more knobs to twiddle, extra phones and televisions, room interocoms, gas grills, kitchen gadgets, snowblowers, you name it. Having more things of course also meant having more complexity in one’s life, more running costs, more things to look after, more things to clean, more things to break down. Women increasingly wnet out to work to help keep the whole enterprise afloat. Soon millions of people were caught in a spiral in which they worked harder and harder to buy labor-saving devices that they wouldn’t have needed if they hadn’t been working so hard in the first place.

--  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
         Bill Bryson (2006)

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By the 1960s, the average American was producing twice as much as only fifteen years before. In theory at least, people could now afford to work a four-hour day, or two-and-a-half-day week, or six-month year and still maintain a standard of living equivalent to that enjoyed by people in 1950 when life was already pretty good – and arguably, in terms of stress and distraction and sense of urgency, in many respects much better. Instead, and almost uniquely among developed nations, Americans took none of the productivity gains in additional leisure. We decided to work and buy and have instead.

--  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
         Bill Bryson (2006)

The 20th century

February 19, 2022 — ~randymon

Telling time 19th century: pocket watch 20th century: wrist watch 21st century: clock on your cellphone in your pocket

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Anonymity 19th century: due to transportation, small towns with no anonymity; everyone knows you and what you do 20th century: easy to be anonymous, commute, correspond remotely 21st century: Google, Facebook: no anonymity.

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Musician income. 19th century: Live performance. 20th century: Recordings. 21st century: Live performance due to the profit having been taken out of recordings, which in turn is due to near-zero cost.

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Political discussion. 19th century: Numerous overtly biased newspapers and town hall meetings.
20th century: Few television and newspaper conglomerates; newspapers supposedly “neutral point of view”, a Progressive Era invention, but in actuality rarely criticize government or large corporations.
21st century: Numerous overtly biased blogs, which provide for both publication and discussion

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U.S. political parties 19th centuryFederalist/Whig/Republican vs. Democratic-Republican. I.e. Hamilton vs. Jefferson. I.e. centralized power vs. local power. 20th century Republican vs. Democrat. The Democratic Party got seduced by utopian Communism at the turn of the century and dominated the first half of the century. The Republicans in the second half of the century sold themselves as the anti-Communists and pretended to be for local power when in practice they were for centralized power. I.e. the choice at the ballot box was between fascism and communism. 21st century Ascendency of Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and other libertarians, due to the naked power grab by the Bush administration (and continuance by the Obama administration) and the power of the Internet mentioned above.

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European Political Alignment 19th century Empires 20th century: Separate countries 21st century EU

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Wires 19th century No need 20th century: Electrical, stereo, cable TV, and Internet wires everywhere 21st century: Everything is wireless now except for electricity, and even that is going wireless now through inductive surfaces for low-power DC

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Money 19th century Gold standard 20th century Paper money not backed by gold 21st century Due to collapsing dollar, we will be back on the gold standard whether in a planned or an unplanned manner

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Transportation and Land Use Patterns 19th century Walking, streetcar, and carriage. Buildings multi-level and close together to keep walking distances shorter. 20th century: Automobile. Buildings far apart to allow for parking lots and because the automobile supposedly provided for the best of the city and country in suburbanism, which instead ended up being the worst of both. 21st century Walking and streetcar are making a comeback, and “New Urbanism” projects that accommodate all forms of transportation without giving precedence to the automobile.

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Education Ownership 19th century Private schools and private tutors 20th century Public schools 21st century: A million children are now homeschooled, and the numbers are growing.

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Reading Pedagogy 19th century Phonics 20th century Whole word 21st century: Phonics

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Catholic Mass 19th century Traditional Latin 20th century Novus Ordo 21st century: Traditional Latin

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Labor 19th century Self-employed or work for small business; corporations only just starting to be allowed 20th century: Immortal multi-state and multi-national corporations with limited liability but the Constitutional privileges of a person 21st century: Small businesses account for 60% of all new jobs

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Stage Theatres 19th century: Only type of theatre 20th century: Converted to cinemas 21st century: Converted back to stage theatres

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Energy 19th century: Burn coal or wood at home 20th century: Delivered over electrical wires 21st century: Solar at home

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