People named Tinkerbell name their daughters Susan.
There is always another way, and often a better one — this is a law of nature.
Plague (n): In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh the Immune. The plague as we of today have the happiness to know it is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness.
Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil.
Any person who has spent time outdoors actually doing something, such as hunting and fishing opposed to standing there with a doobie in his mouth, knows nature is not intrinsically healthy.
Ecology is the science of everything. Nobody knows everything. Nobody even knows everything about any one thing. And most of us don't know much. Say it's ten-thirty on a Saturday night. Where are your teenage children? I didn't ask where they said they were going. Where are they really? What are they doing? Who are they with? Have you met the other kids' families? And what is tonight's pot smoking, wine-cooler drinking, and sex in the backseats of cars going to mean in a hundred years? Now extend these questions to the entire solar system.
Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.
In the Navy, enlisted men with free time are only capable of doing one of two things: painting the grey deck grey — again — or planning the hideous murder and ritual cannibalism of the Commanding Officer.
You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.
Verbal agreements frequently lead to verbal disagreements.
Indecision is the key to flexibility.
Resolute (adj): Obstinate in a course that we approve.
Refusal (n): Denial of something desired. Refusals are graded in a descending scale of finality thus: the refusal absolute, the refusal conditional, the refusal tentative, and the refusal feminine. The last is called by some casuists the refusal assentive.
Interpreter (n): One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said.
Big Stick Theory: When you're dealing from a position of weakness, it's all right to hold your ground and refuse to be intimidated, but don't try to push your weight around especially when the guy you're trying to push carries a big stick.
Robert J. Ringer
Definition-Game Theory: The most prudent way of dealing with people is to assume that their way of defining things is: Good is what I do; bad is what you do. Right is what I do; wrong is what you do. Honest is what I do; dishonest is what you do. Fair is what I do; unfair is what you do. Moral is what I do; immoral is what you do. Ethical is what I do; unethical is what you do.Every word, act and situation is subjectively defined by each individual in such a way as to comfortably fit in with his own actions and/or circumstances.
Robert J. Ringer
Posture Theory: It's not what you say or do that counts, but what your posture is when you say or do it.
Robert J. Ringer
Bluff Theory: The secret to bluffing is not to bluff. Never lay down an ultimatum unless you're prepared to follow through on it.
Robert J. Ringer
Boy-Girl Theory: Negotiating is very much like the "dating game": Every person wants what he can't have and does not want what he can have. Plan your strategy accordingly.
Robert J. Ringer
When you say Yes, say it quickly. But always take a half hour to say No, so you can understand the other fellow's side.
Francis Cardinal Spellman
"Wave to move the meeting of the minutes of the last reading. Right, Dad?"
The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
In the 1960s the New Left, having pretended to free itself from the rigidities of the Old Left's Stalinist cult, put its conscience in the hands of despots such as Ho Chi Minh and Mao. Some New Leftists had kind words for Pol Pot and others warmed to the promise of Enver Hoxha. He was the monster who ruled Albania, a country of which most New Leftists had barely heard. But he was an implacable Stalinist long after Stalin's death, an uncompromising enemy of revisionism. Certain New Leftists loved him for that alone, and for a while the student paper at McGill University maintained a strict Hoxha line, to the stupefaction of its readers. Hoxha fans in those days got their world news by short-wave from Radio Tirana, which caused confusion when they mentioned it in the cafeteria; pronounced by an English speaker, Tirana sounds like a slurred pronunciation of a large Canadian city to the west of Montreal that good McGill students were even then learning to despise.
[Real New Yorkers] know that off-the-shelf insecticides are just laughing gas to the superior roaches cohabitating with you in your 500 square foot apartment.
New York in the 70s was utter hell, just a big hot craphole. You can smell bankruptcy and sociopathy like a hot wave off the asphalt [. . .] Everything looks like it's about to fall apart, and the people look like coke-fried morons who are cursed to live in a pre-Jerry Springer age, and thus must live their messy lives without the sanctification of the TV camera.
New York: A third-rate Babylon.
The trouble with New York is that it has no nationality at all. It is simply a sort of free port — a place where the raw materials of civilization are received, sorted out, and sent further on.
[New York:] this cramped horizontal gridiron or a town without towers, porticoes, fountains or perspectives, hidebound in its deadly uniformity of mean ugliness.
[New Zealand is] a country of 50 million sheep, three million of which think they're human.
The editor of a newspaper is like the ringmaster of a circus. He can book the acts, but he can't tell the acrobats which way to jump.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Another reason why newspapers are in trouble is that the public perceives journalists as being more liberal than the average American. This view is based on a survey showing that in the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, 86 percent of newspaper journalists — a much higher percentage than the general population — voted for Stalin.
. . .perusing the morning papers, not usually considered an aerobic activity (well, except for a reading of the Toronto Star, which tends to mimic the effect of exercise upon some cardiovascular systems).
Style will frequently be fantastic, incorrect, over-burdened, and loose, almost always vehement and bold. Authors will aim at rapidity of execution more than at perfection of detail. Small productions will be more common than bulky books; there will be more wit than erudition, more imagination than profundity; and literary performances will bear marks of an untutored and rude vigor of thought, frequently of great variety and singular fecundity. The object of authors will be to astonish rather than to please, and to stir the passions more than to charm the taste.
Alexis de Tocqueville
I'm trying to decide if I should listen to less radio, or more; read less papers, or more. The news is bad — it is the job of the news to be bad, of course; every paper might as well run 100pt headlines every day that say Things Suck, Thousands Die — but has an unnerving quality lately. Put simply: no one is in control, except for people who shouldn't be in control.
Newspaper people love movies like [The Front Page]; it makes their profession seem so roguish. And indeed it was, once; decent people did not enter the newspaper profession anymore than they took jobs as harlot wranglers. But we love 'em now, because they make us look colorful. Alas: these archetypes we revere wouldn't last a day in a modern newspaper — they were profane, drunken, nihilistic fabulists more concerned with the cards in their hands than the truth on the page. They're fifty years and a billion miles from the cautious, comfy sorts who fill newspaper offices today, peering at their monitors and spending 30 minutes buffing a simile. My God, if I pulled a bottle of scotch out of my desk and screwed a cigar in my mug they'd take me to a conference room for an intervention.
There is a liberal bias in the media, but in most cases it's not the willful contortion of events to fit an predefined agenda; editors don't have a Play-Doh Fun Factory with a special Pinko Template so they can squeeze the raw data into pleasing shapes. Not to say that papers don't embark on crusades for liberal matters; they do. [. . .] The bias isn't a sin of commission; it's a sin of omission. There are things some people in the news-gathering business just don't see. We all have blind spots, and perhaps for reporters in the mainstream media one of those blind spots is the unsavory nature of some of their coreligionists. They don't know, because they haven't bothered to look. The idea of investigating who's behind a peace rally doesn't occur to them because they're not inclined to think there might be anything unsavory about the organizers.
How could there be? They're for peace. And most people in most newsrooms know someone who's involved in the peace movement — an old friend, a neighbor, someone from church. (Yes, reporters go to church.) Everyone in the paper has read a dozen stories of Spunky Grandmas going off to march for peace. Even if Peace in a specific instance might have perilous repercussions, Peace in General is surely a concept we can all uphold. There's no more reason you'd investigate the advocates of peace than you'd investigate a food shelf.
When [the newspaper] tries to be spirited, it ends up sounding pissy and snide — a consequence, I suppose, of the nature of the people who inhabit the beige cubes of most modern papers. Too clean, too careful, too well-behaved. The business needs more functional drunks.
Correction: the business needs more people who aren't offended by that facetious assertion.
When newspapers became solvent they lost a good deal of their old venality, but at the same time they became increasingly cautious, for capital is always timid.
Muggeridge's Law: There is no way that a writer of fiction can compete with real life for its pure absurdity.
When the kid in the front row at the rally bit off the tip of his little finger and wrote, Kim Dae Jung, in blood on his fancy white ski jacket — I think that was the first time I really ever felt like a foreign correspondent. I mean, here was something really fucking foreign.
The four elements of news are: love, money, conquest, disaster.
I have no objection to owners firing editors. As a general rule, I'm all in favour of firing people. Canadian newspapers in particular would benefit from massive multiple firings. However, it only works if the guys who are fired are replaced by guys who are better.
When Conrad Black sold his remaining 50% share in the [National] Post, he gave a farewell speech to the newsroom in which he said that the paper needed a proprietor who had better connections with the Liberal Party elite — presumably because that's the way things work in Canada. I said to Conrad recently that that's the last thing the Post needs. As a Canadian whose principal assets are in the United Kingdom and the United States, he's one of the few businessmen who doesn't need any favours from the government. Almost every activity in the dependents' Dominion — from books to aircraft manufacturing — obliges companies to enter into some sort of formal or informal relationship with the government. That's bad. It would be bad enough in a functioning democracy, where at least the asses one is obliged to kiss are rotated every five years. But it's worse in a one-party state like Canada, where it's always the same Liberal Party posterior, no matter how saggy and mottled it gets. Canada is no longer quite a respectable democracy
What is editorial content? The stuff you separate the ads with.
Lord Thompson of Fleet
The rumour is in all the papers, or at least the ones that put rank speculation on to their front pages. Oh, right. These days, that's all the papers.
It was written that I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.
Perhaps attempting to revive the spoken-word humor album, scholars have released a new batch of Nixon tapes. As you may have heard, Nixon rails against everyone — the Jews, the dopesmokers, the dopesmoking Jews, Communists, homosexuals, and of course weed-addled Commie Jew homos who control the media and make innocent Americans root for bisexual Rob Reiner's attacks on Archie Bunker. (Really: Nixon thought the Meathead swung like a well-oiled gate.) Nixon's language is as salty as a ballpark pretzel, too; one is tempted to coin the phrase, "He swears like a Quaker."
Noise (n): A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating sign of civilization.
I'm glad I live in modern times. If I'd been born into an early Native American tribe, for example, I'd be in trouble. All of my homespun arrowheads would be round because I would be afraid to make sharp ones. I'd have to hope I hit a bison in a pre-existing wound, making him so depressed he committed suicide, preferably somewhere near a roaring fire that someone else had lit. It would take me forever to cut up a bison with my homemade knife — also a smooth round rock. And there's the problem of my being a vegetarian. And don't get me started about the Native American washroom facilities. I'm reasonably sure my Native American nickname would be Man Who Used Poison Ivy Leaves In a Hilarious Way.
The usual marketing wheeze for this stuff is to describe things as "classic" (i.e., in car terms, old-fashioned, dangerous, noisy and with wheels that have a tendency to fall off at a sharp corner).
The illusion that times that were are better than those that are, has probably pervaded all ages.
A Santa Monica school has banned tag as a dangerous sport. This is the sort of news story that sends columnists into cranky spasms of bilious curmudgeonry — why, in my day we played tag with bayonets! Half the class had a flesh wound after recess, and we went on to whip Hitler!
One of the primary differences between now and then as far as I can tell is that all of the really dreadful stuff from then has had the goodness to go out of print and largely out of memory. There is a winnowing effect that contributes to the "Good Old Days" feeling.
There are historical periods of license and historical periods of oppression. But the records would get lost. At the height of Victorianism, when woman are shrouding the table legs, you're not really confronted with your regency grandfather who was some drunken fuck wandering down streets accosting semi-nude hookers in his heyday.
I find it terribly, tragically sad that the more successful and comfortable we become, the more people pine for a time when none of these everyday miracles existed. Outdoor bathrooms on January nights and miserable coal stoves that need to be tended hourly just to heat a pathetic half-gallon of tepid water need to be experienced to be believed — and not just in a 24 hour adventure, but continuously. Death, hunger, cold, disease, infant mortality — we have fought them tooth and nail for millennia, for what? Apparently in order to so insulate people that they can long for "ancient wisdom", return to the "holistic tribal remedies" of the past, and hold up the most primitive and achingly poor cultures on earth as being the sole repository of "authenticity" while scorning every advance that they take completely for granted.
Robert LeFevre used to talk about a 19th century commission put together to consider the "problem" presented by a new energy source, petroleum. No mere corporation, they decided in their august wisdom, could ever bear the cost of finding, extracting refining, and distributing the black, gooey stuff, so — say it real fast, now, so nobody will notice — it should be made a government monopoly.
Luckily nobody paid attention to this gaggle of bungheads, but you can get a good idea what shape the oil business would be in right now if they had, simply by taking a look at another energy source that did, in effect, become a government monopoly: nuclear fission. The cheapest, cleanest, safest source of power in human history, if not the Known Universe, now lies in ruins because all of the decisions about it came to be political in character, rather than economic and private.
L. Neil Smith
[D]uring the Cold War I was never one of those people living in fear of impending nuclear annihilation — the nukes were in the hands of the Americans, British, French, Russian and Chinese, none of whom are stark staring nuts. Now the nukes have gone freelance, and more or less anyone can grab one and take out, if not New York or London, then one of their less vigilant neighbours — Vancouver or Rotterdam. It's a horrible vision, and I don't know why the Give-Peace-A-Chance crowd are so insouciant about it, but I'd be very surprised if we get through the next five years without a terrible catastrophe in a western city.
Having the same level of skin pigment as a regulation National League baseball, I was very eager to locate sunblock. But not so eager that I failed to notice the bare breasts all around me. I had not been to South Beach — the actual beach — since before the boobie ban was lifted. They were everywhere, and I have to say, they were mighty disappointing. I always say that public nudity is like karaoke. The people who are most enthusiastic are least qualified.