Friday, May 25, 2018

I’m trying my very best

“Try your very best to live in the present moment where your heart beats are.”

—Bernard Basset, We Neurotics: A Handbook for the Half-Mad, 1962

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dotard quotes

The word 'dotard' is suddenly all over the Web after yesterday's news reports of verbal escalations between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. I dug up some old-time quotations about dotards & dotage and posted them, along with definitions, to The Quote Garden — click here to read.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Snorting chocolate quotations

After reading an article on cacao snuff, I just had to take a quick dip into Google Books to see if anything has been written before on the topic of chocolate snorting. You can read the results here: Snorting Chocolate Quotes. I will admit to having had chocolate up my nose, but it was only from licking off what melted onto the wrapper.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walt Whitman — American democracy & call for unity

The below is excerpted from Helena Born, Whitman’s Ideal Democracy and Other Writings, 1902, pages 3–19:

Walt Whitman circa 1870
Photo: Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
Source: The Letters of Anne Gilchrist
and Walt Whitman
, 1918
[mod. Terri Guillemets, 2017]
An unprecedented material success, which is national and purchased at the cost of individuals, accords little with a philosophy based on a fine conception of individuality. The majority of the workers to-day are engaged in occupations that are irksome and hence devoid of beauty, while the dependent classes — those living on others’ labor, commonly called “independent” — are leading abnormal lives which force their productive energies into artificial channels. As Edward Carpenter points out, “the outer life of society... is animated first and foremost by fear,” — at one extreme the dread of starvation, at the other the dread of losing commercially acquired wealth.

Thus, the social organism, while it grows to vaster and vaster proportions, is deficient in that in which it should be supreme — deficient in soul. Whitman indeed, despite his joyous optimism and passionate idealism, finds much to deplore in our times and lands. The absence of moral conscience, hollowness of heart, disbelief, hypocrisy, business depravity, official corruption, greed, — these are among the blemishes revealed by the moral microscope with which he examines American civilization.

“Never was there, perhaps, more hollowness at heart than at present, and here in the United States. Genuine belief seems to have left us. The underlying principles of the States are not honestly believed in (for all this hectic glow and these melodramatic screamings), nor is humanity itself believed in. What penetrating eye does not everywhere see through the mask? The spectacle is appalling. We live in an atmosphere of hypocrisy throughout.... The depravity of the business classes of our country is not less than has been supposed, but infinitely greater.... The great cities reek with respectable as much as non-respectable robbery and scoundrelism.... In business (this all-devouring modern word, business), the one sole object is, by any means, pecuniary gain. The magician’s serpent in the fable ate up all the other serpents, and money-making is our magician’s serpent, remaining to-day sole master of the field.”

Democracy is not a class war. Democracy is conceived in the interests of all, and will not be best promoted by antagonism and aggression. The poor are not enslaved by governmental tyranny and capitalism alone. Perhaps the real battle, as Whitman hints, is “between democracy’s convictions, aspirations, and the people’s crudeness, vice, caprices.”

Whitman’s pride in and love for his country were not due to a belief in the finality of its institutions. “Others take finish, but the Republic is ever constructive and ever keeps vista.”

No one with keen social consciousness can doubt that, in order to make possible an ideal democracy, grave political and economic changes are imperative; but I claim Whitman’s support for my contention that the impulse to bring about these changes will not result from a purely intellectual appeal. The changes will be an emanation from the right emotion, the right spirit. Many reformers, weary of the apparent failure of ethical and religious teaching, are impatient of utterances with any such implication. Whitman’s inclusiveness should suggest to us that the remedy is not in a propaganda at either pole, but in effort cognizant of the interaction of man and his environment, and which neglects the evolution of neither.

The bearing of comrade-love on democracy Whitman describes so impressively that I quote his words without comment:

“Intense and loving comradeship, the personal attachment of man to man, — which, hard to define, underlies the lessons and ideals of the profound saviors of every land and age, and which seems to promise, when thoroughly developed, cultivated, and recognized in manners and literature, the most substantial hope and safety of the future of these States, — will then be fully expressed. 
It is to the development, identification, and general prevalence of that fervid comradeship (the adhesive love, at least rivaling the amative love hitherto possessing imaginative literature, if not going beyond it) that I look for the counterbalance and offset of our materialistic and vulgar American democracy and for the spiritualization thereof. Many will say it is a dream, and will not follow my inferences; but I confidently expect a time when there will be seen, running like a half-hid warp through all the myriad audible and visible worldly interests of America, threads of manly friendship, fond and loving, pure and sweet, strong and lifelong, carried to degrees hitherto unknown — not only giving tone to individual character, and making it unprecedentedly emotional, muscular, heroic, and refined, but having the deepest relation to general politics. I say democracy infers such loving comradeship, without which it will be incomplete, in vain, and incapable of perpetuating itself.”

He declares that “affection shall solve the problems of freedom,” — “those who love each other shall become invincible.”

“The dependence of Liberty shall be lovers,
The continuance of Equality shall be comrades.”
“To hold men together by paper and seal or by compulsion is no account,
That only holds men together which aggregates all in a living principle, as the hold of the limbs of the body or the fibres of plants.”

Whitman beheld... in America a peculiarly favorable field for the growth of true democracy. The underlying principle of the United States Constitution and of the Declaration of Independence; early colonial traditions, — simple, not plutocratic, — in which equality of opportunity was more nearly realized than it has been since; the subsequent fusion of nationalities; — these and other considerations fill him with highest hope for this land of lands. “Here is not merely a nation, but a teeming nation of nations.”

Yet his love of country was never mere patriotism. “O America, because you build for mankind, I build for you!” His love enfolds the world. The recent military achievements of this country are a bitter satire on Whitman’s cordial acknowledgment of contemporary lands, his vision of the “continent indissoluble,” and of “cities inseparable with their arms about each other’s necks.” We have to turn over the pages for a passage more applicable to the present. Here is one:

“I will make a song for the ears of the President, full of weapons with menacing points,
And behind the weapons countless dissatisfied faces.”

Whitman is ill-pleased with what “the word of the modern” — the word “culture” — has come to represent: “As now taught, accepted and carried out, are not the processes of culture rapidly creating a class of supercilious infidels, who believe in nothing? Shall a man lose himself in countless masses of adjustments, and be so shaped with reference to this, that, and the other that the simply good and healthy and brave parts of him are reduced and clipped away, like the bordering of box in a garden?... I should demand a programme of culture, drawn out, not for a single class alone, or for the parlors or lecture rooms, but with an eye to practical life, the west, the working men, the facts of farms and jack-planes and engineers, and of the broad range of the women also of the middle and working strata, and with reference to the perfect equality of women, and of a grand and powerful motherhood. I should demand of this programme or theory a scope generous enough to include the widest human area.”

It must never be overlooked in the consideration of such a subject as the foregoing that changes of letter are unavailing without a corresponding change of spirit. Does not every radical number one or more conservatives among his friends with whom he finds himself in closer accord than with certain of his own intellectual kin? Solidarity implies much more than mere verbal congruity.

We cannot linger to read all Whitman’s directing posts; we have necessarily omitted many. To me, they seem to point to the supremacy of love in human relations, — to a time characterized by the full expression and reception of individuality, by copiousness of life facilitating soul progression, to a time when mutual helpfulness will replace rivalry, when non-governmental organization will spring up in place of coercive authority, and when natural leadership, based on innate fitness, will supersede officialism founded on adventitious extrinsic conditions, — a time when the social sympathies will be so developed that the regulation of production will be free from monopolistic interference, and the creative ability of the individual, governed by the wisdom that is of the soul, will find full scope and delight in spontaneous work nicely adjusted to the needs of the community, — the desire being to contribute that which shall be a joy and benefit to all. With economics based on an ethical and spiritual foundation, the stimuli which many have found only in the competitive struggle will assuredly arise in the more intense social passion of which we now and then see prophetic examples. Whitman conceives, he tells us, “a community, to-day and here, in which, on a sufficient scale, the perfect personalities, without noise, meet... a community organized in running order, powers judiciously delegated — farming, building, trade, courts, mails, schools, elections, all attended to; and then the rest of life, the main thing, freely branching and blossoming in each individual, and bearing golden fruit.”

By such conceptions are we fortified in our faith that the combined incentive of individual differentiation and collective progress, in its spiritual as well as material aspect, is destined to outdistance the present antisocial form of competition, abolish privilege, and lead to the social harmony in which all discordant notes eventually blend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rampant ipsedixitism

Until Election 2016, I hadn’t been putting together as many current events pages of quotations as I did in years past. But there are just so many historical quotes relevant to what’s been going on in the U.S.A. So I’ve compiled a page of quotes about many of the issues coming up in the first several days of the new Trump administration. You can read the quotes here:

THE PRESS MUST BE FREE. It has always been so, and much evil has been corrected by it.— If Government finds itself annoyed by it, let it examine its own conduct, and it will find the cause,— let it amend it, and it will find the remedy.” ~Thomas Erskine, 1792

P.S. Ipsedixitism is when a declaration is made dogmatically, assertively, emphatically and without proof, as if no supporting evidence is needed. Ipse dixit, n.: a dogmatic and unproven statement.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Prayer of the Nation

God give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands!
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor, and who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And scorn his treacherous flatteries without winking.
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty and in private thinking!
—J. G. Holland (1819–1881), “The Prayer of the Nation,” circa mid‑1850s

This poem has a storied history and has been used over this past 160 years by many persons and groups who believe themselves to be in the right, even some groups that many of us see as evil — even some persons and groups that the opposing side would simultaneously claim as their own impassioned battle cry.

But for those of us who are inclined to do so, let’s not overanalyze the poetic prayer or argue politics. For the moment, let’s just have this without regard to gender or religion, free from distractions of wandering connotations or intents, put aside for now the malleability of human minds and the multitudes of viewpoints; and let’s simply enjoy this poem for the plainness of its words, the timelessness of its ideas, and the inspiration of its call. I intend it here primarily as an interesting example of old words made new, of vintage literature meets current events.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Politics meets literature meets (rigged) social media

Here are my picks for the best of #TrumpBookReport and #TrumpBookReports on Twitter, October 19th–23rd 2016:

Trump's foreign policy answers sound like a book report from a teenager who hasn't read the book. "Oh, the grapes! They had so much wrath!" @AntonioFrench

Alas, poor Yorick: and let me tell you, he was poor. He lived in hell, with some mean hombres. I knew him. I knew him well. @GemmaJKenny

Les Misérables, of course they are miserable, the inner city is a mess folks, believe me. People stealing bread everywhere. @calydonianbore

Look, I don't know Voldemort. He said nice things about me. If we got along with the Death Eaters, wouldn't be so bad. @mayapraff

Pride and Prejudice? Two of my best qualities, my pride and my prejudice. No one prouder or more prejudiced than me folks. @politislob

Gatsby? He says he was great. I don't know. People are saying maybe not so great. I'll make Gatsby great again. @briandfrancis

Hamlet? Such a disaster. Can't decide to be or not. Bigly indecisive. And Ophelia? Not my first choice. @KDanielGleason

I can show you how to kill a mockingbird. I could stand in the middle of 5th Ave and kill a mockingbird and not lose votes. @Lemons_N_Laughs

To Kill A Mockingbird? Believe me — if those mockingbirds had guns they wouldn't have been killed. @GloriaBB2

I prefer the Mockingbirds that don't get killed. @BarrettAll

Juliet. Such a nasty woman. She made Romeo kill himself. And believe me he could have done better. Look at her. @CatherineQ

Sleeping Beauty? The Prince just started kissing her. Didn't even ask. When you're a prince they let you do it. @sameernoorani

The first rule of Fight Club is I don't have to accept the results of any fight I lose in Fight Club. @faithchoyce

Hester Prynne. Very nasty woman. Very nasty. There has to be some form of punishment. There has to. @B9lyEquivocal

That Giving Tree was a loser. It gave and gave and gave. Horrible deals. Ends up a stump. Schmuck. @warrenleightTV

It was the best of times. Wrong. It was the worst of times. Many people were saying it. These two inner cities. Disasters. @Eggface

Two things, okay? War. And peace. Many, many people, and we're talking powerful people, say to me: "You're a great reader." @DanKennedy_NYC

Who knows For Whom the Bell Tolls? It should toll for me, but the bell is rigged. Very rigged. Hemingway golfed with Bill. @j2250

Anna Karenina. Such a nasty woman. @jpodhoretz

Noah was so bad. I'll deport the animals. All the animals love me. I'll build a beautiful ark. God will pay for the ark. @JamesMelville

Lady Macbeth? Nasty woman. MacDuff? One bad hombre, ok? The witches rigged the prophecies, believe me, total disaster. @amandasgardner

Anne Frank, Disgusting! And she was captured. I like people who weren't captured. She's no hero. @stlgotswagga

This book was a disaster. Could've solved the mystery myself. Nancy Drew? Not very attractive. Too nosy. Probably ISIS. @ira

Believe me, she loved to eat, that very hungry caterpillar. No self control. Sad! @a11ssa

The duckling was very ugly, ok? Some people were saying the duckling was a swan, but I saw it and believe me: total disaster. @marthacohara

Winnie the Pooh... don't get me started. Low energy. Lazy. Overweight and no stamina. Always eating. He should be drug tested. @Morgans_Twitt3r

I wouldn't have given Hester Prynne an A. I'd have given her a C, at most. @KarenBoman

Sauron, a great Lord. He respects me and I'll tell you what else, he has very strong borders. No one just walks into Mordor. @CharlieAndyFitz

Emily Dickinson is not nice. All those hidden poems? What else is she hiding? Bigly crooked. @mollybirdsmith

No one has more Sense & Sensibility than me. Austen knew it. You know it. Crooked Hillary can't accept it. Sad. @PanamaVeggie

The Bell Jar. No bells. No jars. Only empty promises. Sylvia Plath. Such a nasty woman. Total loser. Pulitzer rigged! @jgeveritt

Stupid title, The Bell Jar. No bells, no jars. Believe me, I've got the best bells. The best. Big, beautiful bells. @democracydiva

Hester Prynne is a nasty woman, believe me. She's a LIAR. I never grabbed her by the petticoats, ok? Total bimbo loser. @hmurrr

War and Peace? You can't have war and peace. I wanted peace. Crooked Hillary wanted war. Disgusting. @jwwatson63

I was against that war from the beginning. #warandpeace @petz4peace

Why'd Tolstoy tell em there'd be war AND peace? I'd use the element of surprise. 21 Medal of Honor recipients endorse me. @DustinSwonder

War and Peace: You have no idea if it was the Russians. @Blkbyrd

Charlie wins chocolate factory. It was rigged, folks. Believe me. @galbaseballgeek

Where The Sidewalk Ends — Hillary has had 30 years to complete the sidewalk. It's her fault the sidewalk ends. @twiticulture

Robin Hood? Total loser. Criminal. Should be jailed. Worst economic plan ever! Helping the poor for free? I'll prosecute. @GenXMedia

Leaves of Grass? Ah! too bigly, too many words! I don't have time to read... But that "Song of Myself" I like that one. @herbalista58

Moby Dick. I apologize if anyone was offended. It's just locker room talk. @cflash

We're gonna catch so much rye, you won't believe it. We're bringing those rye catching jobs to America. @steventurous

I was against the war in Troy. Ask Hannity. And Helen was maybe a 6. She wouldn't have been my first choice, believe me. @BrentSirota

There was much ado, believe me. So much ado. Many people are saying how much ado there was. And about what? Nothing! @marthacohara

Shakespeare didn't write anything, it was all me. The medieval media was rigged. @Nderavin1

Bill Shakespeare... To be or not, pick a lane. By the way — Juliet, I never touched her. @CheapSeatsComic

What language is this? Can't understand a word of it. Shakespeare, what a loser. @StoutYeoman

Crooked Hillary wants you to say farewell to your arms, but when I'm president no one will have to say farewell to arms. @brnwdbwlr

Global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese, my opponent claims it's 451 degrees Fahrenheit now. I don't think so. @ForrestLockwood

The Waste Land. Dry rocks and dry throats. Don't believe it, folks. Climate change is a hoax. Totally rigged. @PoetryArchive

"nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands" –ee cummings WRONG! Just look at my hands. The fingers. Long. Beautiful. @MDowdLambert

There's a Lord — and he's got rings. Lots of rings. The best rings. And two of the best Towers anyone has seen. @ageofkarl

Dorothy came to Oz illegally, murdered people. Should be in jail. Sad! @traydogg654

Gatsby, great parties, lots of locker room talk. I don't know him though. He's not my best friend. Daisy can do better. @claudia_nichole

Well, if you've got the crime, you've got to have the punishment. I believe in law and order, folks. Law. And. Order. @KevinMKruse

So the boy kept taking more and more from the tree every year without giving anything in return? That makes him smart. @LisaStuardi

And Troy just wants to bring this horse in without vetting it. It's full of Greeks and they're rapists and murderers. @steventurous

Be, don't be. This Hamlet guy needs to make up his mind. When I make up my mind, it's great. I make the best decisions. @roseknows

Hester? Nasty woman. Scarlet coming out of her eyes, out of her, wherever. @AtmnR

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and I've got blood coming out of my wherever. @KinglaKing

There were mice AND men, I mean, and everyone has been saying it, these were some bad hombres... with mice. @joepete104

There's this student at Notre Dame, great guy, the best grades, crippled. Hunchback. Is Obamacare working? You tell me. @lawnrocket

I could teach that Sheriff of Nottingham a thing or two about Law and Order. Stop and frisk! Make our forest safe again! @JoePolizzi_PMP

Nowhere does it say that anything actually happened between Lolita and Humbert, it was just boy talk. @summerbrennan

I did not Pat the Bunny. That was just locker room talk. @MACarter73

The Raven, ok? It's about a yuge bird, believe me. And he's black! The black birds are living in hell, we all know it. @CaptNevermind

Dr. Dolittle. Loser. Talks to animals. No one respects animals more than me, folks. I'm famous, I can pet any cat I want. @MaydayCosmo

The wardrobe was tremendous, my sons shot the lion, and the witch is Hillary. @RuckCohlchez

Garden of Eden. Really nice asset. Adam should have known better than to listen to crooked Eve. Such a nasty woman. Sad! @heathwcarter

The Bible. Judas, good guy. Only one of the 12 that made money. Media crucified him. @dudearino1

The good book. BEST book. The son of God descends from heaven to teach us how to live. It's called "The Art of the Deal." @stirling79

Koran. Wrong! @7im

Thrasymachus totally crushed Socrates in the debate. RIGGED! Make Caves Great Again! @ethicistforhire

The wolf was very nice to Little Red Riding Hood, when she made up all kinds of nasty lies about him. And you look at her. @planespotted

It's all lies, folks. That wolf never touched Granny. All lies. Just look at her and you tell me. @annashenanigan

I did not grope her on a train or on a boat or on a plane. I did not grab her here or there... well maybe I did. @VentureValkyrie

Big Brother is watching. He will find those 30 thousand emails. Crooked Hillary. @jennfel

Henry VIII: Good guy. A lot like me. You don't ask. You just grab them by the girdle. When you're a king, you can. @jordanemoore

The Western Front was so quiet. Too quiet, I say. I would never have left the western front like Hillary and Obama did. @VocalMinorityNV

Mein Kampf. Great book. Tremendous. Story about a young boy's summer camping trip. My supporters love it. @Cave_DweIIer

War and peace is a horrible book. It should just be war. I love war. @rleader86

War and Peace? I love war, I'm very, very good at war. Wars make money; peace, not so much. Nuclear war the best. @pbsmithmd

Little women? All liars! Plan to sue! Never touched them. @RockyMountain

What was it called? Belittle Women? Great book. @Steg68

Darcy? Great man. Tremendous man. Has 10,000 a year. Attractive wife but she's got a mouth on her. @clementine_ford

They knew how to do it in olden times. Women who were up for action wore an A on their tops. A for Action. @Nina1172

Hester Prynne, very sloppy. Still hasn't lost the baby weight. I'd give her a big scarlet F — for fatty. @ReformedintheQT

I don't read. If I want to read a book, I just have my people make it into a movie. Then I watch that. It's true, Folks. @thechaosmanager

Sure, I read the book, but I won't tell you the end. I'll leave you in suspense. @sarahjbury

Still not one book report from Crooked Hillary! Too busy unrolling red carpet for ISIS. Plenty of time to read in prison. @TrumpBookReport

#TrumpBookReport is the best thing on Twitter right now. The. Best. Bigly. All the polls say so. Bigly! @ChrisWadeJ1519 {#TrumpDrSeuss is pretty good too but nowhere near the same LOL factor. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g}