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doubutsuMother
Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2009 3:58:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
At the airport we waited in a mist of plaster dust, among exposed wires, mounds of rubble. Half an hour before [my ex-wife] was due to arrive, the passengers from another flight began filing through a drafty tunnel into the arrivals area. They were gray and stricken, they were stooped over in weariness and shock, dragging their hand luggage across the floor. Twenty, thirty, forty people came out, without a word or a look, keeping their eyes to the ground. Some limped, some wept. More came through the tunnel, adults with whimpering children, old people trembling, a black minister with his collar askew, one shoe missing. [My daughter] helped a woman with two small kids. I approached a young man, a stocky fellow with a mailman's cap and beer belly, wearing a down vest, and he looked at me as if I didn't belong in his space-time dimension but had crossed over illegally, made a rude incursion. I forced him to stop and face me, asked him what had happened up there. As people kept filing past, he exhaled wearily. Then he nodded, his eyes steady on mine, full of a gentle resignation.

The plane had lost power in all three engines, dropped from thirty-four thousand feet to twelve thousand feet. something like four miles. When the steep glide began, people rose, fell, collided, swam in their seats. Then the serious screaming and moaning began. Almost immediately a voice form the flight deck was heard on the intercom: "We're falling out of the sky! We're going down! We're a silver gleaming death machine!" This outburst struck the passengers as an all but total breakdown of authority, competence and command presence and it brought on a round of fresh and desperate wailing.

Objects were rolling out of the galley, the aisles were full of drinking glasses, utensils, coats and blankets. A stewardess pinned to the bulkhead by the sharp angle of descent was trying to find the relevant passage in a handbook titled "Manual of Disasters." Then there was a second male voice from the flight deck, this one remarkably calm and precise, making the passengers believe there was someone in charge after all, an element of hope: "This is American two-one-three to the cockpit voice recorder. Now we know what it's like. It is worse than we'd ever imagined. They didn't prepare us for this at the death simulator in Denver. Or fear is pure, so totally stripped of distractions and pressures as to be a form of transcendental meditation. In less than three minutes we will touch down, so to speak. They will find our bodies in some smoking field, strewn about in the grisly attitudes of death. I love you, Lance." This time there was a brief pause before the mass wailing recommenced. Lance? What ind of people were in control of this aircraft? The crying took on a bitter and disillusioned tone.

As the man in the down vest told the story, passengers from the tunnel began gathering around us. No one spoke, interrupted, tried to embellish the account.

Aboard the gliding craft, a stewardess crawled down the aisle, over bodies and debris, telling people in each row to remove their shoes, remove sharp objects from their pockets, assume a fetal position. At the other end of the plane, someone was wrestling with a flotation device. Certain elements in the crew had decided to pretend that it was not a crash but a crash landing that was seconds away. After all, the difference between the two is only one word. Didn't this suggest that the two forms of flight termination were more or less interchangeable? How much could one word matter? An encouraging question under the circumstances, if you didn't think about it too long, and there was no time to think right now. The basic difference between a crash and a crash landing seemed to be that you could sensibly prepare for a crash landing, which is exactly what they were trying to do. The news spread through the plane, the term was repeated in row after row. "Crash landing, crash landing." They saw how easy it was, by adding one word, to maintain a grip on the future, to extend it in consciousness if not in actual fact. They patted themselves for ballpoint pens, went fetal in their seats.

By the time the narrator reached this point in his account, many people were crowded around, not only people who'd just emerged from the tunnel but also those who'd been among the first to disembark. They'd come back to listen. They were not yet ready to disperse, to reinhabit their earthbound bodies, but wanted to linger with their terror, keep it separate and intact for just a while longer. More people drifted toward us, milled about, close to the entire planeload. They were content to let the capped and vested man speak on their behalf. No one disputed his account or tried to add individual testimony. It was as though they were being told of an event they hadn't personally been involved in. They were interested in what he said, even curious, but also clearly detached. They trusted him to tell them what they'd said and felt.

It was at this point in the descent, as the term "crash landing" spread through the plane, with a pronounced vocal stress on the second word, that passengers in first class came scrambling and clawing through the curtains, literally climbing their way into the tourist section in order to avoid being the first to strike the ground. there were those in tourist who felt they ought to be made to go back. This sentiment was express not so much in words and actions as in terrible and inarticulate sounds, mainly cattle noises, an urgent and force-fed lowing. Suddenly the engines restarted. Jut like that. Power, stability, control. The passengers, prepared for impact, were slow to adjust to the new wave of information. New sounds, a different flight path, a sense of being encased in solid tubing and not some polyurethane wrap. The smoking sing went on, an international hand with a cigarette. Stewardesses appeared with scented towelettes for cleaning blood and vomit. People slowly come out of their fetal positions, sat back limply. Four miles of prime-time terror. No one knew what to say. Being alive was a richness of sensation. Dozens of things, hundreds of things. the first officer walked down the aisle, smiling and chatting in an empty pleasant corporate way. His face had the rosy and confident polish that is familiar in handlers of large passenger aircraft. They looked at him and wondered why they'd been afraid.


RubyMoon
Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2009 4:06:13 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
Posts: 1,666
Neurons: 4,834
Location: United States
White Noise (DeLillo)?
doubutsuMother
Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2009 4:24:31 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
...and of all the shivering, stupefying misery in a world that never yet had provided enough heat and food and justice for all but an ingenious and unscrupulous handful. What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust and sold their souls to blackguards for petty cash, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere.


RubyMoon
Posted: Friday, August 07, 2009 12:11:32 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
Posts: 1,666
Neurons: 4,834
Location: United States
Catch-22?
doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, August 07, 2009 12:36:44 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
Rock and Roll adolescent hoodlums storm the streets of all nations. They rush into the Louvre and throw acid in the Mona Lisa's face. They open zoos, insane asylums, prisons, burst water mains with air hammers, chop the floor out of passenger plane lavatories, shoot out lighthouses, file elevators cables to one thin wire, turn sewers into the water supply, throw sharks and sting rays, electric eels and candiru into swimming pools (the candiru is a small eel-like fish or worm about one-quarter inch through and two inches long patronizing certain rivers of ill repute in the Greater Amazon Basin, will dart up your prick or your asshole or a woman's cunt faute de mieux, and hold himself there by sharp spines with precisely what motives is not known since no one has stepped forward to observe the candiru's life-cycle in situ), in nautical costumes ram the Queen Mary full speed into New York Harbor, play chicken with passenger planes and buses, rush into hospitals in white coats carrying saws and axes and scalpels three feet long; throw paralytics out of iron lungs (mimic their suffocations flopping about on the floor and rolling their eyes up), administer injections with bicycle pumps, disconnect artificial kidneys, saw a woman in half with a two-man surgical saw, they drive herds of squealing pigs into the Curb, they shit on the floor of the United Nations and wipe their ass with treaties, pacts, alliances.
By plane, car, horse, camel, elephant, tractor, bicycle, and steam roller, on foot, skies, sled, crutch and pogo-stick the tourist storm the frontiers, demanding with inflexible authority asylum from the "unspeakable conditions obtaining in Freeland," the Chamber of Commerce striving in vain to stem the debacle: "Please to be restful. It is only a few crazies who have from the crazy place outbroken."


The Seer
Posted: Friday, August 07, 2009 1:06:10 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/27/2009
Posts: 75
Neurons: 217
Location: United States
Naked Lunch
doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, August 07, 2009 1:22:19 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
...he began to feel uneasy at the thought that his acquaintance with [her] was the result of six improbable fortuities.
But is not an event in fact more significant and noteworthy the greater the number of fortuities necessary to bring it about?

Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup.

[He] appeared to [her] in the hotel restaurant as a chance in the absolute. There he sat, poring over an open book, when suddenly he raised his eyes to her, smiled, and said, "A cognac, please."

At that moment, the radio happened to be playing music. On her way behind the counter to pour the cognac, [she] turned the volume up. She recognized Beethoven. She had known his music from the time a string quartet from Prague had visited heir town. [She] (who, as we know, yearned for "something higher") went to the concert. The hall was nearly empty. The only other people in the audience were the local pharmacist and his wife. And although the quartet of musicians on stage faced only a trio of spectators down below, they were kind enough not to cancel the concert, and gave a private performance of the the last three Beethoven quartets.

Then the pharmacist invited the musicians to dinner and asked the girl in the audience to come along with them. From then on, Beethoven became her image of the world on the other side, the world she yearned for. Rounding the counter with [his] cognac, she tried to read chance's message: How was i possible that at the very moment she was taking an order of cognac to a stranger she found attractive, at that very moment she heard Beethoven?

Necessity knows no magic formulae - they are all left to chance. if a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders.


bugdoctor
Posted: Friday, August 07, 2009 9:32:51 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,792
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

"Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 4:04:22 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
...for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valor in the soul. Men may seem detestable as join stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but men, in the ideal, is so noble and sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man. Nor can piety itself, at such a shameful sight, completely stifle her upbraidings against the permitting stars. But this august dignity I treat of, is not the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all hands radiates without end from God; Himself! That great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!

If, then, to meanest marines, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disastrous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou jut Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! Bear me out in it, thou great democratic God! who didst not refuse to the swart convict, Bunyan, the pale, poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andrew Jackson from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!



RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 4:42:33 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
Posts: 1,666
Neurons: 4,834
Location: United States
Moby Dick?
doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 5:22:55 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
[The] Fall term had begun. Again the marble neck of a homely Venus in the vestibule of Humanities Hall received the vermilion imprint, in applied lipstick, of a mimicked kiss. Again the Waindell Recorder discussed the Parking Problem. Again in the margins of library books earnest freshmen inscribed such helpful glosses as "Description of nature," or "Irony"; and in a pretty edition of Mallarmé's poems an especially able scholiast had already underlined in violet ink the difficult word oiseaux and scrawled about it "birds." Again autumn gales plastered dead leaves against one side of the latticed gallery leading from Humanities to Frieze Hall. Again, on serene afternoons, huge, amber-brown Monarch butterflies flapped over asphalt and lawn as they lazily drifted south, their incompletely retracted black legs hanging rather low beneath their polka-dotted bodies.

And still the College creaked on. Hard-working graduates, with pregnant wives, still wrote dissertations on Dostoevski and Simone de Beauvoir. Literary departments still labored under the impression that Stendhal, Galsworthy, Dreiser, and Mann were great writers. Word plastics like "conflict" and "pattern" were still in vogue. As usual, sterile instructors successfully endeavored to "produce" by reviewing the books of more fertile colleagues...


grammargeek
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 5:51:33 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,145
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
Pnin
(first page of Chapter 6)
by Vladamir Nabokov

doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 6:56:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
'I told him all that had happened to me, and he described his adventures as well. He told me how he had been sent to the King of Morocco by a Christian prince to make a treaty with that monarch for the supply of gunpowder, cannons, and warships to enable him to destroy the trade of other Christian Powers.

'"I have completed my mission." said the honest eunuch, "and am going to leave from Ceuta. I will take you back to Italy with me. Ma che sciagura d'essere senza coglioni!"

'I was touched by his kindness, and the tears started to my eyes as I thanked him. Instead of taking me to Italy, however, he brought me to Algiers and sold me to the Governor of that province. Scarcely had I been sold when the plague, which had spread through Africa, Asia, and Europe, broke out in Algiers with increased fury. You know what earthquakes are like, Madam; but have you ever had the plague?'

'Never,' relied [she].

'If you had,' replied the old woman, 'you would agree that it is much worse than an earthquake. It is very common in Africa, and i caught it. Just imagine the situation of a Pope's daughter, fifteen years old, who in the space of three months had suffered poverty and slavery, had been ravished almost every day, seen her mother quartered, endured the horrors of famine and battle, and was then dying of plague in Algiers. I didn't die, however; but my eunuch did, and so did the Governor and almost the entire Algerian harem.

'When the first ravage of this terrible plague had subsided, the Governor's slaves were sold. A trader bought me and took me to Tunis. There he sold me to another trader, who took me to Tripoli and sold me once more. From Tripoli I was taken to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Smyrna, and from Smyrna to Constantinople. I changed hands at each place, and in the end found myself belonging to a captain of the Sultan's guard, who soon afterwards was ordered to the defence of Azov against the Russians.

'This captain, who was a most civil man, took the whole of his harem with him, and housed us in a small fortress on the Sea of Azov, where we were guarded by two black eunuchs and twenty soldiers. A vast number of Russians was killed, but they gave us as good as they got. Azov was burnt to the ground and the inhabitants were slaughtered without regard to age or sex. All that was left was our little fortress, which the enemy decided to starve out. The twenty soldiers who guarded us had sworn never to surrender; but the extremes of hunger to which they were reduced forced them to eat our two eunuchs for fear of breaking their oath. A few days later they decided to eat the women.

'We had a Mohammedan priest in our fortress, a most pious and compassionate man. he preached a beautiful sermon to the soldiers persuading them not to kill us outright. "Cut just one buttock off each of these ladies," he said, "and that will provide you with a delicious meal; if you find you need more, you can have as much again in a few day's time. Allah will be pleased at such a charitable action, and the siege will be relieved."

'His eloquence persuaded them, and we accordingly suffered this horrible operation The priest anointed us with the same ointment that is used after children have been circumcised. I assure you we were all at death's door...

I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow i am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our most melancholy propensities; for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would galdly throw away, to loathe one's very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?
grammargeek
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 7:08:39 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,145
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
Candide
by Voltaire
TB
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 8:49:45 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/2009
Posts: 1,440
Neurons: 4,277
Location: America
grammargeek wrote:
Candide
by Voltaire



I think we have a winner (Candide : Or Optimism... yes?).

"Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience"
doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 10:24:44 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
A shaft of light shot upward from the steel, and I felt as if a long, thin blade
transfixed my forehead. At the same moment all the sweat that had accumulated in
my eyebrows splashed down on my eyelids, covering them with a warm film of
moisture. Beneath a veil of brine and tears my eyes were blinded; I was conscious
only of the cymbals of the sun clashing on my skull, and, less distinctly, of the keen
blade of light flashing up from the knife, scarring my eyelashes, and gouging into my
eyeballs.

Then everything began to reel before my eyes, a fiery gust came from the sea,
while the sky cracked in two, from end to end, and a great sheet of flame poured
down through the rift. Every nerve in my body was a steel spring, and my grip closed
on the revolver.


grammargeek
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 10:53:45 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,145
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
L'Etranger
by Albert Camus
TB
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2009 11:59:13 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/2009
Posts: 1,440
Neurons: 4,277
Location: America
Literature and Development in North Africa
By Perri Giovannucci

"Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience"
doubutsuMother
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009 4:08:51 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. it faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished--and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I'd got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care
grammargeek
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009 4:59:03 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,145
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
doubutsuMother
Posted: Friday, August 28, 2009 5:58:03 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
[Her] full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owning to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs
RubyMoon
Posted: Friday, August 28, 2009 11:32:51 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
Posts: 1,666
Neurons: 4,834
Location: United States
Middlemarch (G. Eliot)
doubutsuMother
Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:13:27 PM
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Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
But can you tell me what river George describes in the above passage?
RubyMoon
Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:05:16 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
Posts: 1,666
Neurons: 4,834
Location: United States
doubutsuMother wrote:
But can you tell me what river George describes in the above passage?


....Gyndes (a stream) which empties into the river Tigris.
doubutsuMother
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:17:02 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 363
Neurons: 1,059
Quote:
I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased.


and

Quote:
There are certain things in a man’s past which he does not divulge to everybody but, perhaps, only to his friends. Again there are certain things he will not divulge even to his friends; he will divulge them perhaps only to himself, and that, too, as a secret. But, finally, there are things which he is afraid to divulge even to himself, and every decent man has quite an accumulation of such things in his mind. I can put it even this way: the more decent a man is, the larger will the number of such things be.
bugdoctor
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 6:37:56 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/8/2009
Posts: 1,792
Neurons: 5,456
Location: United States - Georgia
doubutsuMother wrote:
Quote:
I am a sick man.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased.


and

Quote:
There are certain things in a man’s past which he does not divulge to everybody but, perhaps, only to his friends. Again there are certain things he will not divulge even to his friends; he will divulge them perhaps only to himself, and that, too, as a secret. But, finally, there are things which he is afraid to divulge even to himself, and every decent man has quite an accumulation of such things in his mind. I can put it even this way: the more decent a man is, the larger will the number of such things be.


Notes from the Underground
Dostoevsky


"Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
man in black
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009 10:56:16 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/20/2009
Posts: 536
Neurons: 1,334
Location: Cuba
"I will create a brand new god and thank him with piercing cries if you only give me that microscopic hope"

look into my eyeballs, there thy beauty lies, then why not lips on lips since eyes on eyes? William Shakespeare
fred
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:09:16 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/1/2009
Posts: 1,475
Neurons: 4,457
Location: United States
Watching Dust Settle

"Supposin' I was to go to work and learn how to... to read writin'. Well, how'd I know that the feller that... that wrote the writin' was a writin' the writin' right? See it could be that he wrote the writin' all wrong. Here I'd be just a readin' wrong writin', don't ya see? You probably been doin' it your whole life, just a readin' wrong writin' and not even knowin‘ it." Festus
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