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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Wednesday October 07 2009

One of the things that complicates blogging is the way you accumulate lots of links and quotes from other pieces, intending one day to comment on each one separately, at quite some length and with extreme wisdom, but which you eventually forget about.  A way around this is to just gather up all such bits and bobs into one post.  So here goes with some random quotes, in pretty much random order, that I have come across over the last few days and been amused by.

I start with a quote from Theodore Dalrymple, the truth of which I think explains quite a lot:

When one is indignant, one does not wonder what life is for or about, the immensity of the universe does not trouble one, and the profound and unanswerable questions of the metaphysics of morals are held temporarily in abeyance.

Jackie Danicki often quotes me admiringly, most recently here.  I now go a little way to thanking her for all that, by quoting a snippet from her recent posting entitled The neurotic’s conundrum:

We must reap the benefits of our pathologies ...

Indeed.  Don’t try and fail to change your personality, unless your personality is downright evil.  Find somewhere and something where your personality fits in just fine, and is just what they need.  If, say, you are obsessed with doing absolutely everything that you do exactly right, don’t waste you time and your life trying and failing to lighten up.  Get a job in, e.g., a nuclear power station.

Now for a couple of sports quotes, the first one being a headline:

Collingwood suffers buttock niggle.

And Stuart Broad too, apparently.  It’s those two slightly funny-in-themselves words that I like, jammed right next to each other.  Buttock.  Niggle.  Well, I laughed.  And oh look, they agree, because they’ve changed it to something more decorous.  It definitely did say “buttock niggle”, rather than “buttock strain”.

The second sport-quote is a snatch of monologue from Chris Rock, being interviewed on the telly, in connection with the Polanski ruckus, saying what he thinks of the “but he made some good movies” defence:

Even Johnnie Carson Cochran didn’t have the nerve to say: “Well did you see OJ play against New England?”

Speaking of words and the way words sound, here’s Alfred Brendel explaining how, after a working lifetime spent playing classical piano, he has more recently turned to poetry:

How does he account for this sudden spurt of poetic creativity in his mid-sixties? “I cannot tell you,” he says. “But I’ve read a great deal in my life, and especially a huge amount of poetry when I was young. So perhaps this accumulated mass of words started to work by itself inside my head, and somehow sorted itself out. Many writers will tell you that the hypnagogic state [the transition between sleep and consciousness] is an important well of their creativity. That’s true for me. Sometimes between waking and sleeping a poem will form, and sometimes I wake up in the night and it goes on. Then I look at it in the morning and it seems to work. It’s the state between dreaming and waking that’s so interesting. You are both here and there.”

As an atheist, I not only find myself disagreeing with the claims made by religion, but also trying to explain religion.  If it’s wrong, how come it’s still out there, in such strength?  Perhaps a part of why religion persists is that people fail to get how vast is their own subconscious, confusing their conscious with all their mental processes.  So, when an idea pops into their mind, and it must have come from somewhere, they believe it must have come from outside of themselves, like a radio signal.  Like, that is, the voice of God.  Well, just a thought.

There are still lots more quotes and links hanging about in my computer, but I will end this with just two more, both comments, one on this, about chasing wicked Acorn people, Acorn being a wicked organisation in America ... :

… if you actually do have witches, witch hunts are the right course of action ...

... and the other, about the travails of trying to keep newspapers alive:

Papers began dying when it became illegal to serve Fish & Chips on newsprint.

I think the problem of newspapers is not that they didn’t get that the www was coming to get them; their problem was that the economics of running newspapers was/is so totally different to the economics of getting something going on the web.  Even a merely ticking-over newspaper is awash with money, which means that there is a fatal tendency for web-operations started by newspapers to be either on a huge (too huge) scale, from the start, or sensible, but on a scale that strikes them as humiliatingly tiny.  As soon as it looks like their new www dot thing is doing okay, they flood it with money, while taking it for granted that they already know what doing okay means and how to spend all the money.  Then a year later, they accuse it of losing money, shut it down and try something else.  Repeat until all that newspaper money runs out.  (Recently I had an interesting conversation with an English journo friend with a slightly different tale to tell.  More of which anon.  (Maybe.  I promise nothing.))

Lots of categories for this posting.