February 27, 2007

We are all murderers and prostitutes no matter to what culture, society, class, nation, we belong, no matter how normal, moral, or mature we take ourselves to be.

R.D. Laing

February 21, 2007

Propaganda makes up our minds for us, but in such a way that it leaves us the sense of pride and satisfaction of men who have made up their own minds. And in the last analysis, propaganda achieves this effect because we want it to. This is one of the few real pleasures left to modern man: this illusion that he is thinking for himself when, in fact, someone else is doing his thinking for him.  

Thomas Merton

February 16, 2007

Men are only as loyal as their options.

Bill Mahar

February 12, 2007

In Italy, motorists, small children, priests, and good-looking women do whatever they want to.

Beppe Severgnini in La Bella Figura

February 4, 2007

I take a bath every day.

 Al Sharpton to Joe Biden, who called to apologize for his comments on African-American presidential candidates. 

January 30, 2007

“Eating is an agricultural act,” as Wendell Berry famously said.  It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too.  Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world–and what is to become of it.  To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction.  By comparison, the pleasures of eating industrially, which is to say eating in ignorance, are fleeting.

 Michael Pollen in The Omnivore’s Dilemma 

January 27, 2007

A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.

William S. Burroughs 

CAT FIGHT (Gatos riñendo) painted by Francisco de Goya in 1797

Francisco de Goya

January 20, 2007

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.”  Well, for years I was smart.  I recommend pleasant.  You may quote me.

“Elwood P. Dowd” in the movie Harvey

January 14, 2007 

A Sufi is a man or a woman with a broken heart.   Someone who is always sensitive to the heartbreak of the world and who is always sensitive to the Divine Beauty of the world.  Once you see it, your heart breaks open forever and goes on breaking at the beauty and majesty and agony of the experience.


January 11, 2007

I do think that women could make politics irrelevant by some kind of spontaneous cooperative action, the like of which we have never seen, which is so far from people’s ideas of state structure and viable social structure that it seems to them like total anarchy but what it really represents is very subtle forms of inter-relation which does not follow a hierachical pattern which is fundamentally patriachal. The opposite to patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity. I think it is women who are going to have to break the spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.

Germaine Greer

January 9, 2007

I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.

Mark Twain

December 29, 2006

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

John Kenneth Galbraith

December 26, 2006

What is true and positive is too real and living to be described, and to try to describe it is like putting red paint on a red rose.  The truth is revealed by removing things that stand in its light,  an art not unlike sculpture,  in which the artist creates not by building, but by hacking away.

Alan Watts

December 19, 2006

Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good government at home.

William E. Gladstone

December 15, 2006

From a commercial point of view,  if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.

Katherine Whitehorn

December 7, 2006

I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.

John Keats

November 30th, 2006

I wouldn’t want a penis.  It would be like having a third leg.  It seems like a contraption that would get in the way.  I think I have a dick in my brain.



November 20th, 2006

Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

November 15, 2006

Do you believe in absolute good and evil?  Me neither.  Know what I believe in?  Seeing and not seeing.  Understanding and ignorance.  Imagination and absence of imagination.  There, I’ve just compressed sixty years of reflection.

Peter Straub

November 6, 2006

All aggressiveness is negative regardless of the cause, except in the defense of  innocence.   (In the defense of innocence we will all be very brave.  No practice is needed.)

 Agnes Martin

October 30, 2006

Only he who is capable of stripping himself of his own likings, of the goods and possessions of his own life, can be really a revolutionary and point the way toward the universal community of men; the rest, whether they call themselves conservatives or liberals, of the right or the left, are reactionaries, because they react against systems that they consider unjust, but are not capable of liberating their own creative energy; they call for changes in external structures that they are incapable of realizing in themselves.

Albert Einstein

October 25, 2006

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.

Isaac Asimov

October 18, 2006

The world is a jungle.  You want my advice?  Don’t expect happiness.  You won’t get it.  People let you down.  In the end, you die in your own arms.

Livia Soprano to Anthony Jr. on The Sopranos

October 12, 2006

To us and all those who hate us, that the USA may become just another part of the world, no more, no less.

John Cage

 October 8, 2006

Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Don’t trouble it, don’t harass them, don’t deprive them of their happiness, don’t work against God’s intent.

“Starets Zosima,” Dostoevsky, The Karamazov Brothers

October 4, 2006

I shall give a propaganda excuse for starting the war–never mind if it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked afterward whether he told the truth. In starting and waging a war, it is not right that matters, but victory.

Adolf Hitler

Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.

Henry Kissinger

We will settle for nothing less than victory.

George W. Bush

October 2, 2006

We were — neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

Pete Seeger

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.

George Santayana, Life of Reason (1905) vol. 1, Introduction , US (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 – 1952)

September 28,2006

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin

September 8, 2006

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

Jean Cocteau

September 1, 2006

Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor. For patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and patriotism, will offer up all of their rights to the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Julius Caesar.

(Julius Caesar)

August 15, 2006

But there is no liberty save in responsibility . . . the Romans have become skilled in the subtle resources for avoiding the commitment and the price of political freedom. They have become parasites on that freedom . . . for it is by taking a leap into the unknown that we know we are free. The unmistakable sign of those who have refused their freedom is envy; it is the jaundice of the eye that cannot rest until it has ascribed base motives to those who do not receive but make their freedom . . . the mind is easily wearied and easily frightened; but there is no limit to the pictures it makes; and toward these pictures we stumble.

Thornton Wilder, from The Ides of March


August 7, 2006

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals . . . We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And there we err; and greatly err. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ouselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.

Henry Beston, from The Outermost House

August 2, 2006

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.

Gore Vidal

July 28, 2006

Call it peace or call it treason, call it love or call it reason, but I ain’t marching anymore.

Phil Ochs

July 25, 2006

A church in Memphis has erected a five-story Statue of Liberty, but instead of holding her torch, she’s got a crucifix. That doesn’t make any sense. But if a five-story vampire comes at these people, they are so covered.

Bill Maher


July 23, 2006

There is considerable hypocrisy in conventionalism. Any thinking person is aware of this paradox; but in dealing with conventional people it is advantageous to treat them as though they were not hypocrites. It isn’t a question of faithfulness to your own concepts; it is a matter of compromise so that you can remain an individual without the constant threat of conventional pressure.

“Willie-Jay,” quoted in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

July 20, 2006

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

Samuel Butler

July 19, 2006

In some cases non-violence requires more militancy than violence.

Cesar Chavez

July 17, 2006

I wouldn’t eat a hot dog if you put a condom on it.

Bill Maher

July 13, 2006

There are seven sins in the world: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.

Mohandas Gandhi

[I will add only that Paris Hilton is guilty of at least two of these]

July 11, 2006

The bureaucracy that Nixon sought to use extralegally might be so used by a future president. Should, for example, the economic crisis continue to deteriorate or should a catastrophic war break out, a future president might be tempted by the readiness of a desperate nation to accept radical measures in order to solve its woes.

Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History, 1975

July 7, 2006

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
Thomas Paine
US patriot & political philosopher (1737 – 1809)

July 5, 2006

That brutality and the economy are related, now, I understand. When will you realize that as above, so below there is no love?

Billy Bragg

June 29, 2006

Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous, or when they are most luxurious.

They are conservatives after dinner.

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
New England Reformers, 1844

A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy.

Benjamin Disraeli, Speech in the House of Commons, Mar. 3, 1845
British politician (1804 – 1881)

June 27, 2006

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.

Albert Einstein

June 25, 2006

In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

Mark Twain

June 23, 2006

Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.

Charles Darwin, From Life and Letters

June 22, 2006

Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.


June 21, 2006

Now you see that the hope and the desire of returning home and to one’s former state is like the moth to the light, and that the man who with constant longing awaits with joy each new spring time, each new summer, each new month and new year–deeming that the things he longs for are ever too late in coming–does not perceive that he is longing for his own destruction. But this desire is the very quintessence, the spirit of the elements, which finding itself imprisoned with the soul is ever longing to return from the human body to its giver. And you must know that this same longing is that quintessence, inseparable from nature, and that man is the image of the world.

Leonardo Da Vinci, The Notebooks

June 20, 2006

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Benjamin Franklin (maybe)

No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion– or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt The Four Freedoms 1941

June 19, 2006

[Ivan:] “Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth”

“No, I wouldn’t consent,” said Alyosha softly.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, part 2, book 5, chapter 4, p. 291 (1945).