Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Quotes 2015


   What was great about the 50s is that for one brief moment -- maybe, say, six weeks -- nobody understood art.
   Morton Feldman

   You're going to preposterously and conniptionly stand there in front of my indelible face and try to tell me that? You're going to umbilically and contraptionally stand there with your Sherry-Netherlands hanging out and tell me that?
   Sid Caesar

   Picasso had nicknamed Georges Braque "Wilbur," thereby becoming "Orville" in their Wright Brothers-like ambition to get painting off the ground of conventional representation.
   Peter Schjeldahl

   Unlike the talent for war, the ability to make peace has always been rare.
   Lawrence Wright

   According to former team president Jon Spoelstra, one of the lowest of the the Nets low points came during his tenure. "We had six guys in jail," he said. "Not together, because that would have meant teamwork."
   Bill Littlefield

   I don't read Scripture and cling to no life precepts, except perhaps to Walter Cronkite's rules for old men, which he did not deliver over the air: Never trust a fart. Never pass up a drink. Never ignore an erection.
   Roger Angell

   I noticed that some of my deadness was being replaced by an intense feeling about the Greek stories and the Bible stories. They were similar. There was something naked about these stories. Terrible things happened, and then some more terrible things.
   Susanna Kaysen, "Cambridge"

   A child who had been introduced to misery in Saudi Arabia, a teenager who went to wage jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, a deeply devout Muslim who had graduated with honors in medicine, a man who had fed a stranger to wild dogs in Damascus, a zealot who had dosed three foreigners with smallpox and watched them die in agony, gave thanks to Allah for the blessings that had been bestowed upon him.
   Terry Hayes, "I Am Pilgrim"


   Not to worry: After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game.

   Margaret Thatcher, re England losing in soccer to Germany

   Recently remodelled from the fire station, it was a place where self-published poets found a platform, and sour white wine was dispensed from boxes; on Saturday mornings there were classes in self-assertion, yoga and picture framing.
   Hilary Mantel, "The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher"

   My mother remembers that in 1967 her father, my grandfather, a Communist and anti-Zionist, saw images on television of Israeli warplanes and muttered quietly, as if embarrassed by the sentiment, "Imagine, an air force of Jewish boys."
   Mark Oppenheimer, "Zionism for Refugees"

   "Just the years kicking in," Claire said. "Did you know dead is the new eighty?"
   Anne Bernays "X-ray"

   "Philosospasms" -- the kind we often suffered stogether.
   David Cronenberg, "Consumed"

   I won't have to miss smoking any more. Nobody smokes where I'm going: It's like a row of restaurants in California.
   Clive James

   Portnoy is as rich with ire as with lust. Who isn't? Look at Robert Fagles's translation of "The Iliad." What's the first word? "Rage." That is how the whole of European literature begins: singing the virile rage of Achilles.
   Philip Roth

   They walked together for a little, arm in arm. They were talking about their bowel movements. Loyalty from that quarter was the one thing necessary, said Ricasoli, for absolute peace of mind.
   Penelope Fitzgerald, "Innocence"

   Several of the now-banned acts (for example, face-sitting) are cornerstones of "femdom" pornography, which carries explicit messages of female domination, agency and pleasure.
   Jenny Kutner "UK bans spanking and female ejaculation in porn."

SCHOLEM: This is hashish. . . not tobacco!
ADORNO (astonished): How did you get hold of hashish up here?
BENJAMIN (laughs): If you must know, Sigmund Freud told me where to get some.
ADORNO: I thought he was into cocaine.
BENJAMIN: The same dealer handles both.
   Carl Djerassi, "Four Jews on Parnassus -- A Conversation: Benjamin, Adorno, Scholem, Schönberg"

FOR 2015

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Etgar Keret: The Other Israel.

The religious nationalism of contemporary Israeli culture is unappetizing, to say the least, especially the ongoing land grab of the West Bank underwritten by selective readings from the Hebrew Bible, as if that vast corpus of literature was dedicated only to conquest and exclusion and did not early on express compassion and a quasi-universalist respect for the condition of others. And, mostly, as if the Hebrew Bible, whatever its various and contradictory impulses and urgings, should govern life today.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Obama swinging for the fences. . .

Obama going out in style. Many things necessary, he's getting to them now.

We've got the basis of a decent health care system, something worthy of this nation, and it will survive — be improved and built upon — unless Republicans succeed in pulling it down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cats 'n Popes

Ok, so maybe, according to the new dispensation, dogs can go to heaven, maybe, by extension, horse flies, June bugs, hippos, pythons, tarantulas, lice, hermit crabs, and, for all I know, velociraptors. Who can tell? Who can plumb the mind of a Pope?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dick Cheney: Post Orwell

It's not often, if ever, that Dick Cheney makes me laugh. But I outright guffawed when I read his response to a question about whether he thought rectal feeding — in common parlance, shoving food matter (humus, veal, wanton soup, olives, onions, hot peppers, what have you, whatever the menu ) — up a prisoner's rear end — as applied by the C.I.A. according the Senate report, might constitute torture. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Post Orwell: Dick Cheney

Very interesting analysis by J.J. Goldberg in the current issue of the Forward** of the bill before the Knesset to decree Israel a Jewish state, which it is already understood to be, anyway, going back to the U.N. vote to partition Palestine between Jewish and Arab states.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cops get off. That's how it goes.

The failure of a grand jury to charge the cop or cops responsible for choking Eric Garner to death in Staten Island for the crime of selling cigarettes should alarm us all, white or black.

Point is: cops get off. Grand juries do not indict them, except very rarely, and only after extraordinary and exhausting effort. Families wanting to press civil suits when grand juries fail to function with regard to criminal charges rarely have the deep legal or emotional resources necessary.