I dont know what to think, said Tom listlessly.

  Candidates for Oblivion:  Expressions I Would Be Pleased Never to Hear Again
w “prolly” for “probably”
w happy camper
w snail mail
w “no problem” as a substitute for “you’re welcome”
w “dearly departed” instead of “dear departed” (obvious confusion with “dearly beloved”)
w have the bandwidth to . . .
w . . . get my arms around . . .
w        . . . what’s on my plate
w “We have to do due diligence” or, worse, “We have to do diligence.”
w “normalcy” for “normality”
w “preventative” for “preventive”
w “orientated” for “oriented”
w “look-a-like,” “sing-a-long,” “tel-a-thon,” and all their misbegotten cousins
w and an assortment of common malapropisms: “venue” for “location,” “sensual” for “sensuous,” “closure” for “closing” (“early closure of the office”), “oversight” for “supervision,” and “expatriot” for “expatriate”


  Some Things I Truly Believe
wNo learning is wasted.
wThere’s nothing that can’t be improved by the addition of chocolate.
wThere’s no product so stupid that somebody won’t pay money for it.
wThere’s no notion so dumb that someone won’t believe it.
wNothing, absolutely nothing, is as simple as it ought to be.
wIf it’s gratitude you want, you don’t keep a cat.
wEverybody needs an editor—including the editor.
wThere’s always room for one more turkey in the refrigerator.
wThere are some things that only chocolate can help.


  Questions for the Universe
wWhy is it that once you reach middle age it is no longer possible to spoil your appetite?
wHow come you own more underwear when it’s dirty than you do when it’s clean?  (The same goes for dishes.)
wIs it cold in here?
wHow does Queen Elizabeth eat a bagel?
wDo somnambulists snore when they’re somnambulating?
wWhere are the practice cathedrals?
wHow does a bug know what to do next? When a bug sets out on a long trek across a stretch of barren pavement, what kind of decision-making process could possibly have preceded it?
wHow does a spider with such a little body produce so much goop?
wWhy are the excretory functions separated?
wWhat makes clean sheets feel tingly?


  Book and Movie Titles I’d Love to See
w How to Change the Way You Sneeze
w The Vaseline Story
w Garnishing Your Inner Pizza
w Brawn
w The Mouse of God


  Mental Adrenaline:  Words That Trigger a Rush of Ideas
w True beauty is like God: a fragment of beauty is beauty complete. 

—Auguste Rodin

(As quoted on a pedestal in a gallery of the Rodin collection at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, .)

w “Jesus was all virtue and acted from impulse, not rules.”

Context:  “Blake’s unique image of Christ, simultaneously humanist and antinomian (‘Jesus was all virtue and acted from impulse, not rules’) could be, in the available philosophy, derived only from the inspiration of a ‘madman’. It is exactly the absence of such an affirmative in the complacent doctrine of ‘benevolence’ to be found in the Godwinian circle which alienated Wordsworth and Coleridge. One might add that these affirmatives cannot easily be derived from materialist thought today. That is why every realisation of these values (such as Blake’s) is a plank in the floor upon which the future must walk.”

From “Four units at the personal-political base,” by Peter Cadogan.  Found here, 3/2/2002:

w Junk is the ideal product. The ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client. 
—William S. Burroughs
Found along with other good quotes & weird stuff here:


  All-Time Favorite TV Series
wFather Knows Best (1954–1960)
wThe Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1959)
wThe Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–1960)
wThe Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
wBonanza (1959–1973)
wBen Casey (1961–1966)
wMedical Center (1969–1976)
wThe Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)
wAll in the Family (1971–1979)
wM*A*S*H (1972–1983)
wBarnaby Jones (1973–1980)
wUpstairs, Downstairs (1974–1977)
wQuincy (1976–1983)
wThe Paper Chase (1978–1979+)     E-mail me to find out how to get this one on DVD.
wLou Grant (1977–1982)
wStar Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)

  All-Time Favorite Films
wLa Strada (Fellini; Quinn, Masina)
wCyrano de Bergerac (Ferrer)
wSnow White (Disney)
wGone with the Wind (Selznick; Gable, Leigh)
wThe Wizard of Oz (Garland, Bolger, Lahr)
wWillow (Howard; Kilmer, Davis, Whalley)
wMarie Antoinette (Power, Shearer)
wElvira Madigan (Degermark)
wA Christmas Carol (Sim)
wLord of the Rings trilogy (Jackson)


  Notes I Wrote Down in the Middle of the Night in the Serene Confidence That They
  Would Enable Me to Recall My Brilliant Idea When I Awoke in the Morning
wHow existential people really work
wWailing sirens of safety
wLogos—word beg. & end


  Eavesdroppings:  Memorable Lines Overheard by Chance
w “Yes, but did you get the dead skunks out of the bedroom?”
[Heard in a bank of public telephones in a San Francisco hotel]
w “This is the first time my daughter’s been in a town that had its own Safeway.”
[Heard in the swimming pool of a KOA camp in Willits, California (pop. 5000)]

  Selected Great Lines and Thought-Provoking Remarks by Real People

The brink of madness is the point at which the human mind departs from the shared vision of reality.

And what is beyond the brink?

True understanding of Jahweh.

—Nevin the Artist, Summer Solstice 2002 

wMake a life out of what’s around you right now.
—Mary Ager 

wGradual enlightenment just means that it takes a little longer for the 2 x 4 to land between your eyes.
—Dick Amyx

wI used to be afraid of dying, but not anymore. I don’t know what will happen when I do, but I think I’ll find out a lot of stuff. Goodness, I hope so. A simple explanation would be a great reward to those of us who put up with life long enough to die naturally.
—Laura Copeland 

wYou can’t buy a normal anything anymore. I can’t buy a fucking toothbrush. They all come with adjectives.
—Dick Amyx

 Style References Most Often Consulted
wBernstein, Theodore M., The Careful Writer:  A Modern Guide to English Usage (New York:  Atheneum, 1965).
wFowler, H. W., A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2nd ed. (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1965).
wMager, N. H., & Mager, S. K.  Prentice Hall Encyclopedic Dictionary of English Usage, 2nd ed.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:  Prentice Hall, 1993)
wMorris, William & Mary, Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage (New York:  Harper & Row, 1975).
wWilson, Kenneth G., The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (New York: MJF Books, 1993).

  Best Children’s Books
wThe Narnia stories of C. S. Lewis
wThe Andrew Lang fairy tales
wThe Winnie-the-Pooh books of A. A. Milne
wThe Oz books of L. Frank Baum
wThe Poky Little Puppy (Little Golden Books)
wThe Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings

  My Most Inspiring Teachers, Guides, and Heroes
wJean M. Smith
wWilbur H. Mullen
wBarbara Polsey, Beechwood Knoll School
wKay Gilmartin, Beechwood Knoll School
wEleanor E. Taylor, Central Junior High School
wJohn Duchesneau, Central Junior High School
wJohn S. Hofferty, North Quincy High School
wCharles B. O’Hare, Parsons College
wNels F. S. Ferre, Parsons College
wMichael Cooke, Boston University
wGeorge Starbuck, Boston University
wBob Dylan
wMary Ager
wShakyamuni Buddha
wJean-François Champollion
wLes Kaye
wPeter Schickele
wFred Rogers (1928-2003)
 And—my true role model:
wThe British eccentric

  Olympic Events I’d Like to See
wSock sort.  Contestants sort 100 pairs of white socks belonging to their own household.  Minimum number of adult-size male sock owners:  3.  Sort socks by owner and match in pairs.
wDish stack.  Contestants stack clean dishes in dishrack.  Minimum requirements in each of several categories, including glasses, plates, silverware, pots & pans.  Bonus points for gravity-defying feats.  Special bonus for Chinese-puzzle construction that can be safely dismantled only by removal of the right single item.
wGuilt-off.  Teams representing various religions compete for points in three events:  (1) taking guilt on themselves, (2) heaping guilt on fellow team members, and (c) laying guilt trips on the audience.  Special recognition for teams that successfully make members of other teams feel guilty.

  Things That Feel Immense But Are Really Very Tiny
wA poppy seed embedded in your gum
wA pebble in your shoe
wA potato chip crumb in your bra
wA pimple on your bottom
wA pea beneath twenty mattresses (but only if you are a real princess)

  Lost Things
wSchneeweisschen und Rosenrot, auf Deutsch, 1949 gift
wKey to the third-floor room at 21 Bromfield Street
wA trunk containing all my treasures, stolen when I was 18

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