Sarah Silverman: "Nothing’s more attractive than an unending monologue about your shortcomings."
Carolyn Hax: "Sometimes surrendering to the awful is more useful than fighting it."
Graham Joyce: "why can’t our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?"
Dan Harmon: "I believe in magic. I believe in mythology. I believe in shamanism. I believe that spells can be cast and I believe that random things coalesce and reveal themselves to be part of a plan we don’t control, you know."
Nora Ephron: "Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly."
McAlvie "The ultimate downfall of modern civilization won't be war; it'll be Twitter and Facebook."
Jenny Zhang: "A lot of writers swear by routine, but I swear by chaos. There’s enough fucking routine in my life. Every day I have to brush my teeth. Every day I have to smile at strangers. Every day I have to worry about money. Every day I want something I can’t have. Every day I find some way to go on! I know that writing every day for an hour would help me tremendously with writer’s block, but I also know that I need an element of wildness in my writing. I need to know that writing is something I do because it sets me free. It makes me feel golden with confidence. It gives me the gift of gab. I feel like a god. I feel like an entertainer. So write when you damn well please."
Joe Queenan: "If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment. People in the 19th century fell in love with "Ivanhoe" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" because they loathed the age they were living through. Women in our own era read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Eyre" and even "The Bridges of Madison County"—a dimwit, hayseed reworking of "Madame Bovary"—because they imagine how much happier they would be if their husbands did not spend quite so much time with their drunken, illiterate golf buddies down at Myrtle Beach. A blind bigamist nobleman with a ruined castle and an insane, incinerated first wife beats those losers any day of the week. Blind, two-timing noblemen never wear belted shorts."
LogicalDash: "Nobody of any age should have to fend off sexual partners. That such defense is assumed as a part of the cost of adult courtship is suggestive of some more fundamental problem than age difference and its effect on consensuality."
Keith Richards: "I had to invent the job, you know," he said, earlier. "There wasn't a sign in the shop window, saying, "Wanted: Keith Richards."
Caitlin Moran: "As I started to reassess my writing style, I thought about what I liked doing--what gave me satisfaction--and realized the primary one was just... pointing at things. Pointing out things I liked, and showing them to other people--like a mum shouting, "Look! Moo-cows!" as a train rushes past a farm. I liked pointing at things, and I liked being reasonable and polite about stuff. Or silly. Silly was very, very good. No one ever got hurt by silly.
Best of all was being pointedly silly about serious things: politics, repression, bigotry. Too many commentators are quick to accuse their enemies of being evil. It's far, far more effective to point out that they're acting like idiots, instead. I was up for idiot-revealing.
"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided. "When I started writing, I would have killed to have one thing to write about. Now, I have three. Politeness and silliness, and pointing. That's enough."
Carolyn Hax: "Unless 15 years’ worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, “You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
David Simon: "Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."
Joe Queenan: "People who read an enormous number of books are basically dissatisfied with the way things are going on this planet. And I think, in a way, people read for the same reason that kids play video games ... they like that world better. It works better, it's more exciting, and it usually has a more satisfactory ending."
Dan Savage: "There isn't someone for everyone. Some of us do wind up alone, and that just fucking sucks and sometimes that stings, and you don't know if you're one of those people who's going to wind up alone until you die alone....So you kind of have to live in hope and build a life for yourself that's rewarding and fun, has friends and pleasure in it, whether you're alone or not."
the painkiller: "I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered."
Steve Jobs: "Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Miss Manners: "Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?"
Stephen Tobolowsky: "And of course, nothing is what I figured on in my life. That seems to be a recurring theme."
James Bulls: "When you find yourself walking a true path, you will know it because you will want to walk it no matter the burning Sun, freezing sleet, torrential rain, and treacherous ground. The risks become no less and the journey as always exhausts you, but your desire to brave the challenges never diminishes."
Amy Argetsinger: "Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings."
Cary Tennis: "You don't have to "move on" either. Not until you're ready. People say, Oh, you should be grateful. They say, Oh, it's time for you to move on. I'm like, What are you, a cop with a nightstick? I'll move on when I'm done playing the blues on my harmonica, thank you very much."
Mark Morford: "It is 2011 and here is what we know: Reality is fluid, fact is malleable, cause and effect completely uncertain. We know what we don't know, but we also know the opposite."
Charlie Jane Anders: "Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you'll never achieve your true greatness — you didn't choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose."
Roger Ebert: "To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up."
Myca: "Jesus is not the reason for the season, and there's no way I need to act like he is. Christmas is a stolen tradition. There's no reason we can't steal it back."
Lady Gaga: "I hate the holidays! I'm alone and miserable, you fucking dumb bit of toy!"
Dianna Agron: "I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate."
John Mayer: "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."
Vanessa, Something Positive: "I like 'em crazy. You hear insane rants, I hear a reminder that the sex is interesting. Oooh! Hear that? Tonight's gonna tingle."
Anonymous: “Your problem is that you want to be an artist. What you need to be is an artisan.”
Sugar: "Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."
Wide Lawns: "Often very odd things happen to me. Usually they are not my fault and mostly beyond my control."
Anonymous reporter: “When weird shit happens around here, weird shit really happens around here.”
Anne Johnson: "Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think."
Carl Mayer: "Whenever I start to feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be, “Cops” is there to put everything into perspective. Yeah, I haven’t made all the right moves over the last 34 years, but I’m not hiding from the police under a kiddie pool, either."
John Scalzi: "In retrospect, it’s a little weird to think that my entire future was falling into place as I obliviously tucked into the El Presidente chimichanga platter, but of course, that’s life for you — the most important days of your existence don’t always announce themselves in obvious ways."
Tart and Soul: "Indeed, love comes whether we have braced ourselves for it or not. But commitment offers a choice, tapping us on the shoulder to say, “sorry to bother you. Is this a good time?”
"At some point, snack food companies realized that their core demographic was a group of young adult men who love being reminded that they're fragile idiots. Since then, almost every single one of their commercials has revolved around that premise. Point in case, every Doritos Super Bowl commercial for the past five years.
It may seem like a strange advertising tactic to relentlessly insult the only people who buy your product, but keep in mind that this is the same target audience willing to purchase shame-inspired "Late Night" Doritos in the flavors of tacos and cheeseburgers. Anyone who's willing to spend an all-nighter with dyed orange fingertips and meat-flavored MSG dust in his neck beard isn't exactly prioritizing self-esteem. Instead, these men are compelled to cram their faces full of more corn chips every time they see themselves outwitted and overpowered onscreen by lap dogs and babies. It is a relationship I will never understand."
So I'm a tree-hugging hippie*, I admit it. I've had enough Weird Experiences to make me think there's Something Out There, so I pay attention to things like that when others have 'em. I am currently working on a book review to post in a few weeks (cannot believe I've got so many in the hopper on the book blog lately, but I do) and while I was writing that up, I looked at the author's blog and hoo boy, do I ever like this contest, even if I don't think I have anything super awesome to enter in it.
* minus the actual tree-hugging because honestly, they're covered in ants.
Anyway, I'd like to call your attention to a few of my favorites from the contest.
The White Envelope:"This person said they had to do something for you. They felt called to do it. By God."
The Taylor Bug:"But there was no way I could say, "Hey, man, I dreamed you were sick, and it turned out to be true. Discuss in 500 words or less."
The Case of the Decapitated Toad:"For the first time in my life (as far back as I care to remember, anyway) it was telling me I needed to talk to him. I needed to get to know him. That maybe, even, I needed to cut a slit in that bubble of mine and reach through it." Anon E. Moose, you are an excellent writer and I hope you win.
Night Visits:"You don't make friends and influence people. You make minions and terrify 'em."
The Talented Unbeliever:"I once told a gambling addict that the third of the $1 scratch cards would win him $5 and the 4th of the $25 cards would win $200. And I was spot on."
The Magic of Cowriting:"In a way, witches (in the pop-culture sense of women with some sort of occult/paranormal skill) and famous people both exist in slightly different worlds than than regular people; there’s a scrutiny and power that comes with both categories.
So once we realized we were witches -- accepting a given value of witchery here -- the next question becomes: Well, what do we do with that power?" Oooh, that gives me chills.
Follow the Raven, Part 1 and Part 2:"So I tell you what: I need a damned sign. If you're so hell-bent on me continuing to do this path stuff, this writing bullshit, the whole thing, then you'd better damned well speak up and throw me a bone, or I'm through."
"Well, over the weekend, I got a rather unexpected email from Mathew Carpenter, the founder himself. It turns out that he had read my book Trust Me, I’m Lying and some of my Betabeat columns on trading up the chain and media sourcing. This partially inspired his unusual experiment to test his marketing skills, have some fun and see how the media really works. By accident, he revealed two very clear things to us all: how great the demand for weird, funny startups actually is and how desperate and derivative the online media is these days. In fact, he told many reporters exactly what he was doing but they chose not to print it—for fear it would ruin their story or make them look bad.
In what is now the Observer’s second big exclusive on a media stunt that fooled nearly everyone in media, I was able to ask Mathew some questions about what happened, what he saw and what he learned and how this stunt came to be. I hope his answers provide some insight for readers on how the news works these days—but more importantly I hope it chastises increasingly lazy reporters. Oh and I hope everyone gives Mathew some credit, because this whole thing was absolutely brilliant from top to bottom."
When I read something like that, I don't think, "Oh noes, the poor brother and his broken heart!" I think "oh shit, that guy must be abusive on some level." Because no lady dumps a dude by moving out while he's out and DISAPPEARING without a word (and her family won't reveal where she's gone) unless she fears for her life. Seriously.
Anyway, this sister of the guy's is writing in for...some reason... and she mentions a few other charming personality traits of his that also raise the red flags. Such as "control freak" and "food Nazi" and "criticizes anyone who doesn't work out as much as he does" and "quotes hippie gurus and doesn't follow their advice." I'm sorry that he's her only family because he sounds like a scary mofo. Not to mention Super Pleasant to deal with.
“On paper, most of the sets look impossible,” says Leo Yoshimura, a designer who has been with SNL — which celebrates its 40th anniversary with a special episode on February 15, from 8 to 11 p.m. — since the beginning. “But I don’t remember any instance when we said we couldn’t do it. We always do it.”
According to designer Joe DeTullio, this week has been less impossible than most. “We’ve built a lot of castles over the years,” he says. Castles are nothing compared to, say, the exploding whale built for a show in May. (“I was really worried about that one,” says Raywood. “There was going to be guts flying all over the place. But it worked out.”)
"How much of the film is a direct translation of Purple Rain?
When we started, we were making a remake of the film, but pretty quickly we were having to write in new scenes because things didn't work or weren't culturally appropriate—like, entire plot-lines of Purple Rain. There's this domestic violence plot line, and the father's attempt at suicide. None of that works in Niger. It happens, but it's not something you put in a movie.
Why is that?
First off, it's too heavy of a plot to put in a movie. Actors are really uncomfortable being involved in a project that deals with serious issues, because there could potentially be a backlash in the community. If we talked about some religious thing, and then some local imam gets upset about it—we don't want to have those type of problems. Or if there's an on-screen kiss, or even a hug, maybe the reputation of that actress is going to be sullied by that. We had to walk this really fine line, but it wasn't hard to do that because pretty much anything I suggested was often vetoed by the actors. The idea of us needing to be extra sensitive, a lot of times it felt like the other way around. I had to be like, "No, we really need this scene. I'm sorry, but you guys have to ride on the motorcycle together."
And the things that didn't translate, we just didn't translate. We're not going to do the scene where Apollonia takes off her clothes and jumps into a lake.
So at no point does Mdou tell a woman to purify herself in any body of water?
No, but we did have to come up with a little joke he could play on the Apollonia character. Something a lot more subdued and harmless. He's talking to her and he says, "You've got to be careful. In the desert, it's really hard, there's a lot of insects and bugs." And she's like, "I love the desert. I was born out in the desert. My family's nomadic." And he's like, "That's good, because the motorcycle is out of gas so we have to sleep out here tonight." She freaks out, runs over and checks the motorcycle. There's gas in it, so she fires it up, and he has to run off after her.
Are there other examples of that, of scenes you had to tweak for the film?
Mdou has a conflict with his father in the film, to the point where his father finds his guitar and burns it. Not exactly Purple Rain, but it's a conflict with his dad. I didn't want them to have a pushing fistfight like in Purple Rain, but at least show some emotion. "Your dad just burned your guitar, you should be angry!" And when we did the scene, he just sort of talked to his father, shook his head and walked off. I said, "We have to do it again. He just burned your guitar!" And he was like, "Yeah, but we don't yell at our parents here." When I showed that scene to people here in Portland to get some feedback, they said the same thing I said, that I should've had him do a better job of showing anger there. So I think that's one of the things when showing it here won't really translate over. "Why didn't the actor do this? Why wasn't it better?" Well, that's why. It made it hard to be a director in that sense, because at times I didn't know if it was the actors being uncomfortable or if it was something where I had to bend. So there was a lot of push and pull."
"I feel obligated to say that This War of Mine is “important,” to impress upon other people that I’m glad it exists. The truth is that I’m not glad I played it, and I wish that I hadn’t. Yet any way that I can think of to make This War of Mine more accessible to me would involve destroying what it fundamentally is. Other games make that compromise all the time: they make murder fun, or torture, or stealing, or even mowing the lawn. Sometimes, these games will try to make you feel guilty for playing them—by shaming you for killing all of those buffalo, perhaps—but This War of Mine flips that trope on its head, since it isn’t fun to begin with. If you behave badly in the game (by stealing or killing other civilians), then you get even unhappier endings. It starts out sad and it only gets sadder. All you can do is hope for the least sad ending to your already-doomed story."
Fifty Shades of Grey (February 13): If you are excited about this movie I weep for you and the souls of your present and future children.
Chappie (March 6): Neill Blomkamp (District 9) makes a movie about a kidnapped robot. I would much rather see that Alien 5 thing he was supposedly working on.
Zombeavers (March 20): This is a film about zombie beavers. I don't think it is getting a major release, but it does exist and is slated for some sort of release on this date. I just had to mention it.
Furious 7 (April 3): I'm not absolutely sure, but I'm thinking some cars drive around really fast and stuff in this one.
"But here's the thing: the binoculars were on the ship. But they were locked up, and the key to the locker didn't make the trip. That's because right before the Titanic sailed, the company that ran the cruise made a split-second decision to replace the ship's second officer, David Blair, with another guy, Charles Lightoller, who had more experience working on giant ships and was thus less likely to, say, get them all run aground on an iceberg. So Blair missed out on the cruise of a lifetime, but as he waved goodbye to the departing Titanic, he neglected to realize that the locker keys were still in his pocket. He probably got a good laugh and a forehead slap out of it after he got home and emptied his pockets on the kitchen counter. The key remained a souvenir in his family to remember the cruise he narrowly missed, and nobody saw it again until it came up for auction in 2014. Meanwhile, back in 1912, the crew aboard the fateful ship soon realized that they couldn't get into the locker but opted not to turn around for the sake of a cheap pair of binoculars. After all, the lookout crew had a perfectly good set of eyes, and the Titanic was unsinkable. The oversight, which might have become known as BinocularGate if it had occurred later in history, was a notorious blunder in the Titanic tragedy. In 2012, on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, an anonymous prankster left a pair of binoculars on Fleet's grave with an apology note for the late delivery. Too soon, asshole.
When someone asked him when this was to take effect, Schabowski flipped through the speech he hadn't read, and unable to find the answer, and probably feeling like his fly was undone in front of the world's press, he shrugged and said, "Immediately, right away." The press ran back to their typewriters and visors and declared to the world that East Germany had just canceled the Berlin Wall, effective, like, right fucking now. The resulting frenzy at the border was too much for authorities to handle, and although they considered firing on the crowd, they decided that doing so would escalate the situation to an all-out heads-in-guillotines revolution. So the military fell back, the wall came down, communism ended, David Hasselhoff sang a song, and politicians everywhere learned how important it was to read the goddamn speech before a press conference."