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."
Istace also encourages participants to feel free to swear and drink while posing, telling Vice that "as soon as people get into the sequences they tend to naturally drink slowly." Metal music is also often played too, with albums by the likes of Metallica and Black Sabbath spinning in the background."
"Microdosing, he'd learned, wasn't about getting high. The doses were too small for that ("subperceptual" is the technical term), but rather about performing better by improving focus, concentration, memory, and creativity. He was convinced it might just help him change his life.
Instead of the "turn on, tune in, drop out" ethos that accompanied the psychedelic craze of the 1960s, this time it was more like tune in, turn on, and drop in with Rolling Stone reporting on it as a "hot new business trend" and Forbes calling it a Silicon Valley "job enhancer."
After decades of drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and a vast array of antidepressants promising to help us function better in the never-ending struggle to be good subjects of the modern economy, we expect our drugs to help us work smarter, to make us more efficient and less distracted. And LSD, in very small doses, seemed to offer precisely that."
So how did it go?
"As I stood at my desk or paced around the room, I realized that I felt it. I wasn't high. It wasn't like being stoned or tripping. It was just this extra sense of awareness and focus. Fadiman likes to compare it to a tune-up.
What was actually happening was that the LSD molecules were playing with my serotonin receptors, much like how modern antidepressants do. In fact, one of the biggest caveats the Hopkins experimenters make is that no one on antidepressants should take psychedelics, because no one knows how they might interact together."
Above all, chance makes its selection without any recourse to reasons. This quality is perhaps its greatest advantage, though of course it comes at a price.
‘What lotteries are very good for is for keeping bad reasons out of decisions,’ Stone told me. ‘Lotteries guarantee that when you are choosing at random, there will be no reasons at all for one option rather than another being selected.’ He calls this the sanitising effect of lotteries – they eliminate all reasons from a decision, scrubbing away any kind of unwanted influence. As Stone acknowledges, randomness eliminates good reasons from the running as well as bad ones. He doesn’t advocate using chance indiscriminately. ‘But, sometimes,’ he argues, ‘the danger of bad reasons is bigger than the loss of the possibility of good reasons.’
These symbols were used to protect the individual who created it or the area into which they inscribed the marking. At its core, these markings were used for good luck and fortune. At a deeper level, these witch marks offered protection to a particular individual or object from a specific threat or threats.
The idea of folklore and magic was intertwined with the everyday lives of those who worshiped at the parish church. Taking wine and bread at a church service meant physically taking the body and blood of Christ, while practices like ringing the church bell to ward off lightning and blessing the plough to ensure a healthy crop were all everyday tasks. This level of belief meant that differentiating between superstitious magic and "legitimate" church practice was very tricky.
Although many churches today have a bitter taste in their mouth when it comes to pentacles, in the medieval churches, pentacles were witch marks that served a specific function—one of protection. The pentacle offered five ways to protect you. It represented the five wounds of Christ, five faultless fingers, the five senses, the five joys of the Virgin Mary and her son, and the five virtues of knighthood.
Roman curses have also been discovered in medieval parishes, which take the form of the name of the person to be cursed along with a description of what's to happen to them. The entire text, or the person's name, is "corrupted" by being inverted or having letters jumbled. This curse was usually included alongside an astrological symbol, and in Roman times, the finished curse was thrown in water or nailed to a holy site like a shrine or temple. These same styles of curses are found in medieval churches."
Kumbh Vivaha or 'pot-marriage' is a commonly practiced Hindu astrological precaution in India. Men and women born under the slight or complete influence of the planet Mars—known as Mangliks, or 'Mars-cursed'—are said to be astrologically destined to wreck their marriages. (I do, however know many Mangliks who have managed to make it last, often longer than the non-Mangliks.) The only preventative measure is to marry a pot prior to your marriage to an actual human. Or a tree. Sometimes even a dog. No sex is involved, if you were curious.
Born with this astrological condition, I was in my late-twenties and single. My mother, who consults our family astrologer as much our family doctor, was understandably worried. Convinced that my single-ness had everything to do with my Manglik-ness, and nothing to do with my general resistance to the institution, she wanted me to marry a pot. "I can't tell my boss I am going to get married to a pot! I won't get a leave. I'll get fired," I reasoned with my mother on the phone, with my former editor as my alibi. "She (my editor) must know about this. Aishwarya Rai got married to a tree and your publication printed it," she countered.
Eight, intense and smoke-filled hours later, we traveled to the lake near the famous Amber fort in Jaipur to drown the pots. I still recall the stab of regret as I saw my pot bobbing away on the slimy surface of the water, eventually disappearing in the inky darkness. The pot that symbolized security, partnership, and support had to drown so I could possibly access all that in a real person.
On the car ride to the venue, my parents wouldn't stop joking about how both our husbands fell miserably short of their expectations or how they were sad that we'd get no insurance money after their imminent deaths, after we drowned them. My inherently amenable sister laughed along and even contributed to those terrible jokes as I churlishly stared out of the window for the three hour journey. I was furious at having to participate in a dumb charade that stood no ground in reasoning or logic. Of course, I could get married if I so wished, without worrying if the ill-fated alignment of my stars would kill or maim my future husband."
I normally wouldn't pay any attention to these people, but this is, uh, memorably weird.
"But six years after the reality show that launched their careers ended, and nine years after Heidi met Spencer, Speidi remains together.
The couple lives in self-imposed exile from Los Angeles. After MTV cancelled The Hills, they briefly moved to Costa Rica, where they had planned to purchase a house. When they arrived, they learned that real estate in South America can be just as expensive as it is in California. (Neither Spencer nor Heidi bothered to google prices before they boarded a plane.) For nearly six months, Heidi and Spencer say they lived in a Ritz Carlton in Costa Rica, ordering room service for themselves and their four dogs for every meal. By the end of their stay, they were broke.
"[The Hills getting cancelled] was our 9/11," Spencer says.
Today, Heidi and Spencer live rent-free in Spencer's dad's beachside vacation home near Santa Barbara. At their front gate, they've installed a laser security system typically reserved for museums, but Spencer admits they don't really need it. "Nobody wants to break into our home anymore," he says. "They google our new worth and see we are worth $10."
Then she spotted Spencer in a booth surrounded by Playboy playmates. She had never seen one man with so many models; Spencer's game impressed her. "I was like cartoon goo-goo eyes, heart falling out of my head," Heidi recalls. She decided to steal Spencer from the playmates' clutches. They may be cute, but they don't have my dance moves, Heidi remembers thinking.
"What you don't realize is that when you fake fight, you make people hate you. It's not fun."
"When I started realizing I'm on The Today Show, and I'm getting verbally accosted by the weatherman, with all due respect, I was like, Something is wrong here," Spencer says.
In the office, Spencer says, the doctor showed him how much the procedures typically cost. All the prices were crossed out on the sheet of paper. "Tax was $0," Spencer says. He started thinking about how this would help them on the show. "And at this point, we were all for plot, so "$300,000 free?" Season four ratings had dipped by 25 percent. In 2009, Jersey Shore premiered; when Snooki got punched, she instantly eclipsed Hills stars as America's favorite starlet. Spencer and Heidi knew they needed to step up their crazy, so they took the surgery deal.
He went out and started buying more crystals, hoping the decorative ornaments could restore their sanity. "I was hoping I could be a wizard at that point," Spencer says. "I was like 'Fuck it, I need magical powers to get out of this.'"
"You definitely were on a spiritual quest," Heidi agrees.
"Yeah, I was trying to find wizard powers!"
"Why were you trying to find wizard powers?" I ask.
"Because we needed magic," Spencer says.
"We were going down," Heidi adds.
"I needed, fucking, a spell to get us out of there. I needed some Harry Potter magic," Spencer says. "You could feel the energy, the hate. We needed to counteract this darkness."
After MTV cancelled The Hills, they scrapped Speidi's spin-off. Spencer and Heidi had saved none of their fortune. They had invested millions in Heidi's failed music career. They assumed they could live comfortably off paparazzi photos, but as social media exploded, the value of paparazzi photos declined. Why would US Weekly buy a paparazzi photo when they could use a celebrity's Instagram selfie for free?
Poverty forced them to accept what they had done. They pioneered the reality TV game without a road map. In the last four years, they've appeared on foreign reality shows and Marriage Boot Camp. For a few weeks a year, they play Speidi, but then they go home to their house, where they live alone and avoid the public. They spend most their time together, which they live stream on Snapchat, drinking, cuddling, and watching reality TV.
"The biggest misconception about us," Heidi says, "is that we wouldn't do it all over again."