Cecil, Welcome to Night Vale: "The problem wasn’t solved, but most problems don’t get solved. I mean, generally we just do our best to mitigate the problem, and if it can’t be mitigated, then it can be relegated to a background noise by pleasant distractions and a prioritization of interests."
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."
"We tried [to do poop-related obstacles] but they were not allowed. We couldn’t show a butt, but we could do a mouth. We could do a nose. We even got turned down for an armpit at one point in time. I’m still not even sure why."
At the beginning, we didn’t know it was going to be the messiest show on Earth until we really started to develop it.
Usually it was predicated on a couple of criteria, amongst which was, “What’s messy?” So that led us to a giant nose that you have to pick. And then when we got the idea for the One-Ton Human Hamster Wheel, it was just, “Let’s take things and make large versions of them.”
We tried [to do poop-related obstacles] but they were not allowed. We couldn’t show a butt, but we could do a mouth. We could do a nose. We even got turned down for an armpit at one point in time. I’m still not even sure why.
Somebody was just asking me today about the gumball machine, and I said, “It was enormous. It was so high that it almost grazed the light grid overhead.” And they asked, “Why would they build it that big?” And I said, “Because they could.” Nickelodeon, god bless them, in those days, they were either just complete loonies or they had no idea that you needed to control these maniacs, but they really gave us a lot of creative freedom.
“Look, this is the Sundae Slide. You should try and go up the side,” and so forth. “When you come down, lift your feet up. Try and put your butt right into the whipped cream instead of your feet, so your feet stay dry and you’ll do better on the obstacle course. It may feel more messy, but you’re going to do better.” “Grab the flag but don’t carry it with you. Stuff it in your shirt, and move on to the next.”
Marc Summers, host: You might as well have said stuff in Spanish, French, or Japanese. They never heard a word of it, because we’d say, “On your mark, get set, go!” and they forgot everything, and then when they couldn’t do it, they couldn’t understand why. We gave them every hint that was legally possible, and they wouldn’t follow through on it.
I think after five episodes I went, “Oh, my god, they really don’t give a crap about the prizes. They just want to get goo all over them and be given permission to jump into a vat of green mess and get completely covered head to toe.”
I still have memories of how, when [the whipped cream] fell, it curdled. We cleaned up, but you never got it all. Over the years, we’d do some of the same obstacles. We’d clean them all, but every year when we got them out of storage, they’d still smell like sour milk.
Robin Russo, production assistant: I can’t eat whipped cream to this day. I can’t smell it, and I can’t look at it.
When you fill a tank that big with baked beans, you want to get your money’s worth. So all week, we got 25 episodes out of the baked beans. The end of the week comes, and they’ve been under the lights all week long, sitting there at night stewing away. We go, “How do we get rid of all these baked beans?”
[Steve Pannepacker] called the honey wagon. You know, the guy who brings the big sucker truck that sucks out septic tanks. He’s parked outside on 7th and Arch in Philadelphia, and he runs a big, long hose into the baked bean tank that’s been there all week under the lights and sucks it out.
John Harvey, announcer: He came back in and said, “You guys know what I do for a living? This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”
We were always asked about the waste of food. That was a hot topic of conversation while we were shooting the show. It always bothered me greatly. The first time I was asked that, I was stunned. They said, “Don’t you feel like you’re wasting food? There are starving people in the world.” I was just amazed. Really? Somebody who is starving would want our whipped cream and chocolate syrup? It just seemed silly.
Klinghoffer [eventually] made [something] up, because he was the best at this stuff. [He would say] we would go to food warehouses and try and find product that was dated that they couldn’t sell in supermarkets or to restaurants anymore, and they would sell us the dated stuff. It was more B.S. than I can begin to tell you, but we just got tired of dealing with people saying that we were not helping homeless people by throwing eggs and using pudding.
From that point, they always looked at the kids’ applications, and if any kid had a parent who was an attorney, they never got on the show after that."
"The thing is, close to half the country’s households have dogs — and they’re not the same half who voted for Clinton or Trump. Shouldn’t we at least be able to have respectful discourse about dogs, I wondered?"
"Mr. Mars has never once implied any political allegiance, and god willing never will. A website called Hollowverse wrote of Bruno Mars’s politics, “The total lack of information regarding Bruno Mars’ religion and political beliefs is so staggering, that one speculates that Mars completely lacks depth and maybe even intelligence.” I would disagree. Bruno Mars is a man who simply came here to do what he came to do, and that is — historically — to have fun, look good, and be funky. And now more than ever, this is what he must do.
Recently there has been an expectation that America’s pop stars weigh in on politics: Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga all have. Over the next few years, people will turn imploringly to Bruno Mars for guidance and light in the darkness. It will not be because of his sudden transformation into an outspoken surrogate for the Democratic Party. It will be because of his lifelong commitment to the Party Party."
"For decades Disneyland has maintained a tradition of referring to its employees as cast members. I suppose they do this to remind their employees to be actor-like and play their assigned roles to create a certain type of experience for the visitors. But the word cast has other meanings that seem just as suitable for employees, as in “cast in stone” or a plaster covering to hold a broken limb stationary. If you’re a cast member, this could also mean that you’re trapped or stuck, as if you’ve been poured into a mold and expected to harden there. To regain your freedom, you’ll have to remove the cast.
In this sense Disneyland is a reflection of the larger reality. We’re all noticing the rudderless, broken systems that blanket much of the modern world, yet we still show up and subject ourselves to them. We still pour ourselves into the casts necessary for those systems to keep working, even though we all know it’s a fake way to explore and experience reality together.
What about all the other broken systems in our lives? For a broken system to keep operating, people have to keep participating. If no one went to Disneyland or if no one was willing to work there, it would have to shut down, and the space would eventually be repurposed for something else.
That said, the reason we keep using broken systems is that we haven’t replaced them with anything better yet. Disneyland has many flaws, but it still generally functions, and it performs a purpose. It isn’t a perfect experience, and it can be frustrating sometimes, but if you’re in the mood for a day of fun and fantasy in Southern California, it’s a decent choice. If there were a clearly better option in this market, it would replace Disneyland."
I gotta warn the election-sensitive that there's a light election trigger warning farther down in the piece, though. Though dude, even though you say you're not interested in politics...
"When I see someone who wants to step up and help create positive change, but they’re being disempowered by broken systems and dysfunctional social circles that don’t understand them, that’s an itch that I can’t ignore, and it’s also an itch that I can scratch. That’s the sweet spot of a life purpose – finding an itch that bothers you but which you can also scratch."
"Brunstetter’s play centers on Jane (Sarah Baskin), an unemployed 25-year-old crashing on her sister’s couch, who plays The Oregon Trail in between avoiding the job search, drinking heavily, and sleeping with inappropriate men. She’s a mess, basically, and probably clinically depressed, although the play kind of dances around this fact.
But it’s hard to argue that it wouldn’t be more fun to just play The Oregon Trail, which you can now do online, for free—a fact written into the script of this Oregon Trail, just in case you didn’t already know."
"Not only does The Oregon Trail feature an HBO-style lack of censorship (including a bare-vagina, bare-butt doggy style sex scene), "but there's also a photo booth outside the theater that suggests the play's title for your hashtag.
Given the title of local playwright Bekah Brunstetter's work, it could be easily mistaken for a period drama. And in the loosest sense possible, half of it is. Oscillating between 1848 and 2009, it's a tale of two Janes: one a hopelessly depressed modern-day Oregonian (Sarah Baskin) and Jane's great-great grandmother (Alex Leigh Ramirez), forced to follow the grueling Oregon Trail.
Propelled through time by a narrator (Leif Norby), Now Jane is a broke college grad kicked out of her parents' house, unable to find a job and paralyzed with fear at even having to choose one. In a depressive stupor on the couch of her well-adjusted sister (Emily Yetter), Now Jane sits at her laptop and plays The Oregon Trail, craving distraction but instead gaining insights into her family's history of depression."
Since time immemorial, men have worried irrationally about perceived threats to their penises. Long before there was castration anxiety, there was something far more sinister: the myth of phallus-stealing witches who kept wriggling, dismembered members as pets.
In the Middle Ages, witches were thought to have various magical dick-ruining capabilities, the most sinister of which is the ability to make the sex organ vanish entirely. According to Smith, the Malleus Maleficarum details three specific case studies in which witches were said to have magically deprived men of their penises. The first two simply involve men having their genitals hidden by some magical illusion—witches "can take away the male organ," Heinrich Kramer writes, "not indeed by despoiling the human body of it, but by concealing it with some glamour."
The third account notoriously mentions the phenomenon of witches keeping disembodied penises as pets and feeding them oats and other nutritious grains."
"Both North and South Dakota wished to become a state before the other, perhaps as an attempt to be the “true” Dakota. And as a matter of practical reality, one had to be first, as the final mechanism for becoming a state requires the President of the United States sign an order to that effect, making simultaneous admission impossible. But President Benjamin Harrison had an idea. He requested that his Secretary of State, James Blaine, shuffle the admission documents and obfuscate which was which. Harrison signed both on November 2, 1889, without any knowledge as to which he signed first. To the extent that Blaine knew which order was signed first, he never let on. To date, and likely forever, no one knows which Dakota entered the Union first."