WORDS WORDS WORDS

Passages from books, funny or philosophical or just interesting, that have stuck with me.

She broke the seal and read the letter. It was addressed to her, and after the salutations, it read:
"Have been unavoidably detained by the world.
Expect us when you see us."
-- Stardust, Neil Gaiman

Unlike the zombie apocalypse, global annihilation offered a different, better consolation: not that I could escape death, but that when I died, I got to take everyone else with me. I may not have been there at the beginning of creation, but I would be there to turn the lights out. It just felt right.
-- Vacationland, John Hodgman

Levitt has a goofy, lopsided smile and a pale complexion. I couldn't recall, while writing this, whether his hair was grey, so I typed his identifiers into Google Images. A photograph of a can of baked beans came up.
-- Gulp, Mary Roach

February 23, 2012: Bill Clinton goes on CNN claiming that he has been visited by his own ghost. He said that he found it to be very frightening, as he was not dead yet. "But what this means," a visibly disraught Bill Clinton tells Piers Morgan, "is that some time in the future, I will be dead! And I need the help of all Americans to stop this!"
-- That Is All, John Hodgman

For many years I struggled with a terrible and embarrassing problem: I would be introduced to someone, and I would forget that person's name. Even if the person said his or her name slowly and loudly, and even if I repeated that person's name even more slowly, and even more loudly, I would instantly forget it. This is probably because I don't care about other people and secretly suspect that they are all robots, and I am the only person who is really alive.
-- More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman

Everything that exists or occurs makes absolute and complete sense, but in order to understand, you must have access to all of the relevant facts. Don't try to fill in the missing pieces your self, because there are complicated variables at work here, and you are likely to fit the wrong pieces into the wrong locations.
-- a geocities site I found once

Oh, how these dead people who lived in houses on lots where they had cut down most of the trees loved trees. How they loved to be out in the trees. The tales they told about the trees and how they loved them. Perhaps because the trees did not resist. Trees fell over of their own accord, sometimes, as if to prove their love of the axe. The chain saw that felled most of them just completed a tree's own inevitable thought.
-- Dead Astronauts, Jeff VanderMeer

You never talk about your past with anyone. Talking just releases memories into the air, and they aren't really yours anymore, or they become changed or other people capture them and hold them prisoner. You want to keep them. The bad ones might infect someone.
-- Dead Astronauts, Jeff VanderMeer

"How are you?"
I am completely fucking hatstand. "Not sure."
-- A Boy's Book of Practical Magic to Mystify, Baffle and Entertain, Phosfate

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
-- The Call of Cthulu, H.P. Lovecraft

SAVE OFTEN! SAVE MORE OFTEN! NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO SAVE!
-- a C programming instruction booklet

Horror as an art form, as escape, as a rendition of what had just happened, became the only possible response for a world that could not stop screaming.
-- The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror, W. Scott Poole

The accordion's scratched yet shiny black exterior came back and forth as his arms squeezed the dusty bellows, making it suck in the air and throw it back out. In the kitchen on those mornings, Papa made the accordion live. I guess it makes sense, when you really think about it.
How do you tell if something's alive?
You check for breathing.
-- The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

I thought to myself, David Montgomery, you're not being very Spicy right now. What would Ginger Spice do?
Now, for the uninitiated, she left the group at the height of their fame. And in this momentary rush of inspiration, I walked out of my job that day, becoming the first grown man in world history to leave his big-boy job to follow the Spice Girls around.
I mean, at this point in life, I really want to be a teacher. But I really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ah.
-- Occasional Magic, The Moth

The surrealists of Paris thought that Frida Kahlo was one of them, but she insisted that she painted her reality (her world was just surreal to outside observers).
-- ???

"I have this plan," Merlin says, "that for each formal scientific paper I ever publish I will also write its dark twin, its underground mirror-piece — the true story of how the data for that cool, tidy hypothesis-evidence-proof paper actually got aquired. I want to write about the happenstance and the shaved bumblebees and the pissing monkeys and the drunken conversations and the fuck-ups that actually bring science into being. This is the frothy, mad network that underlies and interconnects all scientific knowledge — but about which we so rarely say anything."
-- The Underland: A Deep Time Journey, Robert McFarlane

It was as if a different person put the key in the ignition and drove away from everything that was familiar. There was no going back now. There was no going forward, either. He was going sideways, sort of, and as frightening as that was, there was the thrill of excitement, too. You couldn't feel dead this way, or as if you were just waiting for the next thing to happen to you.
-- Authority, Jeff VanderMeer

Just because you've decided to sell out, that doesn't mean that anyone's going to buy!
-- Making Comics, Scott McCloud

Our visual systems do not bother to ascertain whether the laws of physics are being obeyed, because it is generally a safe assumption that they are, and even if they weren't being obeyed there is not much use in knowing about it.
-- Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, Margaret Livingstone

As she ran along, Dora passed a tree and noticed something bright and yellow. "Oooh, look!" she said, focusing in on the object. "A golden poison frog. Its skin is lethally toxic and can cause full-body paralysis. Can you say 'severe neurotoxicity'?"
Again, unclear who's supposed to say this, exactly. So, if you feel compelled, now's the time to say
SEVERE NEUROTOXICITY
and we'll keep moving.
-- Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Steve Behling

The graveyard gates didn't creak open—they screamed, the sound of iron horrified to behold the rust it had become.
-- Magnet to a Flame, Shawn Patrick Cooke

The tiger, who had no discernible European accent, said, "Ow! That fucking hurts! This is all there is to life, isn't it? Sadness and pain."
The tiger wept and sobbed as great gushing blobs of viscous, semenlike hydraulic fluid burped from the gaping holes Maurice the giraffe pierced in his torso.
Maurice ate and ate and the tiger cried and cried.
Maurice burbled, "Cette viande de tigre est delicieux!" Four or five days in the lake was starting to look like a pretty good idea.
Parker shouted, "Cager, what do you suggest I do now?"
"Tell him to ride the giraffe," Billy whispered.
And the tiger wailed, "Sartre was right—I cannot escape anguish, because I am anguish!"
Mmmmph mmmph mmmph! went Maurice.
-- Rabbit and Robot, Andrew Smith

Billy covered his head with his blanket again. He always covered his head when his mother came to see him in the mental ward—always got much sicker until she went away. It wasn’t that she was ugly, or had bad breath or a bad personality. She was a perfectly nice, standard-issue, brown-haired, white woman with a high-school education.
She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because she had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn’t really like life at all.
-- Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Maybe the BDED Corp juice really does try to live up to its slogan and maybe the human heart just cannot bear the burden of growing wings, and when the juice is gulped, there begins a rearrangement of nerves and the slight shift and elongation of ligaments in the shoulder but as soon as the human heart gets the notion that it might be party to the growing of wings, it just fucking explodes. We are not meant to fly. We are the falling sort.
-- Acid West, Joshua Wheeler

Perhaps in Heaven I'll look like an angel. Or perhaps the angels will look like me. What a surprise that will be, for everyone else! It's something to look forward to.
-- Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood

The difficult thing is, your brain can't tell if there's something wrong with your brain. If you have a rash on your leg, you can look down and see it. But you don't have a spare brain to make an assessment of your own brain. You're always the last to know—that's the bitch.
-- Natural Causes, Ruby Wax

"Yes," says Jack. "We did have fun." From this distance it does resemble fun. Fun is not knowing how it will end.
-- Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood

If you were standing in the path of the beam, you would obviously die pretty quickly. You wouldn't really die of anything, in the traditional sense. You would just stop being biology and start being physics.
-- What If, Randall Munroe


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