Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


throwaway lines

lazily gathering bits'n'pieces dropped elsewhere

Some folks got a way with words. I get away with 'em.

The unexamined life isn't worth a second glance.

They say the best things in life are free, but they kill you on the accessories.

When Christopher Columbus did the egg trick, did he get a standing ovation?

In the land of the kings, the one-eyed jack is wild.

I've still got a lot to learn, but all didactic fiction shows is how not to do it.

There are only two kinds of dichotomies: True or False.

Time is the universal solvent.

Misentropic variations: Everything is a waste of time, anything further would be a waste of space, pointing this out is a waste of energy.

From Borges' The Garden of Forking Paths: En una adivinanza cuyo tema es el ajedrez ¿cuál es la única palabra prohibida? "In a riddle whose answer is 'chess', what is the only forbidden word?" Is this not a riddle? A riddle whose only answer is forbidden?

François duc de La Rochefoucauld: Les finesses et les trahisons ne viennent que de manque d'habileté.
Napoléon Bonaparte: N'attribuez jamais à la malveillance ce qui s'explique très bien par l'incompétence. / Ne jamais attribuer à la méchanceté cela qui peut en juste proportion être expliqué par l'incompétence.
The latter is most oft referred to as Hanlon's Razor (for Robert Hanlon or Heinlein): Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence, whereas the former Englishes without re-attribution to Cunning and treachery are the offspring of incapacity. Circular? go figurate.

I was walking with the Ethicist across the footbridge over the tracks leading to the switching yard when he stopped and said, "Say you were down at that switch there, and a train was coming in to the yard, fast, and that there were a bunch of children playing on the siding that your switch shunted the train on to, but if you threw the switch the other way, it would go on another siding where a workman was engrossed in his task, and you couldn't signal the train to stop in time or get the kids' or workman's attention. What would you do?" So I threw his fat ass over the railing into the path of an oncoming train.

Recent reading worthy of note: two more BTBA-listers, José Manuel Prieto's Rex & Gail Hareven's The Confessions of Noa Weber, the latter the winner, deservedly; & Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey, a tighter FSG repackaging, which The New Yorker's Daniel Mendelsohn judges too clever by half, which is too thick by a third.
(Less worthy of note gets dropped in the fictional woodpile.)