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25 October 2013

Your Favorite Writing (Unlimited) What's the best [phrase, sentence, paragraph, passage, ...] you've read in the past [day, month, year, lifetime, ...]?

No limits regarding source -- books, articles, websites, etc. are all fine (citations are welcome) -- or language (English translations are helpful but not necessary).
Best passage I've read in the past two weeks:

Upon reaching their stronghold the brigand leaders were welcomed by Song Jiang and all assembled in the Loyalty and Justice Hall. When he saw Lu Junyi, Song Jiang kowtowed, and Lu Junyi did likewise.

"I was very careless," said Song Jiang, "when I requested you to stay at Liangshan Marsh. I did not think it would cause so much misery to you. The hardships you underwent made me feel as though a sword had pierced my heart. But Heaven helped us, and so today we can see you here again."

Lu Junyi saluted and replied, "I am indebted to you for your powerful assistance, and am grateful to all the leaders for their heroism. Your united strength has rescued me from death. Even if my brains and kidney were rubbed on the ground I could not recompense you for your kindness."

from Shi Naian, The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh trans. J. H. Jackson. Tuttle, 2010. Chap 66 (p. 756)
posted by Hugh Janus 25 October | 16:32
“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.

-Neal Stephenson Cryptonomicon
posted by Splunge 25 October | 18:39
Ummm, well, since I recently got "Poor Impulse Control" tattooed on my bicep, I should go with that one but...

I've been thinking a lot lately about this Simone de Beauvoir quote:

"It was said that I refused to grant any value to the maternal instinct and to love. This was not so. I simply asked that women should experience them truthfully and freely, whereas they often use them as excuses and take refuge in them, only to find themselves imprisoned in that refuge when those emotions have dried up in their hearts. I was accused of preaching sexual promiscuity; but at no point did I ever advise anyone to sleep with just anyone at just any time; my opinion on this subject is that all choices, agreements and refusals should be made independently of institutions, conventions and motives of self-aggrandizement; if the reasons for it are not of the same order as the act itself, then the only result can be lies, distortions and mutilations."

-Force of Circumstances Vol. III (1963) as translated by Richard Howard (1968)
posted by Twiggy 26 October | 00:35
Best poem I've read in the past couple years:



[I have met my love.
When I compare this present
With feelings of the past,

My passion is now as if
I have never loved before.]

from Ogura Hyakunin-Isshu, poem #43 by Fujiwara no Atsutada (906-943 CE), anthology of waka poetry spanning six centuries, compiled by Fujiwara no Teiki in the 13th century.
posted by Hugh Janus 26 October | 09:18
I liked this poem I read this AM:

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Billy Collins
posted by bearwife 26 October | 13:52
The first paragraphs of Yuri Olesha's Envy, translated by Marian Schwartz:

Mornings he sings on the toilet. You can imagine the joie de vivre, the health this man enjoys. The urge to sing bubbles up like a reflex. These songs of his, which have no melody or words, nothing but "ta-ra-ra," which he belts out in a variety of styles, something like this:

"How sweet my life is ... ta-rá! ta-rá ... my bowels are flexing ... rá-ta-tá-ta-ra-rí ... the juices are flowing just right, straight through ... ra-tí-ta-doo-da-tá ... squeeze, bowels, squeeze ... tram-ba-ba-boom!"

In the morning, when he walks past me (I pretend to be sleeping) going from his room to the door that leads into the depths of the apartment, to the washroom, my imagination takes off after him. I hear the commotion there - it's a tight fit for his large body. HIs back rubs against the shut door, his elbows jut into the walls, he shifts from foot to foot. A matte oval glass has been set into the door. He flicks the switch, the oval lights up from inside, and it becomes a beautiful, opalescent egg. In my mind's eye I see that egg suspended in the hall's darkness.
posted by Rustic Etruscan 27 October | 17:33
Photo Friday: Something Yellow || When did you realize you were in over your head?