Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas February 20, 2007

624 Khrushchev: The U.S.-U.S.S.R. deadlock on Berlin…he compared to two stupid and stubborn goats head to head on a narrow bridge across an abyss, neither giving way and both falling to their doom. Sorenson, Kennedy

624 Khrushchev: DeGaulle’s influence over Adenauer was compared to the Russian peasant who caught a bear barehanded but could neither bring it back nor make the bear let loose of him. Sorenson, Kennedy

11 The canisters were almost out of her reach; I made a motion to aid her; she turned upon me as a miser might turn if anyone attempted to assist him in counting his gold. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

95 Catherine: …he’s [Heathcliff] more myself than I am; whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

320 Catherine’s face was just like the landscape—shadows and sunshine flitting over it in rapid succession; but the shadows rested longer, and the sunshine was more transient…. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

332 Heathcliff: I’d rather be hugged by a snake. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

88 The universe is, therefore, not static; it is expanding in somewhat the same manner as a soap bubble or a balloon expands. Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein

17 The days of my youth, as I look back on them, seem to fly away from me in a flurry of pale repetitive scraps like those morning snow storms of used tissue paper that a train passenger sees whirling in the wake of the observation car. Nabokov, Lolita.

487 …the illiterate peasant at the optician’s who tried glass after eyeglass and still was not able to read. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

127 Lincoln: Your question reminds me of an incident which occurred out west: Two roughs were playing cards for high stakes, when one of them, suspecting his adversary of foul play, straightway drew his bowie-knife from his belt and pinned the hand of the other player upon the table, exclaiming: ‘If you haven’t got the ace of spades under your palm, I’ll apologize.’ Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

136 Wendell Phillips held that Lincoln was honest but ‘as a pint-pot may be full, and yet not be so full as a quart, so there is a vast difference between the honesty of a small man and the honesty of a statesman.’ Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

345 A report having much useless language lay on his [Lincoln’s] desk, the work of a Congressional committee… “I should want a new lease of life to read this through…if I send a man to buy a horse for me, I expect him to tell me that horse’s points—not how many hairs he has in his tail.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

584 Lincoln: The pilots on our western rivers steer from point to point, as they call it—setting the course of the boat no farther than they can see…all I propose to do in the great problems that are set before us. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

835 Lincoln: When you have an elephant by the hind leg, and he’s trying to run away, it’s best to let him run. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

875 “A tree is best measured when it’s down.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

92 …Alsop, who said it reminded him of the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland teaching herself to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

471 Jackson: They were in the position of the fictional boy who murdered his father and mother and then pleaded leniency because he was an orphan. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

481 …the Soviets, whose behavior made the Sphinx seem scrutable. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

512 Ribbentrop’s secretary: Everything looks amazing, but it is like an insane asylum where the inmates have taken over the administration, and have made the sensible people inmates. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

1063 Like the monkey which slips its paw into the narrow neck of a pitcher to grasp a handful of nuts and will not open its fist for fear of losing its plunder, and is thereby the undoing of itself…. Tolstoi, War and Peace

1343 But the sheep need only rid themselves of the idea that all that is done to them is done solely for the furtherance of their sheepish ends. Tolstoi, War and Peace

55 But Briton is the parent country, say some…the more shame upon her conduct…[because] even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families. Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence.

238 Lincoln: The argument had got down as thin as “soup made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

122 Tell her that Heathcliff is: an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation: an arid wilderness of furze and rhinstone [hard, dark-colored rocks like basalt]…as soon put that little canary, into the park on a winter’s day, as recommend you to bestow your heart on him! E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

74 Spotted hyenas are the sharks of the Savanna…. Joanna Greenfield, “Personal History: Hyena.” The New Yorker, November 1996.

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