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Archive for March, 2010

My favorite Woody Allen essay is the Whore of Mensa. The premise is a elderly intellectuals paying young, brilliant female college students to discuss liberal arts with them. It’s short. Check it out here [http://woodyallenitalia.tripod.com/short-uk.html].

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham

A few Woody Allen quotes I love:

How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?”

“I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

“My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally disturbed teachers.”

“Students achieving Oneness will move on to Twoness,”

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Sure he’s the guy who wrote Animal Farm and 1984, but he’s so much more…
Have you read his essays? Start with this one.

A few of my favorite Orwell quotes:
“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

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“Letters to a Young Poet.” For years I kept this book in my back pocket… I’ll share you a passages, and I’m sure you’ll see why I wanted the words close to me:

“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. Don’t write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to inte4rest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. So, dear Sir, I can’t give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take the destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted..” Read on

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My all time favorite comedy… here’s a highlight:

Neal: You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You’re a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They’re not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! “Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith, he’s got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.” I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, “How can you stand it?” I’d say, “‘Cause I’ve been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.” You know what they’d say? They’d say, “I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy. Woah.” It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh! And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!

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A beautiful movie about a displaced generation searching for masculinity & finding peace in surrendering to base instinct…A few quotes I love:

Tyler Durden: “Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

Tyler Durden: “Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

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“Sometimes, Soraya sleeping next to me, I lay in bed a listened to the screen door swinging open and shut in the breeze, to the crickets chirping in the yard. And I could almost feel the emptiness in Soraya’s womb, like it was a living, breathing thing. It had seeped into our marriage, that emptiness, into our laughs, and our lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of the room, I’d feel it rising from Soraya and settling between us. Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child.” – from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini pg. 189

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“Fear is not what’s important; it’s how you deal with it. It would be like asking a marathon runner if they feel pain. It’s not a matter of whether you feel it; it’s how you manage it. It could happen to any of us, anytime. An we all know that this is a distinct possibility every time we go out, everyday it’s what we face. It comes with the territory, it’s part of the job, you go in knowing that from the beginning. Nobody feels sorry for themselves; it’s just part of it.” – James Nachtwey

Mr. Nachtwey spoke to my class in college about his war photography. In a very humble manner, he shared the stories of each photo. When he was finished, I excused myself and went to wash my hands. He was there washing his as well. I gushed sharing how much his work meant to me. I spoke for at least to minutes. He let me finish, politely bowed his head and said, “thank you.” And walked away.

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