Saturday, December 11, 2010

There are times in life when the fancy words and pretty actions don't count for much, when it's blood and dust and death and a cold wind blowing and a gun in the hand and you know suddenly you're just an animal with guts and blood that wants to live, love and mate, and die in your own good time.
- from Radigan by Louis L'Amour

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I suppose there must exist societies where food and excrement are not categorically opposed.
- from The Apotheosis of Captain Cook by Gananath Obeyesekere

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fish culture had become a North American panacea.
- Joseph E. Taylor III

Thursday, October 28, 2010

May not historians ask, however, why it should be their task to spend long years disproving ideas thought up by sociologists in their baths? Do historians want to be the empirical foot soldiers commanded about by a bunch of sociological colonels?
- Peter Baldwin in Comparison and History

Friday, October 22, 2010

Each of the planet's cultures is a unique answer to the question of what it means to be human.
- Wade Davis

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hurrah for the law of Supply and Demand,
That regulates everything in the land,
The rate of wages, the price of stocks,
And the size of the Vanderbilt pile of "rocks."

It keeps in subjection the dull Labor hordes,
It fills up the chests of our great money lords,
And when for just reasons they're brought to a stand,
They've only to answer, "Supply and Demand."

- John McCormick

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.
- Charles Schwab

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yonder he goes, with steady tread,
Toiling for his daily bread,
While the city is hushed,
Sleeves unrolled and cheeks health-flushed;
O! the strong mechanic!
The sinewy-armed mechanic!

- Mary A. Denison

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The point of new historical investigation is to disrupt the notion of fixity, to discover the nature of the debate or repression that leads to the appearance of timeless permanence in binary gender representation.
- from "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis" by Joan Scott in American Historical Review

Friday, September 24, 2010

Compassion is the vice of queens, Mamma always says, and she thinks I should toughen up. She says that I let the dogs take advantage of me and hog the bed, when they should sleep on the floor, and that I give too much of my pocket money to beggars, and that if I am to get along in this world, I need to harden my heart.

Well, I don't want my heart to be hard, and even if I end up like Poppy, trying to drink my heart to death, or like Mamma, trying to work my heart to death, at least I will know that I have a heart and I used it honestly.

- from Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So their lives go round, year after year, decade after decade, in a ritualistic cycle of pig-raising, pig-slaughtering, dancing, feasting, and warring.
- from "Doing Environmental History" by Donald Worster, in Canadian Environmental History, ed. David Freeland Duke

Thursday, August 26, 2010

To oppose something is to maintain it.

They say here "all roads lead to Mishnory." To be sure, if you turn your back on Mishnory and walk away from it, you are still on the Mishnory road. To oppose vulgarity is inevitably to be vulgar. You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.


To be an atheist is to maintain God. His existence or his nonexistence, it amounts to much the same, on the plane of proof. Thus
proof is a word not often used among the Handdarata, who have chosen not to treat God as a fact, subject either to proof or to belief: and they have broken the circle, and go free.

To learn which questions are unanswerable, and
not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.

- from The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin