Sunday, November 30, 2008

Asking oneself

How would you like to be treated like that? How would you like the teensiest weensiest details of your lives to be known by everyone? How would you like the pressure and the stress of not ever being able to go out the front door without being followed, your every move documented, your every word printed? How would you like your pain to be turned into publicity and your grief into gossip.
But, no, you didn't think about that, did you?

by Toby Litt from Adventures in capitalism

Friday, November 28, 2008

The pleasure of being civilized

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. "My dear fellow, medieval art is charming, but medieval emotions are out of date. One can use them in fiction, of course. But then the only things that one can use in fiction are the things that one has ceased to use in fact. Believe me, no civilized man ever regrets a pleasure, and no uncivilized man ever knows what pleasure is."

by Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Gray

There's another Oscar Wilde related post

To be replaced with Smith

First of all there is Blue. Later there is White, and then there is Black, and before the beginning there is Brown. Brown broke him in, Brown taught him the ropes, and when Brown grew old, Blue took over. That is how it begins. The place is New York, the time is the present, and neither one will ever change. Blue goes to his office every day and sits at his desk, waiting for something to happen. For a long time nothing does, and then a man named White walks through the door, and that is how it begins.

by Paul Auster from The New York Trilogy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Help me Doc!

I CANNOT help being happy. I’ve struggled against it but no good. There is, I am well aware, no virtue whatever in this. It results from a combination of heredity, health, good fortune and shallow intellect.

ARTHUR MARSHALL, British broadcaster, 1910–89

from The Optimist’s / Pessimist’s Handbook by Niall Edworthy & Petra Cramsie

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love me in Latin

David Beckham did not study Latin at Chingford School in Essex. The subject had long been off the state school curriculum by the time he got there in the late 1980s. Still, when it comes to his body art, the footballer is a dedicated Latinist. Of the nine tattoos on his body, three are in Latin (and two of the others, “Victoria” and “Romeo”, are Latin-inspired names).

by Harry Mount from Amo, Amas, Amat…and All That

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The paradox of perfection

The Marketing Problem
Oscar Wilde wrote: “The play was a great success but the audience was a total failure.” Some people tell me their business is fine – the problem is the customers!

by David Parrish from T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity

Monday, November 24, 2008

Are we human?

Animal societies, for the most part are organised according to a strict hierarchy where rank relates directly to the psychical strength of each member. The most dominant male in the group is known as the alpha male, his nearest rival the beta male, and so on down to the weakest of the group, the omega male.

by Michel Houellebecq from Atomised

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's good for your health

The poisonous botulinus organism does not grow in canned vegetables if the pH is less than 4.5. Some investigators (Journal of Chemical Education, 22, 409, 1945) have recommended that in home canning of nonacid foods, such as beans, without a pressure canner a quantity of hydrochloric acid be added. The amount of hydrochloric acid recommended is 25 ml of 0.5 N hydrochloric acid per half-liter jar. Calculate the pH that this solution would have, assuming it originally to be neutral, and neglecting the buffering action of the organic material. Also calculate the amount of baking soda (NaHCO3), measured in teaspoonfuls, that would be required to neutralize the acid after the jar is open. One teaspoon equals 4 grams of baking soda.

by Linus Pauling from General Chemistry

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And I don't care if you don't like my design

Marvin Minsky of MIT says that the next generation of computers will be so intelligent that we will "be lucky if they are willing to keep us around as household pets".

by John Searle from Minds, brains and science

Friday, November 21, 2008

Every action has a reaction

The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interest; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

Nothing, my Lord.



Nothing will come out of nothing: speak again.

by William Shakespeare from King Lear

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh Prudence

Isabella was with her mother when they heard it announced that Ingrid had been nominated for her third Oscar. "It was on the radio," Isabella remembered, "and Mama said, "Oh, no! Now I have to think of the dress!"

by Charlotte Chandler from Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman, a Personal Biography

There's another post on film actors

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back to basics

FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

SAINT, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.

WITCH, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.

by Ambrose Bierce from Devil's Dictionary

chosen by Leila

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Living in a museum

Venice is a well-known international attraction, possibly the most famous heritage city in the world. Yet few people could imagine that its historical centre (henceforth: Venice HC) in the heart of the lagoon is a "problem area", whereas the inland section of the city is well integrated in a booming regional economy. With young households pushed out of the centre by inaccessible housing prices and lack of high rank specialized jobs, the population in Venice HC passed from 170,000 to 70,000 in the process of half a century, and is still decreasing at a yearly rate of around one per cent.

by Antonio Paolo Russo from Cultural Clusters and Tourism Development: the Challenge of Venice, published in Culture: A Driving Force for Urban Tourism - Application of Experiences to Countries in Transition edited by Daniela Angelina Jelincic

Photo: Gargoyle (Author: Rebecca Fryer)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Get me my!

The same inversion of power is now changing the marketing game for everything from individual products to people. The collective now controls the message.

For a generation of customers used to doing their buying research via search engine, a company’s brand is not what the company says it is, but what Google says it is.

The new tastemakers are us.

Word of mouth is now a public conversation, carried in blog comments and customer reviews, exhaustively collated and measured.

The ants have megaphones.

by Chris Anderson from The Long Tail

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You bad, bad girl!

It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard question, little 6655321.

by Anthony Burgess from A Clockwork Orange

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This book is really short. Short books are hard to write, but you made me do it. My readers are excellent correspondents, and this is something I've learned from them along the way: Write lesser.

by Seth Godin from The Dip

This post has been included in the Just Write Blog Carnival

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anything is possible

Entertaining key clients with corporate hospitality: corporate hospitality is an important drawcard for sponsors, especially those with business-to-business clients, Ellery (2004) comments, "There is nothing quite like strawberries and cream washed down with chilled champagne at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships to woo potential business."

by Glenn Bowdin, Johnny Allen, William O'Toole, Rob Harris and Ian McDonnell from Events Management

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scratch me where it itches

business (biz'nis), n. adj. - n. 1a a thing that one is busy at; occupation, profession, or trade; work: A carpenter's business is building. SYN: vocation, job. See syn. under occupation. b something to be done or attended to: the business of the day. Business comes before pleasure. 2 a matter; affair: Taking chances is sometimes risky business. I am tired of the whole business. 3 buying and selling; commercial dealings; trade: This hardware store does a big business in tools. 4 a store, factory, or other commercial enterprise: They sold the bakery business for a million dollars. SYN:concern. 5 the right to act; responsibility: Other people's business is not your business. 6 the action in a play as distinct from dialogue; things done to make a play seem realistic: Stage directions here call for the business of turning away and lighting a cigarette. 7 Obsolete. busyness.

from The World Book Dictionary edited by Clarence L. Barnhart and Robert K. Barnhart

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All the world's a stage

One question remains, however. If this side, where Miu is, is not the real world - if this side is actually the other side - what about me, the person who shares the same temporal and spatial plane with her? Who in the world am I?

by Haruki Murakami from Sputnik Sweetheart

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sometimes it's about math

You are on a game show on television. On this game show the idea is to win a car as a prize. The game show host shows you three doors. He says that there is a car behind one of the doors and there are goats behind the other two doors. He asks you to pick a door. You pick a door but the door is not opened. Then the game show host opens one of the doors you didn't pick to show a goat (because he knows what is behind the doors). Then he says that you have one final chance to change your mind before the doors are opened and you get a car or a goat. So he asks you if you want to change your mind and pick the other unopened door instead. What should you do?

by Mark Hadden from The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just how much?

The present system of paying for every sort of service was not in vogue among the adherents of Bushido. It believed in a service which can be rendered only without money and without price. Spiritual service, be it of priest or teacher, was not to be repaid in gold or silver, not because it was valueless but because it was invaluable.

by Inazo Nitobe from Bushido: The Soul of Japan

Photo: Scrooge McDuck and Money created by Carl Barks
This post has been included in the Zen School Blog Carnival

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Problems, problems, problems

To learn one language is not a problem and to understand others' arts as a result of learning their language is also not a problem. The problem is the impossibility of a real intuitional adaptation to the language of others.

by Muammar Al Qathafi from The Green Book

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Image can be anything

FB: Well, there are certain days when you start working and the work seems to flow out of you quite easily, but that doesn't often happen and doesn't last for long. And I don't know that it's necessarily any better than when something happens out of your frustration and despair. I think that, quite possibly, when things are going badly you will be freer with the way you mess up by just putting paint through the images that you've been making, and you do it with a greater abandon than if things have been working for you. And therefore I think, perhaps, that despair is more helpful because out of despair you may find yourself making the image in a more radical way by taking greater risks.

from David Sylvester's Interviews with Francis Bacon

Photo: Joe Bob's Auto Shop from (Author: Uknown)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Walking around naked...not knowing how to walk

There are many ways to run a successful company. What works once may never work again. What everyone tells you never to do may just work, once. There are no rules. You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over, and it’s because you fall over that you learn to save yourself from falling over. It’s the greatest thrill in the world and it runs away screaming at the first sight of bullet points.

by Richard Branson from Business Stripped Bare

Photo: Kontrapunkt, with courtesy of design studio Fiktiv

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The pea shrank. What do we do now?

"I saw him literally shrink this six foot bloke down to an inch," he recalls. "Queen had just taken the stage and this bloke shouted to Freddie, "You fucking poof", or something like that. Freddie demanded that the crew turn the spotlight on the crowd and find this fella. He then said to him, "Say that again, darling" and the bloke didn't know what to do. Everybody was laughing."

by Mark Hodkinson from Queen: The early years

In the name of the Lady

In his heart, if such organ exists, Murdoch thinks we're boobs. That's why he publishes boob-mentality newspapers. He thinks that's all we can understand...So, if Murdoch is allowed to become a citizen while we're turning away people who are running from death squads or starvation, then we should make one small change in the plans to renovate the Statue of Liberty. Get rid of the torch. Just have the lady hold up her hand with the middle finger extended.

by William Shawcross from Murdoch: The Making of a Media Empire

Photo: The Dancing Cows, Snuff Puppets (Author: Ponch Hawkes)
This post has been included in the Politics Blog Carnival

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Working on a masterpiece

Sometimes in order to get going with the writing it's necessary to just write and write and write like this until something comes and one doesn't know what that something is going to be until, suddenly, it is there: numinous, luminous, voluminous. (Cut.)

by Toby Litt from Finding myself

This post has been included in the Just Write Blog Carnival

Monday, November 3, 2008

I've been to Austria

"What do you mean, you've never been to Alpha Centauri? For heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light-years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that's your own lookout."

by Douglas Adams from The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Sunday, November 2, 2008

He knew what corporations know

One man is a single; two, a pair; three, a trio. A pair and a trio make a five, which is a squad; two squads make a section; five sections, a platoon; two platoons, a company; two companies, a battalion; two battalions, a regiment; two regiments, a group; two groups, a brigade; two brigades, an army. Each is properly trained. Thus one may manage a host of a million men just as he would a few. 

by Sun Tzu from The art of war 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

An introduction to effective management

One easy target was Vienna's tabloid newspapers, which had been mounting an abrasive publicity campaign to stop people stealing the paper. On Sunday's, when newsstands were closed, customers were supposed to place five Austrian schillings in an insecure vending unit, but since many didn't bother, the papers had begun pasting a warning: "Somebody's watching. Please pay the schillings." When this failed to significantly increase the revenue, the warnings had become harsher, first notifying potential Sunday swipers that "plain clothes controllers" were patrolling the area, and later adding "we hope you will be caught".

by Peter Hall from Sagmeister: Made You Look