Tag Archives: literature

Top Ten Quotes from “Ivanhoe” by Walter Scott

#1 – “Silence, maiden; thy tongue outruns thy discretion.”

#2 – “I envy thee not thy faith, which is ever in thy mouth but never in thy heart nor in thy practice.”

#3 – “Certainly,” quoth Athelstane, “women are the least to be trusted of all animals, monks and abbots excepted.”

#4 – “The lovers of the chase say that the hare feels more agony during the pursuit of the greyhounds, than when she is struggling in their fangs.”

#5 – “For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.”

#6 – “Revenge is a feast for the gods!”

#7 – “Is death the last sleep?  No, it is the final awakening.”

#8 – “God of Jacob!  It is the meeting of two fierce tides – the conflict of two oceans moved by adverse winds!”

#9 – “Nothing could be more gracefully majestic than his step and manner, had they not been marked by a predominant air of haughtiness, easily acquired by the exercise of unresisted authority.”

#10 – “Of this fickle temper he gave a memorable example in Ireland, when sent thither by his father, Henry the Second, with the purpose of buying golden opinions of the inhabitants of that new and important acquisition to the English crown. Upon this occasion the Irish chieftains contended which should first offer to the young Prince their loyal homage and the kiss of peace. But, instead of receiving their salutations with courtesy, John and his petulant attendants could not resist the temptation of pulling the long beards of the Irish chieftains; a conduct which, as might have been expected, was highly resented by these insulted dignitaries, and produced fatal consequences to the English domination in Ireland. It is necessary to keep these inconsistencies of John’s character in view, that the reader may understand his conduct during the present evening.”

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Top Ten Quotes from “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe

#10 – “Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what we have.”

#9 – “Redemption from sin is greater then redemption from affliction.”

#8 – “These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of Providence to me, and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships and misfortunes ; and this part also I cannot but recommend to the reflection of those who are apt, in their misery, to say, Is any affliction like mine? Let them consider how much worse the cases of some people are, and their case might have been, if Providence had thought fit.”

#7 – “It is never too late to be wise.”

#6 – “Thus fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.”

#5 – “I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted : and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them ; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”

#4 – “Call upon me in the Day of Trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify me…Wait on the Lord, and be of good Cheer, and he shall strengthen thy Heart; wait, I say, on the Lord:’ It is impossible to express the Comfort this gave me. In Answer, I thankfully laid down the Book, and was no more sad, at least, not on that Occasion.”

#3 – “I could not forbear getting up to the top of a little mountain, and looking out to sea, in hopes of seeing a ship : then fancy that, at a vast distance, I spied a sail, please myself with the hopes of it, and, after looking steadily, till I was almost blind, lose it quite, and sit down and weep like a child, and thus increase my misery by my folly.”

#2 – “Man is a short-sighted creature, sees but a very little way before him; and as his passions are none of his best friends, so his particular affections are generally his worst counselors.”

#1 – “My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design. ”

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Top Ten Quotes from “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

#1 – “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

#2 – “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

#3 – “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

#4 – “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

#5 – “We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

#6 – “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

#7 – “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

#8 – “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

#9 – “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

#10 – “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

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Text of the Queen Mab Speech from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

MERCUTIO:

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Over men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
Her traces, of the smallest spider web;
Her collars, of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams;
Her whip, of cricket’s bone; the lash, of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight;
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;
O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as ‘a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometimes she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This is she!

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 002 – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – Analysis and Discussion

A good glass of wine is supposed to be relaxing, unless you’re sharing a bottle with a Montressor.  Damn, that family of dicks won’t let anything good.

But there’s a lesson in this dickishness, 3.5 listeners, for if you act like a dick, you never know how badly your dickish ways have upset someone – so much, in fact that this person might lay in wait, plotting an intricate, fiendish plan of revenge against you…muah ha ha!

And you’d never know it because if you’re as obtuse as Fortunato, you’d probably think whatever dumbass thing you said to your pal Montressor is all water under the bridge by now.

We’re never told what the slight was that turned Montressor into a homicidal mad man.  Then again, it’s doubtful that Fortunato could have done anything that merited being walled off in a tomb and left to suffer and rot while still alive.

Is there a method to Poe’s madness?  Montressor avenges his family against Fortunato’s slight.  Worse, the evil narrator accomplishes his goals – a) he Fortunato, but makes Fortunato suffer and makes him aware that he, Montressor did him in b) Montressor is not caught c) fifty years later, Montressor, as an old man, has lived a full life and now he can make the world aware of his supposed genius, how he masterfully killed Fortunato without getting caught.  One assumes the narrator is so old now that jail would matter little to him.  He’s lived most of his life as a free man so now he can boast of the evil deed he is most proud of to the world.

We see a lot of foreshadowing and ways in which Montressor plays on Fortunato’s ignorance and pride.  Montressor gets Fortunato liquored up, lulls his victim into assuming safety by asking him to leave the dumb under feigned fears of the old man’s health and insults Fortunate’s pride by suggesting Luchesi, Fortunato’s rival in the world of wine tasting, be the one who give the thumbs up or down to the amontillado.

Was there even a cask of amontillado to begin with?  Oh Monty, you devious prick.

Is it better to seek revenge, or as Jesus would advise, to turn the other cheek?  Alas, Montressor doesn’t seem to suffer for his revenge, though he might suffer in reputation as you, the reader, end up fearing and hopefully looking down at him, right?  Honestly, if you walked away from this story think Montressor is a good role model to emulate, you might need some counseling my friend.

Keep in mind that Fortunato isn’t just dressed as a fool, he is one.  He’s prideful and into himself and easily manipulated by appeals to his narcissism.  The idea that his rival wine taster might be consulted him makes him lose his senses.

Sometimes people are dicks…and sometimes these dicks will insult you.  They act like fools when they do, they have already damaged their reputations by being rude to you.  Often, when a person insults you, it is less about you and more about them, about their need to prop themselves up by dragging you down, feeling better by giving you a verbal kick to the ribs.

Montressor would tell you to get revenge but I mean, yeah we aren’t in Montessor’s day so you’ll totally get caught and even if you don’t get caught, you’ll be torn apart inside over the horror you committed and if you are like Montressor and don’t feel bad about it then yeah, again, seeking counseling for your screws are loose.

What say you, 3.5 listeners?

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Episode 1 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens” – Stave 1 – Marley’s Ghost – Discussion and Study Questions

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Huzzah, 3.5 readers!

The Bookshelf Battle Cast lives!  Yes, on this fine blog, I’ll be reviewing pop cultural happenings, attempting to be funny, and telling you all about my adventures as a magic bookshelf caretaker, yeti fighter and so on.

The podcast will be very different.  I am very, very far from being the world’s greatest vocal talent, so I’ll be playing it straight.  Each episode, I’ll be reading a piece of public domain literature.  After you listen to me read it in my mush mouth voice, stop by this incredible blog for a discussion and study questions.

FYI – apologies.  I’m new to this.  There were some technical difficulties.  I said I’d let my spokeswoman tell you all about who I am, but for some reason, Garageband did not like that file.  It became a big production to try to re-record the podcast, so I’ll try to figure out that for the next one.  Forgive me people, I’m learning as I go.

Oh well.  Check out what my spokeswoman would have said here:

In Stave 1 – “Marley’s Ghost” we begin with a classic line in literature – “Marley was dead to begin with.  Scrooge pops the joyous bubble of his nephew and local charity collectors, only to be warned by the ghost of his fellow usurer Jacob Marley that if he doesn’t change his ways, he’ll be a ghost too, forced to trudge the world with chains attached to him, lamenting the life he wasted on counting coins instead of helping the less fortunate.

STUDY QUESTIONS:

#1 – Dickens really, really, really wants the reader to know up front that Jacob Marley is dead, engaging in humor to insist, almost to a ridiculous degree, that he’s dead.  What’s the point of that?

#2 – Scrooge’s nephew states to his uncle that there are things that exist that bring him no monetary profit, but they make his life better just the same.  Christmas, says the nephew, is one of those things.  Is the nephew a positive thinker, a man who knows how to build spiritual wealth, or do you side with Scrooge, i.e. the wealth in your piggy bank is all that matters?  Can you think of some things that don’t bring you a monetary profit but still enrich your life?  Would you give those things up in order to make more money?  Can money buy happiness?

#3 – The charity collectors attempt to separate Scrooge from some of his dough, arguing that men of means have a duty to provide aid and comfort to the poor.  Scrooge counters with the claim that he supports prisons, union workhouses and so on (through taxes) and thus doesn’t owe the poor anything else.  What say you?  Are taxes enough, or should people with bucks to spare share them with the poor as well?

#4 – Jacob Marley is a ghost.  Chains and cash boxes and other monetary related devices are attached to him.  He must drag them around wherever he goes.  Further, Jacob spent his life never venturing past the counting-house, collecting money and ignoring the plight of the poor.  His punishment, like the punishment of the many souls Scrooge sees outside, is that in death, he must wander the world, seeing all the things he could have experienced and enjoyed in life, but now is unable to do so because he’s dead.

Will you be a ghost one day?  That’s a bigger discussion.  You will be old one day though…and your body will eventually give out on you.  When you’re old and gray and your knees fail, your body gives up and it exhausts you to walk more than five feet, what will you wish you had done in your youth?

CHALLENGE: Make a list of things you want to do before it’s too late to enjoy them…then DO THEM!  Picture your afterlife as a Jacob Marley-esque ghost, forced to drag chains and wander the world.  What would you like to see and do so that, if you ever become such a ghost, you can be happy knowing you got to do those things when you were alive?

Thanks for listening, 3.5 listeners.  The second stave will be out as soon as possible.

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Mark Twain vs. Zombies – Vote for Your Favorite Cover

Yeah, so this happened.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing a running gag on this blog where I take Mark Twain quotes and add stuff about zombies to them…i.e. “When it comes to zombies, there are lies about zombies, damned lies about zombies and zombie statistics.”

I thought, hey, why not pack these all up and make a quick and easy quote book.

So I commissioned a cover contest thinking I can bang a quote book out really quick, but then after a a while, I began thinking about it, doing some Twain research, and I came up with a pretty sweet premise as to how Twain could have been a zombie hunter while he wasn’t busy writing.

So, downside, one more cover for a book I haven’t written yet.  But, oh well, I think my addiction is ok.  When I start giving hand jobs in the subway bathroom to pay for more book covers for books I haven’t written yet, then I will know I have a problem.

Vote for your favorite, 3.5 readers. 

 

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

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By: Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Literary Correspondent

Ahh, there’s nothing quite like Paris in the summer, 3.5 readers.  The streets are awash with with inspiring sites, the cafes are filled with delectable aromas and my poop?  Why, it sticks to the wall effortlessly whenever I fling it, the warm weather makes it extra sticky, you see.  It’s all science, really, and as my former colleague, Dr. Hugo von Science has been known to say, “You can’t argue with science.”

Now then, good people, and also you people reading this here…have you ever been down on your luck?  I should assume so.  After all, if you were a very lucky person you wouldn’t be spending much time reading this pitiful excuse for a blog now would you?

But seriously.  Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  Down for the count?  Perhaps you’ve felt like the world has turned its back on you, that life isn’t going your way, that it would just be easier to lie down and give up rather than keep trying and failing?

Balderdash!  Whenever my poop misses its intended target, do I give up?  Nay!  I just fling another poop and try, try again.

And you should too.  In fact, when you are down in the dumps, you should peruse a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”  It’s a short read, but full of powerful inspiration.

If you’re very obtuse, you might see it as a tale about a crusty old bastard who caught a fish, but it’s so much more than that.  Let us discuss the various takeaways, shall we?

Getting Out of a Rut Takes a Lot of Work and a Long Time

At the start of this tale, the old man has gone eighty-five days without catching a fish.  That’s a long time to try and fail at something.  His fellow Cuban villagers have begun to see him as hopeless.  Don’t misunderstand – the old man is loved by his people.  They would gladly feed him and look after him, but he is too proud not to at least try to fend for himself.

Whenever you face any kind of problem, be it the inability to catch a fish for eighty-five days, or perhaps to put it in real world terms, an addiction that’s killing you, or perhaps the inability to find a job, you can’t quit.  You must always keep trying, even when things look bleak and it seems foolish and useless to continue to try.

Know two things.  To get out of your rut, it will a) take a long time and b) take a lot of effort.

After his eighty-five days of failure, the old man hooks a big, fat ass fish, a thousand pounder.  Over the course of several days, the old man and the fish struggle against one another.  It’s hot.  The old man is far out at sea, isolated, little food, little water, exhausting himself physically and mentally just to catch this fish.

At any time, he could have just cut the line and set the fish free but no, he didn’t.  He was tired of being a failure.  He wanted that victory, to feel like a somebody again.  So he didn’t bail out when opportunity presented itself.  He fought the fish and he won.

Apply this to real life.  If you’re an alcoholic, it’s going to take a long time and a lot of effort to get off the sauce.  The effort might come in the form of attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, finding more kosher pastimes outside of the bar – working on your body and mind, getting yourself in better physical and mental condition.  You’ll have to tell your enablers to shape up or take a hike.  You’ll have to stay away from whatever triggers you to take a drink.

It will also take a long time.  Don’t feel depressed if it’s been a couple of days without a drink and you still feel like you’d give a hand job to a hobo for a sip of beer.  Maintain hope that the longer you stay off the hooch, the less you’ll want it.

Can’t find a job?  Same idea.  Work for it.  Put out those resumes, applications and cover letters.  Go forth and seek out key figures in your field and find ways to get your foot in the door.  Network.  Seek volunteer and intern opportunities to boost your resume.  Seek the necessary education and credentials.  Take some job, any job, just to have money coming in and to be able to say you’re doing something other than playing video games all day when you finally land that interview for the job you really want to do.

Whatever the problem is, your opportunity will come one day (i.e. the fish).  Will you puss out and cut bait and run from that opportunity, or will you be like the old man and wrestle the shit out of that fish until you can finally bonk it on the head with an oar and tie it to the side of your boat?

Haters Gonna Hate

Sharks.  The buttholes of the sea.  Once the old man bags his fish, sharks swim up to his boat and chow down on the old man’s prize even though they did none of the work required to land the fish.  The old man fights them off desperately and managed to land some powerful attacks on them but ultimately, it is too late.  There’s nothing left of the prize fish but a skeleton.

As you venture forth to solve your own problems, there will be many “sharks” who will get in the way.  People will try to take advantage of you while you’re down on your luck in order to improve their own stations in life.  They’ll try to make you feel worthless and hopeless and they will do shitty things to set you back.

Be like the old man.  Try to steer your hypothetical boat away from them, fight them off if left with no choice and if they do get the upper hand, just take a deep breath, calm down, then go back to work on trying to solve your problem.  Do not be deterred from your ultimate goal.

Knowledge of Your Success is Its Own Reward

People struggle with their own internal plights all day.  They rarely, if ever, advertise to the world what’s bugging them.  That person you know who seems like he has it all together might very well be a basket case on the inside.

The villagers are generally aware that the old man is going through a rough patch, but it’s doubtful that anyone other than Manolin, the old man’s little buddy, knows how badly the old man’s pride has been wounded.

Thus, when you do reach your goal, it is unlikely that anyone is going to throw a big party, or parade, or celebration in your honor.  Even worse, you might get what you were always after only to have life pull a George RR Martin (maybe Hemingway was GRRM before GRRM) and do something totally unexpected that tanks your victory – i.e. you finally catch that fat ass fish…only for a bunch of sharks to do a drive-by on it.

Throughout the story, we await the victory moment.  We yearn for the old man to arrive on the dock and show everyone who ever doubted him his giant fish.  He gets it, of sorts, as he is able to bring the skeleton, so everyone knows he’s not a failure anymore…but he doesn’t get the joy of bringing that big fish ashore for everyone to see, posing for a photo with it, carving it up and getting a big fat stack of cash for it.

But he’s cool with it.  The old man is very zen.  He knows he won his own personal war against failure.  He’s content.  At peace.  His pride is intact once more.

So, one day you might finally no longer desire booze anymore…or you might finally land that dream job.  Don’t be offended if everyone doesn’t drop what they are doing and lead a parade in your honor.  Everyone is too busy with their own problems.  Find inner peace with yourself.  Be content that you know you won your personal battle.  If no one will be your cheerleader, then be your own.

Appreciate Those Who Don’t Stop Believing in You/When You Can, Help Those Who Helped You When You Needed Help

Manolin, a young boy, was once the old man’s helper, fetching his fishing equipment and cutting his bait and all that bullshit.  However, his parents have demanded the he drop the old man and find a luckier fisherman to help.  Sigh.  Haters gonna hate.

But even though Manolin goes to work for another fisherman, he still drops by the old man’s house, bringing him food, newspapers, and words of encouragement.

Yes, when you lose for a long time, you’re going to get the losing stink attached to you.  Some people, like Manolin’s parents, will steer clear of you for fear your loser stench will rub off on them or their kid.

Still, if there is someone who still believes in you or hell, even if they secretly don’t believe in you but are kind enough to pretend like they do…be there for that person, help them if you can, and appreciate them back.

Whereas we evil modern day people would probably catch a giant fish and lord it all over everyone who ever doubted us, then spend all our fish money on titties and beer, one gets the sense that the old man is not like that at all.  Early in the story, he talks about wanting to help the people who have helped him.  He talks about how if he catches a fish, he will share it with those who gave him food when he couldn’t afford to eat.

Bottomline – if you do solve your problem, try to pay the world back and help others solve their problems.  You got off the booze?  Good.  Help someone else get off the booze. You found that dream job?  Awesome.  Help someone who can’t find work find a job.

What a great world it would be if we all help each other.

Make Memories While You Can…and Hang Onto Them

The old man wasn’t always a failure.  Arguably, no one in his village even thinks of him as a failure – just that he’s an old man who is past his prime and his best days are behind him.

But the old man did some shit in his day.  He had a wife.  She’s dead and he puts her picture face down because he starts to miss her if he looks at her.  Also, he once worked on a boat that sailed across the world.  His travels took him to Africa, where he saw lions fighting and playing on the beach – lions so rare to see that it’s like staring at unicorn or something.

And, one time, the old man participated in an arm wrestling bout with an opponent so fierce that the match lasted an entire day – and he came out the winner and ended up as the toast of Casablanca.

One day you will get old and you won’t be able to do things like you used to.  The older you get, the less opportunity you have – so stop feeling sorry for yourself and start getting to work on making your dreams reality.

Ask that hot babe out for a date.  Go on that dream vacation you’ve been putting off.  Go to that rock concert.  One day, when you’re old, the memories of what you did will be in your mind and will give you some solace and peace.  Whenever the old man feels sad, he remembers how awesome it was to see those lions and to have once been an arm wrestling champ.

Don’t forget to keep making memories for as long as you’re still kicking.  The old man might not be able to arm wrestle or visit Africa anymore, but he will no doubt be consoled by the memory of his big fish catch for whatever time he has left.

Don’t Kick Yourself for Your Mistakes…Learn from Them

Throughout the story, the old man makes a number of blunders.  He doesn’t bring enough water or food.  He didn’t expect to catch a fish that would fight him for days.  He didn’t bring a weapon to fight sharks.

But that’s ok.  He thinks on his feet and improvises.  He crafts a shark fighting weapon out of what he has on the boat.  He rations his water so he doesn’t drink it all.  He catches some smaller fish and eats them raw – gross, but better than starvation.

Then, when he gets back, he talks with his buddy Manolin and makes preparations.  Next time I’ll need a badass anti-shark weapon.  Next time I’ll need extra food and water.  You get the impression that the old man has learned from his encounter with the big fish and the sharks, and perhaps if he is ever put into this position again, he’ll know exactly how to fend off those sharks and protect his fish.

Don’t get down on yourself for your mistakes.  Learn from them.  Do better next time.

You stopped for a drink because you just couldn’t avoid stopping at that bar you like on the way home from work?  OK.  That was stupid.  Realize it was dumb, then move on.  Take a different route home next time, one that doesn’t pass a bar.  Can’t find a route that doesn’t go pass that bar?  Hell, walk in and politely tell the bartender you’re a booze fiend and beg him not to serve you.  Better yet, tell a loved one about this problem.  Ask them to check on you at a certain time.  Perhaps the embarrassment of being at the bar when they call will keep you out of the bar.

Did you screw up that job interview?  Did you say the wrong thing?  Make a note to not say that thing the next time.  Did your potential employee find your resume lacking?  Find out why and seek out the experiences your resume requires.

Your Opponent Doesn’t Always Have to Be Your Enemy

The genius of Hemingway is you don’t just feel bad for the old man…you also feel bad for the fish.  You get the sense that while this old man is playing out his own real life drama, trying to catch a fish after a long dry spell, this fish is fighting for his life.  The fish may not be able to vocalize exactly what is going on, but he knows that same shit is transpiring, and if he doesn’t keep trying to break free of this hook in his piehole, he’s going to end up on a plate as the old man’s dinner.

So it’s two titans, locked in a struggle, one for pride, the other for his life.  Perhaps the fish’s fight is even more sympathetic than the old man’s.  At one point, the old man even goes so far as to tell the fish that he loves him and he’s sorry that he has to kill him…and he means it.  It’s not the heatstroke talking.

Not every opponent is your enemy.  There are limited resources in the world.  You can’t expect that people won’t try to get the same thing you want.

That person who applied for the job you wanted is a competitor, but not necessarily the enemy.  You don’t have to hate this person.  If he gets the job over you, be respectful and move on.  You don’t need to call him a dick.  If the situation were reversed and you got the job over him, you wouldn’t want him to call you a dick.

If you’re fighting alcoholism, your old booze buddies will most likely try to drag you down.  “Come on, come out with us, one little drink won’t hurt.”  There’s a lot of psychology behind this.  Most likely, they really do enjoy your company and are afraid of losing you if you lose the love of booze you once shared with them.  Or, quite possibly, they regret their own inability to get sober and will try to sabotage you because it will become less easy for them to believe that quitting is impossible (thus they are blameless for the own addiction) if they see you succeed.

Just keep on, keeping on.  Try not to hate those people. Just see them as obstacles in your path.  If they won’t get out of the way, you must go around them.  No need to argue or fight but if they can’t respect your wishes then they can’t be in your life anymore.  You need to keep moving towards sobriety.

Conclusion

If you’re life’s been flushed down the shitter, it’s not too late to pull yourself out of the bowl.  The old man did it and you can do.  Read this classic tale whenever you are feeling sorry for yourself.  Personally, I feel sorry that you have nothing better to do than read this awful, awful blog.

 

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Mark Twain on Zombies – Part 5

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The Mississippi Rive will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise.  Zombies are equally stubborn and foolhardy.  Only a ball peen hammer applied liberally to their rotting craniums can persuade them to do anything else but eat your brain.

In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.  When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.  In like fashion, few men are made of the stern stuff necessary to attack a marauding zombie head on.  Instead, they cower in corners, concerned only with their personal safety.  Once a man of great bravery steps up and murders all impending zombies in the vicinity, then, and only then, will a sniveling reprobate remove himself from his corner of cowardice and boldly declare, “I supported zombie killing this entire time!”

None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try.  A fountain-pen can help a man translate his thoughts onto the page and also, it works well when plunged into the brain of a zombie.

Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword.  Fire and swords are also good weapons against filthy zombies.  I’ve always found that if a zombie won’t burn, it’s best to chop its vile head off with a sword.  Don’t forget to plunge the sword in the beast’s brain for good measure.

 

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Mark Twain on Zombies – Part 4

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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.  Whenever you find yourself on the side of a zombie, it is time to jam a sharp object into its ear canal, as that is the quickest way to destroy its brain before it eats yours.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything…except to stay away from zombies.  Always remember to stay away from zombies.  Write a note that says, “STAY AWAY FROM ZOMBIES!” and pin it to your shirt collar if need be, but in any event, dear reader, do stay away from zombies.

I have never let my schooling about zombie anatomy interfere with my education of zombie slaying tactics.

Total abstinence is so excellent a thing that it cannot be carried to too great an extent.  In my passion for it I even carry it so far as to totally abstain from total abstinence itself.  Hell, sometimes the only way a man can come down off a high after spending a night’s worth of vigorous zombie fighting is to get all up in some Mississippi boo-tay.

What ought to be done to the man who invented the celebrating of anniversaries? Mere killing would be too light. It is doubtful that would even be effective as most likely this man would revert to the undead state of a wretched zombie.  Anniversaries are very well up to a certain point, while one’s babies are in the process of growing up: they are joy-flags that make gay the road and prove progress; and one looks down the fluttering rank with pride. Then presently one notices that the flagstaffs are in process of a mysterious change of some sort–change of shape. Yes, they are turning into milestones. They are marking something lost now, not gained. From that time on it were best to suppress taking notice of anniversaries, especially the anniversary of the first time you ever witnessed a close friend getting his brains devoured by a zombie.  No one needs to remember that shit.

To ask a doctor or builder or sculptor for his autograph would be in no way rude. To ask one of those for a specimen of his work, however, is quite another thing, and the request might be justifiably refused. It would never be fair to ask a doctor for one of his corpses to remember him by, seeing as how that corpse is likely to turn into a zombie, leaving you with no choice but to make an utter shambles of the doctor’s office when you bash the zombies brains in using little more than the closest blunt objects in your general vicinity.

I don’t like this thing of being stripped naked & washed. I like to be stripped & warmed at the stove–that is real bully–but I do despise this washing business. I believe it to be a gratuitous & unnecessary piece of meanness. I never see them wash the cat.  However, I wash myself anyway, for many medical doctors in good standing with the board of medicine have assured me that regular baths are the only way to rid one’s self of the various germs that can infect a man with a zombifying virus.  Wash your bum or become an abomination, as my old spinster aunt used to say, and she wasn’t kidding.

There’s nobody for me to attack in this matter even with soft and gentle ridicule–and I shouldn’t ever think of using a grown up weapon in this kind of a nursery. Above all, I couldn’t venture to attack the clergymen whom you mention, for I have their habits and live in the same glass house which they are occupying. I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time.  In summation, good readers, I can only assume that my most revered book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has been banned from your local lending library as it contains a wealth of information vis a vis anti-zombie warfare.  Also, it features use of the “N” word like 9,454 times.

Among human beings jealousy ranks distinctly as a weakness; a trademark of small minds; a property of all small minds, yet a property which even the smallest is ashamed of; and when accused of its possession will lyingly deny it and resent the accusation as an insult.  Jealousy can even be found among dirty disgusting zombies.  Why, I have seen many a zombie pick a fight with an associate zombie over the size of a pilfered brain,

 

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