quote 18 Oct
But now I’m thinking I could go on allowing Google to document every future trip of mine in this way, and find myself, years from now, with a perfect record of the life of a perfect stranger.
quote 18 Oct
It may seem that demons and their witches conjure monsters and terrors from thin air, but they do not really create in such an absolute manner. Instead, the demons have an amazing understanding of the Book of Nature. They grasp the first principles, fundamental springs, and material trajectories of physical nature itself. Demons are manipulative “scientists” long before this term even existed. They are the ultimate alchemists.
quote 18 Oct
But most demons, Anthony assures us, have no real power in the physical world. They only seem to be causally efficacious. The trick is to acknowledge that you are having a frightening experience, but realize that the frightener is like a hallucination rather than a material creature. In fact, reading St. Anthony is like reading an early self-help treatise for schizophrenics.
quote 11 Oct
Medieval makers of manuscripts paid just as much attention to closing the book as they did to opening it. In order to preserve the organic pages, which were often made of parchment, it was necessary to keep the volume tightly closed when it was not used. Not only did this keep moisture out, but parchment also has a natural tendency to buckle, especially when handled at room temperature. In fact, parchment pages curl up with so much force that the wooden boards would be pushed open were it not for a smart device designed to keep the lid on: the clasp.
quote 7 Oct
He said “The hardest thing to understand when talking to the manufacturers is that there is no shelf. They’d ask ‘What sort of screw do you want here?’ and we’d say ‘Well lets see, what do you have off the shelf?’ and they’d ask again ‘Well, what do you want to use?’” Levin said it took them a couple of go-rounds before they realized that there wasn’t any shelf to get things off of, that any given screw was going to be as cheap as any other because none of those screws existed in advance of demand. They had gone so far up the supply chain there were no more supplies; the producers didn’t own screws, they owned machines for making screws, so you might as well design everything from scratch.
quote 6 Oct
Mohammed had learned English from a bilingual Qur’an and a handful of paperbacks lent by western friends (these actually included The Spider’s House by Paul Bowles) and he spoke magnificent pronouncements whether in English or French or (his wife confided one night at dinner) in Polish or Japanese, all the products of self-schooling. “To move like the wind” was in keeping with his recourse to elemental imagery, a Qur’anic cadence embroidering small-talk with threads of prophecy. “Water is life, but water is also death,” he would offer as we discussed human appetites and the dangers of seafaring with his friend Abduhl. “And fire is life, but fire is also death.”
quote 5 Oct
Chandler is something of a dandy when it comes to language. He’s very much aware of his English education. He went to Dulwich College in London, where P. G. Wodehouse went to school, and C. S. Forester went to school. He brings that dandified English sensibility to writing crime fiction set in Los Angeles. That’s one of the things that makes it so rich and so interesting.
photo 4 Oct
quote 25 Sep
it’s always some skinny bloke in black leather trousers who’s wearing shades and just kind of smokes his cigarettes and does a really bad impression of Mick Jagger and is a bit stupid and venal and just goes “All right!” and then falls over. Coming up as a music journalist in the early ’90s, those were not the boys in bands I was meeting. They were brilliant working-class auto-didacts, well-dressed but not much money, who would sit in the pub and go off on boozical flights of fancy and be the best company ever. I wanted to write a musician like those—the ones that are properly your heroes—to explain why people do give their hearts away to a rock-and-roll band.
quote 25 Sep
Making a painting is meditative, because I’ve already figured out my approach, I’ve already done a drawing, I know what it’s going to be. In that sense, there’s already a score written, so when I finally make a performance of it, I’m orchestrating the colors and the subtleties.
quote 18 Sep
In the relationship between story and image, I see the story as a kind of vampire trying to suck all the blood from an image. Images are acutely sensitive; like snails they shrink back when you touch their horns. They don’t have it in them to be the cart horses, carrying and transporting messages or significance or intention or a moral. But that’s precisely what a story wants from them.
quote 16 Sep
Think of it: A man with one of the most brilliant minds in the entire history of surgery responsible for so many surgical innovations, from emergency blood transfusions, to cancer surgery, to something as mundane as a bedside chart to track a patient’s vital signs and the use of surgical gloves operating room, a man who first laid down surgical principles still taught to all surgeons today, such as a completely sterile surgical field, hemostasis, gentle handling of tissue, careful anatomic dissection, and exact approximation of tissues, and Halsted couldn’t immediately figure out that wearing sterile rubber gloves instead of dipping one’s hand in caustic chemicals to disinfect them was a superior means of preventing surgical infection!
quote 14 Sep
Others hammered away manically, picking away at their corner of the gig economy, that handily shortened name for what had once been termed the Industrial Revolution of our time. It had been estimated, around 2010, that there were a million freelancers in New York. I only knew one or two who were making it work—for everyone else, working for yourself just meant begging for projects while you looked for a job. I was lucky.
quote 14 Sep
I once had a friend who quit his job as a bike messenger because, as he told it, people on the street started to resemble nothing more than obstacles in the way of his next commission. If delivery work makes all humans into roadblocks, front-of-the-house service professions render them as a collection of preferences and tastes and, as both Pierre Bourdieu and latte orders have taught me, taste is almost never singular.
quote 14 Sep
If a customer was particularly bad we exercised one of the only powers we possessed and “decafed” them. To covertly rob a caffeine-addicted asshole of their morning jolt was truly one of the sweetest pleasures of baristahood, and one that my subsequent professions haven’t come close to replicating.

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