Thursday, January 26, 2006

Quotidian Quotables, part 2

Wherein a continuation of part 1

James Lileks
Why he didn't Fisk Joel Stein:
Some wrote to ask why I didn’t pick apart the piece line by line – well, my appetite for fisking has abated; it feels like angry break-up sex, and I don’t quite see the point much anymore. Not to say I won’t ever again, but nowadays I read fiskable essays and just sigh: whatev.

Cathy Young
Partisan loyalty shuts down your brain:
Presented with the results of the study, Republicans vehemently insisted that its findings applied mainly to Democrats, while the Democrats maintained the reverse.

Brian Tiemann
If it means John Lasseter will be a chief Disney director, though, it could mean great things. Like, say, maybe the reemergence of a 2D Feature Animation unit. And wouldn't it be funny if buying Pixar was what it took to reawaken Disney's interest in 2D?

Jaime J. Weinman
Pretty LIttle Pixar:
My gut reaction is that Disney may have bought into a declining market. Pixar is a great company, but the computer-animation boom shows signs of having peaked; remember the reports that DVD sales of Pixar's The Incredibles and DreamWorks' successful albeit pointless Shrek 2 were less than expected. Of course, Jobs, Catmull and Lasseter are smart guys who know how to keep up with changing public tastes, so there's every possibility that they'll be able to keep turning out hits -- but I just wanted to raise the possibility that we've already seen the highest heights of the vogue for computer-animated movies, much as the vogue for hand-drawn movies hit its peak with The Lion King in 1994.

Lord Floppington
Close Encounter of the Seinfeld kind:
Jerry: No, it's smorgasbord, smorgasbord, with a "d" at the end.

George bluffs: Actually Jerry, it's you who is mistaken. It is smorgasborg, with a "g" at the end.

Jerry: George! It's smorgasbord. It's Swedish. It means sandwich table. What do you think? You go for the mashed potatoes and they tell you you're going to be assimilated?

Rudyard Kipling
Stalky & Co., excerpt from Slaves of the Lamp, Part 1:
`I didn't think,' said Beetle meekly, scooping out pilchards with a spoon.

`'Course you didn't. You never do.' M`Turk adjusted Beetle's collar with a savage tug. `Don't drop oil all over my "Fors," or I'll scrag you!'

`Shut up, you -- you Irish Biddy! 'Tisn't your beastly "Fors." It's one of mine.'

The book was a fat, brown-backed volume of the later Sixties, which King had once thrown at Beetle's head that Beetle might see whence the name Gigadibs came. Beetle had quietly annexed the book, and had seen -- several things. The quarter-comprehended verses lived and ate with him, as the be- dropped pages showed. He removed himself from all that world, drifting at large with wondrous Men and Women, till M`Turk hammered the pilchard spoon on his head and he snarled.

`Beetle! You're oppressed and insulted and bullied by King. Don't you feel it?'

`Let me alone! I can write some more poetry about him if I am, I suppose.'

`Mad! Quite mad!' said Stalky to the visitors, as one exhibiting strange beasts. `Beetle reads an ass called Brownin', and M`Turk reads an ass called Ruskin; and --'

`Ruskin isn't an ass,' said M`Turk. `He's almost as good as the Opium-Eater. He says "we're children of noble races trained by surrounding art." That means me, and the way I decorated the study when you two badgers would have stuck up brackets and Christmas cards. Child of a noble race, trained by surrounding art, stop reading, or I'll shove a pilchard down your neck!'

`It's two to one,' said Stalky warningly, and Beetle closed the book, in obedience to the law under which he and his companions had lived for six checkered years.

The visitors looked on delighted. Number Five study had a reputation for more variegated insanity than the rest of the school put together; and so far as its code allowed friendship with outsiders it was polite and open-hearted to its neighbours on the same landing.

`What rot do you want now?' said Beetle.

`King! War!' said M`Turk, jerking his head toward the wall, where hung a small wooden West-African war- drum, a gift to M`Turk from a naval uncle.

`Then we shall be turned out of the study again,' said Beetle, who loved his flesh-pots. `Mason turned us out for -- just warbling on it.' Mason was that mathematical master who had testified in Common-room.

`Warbling? -- Oh, Lord!' said Abanazar. `We couldn't hear ourselves speak in our study when you played the infernal thing. What's the good of getting turned out of your study, anyhow?'

`We lived in the form-rooms for a week, too,' said Beetle tragically. `And it was beastly cold.'

`Ye-es; but Mason's rooms were filled with rats every day we were out. It took him a week to draw the inference,' said M`Turk. `He loathes rats. 'Minute he let us go back the rats stopped. Mason's a little shy of us now, but there was no evidence.'

`Jolly well there wasn't,' said Stalky, `when I got out on the roof and dropped the beastly things down his chimney. But, look here -- question is, are our characters good enough just now to stand a study row?'

`Never mind mine,' said Beetle. `King swears I haven't any.'

`I'm not thinking of you,' Stalky returned scornfully. `You aren't going up for the Army, you old bat. I don't want to be expelled -- and the Head's getting rather shy of us, too.'

`Rot!' said M`Turk. `The Head never expels except for beastliness or stealing. But I forgot; you and Stalky are thieves -- regular burglars.'

The visitors gasped, but Stalky interpreted the parable with large grins.

`Well, you know, that little beast Manders minor saw Beetle and me hammerin' M`Turk's trunk open in the dormitory when we took his watch last month. Of course Manders sneaked to Mason, and Mason solemnly took it up as a case of theft, to get even with us about the rats.'

`That just put Mason into our giddy hands,' said M`Turk blandly. `We were nice to him, 'cause he was a new master and wanted to win the confidence of the boys. 'Pity he draws inferences, though. Stalky went to his study and pretended to blub, and told Mason he'd lead a new life if Mason would let him off this time, but Mason wouldn't. 'Said it was his duty to report him to the Head.'

`Vindictive swine!' said Beetle. `It was all those rats! Then I blubbed, too, and Stalky confessed that he'd been a thief in regular practice for six years, ever since he came to the school; and that I'd taught him -- à la Fagin. Mason turned white with joy. He thought he had us on toast.'

`Gorgeous! Oh, fids!' said Dick Four. `We never heard of this.'

`Course not. Mason kept it jolly quiet. He wrote down all our statements on impot-paper. There wasn't anything he wouldn't believe,' said Stalky.

`And handed it all up to the Head, with an extempore prayer. It took about forty pages,' said Beetle. `I helped him a lot.'

`And then, you crazy idiots?' said Abanazar.

`Oh, we were sent for; and Stalky asked to have the "depositions" read out, and the Head knocked him spinning into a waste-paper basket. Then he gave us eight cuts apiece -- welters -- for -- for -- takin' unheard- of liberties with a new master. I saw his shoulders shaking when we went out. Do you know,' said Beetle pensively, `that Mason can't look at us now in second lesson without blushing? We three stare at him sometimes till he regularly trickles. He's an awfully sensitive beast.'

`He read Eric; or, Little by Little,' said M`Turk; `so we gave him St. Winifred's; or, The World of School. They spent all their spare stealing at St. Winifred's, when they weren't praying or getting drunk at pubs. Well, that was only a week ago, and the Head's a little bit shy of us. He called it constructive deviltry. Stalky invented it all.'

`'Not the least good having a row with a master unless you can make an ass of him,' said Stalky, extended at ease on the hearth-rug. `If Mason didn't know Number Five -- well, he's learn't, that's all. Now, my dearly beloved 'earers' -- Stalky curled his legs under him and addressed the company -- `we've got that strong, perseverin' man King on our hands. He went miles out of his way to provoke a conflict.' (Here Stalky snapped down the black silk domino and assumed the air of a judge.) `He has oppressed Beetle, M`Turk, and me, privatim et seriatim, one by one, as he could catch us. But now he has insulted Number Five up in the music-room, and in the presence of these -- these ossifers of the Ninety-third, wot look like hair-dressers. Binjimin, we must make him cry "Capivi!" '

Stalky's reading did not include Browning or Ruskin.

`And, besides,' said M`Turk, `he's a Philistine, a basket-hanger. He wears a tartan tie. Ruskin says that any man who wears a tartan tie will, without doubt, be damned everlastingly.'

`Bravo, M`Turk,' cried Tertius; `I thought he was only a beast.'

`He's that, too, of course, but he's worse. He has a china basket with blue ribbons and a pink kitten on it, hung up in his window to grow musk in. You know when I got all that old oak carvin' out of Bideford Church, when they were restoring it (Ruskin says that any man who'll restore a church is an unmitigated sweep), and stuck it up here with glue? Well, King came in and wanted to know whether we'd done it with a fret-saw! Yah! He is the King of basket-hangers!'

Down went M`Turk's inky thumb over an imaginary arena full of bleeding Kings. `Placetne, child of a generous race!' he cried to Beetle.

`Well,' began Beetle doubtfully, `he comes from Balliol, but I'm going to give the beast a chance. You see I can always make him hop with some more poetry. He can't report me to the Head, because it makes him ridiculous. (Stalky's quite right.) But he shall have his chance.'


Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/29/2006 11:39:00 AM  

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