It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?

Sun Ra

Today I learned about the Draupner Wave, observed in the North Sea in 1995, confirming the extistence of long-reported “rogue waves.”

The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture…. the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original. His only power is to mix writings, to counter the ones with the others, in such a way as never to rest on any one of them.

Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author, 1967.

Madness is the result of the shock produced in man by his own intelligence and we still haven’t recovered from the trauma three million years later.

Josè Saramago, The History of the Siege of Lisbon

A democracy where public life is made up of strife between political parties is incapable of preventing the formation of a party whose avowed aim is the overthrow of that democracy.

Simone Weil, in The Need for Roots (first published in 1949, six years after her death), found in this great Aeon article about her

Overheard: “Racist jokes? Bah! They’re all the same.”

An invisible web of fiction surrounds us and we struggle as prisoners inside it like those who struggle to free themselves from a spider’s web from which there is no escape.

José Revueltas, quoted in Mexico’s Marxist Prophet

Any day is a good day when you learn about a new cool person: may I present Grandma Gatewood, born today in 1887, the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail

”Pharisaism, stupidity, and despotism reign not in merchants’ houses and prisons alone. I see them in science, literature, in the younger holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and...freedom.”
  • Anton Chekhov
“Only the fruits of thought and artistic creation justify man's presence in the world.”
- Sergio Pitol, _The Art of Flight_

Top notch wisdom in tonight’s baseball telecast: “Don’t play to prove the haters wrong, play to prove the fans right.”

I’ll go and stay a while, and all the folks I meet they’ll say, “You won’t stay long, you got them travellin' feet, you’ll soon be long-gone, ‘cause boy, you got the rest of the world blues.”

  • Electric Light Orchestra, “Birmingham Blues”

By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation: those of the politician, the salesman, or the charlatan.

-Joseph Brodsky, in his opening remarks as US Poet Laureate, 1991.

Surprise wisdom from a World Cup TV commentator:

The true history of the world is the history of great conversations.

It takes a lot of water

I was born in the rain on the Pontchartrain, underneath the Louisiana moon. I don’t mind the strain of a Hurricane, they come around here every June. The high black water, the devil’s daughter, she’s hard, she’s cold, and she’s mean, but nobody taught her it takes a lot of water to wash away New Orleans.

  • Levon Helm, “Hurricane”

Now, I understand, my privilege means giving up all claims on life as the casual, criminal thing it sometimes is, in favor of a horizon in whose cursive recesses we may sometimes lie concealed because we are part of the pattern.

  • John Ashbery, “Try Me! I’m Different”


If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get off the couch, move.

  • Anthony Bourdain (rest in peace)

We live longer but...

We live longer / but less precisely / and in shorter sentences / We travel faster, farther, more often, / but bring back slides instead of memories

  • Wislawa Szymborska, “Nonreading”

The World is a Song

I sense the world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe—but just as irrational as sympathetic magic when looked at in a typically scientific way. I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn’t logical, it’s a song.

  • David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries

On Boundaries

Boundaries, after all–of custom, of language, of what is and is not permitted–not only function to keep others out but also keep those inside from expanding.

  • Elena Poniatowska in interview, “The Art of Fiction No. 238,” The Paris Review No. 224 (Spring 2018).

May we all get to heaven...

Well raise another round boys and have another glass be thankful for today knowing it will never last still let's leave the world laughing when our eulogies are read may we all get to heaven before the devil knows we're dead.
- Turnpike Troubadours, "Before the Devil Knows We're Dead"