you’d better

Martin Scorsese on Michael Powell (via Some Came Running):

He reassured that in me most of all: You believe in an idea, a concept, a story, a statement you want to make, and that’s the foundation of the film. You do not waver from it. Whether it takes you all the way down, whether it takes you to the edge, then pushes you off, even to the point of not making another film for thirty years, you do not waver. You’d better make that picture, even if you know it’s suicide.

die cannot eat nice nice

The Economist:

The first Western cookbook appeared a little more than 1,600 years ago. “De re coquinara” (concerning cookery) is attributed to a Roman gourmet named Apicius who, legend has it, poisoned himself upon learning that he could no longer afford to eat fancy food.

murakami on receiving the Jerusalem Prize

If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.

Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system” which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.

I have only one purpose in writing novels. That is to draw out the unique divinity of the individual. To gratify uniqueness. To keep the system from tangling us. So – I write stories of life, love. Make people laugh and cry.

We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.


sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up

Elizabeth Gilbert is quoted as saying during what sounds like a beautiful TED talk:

Just do your job… Continue to show up for your piece of it. If your job is to dance, then do your dance.  If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment for your efforts, then Ole. And if not, do your dance anyhow. Ole to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.

Apple design meetings

Every week, the (Apple design) teams have two meetings. One in which to brainstorm, to forget about constraints and think freely. As Lopp put it: to “go crazy”. Then they also hold a production meeting, an entirely separate but equally regular meeting which is the other’s antithesis. Here, the designers and engineers are required to nail everything down, to work out how this crazy idea might actually work. This process and organization continues throughout the development of any app, though of course the balance shifts as the app progresses. But keeping an option for creative thought even at a late stage is really smart.

women are scary part 78

New York Review of Books:

worker ants (which are all female)… are the gamergates, or “married workers,” and their sex life can be brutal. In one species the gamergates venture outside of the nest to attract a male, engage him in copulation, then carry him into the nest before snipping off his genitals and throwing away the rest of his body. The severed genitals continue to inseminate the gamergate for up to an hour, after which they too are discarded. The fertilized gamergates then vie for dominance, causing disruptive conflict in the nest.

Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth

Zuckerman Bound: A Trilogy and Epilogue 1979-1985: Zuckerman Unbound

123 – But a bloody nose wasn’t enough anymore. Blowing people apart seemed to have replaced the roundhouse punch in the daydreams of the aggrieved: only annihilation gave satisfaction that lasted.

162 – There’s nothing to do about what people think, except to pay as little attention as possible.

165 – On dark days I too put myself down for not being an ideal member of my sex.

174 – I may have reached the end of my wonderful future.

187 – In my daily life I am a better man than you are a hundred times over, shitface.

199 – He was not fit company for anyone he considered a friend.

221 – I am still the same person who won’t do.

254 – Do you know what Chekhov said as a grown man about his youth? He said he’d had to squeeze the serf out of himself drop by drop. Maybe what you ought to start squeezing out of yourself is the obedient son.

262 – “Who you supposed to be?” he said. “No one,” replied Zuckerman, and that was the end of that. You are no longer any man’s son, you are no longer some good woman’s husband, you are no longer your brother’s brother, and you don’t come from anywhere anymore, either.

The Jilted Handshake

James Reynolds:

..China is a country which is acutely sensitive to insults – particularly from the West (… all Chinese schoolchildren are taught about this country’s “Century of Humiliation” from 1842 to 1949, in which China was occupied by Western powers).

One of the most famous insults is The Jilted Handshake. A widely-told story says that, at the Geneva Conference in 1954, the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai offered his hand to the US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. At the time, the two countries had no diplomatic relations, and the US Secretary of State was particularly well-known for his anti-Communist passion. So, Mr Dulles refused to shake Mr Zhou’s hand. This insult was keenly felt in China. (America made up for it in 1972 when President Richard Nixon landed in Beijing and came down the steps of Air Force One with his hand outstretched.)



Beware conventional wisdom and groupthink. Be skeptical of tidy explanations for complex past events. Be even more skeptical of confident predictions of future human behavior…

But I suspect that—in part to comfort ourselves, as well as to choose villains, and possibly a few heroes—we are oversimplifying the story line and assuming we know more than we do.