Do you know why the English managed to conquer half the globe? Because they were so bloody stupid! Some half-witted lord jumped up in a general’s uniform would simply advance on a position and expend men, he didn’t care, they were only yeomen and slum slush, cannon fodder. He just kept sending them in and so help me they kept on going, until eventually he won. You call that bravery? I call that two things, murder and stupidity. The generals murdered their men and the men were too stupid to resist.
•It wasn’t until I went to boarding school for the second time that I learned that survival is a matter of actively making the system work for you rather than attempting merely to survive it.
•Then came the newly sworn-in president, and the moment he began to deliver his speech, the notes emanating from that tightly strung rhetorical instrument felt so natural to Ferguson, so comfortably joined to his inner expectations, that he found himself listening to it in the same way he listened to a piece of music. Man holds in his mortal hands. Let the word go forth. Pay any price, bear any burden. The power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. Let every nation know. The torch has been passed. Meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe. A new generation of Americans. That uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war. Now the trumpet summons us again. A call to bear the burdens of a long twilight struggle. But let us begin. Born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace. Let us explore the stars. Ask. Ask not. A struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. A new generation. Ask. ask not. But let us begin.
•“Cousin!” said Ardashir, with a friendly grimace at the sight of Samad’s body curling cautiously around the door. He knew that Samad had come to inquire about a pay increase, and he wanted his cousin to feel that he had at least considered the case in all his friendly judiciousness before he declined.
•That is a nice way to treat your defenceless subordinates, hitting them without warning in the pitt of the stomach.
•Why do you not climb up on the crest of your manure and let yourself be carried along?
•You will notice that participants in disasters typically locate the "beginning" of a disaster at a point suggesting their own control over events. A plane crash retold will not begin with the pressure system over the Central Pacific that caused the instability over the Gulf that caused the wind shear at DFW but at some manageable human intersect, with for example the "funny feeling" ignored at breakfast. An account of a 6.8 earthquake will not begin with the overlap of the tectonic plates but more comfortably, at the place in London where we ordered the Spode that shattered the morning the tectonic plates shifted.
Had we just gone with the funny feeling. Had we just never ordered the Spode.
We all prefer the magical explanation.
•For some time now he had felt the need to urinate, but he did not get up. Until last night he would have hopped out of bed and gone in the can in the corner of his cell. But now he was daunted at the thought of walking down the hall to a room marked by a wooden sign bearing the letters WC. The realization that he could open the door of his own free will and walk to the toilet without being watched by a guard filled him with something approaching terror.
•Opinions vary as to whether the doorkeeper intends the announcement that he is going to shut the gate merely as an answer, or to emphasize his devotion to duty, or because he wants to arouse remorse and sorrow in the man at the last moment.
•‘…No,’ said the priest, ‘you don’t have to consider everything true, you just have to consider it necessary.’
•Famous people don’t want to be told that you have a quality in common with them. It makes them think there’s something crawling in their clothes.