G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Something as certain as death

Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have exclaimed: "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. "

But was he aware, how this dreaded term "tax" was unleashed upon humanity? Following picture tells us how.

On the subject of taxes, I read very funny story in M V Dhond's "Marhati Lavani"- Peshwa Bajirao-II (infamous for his life dedicated to debauchery) imposed a tax called "Santosh Patti" ("Pleasure Tax") on population of Pune after his accession under the presumption that people were happy to have him as their king!

Henry Martin The New Yorker 11 Jan 1969

Vodka brands. Decadence of the Western world?

I like vodka and rum (of all colours).

Thanks to my weak liver, I cannot afford to drink either much but I like to nurse them. They are great catalyst for conversations about life and art and test-cricket.

Barbara Holland claims in her new book "THE JOY OF DRINKING": (Drink is) "......the social glue of the human race. Probably in the beginning we could explain ourselves to our close family members with grunts, muttered syllables, gestures, slaps and punches. Then when the neighbors started dropping in to help harvest, stomp, stir and drink the bounty of the land, after we’d softened our natural suspicious hostility with a few stiff ones, we had to think up some more nuanced communication, like words. From there it was a short step to grammar, civil law, religion, history and ‘The Whiffenpoof Song.’ ".

A stiff claim indeed!

SERGE SCHMEMANN wrote in NYT April 15 2007 "Dispatches From the Front Line of the Great Vodka War" that vodka brands are pretty meaningless because Vodka is just a diluted ethyl alcohol. He says: "The proliferation of premium vodkas, in ever fancier bottles and at ever higher prices, is understandable, given the decadence of the Western world.”

Jack Ziegler The New Yorker 24 July 1989

Philosopher or just a lazy bum?

When I stopped working for big corporates, I thought I became a philosopher.

But my wife would never agree.......
The New Yorker Joseph Mirachi 22 March 1958