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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

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