The Randymon Bash Blog

Eat my shorts.

Long Humor

December 18, 2021 — ~randymon

If You’re Happy And You Know It Bomb Iraq

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq. If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq. If the terrorists are Saudi, And your alibi is shoddy, And your tastes remain quite gaudy, Bomb Iraq. If you never were elected, bomb Iraq. If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq. If you think that SUVs, Are the best thing since sliced cheese, And your father you must please, Bomb Iraq. If the globe is quickly warming, bomb Iraq. If the poor will soon be storming, bomb Iraq. We assert that might makes right, Burning oil is a delight, For the empire we will fight, Bomb Iraq. If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq. If we think that someone’s dissed us, bomb Iraq. So to hell with the inspections, Let’s look tough for the elections, Close your mind and take directions, Bomb Iraq. If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq. If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq. If your politics are sleazy, And hiding that ain’t easy, And your manhood’s getting queasy, Bomb Iraq. Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq. For our might now knows no borders, bomb Iraq. Disagree? We’ll call it treason, It’s the make war not love season,

Even if we have no reason, Bomb Iraq.

  • John Robbins

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Egham is “spam capital” of UK

Email filtering company MessageLabs reports that Egham, Surrey, on the suburban outskirts of London, is the town that receives the most spam in Britain [today.com].

“It’s not like there’s much else to do,” said Boris Busybody, 77 (IQ), of Egham Hythe, idly whirling his four-foot penis around his head in a desultory fashion. “Expanding your manhood, growing your breasts, increasing your sperm … the Lib Dem phone calls get a bit much. That’s Doctor Busybody, by the way. My Ph.D arrived last week.”

Spam has revitalized the local economy. Mr Busybody has given up cab driving and is now working a lucrative job processing payments from home after he sent them his bank details in response to an urgent security message. “I had that King Otumfuo Opoku Ware II in the back of my cab once. Very generous and helpful fellow.”

The Egham Tourist Board has seized the day, with plans for a 50 foot tall penis sculpture at Junction 13 of the M25 on the exit ramp to the town. The sculpture will be encircled by a genuine imitation Rolex and spray a fountain of Spermamax, obtained at a very reasonable rate from a Canadian pharmacy. “You will search an hour for your underwear in the ocean of our spam!” is to become the new town motto.

“I did get a good one the other day,” says Busybody. “Barrister Matthew Sergeant Busybody of MessageLabs said we could promote our town to millions of people just by sending them an advance fee to process our incoming email. The stuff they try! ‘Scuse me, V!k@grk@ kicking in, got to go have sex again. Sorry.”

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Suggested New SPR Wording, or We’re VMS and You’re Not.

VMS Version 3:

Please stop submitting SPR’s. This is our system. We designed it, we built it, and we use it more than you do. If there are some features you think might be missing, if the system isn’t as effective as you think it could be, TOUGH! Give it back, we don’t need you. See figure.

        ---------------------------
        !            -            !
        !           { }           !
        !           | |           !
        !           | |           !
        !        .-.! !.-.        !
        !      .-!  ! !  !.-.     !
        !      ! !       !  ;     !
        !      \           ;      !
        !       \         ;       !
        !        !       :        !
        !        !       |        !
        !        |       |        !
        !                         !
        ---------------------------
              Figure 1.

Forget about your silly problem, let’s take a look at some of the features of the VMS operating system.

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I like Windows XP Home Edition.

It is the most powerful operating-system for Pee Cees. It looks not as gay as Mac OS X by Steve B10 Jobs and has 1,0000,0000 times more softwares that the Linus-operating-system.

Plus, it comes with every Pee Cee for free. People who have grown acusstomt to paying RatHat 699 $$$ or more can hardly beleive this when I consult them with my proffesional Internet- and Network-Service-Center-Bureau.

I always tell them: “Windows XP Home Edition is all you can empower to leverage the outcome-bottomlime of your stickholder … plus even more!”

My customers usually are like: “OMG!”

You should really try it one day; it has a very nice light-reddish color theme to hit your tastes.

Thank you!

– by Anonymous Coward on 01-11-05 07:35 AM (#11318508)

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The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a competitive boat race.

The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a competitive boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day the Japanese won by a mile.

The American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend corrective action.

The consultant’s finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering. After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the American team’s management structure was completely reorganized. The new structure: four steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.

The next year, the Japanese won by two miles!

Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

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It's all about the Pentiums Baby! (Score:1, Funny)
         by supertbone (624441) on Monday July 12, @12:28PM (#9675847)
                       It's all about the Pentiums, baby
                             What y'all wanna do?
                   Wanna be hackers? Code crackers? Slackers
                  Wastin' time with all the chatroom yakkers?
                     9 to 5, chillin' at Hewlett Packard?
                 Workin' at a desk with a dumb little placard?
             Yeah, payin' the bills with my mad programming skills
                     Defraggin' my hard drive for thrills
                      I got me a hundred gigabytes of RAM
                   I never feed trolls and I don't read spam
                        Installed a T1 line in my house
                Always at my PC, double-clickin' on my mizouse
                    Upgrade my system at least twice a day
               I'm strictly plug-and-play, I ain't afraid of Y2K
            I'm down with Bill Gates, I call him "Money" for short
           I phone him up at home and I make him do my tech support
                      It's all about the Pentiums, what?
               You've gotta be the dumbest newbie I've ever seen
                   You've got white-out all over your screen
                  You think your Commodore 64 is really neato
                  What kinda chip you got in there, a Dorito?
                    You're usin' a 286? Don't make me laugh
               Your Windows boots up in what, a day and a half?
         You could back up your whole hard drive on a floppy diskette
                    You're the biggest joke on the Internet
                          Your database is a disaster
             You're waxin' your modem, tryin' to make it go faster
         Hey fella, I bet you're still livin' in your parents' cellar
                 Downloadin' pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar
               And postin' "Me too!" like some brain-dead AOL-er
           I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller
            You're just about as useless as jpegs to Hellen Keller
                            Uh, uh, loggin' in now
                          Wanna run wit my crew, hah?
                 Rule cyberspace and crunch numbers like I do?
                   They call me the king of the spreadsheets
                      Got 'em printed out on my bedsheets
                  My new computer's got the clocks, it rocks
                  But it was obsolete before I opened the box
               You say you've had your desktop for over a week?
                  Throw that junk away, man, it's an antique
                 Your laptop is a month old? Well that's great
                  If you could use a nice, heavy paperweight
                      My digital media is write-protected
                   Every file inspected, no viruses detected
                     I beta tested every operating system
                 Gave props to some, and others? I dissed 'em
              While your computer's crashin', mine's multitaskin'
                  It does all my work without me even askin'
               Got a flat-screen monitor forty inches wide wide
             I believe that your says "Etch-A-Sketch" on the side
                    In a 32-bit world, you're a 2-bit user
               You've got your own newsgroup, "alt.total-loser"
               Your motherboard melts when you try to send a fax
             Where'd you get your CPU, in a box of Cracker Jacks?
               Play me online? Well, you know that I'll beat you
                If I ever meet you I'll control-alt-delete you
                         What? What? What? What? What?

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Why Latinos Can’t Be Terrorists:

  1. 8:45am is too early for us to be up.
  2. We are always late, we would have missed all 4 flights.
  3. Pretty people on the plane distract us.
  4. We would talk loudly and bring attention to ourselves.
  5. With food and drinks on the plane, we would forget why we’re there.
  6. We talk with our hands, therefore we would have to put our weapons down.
  7. We would ALL want to fly the plane.
  8. We would argue and start a fight in the plane.
  9. We can’t keep a secret, we would have told everyone a week before doing it.
  10. We would have put our country’s flag on the windshield.

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Cats

Cats no less liquid than their shadows Offer no angles to the wind. They slip, diminished, neat through loopholes Less than themselves; will not be pinned

To rules or routes for journeys; counter Attack with non-resistance; twist Enticing through the curving fingers And leave an angered empty fist.

They wait obsequious as darkness Quick to retire, quick to return; Admit no aim or ethics; flatter With reservations; will not learn

To answer to their names; are seldom Truly owned till shot or skinned. Cats no less liquid than their shadows Offer no angles to the wind.

-- A. S. J. Tessimond

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Vonnegut’s rules for short stories

Here’s some advice on writing short stories, from Kurt Vonnegut’s collection, Bagombo Snuff Box:

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

  4. Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action.*

  5. Start as close to the end as possible.

  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them – in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

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Unix sex

{look;find;talk;grep;touch;finger;find;flex;unzip; mount;workbone; fsck;yes;gasp;fsck;yes;eject;umount;makeclean;zip; split;done;exit}

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I liked the company of most of my colleagues, who were about evenly divided among good men who were good teachers, awful men who were awful teachers, and the grotesques and misfits who drift into teaching and are so often the most educative influences a boy meets in school. If a boy can’t have a good teacher, give him a psychological cripple or an exotic failure to cope with; just don’t give him a bad, dull teacher. –Robertson Davies “Fifth Business”

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Treehouse of Horror III : Evil Krusty Doll episode

Shopkeeper : “Take this object, but beware! It carries a terrible curse…” Homer : “Ooh, that’s bad!” Shopkeeper : “…but it comes with a free frogurt…” Homer : “That’s good!” Shopkeeper : “…the frogurt is also cursed…” Homer : “That’s bad!” Shopkeeper : “…but you get your choice of topping…” Homer : “That’s good!” Shopkeeper : “The toppings contain potassium benzoate…” Homer : … Shopkeeper : “That’s bad.” Homer : “Can I go home now?”

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Shopkeeper: Take this computer, but beware: Windows carries a terrible curse.

Customer: Ooooh, that’s bad.

Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free Media Player!

Customer: That’s good!

Shopkeeper: The Media Player is also cursed.

Customer: That’s bad.

Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of a free downloadable movie!

Customer: That’s good!

Shopkeeper: The movies contain Digital Rights Management technology.

Customer: [stares]

Shopkeeper: That’s bad.

Customer: Can I go now?

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Paul Theroux

December 05, 2021 — ~randymon

A great satisfaction in growing old - one of many - is assuming the role of a witness to the wobbling of the world and seeing irreversible changes. The downside, besides the tedium of listening to the delusions of the young, is hearing the same hackneyed opinions over and over, not just those of callow youth but, much worse and seemingly criminal, the opinions of even callower people who ought to know better, all the lies about war and fear and progress and the enemy - the world as a wheel of repetition. - “I can tell that I am growing old,” says the narrator in Borges’s story “The Congress.” “One unmistakeable sign is the fact that I find novelty neither interesting nor surprising, perhaps because I see nothing essentially new in it - it’s little more than timid variations on what’s already been.”

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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… I reflected on the life of the expatriate American in India: the multitasking businessman or lawyer with his driver, his air-conditioned office, and his secretaries - India is the land of retainers, gofers, body servants, door openers, waiters, and flunkies. The spouse of such an expatriate is similarly elevated, transformed from a simple soul, possibly unlettered - who would have trouble finding India on a map - to a memsahib, the status of an important lady in society, with a cook, a cleaner, a chowkidar, a dhobi or launderer, and if she has a garden, she will have two gardeners.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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The traveler’s conceit is that barbarism is something singular and foreign, to be encountered halfway around the world in some pinched and parochial backwater. The traveler journeys to this remote place and it seems to be so: he is offered a glimpse of the worst atrocities that can be served up by a sadistic government. And then, to his shame, he realizes that they are identical to ones advocated and diligently applied by his own government.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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Even with declining sales, from a peak of $5 billion a year, graphic novels in some form are probably the future of popular literature - increasingly they are being downloaded to cell phones. Purely pictorial pleasure, undemanding, without an idea or a challenge, yet obviously stimulating, a sugar high like junk food, another softener of the brain; they spell the end of the traditional novel, perhaps the end of writing itself.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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A [Russian] woman wants to buy a car. She is given a voucher and told, “It will be delivered in ten years.” “Morning or afternoon?” she asks. “Why do you want to know?” She says, “Because the plumber is coming in the morning.”

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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Most people on earth are poor. Most places are blighted and nothing will stop the blight getting worse. Travel gives you glimpses of the past and the future, your own and other people’s. “I am a native in this world,” aspiring to be the Man with the Blue Guitar. But there are too many people and an enormous number of them spend their hungry days thinking about America as the Mother Ship. … Most of the world is worsening, shrinking to a ball of bungled desolation. Only the old can really see how gracelessly the world is aging and all that we have lost. Politicians are always inferior to their citizens. no one on earth is well governed. Is there hope? Yes. Most people I’d met, in chance encounters, were strangers who helped me on my way. And we lucky ghosts can travel wherever we want. The going is still good, because arrivals are departures.

-- Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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The conceit of the long-distance traveler is the belief that he is going so far, he will be alone - inconceivable that another person has the same good idea.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Venice, like a drawing room in a gas station, is approached through a vast apron of infertile industrial flatlands, criss-crossed with black sewer troughs and stinking of oil, the gigantic sinks and stoves of refineries and factories, all intimidating the delicate dwarfed city beyond.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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The disorder in Yashar’s apartment was that comfortable littering and stacking that only another writer can recognize as order - the considered scatter of papers and books a writer builds around himself until it acquires the cozy solidity of a nest.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Because it was still early, and because Indian villagers seem to think of railway tracks as the margin of their world, there were people crouched all along the line, shitting. At first I thought they were simply squatting comfortably to watch the train go by, then I noticed the bright yellow hanks under them. I saw one man; he portended a hundred more, all facing the train for the diversion it offered, unhurriedly fouling the track. They were shitting when the train pulled in; they were still at it when the train pulled out. One curious group - a man, a boy, and a pig - were in a row, each shitting in his own way. A dignified man with his dhoti drawn up squatted a little distance from the tracks. He watched the train go by and he looked as if he would be there fro some time: he held a large black umbrella over his head and a newspaper on his knees. Indeed, he seemed the perfect symbol for what a man in Delhi had called “The Turd World.”

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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It was a small tropical station in the north of Ceylon, smelling of soaked jungle and erupting drains, and with that decay that passes for charm in tropical outposts.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Train travel animated my imagination and usually gave me the solitude to order and write my thoughts: I traveled easily in two directions, along the level rails while Asia flashed changes at the window, and at the interior rim of a private world of memory and language. I cannot imagine a luckier combination.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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An Indian girl was coming towards us. I could have used her approach as an opportunity to pass on, but I waited and we both stepped aside to let her go by. She lowered her eyes and glided along. She had delicate shoulders, dry dusted cheeks, and gleaming hair, and she smelled of some small sweetness like that of a single crushed flower.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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I think I am as intrepid as the next man, but I have a side - and it may be the same side that is partial to trains - that enjoys the journey only because of the agreeable delays en route, a lazy vulgar sybarite searching Asia for comfort, justifying my pleasure by the distance traveled.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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The effort of coming so far seemed wasted; and, really, had I come all that way to find a jail, as people travel in the greatest discomfort to the farthest ends of the earth, through jungles and bad weather for weeks and weeks, to hurry into a doomed plane or step into the path of a bullet? It is ignominious when a person travels a great distance to die.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation; and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind. … I couldn’t recall what day it was; I had forgotten the country. Being on the trains had suspended time; the heat and dampness had slowed my memory.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Traveling over a long distance becomes, after three months, like tasting wine or picking at a global buffet. A place is approached, sampled, and given a mark. A visit, pausing before the next rain pulls out, forbids gourmandizing, but a return is possible. So from every lengthy itinerary a simpler one emerges, in which Iran is penciled over, Afghanistan deleted, Pehawar gets a yes, Simla a maybe, and so on.

-- Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

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Colin Thubron

December 05, 2021 — ~randymon

I sit opposite him, writhing with rebellion at first, then oddly sad. Sasha is glowing. But I see an old man in track-suit trousers and threadbare socks, who has gone off the rails. Sometimes I feel that he is talking not to us, but to himself, and that he is very lonely. I imagine him the victim of that self-hypnosis which sustained the great illusion of Communism itself – where ideas and dreams hover delusively over the wasteland of facts.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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The slats were dropping from the ceiling of Shushenskoe’s bus station, built for pilgrims who no longer came, and the floors were awash with rain. It trickled down the carved panels of Bolshevik heroes toppling the imperial eagle, and smeared the cheeks of the embossed Lenin. It dribbled between the window-panes of my bus as it veered south-east, and erased the road a hundred yards ahead. Sometimes it would part like mist around a stack of dark hills, where pine forests stood bearded in parasitic lichen, or drift out of glades sodden with ferns and moss. We might have been underwater.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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A wash of cloud and stunted pines, their roots twisted about the scree, distilled the view to a Japanese painting, where a faint moon was printed on the sky. Grey rock had broken loose from the forest, and lifted to snow-lit peaks. Soon we were easing downhill. All across the horizon, a curtain of fanged mountains – brilliant and irregular – was glittering above the deepest lake on earth.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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Then their door burst open and in strode two police officials … She demanded to see my papers, then cited special laws in this province … requiring me to register at my first hotel … It was the old, spurious reason for supervision: the self-fulfilling notion that nobody, nothing, could survive without control.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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The path died through the camp’s gates. One of its posts had crashed across the way, the other was reeling in a thicket of willows. A stream lisped in the glade below. A mist of birch leaves covered everything.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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… when an anaemic dawn stole into our carriage I thought we had barely moved. I gazed out of the window to see bare trees flowing over broken waves of hills. It was an unlovely, charred-looking land, drifting into winter. The larches had wasted to leaden filigree, and the birches were ghosts. All day the vista scarcely changed, while I became mesmerized by the taiga. Its snow-glazed desolation seemed only to deepen its vastness: one fifth of the forest of the entire earth. Often it runs over a thousand miles deep from north to south, and the suffocating closure of its trees, crowding out all distances, any perspective, has driven people literally mad. Magnetic anomalies can doom even a sane traveller here, while his compass-point swings uselessly.

-- Colin Thubron, In Siberia

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I was conscious above all of the stunned desolation which seems to permeate these plains. It has to do, I think, less with their actual poverty – sandy soil, poor drainage – than with the inarticulate vastness of which they form a part. Without the nearness of towns or the presence of hills, the sky takes on a terrible passive force. Stand anywhere here, and three-quarters of your field of vision is engulfed by it, adding a pitiless immensity to the size of the land.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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I vaguely wondered what an atheist funeral was like … They faced grief unsupported, in the hope only that a person’s memory outshine the dissolution of death.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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She seemed a living illustration of that tender, incontinent quality – the Russians untranslateably call it umileniye – that belongs to a world in which nothing intrudes between a feeling and its expression.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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The pop band bawled out old British numbers. It seemed as if everything which people considered important - beliefs, systems, ideals - were fatally divisive, and that the miracle of human unity was performed instead by pop songs.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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So she came as a shock. She looked a classic Armenian. In Erevan her face was almost a type - a satin sliver of features and sable eyes, divided by a long, sculptural nose. Such faces were both fragile and austere.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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"Empire",' Julian repeated later. “Ruthlessness”. Strong words.‘ They hurt him – he was deeply patriotic – but he mulled and forgave them. We smoothed them away in wine until late in the night, talking of England, and of countries where he’d never been, until I wondered incoherently if the most useful role of governments might be to express all their people’s fear and antagonism, and so release the people themselves into some precious and unexpected friendship.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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As we said goodbye, he clasped my hand and said: ‘If in some future time I see you in the sights of my rifle - I’ll miss.‘ 'And I won’t fire at all.’ We laughed, but with deep emotion. I’ve never felt so brief a friendship more. In him I loved the Russian people. It was my last healing.

-- Colin Thubron, Where Nights Are Longest

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Her gaze seemed to slowly inundate the room until it drowned us.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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A shoal of small sons and nephews circled us.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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The darkness swam with their blackcurrant eyes and wan faces.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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He turned to me with dagger-bright eyes.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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A thatch of hair overhung his forehead like a sunshade; the eyes beneath it bulged in adolescent questing.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Dressed like an apprentice undertaker.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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He looked sunk in a morose cynicism. His was one of those disruptive faces which I was to meet all through my journey.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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The flamboyant dress only threw into crueller relief the sallow plainness of her face.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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“I wore my hair down to here.” She trickled her fingers down her breast.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Fattening Uzbek traders with their jewelled wives.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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His hair dusted back from a creaseless forehead and a face which looked idle and rather child-like.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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In the amber-skinned oval of his face the eyes and slight moustache made an unreadable code of black dots and dashes.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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She had contracted a synthetic, Slavish charm, whose veneer had eaten inward, like an acid, until its lilting voice seemed to become her own.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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He was compact and stout, like a soft toy, with short arms and legs and a crumpled face.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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His family affairs were rife with silences which he did not fill.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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His vodka-softened eyes flickered …

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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His upturned eyebrows floated in airborne sadness.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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His face was a mask of polished flesh, where the features were only sketchy afterthoughts, but humour fidgeted chronically beneath.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Even his gait was a study in amplitude - a kind of rollicking waddle.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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One of those daughters-in-law who seem touchingly enslaved: a thin. frightened girl in flaming silks.

         -- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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She fluttered in and out, and barely raised her eyes.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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The neutrality of his face seemed capable of erupting into any nature and I wondered vaguely what other selves might lie beneath it.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Lumbering young men in jeans, and heavy-hipped women with hennaed hair and worn faces.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Korvus was an old man now. Beneath a burst of white hair his face shone heavy and crumpled, and his eyes watered behind their spectacles.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Their hair curled russet or auburn above their high brows.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Biblical patriarchs with dripping beards, who crouched still limber on their haunches by the wayside.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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She was the perfect type of those lissom girls who chattered in flocks along the boulevards holding hands and flaunting Atlas silks. She had the slender face and alert eyes of her tribe, and ran barefoot along the flat on long feet with prehensile toes, giggling and flirting a little.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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The mountains made a frozen tumult of spires and ridges. erupting to over 23.000 feet.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Shingly streams. A ghostly causeway of valley. The sound of the thistes scratching against the stones.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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Always to our south the mountains kept pace in a phantasmal counterpoint of scarps and pyramids, where cloud shadows spread a dim commotion, and hawks wheeled.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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The mountains engulfed us. Their flanks crowded the track in vertiginous gulfs and spurs. Through their flacid earth the river had dropped sheer, opening up purple veins, and soon it was winding in a blood-coloured trickle a thousand feet below us.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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At night when the traffic drained from the streets and a rash of stars glittered in our windows. The slopes reddened into angry mounds

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

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A sordid scrubland - a crimson river wound between mudflats.

-- Colin Thubron, Lost Heart of Asia

Tim Cahill

December 03, 2021 — ~randymon

Out there, somewhere, moonlit swells are rolling through the darkness over a point I have dubbed “The Spot”: 2,700 nautical miles equidistant from Cape May, New Jersey, and Lisbon, Portugal, and roughly 1,290 miles southwest of Newfoundland. The Spot mark the halfway point on our journey and is, by definition, the farthest we’ll stray from land on our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

-- Paul Bennett, How to Sail Across the Atlantic
   National Geographic Adventure Magazine

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Standing on the deck of a thirty-eight-foot sailboat in the absolute center of the Atlantic in the middle of the night feels more mundane than I had assumed it would. When I imagined this moment months ago from my leather chair in New York City, it was much more Byronic. I was the plucky adventurer thousands of miles from anywhere, alone with the sea, like the people I read about in books and magazines. Instead, as I look out at the barely discernable line of the horizon, I see the concrete facts that led me here: the engine we repaired in Virginia, the rub rail we replaced in Rhode Island, the mortgage, the dody ports whose officials we’ve grown adept at bribing.

-- Paul Bennett, How to Sail Across the Atlantic
   National Geographic Adventure Magazine

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The argument for carrying a gun is cynically straightforward: sailing a yacht in the vicinity of poor countries is like walking through the zoo’s polar bear exhibit wearing a seal-skin suit.

-- Paul Bennett, How to Sail Across the Atlantic
   National Geographic Adventure Magazine

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Contradictions … mostly in the form of Litton’s puzzling personality quirks. He has fought for all sorts of restrictions to protect fragile landscapes, yet he loathes any government agency that musters the temerity to tell him where he can go and how to behave when he gets there. He inspires great loyalty, but his former employees describe him as the sort of mercurial boss who could switch in a heartbeat from charmming to curmudgeonly to nitpicking. He bemoans the loss of solitude in wilderness but made his living by encouraging millions of people to go out and discover it.

 -- Kevin Fedarko, Isn't it Grand?
 Outside Magazine

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Thing is, they ALL seem to enjoy being around you. Prostitutes are good like that. The best ones make you forget they’re even prostitutes, make you think you’ve stumbled into the greatest singles' bar in the world. That girl you’re talking to, she’ll tell you that you’re handsome and sexy and intelligent, and she’ll make you believe it no matter how fat or dumb or ugly you are because she knows you’ve got a hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket. Back home, you’d spend that on dinner and a movie, and for what? A kiss on the cheek? Down here, that gets you laid, and by a woman who pretends she doesn’t think you’re a pig.

-- Sean Flynn, Where they love Americans ... for a living
   GQ magazine

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Just look around. Stand at the edge of Parque Morazan and watch the parade of white guys with young brown girls. “This place,” says that American expat former cop, “has to be the number one destination in the Western Hemisphere for horny, middle-aged moron-loser-gringos jacked up on Viagra.”

-- Sean Flynn, Where they love Americans ... for a living
   GQ magazine

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Sex tourism is built on that very premise: these girls, the chicas and the Eastern Europeans and the Southeast Asians, are different from American women, more loving, less judgmental, oblivious to your gut and your hairline and the fact that you’re the sort of guy who hires women to have sex with him.

-- Sean Flynn, Where they love Americans ... for a living
   GQ magazine

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Even Lonely Planet, however, hasn’t figured out a way to market its epiphanies other than by using the impoverished language of travel writing. And so “palm-fringed beaches” and “lush rain forests” and other “sleepy backwaters” are invariably counterpoised against “teeming citites” with their “bustling souks.” Every region has a “colorful history” and a “rich cultural tapestry.” And every place on earth is a “land of contrasts.”

  -- Tad Friend, The Parachute Artist
  The New Yorker

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That’s when panic rose in my throat, a stifled upchuck. What in the name of bullcrap was I doing here?

 -- Michael Paterniti, XXXXL

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You fully expect The Girl to whisper up at the monkey – to coax it down, cradle it into her arms, and walk off peacefully to share the muffin on the shores of the Holy Ganges. Instead, her face reddens, and she snatches a tin of tea sugar. Curling her thin, lovely lips, she screams, “COCK SUCKING FUCKING MONKEY!”

--Rolf Potts, Tantric Sex for Dilettantes
Perceptive Travel

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Part of me wants to offer to help. But that would be, of course, ridiculous, melodramatic. He washes these stairs every day. It’s not my job to hand-wash stairs. It’s his job to hand-wash stairs. My job is to observe him hand-washing the stairs, then go inside the air-conditioned lobby and order a cold beer and take notes about his stair-washing so I can go home and write about it, making more for writing about it than he’ll make in many, many years of doing it. And of course, somewhere in India is a guy who’d kill to do some stair-washing in Dubai. He hasn’t worked in three years, any chance of marriage is rapidly fading.

– George Saunders, The New Mecca GQ Magazine

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Here girls of roughly student age release their Slavic pheromones to the music of 50 Cent, their flea-market miniskirts held together by bobby pins and sheer will. In the Amsterdam room, desperation and testosterone tickle the nose in equal measure. After several vodka shots chased with beer, I settle into another Dostoyevskian moment - feeding the G-string of some poor damaged blond a series of one-hundred-ruble notes whilst mumbling something about life and beauty and redemption.

– Gary Shteyngart, A St. Petersburg Christmas Travel + Leisure

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Seven Years in Tibet

December 03, 2021 — ~randymon

Heinrich Harrer

Tibet has not yet been infested by the worst disease of modern life, the everlasting rush. No one overworks here. Officials have an easy life. They turn up at the office late in the morning and leave for their homes early in the afternoon. If an official has guests or any other reason for not coming, he just sends a servant to a colleague and asks him to officiate for him.

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The soft of fatalistic resignation with which they lent themselves to this backbreaking toil always used to infuriate me. As a product of our modern age, I could not understand why the people of Tibet were so rigidly opposed to any form of progress. There obviously must be some better means of transporting these heavy burdens than by manhandling them. The Chinese invented and used the wheel thousands of years ago. But the Tibetans will have none of it, though its use would give an immense impusle to transport and commerce, and would raise the whole standard of living throughout the country.

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An indescribable scene awaited us. There squatted hundreds, nay thousands, of monks wearing their read cowls and busy doing something for which privacy is generally regarded as essential. I did not envy Aufschnaiter his place of work.

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Still, we comforted ourselves with the thought that our life was very tolerable and that we had many reasons for satisfaction. We had a good roof over our heads and were no longer struggling to exist. We did not miss the appliances of Western civilization. Europe with its life of turmoil seemed far away. Often as we sat and listened to the radio brining reports from ou country we shook our heads at the depressing news. There seemed no inducement to go home.

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The daily life of Tibetans is ordered by religious belief. Pious texts are onstantly on their lips; prayer wheels turn without ceasing; prayer flags wave on the roofs of houses and the summits of the mountain passes; the rain, the wind, all the phenomena of nautre, the lonely peaks of the sno-clad mountains, bear witness to the universal presence of the gods whose anger is manifested by the ailstorm, and whose benevolence is displayed by the fruitfulness of the land. The life of the people is regulated by the divine will, whose interpreters the lamas are.

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I listened to the news the first thing every day and often found myself shaking my head and wondering at the things that men seemed to think important. Here it is the yak’s pace that dictates the tempo of life, and so it has been for thousands of years. Would Tibet be happier for being transformed? … by accelerating the tempo of existence it might rob the people of their peace and leisure.

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Christianity and Buddhism have much in common. They are both founded on the belief in happiness in another world, and both preach humility in this life. But there is a difference as things are today. In Tibet one is not hunted from morning till night by the calls of “civilization.” Here one has time to occupy oneself with religion and to call one’s soul one’s own. Here it is religion that occupies most of the life of the individual, as it did in the West during the Middle Ages.

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