Did the men steal the papers?" Reynie asked, fearing her response.No, because they are fools," Sophie said bitterly. "They demanded to see the papers, and when I did not answer fast enough -- they were very frightening, you see -- they hurt me so that I was not awake. . . . When I opened my eyes they were still trying to find the papers. They did not understand how we organize the library, you see. They were angry and creating a bad mess. . . . The police were coming and the men decided they must leave. I shouted at them as they left: 'It is a free and public library! All you had to do was ask!
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Did the men steal the papers?” Reynie asked, fearing her response.No, because they are fools,” Sophie said bitterly. “They demanded to see the papers, and when I did not answer fast enough — they were very frightening, you see — they hurt me so that I was not awake. . . . When I opened my eyes they were still trying to find the papers. They did not understand how we organize the library, you see. They were angry and creating a bad mess. . . . The police were coming and the men decided they must leave. I shouted at them as they left: ‘It is a free and public library! All you had to do was ask!

-Trenton Lee

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Did I ever tell you about the manwho taught his asshole to talk?His whole abdomen would move up and down,you dig, farting out the words.It was unlike anything I ever heard. Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for the carnival,you dig? And to start with it waslike a novelty ventriloquist act.After a while,the ass started talking on its own.He would go inwithout anything prepared...and his ass would ad-liband toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teethlike...little raspy incurving hooksand started eating.He thought this was cute at firstand built an act around it...but the asshole would eat its way throughhis pants and start talking on the street... shouting out it wanted equal rights.It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags.Nobody loved it. And it wanted to be kissed,same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time,day and night. You could hear him for blocks,screaming at it to shut up... beating at it with his fists... and sticking candles up it, but... nothing did any good,and the asshole said to him... "It is you who will shut upin the end, not me..."because we don't need youaround here anymore. I can talk and eat and shit." After that, he began waking upin the morning with transparentjelly... like a tadpole's tailall over his mouth. He would tear it off his mouthand the pieces would stick to his hands... like burning gasoline jellyand grow there. So, finally, his mouth sealed over... and the whole head... would have amputated spontaneouslyexcept for the eyes, you dig? That's the one thingthat the asshole couldn't do was see. It needed the eyes.Nerve connections were blocked... and infiltrated and atrophied. So, the brain couldn'tgive orders anymore. It was trapped inside the skull... sealed off.For a while, you could see... the silent, helpless sufferingof the brain behind the eyes. And then finallythe brain must have died... because the eyes went out... and there was no more feeling in themthan a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.

-William S.

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Electrons, when they were first discovered, behaved exactly like particles or bullets, very simply. Further research showed, from electron diffraction experiments for example, that they behaved like waves. As time went on there was a growing confusion about how these things really behaved ---- waves or particles, particles or waves? Everything looked like both.This growing confusion was resolved in 1925 or 1926 with the advent of the correct equations for quantum mechanics. Now we know how the electrons and light behave. But what can I call it? If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Your experience with things that you have seen before is incomplete. The behavior of things on a very tiny scale is simply different. An atom does not behave like a weight hanging on a spring and oscillating. Nor does it behave like a miniature representation of the solar system with little planets going around in orbits. Nor does it appear to be somewhat like a cloud or fog of some sort surrounding the nucleus. It behaves like nothing you have seen before.There is one simplication at least. Electrons behave in this respect in exactly the same way as photons; they are both screwy, but in exactly in the same way….The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, "But how can it be like that?" which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. I will not describe it in terms of an analogy with something familiar; I will simply describe it. There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there ever was such a time. There might have been a time when only one man did, because he was the only guy who caught on, before he wrote his paper. But after people read the paper a lot of people understood the theory of relativity in some way or other, certainly more than twelve. On the other hand, I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, "But how can it be like that?" because you will get 'down the drain', into a blind alley from which nobody has escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.

-Richard Feynman

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I tramp the perpetual journeyMy signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land. Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth, Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip, And in due time you shall repay the same service to me, For after we start we never lie by again. This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven, And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond. You are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself. Sit a while dear son, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.

-Walt Whitman

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INTERVIEWERYou’re self-educated, aren’t you?BRADBURYYes, I am. I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.

-Ray Bradbury

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What is so often said about the solders of the 20th century is that they fought to make us free. Which is a wonderful sentiment and one witch should evoke tremendous gratitude if in fact there was a shred of truth in that statement but, it's not true. It's not even close to true in fact it's the opposite of truth. There's this myth around that people believe that the way to honor deaths of so many of millions of people; that the way to honor is to say that we achieved some tangible, positive, good, out of their death's. That's how we are supposed to honor their deaths. We can try and rescue some positive and forward momentum of human progress, of human virtue from these hundreds of millions of death's but we don't do it by pretending that they'd died to set us free because we are less free; far less free now then we were before these slaughters began. These people did not die to set us free. They did not die fighting any enemy other than the ones that the previous deaths created. The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names. Solders are paid killers, and I say this with a great degree of sympathy to young men and women who are suckered into a life of evil through propaganda and the labeling of heroic to a man in costume who kills for money and the life of honor is accepting ordered killings for money, prestige, and pensions. We create the possibility of moral choice by communicating truth about ethics to people. That to me is where real heroism and real respect for the dead lies. Real respect for the dead lies in exhuming the corpses and hearing what they would say if they could speak out; and they would say: If any ask us why we died tell it's because our fathers lied, tell them it's because we were told that charging up a hill and slaughtering our fellow man was heroic, noble, and honorable. But these hundreds of millions of ghosts encircled the world in agony, remorse will not be released from our collective unconscious until we lay the truth of their murders on the table and look at the horror that is the lie; that murder for money can be moral, that murder for prestige can be moral. These poor young men and woman propagandized into an undead ethical status lied to about what is noble, virtuous, courageous, honorable, decent, and good to the point that they're rolling hand grenades into children's rooms and the illusion that, that is going to make the world a better place. We have to stare this in the face if we want to remember why these people died. They did not die to set us free. They did not die to make the world a better place. They died because we are ruled by sociopaths. The only thing that can create a better world is the truth is the virtue is the honor and courage of standing up to the genocidal lies of mankind and calling them lies and ultimate corruptions. The trauma and horrors of this century of staggering bloodshed of the brief respite of the 19th century. This addiction to blood and the idea that if we pour more bodies into the hole of the mass graves of the 20th century, if we pour more bodies and more blood we can build some sort of cathedral to a better place but it doesn't happen. We can throw as many young men and woman as we want into this pit of slaughter and it will never be full. It will never do anything other than sink and recede further into the depths of hell. We can’t build a better world on bodies. We can’t build peace on blood. If we don't look back and see the army of the dead of the 20th century calling out for us to see that they died to enslave us. That whenever there was a war the government grew and grew. We are so addicted to this lie. What we need to do is remember that these bodies bury us. This ocean of blood that we create through the fantasy that violence brings virtue. It drowns us, drowns our children, our future, and the world. When we pour these endless young bodies into this pit of death; we follow it.

-Stefan Molyneux

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There were worse things than death.There would be a leap and a moment suspended, then a long hopeless curve to the rocks and river below. They would fall like leaves between clouds of swifts and then be washed away by the thundering rapids. Bramble clung to that thought. If their bodies washed away then there could be no identification, no danger of reprisals on her family. She hung on tighter.The roan's hindquarters bunched under her and they were in the air. It was like she had imagined: the leap, and then the moment suspended in air that seemed to last forever.Below her the swifts boiled up through the river mist, swerving and swooping, while she and the roan seemed to stay frozen above them. Bramble felt, like a rush of air, the presence of the gods surround her. The shock made her lose her balance and begin to slide sideways.She felt herself falling. With an impossible flick of both legs, the roan shrugged her back onto his shoulders. Then the long curve downward and she braced herself to see the cliffs rushing past as they fell.Time to die.Instead she felt a thumping jolt that flung her from the roan's back and tossed her among the rocks at the cliff's edge on the other side.On the other side.Her sight cleared, although the light still seemed dim. Her hearing came back a little. On the other side of the abyss a jumble of men and hounds were milling, shouting, astonished and very angry. "You can't do that!" one yelled. "It's impossible!""Well, he shagging did it!" another said. "Can't be impossible!""Head for the bridge!" Beck shouted. "We can still get him! I want that horse!

-Pamela Freeman

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The Loneliness of the Military HistorianConfess: it's my professionthat alarms you.This is why few people ask me to dinner,though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary.I wear dresses of sensible cutand unalarming shades of beige,I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's:no prophetess mane of mine,complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.If I roll my eyes and mutter,if I clutch at my heart and scream in horrorlike a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,I do it in private and nobody seesbut the bathroom mirror.In general I might agree with you:women should not contemplate war,should not weigh tactics impartially,or evade the word enemy,or view both sides and denounce nothing.Women should march for peace,or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,spit themselves on bayonetsto protect their babies,whose skulls will be split anyway,or,having been raped repeatedly,hang themselves with their own hair.There are the functions that inspire general comfort.That, and the knitting of socks for the troopsand a sort of moral cheerleading.Also: mourning the dead.Sons,lovers and so forth.All the killed children.Instead of this, I tellwhat I hope will pass as truth.A blunt thing, not lovely.The truth is seldom welcome,especially at dinner,though I am good at what I do.My trade is courage and atrocities.I look at them and do not condemn.I write things down the way they happened,as near as can be remembered.I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same.Wars happen because the ones who start themthink they can win.In my dreams there is glamour.The Vikings leave their fieldseach year for a few months of killing and plunder,much as the boys go hunting.In real life they were farmers.The come back loaded with splendour.The Arabs ride against Crusaderswith scimitars that could seversilk in the air.A swift cut to the horse's neckand a hunk of armour crashes downlike a tower. Fire against metal.A poet might say: romance against banality.When awake, I know better.Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,or none that could be finally buried.Finish one off, and circumstancesand the radio create another.Believe me: whole armies have prayed ferventlyto God all night and meant it,and been slaughtered anyway.Brutality wins frequently,and large outcomes have turned on the inventionof a mechanical device, viz. radar.True, valour sometimes counts for something,as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right -though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,is decided by the winner.Sometimes men throw themselves on grenadesand burst like paper bags of gutsto save their comrades.I can admire that.But rats and cholera have won many wars.Those, and potatoes,or the absence of them.It's no use pinning all those medalsacross the chests of the dead.Impressive, but I know too much.Grand exploits merely depress me.In the interests of researchI have walked on many battlefieldsthat once were liquid with pulpedmen's bodies and spangled with explodedshells and splayed bone.All of them have been green againby the time I got there.Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.Sad marble angels brood like hensover the grassy nests where nothing hatches.(The angels could just as well be described as vulgaror pitiless, depending on camera angle.)The word glory figures a lot on gateways.Of course I pick a flower or twofrom each, and press it in the hotel Biblefor a souvenir.I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement.As I say, I deal in tactics.Also statistics:for every year of peace there have been four hundredyears of war.

-Margaret Atwood

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You've known him how long?" Malcolm asked. "Since he was a small boy. I firs noticed him when he slipped into Master Chubb's kitchen to steal some pies." "So, what did you have to say to Will when you caught him stealing these pies? "Oh, I didn't let on I was there. We rangers can be very unobtrusive when we choose. I remained out of sight and watched him. I thought he might have potential to be a ranger." Halt said. Horace joined in "Why?" Halt answered carefully. "Because he was excellent at moving from cover to cover. Chubb entered 3 times and never noticed him. So i thought that if he could acheive that with no training, he would make a good ranger." "No" Horace spoke. "Thats not what I meant. Why were you hiding in the kitchen in the first place?" "I told you. I was watching Will to see if he had the potential to be a ranger." "Thats not what you said. You said that was the first time you noticed Will." "Does it matter?" "Not really. Were you hiding from chub yourself and Will just turned up by coincidence?" "And why would I be hiding from master Chubb in his own kitchen?" "Well, there were freshly made pies on the windowsill, and you like pies, don't you?" "Are you acusing me of trying to steal those pies?!?!" "No, of course not. I just thought i'd give you the opportunity to confess." After a pause, Halt continued. "You know, Horace, you used to be a most agreeable young man. Whatever happened to you?" "I've spent to much time around you, I suppose." And Halt had to admit that was probably true.

-John Flanagan

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You stand alone upon a height," he said, dreamily, "like one in a dreary land. Behind you all is darkness, before you all is darkness; there is but one small space of light. In that one space is a day. They come, one at a time, from the night of To-morrow, and vanish into the night of Yesterday."I have thought of the days as men and women, for a woman's day is not at all like a man's. For you, I think, they first were children, with laughing eyes and little, dimpled hands. One at a time, they came out of the darkness, and disappeared into the darkness on the other side. Some brought you flowers or new toys and some brought you childish griefs, but none came empty-handed. Each day laid its gift at your feet and went on."Some brought their gifts wrapped up, that you might have the surprise of opening them. Many a gift in a bright-hued covering turned out to be far from what you expected when you were opening it. Some of the happiest gifts were hidden in dull coverings you took off slowly, dreading to see the contents. Some days brought many gifts, others only one."As the days grew older, some brought you laughter; some gave you light and love. Others came with music and pleasure--and some of them brought pain.""Yes," sighed Evelina, "some brought pain.""It is of that," went on the Piper, "that I wished to be speaking. It was one day, was it not, that brought you a long sorrow?""Yes.""Not more than one? Was it only one day?""Yes, only one day," "See," said The Piper, gently, "the day came with her gift. You would not let her lay it at your feet and pass on into the darkness of Yesterday. You held her by her grey garments and would not let her go. You kept searching her sad eyes to see whether she did not have further pain for you. Why keep her back from her appointed way? Why not let your days go by?""The other days," murmured Evelina, "have all been sad.""Yes, and why? You were holding fast to one day--the one that brought you pain. So, with downcast eyes they passed you, and carried their appointed gifts on into Yesterday, where you can never find them again. Even now, the one day you have been holding is struggling to free herself from the chains you have put upon her. You have no right to keep a day.""Should I not keep the gifts?" she asked. His fancy pleased her."The gifts, yes--even the gifts of tears, but never a day. You cannot hold a happy day, for it goes too quickly. This one sad day that marched so slowly by you is the one you chose to hold. Lady," he pleaded, "let her go!

-Myrtle Reed

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I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is.When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head.I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzlez and dizzied me.Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN.I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.*Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies?Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them?I Have.I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.

-Lana Del

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Did you know sometimes it frightens me--when you say my name and I can't see you?will you ever learn to materialize before you speak?impetuous boy, if that's what you really are.how many centuries since you've climbed a balconyor do you do this every night with someone else?you tell me that you'll never leaveand I am almost afraid to believe it.why is it me you've chosen to follow?did you like the way I look when I am sleeping?was my hair more fun to tangle?are my dreams more entertaining?do you laugh when I'm complaining that I'm all alone?where were you when I searched the seafor a friend to talk to me?in a year where will you be?is it enough for you to steal into my mindfilling up my page with music written in my handyou know I'll take the credit for I must have made you come to me somehow.but please try to close the curtains when you leave at night,or I'll have to find someone to stay and warm me.will you always attend my midnight tea parties--as long as I set it at your place?if one day your sugar sits untouchedwill you have gone forever?would you miss me in a thousand years--when you will dry another's tears?but you say you'll never leave meand I wonder if you'll have the decencyto pass through my wall to the next roomwhile I dress for dinnerbut when I'm stuck in conversationwith stuffed shirts whose adorationhurts my ears, where are you then?can't you cut in when I dance with other men?it's too late not to interfere with my lifeyou've already made me a most unsuitable wifefor any man who wants to be the first his bride has slept withand you can't just fly into people's bedroomsthen expect them to calmly wave goodbyeyou've changed the course of historyand didn't even trywhere are you now--standing behind me,taking my hand?come and remind mewho you arehave you traveled farare you made of stardust tooare the angels after youtell me what I am to dobut until then I'll save your side of the bedjust come and sing me to sleep

-Emilie Autumn

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He handed me something done up in paper. 'Your mask,' he said. 'Don't put it on until we get past the city-limits.' It was a frightening-looking thing when I did so. It was not a mask but a hood for the entire head, canvas and cardboard, chalk-white to simulate a skull, with deep black hollows for the eyes and grinning teeth for the mouth. The private highway, as we neared the house, was lined on both sides with parked cars. I counted fifteen of them as we bashed by; and there must have been as many more ahead, in the other direction. We drew up and he and I got out. I glanced in cautiously over my shoulder at the driver as we went by, to see if I could see his face, but he too had donned one of the death-masks.'Never do that,' the Messenger warned me in a low voice. 'Never try to penetrate any other member's disguise.' The house was as silent and lifeless as the last time - on the outside. Within it was a horrid, crawling charnel-house alive with skull-headed figures, their bodies encased in business-suits, tuxedos, and evening dresses. The lights were all dyed a ghastly green or ghostly blue, by means of colored tissue-paper sheathed around them. A group of masked musicians kept playing the Funeral March over and over, with brief pauses in between. A coffin stood in the center of the main living-room. I was drenched with sweat under my own mask and sick almost to death, even this early in the game.At last the Book-keeper, unmasked, appeared in their midst.Behind him came the Messenger. The dead-head guests all applauded enthusiastically and gathered around them in a ring.Those in other rooms came in. The musicians stopped the Death Match. The Book-keeper bowed, smiled graciously. 'Good evening, fellow corpses,' was his chill greeting. 'We are gathered together to witness the induction of our newest member.' There was an electric tension. 'Brother Bud!' His voice rang out like a clarion in the silence. 'Step forward.' ("Graves For Living")

-Cornell Woolrich

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