If there was ever any ... question about what kind of player he was going to be, it was on the offensive side of the ball. There was always a feeling that offensively, he was capable of putting up monster numbers.
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If there was ever any … question about what kind of player he was going to be, it was on the offensive side of the ball. There was always a feeling that offensively, he was capable of putting up monster numbers.

-Tom Glavine

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What infinite heart's-easeMust kings neglect, that private men enjoy!And what have kings, that privates have not too,Save ceremony, save general ceremony?And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st moreOf mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?O ceremony, show me but thy worth!What is thy soul of adoration?Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,Creating awe and fear in other men?Wherein thou art less happy being fear'dThan they in fearing.What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!Think'st thou the fiery fever will go outWith titles blown from adulation?Will it give place to flexure and low bending?Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;I am a king that find thee, and I know'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,The farced title running 'fore the king,The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pompThat beats upon the high shore of this world,No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,Not all these, laid in bed majestical,Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,Who with a body fill'd and vacant mindGets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,But, like a lackey, from the rise to setSweats in the eye of Phoebus and all nightSleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,And follows so the ever-running year,With profitable labour, to his grave:And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.The slave, a member of the country's peace,Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wotsWhat watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,Whose hours the peasant best advantages.

-William Shakespeare

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I pray that the world never runs out of dragons. I say that in all sincerity, though I have played a part in the death of one great wyrm. For the dragon is the quintessential enemy, the greatest foe, the unconquerable epitome of devastation. The dragon, above all other creatures, even the demons and the devils, evokes images of dark grandeur, of the greatest beast curled asleep on the greatest treasure hoard. They are the ultimate test of the hero and the ultimate fright of the child. They are older than the elves and more akin to the earth than the dwarves. The great dragons are the preternatural beast, the basic element of the beast, that darkest part of our imagination.The wizards cannot tell you of their origin, though they believe that a great wizard, a god of wizards, must have played some role in the first spawning of the beast. The elves, with their long fables explaining the creation of every aspect of the world, have many ancient tales concerning the origin of the dragons, but they admit, privately, that they really have no idea of how the dragons came to be.My own belief is more simple, and yet, more complicated by far. I believe that dragons appeared in the world immediately after the spawning of the first reasoning race. I do not credit any god of wizards with their creation, but rather, the most basic imagination wrought of unseen fears, of those first reasoning mortals.We make the dragons as we make the gods, because we need them, because, somewhere deep in our hearts, we recognize that a world without them is a world not worth living in.There are so many people in the land who want an answer, a definitive answer, for everything in life, and even for everything after life. They study and they test, and because those few find the answers for some simple questions, they assume that there are answers to be had for every question. What was the world like before there were people? Was there nothing but darkness before the sun and the stars? Was there anything at all? What were we, each of us, before we were born? And what, most importantly of all, shall we be after we die?Out of compassion, I hope that those questioners never find that which they seek.One self-proclaimed prophet came through Ten-Towns denying the possibility of an afterlife, claiming that those people who had died and were raised by priests, had, in fact, never died, and that their claims of experiences beyond the grave were an elaborate trick played on them by their own hearts, a ruse to ease the path to nothingness. For that is all there was, he said, an emptiness, a nothingness.Never in my life have I ever heard one begging so desperately for someone to prove him wrong.This is kind of what I believe right now… although, I do not want to be proved wrong…For what are we left with if there remains no mystery? What hope might we find if we know all of the answers?What is it within us, then, that so desperately wants to deny magic and to unravel mystery? Fear, I presume, based on the many uncertainties of life and the greatest uncertainty of death. Put those fears aside, I say, and live free of them, for if we just step back and watch the truth of the world, we will find that there is indeed magic all about us, unexplainable by numbers and formulas. What is the passion evoked by the stirring speech of the commander before the desperate battle, if not magic? What is the peace that an infant might know in its mother’s arms, if not magic? What is love, if not magic?No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.-Drizzt Do’Urden

-R.A. Salvatore

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Have you ever wondered What happens to all the poems people write?The poems they neverlet anyone else read?Perhaps they are Too private and personalPerhaps they are just not good enough.Perhaps the prospect of such a heartfeltexpression being seen as clumsyshallow sillypretentious saccharineunoriginal sentimentaltrite boringoverwrought obscure stupidpointless or simply embarrassingis enough to give any aspiringpoet good reason to hide their work frompublic view.forever.Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.Burnt shredded flushed awayOccasionally they are folded Into little squaresAnd wedged under the corner of An unstable piece of furniture(So actually quite useful)Others are hidden behind a loose brickor drainpipe or sealed into the back of an old alarm clockor put between the pages of AN OBSCURE BOOKthat is unlikely to ever be opened.someone might find them one day, BUT PROBABLY NOTThe truth is that unread poetry Will almost always be just that. DOOMED to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia.wellAlmost always.On rare occasions,Some especially insistentpieces of writing will escapeinto a backyard or a lanewaybe blown along a roadside embankmentand finally cometo rest in a shopping centerparking lotas so many things doIt is here that something quite Remarkabletakes placetwo or more pieces of poetry drift toward each otherthrough a strange force of attractionunknown to scienceand ever so slowlycling togetherto form a tiny, shapeless ball.Left undisturbed,this ball graduallybecomes larger and rounder as otherfree versesconfessions secrets stray musings wishes and unsentlove lettersattach themselvesone by one.Such a ball creeps through the streetsLike a tumbleweed for months even yearsIf it comes out only at night it has a goodChance of surviving traffic and childrenand through a slow rolling motionAVOIDS SNAILS(its number one predator)At a certain size, it instinctivelyshelters from bad weather, unnoticedbut otherwise roams the streetssearching for scraps of forgottenthought and feeling.Given time and luckthe poetry ball becomes large HUGE ENORMOUS:A vast accumulation of papery bitsThat ultimately take to the air, levitating byThe sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.It floats gentlyabove suburban rooftops when everybody is asleepinspiring lonely dogsto bark in the middle of the night.Sadlya big ball of papernot matter how large and buoyant, is still a fragile thing.Sooner or LATERit will be surprised bya suddengust of windBeaten by driving rainand REDUCEDin a matter of minutesto a billionsoggy shreds.One morningeveryone will wake upto find a pulpy messcovering front lawnsclogging up guttersand plastering carwindscreens.Traffic will be delayedchildren delightedadults baffledunable to figure outwhere it all came fromStranger stillWill be the Discovery that Every lump of Wet paperContains variousfaded words pressed into accidentalverse.Barely visiblebut undeniably presentTo each reader they will whisper something different something joyfulsomething sadtruthful absurdhilarious profound and perfectNo one will be able to explain the Strange feeling of weightlessnessor the private smilethat remainsLong after the street sweepers have come and gone.

-Shaun Tan

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Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living?You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself, and you stop wondering about the other guy…You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay, and you make a nice appearance, and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young, and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any.And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering……Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract, and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it, and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more.So you come to this town, and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job, and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs, and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself.And hoping.

-Jim Thompson

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