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SPIEGEL: Why do we waste so much time trying to complete things that can’t be realistically completed?
ECO: We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.
Dr. Rines’s passion about the Loch Ness monster was kindled in 1972 when he was in Scotland on his honeymoon with the former Carol Williamson, his second wife. They were enjoying tea with a friend whose home overlooked the loch. Their host remarked, “I say, is that an upturned boat?” What they saw was a big, grayish hump with the texture of an elephant’s skin. It rose four feet out of the water and seemed to be about 30 feet long. They stared at it for 10 minutes. “I don’t care what anybody thinks, you have to find out what that was,” Mrs. Rines said. The obsession had begun. –“Robert Rines, Inventor and Monster Hunter, Dies at 87,” Douglas Martin, The New York Times
“Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!”; the government is lying about creating them, unemployment is up to 17.5 percent by some measures (worse than Europe as a whole and catching up to Spain), and the “jobless recovery” isn’t a recovery for the jobless; FOX says it’s all Obama’s fault, while others propose… socialism; maybe the unemployed should pull themselves up and just sell apples on the street–but no, China is killing the U.S. in the apple trade
TEACHER: Let’s start analyzing the text, everybody pay attention. Who’s going to read the first part? Everyone else pay attention and conclude what the theme of this segment is.
TEACHER: Here, everyone focus on this sentence. It is a metaphor. Is this a direct or indirect metaphor? Why does the author use it?
STUDENTS: (N number of people start to sleep)
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature