perlepigraphs - list of Perl release epigraphs
Many Perl release announcements included an epigraph, a short excerpt from a literary or other creative work, chosen by the pumpking or release manager. This file assembles the known list of epigraph for posterity, and also links to the release announcements in mailing list archives.
Note: these have also been referred to as <epigrams>, but the definition of epigraph is closer to the way they have been used. Consult your favorite dictionary for details.
Ged had thought that as the prentice of a great mage he would enter at once into the mystery and mastery of power. He would understand the language of the beasts and the speech of the leaves of the forest, he thought, and sway the winds with his word, and learn to change himself into any shape he wished. Maybe he and his master would run together as stags, or fly to Re Albi over the mountain on the wings of eagles.
But it was not so at all. They wandered, first down into the Vale and then gradually south and westward around the mountain, given lodging in little villages or spending the night out in the wilderness, like poor journeyman-sorcerers, or tinkers, or beggars. They entered no mysterious domain. Nothing happened. The mage's oaken staff that Ged had watched at first with eager dread was nothing but a stout staff to walk with. Three days went by and four days went by and still Ogion had not spoken a single charm in Ged's hearing, and had not taught him a single name or rune or spell.
This day - is a day of the greatest solemnity! Spain has a king. He has been found. I am that king. Only this very day did I learn of it. I confess, it came to me suddenly in a flash of lightning. I don't understand how I could have thought and imagined that I was a titular councillor. How could such a wild notion enter my head? It's a good thing no one thought of putting me in an insane asylum. Now everything is laid open before me. Now I see everything as on the palm of my hand. And before, I don't understand, before everything around me was in some sort of fog. And all this happens, I think, because people imagine that the human brain is in the head. Not at all: it is brought by a wind from the direction of the Caspian Sea. First off, I announced to Mavra who I am. When she heard that the king of Spain was standing before her, she clasped her hands and nearly died of fright. The stupid woman had never seen a king of Spain before. However, I endeavoured to calm her down and assured her in gracious words of my benevolence and that I was not at all angry that she sometimes polished my boots poorly. They're benighted folk. It's impossible to tell them about lofty matters. She got frightened because she's convinced that all kings of Spain are like Philip II. But I explained to her that there was no resemblance between me and Philip II, and that I didn't have a single Capuchin . . . I didn't go to the office . . . To hell with it! No friends, you won't lure me there now; I'm not going to copy your vile papers!
-- Nikolai Gogol, The Diary of a Madman, trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. So they don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
It's not so much that people don't value the programs after they have them--they do value them. But they're not the sort of thing that would ever catch on if they had to overcome the marketing barrier. (I don't yet know if perl will catch on at all--I'm worried enough about it that I specifically included an awk-to-perl translator just to help it catch on.) Maybe it's all just an inferiority complex. Or maybe I don't like to be mercenary.
So I guess I'd say that the reason some software comes free is that the mechanism for selling it is missing, either from the work environment, or from the heart of the programmer.
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless. -- Oscar Wilde, From the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray
True, it is strange to live no more on earth, no longer follow the folkways scarecely learned; not to give roses and other especially auspicious things the significance of a human future; to be no more what one was in infinitely anxious hands, and to put aside even one's name, like a broken plaything. Strange, to wish wishes no longer. Strange, to see all that was related fluttering so loosely in space. And being dead is hard, full of catching-up, so that finally one feels a little eternity.– But the living all make the mistake of too sharp discrimination. Often angels (it's said) don't know if they move among the quick or the dead. The eternal current hurtles all ages along with it forever through both realms and drowns their voices in both.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino, The First Elegy trans., C. F. MacIntyre
Carter held out a hand towards the middle of the room. `See that fountain?' A ten-metre-wide marble wedding cake, topped with a winged cherub wrestling a serpent, duly appeared. Water cascaded down from a gushing wound in the cherub's neck. Carter said, `It's being computed by redundancies in the sketch of the city. I can extract the results, because I know exactly where to look for them -- but nobody else would have a hope in hell of picking them out.'
Peer walked up to the fountain. Even as he approached, he noticed that the spray was intangible; when he dipped his hand in the water around the base he felt nothing, and the motion he made with his fingers left the foaming surface unchanged. They were spying on the calculations, not interacting with them; the fountain was a closed system.
Carter said, `In your case, of course, nobody will need to know the results. Except you -- and you'll know them because you'll /be/ them.'
If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.
You cannot eat breakfast all day, Nor is it the act of a sinner, When breakfast is taken away, To turn his attention to dinner; And it's not in the range of belief, To look upon him as a glutton, Who, when he is tired of beef, Determines to tackle the mutton. Ah! But this I am willing to say, If it will appease her sorrow, I'll marry this lady today, And I'll marry the other tomorrow!
At this point I'm no longer working for a company that makes me sign my life away, but by now I'm in the habit. Besides, I still harbor the deep-down suspicion that nobody would pay money for what I write, since most of it just helps you do something better that you could already do some other way. How much money would you personally pay to upgrade from readnews to rn? How much money would you pay for the patch program? As for warp, it's a mere game. And anything you can do with perl you can eventually do with an amazing and totally unreadable conglomeration of awk, sed, sh and C.
Now for sugar, -- nay, our plan Tolerates no work of man. Hurry, then, ye golden bees; Fetch your clearest honey, please, Garnered on a Yorkshire moor, While the last larks sing and soar, From the heather-blossoms sweet Where sea-breeze and sunshine meet, And the Augusts mask as Junes, -- Eleanor makes macaroons!
Pheasant is pleasant, of course, And terrapin, too, is tasty, Lobster I freely endorse, In pate or patty or pasty. But there's nothing the matter with butter, And nothing the matter with jam, And the warmest greetings I utter To the ham and the yam and the clam. For they're food, All food, And I think very fondly of food. Through I'm broody at times When bothered by rhymes, I brood On food.
At the start of any project, I'm programming primarily to please myself. (The two chief virtues in a programmer are laziness and impatience.) After a while somebody looks over my shoulder and says, "That's neat. It'd be neater if it did such-and-so." So the thing gets neater. Pretty soon (a year or two) I have an rn, a warp, a patch, or a perl. One of these years I'll have a metaconfig.
I then say to myself, "I don't want my life's work to die when this computer is scrapped, so I should let some other people use this. If I ask my company to sell this, it'll never see the light of day, and nobody would pay much for it anyway. If I sell it myself, I'll be in trouble with my company, to whom I signed my life away when I was hired. If I give it away, I can pretend it was worthless in the first place, so my company won't care. In any event, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."
So a freely distributable program is born.
This is the last call for flight 1697 with service to Chicago and continuing service to San Francisco. All passengers should already be aboard. If you aren't aboard at this time, you will be denied boarding and your bags will be offloaded.
Over the course of nearly two decades, Ford would spend tens of millions of dollars founding not one but, after the plantation was defastated by leaf blight, two American towns, complete with central squares, sidewalks, indoor plumbing, hospitals, manicured lawns, movie theaters, swimming pools, golf courses, and, of course, Model Ts and As rolling down their paved streets.
Back in America, newspapers kept up their drumbeat celebration, only obliquely referencing reports that things were not progressing as the company had hoped. But there was one note of skepticism. In late 1928, the Washington Post ran an editorial that read in its entirety: "Ford will govern a rubber plantation in Brazil larger than North Carolina. This is the first time he has applied quantity production methods to trouble"
But then Australia is such a difficult country to keep track of. On my first visit, some years ago, I passed the time on the long flight reading a history of Australian politics in the twentieth century, wherein I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the prime minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me—first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.
When the full-grown poet came, Out spake pleased Nature (the round impassive globe, with all its shows of day and night,) saying, He is mine; But out spake too the Soul of man, proud, jealous and unreconciled, Nay he is mine alone; --Then the full-grown poet stood between the two, and took each by the hand; And to-day and ever so stands, as blender, uniter, tightly holding hands, Which he will never release until he reconciles the two, And wholly and joyously blends them.
Skalat maðr rúnar rísta, nema ráða vel kunni. Þat verðr mörgum manni, es of myrkvan staf villisk. Sák á telgðu talkni tíu launstafi ristna. Þat hefr lauka lindi langs ofrtrega fengit.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
The aliens called the box a "matter generator," but we'd be more inclined to call it a matter duplicator. By connecting switches and potentiometers between the copper posts it was possible to make the box mark off two cubic rectangular areas of volume. Make a certain contact, and these areas would be isolated within perfectly reflective fields. They could be expanded or contracted by altering resistances between other posts. As I worked out the user interface I built a little control panel for the device. It was actually a clever way for the aliens to do things; instead of trying to build controls we could use, they built us an interface we could attach to controls that made sense to us. It could also be automated.
Once you had made the contact that established the shielded volumes, if you made another certain contact the contents of the first volume were copied to the second. The machine copied metal, plastic, steel, and diamond with equal ease. Copies of copies of copies of copies were indistinguishable from the originals at any magnification, even using techniques like X-ray crystallography.
[Neo sees a black cat walk by them, and then a similar black cat walk by them just like the first one]
Neo: Whoa. Deja vu.
[Everyone freezes right in their tracks]
Trinity: What did you just say? Neo: Nothing. Just had a little deja vu. Trinity: What did you see? Cypher: What happened? Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it. Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat? Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure. Morpheus: Switch! Apoc! Neo: What is it? Trinity: A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.
The boy called Crow softly rests a hand on my shoulder, and with that he storm vanishes.
"From now on -- no matter what -- you've got to be the world's toughest fifteen-year-old. That's the only way you're going to survive. And in order to do that, you've got to figure out what it means to be tough. You following me?"
I keep my eyes closed and don't reply. I just want to sink off into sleep like this, his hand on my shoulder. I hear the faint flutter of wings.
"You're going to be the world's toughest fifteen-year-old," Crow whispers as I try to fall asleep. Like he was carving the words in a deep blue tattoo on my heart.
(Translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel)
Candle in hand I stepped in. I do not know whether the quality of air, long undisturbed, is peculiar; to me it has always seemed so, and the damp smell of the old masonry hung in this atmosphere. My candle faintly lighted the bare stone wall that enclosed the stair, the foot of which I could not see. Down I went, and a few turns brought me to the stone floor. Here was another door, of the simple, old, oak kind, deep sunk in the thickness of the wall. The large end of the key fitted this. The lock was stiff; I set the candle down upon the stair, and applied both hands; it turned with difficulty, and as it revolved, uttered a shriek that alarmed me for my secret.
For some minutes I did not move. In a little time, however, I took courage, and opened the door. The night-air floating in puffed out the candle. There was a thicket of holly and underwood, as dense as a jungle, close about the door. I should have been in pitch-darkness, were it not that through the topmost leaves there twinkled, here and there, a glimmer of moonshine.
Softly, lest any one should have opened his window at the sound of the rusty bolt, I struggled through this till I gained a view of the open grounds. Here I found that the brushwood spread a good way up the park, uniting with the wood that approached the little temple I have described.
`How the creatures order one about, and make one repeat lessons!' thought Alice; `I might as well be at school at once.' However, she got up, and began to repeat it, but her head was so full of the Lobster Quadrille, that she hardly knew what she was saying, and the words came very queer indeed:--
"'Tis the voice of the Lobster; I heard him declare, "You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair." As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.'
`That's different from what I used to say when I was a child,' said the Gryphon.
`Well, I never heard it before,' said the Mock Turtle; `but it sounds uncommon nonsense.'
Alice said nothing; she had sat down with her face in her hands, wondering if anything would ever happen in a natural way again.
`I should like to have it explained,' said the Mock Turtle.
`She can't explain it,' said the Gryphon hastily. `Go on with the next verse.'
`But about his toes?' the Mock Turtle persisted. `How could he turn them out with his nose, you know?'
`It's the first position in dancing.' Alice said; but was dreadfully puzzled by the whole thing, and longed to change the subject.
Look at Crowley, doing 110 mph on the M40 heading towards Oxfordshire. Even the most resolutely casual observer would notice a number of strange things about him. The clenched teeth, for example, or the dull red glow coming from behind his sunglasses. And the car. The car was a definite hint.
Crowley had started the journey in his Bentley, and he was dammned if he wasn't going to finish it in the Bentley as well. Not that even the kind of car buff who owns his own pair of motoring goggles would have been able to tell it was a vintage Bentley. Not any more. They wouldn't have been able to tell that it was a Bentley. They would only offer fifty-fifty that it had ever even been a car.
There was no paint left on it, for a start. It might still have been black, where it wasn't a rusty, smudged reddish-brown, but this was a dull charcoal black. It traveled in its own ball of flame, like a space capsule making a particularly difficult re-entry.
There was a thin skin of crusted, melted rubber left around the metal wheel rims, but seeing that the wheel rims were still somhow riding an inch above the road surface this didn't seem to make an awful lot of difference to the suspension.
It should have fallen apart miles back.
We deal in the moral equivalent of black holes, where the normal laws - the rules of right and wrong that people imagine apply everywhere else in the universe - break down; beyond those metaphysical event-horizons, there exist ... special circumstances.
And if anyone shall come to you and say that he knows how to construct bridges and that perhaps a time will come when you will wish to avail yourself of his science in order to cross over a river, out with him! Out with the engineer! Rivers will be crossed by wading or swimming them, even if half the crusaders drown themselves. Let the engineer go off and build bridges somewhere else, where they are badly wanted. For those who go in quest of the sepulchre, faith is bridge enough.
The heat still remained at quite a supportable degree. With an involuntary shudder, I reflected on what the heat must have been when the volcano of Sneffels was pouring its smoke, flames, and streams of boiling lava -- all of which must have come up by the road we were now following. I could imagine the torrents of hot seething stone darting on, bubbling up with accompaniments of smoke, steam, and sulphurous stench!
"Only to think of the consequences," I mused, "if the old volcano were once more to set to work."
I saw a huge steam roller, It blotted out the sun. The people all lay down, lay down; They did not try to run. My love and I, we looked amazed Upon the gory mystery. 'Lie down, lie down!' the people cried. 'The great machine is history!' My love and I, we ran away, The engine did not find us. We ran up to a mountain top, Left history far behind us. Perhaps we should have stayed and died, But somehow we don't think so. We went to see where history'd been, And my, the dead did stink so.
CPUs. Cayce Pollard Units. That's what Damien calls the clothing she wears. CPUs are either black, white, or gray, and ideally seem to have come into this world without human intervention.
What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000. She's a design-free zone, a one-woman school of and whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.
The front page opens, familiar as a friend's living room. A frame-grab from #48 serves as backdrop, dim and almost monochrome, no characters in view. This is one of the sequences that generate comparisons with Tarkovsky. She only knows Tarkovsky from stills, really, though she did once fall asleep during a screening of The Stalker, going under on an endless pan, the camera aimed straight down, in close-up, at a puddle on a ruined mosaic floor. But she is not one of those who think that much will be gained by analysis of the maker's imagined influences. The cult of the footage is rife with subcults, claiming every possible influence. Truffaut, Peckinpah -- The Peckinpah people, among the least likely, are still waiting for the guns to be drawn.
"Now suppose," chortled Dr. Breed, enjoying himself, "that there were many possible ways in which water could crystallize, could freeze. Suppose that the sort of ice we skate upon and put into highballs -- what we might call ice-one -- is only one of several types of ice. Suppose water always froze as ice-one on Earth because it had never had a seed to teach it how to form ice-two, ice-three, ice-four ...? And suppose," he rapped on his desk with his old hand again, "that there were one form, which we will call ice-nine -- a crystal as hard as this desk -- with a melting point of, let us say, one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit, or, better still, a melting point of one-hundred- and-thirty degrees."
San Lorenzo was fifty miles long and twenty miles wide, I learned from the supplement to the New York Sunday Times. Its population was four hundred, fifty thousand souls, "...all fiercely dedicated to the ideals of the Free World."
Its highest point, Mount McCabe, was eleven thousand feet above sea level. Its capital was Bolivar, "...a strikingly modern city built on a harbor capable of sheltering the entire United States Navy." The principal exports were sugar, coffee, bananas, indigo, and handcrafted novelties.
Which brings me to the Bokononist concept of a wampeter. A wampeter is the pivot of a karass. No karass is without a wampeter, Bokonon tells us, just as no wheel is without a hub. Anything can be a wampeter: a tree, a rock, an animal, an idea, a book, a melody, the Holy Grail. Whatever it is, the members of its karass revolve about it in the majestic chaos of a spiral nebula. The orbits of the members of a karass about their common wampeter are spiritual orbits, naturally. It is souls and not bodies that revolve. As Bokonon invites us to sing:
Around and around and around we spin, With feet of lead and wings of tin . . .
'Please would you tell me,' said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, 'why your cat grins like that?'
'It's a Cheshire cat,' said the Duchess, 'and that's why. Pig!'
She said the last word with such sudden violence that Alice quite jumped; but she saw in another moment that it was addressed to the baby, and not to her, so she took courage, and went on again:--
'I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn't know that cats COULD grin.'
'They all can,' said the Duchess; 'and most of 'em do.'
'Not QUITE right, I'm afraid,' said Alice, timidly; 'some of the words have got altered.'
'It is wrong from beginning to end,' said the Caterpillar decidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.
'It was much pleasanter at home,' thought poor Alice, 'when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole--and yet--and yet--it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!
At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of authority among them, called out, 'Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I'LL soon make you dry enough!' They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.
'Ahem!' said the Mouse with an important air, 'are you all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please! "William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria --"'
Available on CPAN since 2010-04-01.
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
A little child, a limber elf, Singing, dancing to itself, A fairy thing with red round cheeks, That always finds, and never seeks, Makes such a vision to the sight As fills a father's eyes with light; And pleasures flow in so thick and fast Upon his heart, that he at last Must needs express his love's excess With words of unmeant bitterness. Perhaps 'tis pretty to force together Thoughts so all unlike each other; To mutter and mock a broken charm, To dally with wrong that does no harm. Perhaps 'tis tender too and pretty At each wild word to feel within A sweet recoil of love and pity. And what, if in a world of sin (O sorrow and shame should this be true!) Such giddiness of heart and brain Comes seldom save from rage and pain, So talks as it's most used to do.
And you don't suppose that I went into it headlong like a fool? I went into it like a wise man, and that was just my destruction. And you mustn't suppose that I didn't know, for instance, that if I began to question myself whether I had the right to gain power -- I certainly hadn't the right -- or that if I asked myself whether a human being is a louse it proved that it wasn't so for me, though it might be for a man who would go straight to his goal without asking questions.... If I worried myself all those days, wondering whether Napoleon would have done it or not, I felt clearly of course that I wasn't Napoleon.
"Say -- I'm going in a swimming, I am. Don't you wish you could? But of course you'd druther work -- wouldn't you? Course you would!"
Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said: "What do you call work?"
"Why ain't that work?"
Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly: "Well, maybe it is, and maybe it aint. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer."
"Oh come, now, you don't mean to let on that you like it?"
The brush continued to move. "Like it? Well I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?"
That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth -- stepped back to note the effect -- added a touch here and there-criticised the effect again -- Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said: "Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little."
The streets were pretty quiet, which was nice. They're always quiet here at that time: you have to be wearing a black jacket to be out on the streets between seven and nine in the evening, and not many people in the area have black jackets. It's just one of those things. I currently live in Colour Neighbourhood, which is for people who are heavily into colour. All the streets and buildings are set for instant colourmatch: as you walk down the road they change hue to offset whatever you're wearing. When the streets are busy it's kind of intense, and anyone prone to epileptic seizures isn't allowed to live in the Neighbourhood, however much they're into colour.
Milo had been caught red-handed in the act of plundering his countrymen, and, as a result, his stock had never been higher. He proved good as his word when a rawboned major from Minnesota curled his lip in rebellious disavowal and demanded his share of the syndicate Milo kept saying everybody owned. Milo met the challenge by writing the words "A Share" on the nearest scrap of paper and handing it away with a virtuous disdain that won the envy and admiration of almost everyone who knew him. His glory was at a peak, and Colonel Cathcart, who knew and admired his war record, was astonished by the deferential humility with which Mil presented himself at Group Headquarters and made his fantastic appeal for more hazardous assignment.
Whispers of an "evil power" were heard in lines at dairy shops, in streetcars, stores, arguments, kitchens, suburban and long-distance trains, at stations large and small, in dachas and on beaches. Needless to say, truly mature and cultured people did not tell these stories about an evil power's visit to the capital. In fact, they even made fun of them and tried to talk sense into those who told them. Nevertheless, facts are facts, as they say, and cannot simply be dismissed without explanation: somebody had visited the capital. The charred cinders of Griboyedov alone, and many other things besides, confirmed it. Cultured people shared the point of view of the investigating team: it was the work of a gang of hypnotists and ventriloquists magnificently skilled in their art.
'Briefly, sir, I am the Permanent Under-Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary. I, too, have a Principal Private Secretary, and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, eighty-seven Under Secretaries and two hundred and nineteen Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretaries are plain Private Secretaries. The Prime Minister will be appointing two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.'
'Can they all type?' I joked.
'None of us can type, Minister,' replied Sir Humphrey smoothly. 'Mrs McKay types - she is your Secretary.'
I couldn't tell whether or not he was joking. 'What a pity,' I said. 'We could have opened an agency.'
Sir Humphrey and Bernard laughed. 'Very droll, sir,' said Sir Humphrey. 'Most amusing, sir,' said Bernard. Were they genuinely amused at my wit, or just being rather patronising? 'I suppose they all say that, do they?' I ventured.
Sir Humphrey reassured me on that. 'Certainly not, Minister,' he replied. 'Not quite all.'
He would often declare, in speaking his thoughts upon the subject, that he did not conceive how the greatest family in England could stand it out against an uninterrupted succession of six or seven short noses.--And for the contrary reason, he would generally add, That it must be one of the greatest problems in civil life, where the same number of long and jolly noses, following one another in a direct line, did not raise and hoist it up into the best vacancies in the kingdom.
Pre-announced on 2007-07-07 by Rafael Garcia-Suarez, available on CPAN with same date, but never actually announced.
This word flip was weird. Every recording date of McClintic's he'd gotten into the habit of talking electricity with the audio men and technicians of the studio. McClintic once couldn't have cared less about electricity, but now it seemed if that was helping him reach a bigger audience, some digging, some who would never dig, but all paying and those royalties keeping the Triumph in gas and McClintic in J. Press suits, then McClintic ought to be grateful to electricity, ought maybe to learn a little more about it. So he'd picked up some here and there, and one day last summer he got around to talking stochastic music and digital computers with one technician. Out of the conversation had come Set/Reset, which was getting to be a signature for the group. He had found out from this sound man about a two-triode circuit called a flip-flop, which when it turned on could be one of two ways, depending on which tube was conducting and which was cut off: set or reset, flip or flop.
"And that," the man said, "can be yes or no, or one or zero. And that is what you might call one of the basic units, or specialized `cells' in a big `electronic brain.' "
"Crazy," said McClintic, having lost him back there someplace. But one thing that did occur to him was if a computer's brain could go flip or flop, why so could a musician's. As long as you were flop, everything was cool. But where did the trigger-pulse come from to make you flip?
Aren't you supposed to have a pony?
What of October, that ambiguous month
Frank and I, unlike the civil servants, were still puzzled that such a proposal as the Europass could even be seriously under consideration by the FCO. We can both see clearly that it is wonderful ammunition for the anti-Europeans. I asked Humphrey if the Foreign Office doesn't realise how damaging this would be to the European ideal?
'I'm sure they do, Minister, he said. That's why they support it.'
This was even more puzzling, since I'd always been under the impression that the FO is pro-Europe. 'Is it or isn't it?' I asked Humphrey.
'Yes and no,' he replied of course, 'if you'll pardon the expression. The Foreign Office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe. In fact the Civil Service was united in its desire to make sure the Common Market didn't work. That's why we went into it.'
This sounded like a riddle to me. I asked him to explain further. And basically his argument was as follows: Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years - to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Italians and Germans. [The Dutch rebellion against Phillip II of Spain, the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Second World War - Ed.]
In other words, divide and rule. And the Foreign Office can see no reason to change when it has worked so well until now.
I was aware of this, naturally, but I regarded it as ancient history. Humphrey thinks that it is, in fact, current policy. It was necessary for us to break up the EEC, he explained, so we had to get inside. We had previously tried to break it up from the outside, but that didn't work. [A reference to our futile and short-lived involvement in EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, founded in 1960 and which the UK left in 1972 - Ed.] Now that we're in, we are able to make a complete pig's breakfast out of it. We've now set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch... and the Foreign office is terribly happy. It's just like old time.
I was staggered by all of this. I thought that the all of us who are publicly pro-European believed in the European ideal. I said this to Sir Humphrey, and he simply chuckled.
So I asked him: if we don't believe in the European Ideal, why are we pushing to increase the membership?
'Same reason,' came the reply. 'It's just like the United Nations. The more members it has, the more arguments you can stir up, and the more futile and impotent it becomes.'
This all strikes me as the most appalling cynicism, and I said so.
Sir Humphrey agreed completely. 'Yes Minister. We call it diplomacy. It's what made Britain great, you know.'
There was silence in the office. I didn't know what we were going to do about the four hundred new people supervising our economy drive or the four hundred new people for the Bureaucratic Watchdog Office, or anything! I simply sat and waited and hoped that my head would stop thumping and that some idea would be suggested by someone sometime soon.
Sir Humphrey obliged. 'Minister... if we were to end the economy drive and close the Bureaucratic Watchdog Office we could issue an immediate press announcement that you had axed eight hundred jobs.' He had obviously thought this out carefully in advance, for at this moment he produced a slim folder from under his arm. 'If you'd like to approve this draft...'
I couldn't believe the impertinence of the suggestion. Axed eight hundred jobs? 'But no one was ever doing these jobs,' I pointed out incredulously. 'No one's been appointed yet.'
'Even greater economy,' he replied instantly. 'We've saved eight hundred redundancy payments as well.'
'But...' I attempted to explain '... that's just phony. It's dishonest, it's juggling with figures, it's pulling the wool over people's eyes.'
'A government press release, in fact.' said Humphrey.
A jumbo jet touched down, with BURANDAN AIRWAYS written on the side. I was hugely impressed. British Airways are having to pawn their Concordes, and here is this little tiny African state with its own airline, jumbo jets and all.
I asked Bernard how many planes Burandan Airways had. 'None,' he said.
I told him not to be silly and use his eyes. 'No Minister, it belongs to Freddie Laker,' he said. 'They chartered it last week and repainted it specially.' Apparently most of the Have-Nots (I mean, LDCs) do this - at the opening of the UN General Assembly the runways of Kennedy Airport are jam-packed with phoney flag-carriers. 'In fact,' said Bernard with a sly grin, 'there was one 747 that belonged to nine different African airlines in a month. They called it the mumbo-jumbo.'
While we watched nothing much happening on the TV except the mumbo-jumbo taxiing around Prestwick and the Queen looking a bit chilly, Bernard gave me the next day's schedule and explained that I was booked on the night sleeper from King's Cross to Edinburgh because I had to vote in a three-line whip at the House tonight and would have to miss the last plane. Then the commentator, in that special hushed BBC voice used for any occasion with which Royalty is connected, announced reverentially that we were about to catch our first glimpse of President Selim.
And out of the plane stepped Charlie. My old friend Charlie Umtali. We were at LSE together. Not Selim Mohammed at all, but Charlie.
Bernard asked me if I were sure. Silly question. How could you forget a name like Charlie Umtali?
I sent Bernard for Sir Humphrey, who was delighted to hear that we now know something about our official visitor.
Bernard's official brief said nothing. Amazing! Amazing how little the FCO has been able to find out. Perhaps they were hoping it would all be on the car radio. All the brief says is that Colonel Selim Mohammed had converted to Islam some years ago, they didn't know his original name, and therefore knew little of his background.
I was able to tell Humphrey and Bernard /all/ about his background. Charlie was a red-hot political economist, I informed them. Got the top first. Wiped the floor with everyone.
Bernard seemed relieved. 'Well that's all right then.'
'Why?' I enquired.
'I think Bernard means,' said Sir Humphrey helpfully, 'that he'll know how to behave if he was at an English University. Even if it was the LSE.' I never know whether or not Humphrey is insulting me intentionally.
Humphrey was concerned about Charlie's political colour. 'When you said that he was red-hot, were you speaking politically?'
In a way I was. 'The thing about Charlie is that you never quite know where you are with him. He's the sort of chap who follows you into a revolving door and comes out in front.'
'No deeply held convictions?' asked Sir Humphrey.
'No. The only thing Charlie was committed too was Charlie.'
'Ah, I see. A politician, Minister.'
It's not that easy bein' green Having to spend each day the color of the leaves When I think it could be nicer being red or yellow or gold Or something much more colorful like that It's not easy bein' green It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water Or stars in the sky But green's the color of Spring And green can be cool and friendly-like And green can be big like an ocean Or important like a mountain Or tall like a tree When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful And I think it's what I want to be
Greenback: And the world is mine, all mine. Muhahahahaha. See to it!
Stiletto: Si, Barone. Subito, Barone.
And now, imagine the triumphant procession: Peter at the head; after him the hunters leading the wolf; and winding up the procession, grandfather and the cat.
Grandfather shook his head discontentedly: "Well, and if Peter hadn't caught the wolf? What then?"
And now this is how things stood: The cat was sitting on one branch. The bird on another, not too close to the cat. And the wolf walked round and round the tree, looking at them with greedy eyes.
In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the gate, watching all that was going on. He ran home,got a strong rope and climbed up the high stone wall.
One of the branches of the tree, around which the wolf was walking, stretched out over the wall.
Grabbing hold of the branch, Peter lightly climbed over on to the tree. Peter said to the bird: "Fly down and circle round the wolf's head, only take care that he doesn't catch you!".
The bird almost touched the wolf's head with its wings, while the wolf snapped angrily at him from this side and that.
How that bird teased the wolf, how that wolf wanted to catch him! But the bird was clever and the wolf simply couldn't do anything about it.
"Hallo, Pooh," said Piglet, giving a jump of surprise. "I knew it was you."
"So did I,", said Pooh. "What are you doing?"
"I'm planting a haycorn, Pooh, so that it can grow up into an oak-tree, and have lots of haycorns just outside the front door instead of having to walk miles and miles, do you see, Pooh?"
"Supposing it doesn't?" said Pooh.
"It will, because Christopher Robin says it will, so that's why I'm planting it."
"Well," aid Pooh, "if I plant a honeycomb outside my house, then it will grow up into a beehive."
Piglet wasn't quite sure about this.
"Or a /piece/ of a honeycomb," said Pooh, "so as not to waste too much. Only then I might only get a piece of a beehive, and it might be the wrong piece, where the bees were buzzing and not hunnying. Bother"
Piglet agreed that that would be rather bothering.
"Besides, Pooh, it's a very difficult thing, planting unless you know how to do it," he said; and he put the acorn in the hole he had made, and covered it up with earth, and jumped on it.
"Hallo!" said Piglet, "whare are /you/ doing?"
"Hunting," said Pooh.
"Tracking something," said Winnie-the-Pooh very mysteriously.
"Tracking what?" said Piglet, coming closer.
"That's just what I ask myself, I ask myself, What?"
"What do you think you'll answer?"
"I shall have to wait until I catch up with it," said Winnie-the-Pooh. "Now, look there." He pointed to the ground in front of him. "What do you see there?"
"Track," said Piglet. "Paw-marks." He gave a little squeak of excitement. "Oh, Pooh!" Do you think it's a--a--a Woozle?"
Yews are relatively slow growing trees, widely used in landscaping and ornamental horticulture. They have flat, dark-green needles, reddish bark, and bear seeds with red arils, which are eaten by thrushes, waxwings and other birds, dispersing the hard seeds undamaged in their droppings. Yew wood is reddish brown (with white sapwood), and very hard. It was traditionally used to make bows, especially the English longbow.
In England, the Common Yew (Taxus baccata, also known as English Yew) is often found in churchyards. It is sometimes suggested that these are placed there as a symbol of long life or trees of death, and some are likely to be over 3,000 years old. It is also suggested that yew trees may have a pre-Christian association with old pagan holy sites, and the Christian church found it expedient to use and take over existing sites. Another explanation is that the poisonous berries and foliage discourage farmers and drovers from letting their animals wander into the burial grounds. The yew tree is a frequent symbol in the Christian poetry of T.S. Eliot, especially his Four Quartets.
Beeches are trees of the Genus Fagus, family Fagaceae, including about ten species in Europe, Asia, and North America. The leaves are entire or sparsely toothed. The fruit is a small, sharply-angled nut, borne in pairs in spiny husks. The beech most commonly grown as an ornamental or shade tree is the European beech (Fagus sylvatica).
The southern beeches belong to a different but related genus, Nothofagus. They are found in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia and South America.
The Pedunculate Oak is called the Common Oak in Britain, and is also often called the English Oak in other English speaking countries It is a large deciduous tree to 25-35m tall (exceptionally to 40m), with lobed and sessile (stalk-less) leaves. Flowering takes place in early to mid spring, and their fruit, called "acorns", ripen by autumn of the same year. The acorns are pedunculate (having a peduncle or acorn-stalk) and may occur singly, or several acorns may occur on a stalk.
It forms a long-lived tree, with a large widespreading head of rugged branches. While it may naturally live to an age of a few centuries, many of the oldest trees are pollarded or coppiced, both pruning techniques that extend the tree's potential lifespan, if not its health.
Within its native range it is valued for its importance to insects and other wildlife. Numerous insects live on the leaves, buds, and in the acorns. The acorns form a valuable food resource for several small mammals and some birds, notably Jays Garrulus glandarius.
It is planted for forestry, and produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior and furniture work.
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots; The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots. She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that's smooth and flat: She sits and sits and sits and sits -- and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat! But when the day's hustle and bustle is done, Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun. She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment To prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment. So she's formed, from that a lot of disorderly louts, A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts, With a purpose in life and a good deed to do-- And she's even created a Beetles' Tattoo. So for Old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers -- On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.
Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw -- For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law. He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair: For when they reach the scene of crime -- /Macavity's not there/! Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity. His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare, And when you reach the scene of crime -- /Macavity's not there/! You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -- But I tell you once and once again, /Macavity's not there/!
There's a whisper down the line at 11.39 When the Night Mail's ready to depart, Saying 'Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble? We must find him of the train can't start.' All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster's daughters They are searching high and low, Saying 'Skimble where is Skimble for unless he's very nimble Then the Night Mail just can't go' At 11.42 then the signal's overdue And the passengers are frantic to a man-- Then Skimble will appear and he'll saunter to the rear: He's been busy in the luggage van! He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes And the the signal goes 'All Clear!' And we're off at last of the northern part Of the Northern Hemisphere!
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lonely sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams; -- World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems.
There may be trouble ahead, But while there's music and moonlight, And love and romance, Let's face the music and dance. Before the fiddlers have fled, Before they ask us to pay the bill, And while we still have that chance, Let's face the music and dance. Soon, we'll be without the moon, Humming a different tune, and then, There may be teardrops to shed, So while there's music and moonlight, And love and romance, Let's face the music and dance.
Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away O soul! hoist instantly the anchor! Cut the hawsers - hall out - shake out every sail! Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough? Have we not grovel'd here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes? Have we not darken'd and dazed ourselves with books long enough? Sail forth - steer for the deep waters only, Reckless O soul, exploring, I with the and thou with me, For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all. O my brave soul! O farther farther sail! O daring job, but safe! are they not all the seas of God? O farther, farther, farther sail!
It's fun to charter an accountant And sail the wide accountan-cy, To find, explore the funds offshore And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy.
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, In a Sieve they went to sea: In spite of all their friends could say, On a winter's morn, on a stormy day, In a Sieve they went to sea! And when the Sieve turned round and round, And everyone cried, "You'll all be drowned!" They cried aloud, "Our Sieve ain't big, But we don't care a button, we don't care a fig! In a Sieve we'll go to sea!" Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live; Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve.
No matter what she did with her hair it took about three minutes for it to tangle itself up again, like a garden hosepipe in a shed [Footnote: Which, no matter how carefully coiled, will always uncoil overnight and tie the lawnmower to the bicycles].
Grand Viziers were /always/ scheming megalomaniacs. It was probably in the job description: "Are you a devious, plotting, unreliable madman? Ah, good, then you can be my most trusted minister."
Lord Hong had a mind like a knife, although possibly a knife with a curved blade.
Many an ancient lord's last words had been, "You can't kill me because I've got magic aaargh."
Cohen was familiar with city gates. He'd broken down a number in his time, by battering ram, siege gun, and on one occasion with his head.
But the gates of Hunghung were pretty damn good gates. They weren't like the gates of Ankh-Morpork, which were usually wide open to attract the spending customer and whose concession to defense was the sign "Thank You For Not Attacking Our City. Bonum Diem." These things were big and made of metal and there was a guardhouse and a squad of unhelpful men in black armor.
There was the faint sound of footsteps. "Chap with a whip got as far as the big sharp spikes last week," said the low priest. There was a sound like the flushing of a very old dry lavatory. The footsteps stopped. The High Priest smiled to himself. "Right," he said. "See your two pebbles and raise you two pebbles." The low priest threw down his cards. "Double Onion," he said. The High Priest looked down suspiciously. The low priest consulted a scrap of paper. "That's three hundred thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four pebbles you owe me," he said. There was the sound of footsteps. The priests exchanged glances. "Haven't had one for poisoned-dart alley for quite some time," said the High Priest. "Five says he makes it", said the low priest. "You're on." There was a faint clatter of metal points on stone. "It's a shame to take your pebbles." There were footsteps again.
Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, "You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."
"What happens next?" asked Twoflower.
Hrun screwed a finger in his ear and inspected it absently.
"Oh,", he said, "I expect in a minute the door will be flung back and I'll be dragged off to some sort of temple arena where I'll fight maybe a couple of giant spiders and an eight-foot slave from the jungles of Klatch and then I'll rescue some kind of a princess from the altar and then I'll kill off a few guards or whatever and then this girl will show me the secret passage out of the place and we'll liberate a couple of horses and escape with the treasure." Hrun leaned his head back on his hands and looked at the ceiling, whistling tunelessly.
"All that?" said Twoflower.
The Librarian had seen many weird things in his time, but that had to be the 57th strangest. [footnote: he had a tidy mind]
When great or unexpected events fall out upon the stage of this sublunary word--the mind of man, which is an inquisitive kind of a substance, naturally takes a flight, behind the scenes, to see what is the cause and first spring of them--The search was not long in this instance.
"Pray, my dear", quoth my mother, "have you not forgot to wind up the clock?"
`What have I got in my pocket?' he said aloud. He was talking to himself, but Gollum thought it was a riddle, and he was frightfully upset.
`Not fair! not fair!' he hissed. `It isn't fair, my precious, is it, to ask us what it's got in its nassty little pocketses?'
Bilbo seeing what had happened and having nothing better to ask stuck to his question, `What have I got in my pocket?' he said louder.
`S-s-s-s-s,' hissed Gollum. `It must give us three guesseses, my precious, three guesseses.'
No announcement available.
The dragon is withered, His bones are now crumbled; His armour is shivered, His splendour is humbled! Though sword shall be rusted, And throne and crown perish With strength that men trusted And wealth that they cherish, Here grass is still growing, And leaves are a yet swinging, The white water flowing, And elves are yet singing Come! Tra-la-la-lally! Come back to the valley.
The monkeys called the place their city, and pretended to despise the Jungle-People because they lived in the forest. And yet they never knew what the buildings were made for nor how to use them. They would sit in circles on the hall of the king's council chamber, and scratch for fleas and pretend to be men; or they would run in and out of the roofless houses and collect pieces of plaster and old bricks in a corner, and forget where they had hidden them, and fight and cry in scuffling crowds, and then break off to play up and down the terraces of the king's garden, where they would shake the rose trees and the oranges in sport to see the fruit and flowers fall.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled 'ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.