Tag Archives: books

Paging Dr. Schadenfreude

In Kurt Vonnegut’s book, TimeQuake, ©1997, there is a story-within-a-story.  Vonnegut’s alter-ego, Kilgore Trout, pens a short story about a psychiatrist who only allows his patients to talk about other people: The name of the shrink was the name of the story, too, which was “Dr. Schadenfreude.” This doctor had his patients lie on the …

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If this isn’t nice, what is?

Excerpted from my second-favorite Kurt Vonnegut book, TimeQuake, ©1997: “My uncle Alex Vonnegut, a Harvard-educated life insurance salesman who lived at 5033 North Pennsylvania Street, taught me something very important. He said that when things were really going well we should be sure to notice it. “He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: …

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And what had he learned?

Excerpted from You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe, ©1940: For he had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself, and he had found out about them as one has to find out– through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own damn …

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Clear

“Do you have the patience to wait / till your mud settles and the water is clear?”  ~Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15

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Tao Te Ching

The Tao Te Ching is one of the more easily understood of the Eastern texts, and I found a wonderful site that makes it available in several different translations:  https://taoteching.org.uk/

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Not every day.

Howard Stern Comes Again, ©2019, is a collection of transcripts of what Stern considers his best interviews over the last several years.  The excerpt below with Paul McCartney is from January 14, 2009: Howard:  I haven’t spoken to you since George Harrison died. How are you doing with that? That’s got to be major. Paul:  …

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Less Civil

This excerpt from Leo Rosten’s People I have loved, known, or admired, ©1970, recalls an episode he uncovered while researching George Washington’s life: But I cannot forget the episode involving Washington as he was being escorted down the street of a town in New York by an official. An old Negro saw the General and …

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Restless, miserable, frustrated creatures

“We clutter the earth with our inventions, never dreaming that possibly they are unnecessary…or disadvantageous. We devise astounding means of communication, but do we communicate with one another? We move our bodies to and fro at incredible speeds, but do we really leave the spot we started from? Mentally, morally, spiritually, we are fettered. What …

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Freddie

It’s hard to write a charming children’s fable about death, but Leo Buscaglia gave it his best effort. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf can be read online HERE. (Side note: the linked site does have some troubling, xenophobic aspects to it, mixed in with the more useful stories and content. So be aware.)

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You Watch What I Tell You

Excerpted from The Seventh Child: A Lucky Life by Freddie Mae Baxter, edited by Gloria Bley Miller, ©1999: My mother was only forty-nine years old when she died. She wasn’t sick before she died– like you say somebody was sick a long time– unless she was hiding it. She wasn’t in bed where you had …

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Of Course

“I wanted to write so that I would have something interesting to read, for while everything I read was quite good, some of it wonderful, I believed that I would write better, and so of course it turned out to be.”  ~William Saroyan There are people in this world who suffer from low self-esteem.  William …

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Just Sitting and Being Alive

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of William Saroyan, © 1952: Water to an Armenian is a holy thing, like fire. A farmer watering his plants, trees, or vines is taking part in a rite which has profound meaning and satisfaction for him. The farmers of Fresno went to the headgates …

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