“The rate of interest she paid was of course high , because of the uncertainty of her security, and the arithmetic of lovers is often sketchy and optimistic. Yet they had glorious times after that return. They determined that they would not go to a Pleasure City nor waste their days rushing through the air from one part of the world to the other, for in spite of one disillusionment, their tastes were still old fashioned. They furnished their little room with quaint old Victorian furniture, and found a shop on the forty-second floor in Seventh Way where printed books of the old sort were still to be bought. It was their pet affectation to read print instead of hearing phonographs. And when presently came a sweet little girl, to unite them further if it were possible, Elizabeth would not send her to a Creche, as the custom was, but insisted on nursing it at home. The rent of their apartments was raised on account of this singular proceeding, but they did not mind. It only meant borrowing a little more.”
“What’ll it be ?” The barman’s question was not unfriendly.
“Half of special and a Bell’s” replied Rebus. This was his gambit in any potentially rough pub. He could think of no good reason why, somehow it just seemed like the right order. He remembered the roughest drinking den he’d ever encountered, deep in a Niddrie housing scheme. He’d given his order and the barman asked, in all seriousness, whether he wanted the two drinks in the same glass. That had shaken Rebus, and he hadn’t lingered.
… Britain had substantial interests in the country [Egypt in the 1880’s]. What the oil in Iraq is today, so the Suez canal was then. More than 80% of the traffic going through the canal was British – indeed 13% of Britain’s entire trade went through the canal – and in 1876 Britain had acquired a substantial shareholding in the canal company itself. Moreover, the Egyptian economy had emerged during the American Civil War as an alternative source for the raw cotton insatiably consumed by Britain’s textile industry. As if that were not enough, a substantial chunk of the Egyptian external debt was held by British bondholders, including the new Prime Minister himself [William Gladstone]. Today’s liberal commentators fret about the links between the Bush administration and oil companies like Halliburton. But Halliburton’s share price declined by a third in the three years after former chief executive Dick Chaney became Vice President, whereas Gladstone’s substantial investments in Egyptian loans soared in value – by over 40 percent – as a direct result of his decision to invade. Had this fact become known at the time, it is hard to say what the effect would have been on Gladstone’s reputation for sea-green incorruptibility.
“The tendency to regard the phenomenal world as something unreal that doesn’t really matter is rejected by Buddhists as nihilism. The tendency to regard it as something permanent, real to itself; that matters utterly and everlastingly is rejected as externalism. Nihilism and externalism are known in the Buddha Dharma as the two extremes.
From Buddha and his Teachings by Bercholtz and Kohn (1993)
“You probably remember the old joke about the chicken just being the egg’s way of making another egg. DNA has always been immortal; our chromosomes live forever, they just use organisms as a way of swapping their individual genes around. Bacteria and protozoa don’t generally bother – their cells just keep on dividing. It only needed a little genetic nudge to put the mouse chromosomes on a new track, so that they express their immortality through a series of individuals who would grow up to displace one another inside the same body, shedding the aged cells just as a growing snake periodically sloughs off it’s skin.”
From The Magic Bullet by Brian Stableford (1989)
Interzone Magazine Issue 29 (May / June 1989)
“Elwe, lord of the Teleri, went often through the great woods to seek out seek out Finwe, his friend in the dwellings of the Noldor; and it chanced on a time that he came alone to the starlit wood of Nan Elmoth, and there suddenly he heard the song of nightingales. Then an enchantment fell upon him, and he stood still; and afar off beyond the voices of the lomelindi he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. He forgot then utterly all his people and all the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost. But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and light of Aman was in her face.
She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwe came to her took her hand, and straightaway a spell was laid on him, so that stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word.”
From The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien (1977 – written circa 1917 to 1940)