A snackable collection of quotes, poems, lists and the like.

Updated 4/8/19: Began migrating "Minor Fascinations" to; for random thoughts see Twitter


A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion....Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.

-George Orwell


Albert Camus

Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible.

In the midst of winter, I learned at last that there was within me an invincible summer.


Niehls Bohr

There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.



from the square comes a distant voice:

People always demand that art be comprehensible, but they never demand of themselves that they adapt their mind to comprehension.


Minor fascinations

are now on


In the great boarding-house of nature, the cakes and the butter and the syrup seldom come out so even and leave the plates so clean.

-William James

Auch in der Küche sind die Götter, und was Cartes von seinem Cogito sagt, davon überführt mich die Thätigkeit meines Magens.

-Georg Hamann


Some favorite words

in no particular order:

  • Alabaster
  • Coriander
  • Apotheosis
  • Rococo
  • Crisp
  • Abkhazia
  • Absolution
  • Canto
  • Cerulean
  • Eudaimonia
  • Desiderium
  • Squirearchy
  • Insouciance
  • Pyrokinesis
  • Catechetical
  • Diminuendo
  • Papillon
  • Vorbei

Churchill: I have had to eat many of my own words, and I found the diet very nourishing.


Umberto Eco:

A secret is powerful when it is empty. People often mention the “Masonic secret.” What on earth is the Masonic secret? No one can tell. As long as it remains empty it can be filled up with every possible notion, and it has power.


"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


Tell me what you


and I will tell you what you



There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is also true. The opposite of a great truth is provably false.

karl poppers dead ghost


A Table of Humor


In the Desert

by Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it “Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”


"Inside every sane person there's a madman struggling to get out," said the shopkeeper. "That's what I've always thought. No one goes mad quicker than a totally sane person."

Terry Pratchett

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”


"Don't deny people the pain they feel, and don't deny people the little they have to get through the day."



I wonder how people remember things who don't film, don't photograph, don't tape. How has mankind managed to remember? I know: it wrote the Bible. The new Bible will be an eternal magnetic tape of a time that will have to reread itself constantly just to know it existed.

Chris Marker


We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

Karl Rove, supposedly


Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.


If God did not


it would be necessary to

invent him.


Of Mere Being

by Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.



Shall we go to the sand-pits?
Yes, let’s go to the sand-pits.

Will the air be fresh and clear
over the sand-pits?
Depending on the season, the time
of day, and the weather
the air will be cool, sultry, or mild
over the sand-pits.

Shall we whistle and get a drink
at the sand-pits?
Whistling and drinking are de rigueur
at the sand-pits.

Will there be a crowd
at the sand-pits?
There is almost invariably a crowd
at the sand-pits.

Shall we take our whips
to the sand-pits?
In what tree have you parked
your brain, imbecile?
Without whips what would be the point
of the sand-pits?

Raymond Geuss


Raymond Carver's

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Quod scripsi, scripsi.