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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014 *********************************** NOTES / COMMENTS ***************************** Free speech is useless in an environment where everyone thinks he knows better. * My first royalty check bounced. Things went downhill after that. That’s the way it is with Armenians. Things tend to go downhill; seldom or never uphill. And you can’t say I hit bottom in a bottomless environment. * Turks did what they did because they understood the world better than our bosses and bishops. I don’t include benefactors because there were none in the Ottoman Empire. We owe benefactors to American income tax laws. * Observe a man’s face carefully and you may be able to count the number of dreams that turn into nightmares. # PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE *********************************** They are not islands but peninsulas. They are extensions of one another. To understand one we must understand the other. * The need to understand what happened, what’s happening and what may happen is universal. Writers can help. They are not always right, of course. But if they are honest witnesses they may reveal a new aspect of our reality. As for politicians: Listen to Zarian: “Our political parties have been of no political use to us. Their greatest enemy is free speech.” * Why should anyone give a damn about us if all we care about is massacres? * Diplomats may never ask “What’s in it for us?” but that’s their number one concern. * Sometimes to give up means to come to terms with reality. * What if the end for all of us is the same? – silence, darkness, and nothingness? # CRITICIZING THE CRITIC ***************************************** Some of my critics not only read everything I write but they also feel compelled to share their wisdom. They seem to be unaware of the fact that I find disagreement, even insults, more stimulating than silence. * PLAGIARIZING A CLICHÉ ********************************* There is a saying in America: “The government is the real problem.” When I say “Dividers are our problem,” I mean the same thing. * MY POSITION ************************** A mosquito arguing against spiders. * BELIEVE IT OR NOT ******************************** Even when I quote the Bible I am contradicted. # MEMO TO MY CRITICS **************************** Reject me by all means. After all, who am I? Only a minor scribbler who can’t even make ends meet. But think twice before rejecting the writers I quote and paraphrase. For more details, see my DICTIONARY OF ARMENIAN QUOTATIONS.) * No one will ever to admit to being for corruption, incompetence and crimes against humanity. And yet, history provides us with many examples of criminal regimes that enjoyed majority support. * There is a Hitler and a Stalin in all of us. If none of us made it to the top, it may be because historic conditions and many other factors were against us. Long live mediocrity! # ENEMIES *************************** Men of faith who believe in nothing. Men of wealth whose only god is Gold. Leaders who cannot even lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant. Patriots who preach heroism but practice cannibalism. Academics who are masters of the blame-game. Fund-raisers whose specialize in larceny. Speechifiers who preach ideals and principles but will do anything for money. Sermonizers who are fornicators. Once upon a time we had only one enemy. Now they come in bunches. We never had it so good! #
ENEMIES *************************** Men of faith who believe in nothing. Men of wealth whose only god is Gold. Leaders who cannot even lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant. Patriots who preach heroism but practice cannibalism. Academics who are masters of the blame-game. Fund-raisers whose specialize in larceny. Speechifiers who preach ideals and principles but will do anything for money. Sermonizers who are fornicators. Once upon a time we had only one enemy. Now they come in bunches. We never had it so good! #

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014 ************************************** THE BLAME GAME… AMONG OTHER THINGS. ***************************************** If you master the rules of the blame-game you can easily represent yourself as a statesman of vision and the opposition as a cesspool of corruption, incompetence and stupidity. * When in doubt I always do that which is against my own interests. * Whatever I have done, I have done out of necessity and under duress. The choice was thrust on me the way subservience is thrust on the 99%. * Bishops, imams, rabbis: they share a common wish to be trusted and respected, but they neither trust nor respect one another. * If a single man can be wrong, so can two or two thousand or two million, especially when they speak of the Incomprehensible and the Unknowable. * The Scriptures tell us to turn the other cheek not to drop our pants... * We are midgets perched on the shoulders of lesser midgets. * We are told there are two kinds of statistics, lies and damn lies. What about belief systems? # ALPHA MALES **************************** Bosses, bishops, benefactors: alpha males whose #1 concern is #1. The rest is propaganda. * PATRIOTISM ***************************** There are Armenians – and I know some of them myself – who view intolerance, ignorance, and stupidity as authentic expressions of their patriotism and moral superiority. * DIALOGUE ******************* In dialogue there are no losers because both sides learn from each other. Which may explain why dialogue happens to be quintessentially un-Armenian. * WRITING ********************* I write. It’s an inexpensive hobby – the cheapest I know. It costs me nothing. # ON WHAT WE KNOW ************************************* Nobody knows everything about anything. Some of the worst blunders in the history of mankind were committed by very smart men (self-assessed, of course) who thought they knew all there is to know about the enemy. * We know now that even Wall Street doesn’t know everything about Wall Street. * The 99% hate the 1% -- their secret role models. * The 1% are at their best when it comes to deceiving and exploiting the 99%. * We like to pretend we know more about ourselves than anyone else until we are cornered, assaulted and defeated by our own irrational impulses. * Once upon a time we were ruled by kings. We are now ruled by moneyed morons with the charisma of apes. * There are always two schools of thought and we tend to favor the school that is more favorable to our vanity. * We say “shit happens” even when we micro-managed the catastrophe. # AS I SEE IT ****************************** Leaders: Blind men who pretend to have 20/20 vision. * There are two kinds of failures: (a) those who make less than minimum wage (Armenian writers come readily to mind) and (b) those who make a million a day (guess who). * In the eyes of the 99% the 1% might as well be Turks. * Speaking of Turks: We know what they did to us. My question is: What did we do to them? If something, what? If nothing, why not? * You tell me I simplify complexities? Am I then the only one? * More on the 1%: Two reasons they are free men: (a) They can afford a dream team, and (b) they know the judge. * A headline in my morning paper: “Neanderthal genes found in modern humans.” So what else is new? # PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS *********************************************** Justice is on the side of the more competent lawyers in the same way that victory is one the side of bigger battalions. * Turks don’t need a dream team. They have Yanks on their side. * My philosophy of writing? To be readable. * I don’t write to make you feel good. What I do is hold up a mirror and make you wish you were dead. * Some problems don’t get solved because we don’t have a clear awareness of their existence. * There are truths which we take for granted until we consider their contradiction. * The 1% are dead men who will do anything to keep their money beginning with staying alive. * Progress is possible in all branches of human endeavor except religion. * A single pope can brainwash millions of Catholics but not a single imam. # A WORTHY AMBITION ******************************** The secret ambition of every Muslim terrorist is to defeat America and to acquire a harem of Hollywood starlets. * THE TYRANNY OF RELATIVITY *************************************** Virtues like self-reliance, initiative, originality and perseverance in the wrong hands become dangerous vices. * 85% VERSUS 86% ****************************** We are told 85% of TV commercials are misleading and the law can’t put a stop to that because law-makers (i.e. politicians) mislead the people 86% of the time. * WHAT THEY SHARE ***************************** Defeats are planned as carefully as victories. #
Sunday, January 26, 2014 ************************************** THE BLAME GAME… AMONG OTHER THINGS. ***************************************** If you master the rules of the blame-game you can easily represent yourself as a statesman of vision and the opposition as a cesspool of corruption, incompetence and stupidity. * When in doubt I always do that which is against my own interests. * Whatever I have done, I have done out of necessity and under duress. The choice was thrust on me the way subservience is thrust on the 99%. * Bishops, imams, rabbis: they share a common wish to be trusted and respected, but they neither trust nor respect one another. * If a single man can be wrong, so can two or two thousand or two million, especially when they speak of the Incomprehensible and the Unknowable. * The Scriptures tell us to turn the other cheek not to drop our pants... * We are midgets perched on the shoulders of lesser midgets. * We are told there are two kinds of statistics, lies and damn lies. What about belief systems? # ALPHA MALES **************************** Bosses, bishops, benefactors: alpha males whose #1 concern is #1. The rest is propaganda. * PATRIOTISM ***************************** There are Armenians – and I know some of them myself – who view intolerance, ignorance, and stupidity as authentic expressions of their patriotism and moral superiority. * DIALOGUE ******************* In dialogue there are no losers because both sides learn from each other. Which may explain why dialogue happens to be quintessentially un-Armenian. * WRITING ********************* I write. It’s an inexpensive hobby – the cheapest I know. It costs me nothing. # ON WHAT WE KNOW ************************************* Nobody knows everything about anything. Some of the worst blunders in the history of mankind were committed by very smart men (self-assessed, of course) who thought they knew all there is to know about the enemy. * We know now that even Wall Street doesn’t know everything about Wall Street. * The 99% hate the 1% -- their secret role models. * The 1% are at their best when it comes to deceiving and exploiting the 99%. * We like to pretend we know more about ourselves than anyone else until we are cornered, assaulted and defeated by our own irrational impulses. * Once upon a time we were ruled by kings. We are now ruled by moneyed morons with the charisma of apes. * There are always two schools of thought and we tend to favor the school that is more favorable to our vanity. * We say “shit happens” even when we micro-managed the catastrophe. # AS I SEE IT ****************************** Leaders: Blind men who pretend to have 20/20 vision. * There are two kinds of failures: (a) those who make less than minimum wage (Armenian writers come readily to mind) and (b) those who make a million a day (guess who). * In the eyes of the 99% the 1% might as well be Turks. * Speaking of Turks: We know what they did to us. My question is: What did we do to them? If something, what? If nothing, why not? * You tell me I simplify complexities? Am I then the only one? * More on the 1%: Two reasons they are free men: (a) They can afford a dream team, and (b) they know the judge. * A headline in my morning paper: “Neanderthal genes found in modern humans.” So what else is new? # PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS *********************************************** Justice is on the side of the more competent lawyers in the same way that victory is one the side of bigger battalions. * Turks don’t need a dream team. They have Yanks on their side. * My philosophy of writing? To be readable. * I don’t write to make you feel good. What I do is hold up a mirror and make you wish you were dead. * Some problems don’t get solved because we don’t have a clear awareness of their existence. * There are truths which we take for granted until we consider their contradiction. * The 1% are dead men who will do anything to keep their money beginning with staying alive. * Progress is possible in all branches of human endeavor except religion. * A single pope can brainwash millions of Catholics but not a single imam. # A WORTHY AMBITION ******************************** The secret ambition of every Muslim terrorist is to defeat America and to acquire a harem of Hollywood starlets. * THE TYRANNY OF RELATIVITY *************************************** Virtues like self-reliance, initiative, originality and perseverance in the wrong hands become dangerous vices. * 85% VERSUS 86% ****************************** We are told 85% of TV commercials are misleading and the law can’t put a stop to that because law-makers (i.e. politicians) mislead the people 86% of the time. * WHAT THEY SHARE ***************************** Defeats are planned as carefully as victories. #

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014 *************************************** THOMAS MANN SPEAKS ************************************** Where there is too much talk of love, there will be very little love. Who will dare to disagree with Thomas Mann (who probably wrote more about music than any other major modern writer) when he said: “The past half century has witnessed a regression of humanity, a chilling atrophy of culture, a frightening decrease in civility, decency, sense of justice, loyalty, and faith, and of the most elementary trustworthiness.” # ON MARRIAGE ********************** Even if you marry the most beautiful woman in the world, sooner or later she will stink of garlic. Richard Burton on Elizabeth Taylor in his recently published diary: “She stinks of garlic – who has garlic for breakfast?” He probably stank of booze morning, noon, and night. # AS I SEE IT *********************** There is no such thing as a lovable nation. For every American who loves Armenians there will be at least two or more who love Turks. * I was the most disappointed man on earth when I met my first Turk. He was short, skinny, and timid. No fez. No yataghan. No shalvars. No bloodshot eyes. * When a face in the crowd smiles and says hello, the chances are it’s to the fellow behind you. * Books changed my worldview but music changed my life. I became a church organist. * Where the art of advertisement is developed, the brain will be underdeveloped. * There is an Armenian Christian heresy that believes the world was created not by God but the Devil. The evidence is overwhelming. * A generation of dupes will be followed by another. # FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS ********************************** “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” “I could have been a contender.” Can you identify the following two? “Gee, I wish we had one of those doomsday machines!” and “The cat is in the bag and the bag is in the river.” # ON COWARDICE ***************************** If you speak in the name of patriotism, do so only in time of peace. Attack only individuals who are in no position to defend themselves. Attack anonymously and from a safe distance. * ON BEING AN ARMENIAN WRITER *************************************** As a failure you will be despised. As a success you will be hated unto death. * TWINS ****************** To be corrupt and incompetent are Siamese. * MEN AND WOMEN **************************** On their own they can be good; it’s when they get together that the excrement hits the ventilator. * YOU WANT TO BE POPULAR? ************************************** Recycle a fashionable propaganda line – like Bolshevik shit under Stalin and Nazi crap under Hitler… * POLITICS ********************* To be in politics means to expose the double-talk of the opposition and to cover your own triple-talk. # CONSPIRACY **************************** Ever since I was born as an Armenian, there has been a carefully orchestrated conspiracy to convince me that being an Armenian is a rare privilege and I should consider myself the luckiest of men. The question that I cannot answer to this day is: Are members of this conspiracy our saviors or our grave-diggers? * If “a man is another man’s wolf,” is not an Armenian another Armenian’s Turk?” #

Saturday, January 4, 2014

ON WEALTH ****************************** Someone like Obama could never be as wealthy as someone like Romney because, according to Plato, an honest man will employ only honest means and a dishonest man will employ honest as well as dishonest means to amass his fortune. I am not saying Plato speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. All I am doing is paraphrasing an opinion and an opinion is not a dead end but only a tentative beginning. * ON MORMONISM ******************************* Shaw says somewhere all professions are conspiracies against the laity. Likewise, all religions may be said to be conspiracies against all other religions. The same applies to ideologies and closed systems of thought. * MORE ON OBAMA **************************** He made many mistakes? Maybe. But had he done the opposite of what he did, he would have been impeached. Who wants a pope in the White House? # FROM MY NOTEBOOKS **************************************** If you speak the truth you will be contradicted not only by liars but also by dupes and idiots. * I don’t understand everything. Only god does; and if god wanted me to understand everything he would have created not men but gods. * For every truth there is a lie and sometimes a thousand of them. * A man who is his own worst enemy cannot be anyone’s friend. * The closer I get to the final answer the more certain I feel of my final failure. * Two mosquitoes may achieve more than one; a thousand of them may inflict serious damage. # Wednesday, January 01, 2014 ************************************** HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!! **************************** ...to one and all! * ON LEADERSHIP ************************** Political leaders hate to admit error. Hence the existence of hirelings – meant to say, nationalist historians – and the importance of patriotism which is easily confused with loyalty to the leadership even when the leaders happen to be swine. * ON COMFORT & JOY ****************************** When told I am a comfort to our enemies, I say, we are a greater comfort when we divide ourselves. * ON HUMAN NATURE ************************** No matter what you say, you will get on someone’s nerves. Consider what happened to Socrates and Jesus. You say that was then and this is now? I say: technology may change but human nature stays the same. There are as many violations of human rights today as there were in the 5th century BC and 1st century AD. # INTOLERANCE ************************ Intolerance makes men stupid. You can guess a man’s IQ fairly accurately by the manner in which he welcomes new ideas. * At least once every day we should remind ourselves of the vastness of the universe and our own insignificance in it. * Inaction can create as many problems as wrong action. * Some of the greatest men in the history of mankind were persecuted, even executed, for daring to challenge the authority of the 1%. What does that tell you about the IQ of mankind? # ON POPULAR MUSIC ************************************ Popular music is incapable of achieving greatness. * There is something fundamentally wrong in a culture whose musical standards are set by teenagers and the CEOs of the recording industry. * I am reminded of the king who, after visiting America, said he was impressed by the manner in which parents obeyed their children. * One of the things that I love about America is the readiness with which they acknowledge their “ugly” specimens. There is even a best-selling book titled THE UGLY AMERICAN and a movie based on it with Marlon Brando in the title role. # NOTES & COMMENTS ************************************ As a child I don’t remember an adult saying “I don’t know.” What they said was “You’ll find out when you grow up.” * I don’t write for readers; I write against them beginning with myself. * As a failure I am free; as a success I may be a slave to my success. Isn’t that what happened to Arlen and Saroyan? * When we divide ourselves the message we send to our enemies is: “No need to kill us; we are committing suicide.” * Armenians may be said to have a Turkish problem. I am that rarest of all Armenians: an Armenian with Armenian problems. * In a disagreement, you cannot defeat your adversary by insulting him; you can only expose your own limitations and inability to entertain new ideas. # ON WRITING **************************** The best opening line is the one you delete, according to Chekhov who probably wrote more opening lines than any other writer. * I remember to have read somewhere, as soon as you write a brilliant line, delete it. As far as I know, Simenon, one of the most successful and prolific writers of all time, never wrote a single brilliant line in his life. * Q ********** Who benefits from wars, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis? Surely, not God. Who then? Is Mother Nature in cahoots with the Devil? What else? * ON PROFIT ***************** If you are in the business of making money, your greatest assets are the ignorance and stupidity of the masses. Something similar could be said of politics. * PARTY DISCIPLINE *************************** It has happened to the best of my childhood friends. On their own they were more like wolves; but after joining a political party, they turned into sheep. Were they emasculated by party discipline? # 