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Recent Posts
Indian Idle
Cutie Pie is getting married
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - High Five - Day 2
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - High Five - Day 1
Great-Great-Great-Grandson of Godawful Poetry Fort...
Swab your cheek - help save Nalini
Environment-friendly spam

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Sunday, April 06, 2014
Indian Idle 
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Sunday, November 10, 2013
Cutie Pie is getting married 

Via my colleague Ramnath, this glorious press release.

Wedding PRESS Release

India based Entrepreneur [name removed] & Malaysia based HR Expert [name removed] to enter in wedlock next year
Monogram Themed Royal Tamil Hindu Wedding Ceremony of 2014

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 8th Nov2013:
Wedding bell will ring soon!!! A wedding is the union of not only the bride and groom but also their families and friends. [name removed], India based Entrepreneur and [name removed], Malaysia based HR Expert will tie the knot on March 2014. Wooph… It would be Monogram Themed Royal Tamil Hindu Wedding Ceremony of 2014. Depending on who you ask, you may get two different stories about how they met first. God was at work behind the scenes to bring us together, quips Vijay.
Almost one year ago, fortune and a few mouse clicks brought [name removed] and [name removed] together. They went from complete strangers to inseparable companions in love. This is how it all began. 
[name removed] is thoughtful, funny, God- loving, approachable, easy going and humble. He's truly a gem of person. He believes in a strong balance between personal and professional life. Determined for long-term goals. Foodie, and never misses an opportunity to dig into quality food. He loves to explore the world. He is a versatile human being with result oriented approach. Passionate and avid tamilian by heart and Soul. He value personal qualities much more than material things. He loves to have a good & meaningful conversation about almost anything, serious or fun. Born and raised in India. Believes in living life king size.

The dashing  [name removed], stated, “I will get married early next year. It will be a close knit Tamil traditional wedding.  We are enthusiastically counting down the days until we are able to officially join our lives. We are getting so thrilled for our wedding and overjoyed about sharing such a happy occasion with all of you. Can't wait to see you on our big day.
[name removed] ambitious with multiple "E"s - Exuberant, Excellent, Euphoric, Endearing, Enduring, Enthusiastic, Energetic, Easy-onthe- Eye... ooohhh. ! Affectionately called " Cutie Pie' by her beloved. She embodies traditional values yet embracing all that is new, contemporary and essential. Born and raised in Malaysia, Her cheering personality won beloved [name removed]'s heart. Charming, cute, kind - hearted, ingenious, honest and committed to formulate the best out of life. She has an amazing sense of humor. Keen fascination towards cooking and currently experimenting with various recipes at home.
The beautiful [name removed] says “We are aiming to make our wedding as fun and enjoyable as possible for you. Our wedding is more than a marriage between the two of us and also commencement of a friendship between our families and friends".
 She also added that “Tamil wedding ceremony is lavish and vibrant. The rich and bright coloured kanjeevaram silk sarees add to the ambience, making it very animated”.
Tamilians have their own rituals followed before, during and after the wedding, which look very vibrant. All the customs are followed with religious observance. All the people, right from the prospective bride and the groom to the family members, friends and relatives have the festive mood, which is set by the ceremony. The ambience is filled with nothing but happiness and celebration. The festive spirits are boosted up among the people, witnessing the ceremony, by the colorful and elaborate rituals that are conducted before, during and after the marriage. Tamil wedding includes many traditions that differ from community to community.
 The wedding will be in India but the couple will have a reception for friends and family in Malaysia and India. 

Congratulations to [name removed] and [name removed], they're really made for each other! We would like to wish the happy couple the best with their upcoming nuptials.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - High Five - Day 2 

Write a poem about the pain of having a perfect life when the dream is to be a tormented poet. (Ttheme donated by Anjana.)

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Monday, August 19, 2013
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - High Five - Day 1 

So here's your cue for Day 1

Write a poem that uses 'moon,' 'June' and 'spoon; as end-words. Preferably in an aabb rhyme scheme. Bonus points for no meter and uneven line lengths

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Saturday, August 03, 2013
Great-Great-Great-Grandson of Godawful Poetry Fortnight: High Five! 

Godawful Poetry Fortnight was founded in 2008. So high fives all around for the fifth anniversary. (1, 2, 3, 4, all)

Quick recap:

Godawful Poetry Fortnight starts on the 19th August and runs up to the 31st August. This blog is its literal and spiritual home. All previous posts on the subject here are tagged thus.

Our Patron Saint is William Wordsworth.
And he gets this signal honour for saying that poetry "is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." Way too many aspiring poets have rallied behind that banner, too few going so far as recollecting those emotions in tranquillity, let alone reading the rest of the preface to Lyrical Ballads (which can be found on Bartleby, for those interested).
Godawful Poetry Fortnight isn't a competition. But we do invite all poets—beginners, much published, academics—to have a bit of fun and deliberately write bad poetry. As opposed to, you know, writing it accidentally.

The True Believers Challenge: post thirteen Godawful Poems, one on each day of the Fortnight.)

For those who need them, I'll post prompts here, one for every day.


Use a Godawful Poetry Fortnight tag or label on your post

Use a #GodawfulPoetryFortnight hashtag on Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Google+

You can link to this post or this blog if you want to, and/or you can alert me on Twitter) and/or Facebook and/or Google+.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013
Swab your cheek - help save Nalini 

Several friends are organising a swab drive on Saturday, from 11am to 2pm, at the Pinstorm office in Santa Cruz, Bombay. The address: Swati Building, North Avenue, Santa Cruz (W) Bombay 400 054 Phone: +91 22 6739 3888. 

North Avenue is the road that runs between SV (Swami Vivekananda) Road and  Linking Road. The restaurants Dynasty and Yoko's are almost bang opposite the SV Road end, and there's a Kotak Bank branch at the Linking road corner, with Tressorie just ahead. Swati is very close to the Linking road end, on your right as you go towards SV Road.

This message from Dilip D'Souza will explain the background, and what you can expect.
My good friend Nalini Ambady, prof at Stanford U, needs your help. See the web site  www.helpnalininow.org and Facebook page of same name www.facebook.com/HelpNaliniNow -- it will tell you about her, her situation and what 's been done so far. Short version: she needs a bone marrow transfer (BMT) and she has failed in efforts to find a donor in the US. So we're now trying here in India. Both to find a match and to get people to sign up with Indian bone marrow databases so that the chance of a match increases.
There is an age restriction: they want donors to be between 18 and 50.
There are two databases of donors I know about in India: DATRI (www.datriworld.org) and MDRI (www.mdrindia.org). Somewhere on the DATRI site you can sign up to have a kit sent to you, you use the enclosed swabs to do a cheek swab and send the result back to them with a Rs 2500 fee. I happen to have three of those kits with me, so if you want to do that let me know (and the costs will be taken care of).
Alternatively, you can sign up for free with the MDRI database (unless you want to donate only to a specified person, like Nalini, in which case they charge you Rs 10,000). You can do so by walking into one of several hospitals in Bom, e.g. Raheja at Mahim, Holy Family in Bandra, Nanavati in Vile Parle, etc (see this page http://mdrindia.org/Website/Contact%20Us.htm). Apparently the procedure of forms and taking a blood sample will take 15 minutes or so. MDRI is run by the Tata Memorial Hospital, so your data will be sent to them by whichever hospital you sign up at.
I believe Kokilaben in Andheri also signs you up this way, it's just that I'm not sure which database you are entered in. Worth calling to ask, especially if you're nearby and that is convenient for you.
I hope you'll consider signing up. Time is of the essence for Nalini. The BMT is really the only option she has left and we have to find her a matching donor in the next 2-3 months, possibly a little more.
If you sign up, thanks! Please give a thought to whether you know others in the 18-50 age range who can sign up too.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013
Environment-friendly spam 

My pal and colleague Charles Assisi got this email a little while ago:
From: Yogi Tripathi
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 23:41:13 +0530


I manage a unit by the name of [removed], from Lucknow, India which is into trading, manufacturing and consultancy activities offering renewable energy solutions since 2008...

I have been trying to raise funds for the R&D projects in solar energy ( proposal attached) since a long time however, could not manage it...another file with our product list, video links and newspaper article have also been attached...The response so far has been negative with comments like - "no one will give you a penny", "nothing works in India", "go to America ", "last 60 years nothing much happened here except population explosion".."we are a very poor third world country", "we are service class not business class"...blah..blah...only a handful have actually offered real money...why this kind of an attitude ?....it does not help anyone....earlier systems in India were designed for slavery by the British by keeping people poor, weak and afraid so that they keep looking at the government...so, how will things move this way?...business is development....it is the best way to attack India's biggest problem of poverty...

So the team building effort continues....can you help - by a small personal contribution ?....can you help by becoming a customer ?...you can buy solar cookers, solar water heaters or get your home & offices on solar power.....can you help by circulating this email ahead?..connecting us to high net worth individuals / angel investors probably outside India....connecting us to media who could highlight the case....venture capital and banks fund only well established companies and will rarely fund R&D work...

Please reply, even if negative with explanation, else will assume that the email did not reach and follow up with phone calls and letters...

www [Removed]
Note, please, the air of persecution and entitlement, and the threat at the end.

Then, on 10th April, this:
On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, [Removed]wrote:
Since we have not received any reply from your end this email seeks toserve as a kind reminder....
Charles replied:
This is the kind of shit that constitutes spam. Reporting your email id as spam. And don't you dare assume you can keep trying to email or call me if I don't respond. Whether I choose to or not is my perogative. You can't assume anything on my behalf.
And get this:
From: "Yogi Tripathi"
Date: Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Subject: Re: Second email - reply awaited : Individual contributions needed for R&D projects in solar energy - proposal attached
To: "Charles Assisi"

why will I waste any more time on u....when u r yourself poor, mediocre, selfish, not healthy or happy with life and frustrated...even if u wanted to, u wont have been able to....marked ur mail as spam too....we will not be talking again....

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Monday, December 31, 2012
You and I 

This is by my friend Vikram Sheel Kumar, a doctor, entrepreneur and writer (he contributes to Forbes India and is a consulting editor for ForbesLife India, in response to Imagine, a piece I wrote a few days ago.

..to continue:

Remember when ministers tendered their resignation at a slight challenge to their honour?

There was accountability. And honour. And respect.

Yes, we are all accountable for a society where beastly acts such as gang rape occur. But neither you nor I can make sure our buses are safe.

Neither you nor I can scare the sins out of people through a trusted and tough police force.

Neither you nor I can direct precious national funds to prevent the next rape instead of sending a critical patient offshore through sophomoric medical (and political) judgement.

Neither you nor I can speak a few words, on television, to the full nation to reinforce through humanity and humility that we remain the great civilization to which the world has turned for its spiritual depth and awakening, and we have just, perhaps, over the past couple decades, lost ourselves in the race for easy money, quick thrills, and our own personal Idol worship.

Neither you nor I can set policies that move the economy forward, so at 9pm men are thinking of what to wear at work the next day, not how the get the next high.

You and I can demand public accountability and safety, and pray our leaders find in their depth the honour, respect, trust, judgement and wisdom that justify their position of power in our nation. And if our prayers are not answered, we can take back the power by finding in our depth the honour, respect, trust, judgement and wisdom to exercise our own democratic prerogative.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012
For Anonymous 

If you're in Delhi, there's a condolence meeting at Jantar Mantar at 11am.

For the rest of us:

This evening, around sunset.

If you're in Bombay, perhaps at the Gateway of India, our India Gate. Or Marine Drive, Azad Maidan, Shivaji Park, the amphitheatre at bandstand, the park near you, with your friends and neighbours.

If you're n other places, name your place to meet.

Here's what you could do.

Wear a white ribbon, or a white headband.

Bring a flower, any flower, but I suggest a rose or anything that has a thorn or two.

When you get there, use that thorn to draw a little blood from your thumb. Feel that little bit of pain. Think how much worse it was for The Girl, for the thousands of others like her who we have not heard of, may not ever hear of. Remember it. Use the white headband or ribbon to clean up that drop of blood.

Take the flower again. Pull off every petal, one by one. As you do, say to yourself, with each petal, we killed her, all of us, by never fighting the daily atrocities, by never saying, no, enough, I will not let this happen.

Crush the petals in your hand and release the fragrance. As you inhale it, say to yourself, this is where it ends. This is where I do all I can to stop it. Let the petals fall to the ground. (If you're near a river, or the sea, let the petals go into the water.) Throw the stalk in the nearest dustbin.

Sing together. Choose something you all know. Perhaps 'We shall overcome / Hum honge kamyaab' could be it. Sing it soft.

Disperse. Go home. And start changing our world.

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Imagine, if you will, a world where women are not treated like possessions.

Imagine a time when bride prices are a forgotten term, when language professors will puzzle over the meaning of terms like "eve-teasing" and "honour killing" because their usage has no currency.

Imagine a time when anything that is fine for a boy to do is appropriate for a girl to do too.

Imagine a time when the only time we tell our mothers and wives and sisters and daughters what they should wear is when it is raining outside and they haven't noticed and are going out without their raincoats.

Imagine a time when film students will wonder how songs picturised around the glorification of sexual harassment ever found an audience, how the stars and the makers of those movies ever got rich and famous instead of ridiculed and scorned.

Imagine a polity where 'leaders' who make primitive sexist statements are hounded out of public life.

Imagine a society where rapists, not the raped, are shunned, disgraced and have their lives ruined.

Better still, imagine a time when rape is something that no longer happens.

Imagine being the generation that made it possible, by raising their voices, by being the change instead of demanding it, by being furious with the government (and rightly so) and the politicians (and rightly so) and the police (and rightly so), but also recognising that they, this generation, let it be possible for venal people to flourish and perpetuate these horrors, and by screaming out loud and long, enough!

We couldn't. You can. Imagine that.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Why you should send your visiting card to a PR spammer 

An email to my office address. I've tried to preserve the formatting. Yes, it came in with all-underlined text. I've removed the company name. Do not miss the bit about "There are at least 10,000++ people on this email."

Dear all,

I have pleasure in sending you the link to the very first MHAP e-Christmas Card.

Read every line of my email dont miss it..

Its once a year that i have to thank you all for all the support you have bestowed upon me. Believe me without the support of the corporate and media and travel world i would not be able to reach and achieve my goals which i have.

If this email reaches you more than once here's a sincere apology as your name might be marked in my mailing list on different names but rest assured you are remembered and i have the "Gratitude" for you all which i should.

My address is attached below so please post/courier/drop me your visiting cards not on email but a hard copy of the card.

Now, why do i need the visiting cards...yes..I call the entire team to join me once a year for a luncheon and i would like to send out the invitations for it. No, dont rush after you are finished with your holidays and new year i shall have my party closer to Valentine's day..So send in your cards...I have a lucky draw...plus my best relationship manager, my best friend, my best (loads and loads)of gifts... The industry has seen my get togethers in the past and they know it has been awesome.

So complete all your work and believe me you will have a network to connect with which no party or organisation can provide..There are at least 10,000++ people on this email who you will meet and connect with..So happy holidays compliments of the season and yes dont forget to Click Me! below and see the brands i am associated with my best wishes.
GOD BLESS YOU!! Stay Blessed!! you are in my PRAYERS...

[cheesy graphic of cask with the words 'click me superimposed on it]

Miss [Name removed]
Senior Management
[Company name removed, but it's a world-famous premium alcohol brand]

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Do they know it's Christmas? 

Air-dashing we will go
As soon as ma’am-ji says
O'er the states we go
On mantri discount fares!
Can you see my bling?
Don’t I look a sight?
What fun it is to be giving
Prime time news hour sound byte!

(Oi!) Single girls, single girls,
Why do you protest?
Now I’ll have to use the hose...
See? You’re getting wet.
Single girls, single girls,
Why you questions ask?
I answer with aasu gas,
And you forgot gas mask!

Now Rajpath is all wet
And all you people, young,
Are getting lathis on your butts
Ooh! I bet that stung!
Go home and watch TeeVee
We’ll hold special I Pee El
Go to malls, spend money!
Or go to bloody hell!

(Oi!) Single girls, single girls,
Why do you protest?
Now I’ll have to use the hose...
See? You’re getting wet.
Single girls, single girls,
Why you questions ask?
I answer with tear gas,
And you forgot gas mask!

Inspired by Deepanjana and her colleague Colleen, and Samit.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012
The problem is us 

If you haven't been discomfited by a government form that demands a father's or husband's name, you're part of the problem.

If you think that a woman must change her name, first or second or both, when she marries, you're part of the problem.

If you are not ashamed of laws that treat women as if they were possessions of a man, or less than men in any way, you're part of the problem.

If you work for, or patronise, a company that insists a woman has no identity of her own, that she ceases to become part of her birth family once she is married, you're part of the problem.

If you think that ladies compartments in trains and ladies seats in busses are a solution, you're part of the problem.

If you think security cameras and banning sun-film on vehicles are a solution, you're part of the problem.

If your son can stay out late but not your daughter, if your daughter must be 'dropped home' but not your son, I know I'm being hard on you, and I would do the same in our cities, but you're part of the problem, as I am.

If you are not distressed by playgrounds where little boys run wild but where you don't see any little girls, by boys coming out to play cricket on the street during a bandh, but not girls, maybe you're not observant enough, or maybe you're part of the problem.

If you run an ad campaign that has hunky male film stars asking the world to 'be a man' and join him in protecting women, you're part of the problem.

If you think that getting men to think of all women as their mothers and sisters and daughters is a solution, perhaps you're not a problem, but I'm sorry, I think you're very wrong. It should be enough to think of them as fellow human beings, with rights of their own as valid and as important as yours.

If you think offering bangles to a man, or saying he should be wearing a sari, is an insult, you could be making a very subtle point about gender imbalance, in which case I'm sorry I didn't get it. Or you could be part of the problem.

If you call sexual harassment 'eve-teasing,' you're making a crime sound like boys-will-be-boys mischief, and that, I'm afraid, makes you part of the problem. If you think that 'outraging the modesty of a woman' does not smell strongly of woman-as-possession, then perhaps we have different sensibilities, but I'm inclined to think you're part of the problem.

If you think that chow mein or other foods result in uncontrollable libido, you're a lunatic and definitely part of the problem. If you think anything can result in uncontrollable libido, you're a very serious part of the problem and should be restrained for your own good and the good of all around you.

If you think the solution is giving young men child brides so that they can satisfy their lust, you're part of the problem.

If you think rape shames a woman, that her izzat has been stolen, that she is henceforth a "zinda laash," you're part of the problem.*

If your stock visual for rape stories is a woman with her face hidden, you're unimaginative, wrong, and yes, part of the problem.

If you think people having sexual intercourse, or even marrying, outside the religious, communal, economic or gender boundaries that you are comfortable with (and no, I don't include children and animals here) is against  your culture, you and your culture are part of the problem.

If you think that she shouldn't have been wearing those revealing clothes, because dressing that way is provocative; if you think that she shouldn't have been out that late, alone; if you think she was being 'adventurous' because she was returning from work at 2 a.m.; if you think rape happens because 'men and women interact with each other more freely'; if you think she invited trouble because she had a drink—or two, or three, or six—or because she smokes; if you think her being the only woman in a group of men was foolish; if you think her having had sexual intercourse with someone—or several someones—she's not married to makes it understandable that other men would think they can have sex with her against her will; if you think that her having sexual intercourse for money makes it okay to have sexual intercourse with her against her will; if you think her working at a bar is a reason why she will be targetted; if you think that her husband has a right to have sexual intercourse with her whether she wants to or not, you're part of the problem.

Yes, if you think there's any possible justification for rape, if you imply in any way that a woman is asking for it or provoking it, you're part of the problem.

And if your reaction to young people protesting a culture that makes rape commonplace is not standing up and saying, "We hear you, we're sorry that you're upset enough to come together like this, we're upset too, we're doing our best to stop this and our resolve is strengthened because we know we can count on your help," but instead you fire water cannons and tear gas shells at them, and then decide to lock down the area, you're not only part of the problem, we will lose faith in your ability to ever find a solution, because you are central to the problem.**

* Sentence rephrased after a suggestion from Harini Calamur

** Some very smart people I respect said, on Twitter, that this last paragraph took away from this post, referring, I guess, to the violence and vandalism that took place today. I must clarify that I was referring to what I had learned from reading about the situation yesterday, and leaning a lot on Nilanjana Roy's from-the-spot tweets and subsequent blogpost, and a chat with her on the phone last night. Which is that the mostly young people at Raisina Hill yesterday afternoon were not just protesting peacefully, but also actively stopping fellow protesters when they crossed the line. For example, telling each other not to throw back tear-gas shells, because that would give the police an excuse. Later yesterday, I know, and definitely today, various opportunistic ruffians and/or political parties descended on the protests, and things changed. I do not, by any means, seek to condone the violence that has now happened, and never will agree with violence as a means.

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Friday, August 31, 2012
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - writing cue - day 13 

Your poem must be based on any Wordsworth poem. It must be titled "The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings."


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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - writing cue - day 12 

Write a poem about a bodily function or a body part.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - writing cue - day 11 

Write a poem about how the canonical poets are all over-rated.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Godawful Poetry Fortnight - writing cue - day 10 

Write a stream of consciousness prose poem about your day.


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We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
~ Eyler Coates

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting
~ e e cummings

In three words i can sum up everything I've learned about life.
It goes on.
~ Robert Frost

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
~ Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
~ Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, short-story writer, and playwright, "Poetic Manifesto" in the Texas Quarterly, Winter 1961

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
~Thomas Mann, novelist, Nobel laureate (1875-1955)

The world in general doesn't know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
~ Al Rogers

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
~ Henry Winkler, actor (1945- )

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
~ George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist (1819-1880)

Either you think - or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, author (1689-1762)

Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
~ Satchel Paige

Fake it till you make it.
~ (Heard on West Wing)

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