Making Light’s Commonplaces

Commonplaces from Making Light. Please read them all.

“We are prophets of a future not our own.” (Oscar Romero)

“Peace means something different from ‘not fighting’. Those aren’t peace advocates, they’re ‘stop fighting’ advocates. Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.” (Jo Walton)

“You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed?” (Darla, “Inside Out”)

“The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature.” (Arthur D. Hlavaty)

“Armageddon is not around the corner. This is only what the people of violence want us to believe. The complexity and diversity of the world is the hope for the future.” (Michael Palin)

“Just because you’re on their side doesn’t mean they’re on your side.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“Young men and women, educated very carefully to be apolitical, to be technicians who thought they disliked politics, making them putty in the hands of their rulers, like always.” (Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars)

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This French

This French Life book
English journalist Craig McGinty blogs about life in France at This French Life. Ironically, I found This French Life not while looking up travel information. No, it came up while while looking for advice on septic tank maintenance, and how nice that he’s posted information about caring for them in France, complete with local product names. Vive la France indeed.

iPod and the Eiffel Tower
He recently posted an interview with Hugh Nagle, who has a French instruction by podcast site called, plainly enough, Learn French by Podcast. I’ll be heading there regularly.

C’est marveilleux!

What not to do in France

Behave, baby. Wikipedia’s list of French faux pas. Here’s one: “Like in many languages featuring a T-V distinction, addressing people with the familiar “tu” (like in Middle English thou) when they should be addressed with “vous” (_you_) is seen as derogatory, insulting, or even aggressive. Conversely, addressing familiars with “vous” is considered snobbish and introduces distance.”

Via kottke.

Tom Waits on his cherished albums of all time

This is an old link I should have posted ages ago, from the UK’s Observer Monthy Music (“OMM”): Tom Waits on his cherished albums of all time: ‘It’s perfect madness’

In the first of an occasional series in which the greatest recording artists reveal their favourite records, Tom Waits writes about his 20 most cherished albums of all time. So for the lowdown on Zappa and Bill Hicks, step right up…

Here’s that take on Bill Hicks:

bq.15 Rant in E Minor by Bill Hicks (Rykodisc) 1997

Bill Hicks, blowtorch, excavator, truthsayer and brain specialist, like a reverend waving a gun around. Pay attention to Rant in E Minor, it is a major work, as important as Lenny Bruce’s. He will correct your vision. His life was cut short by cancer, though he did leave his tools here. Others will drive on the road he built. Long may his records rant even though he can’t.


First in this category, and first of the new year, of words to avoid: somewhat.

After reading around the web, looking for guides to implement a GTD system, I kept finding this word, and realized it’s indistinct, overly cautious, and a sign of authors backing off their own opinions. I also realized I’ve used it in this unintentionally ironic phrase: “somewhat vague.”