· Excerpts from "How to be Perfect" by Ron Padgett "Get some sleep. * Eat an orange every morning. * Be friendly. It will help make you happy. * Hope for everything. Expect nothing. * Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room before you save the world. Then save the world. * Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly. * Don't stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don't forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm's length and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball collection. * Wear comfortable shoes. * Do not spend too much time with large groups of people. * Plan your day so you never have to rush. * Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if you have paid them, even if they do favors you don't want. * After dinner, wash the dishes. * Calm down. * Don't expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to. * Don't be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory. * Don't think that progress exists. It doesn't. * Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don't do anything to make it impossible. * Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not possible, go to another one. * If you feel tired, rest. * Don't be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even older. Which is depressing. * Do one thing at a time. * If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bangyour finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20 minutes. you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and gravity. * Do not inhale smoke. * Take a deep breath. * Do not smart off to a policeman. * Be good. * Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others. * Do not go crazy a lot. It's a waste of time. * Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like todrink, say, "Water, please." * Take out the trash. * Love life. * Use exact change. * When there's shooting in the street, don't go near the window."
· "No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all that there is in life, it seems to me." D.H. Lawrence, author of "Lady Chatterly's Lover"
· Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974), Robert Pirsig "I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour, is warm and humid. When it's this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, I'm wondering what it's going to be like in the afternoon. [...] In the wind are pungent odors from the marshes by the road. We are in an area of the Central Plains filled with thousands of duck hunting sloughs, heading northwest from Minneapolis toward the Dakotas. [...] I'm happy to be riding back into this country. It is a kind of nowhere, famous for nothing at all and has an appeal because of just that. Tensions disappear along old roads like this."
· "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the author of the epic drama Faust.
· BRAVE NEW WORLD Aldous Huxley "Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand."
· Brain Droppings George Carlin "I've begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun, It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to "God" are all answered at about the same 50% rate."
· Le Petit Prince Antoine de Saint Exupery "All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You--you alone--will have the stars as no one else has them--you will have stars that can laugh." Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.
· 1984 George Orwell "Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
· WALDEN Henry David Thoreau "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
· Christopher Morley said, "You can blow up a man with gunpowder in half a second, while it may take twenty years to blow him up with a book. But the gunpowder destroys itself along with its victim, while a book can keep on exploding for centuries."
· LUDWIG BELEMANS Madeline (1939), "In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread, and brushed their teeth, and went to bed. They smiled at the good, and frowned at the bad, and sometimes they were very sad. They left the house at half past nine, in two straight lines; in rain or shine . . . the smallest one was Madeline!"
· PIETRO ARETINO born in Arezzo, Italy (1492) In his satirical book The School of Whoredom (1535), a woman instructs her daughter in how to be a courtesan. It is filled with advice like: "Men want to be duped, and while they realize they're being conned and that, when you've left their side, you'll mock them and brag about it even to your maids, they still prefer fake caresses to real ones without the sweet talk." He said, "I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies." He died at the age of 64, and legend has it that he died of suffocation from laughing too much.
· THORNTON WILDER "There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head." And: "The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure."
· VAN GOGH LETTER TO HIS BROTHER THEO He wrote: "I have a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out and paint the stars." And he wrote: "What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart."