Name Time

'La Otra Navidad (The Other Christmas),' by Oiluj Samall Zeid on Flickr

[Image: “La Otra Navidad (The Other Christmas),” by Oiluj Samall Zeid; found on Flickr and used here under a Creative Commons license. The site is a mausoleum in León, Spain, commemorating Republicans killed in the Spanish Civil War. Each nameplate represents one victim.]

From whiskey river (italicized portion):

[Interviewer Terry] Gross: I’d like you to read another poem from your book “Book of Longing.” And this is called “Titles.” Would you tell us when you wrote this?

[Leonard] Cohen: I’ve been writing it for a while. But I finished it last winter in Montreal. It’s a poem called “Titles.”

(Reading) I had the title Poet. And maybe I was one for a while. Also, the title Singer was kindly accorded me even though I could barely carry a tune. For many years, I was known as a Monk. I shaved my head and wore robes and got up very early. I hated everyone. But I acted generously. And no one found me out. My reputation as a Ladies’ Man was a joke. It caused me to laugh bitterly through the 10,000 nights I spent alone. From a third-story window above the Parc du Portugal, I’ve watched the snow come down all day.

As usual, there’s no one here. There never is. Mercifully, the inner conversation is canceled by the white noise of winter. I am neither the mind, the intellect nor the silent voice within. That’s also canceled. And now, gentle reader, in what name — in whose name — do you come to idle with me in this luxurious and dwindling realms of aimless privacy?

(Leonard Cohen [source])


The secrets to living are these:
First, the past cannot be improved upon.
Acknowledge what was and move on.
Next, the future cannot be molded.
Then, why bother?
Last, nothing can ultimately be controlled;
Not the past, nor the future, nor the present.
Accept this moment as it is.
Honoring these three,
One lives without shackles.

(Wu Hsin [source])

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Things Turned End-Over-End

[From this page, which includes a YouTube tour of the interior: “The Upside Down House is a project created by a Polish businessman and philanthropist named Daniel Czapiewski… The house is also meant to be a profound statement about the Communist era and the state of the world.”]

From whiskey river:

Remember That Things Go
According to Your Karma
Whether You Like It or Not

One day, my dear,
you stop and look around you,
find yourself stuffing needs into a sack of thoughts,
realize you have talked your life to pieces,
scratched your self to bits,
that neither hope nor doubt
can protect you,
that you are not mistaken,
that you haven’t lost your grip —
it is dissolving.
Now you can speak about everything silently.

(Terrance Keenan, St. Nadie in Winter: Zen Encounters with Loneliness [source])


What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Selected Letters)

Finally, not from whiskey river: Theo (the constable of Pine Cove, California) gets his first glimpse of someone who will prove to be the title character in a “Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror” from Christopher Moore:

Theo was doing fifty up Worchester Street when the blond man stepped from behind a tree into the street. The Volvo had just lurched over a patched strip in the asphalt, so the grille was pointed up and caught the blond man about hip-high, tossing him into the air ahead of the car. Theo stood on the brake, but even as the antilocks throbbed, the blond man hit the tarmac and the Volvo rolled over him, making sickening crunching and thumping noises as body parts ricocheted into wheel wells.

Theo checked the rearview as the car stopped and saw the blond man flopping to a stop in the red wash of the brake lights. Theo pulled the radio off his belt as he leaped from the car, and stood ready to call for help when the figure lying in the road started to get up.

Theo let the radio fall to his side. “Hey, buddy, just stay right there. Just stay calm. Help is on the way.” He started loping toward the injured man, then pulled up.

The blond guy was on his hands and knees now; Theo could also see that his head was twisted the wrong way and the long blond hair was cascading back to the ground. There was a crackling noise as the guy’s head turned around to face the ground. He stood up. He was wearing a long black coat with a rain flap…

The blond man held an arm out toward Theo, then noticed that the thumb on the outstretched hand was on the wrong side. He grabbed it with his other hand an snapped it back into place. “I’ll be okay,” the blond man said, monotone.

“You know, if that coat dry-cleans itself while I’m watching, I’ll nominate you for governor my own self,” Theo said, trying to buy some time while he thought of what he was going to say to the dispatcher when he keyed the button on the radio.

The blond man was now coming steadily toward him — the first few steps limping badly, but the limp getting better as he got closer. “Stop right there,” Theo said. “You are under arrest for a two-oh-seven-A.”

(Christopher Moore, The Stupidest Angel)

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