Author:Bernard, Andre

Commonplace Book


Why has a legitimate concern with security become so distorted and inflated? Why has it pursued so many false pathways? Why is there so much activity which alleges to add to the security of our secrets but which add up to so little?

--Edward A. Shils

--The Torment of Secrecy: The Background and Consequences of American Security Policies, 1956

According to bleachers law, there are three particularly justifiable motives for doing away with umpires. An umpire may be killed, first, if he sees fit to adhere to the rules and make a decision against the home team at a close point in the game. Secondly, an umpire may be killed if he sends a member of the home team to the bench when the player in question has done absolutely nothing but call the umpire names and attempt to bite his ear off an umpire has no business to be touchy. Thirdly (and this is a perfect defense against the charge of murder), an umpire may be killed if he calls any batter on the home team out on strikes when the player has not even struck at the balls pitched. That the balls go straight over the plate has nothing to do with the case.

--GEORGE JEAN NATHAN "Baiting the Umpire," from Harper's Weekly, September 10, 1910

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to "help preserve freshness." According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e., lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ Can cause "nausea, vomiting, tinging in the ear, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse." Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.

--MICHAEL POLLAN The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, 2006

In the Bible, the book which J. Edgar Hoover called his "guide to daily life," we find the words which best pronounce a benediction on his death. They are from the Psalms: "Great peace have they which love the law." J. Edgar Hoover loved the law of his God. He loved the law of his country. And he richly earned peace through all eternity.

--RICHARD NIXON eulogy for J. Edgar Hoover, May 1972

That evening I was delivered to the notorious interrogation camp of Oberursel near Frankfurt, greeted with crude...

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