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Last Word Blog

  • Amazon could have to pay billions of dollars in taxes to the EU...

    FINGERS CROSSED, even though it'll probably cost us on the back-end as an Amazon seller.

    "more like crime minister!" - jeremy cooper


  • Anniversary of Y.I.P. (Youth Party International)

    1968 -- US: Youth International Party (Y.I.P.) founded -- Country Joe & the Fish, Fugs (includes Tuli Kupferberg, "one of the leading Anarchist theorists of our time" & Ed Sanders, poet, editor, owner of the fabled Peace Eye Book Store), Allen Ginsberg, Arlo Guthrie, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner, Phil Ochs, Jerry Rubin, et al (25 artists, writers & revolutionaries).

           I spoke to Tolstoy: 'Emma Goldman's coming back!'
           He sat there writing on a shard of red & black
           Black & Red. Coming back!
           Red & Black. They're comin' back!... 

                                  -- Tuli Kupferberg, excerpt,

                                   PAINT IT RED (& BLACK) 

  • Happy Birthday Alan Harrington

    1918 -- Alan Harrington lives. He was with Jack Kerouac, Neal 
    Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs & others at ground 
    zero of what became the Beat Generation. (Harrington aka Hal 
    Hingham in the later pages of On the Road.) Author of The 
    Immortalist, most of his books are now out of print.  

        Alan traveled through other jungles & "despoblados," the 
        shadowy landscapes of the human mind peopled with
        psychopaths & drug users & sexual criminals. He was 
        convinced decades ago that psychopaths were the coming
        thing & soon would pass for normal. Anyone who has 
        noticed recent elections knows that Alan won that bet.

                            -- Charles Bowden 

        "Hal lurked at the window [...] he heard clocks. They 
        were chiming  up & down the street.

                 Altogether, it was fifty-six o'clock."

  • 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

    "At the still point, there the dance is." --T. S. Eliot

    posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
    BuzzFeed Staff

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about their favorite lines from literature. Here are some of their most beautiful replies.

    Suggested by CindyH11 Creative Commons / Flickr: 58621196@N05
    2. "In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars."
    --Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    Suggested by Jasmin B., via Facebook

    3. "She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."
    --J. D. Salinger, "A Girl I Knew"
    Suggested by mollyp49cf70741

    4. "I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am."
    --Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
    Suggested by Brooke K., via Facebook
    Suggested by tina6287 Creative Commons / Flickr: 29865701@N02
    6. "Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly."
    --Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
    Suggested by Danielle O., via Facebook

    7. "Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."
    --Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    Suggested by Kellie C., via Facebook

    8. "What are men to rocks and mountains?"
    --Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
    Suggested by amandae16
    Suggested by klavdijak22 Creative Commons / Flickr: rayseinefotos
    10. "'Dear God,' she prayed, 'let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.'"
    --Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    Suggested by Shanna B., via Facebook

    11. "The curves of your lips rewrite history."
    --Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
    Suggested by Therese K., via Facebook

    12. "A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it."
    --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
    Suggested by amykartzmanr
    Suggested by natyjira Creative Commons / Flickr: junevre
    14. "As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared."
    --Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
    Suggested by Alyssa P., via Facebook

    15. "If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me."
    --W. H. Auden, "The More Loving One"
    Suggested by Blake M., via Facebook

    16. "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."
    --John Steinbeck, East of Eden
    Suggested by Missy W., via Facebook
    Suggested by Domo Creative Commons / Flickr: kwarz
    18. "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
    --William Shakespeare, Hamlet
    Suggested by Emily F., via Facebook

    19. "America, I've given you all and now I'm nothing."
    --Allen Ginsburg, "America"
    Suggested by Jimmy C., via Facebook

    20. "It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories." 
    --W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
    Suggested by fireworkshurricanes
    Suggested by amk93. Creative Commons / Flickr: chrisjl

    22. "At the still point, there the dance is."
    --T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"
    Suggested by vkanicka

    23. "Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."
    --Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
    Suggested by Sam H., via Facebook

    24. "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
    --Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank
    Suggested by claires10
    Suggested by Christina G., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: yousefmalallah
    26. "The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order."
    --Toni Morrison, Beloved
    Suggested by lisah4b5176fb6

    27. "How wild it was, to let it be."
    --Cheryl Strayed, Wild
    Suggested by Natalie P., via Facebook

    28. "Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"
    --T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
    Suggested by Kati A., via Facebook
    Suggested by Barbara B., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: library_of_congress
    30. "She was lost in her longing to understand."
    --Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
    Suggested by melibellel

    31. "She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world."
    --Kate Chopin, "The Awakening"
    Suggested by Madeline M., via Facebook

    32. "We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered."
    --Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    Suggested by Liza
    Suggested by Kristen S., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: nancyvioletavelez
    34. "The half life of love is forever."
    --Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her
    Suggested by xxx

    35. "I celebrate myself, and sing myself."
    --Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
    Suggested by Alyssa M., via Facebook

    36. "There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights."
    --Bram Stroker, Dracula
    Suggested by Adam A., via Facebook
    Suggested by Emily W., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: michael_wacker
    37. "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet."
    --L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
    Suggested by Stacy W., via Facebook

    38. "I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."
    --Raymond Carver, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"
    Suggested by Savey S., via Facebook

    39. "I would always rather be happy than dignified."
    --Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
    Suggested by Chelsea Z., via Facebook
    Suggested by Sophie C., via Facebook Creative Commons Flickr: cedwardbrice
    41. "I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams"
    --W. B. Yeats, "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven"
    Suggested by niamhmdd

    42. "It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes."
    --Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
    Suggested by uncnicole

    43. "For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly."
    --Langston Hughes, The Big Sea
    Suggested by TonyaPenn
    Suggested by katepalo Creative Commons / Flickr: archer10
    45. "I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."
    --Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
    Suggested by Maria K., via Facebook

    46. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
    -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
    Suggested by carlyh3

    47. "Journeys end in lovers meeting."
    --William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
    Suggested by foresth2
    Suggested by babydolllolita Creative Commons / Flickr: smithsonian
    49. "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
    --J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Suggested by Tatiana H., via Facebook

    50. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."
    --Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
    Suggested by Sara S., via Facebook

    51. "One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
    --Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices
    Suggested by par0023

    Did your favorite line from literature make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below! And if you'd like to be featured similar BuzzFeed posts, be sure to follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook andTwitter.

  • The Last Word in Review: Makers by Cory Doctorow

    Reviewed by Charlie Jack Joseph Kruger (http://charliejackjosephkruger.com)

    When it comes to science fiction, we no longer live in a time when the distant future is scary. What is scary about science fiction now is the crippling realization that we are what HG Wells warned us about. We are a realized future of Hell. So, the strongest recent sci-fi works have all been set more so in 'the day after tomorrow' than '10,000 years later'. The unknown terrors of other worlds and technologies built upon dreams are less shocking and nerve-wracking than the technologies and mysteries that await us behind the latest drones and iPads. We are living in the future.

    'Makers' is a book that is painfully aware of this. So aware, in fact, that it juggles the reader around with moments of complete normalcy, and even 80s tinged moments of capitalistic excess. Our Tyrell Corp (or Weyland Yutani or Omni Consumer Products, if you will) here in this book is more immediate. It is a company you can see someone you went to high school saying they work for on Facebook. The company exists not to create new technologies or to arrange new world, but simply to glue together our refuse and sell it back to us to pacify ourselves. The company is introduced in a press conference and seen through the eyes of our protagonist, a plucky and pointed journalist interested in what is really going on with the smiling spokesman up at the podium. The spokesman, through capped and polished teeth talks about finding discarded or ignored technologies and combining them, (for example, a laser pointer that uses a speech to text program to display words that are spoken through light onto any surface) creating new commodities, and new products with wholly new uses. The company will simply find inventors, buy their goods, pay them off and then mass produce the items, flooding the world.

    This concept reminded me of Malcolm McLaren. As the crass fiend behind creating the iconic image of 'punk rock' and the attempted Svengali of Johnny Rotten and scores of others, he once made the statement that 'all of the notes have been played, nothing is original, we just have to arrange them again.' That sort of mindset felt very ingrained in the portrayal of the company in question in this book. They weren't making anything NEW, so to speak, they were simply finding new ways to sell you old things. And if that isn't the basis for a nightmarish vision of the future...

    One moment early on in the book involved the reporter standing in a warehouse with two inventors as she was shown how the guts of an old Sesame Street electronic toy could be used to create nervous systems for paralyzed and injured people. And how that same basic technology could be used to create cute distractions. It was here in the book that things started to click and fall into place. It felt like the book was not just commenting on the dangerous future of blister-pack consumerism that is lurking in the dark alleyways of tomorrow, but also pointing out that we have everything we need to save the world already in front of us. But we cover it all in fake fur and laugh at its programed cuteness.

    A lot about this book feels reminiscent of 'Atlas Shrugged'. Except, where Ayn Rand preached a world of vicious selfishness and the myopic pursuit of Brazilian hardwood desks with mahogany inlays and doors thick enough to shut out compassion and emotion, Cory Doctorow seems to be making a different statement with this tale of a maverick industrialist, flirting with an intrepid female reporter who demands to know the truth. With 'Makers' the point seems to be something more sustaining and accepting. The world wants blister-packs of single-use disposable happiness and interaction. The world wants it, so it has to be made. At least it can be made by people who care. And at least it can be made from the hollowed shells of yesterdays blister-packed life savers. John Galt (or the synthetic spokesman for this repackaging firm in this book) isn't a hero here. He isn't the fedora-adorned savior of the terminally inhuman. He is a vestige of a crassness that we don't have room for. Our reporter and her two new friends, inventors and dreamers with screw-bitten fingertips are the heroes. Our heroes have grease and oil on their hands.

    'Makers' reads like a socially liberal and economically aware answer to the selfish screed that is 'Atlas Shrugged'. I only wish Ayn had been given the chance to read it.

  • Prison book ban overturned after serial arsonist with doctorate in English literature successfully challenges government restrictions

    Barbara Gordon-Jones overturned restrictions on receiving books in jail The 56-year-old has an indefinite sentence for torching homes and cars  Judge declared rules introduced by Chris Grayling last year as 'unlawful' Rules had been opposed by figures such as Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy 

    PUBLISHED: 08:10 EST, 5 December 2014

    Barbara Gordon-Jones, 56, has successfully overturned government restrictions on receiving books from friends and family in prison 

    A convicted arsonist with a doctorate in English literature has successfully challenged government restrictions on receiving books in jail. 
    A judge declared the rules introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in November last year as 'unlawful'. 
    Mr Justice Collins' decision was a victory for Barbara Gordon-Jones, 56, a convicted arsonist with a borderline personality disorder who has a degree and a doctorate in English literature. 
    Gordon-Jones, of Tudeley, near Tunbrige Wells, Kent, who also suffers from depression and epilepsy, is serving an indefinite sentence for torching homes and cars and slashing tyres. 
    Her victims were often elderly and vulnerable. She is being held at Send prison near Woking, Surrey.
    She was denied legal aid but was able to bring her court challenge because lawyers represented her for free.
    Under the current rules prisoners are prevented from receiving parcels unless they have 'exceptional circumstances', such as a medical condition. 
    But Gordon-Jones challenged the section of the new Prison Service Instruction (PSI) which she said 'imposes substantial restrictions on the ability of prisoners to receive, or have for their use, books'. 

    The judge said the PSI amended the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme (IEP), which was brought in partly as an attempt to crack down on drugs getting into prisons.
    He said: 'I am satisfied that insofar as it includes books in IEP schemes, the PSI is unlawful.'
    A protest against the ruling, led by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy (centre) was held outside Pentonville Prison in north London in March - a court ruling has now successfully challenged the restrictions
    A judge declared the rules introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in November last year as 'unlawful'
    The ruling was welcomed by solicitors firm Lound Mulrenan Jefferies, who acted for Gordon-Jones along with barristers Jenni Richards QC, Victoria Butler-Cole and Annabel Lee.
    The solicitors said in a statement: 'Reading is a right and not a privilege, to be encouraged and not restricted.
    'Indeed, Mr Justice Collins commented that, as far as books are concerned, "to refer to them as a privilege is strange".
    'The policy was unnecessary, irrational and counter-productive to rehabilitation. It is now rightly judged unlawful.'
    The solicitors said the Justice Secretary and prison governor 'sought to argue that there remained adequate access to books because prisoners borrow them from the prison library or purchase them with their own money, but this was rejected in today's judgment'.
    They said: 'Prison libraries are often inadequately stocked and there are restrictions on access.
    'Spending caps for prisoners usually mean that there is enough for bare essentials but not for books.'
    Referring to the fact that Gordon-Jones was refused legal aid, the solicitors warned: 'Under current proposals to restrict judicial review, it would be more difficult to bring this case and hold the Government to account.'
    Mr Justice Collins told the High Court (pictured): 'I see no good reason in the light of the importance of books for prisoners to restrict beyond what is required by volumetric control and reasonable measures relating to frequency of parcels and security considerations'
    The rules have been opposed by arts' figures including Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, actress Vanessa Redgrave and author Kathy Lette. 
    A protest was held outside Pentonville Prison in north London in March.
    Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: 'The ban on sending books to prisoners was always an absurd policy.
    'It had nothing to do with punishing and reforming prisoners but was an example of David Cameron's Government's sloppy policy-making.
    'This is a victory for all those who campaigned against the ban and the Government should abandon the ludicrous policy with immediate effect.' 
    Denis MacShane, the former Labour MP jailed for six months for expenses fraud, described today's judgment as 'a modest win for common sense'.
    He said he had a suitcase full of books confiscated when he was sent to Belmarsh Prison last Christmas.
    'Chris Grayling seems to think that being unpleasant to prisoners is good for society. On the contrary it makes rehabilitation much more difficult,' he said.  
    Reacting to the decision, a Prison Service spokesman said: 'This is a surprising judgment.
    'There never was a specific ban on books and the restrictions on parcels have been in existence across most of the prison estate for many years and for very good reason.
    'Prisoners have access to the same public library service as the rest of us, and can buy books through the prison shop.
    'We are considering how best to fulfil the ruling of the court. However, we are clear that we will not do anything that would create a new conduit for smuggling drugs and extremist materials in to our prisons.' 

  • Books born on Tumblr


  • December 11th in History

    from The Daily Bleed, an anarchist day-book of lost saints.

    1864 -- Maurice Leblanc lives. French
    author/journalist, known as the creator of
    Arsène Lupin, French gentleman-thief turned 

         Marius Jacob (1879-1954), the anarchiste bandit
         credited with over 150 burglaries, is the original
         "Arsene Lupin" in the French detective novels of
         Maurice Leblanc, with only slight exaggerations 
         which made him a sensational "fictional" character.

    1890 -- Mark Tobey, artist, lives (1890-1976) -- 
    celebrator of Pike Street Market (where the anarchist
    Left Bank Books is located the past 30 years)
    & other things Seattleian.

    1906 -- Birago Ismael Diop lives, Dakar, French West
    Africa (now Senegal). Senegalese poet & recorder of 
    traditional folktales & legends of the Wolof people.

    1911 -- Mexico: Yaquis in Sonora, influenced by the
    anarquista Ricardo Flores Magón ("Tierra y Libertad"),
    reclaim stolen communal lands. Their war with 

    the government lasts, officially, until 1929.

    1917 -- Thirteen black soldiers hanged for alleged 

    participation in a riot in Houston, Texass.

    1950 --  Bertrand Russell recommends that all warmongers 
    spend time in a boat in a shark-infested pool. (We suggest they
    forget the boat).

    1951 -- Illinois State mine inspector approve coal dust
    removal techniques at New Orient mine in West
    Frankfurt. Ten days later, largely because of coal 
    dust accumulations, the mine explodes,
    killing 119 workers.

    1964 -- Anti-Castro protesters attempt to assassinate
    Che Guevara during his speech at the United Nations
    in New York City.

    1965 --  US: Whose On First Bass? Novelist/prankster/anarchoid
    Ken Kesey holds his Third Acid Test, at a Palo Alto nightclub.

    1969 --  Leaking nerve gas
                 necessitates the evacuation of
                 the U.S. Army's Chemical Warfare
                 Test Center near Dugway, Utah.            

    2009 -- Vatican: Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Pope Benedict XVI 
    claims he shares the "outrage, betrayal & shame" felt by the Irish people over 
    the findings of the Murphy Report into sexual abuse by his clergy in Dublin. 
    The cockles of catholic hearts & fans of TV reruns of "What's My Line" are 
    really really warmed.

    2010 -- US diplomatic cables uncovered by WikiLeaks show the Vatican's refusal 
    to co-operate with the Murphy Report child sexual abuse inquiry in Ireland, & that 
    Pope Benedict XVI approved conversions to Catholicism of Anglicans who opposed 
    the ordination of women priests.

  • Phrase of the Day: Jury Rig versus Jerry-Rig

    From Wikipedia:

    Three variations of the jury mast knot
    While ships typically carried a number of spare parts (e.g., items such as topmasts), the lower masts, at up to one meter in diameter, were too large to carry spares. So a jury mast could be various things. Ships always carried a variety of spare sails, so rigging the jury mast once erected was mostly a matter of selecting appropriate size. Contemporary drawings and paintings show a wide variety of jury rigs, attesting to the creativity of sailors faced with the need to save their ships. Example jury-rig configurations are:
    A spare topmastThe main boom of a brigTo replace the foremast with the mizzenmast: mentioned in W. Brady's The Kedge Anchor (1852)The bowsprit set upright and tied to the stump of the original mast.
    The jury mast knot is often mentioned as a method to provide the anchor points for securing makeshift stays and shrouds to the new mast. However, there is a lack of hard evidence regarding the knot's actual historical use.[8]

    Similar phrases[]

    ); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; color: #0b0080; display: block; height: 11px; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 15px; white-space: nowrap; width: 15px;" title="Enlarge"/a/span/divdivspanA model showing a method for jury-rigging a a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudder" title="Rudder"rudder/a/span/div/div/div/divullispanThe phrase "jerry-built" has a separate origin and implies shoddy workmanship not necessarily of a temporary nature.supa href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigged#cite_note-morris-9"[9]/a/supsupa href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigged#cite_note-alt.usage.english-1"[1]/a/supsupa href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigged#cite_note-Wilton-10"[10]/a/sup/span/lilispana href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricolage" title="Bricolage"Bricolage/a is building from what happens to be available./span/lilispanTo "a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver" title="MacGyver"MacGyver/a" something is to rig up something in a hurry using materials at hand, from the title character of the U.S. television show of the same name, who specialised in such improvisation stunts.supa href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigged#cite_note-11"[11]/a/sup/span/lilispanIn modern naval parlance "a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_deck#Slang" title="Gun deck"gundecking/a" (related to ia href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_deck" title="Gun deck"gun deck/a/i) tends to refer to repairs of a temporary or shoddy nature.supa href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rigged#cite_note-12"[12]/a/sup/span/lilispanIn New Zealand, having a "a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_8_wire" title="Number 8 wire"Number 8 wire/a mentality" means to have the ability to make or repair something using any materials at hand (such as standard farm fencing wire)./span/li/ul/divdivspanAlthough ships were observed to perform reasonably well under jury rig, the rig was quite a bit weaker than the original, and the ship's first priority was normally to steer for the nearest friendly port and get replacement masts./span/divdivspan_________________________/span/divdivspanbr //span/divdivspanThis site differentiates nicely: a href="http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/jerry.html"http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/jerry.html/a/span/divtable border="0"tbodytr align="LEFT"tdspanimg alt="WRONG:" src="?i=http://public.wsu.edu/"~brians/errors/donkey.gif" height="75" width="100" />


  • Fascinating Text Book Doodles Made By Bored Students From 800 Years Ago

    By Melissa Goh, 21 Nov 2014

    "Doodle by bored school boy." 

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