These are the folk who may pass into the kingdom of heaven: the grief-stricken, lovers, scholars of a certain obsessive disposition. Brute beasts. Women who have become as men and men who have become as women. Writers of books with long titles. Only those knights who have failed to touch the Grail. Industrious women. You, and I, and a boy named Oleg, and a girl with blue hair.
[Lennie meets Joe - he works out that she was named after John Lennon] I nod. "Mom was a hippie." This is northern Northern California after all - the final frontier of freakerdom. Just in the eleventh grade we have a girl named Electricity, a guy named Magic Bus, and countless flowers: Tulip, Begonia, and Poppy - all parent-given-on-the-birth-certificate names. Tulip is a two-ton bruiser of a guy who would be the star of out football team if we were the kind of school that has optional morning meditation in the gym
I think we all have a hunger that's hard to name. A lot of people who come to my retreats have never named it before, or else they've named it in church, but they can't actually see the connection between what they're doing with food and this yearning. I call it "the flame" that they have: They yearn for big answers to live a big life. But they have to start with the most basic fears.
I named my camel Katrina. She was a natural disaster. She slobbered everywhere and seemed to think the purple streak in my hair was some kind of exotic fruit. She was obsessed with trying to eat my head. I named Walt's camel Hindenburg. He was almost as large as a zeppelin and definitely as full of gas.
Whatever is felt upon the page without being specifically named there - that, one might say, is created. It is the inexplicable presence of the thing not named, of the overtone divined by the ear but not heard by it, the verbal mood, the emotional aura of the fact or the thing or the deed, that gives high quality to the novel or the drama, as well as to poetry itself.
Cole - I just thought of a new game. Jaz - What's that? Cole - Splat the Specter. Jaz - Rules? Cole - You can help me make them up. Right now all I know for sure is that it involves water guns filled with grape Kool-Aid and two ferrets named Biff and Chlamydia. Vayl - Why Ferrets? Jaz - Really? You want to know about his choice of pets when he's named one of them after an STD?
New Rule: The rest of the world can go back to being completely jealous of America. Our majority white country just freely elected a black president, something no other democracy has ever done. Take that Canada! Where's your nubian warrior president? Your head of state is a boring white dude named Steven Harper, and mine is a kick-ass black ninja named Barack Hussein Obama!
I think for my parents it was like "A Boy Named Sue," the Johnny Cash song. A guy named Sue tries to track down his father to take it out on his father for naming him Sue. And his father says, "Look, I knew I wasn't going to be around. So I gave you the name so that you would grow up strong enough to take the hits and fight back." So I like to believe that's why my parents gave me this stupid name.
So we and our elaborately evolving computers may meet each other halfway. Someday a human being, named perhaps Fred White, may shoot a robot named Pete Something-or-other, which has come out of a General Electric factory, and to his surprise see it weep and bleed. And the dying robot may shoot back and, to its surprise, see a wisp of gray smoke arise from the electric pump that it supposed was Mr. White's beating heart. It would be rather a great moment of truth for both of them.
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