“Unnecessary” Quotation Marks In “Famous” Books


The “Library” by Quinn Dombrowski https://flic.kr/p/89CE1X

Whoops!  I accidentally knocked a pile of unnecessary quotation marks into my classic literature collection.  Let’s see what happened:

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

It is a “truth” universally “acknowledged”, that a “single man” in possession of a “good fortune”, must be in want of a “wife”.

However little known the “feelings” or “views” of such a “man” may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this “truth” is so well fixed in the “minds” of the surrounding families, that he is considered the “rightful property” of some one or other of their “daughters”.

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

It was “the best” of times, it was “the worst” of times, it was the age of “wisdom”, it was the age of “foolishness”, it was the “epoch of belief”, it was the “epoch of incredulity”, it was the “season of Light”, it was the “season of Darkness”, it was the spring of “hope”, it was the winter of “despair”, we had “everything” before us, we had “nothing” before us, we were all going direct to “Heaven”, we were all going direct the “other way” – in short, the “period” was so far like the “present period”, that some of its noisiest “authorities” insisted on its being “received”, for good or for evil, in the “superlative” degree of “comparison only”.

The Republic (Plato)

I “went down” yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the “son” of Ariston, that I might offer up my “prayers” to the “goddess” (Bendis, the “Thracian” Artemis.); and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would “celebrate” the festival, which was a “new thing”. I was “delighted” with the procession of the “inhabitants”; but that of the “Thracians” was equally, if not more, “beautiful”. When we had finished our “prayers” and viewed “the spectacle”, we turned in the direction of the “city”; and at that instant Polemarchus the “son” of Cephalus chanced to “catch sight” of us “from a distance” as we were starting on our way home, and told his “servant” to run and bid us wait for him. The servant “took hold” of me by the “cloak” behind, and said: Polemarchus “desires” you to wait.

Genesis (God)

In “the beginning” when God “created” the heavens and the earth, the “earth” was a “formless void” and darkness “covered” the face of the deep, while a “wind from God” swept over the face of the “waters”.  Then God said, “Let there be light”*; and there was “light”.  And God saw that the light was “good”; and God “separated” the light from the darkness.  God “called” the light Day, and the darkness he “called” Night.  And there was “evening” and there was “morning”, the “first day”.

Man, it’s a good thing this was an “accident”; if I’d done it on purpose, I’d be going straight to “Hell”.

* these quotation marks are in the original

6 Signs Your Pet Is Just Not That Into You

We’ve all been there. You’re sharing a home, everything seems perfect, you think his nose is adorable, he hates it when you have to leave.  Then, gradually, you stop spending quite so much time gushing over his soulful eyes and he doesn’t always notice when you come home.  One day you look around and realize that it’s been months since he rolled over and exposed himself to you.  Is it simply a rough patch?  Or is it possible that your pet is just not that into you?


Image:  Demon Dog by Samuel Cockman (Flickr)

Pet owners try to fool themselves all the time.  They’ll say “we just need to spend more time together” or “he’s just not affectionate because of the way his last owner treated him.”  Maybe that’s true.  Maybe you can work through the problems, break out of those doldrums and find that spark again.  But if you’ve been putting in the effort and all you get in return is a long-suffering look and then a solid view of his butt as he walks away, you have to consider the possibility that your pet may just not be that into you.  Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

6.  Your time together is purely physical

When you first started sharing a home, the two of you would squeeze into the same chair while binge-watching shows on Netflix.  Now, as soon as he’s done getting his belly rubbed, he’s out of there.  If he’d rather spend his time doing inappropriate things with your footwear or chasing nonexistent prey than curling up on the sofa with you, your pet may just not be that into you.

5.  He never offers to help

A pet that is into you will want to help you if he can.  He may thoughtfully run under your feet as you walk down the stairs, causing you to fall and thus helping you reach your destination more quickly.  He may bring dead mice and lay them on your pillow, providing you with a satisfying midnight snack.  If your pet does none of these things, there is a good chance that your pet is just not that into you.

4.  He’s too busy for you

If you dangle his favorite chewed-up shoes enticingly and suggest going out for a moonlit, evening walkies, but your pet won’t go because he’s too busy, that is a serious warning sign that something is wrong.  A pet that is into you will put aside the squeaky toy and make time for a walk, or an intense round of head-scratching, or a little afternoon fun with the laser pointer.  If your pet is always “too busy” for these things, your pet is just not that into you.

3.  He doesn’t notice the little things

It used to be that, as soon as you had the carpets cleaned, he would head straight for them and roll all over them immediately because he knows how much you like having his hair covering everything you own.  Now, he doesn’t even notice when you reupholster his favorite scratching post sofa, or the fact that you got a new pair of shoes in his favorite flavor.  If your pet doesn’t notice these details in your life together, he may just not be that into you.

2.  He strays

Instead of snacks and movie night with you, he goes around to the neighborhood homes and stays out for hours, coming back only when they close up for the night.  If you’re at a homeowner’s association meeting and you keep getting knowing looks and concealed smiles, it may only be that your pageboy haircut doesn’t suit you as well as you thought it did, or it may be that your pet has been spending his time getting belly rubs from that lonely housewife two doors down while you were at home cleaning his food bowl.  If so, it’s time to accept that your pet is not that into you.

And finally, the number one way you can tell if your pet is just not that into you:

1.  He’s a cat

If your pet is a cat, this is really the only clue you need.  The other tips will work with dogs and other pets as well, but if you’ve got a cat, you can skip straight to the end.  If you die at home alone, your cat will start eating your body before it gets cold.  Cats love how your opposable thumbs are able to open cans of cat food and how your head works great as a heater at night, but you have to accept that, beyond that, your cat is just not that into you.

I hope these tips help you figure out if your bond can be repaired or if that cold nose he keeps pressing into you just means it’s chilly and you’re in his way.  This is not an exclusive list and every pet is different, so you just have to search your heart and decide whether your pet is giving you the love you deserve.  Although, considering that you got him fixed without consulting or even warning him, some lingering resentment is probably to be expected.

Famous Paintings Discuss Current Events: Apple vs. FBI


Don’t Panic, iPhone style 3 by ViriiGuy on deviantart.com

I think this blog is past due for another installment of Famous Paintings Discussing Current Events.  As regular readers of this blog can attest, well-known portraits will occasionally drop by and express their views on trending news items.  Really, in times like these, what we need is the wisdom and insight that only peerless works of fine art can provide.  No, Donald Trump’s hair does not count, though it is certainly a masterpiece (master piece?).  I checked in with some of the leading paintings and found that what was foremost on their minds was the battle between Apple and the FBI.

What battle, you ask?  For those of you who have had absolutely no access to any kind of media for the past several months, a) how are you reading this blog? and b) here is the background on this issue  (if you know the background, feel free to skip down to where the famous paintings start talking):

After Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had access to user data on iPhones and could read almost all of the information on the phones, Apple developed such strong encryption for iPhones that Apple itself can’t extract the information from the phone if it’s locked.  This led to the pending court case in which the FBI obtained a court order requiring Apple to create a new operating system that will allow iPhone security features to be disabled.  Apple refused, arguing that the government should not require Apple to create a program that undermines the security of its own product.  The iPhone in question was a work phone used by one of the shooters in the December 2015 attack in San Bernadino.  The phone may or may not contain, among other things, information about a possible third shooter.  The FBI recently asked for a delay in the court case because an Israeli company may be able to hack the locked iPhone, thus exposing a potential security flaw while giving no indication to Apple or to millions of iPhone users as to what that flaw may be.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s what famous paintings have to say about it:


American Gothic:  Have you heard about the latest development in the court battle between Apple and the FBI?




Old Guitarist:  I’ve been following the case.  I can’t believe the government actually got a judge to order a private company to create a program that would weaken the company’s flagship product.  What’s next?  Is the NEA going to get an injunction to have someone repaint my guitar and make it electric just so they can hear me play Stairway to Heaven?


The Scream

The Scream:  It’s outrageous!  Big Brother won’t be happy until all activity on every smartphone, tablet, and computer is automatically reported to the newly-formed Department of Douche-Baggery.  How dare they!




Whistler’s Mother:  Your position on this issue wouldn’t have anything to do with those pictures I found on your laptop the other day, would it, dear?




The Scream:  Hey!  That was ART!!  Those girls were OLDER THAN THEY LOOKED!!!  And STAY OFF MY LAPTOP!!!!





Girl With Pearl Earring:  But what about the need to strengthen national security, especially as acts of terrorism on U.S. soil continue?  Shouldn’t the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?




Old Guitarist:  Yes, clearly what we need in such urgent situations is a protracted legal battle.  It will be so useful to find out four months after an attack that the shooter was a frequent visitor to LOLcats.




American Gothic:  What puzzles us is the FBI’s latest request for a delay because they may be able to hack the iPhone.  If they could hack the iPhone, why go to court to make Apple create a new operating system?




Mona Lisa:  I think it’s smart for the FBI to keep trying to extract the information from the phone in case the court case goes against them.  What I want to know is, if they do find a way to get into that phone, what’s going to keep them from hacking into my iPhone?  I have some very compromising portraits on it.



Old Guitarist:  Hmm.  Suddenly I’m not quite so opposed to the FBI’s actions…




The Scream

The Scream:  This whole situation has me so worked up.  It makes me want to shout, or holler, or just…somehow…make noise….





Girl With Pearl Earring:  This is why we should elect Trump.  If we build that giant wall on the Mexican border and stop handing out green cards to terrorists, we won’t find ourselves in this situation any more.



Other paintings:





American Gothic:  It’s nice that you’ll always be pretty, dear.  That will come in handy.



As always, all opinions are those of the paintings themselves and not those of the blog.  Is anyone else wondering if those compromising portraits on the Mona Lisa’s phone might shed some light on the meaning behind that famous smile?  And Old Guitarist, what a roué.  I would totally pay to hear him play Stairway to Heaven, wouldn’t you?  Due respect to Jimmy Page, whom I revere as a god among men, but Led Zeppelin as interpreted by Picasso sounds awesome!


Little Blind Girl goes to therapy


Diagnosis:  Doomed! by JD Hancock on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock

Despite the fact that I am an INTJ and therefore more likely to solve the problem of world hunger than talk about my feelings, I’ve tried therapy.  I made honest efforts, even though I privately thought it was all pseudo-science and guesswork and I could do just as well with a journal for, well, the price of a journal. But I acknowledge that there are, occasionally, things about which I am not entirely correct, if only by the law of large numbers.  I’m right so often that I have to be wrong every once in a while, just to keep the universe from collapsing. (Right now, my Sainted Mother is doing some collapsing of her own, from laughter.)  So, hey, maybe one of those things I was wrong about was therapy, right?  Wrong.  So, so wrong. So very, very wrong.  Just in case the world needed more evidence of why INTJs and psychology don’t mix, here is an amalgamation of Therapy Sessions I Have Had:

Well-meaning Therapist:  So, littleblindgirl, what brings you to my office?

littleblindgirl:  A car.

Well-meaning Therapist:  Sorry, I meant, why did you make an appointment to talk with me?

littleblindgirl:  Why are you sorry?

Well-meaning Therapist:  I just–I mean–I just phrased the question badly.  I’m sorry.

littleblindgirl:  I’ll forgive you if you want me to, but you shouldn’t be sorry.  You should be more clear.

Well-meaning Therapist:  Well, thank you for that.  Now–

littleblindgirl:  You’re welcome.

Well-meaning Therapist:  I beg your pardon?

littleblindgirl:  Isn’t that what one says after being thanked?

Well-meaning Therapist:  Oh–I suppose–I mean–

littleblindgirl:  Because if the rules on that have changed, I really think someone should have told me.

Well-meaning Therapist:  It’s fine, I just–

littleblindgirl:  I can’t be blamed for saying the wrong thing if I’m saying what used to be the right thing but isn’t anymore because someone changed it and didn’t tell me.

Well-meaning Therapist:  That’s very true–

littleblindgirl:  I mean, I think these societal rituals are meaningless wastes of time and they bore me to tears, but I engage in them because it makes other people slightly less awkward to be around.

Well-meaning Therapist:  (grasping desperately at something remotely resembling therapy):  Do you often feel awkward around people?

littleblindgirl:  Changing the rituals without proper notification just makes things more awkward, which defeats the purpose.

Well-meaning Therapist:  True, but back to the “awkward around others” part–

littleblindgirl:  It doesn’t make sense.

Well-meaning Therapist:  (surreptitiously clutches stress ball) What doesn’t make sense?

littleblindgirl:  (gazing severely at Well-meaning Therapist) I thought your job was to listen.  If you had been listening, you would know perfectly well what doesn’t make sense.

Well-meaning Therapist:  I was listening!  Now, I want to talk about how you feel awkward around others–

littleblindgirl:  If you’re not going to listen, I don’t understand why I should continue to pay for these sessions.  I can write in a journal if I want to express myself to something that doesn’t listen.  For that matter, I could run for political office if I wanted to express myself to something that doesn’t listen.

Well-meaning Therapist:  Stop!

littleblindgirl:  (taken aback) Stop what?

Well-meaning Therapist:  Stop talking and listen to me for a minute.  (Pauses to make sure littleblindgirl is actually listening).  Why did you make an appointment to talk with me today?

littleblindgirl:  My friend thinks I may be a robot.

Well-meaning Therapist:  Really?

littleblindgirl:  She may have meant “cyborg”.  It’s a common mistake.

Well-meaning Therapist:  Have you talked to your other friends about this?

littleblindgirl:  How could I do that?

Well-meaning Therapist:  (relieved at finally being able to talk psycho-babble)  It’s all about active communication.  You have to say what you really feel and truly listen to what the other person has to say–

littleblindgirl:  I mean, how can I talk to people who don’t exist?

Well-meaning Therapist:  (stumped)

littleblindgirl:  Isn’t that what you’re for?

Well-meaning Therapist:  You know what?  You’re right.

littleblindgirl:  Yes, I know.

Well-meaning Therapist:  (takes a deep breath, thinks about bilking insurance companies) Why don’t we talk about how that made you feel?

littleblindgirl:  How it made me feel?

Well-meaning Therapist:  Yes.  Tell me what you were feeling when your friend said you might be a robot.

littleblindgirl:  (long pause)  You want me to talk about my feelings?

Well-meaning Therapist:  Yes.  Yes, I do.  I want you to understand that you’re in a safe space and you can open your innermost self to me.  I want to know what’s going on in the heart of the little blind girl.  Tell me everything!

littleblindgirl: (longest pause yet) Are you sure there’s not just a pill I could take?

And there you have it.  One of my therapists, and I’m not kidding about this, fled the country after our first session.  Rationally speaking, I know that probably had more to do with the massive amounts of money he embezzled rather than our therapy session, but I’ve never been sure I wasn’t the trigger.  I mean, if you were facing the prospect of another therapy session with a hardcore INTJ, wouldn’t you run as fast as you could in the opposite direction?  I know I would.  And, hey, while I was right about therapy being a waste of time, that means I was wrong about being wrong about therapy being a waste of time, so the universe need not collapse.  At least, not because of me.

A unicorn, a scorpion, and a monkey walk into a bar


By gremlinlegions on deviantart.com http://fav.me/d3kh3s4

I’ve always been fascinated by systems that purport to know who you are and what you’re like based on when you were born, the results of a personality test, etc.  For instance, according to the Myers-Briggs typology classification system, I am an INTJ.  That stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.  According to this classification, I am A) a unicorn (I knew it!)–apparently, INTJs are so rare as to make up 0.8% of the female population–and, B) a robot.  I am often perceived as emotionally distant and I make decisions based on reason rather than emotion.  I live mostly in my head, I’m not personable, I’m blunt, and I don’t bother lying because I don’t care what other people think.  I love structure and organization but hate rules, and I would rather chew off my own arm than talk about my feelings.  Or your feelings.  Really, just feelings in general are anathema to me, I’m told.

untitledI am also a Scorpio.  That means I’m intense, passionate, and filled with desire, which is just awkward given the whole INTJ robot thing.  I can be jealous and vindictive when I’m overcome by the aforementioned intense passions, but I am also a caring and devoted lover and am by most accounts supposed to be quite lusty (I know several ex-boyfriends with whom I will not be sharing this blog post specifically because of the helpless laughter some of these “attributes” will cause). I can be cunning and sadistic, but I’m also dynamic, magnetic, and have a hypnotic personality with a marked dark side.  People find themselves drawn to my mysterious and exciting persona (again, not sharing this with ex-boyfriends).

untitled2Then, just when I’m trying to reconcile all these different, mutually exclusive traits, it turns out that I was born in the year of the Monkey per the Chinese zodiac.  People born in the year of the monkey are curious, mischievous, and clever.  We are also dishonest and manipulative, so I guess INTJ monkeys are just doomed to a life of violent inner conflict.   As a monkey, I am supposed to be a playful prankster whose favorite activity is people-watching, and I am considered warm-hearted, gregarious, and likable.  I am a warm-hearted, emotionally distant, gregarious, introverted horn dog who attracts people with my mysterious, blunt mischievousness.  Man, I really am a unicorn! I went through each list to see if there was even one attribute that the monkey, the scorpion, and the unicorn all have in common. Turns out, there is.

We’re all the most likely type to be the model for fictional villains.

This would have come in handy on Career Day back in school. Instead of pamphlets on accounting, medicine, and law, I could have been reading about How to Invade Fictional Territories and Minions: Slaves or Sacrifices? I could have taken a seminar in Boris and Natasha and gone to workshops for moustache twirling (tricky for girls) and evil laughs (very important: you don’t want to end up cackling when what you really want is a good mwah-ha-ha). Risk would have taken on a whole new meaning, not to mention Clue. Ooh! Monopoly! Oh, the evil laughs I could have given while playing Monopoly, if only I’d known. What a different life I might have led if all these horoscopes and categories had been around to tell me who I am. I could be dooming Narnia to eternal winter as we speak.

Or I could, you know, try to figure out who I actually am as opposed to who someone tells me I am. Controversial, I know, but allow me to quote my good friend Socrates: “To find yourself, think for yourself.” Now that’s a typology system I can get behind!