Best Quote Of The Day

If two senators have a four-billion-year difference over the age of a rock, is it any wonder they can’t agree over anything else?

This is from an article published in the Mail Online by a British author commenting about America. The Mail Online, which I presume is the online version of the Daily Mail, looks more like a British scandal sheet than a legitimate news rag, but not as bad as say, our National Enquirer.

Full Disclosure: Lee Child is a writer I’ve met on more than one occasion, who even bought me drinks (albeit not consciously – he bought the drinks for everyone in the bar), who is quite gracious, and I think with this piece, quite astute in his observations of America. And I say that not because he paid for the drinks. I enjoy his books.

There are some other good quotes in there too.


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16 thoughts on “Best Quote Of The Day

  1. I think this quote sums up Child’s entire piece succinctly:

    As a rule of thumb, whatever the subject – molecular biology, Jane Austen, nuclear physics, Red Army tank tactics in 1943, whatever, you name it – you’ll find both the most and the least knowledgeable men and women in the world in America. The nation is a mosaic, a crazy patchwork quilt, insanely scaled from end to end, in every dimension, both physical and intellectual.

      • I think he refers to the ‘physical and intellectual dimension’ of America.

        And he’s right. Here in the US, all it takes to be an ‘expert’ is to have a couple of people listen to you. Education, experience? Pointless.

        Which could also explain why it seams that every other person in the US has some sort of web presence. And yet we still have the urge to correct a commenter on someone elses blog. Which is what I just did. Damn, I’m glad it’s my Friday.

        • I think they modify ‘scaled’, making them adverbs like ‘insanely’. For instance, swap them:
          The nation is a mosaic, a crazy patchwork quilt, physically and intellectually scaled from end to end, in every dimension, insanely.
          You wouldn’t write ‘insane’, so why write ‘physical and intellectual’?

          No one shops at little shops like Lolly’s anymore.

          • I gotta go with (((Billy))). I think it modifies dimension. Re-written thusly:

            The nation is a mosaic, a crazy patchwork quilt, insanely scaled from end to end, in both the physical dimension and intellectual dimension.

            or maybe

            The nation is a mosaic, a crazy patchwork quilt, insanely scaled from end to end, especially in the physical dimension and intellectual dimension. 8)

            Must be one of those British-isms.

            • I reckon Philly’s right, save that they modify the “is” in “The nation is a mosaic”. Frankly, if you’re going to pack that much metaphor into one sentence, you might as well go for broke on the adverbs – no-one apart from grammar Nazis will follow what you’re saying anyway.

              But the Mail is, as you correctly surmise, a rag. Their editors are far more concerned with finding new ways to say “OH NO THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE OF SWINE FLU ISN’T DAVID CAMERON NICE” than with correcting their writer’s grammar.

  2. I deal with a lot of tourists and they are always surprised at America and Americans. It is true, we can be an acquired taste, but people who come here tend to feel we’re not as bad as all that. The attitude is different among Europeans in Europe, with very good reason, I think.

    A few years back I was at the folk festival which is held in the Cambria City section of Johnstown (couple ofbig floods there, basketball movie filmed there) and I heard a group of men wondering about something, but they were speaking German.

    I speak German so I offered some assistance and so did three other peopele passing by. About minute three of this interaction, one of the Germans actually realised that we were all speaking German, and it was a bit of a shock to them.

    These men were from an engineering firm hired by PENDOT for some project or another, and they said a whole lot that was very similar to Childs.

    One of the things they observed was that standing where they were they could have been on any street in Europe, what with the architecture, food, and the polyglot nature of the crowd.

    • A friend of mine is an ethnic Chinese woman from Malaysia married to a man from New Jersey. She says that, having lived in America for a decade, that we are both far worse and far better than we are portrayed by both our enemies and friends overseas. Her hypotheosis is that America is as powerfully creative as it is because of all the different threads of reality — we are willing to try new things even when most of us know it won’t work (see supply-side economics for a good example). She’s still not sure if she will stay here her whole life, but she does find us interesting.

    • You sprechen sie Deutsch, eh? My daughter went to school outside Johnstown (Pitt- Johnstown). I like the area. She was there on 9/11 when that plane went down about 10 miles south of her.

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