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  1. #61
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    Thursday, September 22, 2011
    *****************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    ********************************************
    It never ceases to amaze me
    the greed with which we cling to the illusion
    of our own importance no matter how often
    we are exposed as irrelevant.
    *
    Our genocide?
    The West wouldn’t allow it.
    The recognition of our genocide?
    If we write enough books,
    produce enough eyewitness accounts,
    and organize enough demonstrations,
    the West may finally see the light.
    *
    Historic lands?
    All of America is someone else’s historic land,
    so what?
    *
    Perhaps truth or reality itself is a territory
    beyond our comprehension,
    and God Himself is the negation of the “I”
    and everything connected with it.
    *
    If Calderon is right and “life is a dream,”
    it may not even be our dream but someone else’s.
    *
    In my younger days our elder statesmen
    would seek me out and give me advice – all of it useless.
    *
    History may become more comprehensible
    if you think of serial killers as failed political leaders.
    *
    What if I am wrong?
    I will be dead wrong on the day I assert infallibility.
    #
    Friday, September 23, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ********************************************
    If you search long enough for something
    you are sure to find a substitute.
    *
    The more I deal with Turks
    the more I like my fellow Armenians;
    and the more I deal with Armenians
    the better I understand Turks.
    *
    A writer is someone who has developed the art of speaking
    even when he has nothing to say.
    *
    My mother believed what she read in the papers
    except what I wrote.
    *
    Spengler: “The less one needs others,
    the more powerful one is.”
    *
    My ambition in life when young:
    To come to terms with death.
    My ambition now:
    to die in order to have the final answer
    which may or may not exist.
    *
    There are no questions and answers in reality –
    both begin and end in the convolutions of our brains.
    *
    We are told space must have an end.
    We are also told space is being created
    with the speed of light.
    It follows, no matter how fast we travel
    we will never see what’s on the other side of space.
    *
    Love means being always on the verge of tears.
    Love feels as though your insides
    were being surgically removed
    without anaesthesia.
    If you have not experienced love,
    you don’t know bliss.
    #
    Saturday, September 24, 2011
    *****************************************
    SHRINKS
    ********************************************
    Almost everyone I have been reading about recently
    has been analyzed. I have never been near an analyst
    and I doubt very much if I ever will find myself
    in the same room with one.
    What could he tell me that I don’t already know?
    And what could I tell him?
    Where would I begin?
    I am misunderstood and spat upon by hoodlums?
    Who hasn’t been?
    Homer, it is said, was kicked out of seven villages,
    all of which, after he died, claimed to be his birthplace.
    To this day no one knows where he was born or,
    for that matter, buried.
    #

  2. #62
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    Sunday, September 25, 2011
    *****************************************
    CONTRADICTIONS
    ********************************************
    They fascinate me and I see them everywhere.
    AVANIM (Stones) an Israeli film
    whose unstated but clearly implied moral is:
    Rabbis may be as much of a threat to the survival of Israel
    as Palestinians.
    *
    Search for the enemy within and you will find him.
    *
    They may talk of God
    but the means they employ belong to the Devil.
    This is as true of rabbis as it is of imams and popes.
    *
    They may praise rebirth and resurrection
    but what they promote is death of the spirit.
    *
    DECEPTION
    **************************
    What could be easier than deceiving children?
    And are not adults children is disguise?
    Do we ever give up – are we capable of giving up --
    childhood illusions?
    Are we not our own most gullible dupes?
    *
    A GOOD ANSWER
    **************************
    When asked if Cary Grant was homosexual or bisexual,
    one of his wives (he had five of them) is reported to have replied:
    “I was too busy f***ing him to ask.”
    There should be a Nobel Prize for the best remark of the year.
    #
    Monday, September 26, 2011
    *****************************************
    REFLECTIONS
    ********************************************
    Most of my life I kept my thoughts to myself
    out of fear of offending men in positions of power.
    I was a coward but refused to admit it.
    I behaved like a fool and thought I was wise.
    Nothing comes more easily than to preach heroism
    and to promote cowardice
    in the name of tradition, law and order,
    respect for authority, and countless other
    fictional considerations.
    *
    If you are a fool
    do not attempt to share your wisdom
    with better men than yourself.
    *
    Are you wise or brave enough to admit
    you are a fool?
    *
    To the rich, money is the quintessence of all wisdom.
    *
    Between the virtues of the rich
    and the vices of the poor,
    which would you choose?
    *
    The criticism of idiots
    is more of a testimonial than an indictment.
    *
    More important than education itself is
    who does the educating.
    #
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    *****************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ********************************************
    To know perfection
    we must first experience the degradation
    of life on earth.
    Heaven will not be heaven for me
    if I can’t play the Beethoven Sonatas like Schnabel
    and Bach like Glen Gould.
    *
    Anonymity will make a hero out of a zero.
    *
    Promises are one thing, delivery another.
    The two might as well be strangers to one another.
    *
    Whenever I see an odar
    joining one of our discussion forums on the internet
    I would like to post the following message:
    "Welcome to this forum, dear friend.
    Please remember to ignore the hooligans among us.
    They represent no one but themselves."
    *
    It must be obvious by now that
    one doesn’t have to be a Turk in order to behave like one.
    Nothing comes easier to an Ottomanized Armenian
    than to behave like a Turk with the certainty that
    he is discharging his duty as a patriotic Armenian.
    The same applies to Sovietized Armenians.
    #
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    *****************************************
    TWO PHILOSOPHERS
    ********************************************
    Once, when after a loud argument,
    Socrates’ wife poured a pail of dirty water on his head,
    he said: “It generally rains after thunder.”
    More recently, while massaging his wife’s neck,
    Louis Althusser (1918-1990) strangled her,
    he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
    *
    Women disappoint men
    because they find men disappointing.
    *
    The difference between dialogue and Armenian arguments is that
    the aim of the first is synthesis or consensus,
    the aim of the second is verbal assassination.
    *
    Gide: “Le plus grand bonheur, après que d’aimer,
    c’est de confesser son amour.”
    *
    Valery: “Combien de gens meurent dans les accidents,
    pour ne pas lacher leur parapluis!”
    #

  3. #63
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    Thursday, September 29, 2011
    *****************************************
    A TOUMANIAN FABLE ABRIDGED
    *************************************
    Early one morning when the fox hears a rooster crowing,
    he thinks: "Breakfast!"
    When he is told by the rooster in the tree
    that he is not alone but with a friend,
    he thinks: "Lunch too!"
    But when he finds out the friend is not
    another rooster but a dog,
    the words breakfast and lunch are replaced with
    "Feet, do your stuff!"
    *
    BLESSINGS
    *************************
    An Arab blessing
    (as quoted by Flaubert in a letter from Cairo):
    "I wish you all kinds of prosperity,
    especially a long prick!"
    What’s next in line?
    "May you deflower a hundred virgins"?
    *
    While in Cairo, Flaubert is said to have explored
    the Armenian community.
    I wonder if he discovered anything of interest.
    *
    PROVERBS
    **************************
    I love exotic proverbs especially when they are phony.
    Example: A Burmese saying (which I just made up):
    “You cannot feed a hungry tiger
    with the bones of a hummingbird.”
    *
    CELEBRITIES
    **************************
    There is a type of minor celebrity
    who behaves like a major celebrity
    in the hope of being confused with one.
    There is also a type of nonentity
    who wants you to believe he is a future celebrity.
    *
    GIDE ON WAGNER
    *******************************
    “L’Allemagne n’a peut-etre jamais rien produit
    a la fois d’aussi grand ni aussi barbare.”
    *
    ONE-LINERS
    ***********************
    Balzac: “Les moeurs sont l’hypocrisie d’une nation.”
    *
    Baudelaire: “Life is a disease. Everyone knows that.”
    *
    Because reality is against us, we say God is with us.
    #
    Friday, September 30, 2011
    *****************************************
    ABOUT HEGEL
    *************************************
    Hegel is not an easy philosopher.
    As a matter of fact I have never heard anyone say
    “I enjoy reading Hegel.”
    Even Hegelians don’t always agree
    on what he said or meant.
    With one exception:
    the Francophone-Russian Kojeve.
    Kojeve’s interpretations of Hegel
    are readable, accessible, insightful,
    and eminently unHegelian.
    Some samples follow:
    *
    “Man, to be really, truly ‘man’
    and to know that he is such,
    must impose the idea that he has of himself
    on beings other than himself.”
    *
    “Christianity is born from the Slave’s terror
    in the face of Nothingness, his nothingness.”
    *
    “The Christian frees himself from the human Master
    only to be enslaved by the divine Master.”
    *
    “He does this for the same reason that
    he accepted the human Master:
    through fear of death.”
    *
    “For Hegel, as for Marx,
    the central phenomenon of the bourgeois world
    is not the enslavement of the working man,
    of the poor bourgeois by the rich bourgeois,
    but the enslavement of both by Capital.”
    #
    Saturday, October 01, 2011
    *****************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    *************************************
    If I were to say to my shrink:
    "Most of my problems stem from the fact that
    I was born an Armenian," he would reply:
    "I was born a Jew. Only Turks are after your ass.
    The whole world is after ours."
    *
    Those who violate my human right of free speech
    do so because they are convinced
    they are better men than myself;
    and they are better if only because
    they are closer to God and Country.
    Some of them may even deliver lectures to me
    on good Armenianism.
    They seem to be totally unaware of the fact that
    only certified morons assume that
    God, Country, and good Armenianism
    have only one definition: their own.
    *
    It is a scientifically established fact that
    prejudice makes people stupid.
    *
    Hell is more accessible than heaven.
    *
    Lovers are mutual parasites.
    *
    Love and hatred are chains.
    So is indifference.
    *
    Very often all great reformers do
    is replace big lies with bigger ones.
    *
    There is more authority in silence than in speech.
    One reason why the dead enjoy more respect than the living.
    #

  4. #64
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    things

    Sunday, October 02, 2011
    *****************************************
    IN LOVE
    *************************************
    When in his eighties Pablo Casals fell in love
    with one of his students and wanted to marry her,
    his doctor was against it saying it could be dangerous;
    to which Casals replied:
    “If she dies, she dies.”
    *
    READERS
    **********************
    Some readers resent the fact that
    I refuse to reproduce their sentiments and thoughts.
    They believe a writer should be like a secretary –
    take dictation.
    I see that as another symptom of our sultanism.
    *
    Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821): “I don’t know
    what the life of a rogue can be like
    since I have never been one;
    but the life of an honest man is abominable.”
    *
    Anything that is not worth rereading
    can’t be worth writing.
    #
    Monday, October 03, 2011
    *****************************************
    DENIALISTS
    *************************************
    Denialists have a powerful argument in their favor:
    Everybody lies.
    *
    My aim in life:
    to humanize the dehumanized.
    Call me a megalomaniac.
    *
    The arrogance of the half-learned:
    I know all about that.
    I was there once.
    *
    Life’s favorite trajectory:
    from arrested development
    to advanced degeneration.
    *
    We have been ruled by barbarians
    for such a long time that
    we don’t mind our own.
    Either that or we see them
    as the lesser of two evils.
    #
    Tuesday, October 04, 2011
    *****************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    *************************************
    Until very recently,
    we, Armenians of the diaspora,
    were not allowed to know
    the identity of our political leaders;
    and now that we know them,
    we understand why they preferred to remain anonymous.
    *
    One of the best things about life is that it’s short.
    *
    Actions have consequences,
    consequences have repercussions,
    repercussions have echoes
    and so on ad infinitum.
    *
    Memo to our editors:
    silencing writers,
    burning books,
    burning men,
    concentration camps,
    gulags:
    they all begin with censorship.
    *
    It is impossible to struggle
    against the certainties of ignorance
    with the doubts of knowledge.
    #
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON A VARIETY OF THINGS
    *************************************
    Some of my Turkish readers are outraged
    when I criticize Turks.
    Like all dictators, Kemal knew that
    the only way to be popular
    is to flatter the collective ego of the nation.
    Which is why most Turks are convinced
    they are beyond criticism.
    *
    I don’t always write what I think and feel
    because I don’t really know what I think and feel.
    All my thoughts and feelings contain
    their own deviations as well as contradictions.
    *
    I resent it when someone steals my stolen lines.
    I work hard to find lines that are worth stealing.
    Let him do the same.
    *
    Here are some aphorisms by Antonio Porchia (1886-1968),
    an Argentine writer of Italian descent
    who appears to know all about us:
    *
    "Truth has very few friends and those few
    are suicides."
    *
    "A door opens to me. I go in and am faced
    with a hundred closed doors."
    *
    "You think you are killing me.
    I think you are committing suicide."
    *
    "Some things become so completely our own
    that we forget them."
    *
    "They will say that you are on the wrong road,
    if it is your own."
    #

  5. #65
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    Thursday, October 06, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMMENTS
    *************************************
    With every book I publish,
    I acquire a new friend and lose two old ones.
    Any day now the number of my friends
    will bear a negative sign.
    *
    I feel most alone when
    in the company of my fellow Armenians.
    *
    William James:
    "A great many people think they are thinking
    when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
    *
    The absence of God
    plays a more important role in the life of atheists
    than the existence of God in the life of most believers--
    judging by the way they live.
    *
    Is it humanly possible to ignore or forget the truth
    after hearing it?
    #
    Friday, October 07, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMMENTS (II)
    *************************************
    As soon as you settle on the answer
    of an important question,
    you begin to suspect there may be more merit
    in its contradiction;
    in the same way that after you take a woman in marriage,
    all other women appear more desirable.
    This may suggest that the world was created
    not by God but by the Devil;
    and if I am not mistaken
    there is an Armenian medieval Christian heresy
    that says as much.
    *
    Andre Malraux: “I am an agnostic.
    But you know better than I that
    no one can escape God.”
    He should have added,
    “and the Devil.”
    #
    Saturday, October 08, 2011
    *****************************************
    DIARY
    *************************************
    Very early this morning, on the radio,
    a demonstrator in Athens:
    “What’s happening today is not about saving Greece;
    it’s about saving the banking system.”
    *
    Obama’s greatest blunder:
    to ask men from Wall Street
    to fix Wall Street.
    Imagine asking predators
    to reform the law of the jungle.
    *
    In a televised press conference
    the other day when asked
    why he did not prosecture the men
    responsible for the economic collapse, Obama replied:
    “What they did was immoral; it was not illegal.”
    When the same question was asked to an economist:
    “Their actions were criminal
    and they should have been indicted.”
    *
    Who would have thought the Arab spring
    would influence and shape
    the Occupy Wall Street movement in America today?
    Yanks being taught democracy by Africans!
    What a strange place the world we live in is!
    How gloriously unpredictable human beings are!
    *
    In an Op-Ed commentary this morning, I read:
    “Russians say they are often more afraid
    of the police than of criminals.”
    Elsewhere Putinism is seen as an effort
    to revive Stalinism.
    What else would you expect from a former KGB agent?
    *
    Anonymous: “The rotten apple is the first to fall,
    and it never falls far from the tree.”
    *
    A line from a western with Errol Flynn:
    “There I was, no ma, no pa, brung up by Comanche Indians.”
    *
    I am reminded of a line by Updike
    to the effect that as a boy
    he was more influenced by Errol Flynn than Jesus Christ.
    #

  6. #66
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    Sunday, October 09, 2011
    *****************************************
    OBSERVATIONS
    *************************************
    In evil men we see ourselves exposed.
    *
    To see meaning in the meaningless:
    that’s the truest mark of creativity.
    *
    Forgiving others is easy.
    What’s hard, perhaps even impossible,
    is forgiving oneself.
    *
    Never take a whole paragraph
    to say what can be said in a single line.
    Never take a whole line
    when a single word will do just as well.
    And never underestimate the power of silence
    which can be more eloquent than
    the most eloquent speech.
    *
    Instead of eighty and ninety,
    the French say four-twenties and four-twenties-and-ten.
    This may suggest that human intelligence or inventiveness
    is limited and after a certain point
    it becomes inoperative.
    *
    If in a democracy the majority can be
    systemativally moronized,
    in what way democracy may be said to be
    different from tyranny?
    #
    Monday, October 10, 2011
    *****************************************
    A JOKE
    *************************************
    “One Jew tells another that,
    that very morning, he asked a passerby
    what he’d think, if the next day,
    as was rumored,
    they’d kill all the Jews and all the haidressers.
    And the passerby answered,
    ‘Why the hairdressers?’”
    *
    After reading this joke very early this morning
    I wept and laughed uncontrollably
    for almost an hour.
    #
    Tuesday, October 11, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM THE MEMOIRS
    OF AN UNEMPLOYABLE MISFIT
    *************************************
    For ten long years I worked for a living
    in factories, department stores, and offices.
    The work itself i didn’t mind.
    What I despised were the men I had to work for
    and the subservience of my coworkers.
    And because I have always had trouble
    disguising my feelings,
    I was fired shortly after I was hired.
    I don’t know of anyone in my circles
    of friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors
    who has been fired as often as I have.
    Don’t get me wrong.
    I am not complaining.
    They were right to fire;
    so was I in finding all forms of modern employment
    repellent.
    *
    If I am ever hired as a teacher,
    one of the very first things I will say to the class will be:
    all ideologies and religions have their own propaganda line
    that contradicts the competition.
    There may be some truth in all of them
    but in so far as they divide mankind,
    they are big lies.
    You may now guess
    how long my career as a teacher would last.
    #
    Wednesday, October 12, 2011
    *****************************************
    DIARY
    **********************************
    Watched Chaplin’s GREAT DICTATOR.
    His imitation of Hitler speechifying was wildly hilarious.
    I couldn’t stop laughing.
    To all our speechifiers I say:
    “Let that be a lesson to you.”
    *
    STRANGERS
    **********************
    You may say whatever you wish about me
    or anyone else for that matter
    and you will be partly right.
    That’s because we are not one but many
    and some of them are strangers we may never meet.
    *
    JUSTICE
    *********************
    Madame Justice is not blind.
    She has 20/20 vision – but only for her friends.
    During our Ottoman and Soviet periods,
    and today, under our own semi-sultans and neo-commissars,
    she has consistently ignored us.
    *
    FRIENDS?
    ******************
    You don’t have to go out of your way
    to make a mortal enemy out of an Armenian friend.
    He will see something invisible,
    hear something in audible,
    and react as if you were plotting his murder.
    *
    ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
    *****************************************
    So do words.
    What if what I write may result in the destruction of the nation?
    I am responsible only for what I say.
    I cannot be held responsible for what others do.
    #

  7. #67
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    comments

    Thursday, October 13, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    **********************************
    Two favorite aphorisms on love and marriage:
    Balzac: “The fate of the house hangs on the wedding night.”
    Chinese proverb: “The rose has thorns only for those
    who would gather it.”
    *
    In Roger Ebert’s LIFE – ITSELF: A MEMOIR
    (New York, 2011, page 226) Lee Marvin is quoted as having said:
    “'You ever hear me sing an Armenian song?’
    Marvin sang an Armenian song.”
    *
    A question without an answer:
    What prompted God to introduce imperfection
    in a perfect world by creating man?
    *
    A glance is enough to change two destinies.
    #
    Friday, October 14, 2011
    *****************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    **********************************
    Whenever I reply to a critic, I make an enemy;
    and whenever I am not diplomatic enough
    in my replies – diplomacy not being my field –
    I make a mortal enemy.
    *
    Once when I asked the nationality
    of a dazzling beauty – a teenage waitress in the cafeteria
    of a department store where I was employed as a stockboy –
    she said: "Canadian."
    When I asked for more details, she replied:
    "Let’s see now, Irish, Polish, German, Cherokee,
    French, Italian and Ukrainian.”
    *
    "We are a wounded nation,"
    I am reminded once in a while by our propagandists,
    "and you don’t kick someone who is down," – thus
    equating truth with a kick in the groin.
    But truth is a kick only to those
    who prefer to live in a world of lies.
    #
    Saturday, October 15, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    **********************************
    On the Tea Party:
    The forces of evil know how to get organized.
    On the Occupy Wall Street movement:
    It never pays to give up one’s faith in mankind.
    *
    For twenty days – or is it forty? – they were ignored.
    Now, everyone is talking about nothing else.
    *
    Solidarity can move mountains.
    Without solidarity,
    all solutions will be dismissed as unrealistic and utopian
    by the very same people who consider it
    their patriotic duty to divide the nation
    in the name of this or that orthodoxy or ideology,
    thus giving patriotism a bad name.
    *
    Where there is solidarity
    even bad solutions may improve matters.
    Where there is no solidarity
    even the best solution will be ignored.
    *
    I have met good, patriotic Armenians
    who give up on Armenianism after the first insult.
    *
    After being insulted ten thousand times,
    sometimes I reply with an insult
    on the grounds that I have earned the right.
    If you disagree with my MO,
    you can go to hell!
    *
    “Help those who need the help,”
    reads a headline in the Op-Ed page this morning.
    The implied subtext: “Prevent future revolutions.”
    #

  8. #68
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    Sunday, October 16, 2011
    *****************************************
    OCCUPY WALL STREET
    **********************************
    A single anonymous slogan
    strikes me as more eloquent
    than a hundred academic analyses
    by learned economists.
    *
    “Wanted: corporate accountability.”
    *
    “Where is the penalty for financial incompetence?”
    *
    “I can’t afford my own politician.”
    *
    And the one that must strike fear
    in all presidential candidates:
    “We are the 99%.”
    *
    By the time this thing is over,
    there may be enough slogans to fill a volume.
    I for one am looking forward to it.
    *
    As for the Republicans who dismiss the movement
    as leaderless (as if that were a liability)
    or class warfare:
    all I can say is that
    no matter how rotten the status quo,
    it will have its supporters and defenders.
    From Nero and Caligula to
    Idi Amin Dada, Stalin, and Saddam:
    they all had their supporters and beneficiaries.
    #
    Monday, October 17, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROGS AND ELEPHANTS
    **********************************
    Anyone who decides to depend
    on the kindness of strangers
    must sooner or later come to terms with the fact that
    most strangers are not kind.
    *
    We cannot speak of the moral failings of a volcanic eruption
    or the questionable logic of an earthquake.
    Neither can we speak of justice
    for victims of massacres.
    As far as they are concerned,
    what’s done is done and cannot be undone.
    As for those who editorialize and speechify endlessly
    about genocide recognition:
    they remind me of a certain American presidential candidate
    who promised “Yes, we can!”
    and delivered, “No, I can’t!”
    *
    What a book one could write
    on the promises of politicians!
    “When I hear 9-9-9
    I want to dial 9-1-1.”
    To which I can only say,
    “It takes one to know one.”
    The good news is,
    so far no one has dared to say
    “It ain’t 99%. It’s only 98.5%.”
    *
    They call it class warfare
    and hope to win with their 1%?
    That’s not optimism.
    That’s megalomania run amok.
    Reminds me of our revolutionaries
    at the turn of the last century:
    “A frog trying to rape an elephant,”
    to quote one of our elder statesmen.
    #
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011
    *****************************************
    WALL STREET
    **********************************
    Leaderless?
    With leaders like them, who needs one?
    *
    “Incoherent, confused, and self-contradictory?”
    What about “LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE?”
    *
    A commentary Headline in the Op-Ed page:
    “Ballot is still the best way to bring change.”
    Not if the choice is between bad and worse,
    or between the gutless and the greedy.
    *
    “National Media, Corporate PR.”
    *
    "Against Politics, Bankers, Gangsters.”
    *
    “Eat the Rich.”
    *
    “Greed is the opium of the Rich.”
    *
    “99% of the world unite –
    you have nothing to lose but your bloodsuckers.”
    #
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMMENTS
    **********************************
    We are told “Thou shalt not kill!”
    but we are also coerced into killing
    in the name of God and Country.
    Power structures and organized religions
    are full of #[email protected]% -- if you will forgive my French.
    *
    You are free as long as you do what you are told?
    Try to make sense of that!
    *
    Can you really know someone
    who doesn’t himself?
    What about an institution
    that contradicts itself?
    *
    Wars become inevitable only
    when we do nothing to prevent them.
    #

  9. #69
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    Thursday, October 20, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMMENTS
    **********************************
    Don’t judge a man by his opinion of himself
    or a political party by its propaganda.
    *
    You may hope to be forgiven by a Turkish enemy
    but by an Armenian friend, never!
    I speak from experience.
    *
    Whenever I disagree with an Armenian,
    every Armenian who agrees with him
    becomes my enemy.
    *
    African proverb: “Until lions have their historians,
    tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.”
    #
    Friday, October 21, 2011
    *****************************************
    GUESSING GAMES
    **********************************
    An unforgettable line from a forgotten American movie:
    A lecherous hombre with a foreign accent
    to a scantily clead sexy teenager:
    “I want to balanga you with my bonnie johnnie.”
    My guess is, as children that’s how we learn languages:
    we may not understand the words
    but we can guess their meaning.
    As when in winter a man shivers and says,
    “I am cold,” for instance;
    or when he says “I am thirsty”
    and is given a glass of water.
    But as we grow older,
    we seem to lose that particular faculty.
    *
    One of my favorite Jewish jokes goes something like this:
    Two old friends meet on a road somewhere in Russia
    and after a brief exchange one of them says to the other:
    “You tell me you are going to Minsk
    because you want me to believe you are going to Pinsk,
    but I happen to know you are going to Minsk:
    Why must you always lie to me?”
    #
    Saturday, October 22, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON THE ETIOLOGY
    OF GENOCIDE
    **********************************
    “There is nothing more valuable than our honor!”
    declared a Muslim in Montreal
    after murdering his three teenage daughters
    because they had boyfriends.
    (It is to be noted that he called it “treachery”).
    There it is: the perfect justification
    for killing defenseless civilians.
    *
    After dismissing me as anti-Armenian,
    less than mediocre and totally unprintable,
    they demand solutions from me.
    They must be in deep %#$&
    and they expect us to believe
    we never had it so good
    because we are in the best of hands.
    *
    Fear of free speech might as well be
    synonymous with running away from the truth.
    *
    Mel Brooks: “Comedy is when you fall down an open manhole.
    Tragedy is when I cut my finger.”
    This may explain why sadists outnumber masochists.
    *
    Chinese saying: “The great man is a public misfortune.”
    *
    Japanese proverb: “A wise falcon hides its talons.”
    #

  10. #70
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    Sunday, October 23, 2011
    *****************************************
    POLITICS
    **********************************
    The secret aim of all propaganda
    is not to spread lies – be they small, middling, or big –
    but to convince you to believe
    your brain is a useless organ;
    and it becomes useful only when authorized by the state
    or a central authority.
    This may explain why fools have as many certainties
    as the wise have doubts.
    Speaking for myself: my only certainty is that
    when fools are in charge,
    war and massacre are sure to follow.
    *
    What a book one could write on politics
    as the art of deception.
    *
    Kemalism in four words:
    “Fez, no. Yataghan, yes.”
    *
    No one will ever accuse me
    of taking myself seriously.
    On more than one occasion
    I have identified my role in our collective existence
    as that of a @#$%-disturber.
    *
    A statesman is a politician who has done one right thing.
    #
    Monday, October 24, 2011
    *****************************************
    EARTHQUAKE
    **********************************
    It must be obvious by now that
    the regime in Ankara has invested more money and manpower
    in rewriting history and in persecuting Kurds
    than in providing safe housing for its citizens.
    *
    THE RICH AND THE POOR
    ************************************
    The rich like to believe the poor are lazy
    and the poor like to believe the rich are greedy.
    Who is right?
    As far as I know no pundit has so far
    dared to suggest that
    we owe the present global economic crisis
    to the laziness of the poor.
    *
    A ROLE MODEL
    ****************************
    Crime doesn’t pay?
    But it paid and paid handsomely to Gadhafy
    for almost half a century.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if future dictators
    adopt him as a role model.
    #
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011
    *****************************************
    GREAT EXPECTATIONS
    **********************************
    We are expected to believe that
    our revolution at the turn of the last century
    in the Ottoman Empire was a success
    even if the patient died.
    *
    Propaganda is designed to flatter the vanity of a few
    even if it means insulting the intelligence of the many.
    *
    What Talaat and chief executive officers
    on Wall Street have in common is the certainty that
    if the law is on their side
    they can get away with murder.
    *
    Richelieu: “If the poor are too well off
    they will be disorderly.”
    It follows, the poor must remain poor for their own good
    and in the name of law and order.
    *
    Pushkin: “Where there is a trough, there will be swine.”
    The only reason textbook on political science
    don’t begin with that line is that
    all educational systems are controlled by politicians.
    *
    Proust: “The pleasure an artist gives
    is to make us know an additional universe.”
    #
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011
    *****************************************
    SUMMING UP
    **********************************
    After six centuries of servile subservience
    a sudden eruption of violent uprisings.
    I dare anyone to suggest that
    our collective destiny has not been shaped
    by cowards and fools.
    Treating them as heroes with good intentions
    is to forget that hell is paved with them.
    *
    Bullies at the mercy of bigger bullies:
    that just about sums up our present leadership.
    Dzour nesdink, shidag khossink!
    #

  11. #71
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    Thursday, October 27, 2011
    *****************************************
    REFLECTIONS
    **********************************
    There is a dupe, a coward, and a bully in all of us.
    That’s the only way to explain world history.
    *
    Q: If you were an animal,
    what animal would you be?
    A: A vegetarian tiger.
    I hate predators.
    They are the commissars of the animal kingdom.
    *
    Good writing consists in deleting.
    Silence can be more eloquent than
    a torrent of rhetorical verbiage.
    A history of silence will have no quotations.
    *
    If there are homophobes it may be because
    they were traumatized by serial pedophiles,
    among them such authority figures as priests.
    *
    After every line I write I ask myself:
    Why should anyone be interested in this?
    What if he already knows or understands what I am saying?
    What if he is ahead of me when it comes to certain ideas
    and experiences?
    #
    Friday, October 28, 2011
    *****************************************
    SOCRATES
    ********************************
    When asked where he came from,
    Socrates is said to have replied:
    "Not from Athens but from the world."
    And yet, when he was condemned to death by the Athenians
    and was given an opportunity to escape,
    he said he’d rather die in Athens
    than live anywhere else.
    *
    BEETHOVEN’S SHADOW
    ********************************
    When Vahe Berberian once suggested that
    Beethoven’s somewhat overblown shadow
    unfairly eclipsed the reputation and worth
    of many other equally great composers,
    among them Boccherini,
    Paul Jungmann, the quintessential German –
    blond, blue-eyed, intense, unsmiling – said,
    one should not speak such nonsense
    in the presence of children.
    Forever after music was never discussed in his presence.
    *
    PROPAGANDA AND LITERATURE
    ********************************************
    All our problems must be ascribed to our enemies,
    our propaganda tells us.
    The enemy is us, literature reminds us.
    And propaganda is more popular than literature
    because no one likes to be told
    he is a fool or a pervert bent on self-destruction.
    #
    Saturday, October 29, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON LOVE AND DEATH
    ********************************
    Love is an arrow, marriage a boomerang.
    *
    Where there is love
    there will be a pierced, broken, shattered, or shish-kebabed heart.
    *
    There is a Greek myth
    whose intent is to emphasize the fact that
    the woman you love
    and the woman you marry are seldom one and the same.
    The critical passage in it reads:
    “No lovely naked bride awaited him
    on the marriage bed,
    but a tangled knot of hissing serpents.”
    *
    Your children will break your heart
    as surely as your parents (when they die).
    *
    I first fell in love at age eight
    with my schoolteacher.
    She married another,
    had a nervous collapse,
    attempted suicide,
    and became physically unrecognizable,
    by which time I was nine and in love with another –
    this time a coeval.
    *
    My dictionary defines “passion” as “suffering.”
    *
    The woman you love
    and the woman you cease to love –
    what a difference!
    Not just black and white
    but everything and nothing.
    *
    According to a Frenchman,
    “the heaviest body in the world
    is the woman you have ceased to love.”
    *
    After mentioning a dead person
    it is customary to say, “may s/he rest in peace,”
    when it is not the dead that are in need of peace
    but the living.
    *
    Stendhal, the author of ON LOVE,
    one of the best books on the subject:
    “All my life I have always seen what I imagined
    rather than reality.”
    *
    And Tolstoy: “In the presence of others,
    women – especially when they are young –
    pretend so skillfully that no one can see them as they are.”
    #

  12. #72
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    Sunday, October 30, 2011
    *****************************************
    BROTHERS
    ********************************
    The West has its share
    of dupes, fools, fanatics, racists, skinheads,
    serial killers, child molesters,
    and chief executive officers –
    in short, hoodlums and hooligans –
    as Turkey has its share of denialists.
    It’s beyond me why anyone in his right mind
    would expect them to be morally superior.
    #
    Monday, October 31, 2011
    *****************************************
    OVERPOPULATION
    ********************************
    In my lifetime alone
    world population has increased
    from three to seven billion.
    Scientists tell us the planet cannot sustain
    this rate of growth.
    Contraception is the only solution.
    So far politicians have done nothing in that direction
    because they don’t want to offend the Catholics.
    But I believe the Pope is as much to blame
    as film producers who glamorize sex
    and treat pregnancy (if at all) as if it were
    an alien, disconnected, and rare condition.
    #
    Tuesday, November 01, 2011
    *****************************************
    REREADING TOYNBEE
    ********************************
    After Shakespeare, he is for me the most quotable English writer.
    But whereas Shakespeare is universally admired,
    Toynbee continues to have more enemies than friends,
    especially among his fellow English historians,
    probably because he exposed their mediocrity.
    In that sense, he reminds me of our own Zarian.
    I love Toynbee’s ideas; but what I love even more
    is his Mandarin prose.
    *
    ON GOD
    *****************
    “I believe that Man has been given the capacity to see God, and I believe that this is the summum bonum towards which all creation groans and travails.”
    *
    THE CHOSEN
    ************************
    “The Jews, the Japanese, the British ‘sahib’, the Nazis…all seem to me to have been chosen by no one except themselves.”
    *
    ON HIS CRITICS
    ************************
    “Their pummelings have given me a mental massage that has loosened the joints and muscles of my mind and has set it moving on a new course.”
    *
    A GOOD QUESTION
    *********************************
    “If the Turkish atrocities could be explained as anachronistic outcrops of a residual savagery in the hearts of recent proselytes to a Western
    way of life, how was a Western historian to explain the apostasy of Germans who were native-born children of the Western household?”
    *
    ON PATIENCE
    ************************
    “A capacity to suffer fools gladly and to do this with gusto, not as a martyrdom, but as a fine art which the practitioner can practise with zest.”
    #
    Wednesday, November 02, 2011
    *****************************************
    IN THE NEWS
    ********************************
    Until very recently
    Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad were as close
    as “kolo kai vraki” (bum and pants).
    Today “one of Ahmadinejad’s advisers
    stands accused of raping 340 virgins during the last year.”
    Not even a writer with the fertile imagination
    of Gabriel Garcia Marquez could have written such a sentence.
    For more, much more, on the subject,
    see Abbas Milani, “Desperate Dictatorship,”
    (THE NEW REPUBLIC, Oct. 6, 2011, page 30).
    *
    Peace is wonderful.
    Friendship is great.
    Love is best.
    But one must be a pervert of the worst kind
    to love creeps like Khamenei and Ahmedinejad who,
    after conspiring to commit countless crimes against humanity,
    end up hating each other.
    *
    Where there is too much talk of God,
    can the Devil be far off?
    #

  13. #73
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    Thursday, November 03, 2011
    *****************************************
    SWAN SONG
    ********************************
    If you have any hopes,
    prepare yourself to see them shattered.
    *
    The source of all my problems?
    I value honesty above everything else.
    So much so that
    I’d much rather listen to the braying of an honest jackass
    than to the seductive song of a phony nightingale.
    *
    When it comes to painful experiences
    I have the memory of an elephant.
    As for happy ones:
    I can’t think of a single one that did not end badly.
    *
    The first thing I did when I came to Canada
    from war-torn Greece was to buy a loaf of bread
    and a cup of coffee.
    The bread tasted like @#$%
    and the coffee was so hot that it burned my tongue.
    After that everything went downhill.
    *
    The only thing that cheers me up these days
    is the prospect of death.
    #
    Friday, November 04, 2011
    *****************************************
    PARALLELS
    ********************************
    In an interview published in TIME (Oct. 10, 2011, page 64),
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    has this to say on the Israelis:
    “As long as they refuse to apologize for the nine people
    of Turkish descent who lost their lives
    on the flotilla, as long as they refuse to pay compensation
    to the families and as long as the embargo on Gaza
    has not been lifted, the relations between the two countries
    will never be normalized.”
    *
    On President Bashar Assad of Syria:
    “It is impossible to preserve my friendship
    with people who are allegedly leaders
    when they are attacking their own people,
    shooting at them, using tanks.”
    *
    It can truly be said of Erdogan and Turks
    that they are a clear-cut case of the blind leading the blind.
    To my Turkish friends and readers I therefore say:
    “See you in the ditch.”
    #
    Saturday, November 05, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON INSANITY
    ********************************
    In his biography of Alexander the Great,
    Plutarch writes:
    “One of the largest and most handsome lions,
    which was kept in Babylon
    was attacked and kicked to death by an ass.”
    *
    Shaw may be right:
    the insane should be punished more severely than the sane
    if only because they are more unpredictable and dangerous.
    *
    And speaking of insanity:
    if you are in love,
    you should remind yourself at least once a day
    that your beloved is less a real person
    and more a product of your imagination.
    *
    I don’t agree with a reality that makes crooks wealthy
    and honest men poor,
    and because I speak of this reality,
    some of my readers hate me
    as if I were responsible for everything
    that has gone wrong in their lives.
    *
    Subtract imagination from love
    and the result may be closer to contempt than affection.
    #

  14. #74
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    Sunday, November 06, 2011
    *****************************************
    METAPHYSICAL REFLECTIONS
    ************************************************** ***
    If God knows neither fear nor doubt,
    can He really understand man?
    *
    When we speak of God
    it is useful to remember that we speak of Him
    not as He is but as we conceive Him to be;
    and it is a serious blunder to conceive of God
    in our own image.
    *
    We may have the answers to the most important questions
    only after we die. In that sense,
    death may be not an end but a beginning.
    *
    To God past and future are one
    and both might as well be a fraction of a second.
    *
    What if the Big Bang as we know it
    is only the last bang in an infinite series of bangs?
    *
    Everything we say about God is based on hearsay evidence
    and therefore inadmissible.
    *
    God and men are more fiction than reality.
    *
    Reality (or God or Truth) is so different
    from what we imagine it to be that
    if the two ever met
    they would not recognize each other.
    #
    Monday, November 07, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ************************************************** ***
    To go down into the gutter with your adversary
    is almost to agree with him -- if not with his words
    than with his way of life.
    *
    No Armenian writer loved his fellow Armenians
    as much as Khachatur Apovian – and he committed suicide.
    *
    I don’t criticize ideas;
    I criticize their absence,
    *
    In a controversy to be silent
    is to support the status quo.
    #
    Tuesday, November 08, 2011
    *****************************************
    HOW MANY ARMENIANS?
    ************************************************** ***
    We have more questions than answers.
    Who qualifies as an Armenian?
    What if half of Turkey is half Armenian?
    Because an Armenian girl was legally raped as a teenager,
    does it follow that her offspring
    acquired the national identity of her rapist
    who may have been himself half Armenian?
    An Armenian who is against us,
    is he not more Turkish than Armenian?
    A Turk who is with us
    is he not more Armenian than Turkish?
    If to divide-and-rule is enemy action,
    do our dividers qualify as Armenian?
    How many of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    (who support only one faction) qualify as Armenian?
    If we say only Armenians who are for solidarity
    qualify as Armenian,
    who will dare to say he is against solidarity?
    If we preach solidarity and practise divisions
    do we not speak with a forked tongue?
    Can an Armenian who speaks with a forked tongue
    qualify as a human being?
    Confused?
    You should be.
    i am.
    Who said reality is easy to figure out?
    #
    Wednesday, November 09, 2011
    *****************************************
    OBSERVATIONS
    ************************************************** ***
    After a disaster,
    those who are partly or wholly responsible for it,
    will come up with a thousand reasons why
    the disaster was inevitable.
    Don’t believe a word they say.
    Their priority is not to understand and explain
    but to mislead and deceive.
    Their aim is not to learn from history
    in order not to repeat it,
    but to salvage their powers and privileges.
    *
    To say where there is power there will be abuse of power
    is like saying where there are people
    there will also be the law of gravity.
    *
    Haves and have nots?
    It would be more accurate to speak of
    bloodsuckers and their victims.
    *
    Deceivers and dupes?
    Even better: predators and herbivores.
    *
    Class warfare?
    I suggest telling bloodsuckers
    to minimize their intake of blood
    does not qualify.
    *
    There are many things that can be seen
    even by a legally blind man,
    but most of us are so carefully and consistently indoctrinated
    that we are willing to testify under oath
    we saw nothing.
    *
    Sh*t happens because most men are sh*ts.
    And more often than not
    a deceiver is as much of a sh*t as a dupe.
    *
    Voltaire on the origin of religion:
    “From the meeting of the earliest scoundrel
    with the very first fool.”
    #

  15. #75
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    comments

    Thursday, November 10, 2011
    *****************************************
    YOUR CHOICE
    ************************************************** ***
    There are no new or original ideas.
    We are all in the recycling business.
    I like to believe I have at no time recycled fascist crap
    in the name of patriotism or religion.
    *
    Faith is gut-driven.
    So are dogmas.
    Where the brain is marginalized,
    disaster is sure to follow.
    *
    Where there is faith,
    there will be intolerance.
    Where there are dogmas,
    there will be heresies.
    Where there are heretics,
    there will be persecution.
    You may now draw your own conclusions –
    or confusions.
    Your choice.
    #
    Friday, November 11, 2011
    *****************************************
    LIES
    ************************************************** ***
    Where there is power
    there will be propaganda;
    and where there is propaganda
    there will be lies.
    *
    We are told again and again that
    our Church played a key role
    in the survival of the nation.
    Listen to Raffi:
    “Our clergymen preached patience to us
    thus promoting subservience to the point of slavery…
    they have always been against individual freedom.”
    *
    As recently as the collapse of the Soviet Union,
    the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin opposed independence.
    *
    In Manuel Sarlisyantz’s A MODERN HISTORY
    OF TRANSCAUCASIAN ARMENIA (Leiden, 1975, page 326)
    we read:
    “The pro-Soviet Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan was, in 1944,
    appointed from Etchmiadzin to be
    Prelate of the Armenian Church in North America.
    He endorsed Communism as ‘leading to a Christian ideal’
    and had written that
    'what the clergy is…on the spiritual level,
    the Communist Party is on the worldly level
    of politics and economics.'”
    (See T. Nersoyan, A CHRISTIAN APPROACH
    TO COMMUNISM, [London, 1942, page 29].)
    #
    Saturday, November 12, 2011
    *****************************************
    LIES (II)
    ************************************************** ***
    Very early this morning
    when I was half asleep
    I heard someone say on the radio:
    “We havent’ had democracy in 20 years.”
    And I thought, we haven’t had it for 2000.
    *
    More often than not
    our choice is not between truth and lies
    but between big lies and bigger ones.
    *
    The cowardice of the many
    and the stupidity of the few:
    that’s the only way to explain our past.
    The rest is propaganda.
    *
    And now that I have spoken the truth
    I deserve a horse with which to gallop off
    in all directions
    in a cloud of dust.
    #

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