In The House Of Huge-An Atheist's Parable

The Following was originally posted at

Before he left, Damien grew up in a big house.

The house had ten bedrooms; one each for Damien, his two brothers, his two sisters, his mother and father, his mother’s parents and his father’s parents. The tenth bedroom was the family’s shrine to the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

On each wall of the house hung at least one portrait of the Invisible Pink Unicorn; praise was offered to It every night as thanks for a good meal (or a bad one, it depended on how sober Damien’s mother was) prayers were offered to It before sleep and, no matter what corner of the house Damien played in, he could always hear his grandparents muttering to themselves about It.

Damien was never allowed to leave the house. Continue reading


Fish (fly-replete in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! – Death eddies near –
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere beyond Space and Time,
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! Never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.

— Rupert Brooke

The Editorial Lash

Thomas Jefferson writhed under the criticisms of the Continental Congress as it reviewed his draft of the Declaration of Independence. Seeing this, Benjamin Franklin took him aside. “I have made it a rule,” he said, “whenever in my power, to avoid becoming the draftsman of papers to be reviewed by a public body. I took my lesson from an incident which I will relate to you.

“When I was a journeyman printer, one of my companions, an apprenticed hatter, having served out his time, was about to open shop for himself. His first concern was to have a handsome signboard, with a proper inscription. He composed it in these words: John Thompson, Hatter, makes and sells hats for ready money, with a figure of a hat subjoined. But he thought he would submit it to his friends for their amendments.

“The first he showed it to thought the word hatter tautologous, because followed by the words makes hats, which showed he was a hatter. It was struck out. The next observed that the word makes might as well be omitted, because his customers would not care who made the hats; if good and to their mind they would buy, by whomsoever made. He struck it out. A third said he thought the words for ready money were useless, as it was not the custom of the place to sell on credit. Every one who purchased expected to pay. They were parted with, and the inscription now stood, John Thompson sells hats. ‘Sells hats?’ says his next friend; ‘why, nobody will expect you to give them away. What, then, is the use of that word?’ It was stricken out, and hats followed, the rather as there was one painted on the board.

“So his inscription was ultimately reduced to John Thompson, with the figure of a hat subjoined.”

The Gentle Cynic

Maxims of Rochefoucauld:

  • “Before we passionately wish for anything, we should examine into the happiness of its possessor.”
  • “Were we perfectly acquainted with any object, we should never passionately desire it.”
  • “It is easier to appear worthy of the employments we are not possessed of, than of those we are.”
  • “Those who endeavor to imitate us we like much better than those who endeavor to equal us. Imitation is a sign of esteem but competition of envy.”
  • “We are often more agreeable through our faults than through our good qualities.”
  • “We easily excuse in our friends those faults that do not affect us.”
  • “None are either so happy or so unhappy as they imagine.”
  • “Censorious as the world is, it oftener does favor to false merit than injustice to true.”
  • “Absence destroys small passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes tapers, and kindles fires.”
  • “We never desire ardently what we desire rationally.”
  • “Our self-love bears with less patience the condemnation of our taste than of our opinion.”

And “Why have we memory sufficient to retain the minutest circumstances that have happened to us; and yet not enough to remember how often we have related them to the same person?”