The sun’s going down on Fort Sumner
and the dust devils are blowing o’er his grave
he sleeps in the yard behind the wire fence
and I’ve thought of him most of the day

John Hartford/Traditional, Billy the Kid


In America a hundred years is a long time. In Europe a hundred miles is a long distance.

Richard Thompson


Well, I give up. Can’t win against fools.

Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke


Otherwise business here continues as though nothing untoward has taken place. The ships that arrived from India are being unloaded, the merchants ply their trade and go to sea; it is the nobility and soldiers alone who have perished. No merchant has suffered thereby since they all stayed behind. The four regents whom the king appointed to rule the kingdom in his absence were ratified in their office by the Cardinal. The Government and Officials deal with the people in so friendly a manner that everyone is astounded thereat. In spite of these terrible tidings no riots have occurred and if a stranger, who had never been here before came to the city, he would swear by all that is holy that no ill-fortune has befallen this kingdom for a hundred years.

Anonymous, Fugger News Letter from Lisbon, August 22 & 25, 1578


Here I am sitting at a comfortable table loaded heavily with books, with one eye on my typewriter and the other on Licorice the cat, who has a great fondness for carbon paper, and I am telling you that the Emperor Napoleon was a most contemptible person. But should I happen to look out of the window, down upon Seventh Avenue, and hear the sound of heavy drums and see the little man on his white horse, in his old and much-worn green uniform, then I don’t know, but I am afraid that I would leave my books and the kitten and my home and everything else to follow him wherever he cared to lead. My own grandfather did this and Heaven knows he was not born to be a hero.

Hendrik Willem van Loon


You recall a girl
That’s been
In nearly every song

Buddy Holly, Peggy Sue Got Married


I cannot bring a world quite round
although I patch it as I can

Wallace Stevens, The Man With The Blue Guitar


And he told stories, tracing with his finger in the dust, of the immense and sumptuous ritual of the avalanche-guarded cathedrals, of processions and devil-dances; of the changing of monks and nuns into swine; of holy cities fifteen thousand feet in the air; of the intrigue between monastery and monastery; of voices among the hills, and of that mysterious mirage that dances on dry snow.

Rudyard Kipling, Kim


Alas, ’tis true I have gone here and there
As a decrepit father takes delight
As an unperfect actor on the stage
As fast as thou shalt wane

Shakespeare, First four opening lines of the sonnets arranged in alphabetical order


Then he turned and headed straight for home, but he took the long way, around the world.

Fritz Lieber, Gonna Roll The Bones


The image of a free constitution was maintained with a decent reverence.

Gibbon, Decline & Fall of The Roman Empire


These are the days that must happen to you

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road


I’m going out where the lights aren’t so bright
When I get back you can treat me like a Saturday night

Townes Van Zandt, Treat Me Like A Saturday Night


Cold has a thousand shapes and a thousand ways of moving in the world: On the sea it gallops like a troop of horses, on the countryside it falls like a swarm of locusts, in the cities like a knife blade it slashed the streets and penetrates the chinks of unheated houses.

Italo Calvino, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler


You can train older men to be soldiers; It’s done in every major war. But you can never get them to believe that they like it.

Gwynne Dyer, War


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken, Prejudices


I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. … I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC (Ret.)


Always told you
I’d be coming back
In a Cadillac

Eddie Hinton, Letter From Mississippi


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The Ministry of Culture is a blog (duh!) about whatever interests me, a professional journalist. It looks at current events, culture -- rock & roll, literature, roller derby, opera, comedy -- military history and whatever else crosses my path. All opinions are my own.


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