The Archives

  • 2018 (1)
  • 2016 (9)
  • 2015 (1)
  • 2014 (59)
  • 2013 (286)
  • 2012 (73)
  • 2011 (14)
  • 2010 (30)
  • 2009 (101)
  • 2008 (88)

The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

More of Doug's books »
Doug's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Time Since Reboot

  • 1252 days, 3 hours, 31 minutes, 44 seconds ago

Every Field is a Battlefield (Quotations)

Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.

~ John Green

I finally managed to try to do away with myself, as neatly and concisely as possible…

~ Francesca Woodman

The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

~ Andy Warhol

I am going to try speaking some reckless words, and I want you to listen to them recklessly. How will that be?

~ Chuang Tzu

Reality demands
that we also mention this:
Life goes on.
It continues at Cannae and Borodino,
at Kosovo Polje and Guernica.

There’s a gas station
on a little square in Jericho,
and wet paint
on park benches in Bila Hora.
Letters fly back and forth
between Pearl Harbor and Hastings,
a moving van passes
beneath the eye of the lion at Chaeronea,
and the blooming orchards near Verdun
cannot escape
the approaching atmospheric front.

There is so much Everything
that Nothing is hidden quite nicely.
Music pours
from the yachts moored at Actium
and couples dance on the sunlit decks.

So much is always going on,
that it must be going on all over.
Where not a stone still stands,
you see the Ice Cream Man
besieged by children.
Where Hiroshima had been
Hiroshima is again,
producing many products
for everyday use.
This terrifying world is not devoid of charms,
of the mornings
that make waking up worthwhile.

The grass is green
on Maciejowice’s fields,
and it is studded with dew,
as is normal grass.

Perhaps all fields are battlefields,
those we remember
and those that are forgotten:
the birch forests and the cedar forests,
the snow and the sand, the iridescent swamps
and the canyons of black defeat,
where now, when the need strikes, you don’t cower
under a bush but squat behind it.

What moral flows from this? Probably none.
Only that blood flows, drying quickly,
and, as always, a few rivers, a few clouds.

On tragic mountain passes
the wind rips hats from unwitting heads
and we can’t help
laughing at that.

Wisława Szymborska

I’m lonely so I do lonely things.

~ Warsan Shire

Jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.

~ Ray Bradbury

I believe that it is bracing and vital to live in a world in which we do not know all the answers. I believe that we are inspired and goaded on by what we don’t understand. And I hope that there will always be an edge between the known and the unknown, beyond which lies strangeness and unpredictability and life.

~ Alan Lightman

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

~ Ansel Adams

I never wanted to be well-rounded, and I do not admire well-rounded people nor their work. So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people. The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design.

~ Harry Crews

Elvis Costello: Nashville 2014

One more off the bucket list – I’ve now seen Elvis Costello live in concert (and at the Ryman again… the site of last year’s incredible Nick Cave experience).  The personal history?  I discovered Mr. Costello in college and quickly devoured every album he’d ever released.  I fell in love with his razor sharp lyrical wit – the way he could turn romantic spite into poetry.  Those CDs played in my my car on many a journey (and often when I was feeling a tad spiteful myself… what can I say… misery and company and all that).  Saturday night, he played unaccompanied with the exception of the first encore and the final song of the night, which he performed with the help of his opening act, Larkin Poe.  I won’t go any further on the topic of how beautiful the fiery, angelic Rebecca Lovell – lead singer and guitar/mandolin player – is (because my wife reads this blog.  Hi honey!).  Elvis mostly talked at the audience rather than bantering with them, but he was humorous and self-effacing.  It was a fun night and the song selection was stellar.  A surprising fact: Elvis Costello has beautiful hands.  I mean they’re immaculate.  He has the hands of a 15-year-old boy.  Weird.  

The setlist:

Jack of All Parades
King Horse
Either Side of the Same Town
Watch Your Step
Cheap Reward
Poison Moon
New Amsterdam / You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Ascension Day
The Last Year of My Youth
Come the Meantimes
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
Ghost Train
Beyond Belief
Watching the Detectives
Church Underground
Our Little Angel
Quiet About it


Pads, Paws and Claws
Goin’ Back
Love Field
Long Distance Love
Hoover Factory
Withered And Died
Blame It on Cain

Encore 2:

Jimmie Standing in the Rain / Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding 

The photographs:









Fourteen Photographers

A collection of photographs I have come across in the internet’s vast expanse.  As always, mouse over the picture for the artist’s name and click to check out their portfolios or other source/presence on the web.  Enjoy.



System Reboot

I always start with such lofty intentions, but over the past year or so I’ve allowed myself in almost imperceptibly incremental stages to slide back into fuck-it mode.  And it’s so easy when your mind can identify all kinds of excuses for your actions – some genuinely traumatic, some just elevated to a critical state due to your closeness to the situation.  Skewed reality.  Selfishness.  Then I look back to when I first relocated back to Birmingham and all the positive changes I’d implemented – I was exercising every day, for example, with lungs capable of processing a full, beautiful breath of oxygen.  I liked where I was.  And now I examine that me and wonder how I got back to this reckless slob mentality.  

I was reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters this week when I earmarked this quote:

Fuck me. I’m so tired of being me. Me beautiful. Me ugly. Blonde. Brunette. A million fucking fashion makeovers that only leave me trapped being me. … Everything before now, before now, before now, is just a story I carry around. I guess that would apply to anybody in the world. What I need is a new story about who I am. … What I need to do is fuck up so bad I can’t save myself.

 “Well, shit.”  That’s the path I was heading down.  Luckily I’m a compulsive collector of quotes.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

~ Gautama Buddha


The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Which, if you’re paying attention, is very similar to Bear Bryant’s daily devotional that he carried in his wallet:

This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever
Leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not loss – good, not evil,
success, not failure – in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.

And finally, from this Thursday’s “Tip of the fucking day

Every new day is another chance to change your life.

So there you have it.  I’ve been wallowing – poor me, my life isn’t what I envisioned for it.  I’ve been angry at life, at death, at my past, at injustice.  No more.  Yesterday is the official day I’ve implemented new rules for the system.  You will now see one new element in the sidebar: a timer counting up from the implementation date.  Not a pat on the back, but an accountability tool.  If I break a rule, it reverts to zero.  I will not break a rule.  And those things that bother me will probably still bother me.  My insecurities will be there.  My rage at the inevitable will be there.  My dissatisfaction will be there.  But my responses to any of those things will be positive.  And that is all I am going to say about that.  Except that for those who love me, know that you are loved also – and that your opinions count.  

Much much more to come, ladies, gentlemens, readers, lurkers.  Stay tuned.