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Phrase from the Nearest Book Meme

My entry in the “phrase from the nearest book meme” meme. November 11, 2008 (Armistice Day)

Why not? Via Code Blog by Kees Cook as seen on Planet Debian:

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Problem is, I have two bookshelves directly behind me and so I have two that are equidistant.  And arbitrarily I chose the closest books on the shelves that are arm-reach level where I sit.


“Remember kids,” he tells them sternly.

— Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Not my fault that the author chose to put a full stop there.  Only because I am a nice guy will I give you the follow-up sentence at no charge:

“Don’t shoot each other.  Aim at the fragile, expensive stuff.”


The great hierophant, confronted with a thoroughly ambiguous symbol, is compelled, just because of his office as hierophant—that is, one who manifests the mystery—to “diminish the message to the dog”.

— The Master Therion (Aleister Crowley), The Book of Thoth

For that one, you are on your own.

That is all.

Just what is this ‘Chocolate Rain?’

My personal explication of the hit-meme and song ‘Chocolate Rain’ by TayZonday

First I’ll let you a link to the YouTube video if you’re not familiar. It’s here.

I’m keeping myself from posting the lyrics and trying to do a line-by-line interpretation, but I’ll do some quoting which I’ll separate for clarity.

And now I’ll press play and start. Thanks to TayZonday [site still under development, redirects to his YouTube account] for this song. People may criticize it for the repetition of the title lyric, but I think that it’s such a broad concept and its perpetual inclusion between the content lyrics just drives down what it’s really about.

Okay. Chocolate Rain is very much like the so-called American Dream. It’s this drive of nations and men toward wealth and power despite the consequences. Now here’s some of the lyric to back that up:

Some stay dry and others feel the pain
Build a tent and say the world is dry
Zoom the camera out and see the lie
Seldom mentioned on the radio
Its the fear your leaders call control
Worse than swearing worse than calling names
Say it publicly and you’re insane
Dirty secrets of economy
Turns that body into GDP
The bell curve blames the baby’s DNA
But test scores are how much the parents make
Which part do you think you’re ‘livin in?
More than ‘marchin more than passing law
Remake how we got to where we are.

Those are hopefully in order. Those were some of the major lines that brought me to the conclusion of ‘what is Chocolate Rain?’

It’s especially apparent in lines like Build a tent and say the world is dry. The implication being that most people focus mostly on themselves and if they are okay the world is okay. That’s a fair accusation, I think.

The chocolate rain that falls and we try to catch it is the other big clue here. Imagine you are in a field with 1,000 people and chocolate rain, or maybe a little more effective for my case, $100 bill rain, begins to fall. Look at the parade scene in the first Batman movie. People would start trampling each other for the value that is all around, even if, maybe especially if, there’s enough for everyone.

And that seems to be the nut of this song as far as I can tell. People I know and the internet I normally come across doesn’t especially discuss the meaning behind songs or works that much so I’d be interested in hearing your take on what this song means.



And people say there’s no girls on digg…

Musings on the origins of romance in the human psyche.

Saw this in my RSS reader from digg: Jesh de Rox

Not up my alley, even though it seems well done. You can actually feel the illusory reality emanate from that site. The false, imposed ambiance. It’s something along the lines of a brand. A meme.

It’s the same kind of symbolism the Church and MTV and Suicidegirls and the like have traded in for a long time. There’s a kind of developed sensitivity to these things… certain triggers get tripped to let you feel a certain way.

It’s Friday night and you’re off from work. You’re driving to the movies with friends. Nostalgia for the billion other times you’ve been to the movies. All of the feelings of all of those theaters and movies rushing around in that soupy brain.

You bask in the remembrance of popcorns-gone-by and the time some strange lady thought you were her son and sat next to you for half the movie after she came back from the bathroom.

Association — the so-called train of thought. Now entering ‘this-makes-you-feel-like-this-ville’ And we have a hard time dissociating the meme from the instance. It’s hard to tell a stupid war apart from the quintessential old war, the big one. The one where men died for a greater cause and not just some greedy fools. We don’t want to separate the instance from the idea because it risks acknowledging our own feebleness.

So we don’t. We embrace the romantic meme because it feels good and that song may be lame but it’s okay to be lame if you feel good. We ignore how utterly mundane NASCAR is because it reminds us of our grandfathers or our uncles. It makes us think of giant elephants stampeding down the valley like thunder gods.

We love god because when we were children the ceiling seemed a million feet high and god was up at the very top: the apex of the steeple was stuck in his door, it was his peep-hole and as long as we were there he was watching. We love god because mom used to say how golden we were dressed up and she used to smile and there was nothing warmer than mom’s smile on Sunday morning. In mom’s smile the world outside did not exist, it was foreign and inconceivable. All that existed was happiness.

So sure, feed your romance meme. I won’t judge you for it, or for NASCAR or church or whatever. But please, please recognize it for what it is when you’re outside of it. Be brave enough to come back to earth and live with us and call the war what it is, call the internal combustion engine what it is, call the diamond industry what it is.

Don’t be a sucker to the brand. Let the meme stand on its own, and let an industry be separate.