We get twitted now and then on how we made this country. Well, we took the whole business, of course. It's not just that corner that we took from Mexico. When we got it all together, we got a very shapely country-the best continental cut in all the world, between the two oceans and in the right temperature zone.
The truth is that trout fishermen scheme and lie and toss in their sleep. They dream of great dripping trout, shapely and elusive as mermaids, and arise cranky and haggard from their fantasies. They are moody and neglectful and all of them a little daft. Moreover they are inclined to drink too much.
John D. Voelker
My hair was curly, and everyone else's was straight or in micro braids. I didn't have a lot of money, so I shopped at thrift stores. And I'm petite - I never looked shapely. I remember thinking, 'Will I ever have that stereotypical round, full butt that people think most black women have? I had to find another way to feel good about myself.
She assumes that skill will guide her fingertips, that shapely lines will uncoil out of the pencil the moment she starts. Surely talent is a thing curled deep inside, just waiting to be exercised, and at the slightest invitation it will stretch, shake itself, make itself known? Talent, it seems, is not so insistent.
Dim loneliness came imperceivably into the fields and he turned back. The birds piped oddly; some wind was caressing the higher foliage, turning it all one way, the way home. Telegraph poles ahead looked like half-used pencils; the small cross on the steeple glittered with a sharp and shapely permanence.
A. E. Coppard
It was an evil doom that set her in his path. For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. (Aragorn talking of Eowyn, in the Houses of Healing)
J. R. R. Tolkien
Then your tail will divide and shrink until it becomes what the people on earth call a pair of shapely legs. But it will hurt; it will feel as if a sharp sword slashed through you. Everyone who sees you will say that you are the most graceful human being they have ever laid eyes on, for you will keep your gliding movement and no dancer will be able to tread as lightly as you. But every step you take will feel as if you were treading upon knife blades so sharp that blood must flow. I am willing to help you, but are you willing to suffer all this?" "Yes, " the little mermaid said in a trembling voice, as she thought of the Prince and of gaining a human soul.
Hans Christian Andersen
I have a terrible weakness for collecting snatches of other people's conversations, and occasionally I'm rewarded with unusual fragments of knowledge. My favorite of the day came from a large but shapely woman sitting nearby whom I learned was the owner of a local lingerie shop. 'Beh oui,' she said to her companion, waving her spoon for emphasis, 'il faut du temps pour la corsetterie.' You can't argue with that. I made a mental note not to rush things next time I was shopping for a corset, and leaned back to allow the waiter through with the next course.
The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lorien, there was no stain.
How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman's lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow. Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no - they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.
It was Jaenelle's voice, but... She was medium height, slender, and fair-skinned. Her gold mane-not quite hair and not quite fur-was brushed up and back from her exotic face and didn't hide the delicately pointed ears. In the center of her forehead was a tiny, spiral horn. A narrow strip of gold fur traced her spine, ending in a small gold and white fawn tail that flicked over her bare buttocks. The legs were human and shapely, but changed below the calf. Instead of feet, she had dainty horse's hooves. Her human hands had sheathed claws like a cat's. As she shifted position to slip another shard into place, he saw the small, round breasts, the feminine curve of waist and hips, the dark-gold triangle of hair between her legs. Who... ? But he knew. Even before she walked over and looked at him, even before he saw the feral intelligence in those ancient, haunted sapphire eyes, he knew. Terrifying and beautiful. Human and Other. Gentle and violent. Innocent and wise. I am Witch, she said, a small, defiant quiver in her voice. I know. His voice had a seductive throb in it, a hunger he couldn't control or mask.
Here's what happens when a single mom meets New York City's hottest fireman... 'Then... seductively... as if he received instruction not from the FDNY's training school but at Chippendale's... he slowly inches each suspender off his bare shoulders.' 'You must know that exhilarating feeling of a man's body on top of yours, all that power and muscle pressing you into the bed, the glorious taste of his tongue in your mouth, the manly scent that washes over you and makes you want to melt underneath him.' 'Let's not forget about his nine inches of shapely fireman hose dangling so close in front of my face the scent launches me into a blissful fever.' 'Every place he touches contradicts his chosen profession, because instead of putting out a fire he surely starts one.' 'I'm so darn helpless in the arms of this powerful, young, ripped personification of New York's Bravest that I feel myself about to erupt in the most earth shattering explosion since Mount Vesuvius last announced her presence.' 'I wonder if he could be enticed to show us a few maneuvers on the brass pole.' 'He orchestrates his own personal opera, inspiring high notes with kisses and licks along my elongated nipples, and deep moans with hands that caress my belly.' 'We are drawn uncontrollably to each other and have no power to resist, only the tremendous desire to experience everything in its most intense form.
If you imagine the 4, 500-bilion-odd years of Earth's history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 A.M., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 P.M. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 P.M. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow. Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11 P.M. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flash-bulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It's a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.
If you imagine the 4,500-bilion-odd years of Earth's history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 A.M., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 P.M. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 P.M. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow. Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11 P.M. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flash-bulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It's a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.
Speak to me about power. What is it?' I do believe I'm being out-Cambridged. 'You want me to discuss power? Right here and now?' Her shapely head tilts. 'No time except the present.' 'Okay.' Only for a ten. 'Power is the ability to make someone do what they otherwise wouldn't, or deter them from doing what they otherwise would.' Immaculee Constantin is unreadable. 'How?' 'By coercion and reward. Carrots and sticks, though in bad light one looks much like the other. Coercion is predicated upon the fear of violence or suffering. 'Obey, or you'll regret it.' Tenth-century Danes exacted tribute by it; the cohesion of the Warsaw Pact rested upon it; and playground bullies rule by it. Law and order relies upon it. That's why we bang up criminals and why even democracies seek to monopolize force.' Immaculee Constantin watches my face as I talk; it's thrilling and distracting. 'Reward works by promising 'Obey and benefit.' This dynamic is at work in, let's say, the positioning of NATO bases in nonmember states, dog training, and putting up with a shitty job for your working life. How am I doing?' Security Goblin's sneeze booms through the chapel. 'You scratch the surface, ' says Immaculee Constantin. I feel lust and annoyance. 'Scratch deeper, then.' She brushes a tuft of fluff off her glove and appears to address her hand: 'Power is lost or won, never created or destroyed. Power is a visitor to, not a possession of, those it empowers. The mad tend to crave it, many of the sane crave it, but the wise worry about its long-term side effects. Power is crack cocaine for your ego and battery acid for your soul. Power's comings and goings, from host to host, via war, marriage, ballot box, diktat, and accident of birth, are the plot of history. The empowered may serve justice, remodel the Earth, transform lush nations into smoking battlefields, and bring down skyscrapers, but power itself is amoral.' Immaculee Constantin now looks up at me. 'Power will notice you. Power is watching you now. Carry on as you are, and power will favor you. But power will also laugh at you, mercilessly, as you lie dying in a private clinic, a few fleeting decades from now. Power mocks all its illustrious favorites as they lie dying. 'Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay, might stop a hole to keep the wind away.' That thought sickens me, Hugo Lamb, like nothing else. Doesn't it sicken you?