… that today is the birthday of Angela Merkel (1954)? Angela Dorothea Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as Leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 and as Leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2000 to 2018. A member of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany.
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“Make someone smile every day. But never forget that you are someone too.”
Comedy is catharsis. When a comedian gets the audience to laugh with them at a difficult topic, all involved can feel understood, and even relieved to know others share their feelings. Comedy also helps people see past double standards, hypocrisy, and all manner of social ills. The best stand-up routines help the audience have a realization about a societal or personal issue by using humor to paint it in a new light. Especially over the last several years, comedians have used their stand-up specials to process weighty topics such as grief, loss, divorce, and profound fears about life — and often, these observations are just as cathartic for the audience as the person standing on stage. Many comedians are able to communicate deep messages and insights alongside their gut-busting jokes, as these 22 quotes from stand-up comedians attest.
There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself. – Hannah Gadsby, “Nanette,” 2018
You’re only given a little spark of madness and if you lose that, you’re nothing. – Robin Williams, “A Night at the Roxy,” 1978
Every generation is defined by a great struggle or tragedy. And it’s wild that our kids will never know there was a period of time, in this country, where you had to make a choice between being online or being on the phone. – Hasan Minhaj, “Homecoming King,” 2017
I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it. – Bo Burnham, “Make Happy,” 2016
It’s a great gift, being alive… And I’m sober and that I’m not doing drugs, that’s a damn good accomplishment… I’m ahead. – Richard Pryor, “Richard Pryor… Here and Now,” 1983
I cannot express how important it is to believe that taking one tiny — and possibly very uncomfortable — step at a time can ultimately add up to a great distance. – Tig Notaro, “I’m Just a Person,” 2016
I’ve never really thought of myself as depressed so much as paralyzed by hope. – Maria Bamford, “The Now Show,” 2006
I finally understand that it’s OK to be a little afraid of things but that obsessing over them does not mean you have any more control over what you fear. – Jen Kirkman, “I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids,” 2013
Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. – George Carlin
The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are. – Amy Poehler, “Yes Please,” 2014
I will always try to be happy. I don’t think people really understand the value of happiness until they know what it’s like to be in that very, very dark place. It’s not romantic. Not even a little. – Sarah Silverman, “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee,” 2010
We should forgive the ones of us that are weaker and support the ones of us that are stronger. And then we can beat the thing. – Dave Chappelle, “The Bird Revelation,” 2017
I wear my mistakes like badges of honor, and I celebrate them. – Amy Schumer, “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo,” 2016
Do your thing and don’t care if they like it. – Tina Fey, “Bossypants,” 2011
The act of creation fascinates me. You can only sit with a blank page and wait. You cannot press a button, cannot program it. – Joan Rivers, Enter Talking, 1987
Your perceived failure can become the catalyst for profound reinvention. – Conan O’Brien, “Dartmouth College Commencement Address,” 2011
Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are. – Ellen DeGeneres, “Seriously… I’m Kidding,” 2011
The best stories in the world to me are the ones that elicit a real emotion, but have humor. – Jim Carrey, interview in “The Guardian,” 2008
College was like a four-year game show of “Do my friends hate me, or do I just need to go to sleep?” – John Mulaney, “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City,” 2018
All of us hate ourselves on some level. That’s not weird, just so you know. – James Acaster, “Reset,” 2018
I just want to feel what it feels like to have male confidence. – Chelsea Peretti, “Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats,” 2014
Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most important, laugh at yourself. – Chelsea Handler, “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea,” 2008
11 Inspiring Quotes From Classic Sunday Comic StripsMay 10, 2021
Nothing says nostalgic, lazy weekend mornings quite like reading the Sunday funnies. Whether at the kitchen table, spread out belly-down on the living room floor, or kicking back in the family room, there’s never a right or wrong way to enjoy comic strips like Calvin & Hobbes or Peanuts. Beyond just giving us iconic characters such as Snoopy, Garfield, and Dilbert, these Sunday comics also contain troves of wisdom tucked into their multi-paneled strips — courtesy of the wise yet childlike cartoonists behind them.
Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, spoke of the importance of approaching every day with curiosity, just like his two titular characters, in a 1990 commencement speech at Kenyon College. “A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun,” he said. “If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experiences, I think you’ll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.”
Charles M. Schulz, who created the much-beloved comic strip Peanuts, had this to say about the importance of levity: “If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.”
We’ve compiled 11 of the most inspiring quotes straight from the speech and thought bubbles of our favorite comic strip characters. Because who doesn’t love a good pick-me-up, whether or not it’s a Sunday morning.
Everyone seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria! — Calvin, from “Calvin & Hobbes,” on expectations
You can’t hurry love or pizza. Especially pizza. — Snoopy, from “Peanuts,” on love
Just remember… if things look hopeless, maybe you’re facing the wrong direction! — Ziggy, from “Ziggy,” on having the right attitude
Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon. — Charlie Brown, from “Peanuts,” on pacing
Calvin: They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing his lines. Hobbes: Maybe that’s why it’s hard to tell if we’re living in a tragedy or a farce. Calvin: We need more special effects and dance numbers. — Calvin and Hobbes, from “Calvin & Hobbes,” on the tragicomedy of life
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘What can I do to keep my life from going by so fast?’ Then a voice comes to me that says, “Try slowing down at the corners.” — Charlie Brown, from “Peanuts,” on the speed of life
I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to really re-examine your life. — Calvin, from “Calvin & Hobbes,” on finding the joys in life
Life is like a hot bath: It feels good while you’re in it, but the longer you stay, the more wrinkled you get. — Garfield the cat, from “Garfield,” on the experience of life and living
The problem with people is that they’re only human. — Hobbes, from “Calvin & Hobbes,” on the limitations of humanity
Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind. — Linus Van Pelt, from “Peanuts,” on an easy way to clear the mind
They say the best way is just to live one day at a time. If you try to live seven days at a time, the week will be over before you know it. — Sally Brown, from “Peanuts,” on living in the moment
10 of the Best Final Lines in LiteratureApril 19, 2021
10 of the Best Final Lines in LiteratureApril 19, 2021
Different authors take different approaches to ending their novels. The prolific Joyce Carol Oates, for example, believes “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” Novelist and playwright Colm Tóibín, on the other hand, suggests that “Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep — it can’t be done abruptly.” Science-fiction author Frank Herbert, meanwhile, keeps it simple: “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
Whatever the approach, nailing the ending is arguably the trickiest part of any story: If an author comes up short with their finale, the reader will be left unsatisfied at best, or angry at worst. The following closing lines are often considered among the finest in literature, whether they are happy or sad, hopeful or hopeless, and in some cases simply heart-wrenching. And, yes: spoiler alert.
He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance. – “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley, 1818
Regretful of his actions and companionless after the loss of his creator, the Monster states his intention to kill himself, now that he is reconciled with death. He pushes himself off on an ice raft into the darkness of the Arctic Ocean, to die alone in isolation. But wait: No one actually sees the Monster die. Is he still out there? It’s a sad ending, but it’s a classic horror finale.
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before. – “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, 1884
So here we stand, at the end of a great adventure, with Huck ready to set off on further escapades rather than go back to Aunt Sally and be civilized. It seems simple at first, but the ending of Huckleberry Finn is ambiguous, a fact that has led to much commentary and analysis. Is Huck simply fated to a life on the frontier and a potentially futile quest for American freedom? Will he end up a cog in the idea of Manifest Destiny, perhaps playing a part in the subjugation of Native Americans? Is he no real hero at all, just a morally conflicted boy? Twain leaves this for the reader to decide.
The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness. – “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, 1899
Heart of Darkness ends geographically where it began: with the crew of the Nellie anchored on the River Thames, looking at London. The ominous ending, however, brings about a symbolic reversal. The journey into the Congo was supposedly a trip into the heart of darkness, but now Conrad presents London as that dark core, a center of European imperialism and moral bankruptcy.
I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another… then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. – “Ulysses” by James Joyce, 1922
Joyce’s epic experimental work ends with a sentence that’s actually 3,687 words long, which is a bit long to include here in its entirety. It is the end of Molly Bloom’s stream of consciousness soliloquy, which, like the novel itself, is near impenetrable for some readers and one of the greatest things ever written for others. In these final lines, Molly reminisces about when she first met Leopold Bloom and knew she was in love with him, accepting him with an enthusiastic “yes I said yes I will Yes.”
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. – “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Arguably the most famous closing line in literature, these words bring the reader back to the theme of memories of the past and their relationship with dreams of the future. And, specifically, the American dream, about which the novel is cynical. It’s a downbeat ending, finishing with a continued struggle, the boat going against the current, never able to move beyond the past.
Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. – “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, 1927
Woolf’s modernist masterpiece unfolds through the shifting perspectives of each character’s consciousness. Through their thoughts and observations, we see the vast spaces that must be crossed to connect with another human. But while the characters’ attempts to bring about any order to life fall short, it is Lily’s final, exhausted brush stroke that sets down her vision, bringing a semblance of order and permanency through art.
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. – “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, 1945
The 19th-century British politician, Lord Acton, famously wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This concept is echoed in the last line of Animal Farm, as the farm animals watch the humans and pigs eat dinner together. They can no longer tell the pigs and humans apart: The pigs have become as oppressive as the human farmers, corrupted by their newfound power. It’s a bleak commentary on political systems.
He loved Big Brother. – “1984” by George Orwell, 1949
Orwell ends 1984 with one of the most devastating final lines in literature. The rebel Winston Smith, finally broken, looks at an image of Big Brother and experiences a sense of victory because he now loves his oppressor. It is an unbearably bleak ending — but is there some hope? Margaret Atwood, author of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, has a slightly more optimistic theory.
Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. – “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger, 1951
The novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is still struggling with alienation, angst, and communication right up until the end. But there seems to be a small ray of hope in the very last sentence. Rather than dismiss everyone who he has come across during the novel, Holden now acknowledges that he does value — and miss — some people.
The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off. – “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, 1961
For some 450 pages, Yossarian is caught in the Catch-22: the maddening idea that a soldier can’t plead insanity to escape the war, because wanting to escape the war is completely sane. With the final line, however, Yossarian finally breaks free.
Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days;
MIDDLE EAST & ASIAPakistanOn 14th July, a bus carrying a group of Chinese nationals was destroyed following an explosion on a road in the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Nine Chinese nationals, two Pakistani military personnel, and one Pakistani civilian were killed in the incident. The cause of the explosion is not clear but is believed to have been caused by a roadside IED planted by an unidentified militant group. Pakistan hosts a number of militant groups in areas close to the Afghan border, with attacks targeting civilian and military assets being common. Whilst many groups in Pakistan oppose the influence of foreign companies in tribal areas, Baloch militant groups in particular have explicitly targeted Chinese personnel working on energy and infrastructure projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC.) However, attacks carried out by Baloch groups are generally carried out within Balochistan itself, rather than in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, suggesting the involvement of another group in the 14th July attack. Initial reports have speculated that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group may be responsible, as the group is believed to be showing signs of a resurgence in Pakistan. The group has also shown willingness to target Chinese personnel, such as the April 2021 attack targeting the Serena Hotel in Quetta, allegedly aimed at targeting a Chinese Ambassador.
EUROPEGermany, Netherlands and BelgiumThe current floods in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium have led to over 100 dead across these countries at the time of writing. During these floods, it has been noticed that environmental activists – predominantly Extinction Rebellion members and supporters – have begun to circulate rhetoric of the floods being an example of its ‘Climate Crisis’ or ‘Climate Emergency’ narratives. Extinction Rebellion often use their narratives to justify direct action protests against businesses – usually businesses in the energy, mining and the financial sectors – as well as government bodies to push for increased regulations and taxation. With these recent floods exacting such a high death toll in such a short period of time, it is possible that in the coming weeks Extinction Rebellion groups will use the current floods to call for and execute increased protests against energy, mining, and the financial firms across the continent. Businesses in the mining, energy, and financial sectors can anticipate protests outside their head offices and possible attempts to carry out direct actions such as vandalism or attempts to occupy offices.
AFRICASouth AfricaAt least 117 have died and more than 2,000 arrested following high levels of civil unrest in South Africa following the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma. Most cases of riots and looting were reported in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. Hundreds of shopping malls, factories and warehouses have been damaged or destroyed. Dozens of trucks were set alight on the key N3 highway that connects Johannesburg to Durban and a force majeure was also declared on the NATCOR freight line that connects that connects Durban to the Gauteng Province. Inter-communal tensions also increased, notably in northern Durban, with communities arming themselves to ward off looters. Although tensions remain high in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, the levels of civil unrest in both provinces have dropped since 14th July with the military sent in to support the police in volatile areas. Operations have also improved slightly at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay and clean-up and rebuilding campaigns are gaining momentum. With supply chains heavily impacted and both provinces facing shortages of critical supplies – potentially causing further violence – armed police convoys will transport critical aid to KwaZulu-Natal. The risk of violence spreading to Western Cape Province has been played down by Premier Alan Winde. Click here to read more on our blog about what’s driving the protests in South Africa.
NORTH AMERICASan Antonio de los Baños, CubaProtests broke out in San Antonio de los Baños in western Cuba on 11th July and quickly spread to cities and towns nationwide. A sharp contraction in the economy due to the pandemic, along with increasing COVID-19 deaths and a shortage of basic foods, medicines, and goods sent thousands of anti-government protesters to the streets to call for an end to Communism. In response president Diaz-Canel, predictably blaming U.S. sanctions and counter-revolutionaries, called for supporters of the regime and security forces to retake the streets, leading to clashes in which at least one man was killed and several injured in Havana and the disappearance of around 160 protesters nationwide. The regime also shut down internet access and selectively crippled communication to prevent protesters organising through social media and sharing information with the outside world. In an attempt to quell the dissent, prime minister Manuel Marrero Cruz announced the temporary suspension of import duties on food and medicine brought in by travellers. Although a rare concession from the government, the move is regarded as far too little to make an impact on the problems facing Cuba. Whilst president Biden has voiced support for the protesters it remains unlikely that the U.S. will intervene or move to ease the sanctions reimposed by the Trump administration. Lacking any significant foreign aid and with no sign of the pandemic easing, further unrest in Cuba will likely be met with an increasingly repressive response from a Communist regime that lacks the ability to do otherwise.
SOUTH AMERICAChileOn 9th July 2021, a group of Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) gunmen opened fire on employees of Forestal Mininco and torched three of the company’s vehicles in Carahua, a commune located in the region of La Araucanía. Police officers responding to the incident shot and killed one of the attackers. Initial rumours suggested that the deceased attacker was the son of CAM leader Héctor Llaitul. However, Chilean authorities have since denied this claim and identified the victim as Pablo Marchant. The incident immediately sparked retaliatory attacks by Mapuche gunmen across the Chilean regions of La Araucanía, Bío Bío and Los Ríos. Trucks were torched to block highways, shots were fired at police and more forestry companies were attacked. Additionally, Mapuche supporters across Chile took to the streets to remember Pablo Marchant, including in the capital of Santiago.
️️️ THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Video Series A video series that takes a closer look at key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.
How will Brexit impact Northern Ireland? In the latest episode of The Insight video series, Scott MacDonald, our subject matter expert on Northern Ireland, and Regional Intelligence Analyst gives an overview of the true impact that Brexit will have on the country and its economy in light of recent backlash from new post-Brexit trading rules.
… that today is Amazon.com Launch Day? In 1994, the Internet phenomenon Amazon.com was launched as a bookselling site. It rang up sales of $12,438 in the first week and losses close to a billion dollars in five years. Today, Amazon has an estimated worth of $314.9 billion!
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“Know this: You are not responsible for the versions of you that exist in other people’s minds.”