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There are so many peo­ple ask­ing ques­tions

Geist - - Features - Rob Kovitz

A Cou­ple of Ques­tions

“Hello there, young man, do you mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?” “Okay.”

Libby Hughes, Se­ri­ous Fun with White House Se­crets and State Depart­ment Antics

“I’m DS Clarke, this is DI Re­bus,” Siobhan said. “Mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?”

Ian Rankin, A Ques­tion of Blood

Just then, po­lice chief Ethan Rodgers and sher­iff Hal Ben­son walked into the wait­ing room. They headed straight for Cate and Rand.

“Morn­ing,” the chief said. “Mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?”

Cate looked from one new­comer to the other, then to Rand and fi­nally back to the chief. “You mean me?”

Ginny Aiken, Some­one to Trust There are so many peo­ple ask­ing ques­tions ev­ery­where.

There is the bloody blind­man, and the an­gry one,

and the dis­heart­ened one, and the wretch, the thorn tree, the ban­dit with envy on his back. Pablo Neruda, Ode to Fed­eric Gar­cia Lorca (Res­i­dence on Earth)

Cat­e­chism of Coal is in­tended for that great num­ber of in­tel­li­gent read­ers who have no tech­ni­cal train­ing, and yet who pre­fer to seek knowl­edge by read­ing spe­cial sub­jects rather than fic­tion. A large pro­por­tion of these have nei­ther the time nor the in­cli­na­tion to pe­ruse the vo­lu­mi­nous ge­o­log­i­cal and sta­tis­ti­cal re­ports of the coal in­dus­try in the United States, or to study the pon­der­ous vol­umes of gath­ered wis­dom by tech­ni­cal ex­perts.

Their time is usu­ally fully oc­cu­pied with the cares of busi­ness and of­ten with the fa­tigue of man­ual la­bor, and their hours for quiet read­ing or study are few and most pre­cious. For these, the fol­low­ing plain ques­tions and di­rect au­thor­i­ta­tive an­swers have been de­signed with a re­al­iz­ing sense of the read­ers’ wants and as­pi­ra­tions. The task con­sci­en­tiously as­sumed by the writer has been to ver­ify all the an­swers by re­fer­ring to com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties.

Wil­liam Jasper Ni­colls, Coal Cat­e­chism

I was ques­tioned sev­eral times im­me­di­ately af­ter my ar­rest. But they were all for­mal ex­am­i­na­tions, as to my iden­tity and so forth. At the first of these, which took place at the po­lice sta­tion, no­body seemed to have much in­ter­est in the case. How­ever, when I was brought be­fore the ex­am­in­ing mag­is­trate a week later, I no­ticed that he eyed me with dis­tinct cu­rios­ity. Like the oth­ers, he be­gan by ask­ing my name, ad­dress, and oc­cu­pa­tion, the date and place of my birth. Then he in­quired if I had cho­sen a lawyer to de­fend me. I an­swered, “No,” I hadn’t thought about it, and asked him if it was re­ally nec­es­sary for me to have one.

“Why do you ask that?” he said.

Al­bert Ca­mus, The Stranger

Note—wher­ever in the fore­go­ing pages ex­pla­na­tions have been omit­ted af­ter cer­tain ques­tions or an­swers it is be­cause the mat­ter they con­tain has been ex­plained in some pre­ced­ing ques­tion, or is to be ex­plained in some fol­low­ing ques­tion, or is clear enough in it­self with­out ex­pla­na­tion. The ex­pla­na­tions of such ques­tions or an­swers can be eas­ily found by re­fer­ring to the in­dex.

Thomas L. Kinkead, Bal­ti­more Cat­e­chism, No. 4: An Ex­pla­na­tion of the Bal­ti­more Cat­e­chism of Chris­tian Doc­trine for the Use of Sun­day-school Teach­ers and Ad­vanced Classes

Apro­pos: it’s all very well, this in­struc­tion of Al­sana’s to look at the thing close up; to look at it dead straight be­tween the eyes; an un­flinch­ing and hon­est stare, a metic­u­lous in­spec­tion that would go be­yond the heart of the mat­ter to its mar­row; be­yond the mar­row to the root—but the ques­tion is how far back do you want? How far will do? The old Amer­i­can ques­tion: what do you want—blood? Most prob­a­bly more than blood is re­quired: whis­pered asides; lost con­ver­sa­tions; medals and pho­to­graphs; lists and cer­tifi­cates, yel­low­ing pa­per bear­ing the faint im­print of brown dates. Back, back, back. Well, all right, then.

Zadie Smith, White Teeth Where am I?

That’s my first ques­tion, af­ter an age of lis­ten­ing. From it (when it hasn’t been an­swered) I’ll re­bound to­wards oth­ers, of a more per­sonal na­ture. (Much later.) Per­haps I’ll even end up (be­fore re­gain­ing my coma) by think­ing of my­self as liv­ing (tech­ni­cally speak­ing).

But let us pro­ceed with method. I shall do my best, as al­ways (since I can­not do oth­er­wise). I shall sub­mit, more corpse-oblig­ing than ever. I shall trans­mit the words as re­ceived (by the ear, or roared through a trum­pet into the ar­se­hole) in all their pu­rity (and in the same order, as far as pos­si­ble). This in­fin­i­tes­i­mal lag, be­tween ar­rival and de­par­ture, this tri­fling de­lay in evac­u­a­tion, is all I have to worry about. The truth about me will boil forth at last, scald­ing (pro­vided of course they don’t start stut­ter­ing again).

Sa­muel Beck­ett, The Un­nam­able

But of what is this knowl­edge? I said. Just an­swer me that small ques­tion. Do you mean a knowl­edge of shoe­mak­ing? God for­bid. Or of work­ing in brass? Cer­tainly not. Or in wool, or wood, or any­thing of that sort? Plato, Charmides, or Tem­per­ance (The Di­a­logues of Plato, Vol. 1)

“The ques­tion at stake,” said Epicte­tus, “is no com­mon one; it is this:—are we in our senses, or are we not?”

Epicte­tus, The Golden Say­ings of Epicte­tus

My lords, the judges find a dif­fi­culty to give a dis­tinct an­swer to the ques­tion thus pro­posed by your lord­ships, ei­ther in the af­fir­ma­tive or the neg­a­tive, inas­much as we are not aware that there is in the courts be­low any es­tab­lished prac­tice which we can state to your lord­ships as dis­tinctly re­fer­ring to such a ques­tion pro­pounded by coun­sel on cros­sex­am­i­natiun as is here con­tained, that is, whether the coun­sel cross-ex­am­in­ing are en­ti­tled to ask the wit­ness whether he has made such rep­re­sen­ta­tion, for it is not in the rec­ol­lec­tion of any one of us that such a ques­tion in those words, namely, whether a wit­ness has made such and such rep­re­sen­ta­tion, has at any time been asked of a wit­ness; ques­tions how­ever of a sim­i­lar na­ture are fre­quently asked at Nisi Prius, re­fer­ring rather to con­tracts and agree­ments, or to sup­posed con­tracts and agree­ments, than to dec­la­ra­tions of the wit­ness; as for

in­stance, a wit­ness is of­ten asked whether there is an agree­ment for a cer­tain price for a cer­tain ar­ti­cle, an agree­ment for a cer­tain def­i­nite time, a war­ranty, or other mat­ter of that kind, be­ing a mat­ter of con­tract; and when a ques­tion of that kind has been asked at Nisi Prius, the or­di­nary course has been for the coun­sel on the other side not to ob­ject to the ques­tion as a ques­tion that could not prop­erly be put, but to in­ter­pose on his own be­half an­other in­ter­me­di­ate ques­tion, namely, to ask the wit­ness whether the agree­ment re­ferred to in the ques­tion orig­i­nally pro­posed by the coun­sel on the other side, was or was not in writ­ing; and if the wit­ness an­swers that it was in writ­ing, then the in­quiry is stopped, be­cause the writ­ing must be it­self pro­duced.

T. C. Hansard, Par­lia­men­tary De­bates: Of­fi­cial Re­port of the Ses­sion of the Par­lia­ment of the United King­dom of Great Bri­tain and Ire­land, June 27-Septem­ber 7, 1820

“Well, may I give you a cou­ple of rec­om­men­da­tions?” I queried.

“Sure!” came the ea­ger re­sponse from all group mem­bers. They as­sumed that I must pos­sess that “golden key” to suc­cess­ful wit­ness­ing.

“I al­ways like the up-front ap­proach,” I told them. “Peo­ple here in South Florida are used to that. You might say some­thing like, ‘Hi! We are a group of Chris­tian stu­dents who are in­ter­ested in your per­spec­tive on spir­i­tual mat­ters. Do you mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?’ Or you could also say some­thing like, ‘Do you mind if we take just five or six min­utes of your time to get your opin­ion about two ques­tions that we think are of ul­ti­mate im­por­tance?’ ”

Charles Car­men Mayell, En­gage! Hav­ing Con­ver­sa­tions About God

“Hi. I’m Si­mon, and we’re tap­ing a new type of show, called, ‘Re­al­ity Tele­vi­sion,’ it’s kind of like an ad-lib ‘talku­men­tary.’ Do you mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?”

“Who are you again, Dude?” the surfer replied, wink­ing at his friends. “Oh, right, a schloku­men­tary. Sure, go ahead, ask.”

Robert Greco and Shaun M. Shel­ton, Mo­tor­ishi

What am I go­ing to say now? I’m go­ing to ask my­self, I’m go­ing to ask ques­tions: that’s a good stop-gap. (Not that I’m in any dan­ger of stop­ping. Then why all this fuss?) That’s right, ques­tions: I know mil­lions, I must know mil­lions. And then there are plans. When ques­tions fail there are al­ways plans: you say what you’ll say and what you won’t say (that doesn’t com­mit you to any­thing), and the evil mo­ment passes, it stops stone dead. Sud­denly you hear your­self talk­ing about God knows what as if you had done noth­ing else all your life (and nei­ther have you).

Sa­muel Beck­ett, The Un­nam­able

“That’s great,” Hannah said, “Do you mind if we ask you a cou­ple of ques­tions?”

“About what?”

David Lew­man, The Case of the Mys­tery Meat Loaf

A del­i­cate ques­tion, to which some­what di­verse so­lu­tions might be given ac­cord­ing to times and sea­sons. An in­tel­li­gent man sug­gests it to me, and I in­tend to try, if not to solve it, at least to ex­am­ine and dis­cuss it face to face with my read­ers, were it only to per­suade them to an­swer it for them­selves, and, if I can, to make their opin­ion and mine on the point clear.

Charles Au­gustin Sainte-beuve, What Is a Clas­sic? Sources: Aiken, Ginny, Some­one to Trust, Steeple Hill, 2009. Beck­ett, Sa­muel, The Un­nam­able, New York: Grove Wei­den­feld, 1965. Ca­mus, Al­bert, The Stranger, Trans­lated by Stu­art Gil­bert, New York: Vin­tage/ran­dom House, 1946. Epicte­tus, The Golden Say­ings of Epicte­tus, Trans­lated by Hast­ings Cross­ley, New York: P. F. Col­lier & Son, 1909–14. Greco, Robert, and Shaun M. Shel­ton, Mo­tor­ishi, In­ter­vi­sion Media Arts, 2008. Hughes, Libby, Se­ri­ous Fun With White House Se­crets and State Depart­ment Antics, iu­ni­verse, 2009. Kinkead, Thomas L, Bal­ti­more Cat­e­chism, No, 4: An Ex­pla­na­tion of the Bal­ti­more Cat­e­chism of Chris­tian Doc­trine for the Use of Sun­day-school Teach­ers and Ad­vanced Classes, 1891. Lew­man, David, The Case of the Mys­tery Meat Loaf, Si­mon and Schus­ter, 2012. Mayell, Charles Car­men, En­gage! Hav­ing Con­ver­sa­tions About God, The YLDP, Inc., 2009. Neruda, Pablo, “Ode to Fed­eric Gar­cia Lorca,” Trans­lated by Don­ald D. Walsh, Res­i­dence on Earth, New York: New Di­rec­tions Pub­lish­ing, 2004. Ni­colls, Wil­liam Jasper, Coal Cat­e­chism, Philadel­phia: Ge­orge W. Ja­cobs & Com­pany, 1898. Plato, “Charmides, or Tem­per­ance,” The Di­a­logues of Plato, Vol, 1, Trans­lated Into English With Analy­ses and In­tro­duc­tions By B. Jowett, M.A. In Five Vol­umes, 3rd edi­tion re­vised and cor­rected, Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Press, 1892. Rankin, Ian, A Ques­tion of Blood, Bos­ton: Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pany, 2003. Sainte-beuve, Charles Au­gustin, “What Is a Clas­sic?” Lit­er­ary and Philo­soph­i­cal Es­says, Vol. XXXII, The Har­vard Clas­sics, New York: P. F. Col­lier & Son, 1909–14. Smith, Zadie, White Teeth, Knopf Doubleday Pub­lish­ing Group, 2003. Hansard, T. C. Par­lia­men­tary De­bates: Of­fi­cial Re­port of the Ses­sion of the Par­lia­ment of the United King­dom of Great Bri­tain and Ire­land, June 27–Septem­ber 7, 1820, Lon­don, 1821.

A pic­to­rial Otomi cat­e­chism, 1775-1825. In this man­u­script, as in most sur­viv­ing ex­am­ples, the draw­ings have lit­tle re­la­tion­ship to the tra­di­tional forms of Mex­i­can In­dian man­u­script paint­ing. Gar­rett Me­soamer­i­can Manuscripts, no. 3a, fol. 18v-19r...

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