🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “Player Piano”

Chances are you are looking for improving your English language comprehension through reading books.

I know the drill. Take me right to the sentences.

Feel like upping your game and start catching the slightest subtleties of English?

Look no further.

However, there is a catch.


Who is this article intended for?

For English language learners, as they, all too often, tend to skip a lot of subtleties while reading books / reading stories / reading comics / watching movies /watching game movies, thus slowing down and negating their language progress. I

The catch has to do with the “THE HARD WAY” of learning English, right?

I can’t promise improving your English through this article will be easy, but I promise it will be worth it, provided you work through ALL THE SENTENCES down below. And by the way, to make it even more challenging for you, no answers are given and you are to find them on your own. There’s a reason this article is called “Learn English the Hard Way”, don’t you think?

Still no clue what I’m supposed to do…

If you’re still not really sure what’s going on here, I highly recommend you read the description of “Learn English the Hard Way” challenge.

russia-flag Для чего эта статья и что нужно здесь делать?

По своему опыту могу сказать, что когда в освоении английского приходишь на всё готовенькое, то интеллектуально расслабляешься и не особо вникаешь в детали и тонкости языка.

А вот когда, мы “пропускаем язык через себя”…

  1. внимательное чтение книг, просмотр фильмов, т.д… не знаем, что то или то означает, почему так написано, вообще не догоняем, что происходит, значит отмечаем находку
  2. анализ “любопытных” предложений, конструкций, выражений (грамматика и прагматика наши лучшие друзья)
  3. прогонка проработанного материала через правое полушарие
  4. задействование “освоенных” предложений, конструкций, выражений на письме, в устной речи (идеально, с носителями языка)
    …то результаты будут совершенно иными, нежели чем “со всем готовеньким”.

А именно, выработка силы воли, языковой интуиции, внимательности, любопытства и реальное улучшение навыка английского языка.

Ниже представлены предложения, которые заинтриговали меня при прочтении книги / прочтении рассказа / прочтении комикса / просмотре фильма / просмотре игрофильма. То есть, я сделал первый пункт из четырех выше и поделился результатами с Вами. За Вами остаются остальные три.


If you feel like up to the challenge, then below is my list of the cherry-picked sentences with curious grammar and vocabulary findings from the book “Player Piano“.

Study hard!

Don’t get up, don’t get up,” he said to Bud, who was stretched out on a couch.

Who was gonna get up?” said Bud.

“I want some sort of signaling device that will tell this cat where she can find a mouse.”


I should hope so.”

“The cat—I want her taken to my office.”

“She’s dead, sir.”

You heard me.”


Speaking of industrial revolutions, where’s Bud?

“There’s going to be another very special guest.”

Hi ho.”

“How long has it been, Anita? Five, six years?”

Not since before you got to be manager. That long.”

“Kroner’s a bright one, all right.”

How do you mean?

“I mean he’s got more insight into me than I do.”

with the gentle good looks of his long face distorted by dark-rimmed glasses.

Doctor Proteus looked just as his father had as a young man—and it was generally understood, resentfully in some quarters, that Paul would someday rise

Ironically as anyone would please, he had married her after she had declared that she was certainly pregnant

and had picked her up as a mouser for the plant

Katharine was being annoyingly unmachine-like, dawdling over Paul’s speech

Bud had shown off its special features to him several times, and, playfully, Paul put it through its paces. “Let’s go,” he said to the car.

But not many had taken the idea of an elite to heart.

this sense of rightness about the hierarchy topped by managers and engineers—this was instilled in all college graduates, and there were no bones about it.

Objectively, know-how and world law were getting their long-awaited chance to turn earth into an altogether pleasant and convenient place in which to sweat out Judgment Day

Of late, his job, the system, and organizational politics had left him variously annoyed, bored, or queasy.

there was the attitude of a secret order, above and apart from society by virtue of participating in important and moving rites the laity could only guess about

where countless squads practiced precision calisthenics

Cursorily, he opened the control box for the welding-machine group

and Shepherd, sulky and carping, but efficient

He had been agitating a long time for permission to junk the group, without much luck.

The accuracy was going out of them, and, as the meter in Katharine’s office had pointed out, rejects were showing up in quantity.

stopped while raw bars dropped between their chucks and tailstocks

He and Finnerty and Shepherd, with the ink hardly dry on their doctorates

Rudy Hertz, an old-timer, who had been about ready to retire.

they’d got Rudy’s foreman to let him off, and, in a boisterous, whimsical spirit of industrial democracy, they’d taken him across the street for a beer

from the man who adored a collie for want of children

Everything, in fact, was as ship-shape as could be expected

There were just going to have to be rejects, and that was that.

Now, with the antisabotage laws as rigidly enforced as they were

He had had it in the back of his mind for years to get a composer to do something with it

he turned in his delight to watch a cluster of miniature maypoles braid bright cloth insulation about a black snake of cable

K.L. and M.W. had taken a liking to one another, then, in the same year that Edison had died

All that was new was the combination of these elements

The cat arched her back and clawed at Paul’s suit again

Paul stepped out of its path. The cat hissed and spat, suddenly raked Paul’s hand with her claws, and jumped

and the sweeper gobbled her up and hurled her squalling and scratching into its galvanized tin belly.

Paul knelt, and looked at the cat through the mesh of the fence, frightfully upset

On the topmost porch an old man rocked in a patch of sunlight

Then things would taper down to normal—which was plenty bad enough

“Expensive,” said Paul, “and about as reliable as a putty ruler.”

I guess—machines that devaluate human thinking. Some of the big computers like EPICAC do that all right, in specialized fields.

Been jumpy all day about the talk.

How gay can a party get?

She was crowing, not because she was fond of Finnerty but because she enjoyed the ritual attitudes of friendships, of which she had none

Ed Finnerty had become a man of consequence

Anita had the mechanics of marriage down pat, even to the subtlest conventions

Building 58, had been good in its day, but was showing wear

wizened and wise and dark as cocoa

encrusted with gold brocade

a heavy, florid, urbane gentleman of forty

and wore them with such poise that one was sure he’d just come from a distinguished company where everyone dressed in this manner. The fact was that only Doctor Halyard did. And he got away with it beautifully.

It had been khabu and siki and akka sahn until he was half out of his mind.

where a large work crew was filling a small chuckhole

his career as an interpreter of America to provincial and ignorant notables from the backwaters of civilization.

Reluctantly, surlily, he came down to the road and moved two wheelbarrows

Isolated incident

Rudy Hertz does know Doctor Proteus, and Proteus knows Hertz! How many of you can say that?

“You were a damn fine machinist, Rudy.”

I say so myself.

Over the years, as it had accumulated a patina of rust

The glove compartment wouldn’t lock, so Paul covered the pistol with tissues.

a new station wagon and a very expensive sedan, were at home, as he put it, for Anita.

Anita never needled him about his devotion to the old car

Nor was it logical that a man with so special a car would put off and put off having the broken left headlamp fixed

“Hey, Mac, your headlamp’s busted,” shouted one of the men. The others joined in, chorusing the message earnestly.

The soldiers, with their hollowness hidden beneath twinkling buttons and buckles, crisp serge, and glossy leather, didn’t depress Paul nearly as much as the Reeks and Wrecks did.

crew was flushing out the storm sewers with an opened fire hydrant. This seemed to be a favorite undertaking. Whenever he had come to Homestead when the temperature had been above freezing, he’d found a hydrant going.

Each had before him a headless beer in a glass

These oldsters probably arrived early and left late

On the screen of the television set behind the bar, a large earth mother of a woman

Within a week of the opening, curiosity had been satisfied, and it was a boom day when five customers stopped in.

They felt a camaraderie with the engineers and managers across the river

Son of the dog, Doctor.” He laughed.

“I wasn’t no pup then, though, was I?”

Paul wished to God the bartender would hurry up.

Paul talked inanely now about the dog, about Rudy’s remarkable state of preservation. He was helplessly aware that he was hamming it up

proving to anyone who might still have doubts that he was indeed an insincere ass.

Paul, smiling glassily, decided to say nothing more

Like his old man—his heart’s in the right place, and he wants to do the most he can with what he’s got

“Repair shop,” he sighed. “Repair shop, he says. How many repair shops you think Ilium can support, eh? Repair shop, sure!

The music stopped abruptly, with the air of having delivered exactly five cents worth of joy

You can almost see a ghost sitting there playing his heart out.

Paul twisted free and hurried out to his car.

How does he look?

How did Finnerty always look? Awful.”

“Did you lay my things out?”

“On your bed,” she said primly. She’d been hurt

“How are things?”

Worse than ever, but there’s hope.”

“Does that make you happy, that this has been going on thirteen years?”

It calls for comment, anyway… ”

“Now, why in hell did you do that?” said Paul. “Do you mind telling me?” Finnerty lay motionless on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

“I don’t know,” he said slowly, “but I’m not sorry

He had somehow communicated the thought that had bobbed up in his thoughts unexpectedly

until the sands and soot and grease of time had filled every seam and pore.

And Finnerty had other unsavory aspects

Finnerty and the girl would generally take a highball in either hand

who supposed the aggressiveness, like most aggressiveness, dated back to some childhood muddle

indulged himself in the wistful sensation of feeling that he, Paul, might be content, if only—and let the thought stop there, as though he knew vaguely what lay beyond. He didn’t

Finnerty would have been, and in fact was, a top-flight pianist

I’m not sure who goes where

Look in the Organization Directory, if you want

It was evident that she found it trying to be a good sport about Finnerty, to pretend that his eccentricities were amusing

“Was it such an awful ordeal?” she chided

And I won’t have you saying ridiculous things like that

but unmistakably made clear the nature of good deportment within the system, and the shape of firm resolves for the challenging year ahead.

And I won’t be bullied by you. I refuse.

And I could make a man like you out of a burlap bag filled with mud

“I’d heard Paul’s nerves had been bothering him,” said Kroner.

Not true,” said Paul

“Where did you hear about Paul’s nerves?” said Anita.

Can’t imagine,” said Kroner.

“… that was something else Shepherd was talking about. You know it was, if you’ll just think back.”

Oh sure, that’s right, that’s right; something else, something else, … ”

“I imagine he’s found life in Washington a little less—” he searched for a word “—informal than here.”

If you mean, does he wash?—the answer is still no,” said Anita.

Paul took the chair opposite.

Play much?” he said.

A little, a little.”

“let’s call it a draw, shall we? I mean, after all, the boy’s got a right to be upset, and—”

Draw, hell,” said Finnerty

“Besides, Charley had a loose connection.”

“Then you should have said so!

Kroner’s enormous, hairy hand closed about Paul’s, and Paul, in spite of himself, felt docile,

It was as though Paul stood in the enervating, emasculating presence of his father again

and at each meeting, as now, the power and resolve were all in the big hands of the older man.

He could also be stern—again, paternally.

Baer was a social cretin, apparently unaware that he was anything but suave and brilliant in company

There was little in the Division that hadn’t been master-minded by Baer, who here seemed to Kroner what a fox terrier seems to a St. Bernard

Kroner personified the faith, the near-holiness, the spirit of the complicated venture

Kroner, in fact, had a poor record as an engineer and had surprised Paul from time to time with his ignorance or misunderstanding of technical matters

The two were inseparable, though their personalities met at almost no point.

“You’re one of our best men.” He looked at him fondly.

In the footsteps of your father, Paul”

So you’re feeling better, eh? Well, that’s what counts. Wonderful, wonderful.

Ordinarily, nobody would have hired him. But Kroner, who knew his bloodlines, had taken him on anyway and sent him to Ilium to be trained

The hell of it was that his attitude won grudging admiration from his fellow engineers

What is this, Fred, a stickup?” said Paul.

They were forever suggesting that teams be formed and games be played as a method for building morale in the Eastern Division’s family.

and, wearily as often as not, he had had to prove his invincibility to each new group of engineers—like these four

The checker game of the new engineers with Paul was one of the hoariest traditions, now in its seventh year.

twenty-seven managers and engineers, the staff of the Ilium Works and their wives, less the evening shift.

Maybe he’d left soon after they had and gone on a bender or whoring expedition in Homestead

Paul hoped they’d seen the last of him for another few years

The quitting, the uninvited attack on Anita, the glorying in neuroses

Now he’s scared stiff for fear of losing his job. Good!

and doggedly master of his fate and not his brother’s keeper

Baldly, ridiculously, he talked of competitiveness and rehashed with anyone who would listen various crises where there had been a showdown between his abilities and those of someone else

but always stoical about the laws that governed the game. He asked no quarter, gave no quarter

he wanted to pay the forfeit for losing and get on to the next episode

was a hard world he lived in, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Could the boy have milk toast, do you suppose?

He smiled beatifically.

“That is an interesting figure,” said Paul, searching for his place in the manuscript

and the darnedest, stupidest mistakes imaginable. The waste, the stoppages, the lemons!

Incidentally, Paul, another interesting sidelight your father probably told you about is how people didn’t pay much attention to this, as you call it, Second Industrial Revolution for quite some time.

Modesty forbids that I answer

and the three rolled in a man-high box that was shrouded in a bedsheet and grumbled along on casters.

He laid his fat billfold on the table.

I’ve got fifty dollars on you with Goldilocks here, and I’ll cover anybody else who thinks Checker Charley’s got a chance.

Bet the sun won’t rise tomorrow

Paul settled into his chair again. Dispiritedly, he pushed a checkerpiece forward

Don’tcha see!” said Berringer furiously.

“It isn’t working right.”

The air was getting heavy with a smell like burning paint, and his eyes were beginning to smart.

If you like, perhaps things would go easier if I told your father what happened.

Why did it have to happen?” It was one more hollow echo to the question humanity had been asking for millenniums, the question men were seemingly born to ask.

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away

especially a machine backing up a knucklehead like you against a man like Paul

Nice going, champ.

I’m going home now, before these gentlemen sportsmen find a rope.

“And he didn’t take you aside for a couple of words at any time?” She was wide awake.

Scout’s honor, Anita, all he said was what he said at the last.”

“… he were alive, nothing would make him happier than to know you got the job.”

Umm hmmmm.”

“If somebody doesn’t clip his wings, he’s going right over everybody’s heads one of these days.”

Welcome to.”

You don’t mean that.”

“I mean I want to sleep.”

Paul had the comforter pulled up over his face and was trying to get to sleep tightly curled in the dark

He tucked the comforter more snugly around his head and pulled his knees up higher

Haven’t I got a right to be interested?

He’s the one who threw a monkey wrench into things

The N.I.P.B. mustn’t leave him much time to go traipsing over the country to insult old friends.

The picture was over on his bureau now, where she had put it—where he could see it the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night

and he had only twenty-three more years to go on his hitch and then he was through with the Army

if some sonofa-bitching colonel or lieutenant or general came up to him and said, “Salute me,” or “Pick up that butt,” or “Shine your shoes,” or something like that he’d say, “Kiss my ass, sonny

he cried, exhaling a strong effluvium of Sumklish

“Said they’re a fine bunch of slaves,” said Halyard.

he’d mopped and squeegeed the floor and washed the windows

two shirts, herringbone twill

Hey soldier, your fly’s open and no pass for you,

instead of a bum with no money looking for an easy lay and not getting it in his own country or not getting a good lay anyway

and anyway it was better than the frigging Reeks and Wrecks any day

“It’s his plugs,” said a small, bright-eyed, Italian-looking man.

“Aaaaaaah, in a pig’s ass it’s his plugs,”

Perhaps some urchin had taken it while he’d been in Homestead after the whisky

Need a guy who’s handy with his hands?

He went up the steps two at a time—his only exercise—and unlocked two outer doors

What on earth for? Moral turpitude?

again and again and again in search of foot draggers, free riders, and misfits

I haven’t got any real say about who’s taken on.

And the sheepskin was nothing, and the graph was everything.

If it’s just to shoot the bull, tell him to wait until late this afternoon.

The system was a holdover from the war, and from the postwar riot period, but it still made sense

was clear he thought it was a pretty drab man who would think much of that solution.

Just keep this under your hat is all.

His voice had become wheedling and penetrating

“You think I’m insane?” said Finnerty. Apparently he wanted more of a reaction than Paul had given him.

You’re still in touch. I guess that’s the test.”

“You think they do the Devil’s work, do you?”

That’s pretty strong. I will say you’ve shown up what thin stuff clergymen were peddling, most of them.”

“ … prophecy’s a thankless business, and history has a way of showing us what, in retrospect, are very logical solutions to awful messes.”

“Prophesy anyway,” said Finnerty.

“The guy on television—what’s the name of the song?”

“I can’t hear it.”

“I know,” he said impatiently, “that’s the point. Guess from just seeing.”

“Now, you just go ahead and have a good time. It does you good to get away now and then.”


Don’t go for your rod, lady. The name’s Finnerty.

What is there to cry about? See—none of the red lights are on, no buzzers going off, so all’s well with the world.

but the contact between the two groups was little more than perfunctory and, traditionally, suspicious. The schism, like so many things, dated back to the war

Somebody swiped the gun from the glove compartment

love, affection, and other words generally consigned to young and inexperienced lovers.

But you find out quick enough that old friends are old friends,

Ilium to the tenth power. Stupid, arrogant, self-congratulatory, unimaginative, humorless men.

Same thing a supernumerary minister does—becomes a public charge, a bore, or possibly a rum-dum, or a bureaucrat

When you finished one, you’d think the managers and engineers had given America everything: forests, rivers, minerals, mountains, oil—the works.

Yesterday’s snow job becomes today’s sermon

the feeling of being needed on earth—hell, dignity.

And I must say that the basic assumption of the present setup is a grade-A incitement to violence

He was perspiring and short of breath

At his waist was a jeweled poniard

The man was in his underwear now, ragged and drab, and none-too-clean

Harmless magic: good, old-fashioned bunkum

Frankly, the masses give me a pain in the tail, and I guess I show it.

Alfy ground out his cigarette impatiently

they looked at Paul and Finnerty with puzzlement.

I’ll be go to hell, …

He didn’t want to make a pass at her. He simply wanted her to be friendly and companionable, and to see that he wasn’t a stuffed shirt at all. Far from it

The table was gone from the booth, and there were only cracked plaster and boltheads to show where it had once been moored to the wall.

The saloon seemed deserted, but the air was filled with a painful clangor

“Did you tell him I had a hangover?”

Hell no, Paul. I covered up for you all right.”

“You never go anywhere socially without her, do you?”

“Oh, no, sir.”

I should hope not.”

“Lawson Shepherd called to tell me.”

Deuced nice of him.”

There really isn’t a heck of a lot to the job

Some foul-up. They were all excited about a pistol they found down by the river

he found himself enraged by the ceremony of official telephone etiquette—time-consuming pomp and circumstance

You want to make an issue of it in front of Kroner? Let’s go. I’m ready any time. Let’s see if you can make it stick.

Paul found Anita in the kitchen, the picture, minus children, of domesticity.

The kitchen was, in a manner of speaking, what Anita had given of herself to the world

The walls were wainscoted in pine, aged by sandblasting

an iron and trivet, and a rusty kettle

Anita would tumble down together on a bundle of straw in the corner, dog-tired and sweaty

where Anita sat on a ladder-back chair before the cherry breakfront that concealed the laundry console

He knew with all his heart that the human situation was a frightful botch

any whim of history that might raise hell with somebody’s life.

variety of foreign potentates, whose common denominator was that their people represented untapped markets for America’s stupendous industrial output.

was wholly free of reason-muddying emotions

“… all things considered,” was given some validity by the ruminations

The television cameras dollied

Lynn was boyish, tall, beautiful, and disarming

and with the barest trace of a Western drawl, was now reading aloud a speech

Planck, hadn’t even finished high school, and Halyard had known smarter Irish setters. Yet, here the son-of-a-bitch was, elected to more than a hundred thousand bucks a year!

You have to punch out the questions on that thingamajig, and the answers come out on tape from the whatchamacallits. You can’t just talk to it

“Mmm. Silver bells, eh?” He shook his head.

“That’s a stinker, you know? A real stinker. I give up.”

“… history’s answered the question a thousand times.”

It has? Has it?

“Where is it?” he said.

Now, now—right where it always is, on the turntable,

perfectly restored and maintained down to the filigree along the eaves

and with suede patches at the elbows

She was a fat repository of truisms, adages, and homilies,

he’d rather testily told her that he’d already fled one mother

Kroner stood, beamed, and suggested that Paul come into his study to see the guns. It was the same gambit every time—the men were to see the guns.

Got to keep after a bore, or it’ll pit on you just like that.

That’s what the engineer, the manager does. There is no higher calling

Dejectedly, Paul let his spine sag back in the chair

“Garth’s a fine man,” said Paul. Garth was, too: foursquare, desperate to please, and he seemed to have an anthropomorphic image of the corporate personality

on a manic crest, moved to maudlin near-crying at recollections of the affair’s tender beginnings

Garth suffered all the emotional hazards of a perennial game of she-loves-me, she-loves-me-not

Keep to your own side of the river, Paul! Your job is management and engineering

By some freakish circumstance he’d apparently clinched the job—after having arrived with the vague intention of disqualifying himself.

This is the main stretch, Paul. Now it’s all up to you

Well, what say to a refresher?

This can pull me out of a slump like nothing I can think of.

LYING ABED AFTER the stout-hearted men’s evening at the Kroner’s

Paul was surprised to learn that his path was strewn with bodies

he congratulated himself on his calm, on his being wily for the first time in his life

“Well, anyway, how about the keys to the car?”

Is it fair to ask what for?

“You know the cops are after you for not registering?”

Spice of life.”

“Even if you could beat the restrictions in the deed, it’d cost you thousands to get it in shape.”

“How much?” The farm was looking better and better.

“Where can I get the key to the farm?”

Oh, that thing. Well, to give you an idea of what you’re getting into, there is no lock. There’s a latchstring.”

Outwardly, as manager, he was unchanged; but inwardly he was burlesquing smaller

He knew his enjoyment of them was in a measure childish

Still and all, there was a basic truth underlying the tales, a primitive ideal to which he could aspire

Not great literature; I’ll promise you that. Pleasant relaxation is all.

Across the chest of each of the shirts, in blazing gold letters, was the word “Captain.”

“Katharine, they can’t do this to me.”

and, politically, Shepherd’s having been chosen a captain was a striking business.

It was one of those things that was understood without anyone’s saying anything about it

That’ll put hair on your chest, Katharine

Why don’t they build in a gimmick that will give a man a free drink before he gets the ax?

Emotion was giving her a rough going-over now, and she left Paul’s office hurriedly

I’ll bet we won’t know our city a year from now, with him thinking up things for the Reeks and Wrecks to do.

and his seersucker suit, while worn and a poor fit

after less than a week in Homestead, had taken on rough, swashbuckling mannerisms

Surprise the pants off you to know what goes on in this world

Idle hands do the Devil’s work

We think the world of you over here, Paul.

The Meadows would have to be endured, and, worse luck, he would have to endure it as captain of the Blue Team.

But he would still be caught in the mesh of the economy and its concomitant hierarchy

Farming—now there was a magic word

“Doctor Proteus—this is Mr. Haycox.”

“How are you?” said Paul.

’Do,” said Mr. Haycox. “What kind of doctor?”

“The house breathes with you, like good underwear,” said a lisping voice

An administrator without a certain awareness, above and beyond the Manual, is like a ship without a rudder.

But then my conscience started to work on me, and, well, I simply can’t let you do it

This pipsqueak of a man in a pipsqueak job had pipsqueak standards he was willing to lay his pipsqueak life down for

This would be a hobby, of course—a plaything

Not only that, but Anita, with her love for things colonial, would be enchanted

Unlike Rudy, Mr. Haycox wasn’t desiccated

He wore old-fashioned blue denim overalls,

wanted the talk to be as brief and pithy as possible

He was trying to build up the importance of graduate degrees in the mind of this clod

“Informal, hell!” said Mr. Haycox.

“He promised, Gottwald did.

Wonder if I went and offended that there Doctor of Realty?

“Men are so helpless.”

“They muddle through

The anniversary, more to the point, fell at an ideal time for the beginning of his re-education program for Anita.

and Mr. Haycox’s farm. There Mr. Haycox condescendingly and impatiently imparted half-truths about running the place

She wadded her napkin and threw it down petulantly.

“Well, kiss mine,” he muttered.

“Eh?” said Doctor Dodge.

You heard me.”

What’s eating you, anyway?”

“The guy walks into my house and won’t even shake my hand.”

Tarzan, who, far away from the soot and biting winter of the Hagstrohms’ home town, Chicago

Hagstrohm liked Tarzan as much as his father had, and hated being a little man and being in Chicago ten times as much.

So what am I supposed to do, holler bloody murder, kiss his feet, and faint?

his avocations (spec’r sports, TV, softb’l, f’sh’g)

And the kids noticed something screwy was going on, and Wanda’d cried a couple of times lately and refused to tell him why

Who was banging on the Hagstrohm door but the goddam Shah of Bratpuhr

It was rare that he got the opportunity to show what he thought of rank—that a man was a man for all that

What is it she is in such a hurry to get at?

He laughed, and clapped Khashdrahr on the back, as though to jar him into feeling some of the jollity in this average American man’s home.

She started to cry, and, good soul that she was, she tried to keep him from seeing it.

“The Meadows isn’t a funeral.”

It could be, Paul.”

“Where are our anniversary martinis?” The table where the pitcher and glasses awaited him every night was bare.

“You’re on the wagon until after the Meadows.”

“Shepherd says they can’t afford to drink.”

That shows how much he knows. The drinks are on the house.”

“That man’s got a lot of get up and go,” said Anita.

“He fills me full of lie down and die,” said Paul.

“They couldn’t have been too well stuffed in the first place, or they wouldn’t be here.” Paul was mad, and the delicate mechanism that kept him from hurting her stripped its gears.

Here, but for the grace of God, go you!

“We can get an electric movement put in.”

“But the whole charm—” She was in a transport of creativity now, and didn’t hear him.

“You see—with the pendulum gone, an electrostatic dust precipitator would fit right in the lower part of the case.”

“And the stove?”

“Firewood. And the refrigerator is a cold spring.”

How perfectly hideous!

“What team is going to win?”

“Blue,” he whispered sleepily. “Blue, by God, Blue.”

you’re being awfully slap-happy about the Meadows, about the Blue Team.

not as Ilium’s Lady of the Manor but as a trim, kittenish girl in denim trousers rolled above her knees

She got in and sat on the edge of the seat, trying to come in contact with the car as little as possible. “Honestly! I mean really!

They had ten more minutes until time for, as the expression went, knocking off work

The fourlane bridge had, before the war, been jammed with the cars of workers going to and from the Ilium Works. Four lanes had been nothing like enough

and he saw that she was scared stiff

She’d fallen silent and tried to make herself small.

Darling, when I see what we’ve got, and then see what these people have got, I feel like a horse’s ass.

If you wanted to hurt me, congratulate yourself. You certainly did

I looked it up a month after we were married, and it etched itself on the inside of my skull

And he hadn’t wanted to do that. God knows he hadn’t.

Mr. Haycox, probably in an orgy of masochism, had scrubbed every surface. Gone were the soot and dust, leaving only the clean, soft, glowing patina of age over everything

He spoke it now, not because now was the right time, but because it packed a punch

“Green’s going to win!” shouted Shepherd.

You tell ’em, Cap!”

the banner was the work of a special committee whose sole mission was to stir up team rivalry. There would be more such goads at every turn.

And jutting into the river was a long dock and three white yachts

Anita sidled up to Mom and took her fat arm

Everyone shouted and sang, the marine engines burbled and roared

After the anthem came a cheery kaleidoscope of “Pack Up Your Troubles

The new arrivals scrambled over the decks to catch the hands extended from the wharf by a rank of older men

There were cries of good-natured outrage, and human pyramids were built in a twinkling

No rough-housing indoors!

The only man who was not to be called by his first name at the Meadows was the Old Man himself, the successor of Paul’s father, Doctor Francis Eldgrin Gelhorne. He, National Industrial, Commercial, Communications, Foodstuffs, and Resource Director, was damn well Doctor Gelhorne, sir, at any hour of the night or day, and anywhere he went.

and he’d found omen analysis dull, profitless

Manfully, Paul turned his thoughts into other channels

He had risen because of this quality rather than in spite of it.

and I’ve got to live through the whole nightmare twice more still, with Alice and little Ewing

Look for some apple-cheeked youngster fresh out of school.

He was the last man in the whole Works who deserved an invitation. Yet, here he was.

smashed and hewed at the tune as though in a holy war against silence

Cheers and boos greeted him, in a proportion of one to three.

At this point he was completely drowned out by the stamping of feet, whistles, catcalls, and the clank of spoons on glasses

Now was not the time for such horseplay. Now was almost the only time that was not the time.

A male choir, concealed in the shrubbery, sang ever so softly—to the tune of “Love’s Sweet Song”:

Someone’s dam of reserve had broken under the impact of the ceremony

as he shifted nervously in a search for comfort no chair could give him

Can’t pick up a magazine or turn on the television without you see a joke about a barber cutting somebody. And sure, maybe that’s good for a little snicker, maybe, and God knows the world can use a few snickers

quicker’n you can say habeas corpus what judges did about cases like that before

No more of this fast footwork. Hell, if I had a lie detector and card machines and all, I could run a law business here and fix you up with a divorce or a million dollar damage suit or whatever you needed whatsoever

barbering—one of the oldest professions on earth, incidentally—has held up better than all the rest

Here’s where we separate the men from the boys

you couldn’t help but notice him when he went hog-wild after he got a letter from his wife saying she’d had a baby

And another nice thing about war—not that anything about war is nice

You could of been a heller at home and made a lot of people unhappy and all

Used to be there was a lot of damn fool things a dumb bastard could do to be great

and the dumb bastards just get tucked away in big bunches of prefabs that look like the end of a game of Monopoly

And, oh, I guess machines have made things a lot better. I’d be a fool to say they haven’t, though there’s plenty who say they haven’t

all the good jobs, where a man could be true to hisself and false to nobody else

until he’d dreamed up a whole machine that cut hair like nobody’s business

RADICAL. Go ahead, John.

JOHN. Well, sir, that’s just about it

Do you know who my boss is, John?

JOHN. Don’t believe I ever met the gentleman.

It looks to me, John, like you, the consumer, are the big winner, not me.

JOHN. (Whistles low, under his breath.) Is that a fact!

and put himself in power, and the whole world back in the Dark Ages!

JOHN. (Glowering.) Oh, he would, would he?

Don’t tell me art is dying.”

“Art who?” said Paul

I’ll be damned,” he said.

“An arrowhead!”

“A nice one, too,” said Paul, admiring the relic.

The cream of the East and Middle West, engineeringwise and managerwise, was met in the amphitheater of the Meadows

which would presently open like the shells of a steamed quahog

Shepherd, in his determination to win and his horror of losing, had blown up completely

he really hadn’t given a damn about the system, about the Meadows, about intramural politics

The band, wearing summer tuxedos, struck up a medley of Meadows favorites

He dusts it desultorily, shrugs, and lets it drop

With stars named Rugged Individualism, Socialism, Free Enterprise, Communism, Fascism, and…

holds the star at arm’s length, preparatory to dropping it.

What is this? A mere stripling challenges the caretaker of the heavens?

A tall judge’s rostrum now surrounds the old man’s ladder

(Offensively ingratiating.) Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution will show that

is as tarnished—nay, black!as any ever hung in the heavens.

but that witness in effect is a million witnesses, each of whom could tell the same sordid tale

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Suppose, for the edification of the court, you tell us what you made before the star arose, and what you make now.

The truth can never be spoken without someone getting hurt,

A guy likes to know somebody thinks enough of him to look out for him

I object! What has Caesar got to do with it?

At the sunset of life, he had arrived.

He had been struck full force by its sublime clarity and simplicity

that he’d worshipped his father for a little while as a fighter, a latter-day Richard the Lionhearted.

This silly playlet seemed to satisfy them completely as a picture of what they were doing

And the good offices of the cocktail hour were wearing away.

on a first-name footing with the brass, and with the drinking privileges of a regular guest

Shepherd and Berringer were right behind, flattering the life out of Kroner

Well, how’d you like it, Ed?

Christ, and that wasn’t cheap to put on, either, I’ll bet

For chrissakes, you crazy bastard,” said Berringer. “You deaf, dumb, and blind…”

that had been built in the old, wilder days as a lazaretto for surly drunks.

and a grave awareness on the part of each of the three men that the world was their apple

who knew they had received their last invitation. And what the hell, the liquor was free. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

He seemed to be the end of a race, as, Paul reflected, so many leaders seemed to be

Nobody’s so damn well educated that you can’t learn ninety per cent of what he knows in six weeks. The other ten per cent is decoration

Almost nobody’s competent, Paul. It’s enough to make you cry to see how bad most people are at their jobs. If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind

But that’s a side issue. The point we’re getting at, Paul, is that I think they’ll take you into the Ghost Shirt Society under the right conditions.

… highball in his hand.

“I thought you might want this.”

That’s real Christian of you, Doctor Harrison. Guess I’m well enough to sit up and take nourishment now.”

But you ought to see the bartender,” said Harrison brightly.

“Aaaaaah. Tell me all.”

hadn’t found reality disquieting at all points

and in its fetid atmosphere Paul made an ultimately crude suggestion to the bartender, and turned to leave with dignity.

“Nobody says that to me, sonny Jim,” said the bartender.

a galaxy of traits, any one of which would make a man a despicable outcast

but an image every man prided himself on being unlike

one day you’re king, the next day you’re out on your tail

This was integrity, all right, and a rare variety, because it often amounted, as it might amount now, to career suicide.

Don’t put one foot in your job and the other in your dreams, Ed. Go ahead and quit, or resign yourself to this life. It’s just too much of a temptation for fate to split you right up the middle before you’ve made up your mind which way to go

A laggard group, genuinely inebriated, was being coaxed out of the saloon

“… and the electronic dividend computers.”

“And the electronic writers,” said the girl bitterly.

That’ll come, that’ll come,” said Halyard. “But Lord knows getting manuscripts isn’t any…”

“So the story has a happy ending after all,” said Halyard.

“Hardly. He refused.”


that the plane should land in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in order that the Shah might rest and try the magic of American medicine

Matter of fact, culture’s so cheap, a man figured he could insulate his house cheaper with books and prints than he could with rockwool. Don’t think it’s true, but it’s a cute story with a good point

Heavens, running off an unpopular book would put a club out of business like that

They get it right, right down to the color of the jacket. Gutenberg would be amazed.

“Don’t you think an explanation is in order?”


“I guess it proves what I thought all along.”

Which was—?

“I need you now like I never needed anybody in all my life.”

“Ten minutes ought to take care of that. At the outside”

WHEN THE SPIRIT OF THE MEADOWS churned up to the dock at the Mainland

You know what time it is? You haven’t got time to make a nickel. The last boat back for the island leaves in three minutes.

If you’re going to spend the night, don’t tell me about it. There’re about twenty-seven rules against it

If Anita was a great walker, it was news to Paul

had been sure that the farewell kiss would be an ungainly business, but, all credit to her, they stopped, and took the time and stances to do it right. Good.

a woman with nothing to hide, least of all Shepherd’s shirt

Hell’s bells, I—”

“Sarge, d’ya mind talkin’ about your wound stripes?”

“Hmmm? No—guess not

with sixty troops on furlough from Camp Drum

jogged unhappily toward the moving train as fast as his brittle legs would carry him

The man had the florid, righteous look of a specialized bore

Ha! What’d I tell you?

Hardly a newspaper was printed that didn’t have a human interest story about car clean-up crews from the Reeks and Wrecks liberating somebody

The conductor’s plaint, like the lament of so many, wasn’t that it was unjust to take jobs from men and give them to machines

Raise it a dime just to make things interesting

All our robot tanks’d been pulled out to support a push the 106th was makin’, so we was really alone. Snafu.

But men had been called upon chiefly to endure by the side of the machines

That much of a fine old American military tradition, Paul supposed, would always be alive—send me where the tail is.

And, I’ll be go to hell, the Sarge catches a bullet

But, if he wants to throw all that over, that’s his business

Any relation to the big cheese across the river?

“I think that’s all. If anything else comes up, I’ll let you know.”

I’m sure you will.”

Lo! How the mighty are fallen, eh, Doc?”

Lo! indeed,” said Paul

“Did you get fired?”

Didn’t you know? Everybody got sacked, the whole service staff, after that tree business”

“I used to play it in college,” said Paul apologetically. “I’ve had a lot of experience.”

“College!” said Joe, awed, and he smiled and seemed to feel better. “Jesus, no wonder.

There was nothing more, he realized wonderingly, to be said

After that would come the muddle of her separating her effects from his—and divorce

Four of them, now officious and scornful, had telephoned to Kroner at the Meadows for instructions

Lord knows nobody ever brought any more sunshine into the world by bloodyin’ somebody’s nose

Paul had learned that this, with variations, was the basic problem situation in afternoon dramas

He’s carryin’ the world around on his shoulders

The honorific Doc, Paul was learning, could be spoken in such a way as to make a man wish to God he’d never come within ten miles of a university.

All the good suspects came off clean as a whistle on the lie detector.

Paul couldn’t believe that the man would actually loose his terrible hail of buckshot on a loiterer

his eyes wide, emerged into the daylight, manacled and sneering

The town hall clock struck four. It might have struck midnight or seven or one, for all the difference it made to Paul. He didn’t have to be anywhere

They’re cleaning their own latrines, too?

Certainly, victorious last year, four years afore that

Either Cornell was going to get progressive, or they could find themselves another coach

where you’ll get it in the neck if you can’t get a lump in your throat over the ups and downs of a bunch of factories

And, of course, some poor fish would have to get up in front of us and talk every day of the week, and chances are he wasn’t much of a speaker, and anyway no showman

When the two went back into The Dutch to drink to the deal

“Poor Injuns,” murmured Paul.

This is serious,” said Finnerty. “Listen to what he’s telling you.”

“Paul—come on, snap out of it!” said Finnerty.

Okey dokey

The white man had broken promise after promise to the Indians

Everybody laughed. It seemed to be a welcome bit of humor that broke the tension of the meeting.

“What’s funny?” said Paul

“Could I ask a question?” said Paul.

Don’t know why not.”

Kinda long-haired, though, ain’t it?

You just got brained for savin’ Proteus’ hide

A brickbat shattered a courtroom window, showering the American flag to the judge’s right with bits of glass

blocked this time, not by a Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps crew, but by a phalanx of Arabs

Things have come to a pretty pass if this sort of monkey business has the right of way over official business

“How’s the arm, Paul?”

“Not bad,” said Paul, stroking the makeshift splint

Nobody said it wasn’t going to be messy

A faint hubbub came from around a corner, from where the railroad station had been

Wow, it seems you’ve made it to the end of this new-vocabulary-grammar-intensive article… But did you actually work through all the findings?  No shirking? Sweet! That’s what I call being persistent at mastering English!


russia-flag Вы дочитали и проработали статью до конца? Так держать!

Если Вы дочитали до конца эту статью, то я уверен, что Вы узнали много нового про английский язык (при условии, что Вы действительно проработали предложения выше).

Проработать так много материала это совсем не шутки, а вполне серьёзный подход к делу.

Теперь же дело за малым: эффективно всё перенести в речевой актив и начать всласть применять новые знания на практике (пункт 3 и 4, соответсвенно).

Спасибо за то, что уделили время.

Удачи в Вашем языковом путешествии!


I am crazy enough to do the whole nine-yards over again. Please bring me to the beginning of the sentences. Yeah!

Did you know that you are more than encouraged to go ahead and tell me in the comments section below how the whole process went?

With that, thanks for taking your time accepting the challenge, reading and working through the article.

Until next time!


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