i still think that tom robbins is bizarre. but i'm also starting to think that he might be brilliant as well. he seems to pick these intense, deep topics to touch or expound upon in a book, and then he comes up with the strangest story (and the way to tell it) that a writer can. i'm sure i missed a ton in this book - it's best read (perhaps all of his are) in as few sittings as possible, because he makes such obscure references to tiny details earlier in the book that with any real amount of elapsed time, most readers are bound to miss/forget. his themes here seem to be about desire (and how/whether it can get in the way of happiness and living), religion, aging/immortality, relationships.i am really starting to appreciate this guy.i'll start with a quote for stacey: "Christianity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines, and goddesses into muses.""Thou, of all humans, should understand the courage that is required to reject the secure blessings of society in order to woo the unpredictable ecstasies of the solitary soul.""Perhaps that is why desire causes men calamity. By identifying with our desires and taking them too seriously, we not only increase our susceptibility to disappointment, we actually create a climate inhospitable to the free and easy fulfillment of those desires.""Reality is subjective, and there's an unenlightened tendency in this culture to regard something as 'important' only if 'tis sober and severe. Sure and still you're right about your Cheerful Dumb, only they're not so much happy as lobotomized. But your Gloomy Smart are just as ridiculous. When you're unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly like themselves, they don't think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwellin' on himself and start payin' attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form o' self-indulgence.""'Wiggs,' she said, 'all those strange drugs you took, jungle berries and Amazon sap and stuff, not to mention regular old LSD, do you think they might have, you know, physically, uh, barbecued your brain?''Oh, no, darlin', none o' that. Sure and they destroyed some cells, no doubt about it, but 'twas for the good. If you want your tree to produce plenty o' fruit, you've got to cut it back from time to time. Same thing with your neural cells. Some people might call it brain damage. I call it prunin'.'""Teachers who offer you the ultimate answers do not possess the ultimate answers, for if they did, they would know that the ultimate answers cannon be given, they can only be received."