oh, tom robbins.this is his first book, which i think is important to mention for a few reasons. first of all, i find it really interesting that he was able to jump so successfully into such an unusual style of writing. i don't find this book as bizarre as others of his, but to call it unusual is still an understatement. (unusual for anyone but robbins, that is.) second of all, this is the fifth book of his that i've read and each of the other four have been concretely (in my opinion) but discreetly alluded to. it makes me really curious to read the rest of his books to see if he manages to do that with all of them. also, it was published in 1971, but is amazingly pertinent today. (as has been everything else of his that i've read.)but about the book itself. i love tom robbins but am forced to admit that the first third or so of this book was harder for me to read than i'm used to with him. i feel like the last one i recently read (skinny legs and all) took a moment to get going as well, but it held my interest more easily than this one did to start out. i really do love his writing, but it's important for his books to pay attention to everything you read, and i had a little trouble doing that at the outset. but, true to form, it really picked up further on. i'd almost forgotten that the first part of the book wasn't great for me, because he does such a good job once it gets going. and i get distracted because i think what might draw me so strongly to him is that i see him as one of the most honest writers out there. and as usual, he has a lot to say. social and sociological stuff mostly. religion, politics, familiar themes for him. faith and science, if and how they intersect. but mostly this is a book about freedom. and mostly, it is really, really beautiful. what he says and how he says it. i love that he chooses to write about these human themes and i love what he has to say. and in this book, as much or more than others, i love how he says it."When she was a small girl, Amanda hid a ticking clock in an old rotten tree trunk. It drove woodpeckers crazy. Ignoring tasty bugs all around them, they just about beat their brains out trying to get at the clock. Years later, Amanda used the woodpecker experiment as a model for understanding capitalism, Communism, Christianity and all other systems that traffic in future rewards rather than in present realities.""Among the Haida Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the verb for 'making poetry' is the same as the verb 'to breathe.'Such tidbits of ethnic lore delighted Amanda, and she vowed that from that time onward she would try to regulate each breath as if she were composing a poem. She was as good as her word, and her new style of breathing added to her warehouse of personal charm.Once, while breathing an especially strenuous stanza, she sucked in a stinkbug that had been bumbling by. 'What a rotten rhyme,' she gagged. 'I think I'll go back to prose.'""'...freedom, real freedom - not the freedom to say 'shit' in public or to criticize their leaders or to worship God in the church of their choice, but the freedom to be free of languages and leaders and gods...'""'...Christianity, a religion which is, at best, a distortion of the teachings of Christ, and, at worst, is an authoritarian system that limits man's liberty and represses the human spirit.'""'The fact is, what I hated in the Church was what I hated in society. Namely, authoritarians. Power freaks. Rigid dogmatists. Those greedy, underloved, undersexed twits who want to run everything. While the rest of us are busy living - busy tasting and testing and hugging and kissing and goofing and growing - they are busy taking over. Soon their tentacles are around everything: our governments, our economies, our schools, our publications, our arts and our religious institutions. Men who lust for power, who are addicted to laws and other unhealthy abstractions, who long to govern and lead and censor and order and reward and punish; those men are the turds of Moloch, men who don't know how to love, men who are sickly afraid of death and therefore are afraid of life; they fear all that is chaotic and unruly and free-moving and changing - thus, as Amanda has said, they fear nature and fear life itself, they deny life and in so doing deny God. They are presidents and governors and mayors and generals and police officials and chairmen-of-the-boards. They are crafty cardinals and fat bishops and mean old monsignor masturbators. They are the most frightened and most frightening mammals who prowl the planet; loveless, anal-compulsive control-freak authoritarians, and they are destroying everything that is wise and beautiful and free. And the most enormous ironic perversion is how they destroy in the name of Christ who is peace and God who is love.'""Marx Marvelous regained consciousness. His chest ached. He felt sick. He couldn't hear the music any more. Nor see the light. What for an instant he thought was the light proved to be the great rosy buttocks of Mon Cul baboon. the baboon was bowing to the crowd that had gathered. Each time he bowed his butt ascended like a flaming sun, and when he straightened, the sun set. So the day dawned and ended, dawned and ended, over and over again with only a soft sound in between like Magritte's bowler hat rolling upon a Belgian carpet. Time passed quickly by Mon Cul's rectal reckoning. It was all okay.""On the Rand McNally Atlas map of the world, the United States of America is colored pale lime. I assume it was an arbitrary choice of color. Not symbolic and certainly not realistic. As anyone who has flown cross-country well knows, the U.S.A. is greenish brown.There may be patches of gray, yellow and blue, some solid chartreuses and some solid chocolates; but generally America, from the altitude of an airliner, is a light brown flecked, smeared or mottled with various shades of dull green. That color scheme is maintained from East Coast to West Coast, an admirable if monotonous consistency. One of the few places where the scheme is altered, where it really breaks down and becomes a color experience of a different order, is in the area of northwestern Washington. After hours of flight above lackluster greenish brown, a Seattle-bound plane will eventually cross the Cascade Mountain Range and suddenly find itself gliding over the open throat of an emerald. The scene below is moist and brilliant; a light, bright, pervasive green at once so misty and so vivid that one suffers the illusion that one has come at last to the only region of our nation that is truly green, the place where green turns Zen cartwheels in celebration of the death of brown.""A sausage is an image of rest, peace and tranquillity in stark contrast to the destruction and chaos of everyday life.Consider the peaceful repose of the sausage compared with the aggressiveness and violence of bacon."