Friday, December 28, 2007

It Takes An Instant

It requires twenty years for a man to rise from the vegetable state in which he is within his mother's womb, and from the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of reason begins to appear. It has required thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him.

-- Voltaire

Thursday, December 27, 2007

RIP Benazir Bhutto

I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country is in danger. People are worried. We will bring the country out of this crisis.

-- Benazir Bhutto (21 June 1953 - 27 December 2007), Pakistani politician, first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, at a rally in Rawalpindi minutes before her assassination

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nobody

Without my body I am a nobody!

-- Hermes Conrad, Futurama, "Bender's Big Score"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Minute Fractions

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions -- the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling.

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Most Useful Gift

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Place To Go

Having a place to go - is a home. Having someone to love - is a family. Having both - is a blessing.

-- Donna Hedges

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Juggling

What's hard about what I'm doing is the sheer number of balls I'm juggling at once ... and they aren't balls. They're knives and chainsaws and burning [stuff] and the trick is not dropping any of that. That's what makes it hard.

-- Martin Eberhard, Tesla co-founder, CEO, and Illinois alumnus, UI Alumni Association's "Resonance", 16 November 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Weather

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

-- John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baseball's Collective Failure


Manny Alexander Brendan Donnelly Ryan Jorgensen
Chad Allen Chris Donnels Mike Judd
Rick Ankiel Lenny Dykstra David Justice
David Bell Bobby Estalella Chuck Knoblauch
Mike Bell Matt Franco Tim Laker
Marvin Benard Ryan Franklin Mike Lansing
Gary Bennett Eric Gagne Paul Lo Duca
Larry Bigbie Jason Giambi Nook Logan
Barry Bonds Jeremy Giambi Josias Manzanillo
Ricky Bones Jay Gibbons Gary Matthews Jr.
Kevin Brown Troy Glaus Cody McKay
Paul Byrd Juan Gonzalez Kent Mercker
Alex Cabrera Jason Grimsley Bart Miadich
Jose Canseco Jose Guillen Hal Morris
Mark Carreon Jerry Hairston Jr. Daniel Naulty
Jason Christiansen Matt Herges Denny Neagle
Howie Clark Phil Hiatt Rafael Palmeiro
Roger Clemens Glenallen Hill Jim Parque
Paxton Crawford Darren Holmes Andy Pettitte
Jack Cust Todd Hundley Adam Piatt

Todd Pratt Jeff Williams
Stephen Randolph Matt Williams
Adam Riggs Todd Williams
Armando Rios Steve Woodard
Brian Roberts Kevin Young
John Rocker Gregg Zaun
F.P. Santangelo
Benito Santiago
Scott Schoeneweis
David Segui
Gary Sheffield
Mike Stanton
Ricky Stone
Miguel Tejada
Ismael Valdez
Mo Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Fernando Vina
Rondell White

Everybody in baseball -- commissioners, club officials, the players' association, players -- shares responsibility.

-- George J. Mitchell, issuing a report on use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball naming 86 past & current players, 13 December 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Workouts

I never stay away from workouts. I work hard. I've tried to take care of my body. I'll never look back and say that I could have done more. I've paid the price in practice, but I know I get the most out of my ability.

-- Carl Yastrzemski (1939-), American baseball player, Red Sox all-time leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played (second in home runs behind Red Sox great Ted Williams), last winner of the triple crown in the major leagues

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Living A Second Time

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.

-- Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), author, neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun Is Hope

If you can have just a little fun today, it's a sign that maybe the future will hold even more fun for you. Fun isn't just fun - it's hope.

-- Linda Richman, author, summa cum laude graduate of the school of hard knocks

Monday, December 10, 2007

Important Decisions

The interesting thing is that there are so few important decisions. You don't have to go in the "right" direction. You don't have to enter the "right" business. What you have to do is have made a decision as to what you're going to do and then you just have to figure out how to succeed at it.

-- Ken Oshman, CEO & Chairman of the Board, Echelon Corporation

Friday, December 07, 2007

It Will Not Matter

One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.

-- Dr. Forest E. Witcraft (1894-1967), scholar, teacher, and Boy Scout administrator, Scouting Magazine, October 1950, p2

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Half Time

In the game of life, nothing is less important than the score at half time.

-- anonymous

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Worries Diminished

A great many worries can be diminished by realizing the unimportance of the matter which is causing anxiety.

-- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher, mathematician, essayist

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Write On Napkins

I write on napkins. One time, this seventeen-year-old waitress says to me, "Do you write on napkins because it doesn't count?" And bingo. That's exactly why I do it! When you're jotting on a napkin, you're not committing yourself. It's only a napkin, right? You can throw it away. You'd be surprised. It loosens you up. Some of the best stuff I've written has been done on napkins.

-- August Wilson (1945-2005), Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright

Monday, December 03, 2007

Power

You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power - he's free again.

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-), Russian author and Nobel laureate

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wars Begin Where You Will

Wars begin where you will, but do not end where you please.

-- Machiavelli; cited in Patrick Goldstein, "Rocky Road Paves Path to Iraq Drama" Los Angeles Times, 12 December 2006

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judicial Review

Climate change has ushered in a whole new era of judicial review.

-- Patrick Parenteau, environmental law professor, on an appeals court decision striking down Bush administration fuel economy standards as too lax, New York Times, 16 November 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Humorless

The humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny, they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

-- Martin Amis (August 25, 1949-) British novelist

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Disappointed

When terrorism finally ends, some people are going to be very disappointed. They will no longer have an excuse for expressing the distrust of others that they had all along.

-- Comment by RC, November 21, 2007 07:15 AM

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/11/more_war_on_the.html

Monday, November 26, 2007

Unreliable Parts

Software developers have become adept at the difficult art of building reasonably reliable systems out of unreliable parts. The snag is that often we do not know exactly how we did it.

-- Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Good

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.

-- James Kern Feibleman, philosopher and psychiatrist (1904-1987)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Moment Of Intersection

A meal, however simple, is a moment of intersection. It is at once the most basic, the most fundamental, of our life's activities, maintaining the life of our bodies; shared with others it can be an occasion of joy and communion, uniting people deeply.

-- Elise Boulding, professor, author, peace activist

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prerogative

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.

-- Neil Gaiman, Sandman

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not A Problem

I don't have a problem. Seventeen hours a day online is fine.

-- Lee Chang-Hoon, 15, at a camp for compulsive Internet users in South Korea, New York Times, 18 November, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Resolving Technosocial Problems

Democratic societies, at least, have a right to expect that experts will help them, experts from all parts of academia and all the professions. I would even go so far as to say that there is at least an implicit social contract between professionals and the democratic societies in which they live, giving rise to this expectation that professionals will shoulder their responsibilities to improve the societies in which they live and work.

-- Paul T. Durbin, emeritus professor, University of Delaware, ACM Ubiquity, 11/13/07

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Moral Order

The order of the universe that we live in is the moral order. It has become the moral order by becoming the self-conscious method of the members of a human society. The world that comes to us from the past possesses and controls us. We possess and control the world that we discover and invent. And this is the world of the moral order. It is a splendid adventure if we can rise to it.

-- G. H. Mead, cited in Ubiquity, November 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yeah, Right

The emergency is to ensure elections go in an undisturbed manner.

-- General Pervez Musharraf, regarding his refusal to lift martial law in Pakistan prior to new elections, New York Times, 14 November 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not At The Library

Earth to parents: No. If you have to call the library and ask if your child is here, the answer is no. I know your child probably told you he'd be at the library, but what that really means is he didn't want to tell you where he was going to be, either because he hadn't decided yet, or because he just doesn't want you to know. This is true for children of all ages, but of course it goes double for teenagers.

Almost all kids who come to the library come with their parents. If you aren't here, then your kids almost certainly aren't here either. Yes, we do have kids in the library all the time who are not accompanied by their parents, but it's the same two or three dozen kids all the time. If your child were one of them, you would know.

Let me reiterate that: if your child were one of the ones who comes to the library, you would know. If you have to ask, then he's not here. Please stop calling the library and asking if your child is here. Your child is not here.

-- Rant by librarian Jonadab, 5/23/2007 04:35:00 PM mistersanity.blogspot.com

Monday, November 12, 2007

RIP Norman Mailer

Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more, or retreating into less. One is always living a little more, or dying a little bit.

-- Norman Mailer (31 January 1923 - 10 November 2007) American novelist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter and film director, in "Hip, Hell, and the Navigator", Western Review No. 23 (Winter 1959)

Friday, November 09, 2007

There Was A Time

There was a time when we expected nothing of our children but obedience, as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience.

-- Anatole Broyard

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What The General Says

How do you function as a lawyer when the law is what the general says it is?

-- Babar Sattar, on Pakistani lawyers' protests against President Pervez Musharraf, New York Times, 7 November 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

Paradoxically, while the drumbeat for bombing Iran grows increasingly loud, there is a stunning silence in response to the pre-eminent risk for nuclear terrorism. Washington's Faustian pact with General Musharraf is now unraveling, yet we are blithely assured that Pakistan's weapons and nuclear materials will remain safe, whoever rises to power. We have seemingly entered a Through-the-Looking-Glass world where nuclear weapons that do exist are less dangerous than those that can be imagined.

-- Paul Woodward of the War in Context website, 3 November 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Endless Money

Endless money forms the sinews of war.

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, writer (106-43 BCE)

Monday, November 05, 2007

No Money In Poetry

There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.

-- Robert Graves, poet and novelist (1895-1985)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Never Happened

Democracies don't prepare well for things that have never happened before.

-- Richard A. Clarke, former White House counter-terrorism chief

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Perfect Order

Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror.

-- Carlos Fuentes (1928-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Annoying

In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.

-- Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Trouble With Words

The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they've been in.

-- Dennis Potter, dramatist (1935-1994)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Aghast

I walked through the World Trade Center 20 minutes before the attack; saw the buildings burning; breathed the poisonous dust; wept for my country. Now Blackwater. Torture. An unprovoked, botched war. I am aghast, revolted. And ashamed.

-- Paul Nadler, Metuchen, N.J., Letter to the Editor, New York Times, October 4, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

If All They Want

If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison.

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower; cited at http://www.westpointgradsagainstthewar.org/

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Middle Man

If no one out there understands, start your own revolution and cut out the middle man.

-- Billy Bragg

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Played With Expression

I assure you that the typewriting machine, when played with expression, is not more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.

-- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Necessarily True

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

-- Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

The Devil's post -- entry number 666

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Source Of Our Troubles

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

-- P. J. O'Rourke, writer (1947- )

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cousins

Every family has a black sheep.

-- Bill Burton, spokesman for Barak Obama, on Lynne Cheney's assertion that Obama & her husband Vice President Dick Cheney are distant cousins

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lemmings

There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause.

-- P. J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores (1991)

Big Pharma Protects The Environment

Here's a point to ponder.

My ex has no health insurance, and currently has nine separate prescriptions to address her congestive heart failure and related maladies. Of these nine, I've been paying cash for the seven that cost under $100 per month each, skipping the two remaining, exorbitantly-priced meds.

This week I went to pick up her Albuterol inhaler, which has been available as a generic for quite a while. Unfortunately, I discovered that it's no longer available as a generic. The pharmaceutical company now has another 2(?) or 3(?) year monopoly on this product which, since it is so widely prescribed, is probably worth a $billion or so.

The change?

The old-style inhaler used CFCs for the propellant; the new-style inhaler uses something more environmentally friendly. I'm guessing that it was big pharma that pushed for the environmental restriction against CFCs as a propellant for inhalers. I'm also guessing that more people will die from not being able to afford inhalers than would have died from the extra CFCs in the atmosphere.

So, an apparently innocuous and right-minded change to environmental law, meant to keep us healthy, is likely going to kill people.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sanchez

After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism.

-- Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, retired former top commander of American forces in Iraq, New York Times, 10/13/2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rockies

I meant to post this last Friday, but it just got better over the weekend.

In an amazing streak, baseball's Colorado Rockies won 13 of their final 14 games in the regular season to tie for the wildcard. That is to say, with that streak, they managed to tie for "best second place".

Since then, they have won a one-game playoff for the wildcard, swept Philadelphia in 3 games in the Division Series, and are on the verge of a sweep of Arizona, having won the first 3 in the best-of-seven League Championship Series.

Overall they have won 20 of their last 21 games, including all 7 games they've played in the post-season.

Friday, October 12, 2007

MQ Software

As of Friday 12 October the programming staff (i.e., 5 of 6 total people) of NEXVU Technologies were hired en masse by MQ Software

http://www.mqsoftware.com

... to work on products akin to the NEXVU product. We start work on Tuesday 16 October, and remain in our old office as a satellite of our Minneapolis-based overlords.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What A Living

If the rich could pay the poor to die for them, what a living the poor could make!

-- anonymous

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Illuminati

Courtesy Mutant.net
http://www.mutant.net/editorials/illuminati.html

Re-reading The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, I came across the following passage ...

"... But they can rule by fraud, and by fraud eventually acquire access to the tools they need to finish the job of killing off the Constitution."

"What sort of tools?"

"More stringent security measures. Universal electronic Surveillance. No-Knock Laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind. Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, controlled by a handful of men, the people reason - or are manipulated into reasoning - that the entire populace must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted. ...

"... At present rate, within the next few years the Illuminati will have the American people under tighter surveillance than Hitler had the Germans. And the beauty of it is, the majority of the Americans will have been so frightened by Illuminati-backed terrorist incidents that they will beg to be controlled as a masochist begs for the whip."

From Pages 197-198 of the Dell Trade Paperback edition published in November 1988. The book was written in 1975. Sound familiar?

Monday, October 08, 2007

NEXVU

On Friday, 5 October 2007, NEXVU Technologies ceased operations. My first interview for a replacement gig is tomorrow.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ann Coulter On Women And The Vote

If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen.

-- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 2 October 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pereiro

The only thing I won in 2007 is the 2006 Tour.

-- Cyclist Oscar Pereiro on his declaration as winner of the 2006 Tour de France after nominal winner Floyd Landis was stripped of his title for doping, VeloNews, 4 October 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stupid Things

We have 1,000 guys out in the field. People make mistakes; they do stupid things sometimes.

-- Erik D. Prince, chief executive of Blackwater USA, which is under scrutiny for shootings by its employees in Iraq, Congressional hearing, 2 October 2007

Data Decryption Law In UK

From ars technica --

UK can now demand data decryption on penalty of jail time
By Ken Fisher | Published: October 01, 2007 - 10:20PM CT

New laws going into effect today in the United Kingdom make it a crime to refuse to decrypt almost any encrypted data requested by authorities as part of a criminal or terror investigation. Individuals who are believed to have the cryptographic keys necessary for such decryption will face up to 5 years in prison for failing to comply with police or military orders to hand over either the cryptographic keys, or the data in a decrypted form.

Part 3, Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) includes provisions for the decryption requirements, which are applied differently based on the kind of investigation underway. As we reported last year, the five-year imprisonment penalty is reserved for cases involving anti-terrorism efforts. All other failures to comply can be met with a maximum two-year sentence.
... snip ...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cowardly Escape

War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

-- Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German novelist, essayist, short story writer, and Nobel laureate

Monday, October 01, 2007

Miracle Mets

Do you know what it's like
To be chased by the Ghost of Failure
While staring through Victory's door?
Of course you do, you're a Mets fan.

-- Frank Messina, self-proclaimed Mets Poet, as the Mets complete the worst end-of-season collapse in baseball history, blowing a 7-game lead with 17 games to play to finish out of the running, New York Times, 29 September 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

So This Is _Normal_ To Them

Forty percent of Americans have never lived when there wasn't a Bush or a Clinton in the White House, as president or vice president.

-- Associated Press, 28 September 2007

So the government as it currently exists is _normal_ to them.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

If You Have To Be In A Soap Opera

If you have to be in a soap opera, try not to get the worst role.

-- Boy George

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Counsel Of Our Fears

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell: What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there\u2014ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.

Interviewer: So you think we are getting too hunkered down and scared?

Powell: Yes! We are taking too much counsel of our fears.

This doesn't mean there isn't a terrorist threat. There is a threat. And we should send in military forces when we have a target to deal with. We should also secure our airports, if that makes us safer. But let's welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let's make sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let's make sure people come to Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply because they have a Muslim name. Let's also remember that this country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.

Let's show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system can do. That's why I want to see Guantanamo closed. It's so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we're worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember.

-- Colin Powell in GQ Magazine, October 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marcel Marceau

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?

-- Marcel Marceau (March 22, 1923 - September 22, 2007) The Reader's Digest (June 1958)

Monday, September 24, 2007

What Everyone Knows

I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.

-- Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan; cited in Katrina Vanden Heuvel, "Greenspan, Iraq & Oil" (Nation, September 15, 2007)

Friday, September 21, 2007

By The Numbers

The new Forbes 400, by the numbers --

Oldest member : John Simplot, 98
Youngest member : John Arnold, 33
Average age : 65
Number never married: 11
Avg number of kids : 3.2
Minimum net worth : $1.3 Billion
Average net worth : $3.8 Billion
Collective net worth: $1.54 Trillion
Entirely self-made : 270
Entirely inherited : 74
Number of women : 39
California residents: 88
New York residents : 73
NY City residents : 64

Number of billionaires with not enough money to make the list : 84

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Planet Bush

The president can make things true simply by solemnly pronouncing them from the Oval Office. He can reach out to his critics just by saying he is doing so. And people believe him. But over here in the real world, things are different. Iraq is mostly ruled by armed gangs, not a central government. American troops are dying in the crossfire as the country continues to violently disintegrate along ethnic and sectarian lines. We're in it pretty much alone. There's no end in sight. And the real al Qaeda is regrouping in Pakistan.

-- Dan Froomkin, "It Came From Planet Bush", Washington Post, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Intentions

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.

-- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Origin Of Myths

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

-- Bertrand Russell

Monday, September 17, 2007

Front, Back

If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian. If it went through the front, it's criminal.

-- An intelligence analyst, regarding the violence in Iraq; cited in Paul Krugman, "Time to Take a Stand" (New York Times, September 7, 2007)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Occupied

If someone occupied my hometown in the same manner Americans occupy Iraq, I'd be killing them any way I could.

-- Marine Scott Ritter, "Reporting from Baghdad" (TruthDig, September 7, 2007)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Great Soul And Vast Views

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all His laws.

-- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1816

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Do Not Remember Days

We do not remember days; we remember moments.

-- Cesare Pavese, 1908-1950, Italian novelist, poet, and translator

Monday, September 10, 2007

Air Power

If I hear one more lawyer with no military experience explain to me how air power alone really can do it this time, I'm going to kill him.

-- An active-duty US Army officer; cited in "We Don't Need Another Fight Right Now" (Swedish Meatballs Confidential, August 31, 2007)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Public Diplomacy

The government calls it "public diplomacy". Some call it "propaganda". I prefer the term "manure". Others may prefer an easier-to-spell synonym. But it all smells the same.

-- Winter Patriot, "Did Bush Just Declare War On Iran?" (Winter Patriot blog, August 29)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Most Joyful, Most Perfect

For me, music making is the most joyful activity possible, the most perfect expression of any emotion.

-- Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 - September 6, 2007) Italian opera singer

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lack Of Access

I believe, if we don't fix the health care system, that lack of access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco. The ultimate control of cancer is as much a public policy issue as it is a medical and scientific issue.

-- John R. Seffrin, of the American Cancer Society, which plans to devote its entire advertising budget this year to the consequences of inadequate health coverage, NY Times, 8/31/07

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Finish?

Well, that was an exciting finish.

-- Steve Fossett, millionaire adventurer, reported missing Monday 3 September, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Do It Right

There is no labor a person does that is undignified, if they do it right.

-- Bill Cosby (1937-, American Actor, Comedian)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Miracles

This [war] is an endless story unless a miracle takes place in a time when miracles do not take place any more.

-- Waleed al-Ubaydi, a political analyst at Baghdad University, August 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Chain Of Change

And, oh! what beautiful years were these
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.

Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.

-- Langdon Smith

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Intelligent Work

The great difference between those who succeed and those who fail does not consist in the amount of work done by each but in the amount of intelligent work.

-- Og Mandino (1923-1996), American motivational author, speaker

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales Going Going Gone

To achieve victory at the cost of eroding civil liberties would not really be a victory. We cannot change the core identity of our Nation and claim success. And our identity has never been in doubt -- we are a free people, dedicated to liberty for the popular and the unpopular, committed to the ideal that the People govern themselves, and determined to have a government that cannot extinguish or suppress the rights that make us Americans.

-- Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, November 20, 2006

Friday, August 24, 2007

Less And Less Obvious

Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.

-- R. Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bodies Of Men

Has it been found that bodies of men act with more rectitude or greater disinterestedness than individuals? The contrary of this has been inferred by all accurate observers of the conduct of mankind; and the inference is founded upon obvious reasons. Regard to reputation has a less active influence, when the infamy of a bad action is to be divided among a number than when it is to fall singly upon one. A spirit of faction, which is apt to mingle its poison in the deliberations of all bodies of men, will often hurry the persons of whom they are composed into improprieties and excesses, for which they would blush in a private capacity.

-- Alexander Hamilton

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Context

For example, international terrorism annually causes the same number of deaths as drowning in bathtubs or bee stings. It would take a repeat of Sept. 11 every month of the year to make flying as dangerous as driving. Over a lifetime, the chance of being killed by a terrorist is about the same as being struck by a meteor .... In conclusion, an American's risk of dying at the hands of a terrorist is microscopic.

-- John Mueller, an Ohio State University political science professor

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Waxing Eloquent

I can also say that this bike climbs like a monkey in a set of crampons, descends like a monkey in a set of crampons being droppd from a helicopter, handles corners like a prostitute, and accelerates like a particle in a particle accelerator that itself is just a tiny particle in a giant particle accelerator. Overall, the effect is like sitting in a cafe in a trendy Milan street while sipping a cappuccino and wearing fabulous clothes yet inexplicably traveling at or close to the speed of light. Pure Italian class.

-- Bike Snob NYC, waxing eloquent about the new Colnago Extreme Power bicycle

Monday, August 20, 2007

Neutron Loans

All of the old-timers knew that subprime mortgages were what we called neutron loans -- they killed the people and left the houses. The deals made in 2005 and 2006 were going to run into trouble because the credit pendulum at the time was stuck at easy.

-- Louis S. Barnes, a partner at Boulder West, a mortgage banking firm, NY Times, 8/19/07

Friday, August 17, 2007

Patience

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.

-- Franklin P. Jones

Thursday, August 16, 2007

When We Teach

When we teach a child to draw, we teach him how to see. When we teach a child to play a musical instrument, we teach her how to listen. When we teach a child to dance, we teach him how to move through life with grace. When we tach a child to read and write, we teach her how to think. When we nurture imagination, we create a better world, one child at a time.

-- Jane Alexander

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Crying And Rejoicing

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

-- Cherokee proverb

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Never Have Children

Never have children, only grandchildren.

-- Gore Vidal (October 3, 1925-), novelist, essayist, playwright, and provocateur, quoting his grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Mother Is Born

Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.

-- Erma Louise Bombeck, 1927 - 1996

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saiya


At 6:27 AM today my number two daughter Sheena gave birth to my first grandchild. Saiya Marie Schwartz weighed in on arrival at 8 pounds 6 ounces, and 20 inches long.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dinger

Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball, and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.

-- From Hank Aaron's video tribute to Barry Bonds on Bonds' record-breaking 756th career home run, August 7, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

TSA Guy

Security Consultant Bruce Schneier: By today's rules, I can carry on liquids in quantities of 3 oz or less, unless they're in larger bottles. But I can carry on multiple three-ounce bottles. Or a single larger bottle with a non-prescription medicine label, like contact lens fluid. It all has to fit inside a one-quart plastic bag, except for that large bottle of contact lens fluid. And if you confiscate my liquids, you're going to toss them into a large pile right next to the screening station -- which you would never do if anyone thought they were actually dangerous.

Can you please convince me there's not an Office for Annoying Air Travelers making this sort of stuff up?

Transportation Safety Administration Head Kip Hawley [who apparently has a sense of humor]: Screening ideas are indeed thought up by the Office for Annoying Air Travelers and vetted through the Directorate for Confusion and Complexity, and then we review them to insure that there are sufficient unintended irritating consequences so that the blogosphere is constantly fueled.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/07/conversation_wi_4.html

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Any Event

Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.

-- Lee Simonson

Monday, August 06, 2007

Ego

You need a healthy ego to endure the abuse that comes with any sort of success. The trick is to think of your ego as your goofy best friend who lends moral support but doesn't know shit.

-- Scott Adams, The Dilbert Blog, 7/23/07

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pervading Evil

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.

-- Lord Acton (10 January 1834 - 19 June 1902), English historian, The History of Freedom in Antiquity (February 28, 1877)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Power Corrupts

All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.

-- Lord Acton (10 January 1834 - 19 June 1902), English historian, Letter to Mandell Creighton, April 1887

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Everything Secret Degenerates

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

-- Lord Acton (10 January 1834 - 19 June 1902), English historian, Letter (January 23, 1861)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Worse Heresy

There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

-- Lord Acton (10 January 1834 - 19 June 1902), English historian, Letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887

Monday, July 30, 2007

Not The First

You'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them -- if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.

-- J. D. Salinger in The Catcher in the Rye

Friday, July 27, 2007

Homeland

The word "homeland," which resonates sinisterly like das Vaterland in German or rodina in Russian, was virtually unused before 9/11, and despite its relentless repetition by the Bush administration (to include the name of a cabinet agency), it has thus far refused to lodge itself in colloquial American English. ... Indeed, while Vaterland or rodina have non-ideological colloquial roots and were expropriated by Hitler and Stalin, "homeland" is a purely ideological construct of the Bush
administration.

-- Werther, a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nothing So Obvious

There is nothing so obvious that it's obvious.

-- Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris in his essay on truth and photographs, on his New York Times blog, July 10, 2007


http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/07/10/pictures-are-supposed-to-be-worth-a-thousand-words/

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Attack Like A Fool

I did not know the climbs so I attacked like a fool.

-- Barloworld cyclist Juan Mauricio Soler of Columbia, after winning the 9th stage of the Tour de France by attacking on the out-of-category climb up the Col du Galibier, July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One Word

If there is one word I would use to sum up the atmosphere in Iraq -- on the streets, in the countryside, in the neighborhoods, and at the national level -- that word would be fear.

-- Ryan C. Crocker, American ambassador to Iraq, New York Times, July 20, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Terrorists Cannot

Americans think their danger is terrorists. They don't understand the terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution. ... The terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism. Americans just aren't able to perceive that.

-- Paul Craig Roberts, journalist, economist, and former Reagan Administration official, July 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

SiCKO

This week, for the first time since I started work at NEXVU Technologies over 3 1/2 years ago, I missed a full day of work due to illness (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Absurd

Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.

-- George Santayana

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

People Who Cannot Find Time

People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.

-- John Wannamaker

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life, Love, And Death

Life is eternal; and love is immortal;
And death is only a horizon;
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight.

-- Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Friday, July 13, 2007

RIP Deb Zoller-Fisher

I was working at Chanute AFB near Rantoul, IL, and I dropped DZD a pnote commenting on the heavy system load (something like 900 on-system, on the way to a peak around 1200 users). Her reply ...?

* zoller-dykema / o / cerl 8/21/80 7:50 am *

munch a bunch a crunch a bunch a munch a bunch a
USERS!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Our Death Is Not An End

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us; our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

-- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life

Life -- a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.

-- Charles Lindbergh

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Your Tax $s At Work, Killing People

A new estimate of the financial cost of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars shows expenditures of about $12B per month. If 90% of that cost is incurred in Iraq, that works out to an average of $250,000 per minute for our efforts there.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Coincidence

The attorney of record for Marc Rich when pardoned by President Bill Clinton was I. Lewis Libby.

-- "It's All Politics" radio program

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Consequences

It's just interesting to think about unintended consequences, since those seem to be the only kind of consequences we ever see.

-- Scott Adams, "The Dilbert Blog", 6/28/07

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Petraeus On Progress In Iraq

18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.

The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of the new Iraq. ...

Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.

Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight.

-- General David H. Petraeus, "Battling for Iraq," washingtonpost.com, September 26, 2004

Monday, July 02, 2007

Presidential Scholars

We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants.

-- Excerpt from a letter signed by 50 Presidential Scholars, presented to President George W. Bush, June 25, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Discrimination

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

-- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in the majority opinion on school integration, June 28, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Exit Blair

Some may belittle politics but we who are engaged in it know that it is where people stand tall. Although I know that it has many harsh contentions, it is still the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster. If it is, on occasions, the place of low skulduggery, it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes. I wish everyone, friend or foe, well. That is that. The end.

-- Tony Blair's last official words as Prime Minister, said at Prime Minister's Questions on 27 June 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Flaws

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

-- Augusten Burroughs

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aimed Rather Low

If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

-- George Carlin

Monday, June 25, 2007

Properly Free

I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows .... I am properly free when all the men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition and confirmation.

-- Mikhail Bakunin

Friday, June 22, 2007

Driving In Illinois

When you're driving in Illinois, watching the buildings in the distance move SO SLOWLY, you're watching a kind of movie that you've been watching all your life, and that isn't playing in any other cinema.

-- Ernie Metzger, Glasgow, Scotland, formerly of Urbana, IL

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bloomberg On Politics

Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles, and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology.

-- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, New York Times, June 20, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ready Booted And Spurred

I never would believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.

-- Walt Whitman, American poet (1819-1892)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sacrifices Must Be Made

For you to be successful, sacrifices must be made. It's better that they are made by others but failing that, you'll have to make them yourself.

-- Rita Mae Brown (November 28, 1944-), American writer

Monday, June 18, 2007

Real ID

The REAL ID Act is one of the largest identity management undertakings in history. It would bring more than 200 million people from a large, diverse, and mobile country within a uniformly defined identity system, jointly operated by state governments. This has never been done before in the USA, and it raises numerous policy, privacy, and data security issues that have had only brief scrutiny, particularly given the scope and scale of the undertaking.

It is critical that specific issues be carefully considered before developing and deploying a uniform identity management system in the 21st century. These include, but are not limited to, the implementation costs, the privacy consequences, the security of stored identity documents and personal information, redress and fairness, "mission creep", and, perhaps most importantly, provisions for national security protections.

The Department of Homeland Security's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking touched on some of these issues, though it did not explore them in the depth necessary for a system of such magnitude and such consequence. Given that these issues have not received adequate consideration, the Committee feels it is important that the following comments do not constitute an endorsement of REAL ID or the regulations as workable or appropriate.

-- The Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee of the Department of Homeland Security

Strength Of Character

Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one's balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship's compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.

-- Carl von Clausewitz

Friday, June 15, 2007

xkcd

You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think "some engineer was frustrated while designing this." It's a little human connection.

-- xkcd, 6/14/07, xkcd.com (check it out)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Liberty V. Security

The very point of protecting liberty is to demand that sacrifices to liberty are not in vain and that security interests, which compromise civil liberties, are sufficiently effective to warrant the cost.

-- Daniel J. Solove, Data Mining and the Security-Liberty Debate, George Washington University Law School

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ironic Way Of Failing

It's not about money, it's about freedom. If you think it's about money you've missed the point. I want to use a computer in freedom, to cooperate, to not be restricted or prohibited from sharing. The GNU/Linux system is catching on somewhat more now. The system is becoming popular for practical reasons. It's a good system. The danger is people will like it because it's practical and it will become popular without anyone having the vaguest idea of the ideals behind it, which would be an ironic way of failing.

-- Richard Stallman in a Software Libre article by Richard Hillesley, 3/18/07

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Refuse To Recognize

To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them "enemy combatants," would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution -- and the country.

We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

-- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ordering the release from military detention of Ali al-Marri

Monday, June 11, 2007

Young And Foolish

To be young and foolish you need to be both young and foolish. One without the other is no good.

-- Wayne Howell

Romney Is An Idiot

As I slowly winnow away at the list of candidates, Romney makes it easy to elminate him from contention ... here's an excerpt from an article about the June 5 candidates' debate --


At the Republican candidates' debate on June 5, White House contender Mitt Romney remarkably claimed that weapons inspectors were barred from entering Iraq before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. But Romney's error was little noted by the mainstream media.

Asked if he thought it was "a mistake for us to invade Iraq," Romney declared the question a "null set," and explained:

"If you're saying let's turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein, therefore, not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in. But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in."

Romney's suggestion that weapons inspectors were not permitted into Iraq before the war started is, of course, incorrect. Weapons inspectors from UNMOVIC (the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) returned to Iraq on November 18, 2002. Led by Hans Blix, the inspectors spent months in Iraq, issuing reports on Iraqi compliance that were a crucial part of the debate over whether to invade Iraq.

-- From "Romney's Iraq Gaffe Ignored, GOP contender's bizarre pre-war history" 6/8/07, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3112

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pro Patria

I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
When I felt the bullet enter my heart
I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail
For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary,
Rather a thousand times the county jail
Than to lie under this marble figure with wings,
And this granite pedestal
Bearing the words, "Pro Patria."

What do they mean, anyway?

-- From the "Spoon River Anthology"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rearing Our Children In Captivity

We are rearing our children in captivity -- their habitat shrinking almost daily. In 1970 the average nine-year-old girl would have been free to wander 840 meters from her front door. In 1997 it was 280 metres. Now the limit appears to have come down to the front doorstep.

-- Mark Easton, Home editor, BBC News, 4 June 2007

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6720661.stm

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Eat Before You Are Hungry

Eat before you are hungry. Drink before you are thirsty. Rest before you are tired. Cover up before you are cold. Peel off before you are hot. Don't drink or smoke on tour. Never ride just to prove yourself.

-- Paul de Vivie (Velocio, 1853-1930) inventor of a two speed derailleur in 1905, on cycling

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tattoo Your Name On Their Chest

If you can persuade your customer to tattoo your name on their chest, they probably will not switch brands.

-- An Indiana University professor (re: Harley-Davidson owners)

Monday, June 04, 2007

If We Quit Vietnam

If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco.

-- President Lyndon Johnson, quoted by Ron Hutcheson in "Some See Troubling Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam" (Common Dreams, September 18, 2003)

Friday, June 01, 2007

My Own Funeral

I feel like I've been attending my own funeral, listening to all these speeches.

-- Billy Graham, at the dedication of a library honoring his ministry, May 31, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/01/us/01graham.html?th&emc=th

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Keith Richards At 63

I was number one on the "who's likely to die" list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list.

-- Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, in British music magazine NME, March, 2007.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

He Who Learns Must Suffer

He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despite, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

-- Aeschylus

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Main Thing

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

-- Stephen R. Covey

Friday, May 25, 2007

Movin' On Up

Last night, my number four daughter, Brittany, graduated from middle school into high school. She was the only student with perfect attendance for the year, and she was recognized for honor roll, the Presidential Academic Fitness Award, and an academic letter.

Tonight, my number three daughter, Heather, will graduate from high school.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Matter What Side

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.

-- Jascha Heifetz

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tragedy For The World

I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world.

-- Former President Jimmy Carter, BBC Radio, May 19, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gas Prices

I bought gas on January 23, 2007 for $1.889 per gallon. I bought gas today for $3.359 per gallon. That's an increase of $1.47 in 129 days, rising at a rate of more than a penny a day for 4 straight months.

Monday, May 21, 2007

News

If it's in the news, don't worry about it. The very definition of "news" is "something that hardly ever happens." It's when something isn't in the news, when it's so common that it's no longer news -- car crashes, domestic violence -- that you should start worrying.

-- Bruce Schneier, security consultant

Friday, May 18, 2007

As I Interpret Them

His message of peace and reconciliation under almost all circumstances is simply incompatible with Christian teachings as I interpret them. This "turn the other cheek" business is all well and good but it's not what Jesus fought and died for. What we need to do is take the battle to the Muslim heathens and do unto them before they do unto us.

-- Jerry Falwell (11 August 1933 - 15 May 2007) American pastor and conservative activist, on Jimmy Carter in a radio interview, 4 March 2002

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Falwell At His Best

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, an the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."

-- Jerry Falwell (11 August 1933 - 15 May 2007) American pastor, and conservative activist, in remarks to Pat Robertson after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on The 700 Club, September 13, 2001

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

War Czar

We believe at some point, in order to break this dependence on the ... coalition, you simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward. You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It's very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.

... I will tell you this, as the operation officer of Centcom, if a year from now I've got to call on all those army troops that General Schoomaker [US army chief of staff, who said his office was planning so troop levels could be maintained until 2009] is prepared to provide, I won't feel real good about myself.

-- Maj Gen Douglas Lute, newly-appointed War Czar, then-director of operations at US Central Command, Financial Times, August 24, 2005

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Either/Or

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations -- one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it -- you will regret both.

-- Soren Kierkegaard in "Either/Or"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mistakes We Didn't Make

War is war. We made a lot of mistakes, I'm sure of it. But there are a lot of mistakes we didn't make, too.

-- Secretary of State Condolezza Rice; cited in Joe Conason, "Condi Rice never looks back" (Salon, May 4, 2007)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Zedonk

T I P W O R L D
http://www.tipworld.com
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W O R D O R I G I N S
September 22nd, 2000

===============================================================
TODAY'S WORD: ZEDONK

(ZEE-dongk)
(n.) The offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey

Yes, there is such a thing, and "zedonk" is what you get, linguistically speaking, when you cross a "zebra" with a "donkey."

By the way, in case you need a synonym, the Oxford English Dictionary notes that you can use "zonkey" instead of "zedonk."

And while you'd be forgiven for assuming that a "zebrass" is the unfortunate result of sitting too long on certain lawn chairs, it's actually yet another name for this hybrid critter.

"Yes, a lovely farm indeed, but would you happen to own any zedonks?"

Martha Barnette is the author of Ladyfingers & Nun's Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names. She's also the word maven at http://www.funwords.com.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Hole Of One's Own Making

When one finds himself in a hole of his own making, it is a good time to examine the quality of workmanship.

-- Jon Remmerde, Christian Science Monitor

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bleeding Dads

Daughters are like swords without a hilt and handle. At certain times in their lives no matter how you try to hold them they cut you deeply. Would not have missed it for the world.

-- Lenny Hoover

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Moral Man And A Man Of Honor

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

-- H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956), "Prejudices: Fourth Series," 1924

Monday, May 07, 2007

Guarantee Of Religious Pluralism

The secular state is the guarantee of religious pluralism. This apparent paradox, again, is the simplest and most elegant of political truths.

-- Christopher Hitchens

Friday, May 04, 2007

All Human Beings Are Equal

All human beings are equal. Men and women are not equal.
All human beings are equal. White people and people of color are not equal.
All human beings are equal. The rich and the poor are not equal.

-- Yolanda M. Carrington, http://www.genderracepower.com/

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Power Used Wisely And Well

It is only in folk tales, children's stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil.

The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful and dedicated ignorance to fail to perceive them.

-- Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Plan B

Plan B is to make plan A work.

-- President George W. Bush, in response to a question by Charlie Rose on what would happen if the "surge" in Baghdad didn't work; cited in Dan Froomkin, "No One Suffers More Than the President" (washingtonpost.com, April 25, 2007)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Worry Kills

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.

-- Robert Frost

Monday, April 30, 2007

OBL

I think it was Osama bin Laden's.

-- Presidential adviser Karl Rove, replying to the question of whose idea it was to start a preemptive war in Iraq; cited in Dan Froomkin, "Rove Watch; Bush Challenged on Iraq" (washingtonpost.com, April 19, 2007)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tenet Disses Bush, Cheney

There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat.

-- George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, in his new book, New York Times, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Amazing Variety

Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.

-- Samuel McChord Crothers

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gorbachev On Yeltsin

I express the very deepest condolences to the family of the deceased [Boris Yeltsin] on whose shoulders rest major events for the good of the country and serious mistakes.

-- Mikhail Gorbachev (2 March 1931 - ), leader of the Soviet Union 1985-1991, Reuters, 04/23/2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Excuse Not To Think

Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.

-- Michael Rivero

Monday, April 23, 2007

RIP Yeltsin

Dissidents should be paid 13 months' salary for a year, otherwise our mindless unanimity will bring us to an even more hopeless state of stagnation. It is especially important to encourage unorthodox thinking when the situation is critical: At such moments every new word and fresh thought is more precious than gold. Indeed, people must not be deprived of the right to think their own thoughts.

-- Boris Yeltsin (1 February 1931 - 23 April 2007), first president of post-Soviet Russia, Against the Grain (1990), p. 172

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dissent

Ultimately, the Court admits that "moral concerns" are at work, concerns that could yield prohibitions on any abortion. Notably, the concerns expressed are untethered to any ground genuinely serving the Government's interest in preserving life. By allowing such concerns to carry the day and case, overriding fundamental rights, the Court dishonors our precedent. ("Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.")

Revealing in this regard, the Court invokes an anti-abortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence: Women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from "[s]evere depression and loss of esteem." Because of women's fragile emotional state and because of the "bond of love the mother has for her child," the Court worries, doctors may withhold information about the nature of the intact D&E procedure. The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.

This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution--ideas that have long since been discredited.

-- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her dissent to the court's 4/18/07 5-4 decision upholding the federal partial-birth abortion ban, the first total ban on an abortion procedure with no exceptions for a woman’s life or health

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If Only

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Source Of Evil

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

-- Joseph Conrad, 1857 - 1924

Monday, April 16, 2007

Genetic?

Over the weekend my 3 older brothers and I hosted a party for 39 people from at least 6 states to celebrate my father's upcoming 90th birthday. I hope his longevity is genetic.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Series Of Accidents

I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan (1959)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

The only proof he needed
For the existence of God
Was music.

-- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-11-11 - 2007-04-11), Vonnegut's Blues For America, 07 January, 2006 Sunday Herald

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Not The Art Of The Possible

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fig Newton

Fig Newton: The force required to accelerate a fig 39.37 inches/sec.

-- Johnny Hart (February 18, 1931 - April 7, 2007), in the comic strip BC

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Surprise

We have a political system that awards high office to the most ruthless, cunning, and selfish of mortals, then we act surprised when those willing to do anything to win power are equally willing to do anything with it.

-- Michael Rivero

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Conformists And Troublemakers

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.

-- Mignon McLaughlin

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

FSF

There are four "defining freedoms" to free software:

1) The freedom to run the program as you see fit,
2) Study and adapt it for your own purposes,
3) Redistribute copies to help your neighbour, and
4) Release your improvements to the public.

-- Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation

Monday, April 02, 2007

JPG

I need a girl whose name doesn't end in .jpg

-- anonymous

Friday, March 30, 2007

Blood Is Flowing

In beloved Iraq, blood is flowing between brothers, in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation, and abhorrent sectarianism threatens a civil war.

-- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Wednesday 3/28/07, at an Arab League meeting in Riyadh

Thursday, March 29, 2007

COPA

Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.

-- Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr. in his decision striking down the Child Online Protection Act, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Acceptance

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it.

-- Kathleen Casey Theisen

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stem Cells

From my standpoint, it is clear today that American science will be better-served, and the nation will be better-served, if we let our scientists have access to more stem cell lines.

-- NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, Monday 3/19/2007 during a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing on NIH funding for fiscal year 2008

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dropped Objects

Dropped objects seek the point of least accessibility.

-- Scott Adams

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wars Do Not Resolve

Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore ... prove ultimately futile.

-- Pope John Paul II

Thursday, March 22, 2007

CNN Vs. The Onion

Several years ago, we reached the point where neither my friends nor I could not tell the difference between CNN and the Onion.

-- Wade J. Olsen, 3/20/07

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Forceps Of Our Minds

The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.

-- H. G. Wells, 1903

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A380

Wait until it flies over Manhattan. It will block out the sun.

-- James Fazio, chief operating officer of JFK International Airport Terminal, on the Airbus A380 which made its maiden flight to the United States yesterday, New York Times, 3/20/2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

People Tend To Predict

In conditions of great uncertainty people tend to predict that the events that they want to happen actually will happen.

-- Roberta Wohlstetter

Friday, March 16, 2007

We Must Protest

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

-- Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (1928- )

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Truth Does Not Change

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.

-- Giordano Bruno

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Think In Front Of A Tiger

If you know the point of balance, you can settle the details. If you can settle the details, you can stop running around. Your mind will become calm. If your mind becomes calm, you can think in front of a tiger. If you can think in front of a tiger, you will surely succeed.

-- Mencius (Mengzi Meng-Tse) c.370-300 BC, Chinese Philosopher

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We Are Both Atheists

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

-- usenet .sig

Stray The Course

So the Bush administration appears to be doing some things right, like talking to Iran & Syria, as suggested by the Baker-Hamilton Commission. Is this an actual change in strategy (pushed by Condi?) or is there something else happening here?

I thought Bush would go with the commission's report as a CYA approach to dealing with inevitable failure. However, Bush instead chose his "stay the course" troop buildup, providing what is perhaps too few troops to accomplish "victory" (whatever that is defined as, now), though apparently with the intention of producing a positive outcome.

Those who think he irrevocably screwed up the Iraq war 3 or 4 years ago would argue that victory is no longer possible. Bush appears to think otherwise, as I don't see much advantage for him in simply drawing things out prior to accepting ultimate failure.

So, is this a strategic shift? Is Condi behind it? Is there an ulterior motive in either talking to Iran/Syria or the troop buildup? Is Bush pursuing something other than ill-defined victory in Iraq? Comments?

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Nearly Certain

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.

-- Bertrand Russell, "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?", 1947)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Three Natural Laws Of The Digital World

Bruce Schneier's Three Natural Laws of the Digital World:

I. Bits are inherently copyable, easily and repeatedly; digital files cannot be made uncopyable, any more than water can be made not wet.

II. Software has the ability to encapsulate skill.

III. The digital world lacks political boundaries.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sudo

I should clearly buy a breathalyser, connect it to my computer, and make sudo check it before allowing me to access the root account.

-- Fred Emmott (fred87), Planet KDE, March 8, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Snow Shadow

I wouldn't have thought it was possible. Over the weekend we had several hours of snow flurries, along with a steady breeze.

This picture shows the snow shadow. Apparently the wind direction did not vary as the snow fell, allowing all of the snow to sharply align with the edges of anything that blocked the wind. The shadow lasted until the next day. Snow was still (slowly) falling when I took this picture.

Ironic Times

We mistakenly quoted Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison calling for accountability from top White House aides Libby and Rove by saying, "Something needs to be said that is a clear message that the rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray." In fact, when Senator Hutchison made the remarks, she was calling for accountability from President Clinton in 1999. More recently, in regard to accountability for Libby and Rove, she referred to perjury as a "technicality." We regret any confusion caused by our error.

-- Ironictimes.com

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby

Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true. It was false. He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And he lied about it afterward, under oath and repeatedly.

-- Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, "Cheney Adviser Resigns After Indictment" on ABCnews.com (October 28, 2005)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Success In Your Field

You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play.

-- Warren Beatty

Friday, March 02, 2007

Of Course

Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists. But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.

-- Senator Russ Feingold

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Mystery Cat

He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - Macavity wasn't there!

-- T. S. Eliot, Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

As Many Nights As Days

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word "happy" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

-- Carl Gustav Jung, 1875 - 1961