Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rightful Liberty

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the limits of the law" because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

-- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect, and author (1743-1826)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

No Care But For Themselves

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.

-- Samuel Johnson, Taxation No Tyranny

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Procrastination is my sin.
It brings me naught but sorrow.
I know that I should stop it.
In fact, I will -- tomorrow!

-- Gloria Pitzer

Monday, June 27, 2005


An attempt to erect the world's largest popsicle went sour Tuesday when a 25-foot-tall, 17.5-ton treat of frozen Snapple thawed faster than expected, flooding Manhattan's Union Square. Firefighters closed streets and used hoses to wash away the kiwi-strawberry-flavored liquid. The colossal snack was erected by Snapple to promote its new line of frozen goodies. Snapple official Lauren Radcliffe said it was unlikely the company would try for the record (21 feet, Holland, 1997) again. [with photo, story near the bottom]

-- Korin Miller (Names & Places, Washington Post, June 23, 2005)

Friday, June 24, 2005

My Country Right Or Wrong

I don't want anyone to think that because I live in the US I believe that everything my country does is right.

"My country right or wrong" is both unpatriotic (not faithful to one's country), and un-American (not faithful to the ideals of the founding fathers). Those who don't see that are destroying what this country is, has been, and should be.

Every Act Of Conscious Learning

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.

-- Thomas Szasz, author, professor of psychiatry (1920- )

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Born In The USA

Being born in the elite in the U.S. gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the world have ever experienced. Being born poor in the U.S. gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada.

-- David I. Levine, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, May 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Men Think In Herds

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

-- Charles Mackay

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

Rest Is Not Idleness

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

-- Sir John Lubbock

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Wrong Questions

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers.

-- Thomas Pynchon, writer (1937- )

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government.

-- Jeremy Bentham, jurist and philosopher (1748-1832)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

-- Ambrose Bierce, writer (1842-1914) [The Devil's Dictionary]

Monday, June 13, 2005

Characteristic Human Trait

Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told -- and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare ... Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion.

-- Michael Crichton

Friday, June 10, 2005

Experiments & Questions

A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions -- as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 41

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

True Hypocrite

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.

-- French writer Andre Gide; cited in Richard Macintosh, "'Un-American' Questions" (Swans, CA)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Shepherd & The Sheep

The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.

-- Stendal (Marie Henri Beyle), novelist (1783-1842)

Monday, June 06, 2005

I Am, Indeed, A King

I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.

- Pietro Aretino, satirist and dramatist (1492-1556)

Friday, June 03, 2005


If I didn't have writing, I'd be running down the street hurling grenades in people's faces.

-- Paul Fussell

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How Things Work

Nobody can understand how all technology works. But it always surprises me how so many people can go through life in delightful ignorance, not only unaware of why their car moves forward or there is sound in the radio, but not even being curious about it. It is not hard to find out how things work. Gone are the days of wiring diagrams and complex mathematical formulae. You can find excellent explanations, helpful graphics and animation schemes describing how many common technologies work.

But no. People want to press a button and just have it done. And therein lies the problem. If you don't know how things work, you don't know what is hard. So you invest in natural language systems (speech recognition has been a promising technology for 30 years) or systems that can predict the stock market. Or you go out and spend a fortune on pyramid schemes or magnet therapy. And wander through life, "mouth agape in doltish wonder," to quote Paul Fussell.

-- Espen Andersen, The S-Curves of Sinks, and Technology, "Ubiquity", Volume 6, Issue 19 (June 1-8, 2005)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005