Friday, January 27, 2006

Challenger Anniversary

Space Shuttle Mission 51-L lifted off from Pad B at Cape Canaveral at 11:38 am Eastern, twenty years ago tomorrow, January 28, 1986. It was the 25th Shuttle launch, the 10th for Challenger (OV-099). Challenger had made 987 orbits of the earth and spent 69 days in space in her first nine flights. On board were Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, Gregory B. Jarvis, and Sharon Christa McAuliffe. The mission ended in a fireball 46,000 feet above the Atlantic, 73 seconds into the flight.

I didn't hear what had happened for several hours, though I did notice while on a bike ride that day climbing Lake Jennings Park Road outside Lakeside, CA that flags were flying at half staff at the county facility at the side of the road. I didn't own a TV, so at about 6pm I listened to NPR and heard the news. I knocked on my neighbor's door and asked to watch the 6 o'clock news with them where I saw the video for the first time.

That night President Reagan got it right when he quoted John Gillespie Magee's "High Flight": "We will never forget them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

-- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Win Your Peace Or Buy It

You may either win your peace or buy it; win it by resistance to evil; buy it by compromise with evil.

-- John Ruskin (1819-1900)


And that compromise with evil doesn't mean only compromise with one's opponent; to compromise one's ideals or morals is another way to spend one's own worth in lieu of striving.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Be Not Blind With Patriotism

You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.

-- Malcolm X

Monday, January 23, 2006

Life Demands Struggle

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.

-- Ralph Ransom

Friday, January 20, 2006

Construction Vs. Creation

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.

-- Charles Dickens, 1812 - 1870

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.

-- George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Law Should Be Like Death

Law should be like death, which spares no one.

-- Montesquieu (1689-1755)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Any two sufficiently dedicated academics can transform even simple questions into convoluted riddles that no one would DARE attempt answering.

-- Jim Papadopolous

Monday, January 16, 2006


An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 13, 2006

No One Really Listens

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.

-- Mignon McLaughlin

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't.

-- Jules Renard

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Political And Religious Freedom

Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion.

-- Samuel James Ervin, Jr., lawyer, judge, and senator (1896-1985)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Past, Present, Future

In general people experience their present naively, as it were, without being able to form an estimate of its contents; they have first to put themselves at a distance from it -- the present, that is to say, must have become the past -- before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future.

-- Sigmund Freud

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Same Stuff

The future is made of the same stuff as the present.

-- Simone Weil

Friday, January 06, 2006

Time Has No Divisions

Time has no divisions to mark its passing. There is never a thunderstorm to announce the beginning of a new month or year.

-- Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Amendment IV

Amendment IV to the Constitution of the United States

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Time Capsule

We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like.

-- Alfred Hitchcock

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We Live In Deeds

We live in deeds, not years: in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best. And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest: lives in one hour more than in years do some whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.

-- Philip James Bailey (1816-1902) English poet, "We Live In Deeds ..." excerpt