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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


On his 17th birthday I wrote in here about my California Cat, Dude. He was the oldest cat I've ever owned, and today he gave up the fight after more than 18 1/2 years.

He was born July 9, 1988 behind the couch in the apartment I shared with then-girlfriend (now ex-wife) Melody in Lakeside, CA, on the same day that I flew to Illinois to check on job prospects that soon led to my return to Illinois following a 3-year stint in San Diego. I had him before and since my 16-year marriage, a fact I find amazing.

His father was my cat, "Tranch" (short for Tarantula, a name given by a friend who was amused by the long white hairs that stood out through his otherwise smooth black coat); his mother was Melody's cat Gizmo (who earlier survived a near-fatal encounter with a car, and had pins in her leg). On that same morning, my female cat Jasper & Melody's male cat JYC (Junkyard Cat) had a litter under the dishwasher that included Misty, who passed away in February of '04.

Dude & Misty were the 2 kittens that we brought with us from California when we moved. He's older than 3 of my kids (one of whom will graduate from high school this spring), and remained the alpha male in a 5-cat household.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Judicial Process

The overarching principle of fundamental justice that applies here is this: before the state can detain people for significant periods of time, it must accord them a fair judicial process.

-- Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, of Canada, in a ruling striking down a law that allowed the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, February 23, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

All Mad

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

-- Mark Twain

Thursday, February 22, 2007

God's OS?

We don't know the OS that God uses, but the Vatican uses Linux.

-- Sister Judith Zoebelein, the Vactican's webmaster

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bulwer Lytton

The runner-up in 1983's Bulwer Lytton Contest (held by the English Department of San Jose State University [California]), wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:

The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, "You lied!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Play With Words

Play with words. Take similar words or ones in which there are shades of difference. For instance, what's the difference between involvement and commitment? Think of ham and eggs. The chicken is involved. The pig is committed. See what I mean?

-- Rita Mae Brown, "Starting from Scratch"

Monday, February 19, 2007


My colloquial definition of consensus is as follows: at best, everyone agrees. Barring that, the majority who agree also agree that the minority who disagree are being disagreeable.

-- P.J. Plauger, "The Politics of Standards", Computer Language Magazine, February, 1990

Friday, February 16, 2007

Not The Towering Oak

Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.

-- Alice M. Swaim

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Note To My Daughter


I have a Post-It note on my computer monitor observing that there is a constant duel between life being our daily routine, and life being the exceptions to our daily routine.

Every day we do some of the same things; these habits are the fabric of our daily lives. But a life of pure routine strikes us a a dead-end existence. We crave the exceptions to routine, the things that make today different from yesterday, and that promise that tomorrow will be different from today.

Yet when we look back at the "good old days", it's usually a period of time, not a single event or even a series of events. In looking back we realize that there can be fulfillment in routine, so long as that routine is directed at our life's goals (work, wealth, relationships, volunteerism, whatever goals we set to fulfill our lives).

Take a look at your life. Sit back, and see what you've done so far, and think about what you really wish to have happen. There are a lot of things that I wish would happen in my life, but some of those wishes don't make it onto my list of goals because the life I lead isn't directed at fulfilling those wishes.

Of all the things you wish for, decide which of these wishes to make into goals. Think about how important they are to you; think about how important it is to make the fulfillment of some of those wishes a part of your future life. Does it matter? Is it selfish? Does it make me a better person? Does it do something for the future me? This last question applies to just about everything, from reading a good book to saving for retirement to raising kids.

Once you've started thinking about these things, you'll find that it's hard to sort them out. I've told you to prioritize, to make the big decisions about life on purpose, with your eyes wide open, rather than just coasting into things. But it doesn't hurt to take some time, coasting along while you consider these big issues.

You'll find over time that some of your wishes should be real goals, that they're important and that you need to work for them. Other wishes will lose their appeal; you'll realize that the "future you" doesn't need some of these wishes fulfilled in order to be a happy and fulfilled person.

Take your time. Discuss some of your goals and wishes with your life partner. Find out what his wishes and goals are. Sometimes you'll share goals, sometimes your goals will include helping him reach his goals, and sometimes his goal will be to help you reach your goals.

You give up a lot by entering onto a life-path such as marriage at an early age -- you have obligations, the details of which you did not see before committing yourself. But that doesn't mean that you're in a position where you can't find fulfillment. Take some time to sit back, think, share, and enjoy individual days. Over a period of days and weeks, I think you'll find that your "true wishes" and goals reveal themselves, that they're not impossible to reach, and that you can be happy living a life of routine that is aimed at achieving those goals and making the "future you" a better, more interesting, more happy person than ever.


Each Snowflake

Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

-- Stanislaw J. Lee

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Abominable Snowman

I've never seen an abominable snowman,
I'm hoping not to see one,
I'm also hoping, if I do,
That it will be a wee one.

-- Ogden Nash

Monday, February 12, 2007

Advice Is Like Snow

Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet and philosopher (1772-1834)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Aging Vs. Snowballs

The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.

-- Doug Larson

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Unncessary Freezing

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.

-- Carl Reiner (March 20, 1922-), American actor, film director, producer, writer, and comedian

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Downward Course

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down -- up to a man's age-old dream; the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

-- Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004), 40th president of the United States

Monday, February 05, 2007

No Room Left

Some marry the first information they receive, and turn what comes later into their concubine. Since deceit is always first to arrive, there is no room left for truth.

-- Baltasar Gracian

Friday, February 02, 2007

You Never Know

Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.

-- George F. Kennan (February 16, 1904 - March 17, 2005), American diplomat and historian, September 6, 2002

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cheney '91

Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it ... it's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime, or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the ... military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking in 1991; cited in George F. Will, "Dubya's Disaster" (New York Post, November 12, 2006)