Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Very Beginning

Richard Feynman's ID photo during the Manhattan Project, from Los Alamos National LaboratoriesWe are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

-- Richard Feynman (11 May 1918 - 15 February 1988), Nobel-prize winning American physicist and writer

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year

Grungold champagneAn optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

-- Bill Vaughan (8 October 1915 - 25 February 1977), American columnist and author

Monday, December 29, 2008

How Different

Stephen CoveyHow different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.

-- Stephen Covey, American speaker, trainer, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Giant Laozi in Wuxi Jiangsu ChinaKindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

-- Lao Tzu, philosopher (6th century B.C.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fragrance Always Clings

RoseA bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives the rose.

-- Chinese proverb

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Greatest Gift

Richard MossThe greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.

-- Richard Moss, physician, self-help author

Monday, December 15, 2008


Gift-wrapped packages
Presents, I often say, endear absents.

-- Charles Lamb, essayist (1775-1834)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Permanently Personal

Old booksDo give books -- religious or otherwise -- for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.

-- Lenore Hershey (1919-1997), editor and writer

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Too Busy

Busy deskWe are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift -- our personal association -- which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.

-- Mark Twain, pseudonym of Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), American writer and humorist

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Computer TapeDear Sir or Madam,

We are writing to let you know that computer tapes containing some of your personal information were lost while being transported to an off-site storage facility by our archive services vendor. While we have no reason to believe that this information has been accessed or used inappropriately, we deeply regret that this incident occurred and we wanted to explain the precautionary steps we have taken to help protect you. ...

Protecting the confidentiality of this information - and all of our clients' information - has long been a top priority at The Bank of New York Mellon. However, in late February 2008, our archive services vendor notified us that they could not account for one of several boxes of data backup tapes being transported to an off-site storage facility. The missing tapes held certain personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number and/or shareowner account information. ...

Sincerely, Investor Care Response Team

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Valuable Thing

Illinois Governor Rod BlagojevichIf ... they're not going to offer anything of any value, then I might just take it. ... I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. ... [The seat] is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing.

-- Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, in wiretaps discussing the open senate seat of Barack Obama, according to a press release from US Attorney Peter Fitzgerald announcing Blagojevich's arrest, 9 December 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008


Kenneth E. BoudlingAnyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.

-- Kenneth Boulding (1910-1993), economist, educator, peace activist, and poet

Friday, December 05, 2008

Creative Art Is Magic

Joseph ConradAll creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising, for the edification of mankind, pinned down by the conditions of its existence to the earnest consideration of the most insignificant tides of reality.

-- Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), Polish-born English novelist

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Frank Zappa rehearsing with Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt am Main, September 1992Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.

-- Frank Zappa (21 December 1940 - 4 December 1993), American composer, guitarist, record producer, and film director

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lest We Mock

Rudyard KiplingHe shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom's name.
He shall peep and mutter, and night shall bring
Watchers 'neath our window, lest we mock the King.

-- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), author, Nobel laureate

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Recession chart from the New York TimesWe will rewrite the record book on length for this recession. It's still arguable whether it will set a new record on depth. I hope not, but we don't know.

-- Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics in Lexington, MA, New York Times, 2 December 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

More Terrifying

Joseph SobranThe prospect of a government that treats all its citizens as criminal suspects is more terrifying than any terrorist. And even more frightening is a citizenry that can accept the surrender of its freedoms as the price of "freedom".

-- Joseph Sobran (1946-), American journalist and writer