Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Enough Is Enough

Portrait of Lao Zi (Lao Tzu)He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

-- Lao-Tzu (BC 600-?), Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live A Good Life

Denarius of Marcus Aurelius, Rome, 168 ADLive a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

-- Marcus Aurelius (121-180), philosopher and writer

Monday, December 21, 2009

Contented Dazzlement

Ovum & SpermatozoonsStatistically the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you would think the mere fact of existence would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places.

-- Lewis Thomas (1913 - 1993), physician, author, Dean of Yale Medical School, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poet Tree

Poet Tree

Q. What is this curious list I see?
A. The answer is plainly, "Poet - tree".

-- Kay Haugaard, on the Word-A-Day mailing list

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Alphabet Shop


After 19 weeks, I now have a new gig. That's the longest break (by 3 weeks) that I've taken from full-time employment in 30 years.

I work for the Cyber Security Directorate of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, in the Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technology at the University of Illinois.

Or, as I tell my kids, I work for the CSD of the NCSA, in the IACAT at the UI, aka the Alphabet Shop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The logo of NORMAL, the Norwegian subgroup of NORML.Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for -- in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.

-- Ellen Goodman (1941-), American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Gift

Gift box iconIf you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.

-- Bruce Barton (1886-1967), American author, advertising expert

Thursday, December 10, 2009


TextingPeople who have something really private to say probably shouldn't do it in a text on their cellphone.

-- Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group based in Washington, New York Times, 9 December 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Until The Day

American currencyThe American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

-- Alexis de Tocqueville

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

We Cannot Have Both

Photograph of Abraham Flexner, 15 January 1895Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.

-- Abraham Flexner, educator (1866-1959)

Monday, December 07, 2009


Sketch of Claude Lévi-StraussOne must be very naive or dishonest to imagine that men choose their beliefs independently of their situation.

-- Claude Levi-Strauss (28 November 1908 - 30 October 2009), French anthropologist, Tristes Tropiques (1955), Chapter 16 : Markets

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Do Something

Joss WhedonAll I ask is this: Do something. Try something. Speaking out, showing up, writing a letter, a check, a strongly worded e-mail. Pick a cause -- there are few unworthy ones. And nudge yourself past the brink of tacit support to action. Once a month, once a year, or just once.

-- Joss Whedon (1964-), writer and film director

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

No Interest

Afghanistan orthographic_projectionThe absence of a time frame for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.

-- President Barack Obama, 1 December 2009, in a speech announcing the addition of 30,000 troops to the fight in Afghanistan, coupled with a plan to begin removing troops in July 2011

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Village Of 100 People

Village of 100 -- MoneyIf the world were a village of 100 people ....

6 people (all in the USA) would own 59% of all the village's wealth,
74 people would share another 39%, and
20 people would share the remaining 2%.

-- David Copeland, in Value Earth