Monday, January 31, 2011


Bicycles in the snow near the campus of the University of Graz, Austria, at dawn on 27 Dec 2005. Picture taken and uploaded by Dr. Marcus Gossler.Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

-- Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), American science fiction writer, Time Enough For Love (1973)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Tanfoglio Force (EAA Witness Polymer in the United States) full size polymer frame semi-automatic pistolCoercion by government, the main fear of our founding fathers, is now its most common attribute.

-- Philip K. Howard (1948-), American lawyer and writer, founder of Common Good, in The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America (New York: Random House 1994)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Every Citizen A Criminal

English: Jezzar Pasha condemning a criminal, sketched by Francis B. Spilsbury, after Daniel Orme, c. 1819It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume ... that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him.

-- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), American Journalist, Editor, Essayist, Linguist, Lexicographer, and Critic

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big Miss

Illustration d'origine (1865), par John Tenniel (28 février 1820 – 25 février 1914), du roman de Lewis Carroll, Alice au pays des merveilles.The crisis was the result of human action and inaction, not of Mother Nature or computer models gone haywire. The captains of finance and the public stewards of our financial system ignored warnings and failed to question, understand and manage evolving risks within a system essential to the well-being of the American public. Theirs was a big miss, not a stumble.

-- From the final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, as quoted in the New York Times, 26 January 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RIP Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne receives a Lifetime Achievement Award on September 3, 2007 during a ceremony at Muscle Beach in Venice Beach, California.It would wreck my image.

-- Jack LaLanne (26 September 1914 - 23 January 2011), American fitness, exercise, and nutrition expert, on why he may never die, Time Magazine, 14 July 1980

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who's In Charge?

ConfusedThe reactionaries want things to be the way they used to be, except with them in charge.

The radicals want things to be the way they ought to be, except with them in charge.

-- Comment by mcb to a post on the motives of terrorists, on, 7 January 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


Water Wheels bicycle-mounted water dispensation deviceCars and bikes both are vehicles, in the same way that a Glock and a Squirtgun are both guns.

-- Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works, blog post "Bikes aren't cars", 18 January 2011


Cars and bikes both are vehicles, in the same way that a Glock and a Squirtgun are both guns.

-- Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works, blog post "Bikes aren't cars", 18 January 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Most Intelligent

rabbitIf a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.

-- Robert Brault (1938-), writer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

South Pole

Taking an observation at the pole, In: The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen, 1872-1928. P. 112, Volume II, Library Call Number M82.1/99 A529sWe want other governments to get the word out that people should not simply show up at the South Pole.

-- Evan Bloom, a State Department official, on the prospect of tourists and adventurers making their own journeys to honor the arrivals 100 years ago of Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen, New York Times, 16 January 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011


Burning of a heretic--Sassetta--Melburn museumI think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude or they would not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them. Do not, however mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that has brought upon him the character of heretic.

-- Benjamin Franklin (17 January 1706 - 17 April 1790), American inventor, journalist, diplomat, and statesman, letter to Benjamin Vaughan, 24 October 1788

Friday, January 14, 2011

Not Satisfied

Fulmer Falls waterfall located in the Childs Recreation Area in the Pocono MountainsNo, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

-- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner (1964)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Aerial view of the Snezka mountaintopWell, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like any man, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr., I've Been to the Mountaintop, speech in Memphis, Tennessee, 3 April 1968

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Lesson

Fragonard First lesson of horse ridingThe first lesson of economics is that we live in a world of scarcity. There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to ignore the first lesson of economics.

-- Thomas Sowell (1930-), American economist and political commentator

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Crazy Frog strapped on a remote control BobbycarIt's crazy how much a kid is expected to know starting kindergarten and embarrassing how little they have to know to graduate high school.

-- Brad Woodcock, 30 December 2010, on Facebook

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friday, January 07, 2011

First Step

A close-up view of an astronaut's bootprint in the lunar soil, photographed with a 70mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the Moon[T]he first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness; and ninety-nine out of every hundred good heads are reduced to impotence by that malady -- of whose inroads they are most strangely unaware.

-- C.S. Peirce (1839-1914), American philosopher and chemist, Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, page xi, paragraph 13

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 Year In Review

2010With thanks to Wikipedia, my memory, and other sources, a review of the
year that was:

January - 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, killing 230,000+
February - 2010 Winter Olympics are held in Vancouver, BC
February - 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, killing hundreds
February - President Obama orders a dramatic troop surge in Afghanistan
March - US Health Care Overhaul legislation passed
March - South Korean navy ship sinks, killing 46, blamed on North Korea
April - Polish president and entourage killed in plane crash in Russia
April - Iceland's EyjafjallajAkull Volcano erupts; ash disrupts air traffic
April - Deepwater Horizon oil platform burns & sinks in the Gulf; 11 killed
May - Eurozone and IMF bail out Greece, which institutes austerity measures
May - Israeli Navy attacks Gaza aid flotilla, killing 9
June - Spain wins the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa
July - US forces officially end their combat role in Iraq
July - WikiLeaks publishes 90,000 Afghan War documents from 2004-2010
July - Heavy rains cause Pakistan floods; 1600 dead, 1,000,000+ displaced
August - 33 miners are trapped 700m below ground in Chile
September - Those 33 Chilean miners remain trapped
October - After 69 days, the 33 Chilean miners are rescued
October - Indonesian earthquake and tsunami kill hundreds
October - Indonesian volcano erupts; hundreds killed, thousands displaced
November - Democrats take a "shellacking" in US mid-term elections
November - Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest
November - Eurozone bails out Ireland
November - North Korea shells Yeonpyeong Island, killing 4 South Koreans
November - WikiLeaks releases 250,000 US diplomatic cables
December - Don't Ask, Don't Tell rule on gays in the military repealed

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Fiscal Abyss

The Abyss, by artist Pia DiStefanoI think they're finally educated that all the one-time adjustments and shenanigans have been pulled, and they are now facing the fiscal abyss.

-- James Nowlan, former member of the Illinois Legislature and now a senior Fellow at the UI Institute of Government and Public Affairs, on the state's fiscal crisis, January 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Eternity, as symbolized by Armenians since ancient timesA teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

-- Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), US historian, journalist, novelist, and educator, The Education of Henry Adams, Ch 20 (1907)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Be In Charge

Stone of Destiny, Hill of TaraBe in charge of your own destiny, or some one else will.

-- John Francis "Jack" Welch, Jr. (1935-), past Chairman and CEO of General Electric