Friday, April 29, 2011


Handwritten page of Beethoven's Ninth symphony, fourth movement No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

-- Alan Watts (1915-1973), English philosopher, writer, and speaker

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Carnival barkerWe do not have time for this kind of silliness. ... We're not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.

-- President Barack Obama, at a press conference at which he released his "long form" birth certificate, 27 April 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Friendster logoYour emotions get wrapped up in it. It reflected a particular moment in time in our lives.

-- Jim Leija, of Ann Arbor, Mich., on hearing that Friendster, a 2003 start-up now seen as a relic, is planning to wipe out its trove of photos, blog entries and messages, New York Times, 27 April 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cruel Master

Servant chocolateWater is a very good servant, but it is a cruel master.

-- William Bullein (c 1515 - 1576), Elizabethan physician and author, in Bulwarke of Defence against All Sicknesses (1562)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Begin By Taking

Guiseppe Recco (1634-1695): A Cat Stealing FishI begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right.

-- Euripides (c 480 BC - 406 BC), Greek playwright, Suppliants

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today's Understatement

55 Water Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York CityWe see the path to agreement as challenging because the gap between the parties remains wide.

-- Standard & Poor's credit analyst Nikola G. Swann, after the rating agency lowered its long-term outlook for US debt to negative, triggering a 200-point drop in the Dow average, 18 April 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bad Day

Misrata, LibyaYesterday was a very bad day. I had hoped today would be different. Today is a very bad day, too.

-- Mustafa Madhoun, a physiotherapist at a clinic in Misurata, Libya, a rebel city under siege by the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, New York Times, 18 April 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Divided Government

Divided vote logoIs it perfect? No. I'd be the first to admit it's flawed. But welcome to divided government.

-- Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-OH), on a measure to finance the government through September, New York Times, 15 April 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011


中文(繁體)‬: 位於桃農行政大樓旁When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: "Whose?"

-- Don Marquis (1878-1937), American humorist, journalist, and author

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Difference Of Opinion In Religion

Religious symbols from the top nine organised faithsDifference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves?

-- Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 - 4 July 1826), 3rd President of the United States, political philosopher, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVII (1781-1785)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bewildering Paradoxes

U.S. Army M1A1 Abrams tankThey know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. Being baffled, and also being very tired of being baffled, they have come to believe that there is no way out -- except war -- which would remove all the bewildering paradoxes of their tedious and now misguided attempts to construct peace. In place of these paradoxes they prefer the bright, clear problems of war -- as they used to be. For they still believe that "winning" means something, although they never tell us what.

-- C. Wright Mills (1916-1962), American sociologist and author, The Causes of World War Three (1960)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Political Economy

In the United States a handful of corporations centralize decisions and responsibilities that are relevant for military and political as well as economic developments of global significance. For nowadays the military and the political cannot be separated from economic considerations of power. We now live not in an economic order or a political order, but in a political economy that is closely linked with military institutions and decisions. This is obvious in the repeated "oil crisis" in the Middle East, or in the relevance of Southeast Asia and African resources for the Western powers.

-- C. Wright Mills (1916-1962), American sociologist and author, Character & Social Structure (1954)

Friday, April 08, 2011


Budget as a pie chartMy problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

-- Errol Flynn (1909-1959), Australian-born actor

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Our Justice System

Judge's toolsHad this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the last year, I am confident that our justice system could have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over 200 years. Now, unfortunately, since I made that decision, members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue. As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counter-terrorism efforts and could harm our national security.

-- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on his decision to go forward with military tribunals for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others accused in the attacks of 11 September 2001, 4 April 2011

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

What You Do Know And What You Don't

Education logoAn education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and it's knowing how to use the information you get.

-- Anatole France (1844-1924), member of the French Academy, 1921 Nobel Laureate in Literature

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Plenty Of Protein

I call it the table of gore. There's plenty of protein up in that nest.

-- Bob Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit Raptor Resource Project, discussing his Eagle Cam, 4 April 2011

A conservationist has a camera mounted in a bald eagle's nest 80 feet up in a tree. Two eaglets hatched live on camera over the weekend. A third egg is expected to hatch within 24 hours. The live feed currently has 158,000+ viewers.

Article at

Monday, April 04, 2011

Root Of Superstition

Chlorophytum comosum[T]he general root of superstition [is] namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.

-- Francis Bacon (1561-1626), essayist, philosopher, and statesman, Sylva Sylvarum Century X (1627)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Pickup Ballgame

Baseball Centennial 1939 Issue - 3cWhat the opposition needs as much as anything right now is some training, some command and control, and some organization. It's pretty much a pickup ballgame at this point.

-- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, on the Libyan rebels, New York Times, 1 April 2011