Friday, December 23, 2011

Philosophy Of Toys

Christmas morningWere I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.

-- Robert Lynd (1879-1949), British writer, The Peal of Bells, Chapter XVI "The Christmas Present" (1925)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In Bed With Government

Kissing CoupleWhen one gets in bed with government, one must expect the diseases it spreads.

-- US Congressman and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul (attributed)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Economic

Viktor ShenderovichThis is political, not economic. The coal miners came out because they were not paid. The people coming onto the streets of Moscow are very well off. These are people protesting because they were humiliated. They were not asked. They were just told, "Putin is coming back."

-- Viktor A. Shenderovich, a political commentator on Echo of Moscow radio, on why a surprising number of Russians are demonstrating against the government, New York Times, 12 December 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Except Religion

Breaking through credulityGullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.

-- Christopher Hitchens (13 April 1949 - 15 December 2011), author and journalist

Monday, December 19, 2011

RIP Vaclav Havel

Vaclav HavelOut of gifted and sovereign people, the regime made us little screws in a monstrously big, rattling and stinking machine.

-- Vaclav Havel (5 October 1936-18 December 2011), three days after being elected President of Czechoslovakia by the country's still-communist parliament, 1 January 1990

Friday, December 16, 2011


We haven't had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran, so we don't understand each other. If something happens it's virtually assured that we won't get it right, that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world. [...]

-- Admiral Mike Mullen, recently-retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 20 September 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Call, No Text, No Update

Mobiles forbidden signAccording to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents. It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.

-- National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, announcing an NTSB safety recommendation calling for a nationwide ban on PEDs (Personal Electronic Devices) while driving, 13 December 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Craig Virgin

Craig Virgin on Oct. 25, 1972, while on the Lebanon High School cross country team. - BNDI just want them to know that if a skinny little farm kid from Lebanon, Illinois, with a chronic kidney ailment and no track and no weight room can eventually go on to make the Hall of Fame, then they can, too.

-- Craig Virgin (1955-), on his 3 December 2011 induction to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame

I grew up in Lebanon, and my two oldest brothers were on the cross country team with Craig. His accomplishments include:

* Wins in all 48 of the prep cross country meets he entered as a junior and senior, setting records in 47 of them.

* Wins in 95 of 100 cross country races from his sophomore year in high school to his senior year at Illinois.

* Nine Big Ten titles at Illinois -- 4 in cross country and 5 in track.

* Two cross country world championships.

His 1972 time of 13:50.6 in the Illinois State High School Cross Country Championship still stands after 39 years. He didn't run before 9th grade.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Insignia of the Asymmetric Warfare Group of the US ArmyThis is an asymmetric war. In asymmetric wars, you want to pit your greatest strength against the enemy's greatest weakness. Our great strengths are our ideals and our system of justice.

As it turns out, our enemies' greatest weakness is that they are bereft of ideals. If we can maintain our ideals, our sense of justice, in the face of this, we can win. What the enemy, what the terrorists want to do -- because they know they can't beat us militarily -- [is] they can try to change us. They can cause us to become more like them, and for them, that's victory.

-- Retired Admiral John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the US Navy, speaking against indefinite military detention of US citizens as proposed in the National Defense Authorization Act, 12 December 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mark The End

The EndWe're here to mark the end of this war, to honor the sacrifices of all those who made this day possible, and to turn the page, begin a new chapter in the history between our two countries -- a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

-- President Barack Obama, after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, 12 December 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Happy Path

Happy pathWrite meaningful test cases... if your tests only prove the happy path, that's OK... but if they prove that the happy path is the only path... that is better.

-- kantos on, 6 September 2010

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Logo from the television show 'Once Upon a Time'The jury decided that I was convicted and I am accepting of it. I acknowledge it, and, of course, I am unbelievably sorry for it.

-- Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, just before being sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption while in office, 7 December 2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Critic Of His Own Community

Nursall noodlingIt is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver.

-- Edward Abbey (1927-1989), American naturalist and author, A Writer's Credo, from One Life at a Time, Please (1988)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Meet Them Ever Alike

Blacksmith anvil and hammerFor all your days be prepared,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear -
When you are the hammer, strike.

-- Edwin Markham (23 April 1852 - 7 March 1940), American poet, Preparedness, from Gates of Paradise and Other Poems (1920)

Monday, December 05, 2011

At Peace

Women troubles (Herman Cain)I'm at peace with my God. I'm at peace with my wife, and she is at peace with me.

-- Herman Cain, announcing that he was suspending his Republican presidential campaign amid accusations of sexual impropriety, New York Times, 4 December 2011

Friday, December 02, 2011

Charitable Institutions

Adverse effects of smokingWith respect to the number of deaths, arms manufacturers are charitable institutions compared to cigarette manufacturers.

-- Silvio Garattini (1928-), doctor, researcher, professor, founder of the European Organization for Research on Treatment of Cancer

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Until Someone Loses An Eye

Dog chasing carsI absolutely loved giving chase to celebrities. How many jobs can you have car chases in? Before Diana died, it was such good fun.

-- Paul McMullan, a former editor at The News of the World, describing tabloid journalism techniques at a London inquiry on media ethics, New York Times, 30 November 2011