Friday, December 21, 2012

I Am Disappoint

Today is the final day in the 13th Bak'tun, the 144,000-day cycle (~5122 years; this one started 11 August 3114BC) of the ancient Mayan Long Count Calendar -- otherwise known as the Mayan apocalypse.

I am disappoint.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Late So Soon?

How did it get so late so soon?  It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), aka Dr. Seuss, American writer and cartoonist

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

RIP Dan Inouye

Democracy is an imperfect concept slowly seeking perfection.

However, I note that we Americans have been quite impatient with people of other lands who have not embraced our democracy.  In some cases, we have officially condemned these nations in very harsh terms, and, in some, we have even used military force.

The question we Americans have debated over the decades is simple but profound: "Should we impose our will upon other lands?  Or should we adopt a more peaceful path in convincing others of the goodness of our system and philosophy?" I suppose this matter will be debated for as long as we exist.

-- Daniel Ken Inouye (7 September 1924-17 December 2012), Hawaii's first Representative and 6-term Senator, in office since statehood, Medal of Honor awardee; Commencement Address, American University, 8 May 2005

Monday, December 17, 2012


I miss the part of me that died when he died.  The innocent...the joyful. The part of me that couldn't wait to take pictures of the kids and hang them on the wall...the part of me that was always hoping someone would ask me how many children I had...the part of me that woke up every morning feeling overwhelmed with blessings.

-- Mark's Mommy,, 1 October 2012

[tribute to the victims of the 14 december 2012 shooting at sandy hook school in newtown, ct]

Friday, December 14, 2012

Three Legs Of The Stool

There are three legs of the stool; spending, entitlements and making the tax code fair and equitable.  That's the three legs of the stool.  If we do all of those in a responsible, bipartisan way, I think the American people would all be very, very happy.

-- Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill (24 July 1953-)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We Can't Have Both

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

-- Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, quoted by Raymond Lonergan in Mr. Justice Brandeis, Great American (1941), p. 42

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RIP Ravi Shankar

I have always encouraged the creativity of an artist. But one has to have solid knowledge and know the rules to break it. Improvisation does not mean tampering with the authenticity of a classical raga. I was probably way beyond my time when I first started to experiment with western instruments and western musicians. Contrary to popular belief, I never performed with the Beatles. George Harrison came to me as he was so taken by our music and became my student. It was not a fad for him, he loved it until the end and became very very dear to me. John Coltrane was so impressed by my music and had a few lessons from me, and again was so moved that he named his son after me.

-- Ravi Shankar (7 April 1920 - 11 December 2012), often referred to by the title Pandit, Indian musician and composer who played the sitar, from a conversation between Raviji and Satish and Shashi Vyas, June 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Space-Faring Species

If God wanted man to become a space-faring species, He would have given man a Moon.

-- Krafft A. Ehricke, "Lunar Industrialization and Settlement -- Birth of a Polyglobal Civilization," Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century (1985), 827-855

Monday, December 10, 2012

Too Much Energy

The more energy you build up in a system, the more likely it is that that energy will be dumped in an undesirable way.

-- Don Appleman, 16 December 2005

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Widely Grokked

It is widely grokked that cats have the hacker nature.

-- Eric S. Raymond (4 December 1957-), American computer programmer and author, The Jargon File

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Some Lessons

Some lessons you can't learn from your parents; you have to learn them from your kids.

-- Don Appleman, 8 November 2012

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


[W]e have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

-- George Orwell (1902-1950), pen name of British novelist, essayist, and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell in Adelphi (January 1939)

Monday, December 03, 2012


How I spent my weekend: 1,534 miles driving (23:20 on the road, including stops) in a 60-hour weekend, to Arlington, VA to celebrate Big Ed Cohen's 50th birthday with Dan LaBerge and 100 others.  It had a theme; everyone was to wear black, white, or black and white, as part of a costume, or simply as a color scheme.  Quite a shindig.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Non-Member Observer State

The General Assembly, ...

Decides to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and practice; ...

-- Excerpt from the one-sentence, four-page UN Resolution granting Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, 29 November 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


UPDATE:  For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc.  Exemplary reportage, comrades.

-- Update to an article declaring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un sexiest man alive, after the satirical story was taken seriously and run in the People's Daily, The Onion, 28 November 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Transgression Of The Limit

It is in the nature of every application of violence that it tends toward a transgression of the limit within which it is tolerated and viewed as legitimate.  Even the best discipline cannot always prevent police officers from striking harder than circumstances require, or prison wardens from inflicting brutalities on inmates.

-- Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (1881-1973), Austrian economist, philosopher, author, and classical liberal, Omnipotent Government, p. 156

Monday, November 26, 2012


God's will and elections made me the captain of this ship.

-- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in response to protests over his seizure of unchecked authority, New York Times, 24 November 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Still Ticking

Today, my 1999 Saturn SC-2 reached 300,000 miles; and I'm still getting 35+ mpg.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Be Careful

Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

-- Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), American poet, historian, and novelist

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hungry To Smell Them All

In the meantime, I am celebrating, in my way.  I live for now.  I literally stop and smell the flowers.  I don't care what passersby think of the bald man sticking his nose into every flowering tree and shrub he can find. When Jan and I take evening walks, I try to track down the various perfumes that waft our way.  It's been a strange spring, with lots of blooming schedules pushed earlier and on top of each other, but it's been a great spring for a guy with a nose that's hungry to smell them all.

-- Joe Seeley (1960-2012), 3 April 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Some Crazy Cliff

I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff.  What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff -- I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.  That's all I'd do all day.  I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.  I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.  I know it's crazy.

-- J. D. Salinger (1919-2010), American author, Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Chapter 22

Thursday, November 15, 2012


To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is.  Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there's more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.

-- Norman Mailer (1923-2007), American author, actor, and political candidate, Esquire, Volume 126, Page 121 (1996)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bank Accounts

The battle for the airwaves cannot be limited to only those who have the bank accounts to pay for the battle and win it.  Democracy is in danger. Seats in Congress, seats in the state legislature, that big seat in the White House itself, can be purchased by those who have the greatest campaign resources, who have the largest bank accounts or own riches. That, I submit to you, is no democracy.  It is an oligarchy of the already powerful.

-- Walter Leland Cronkite Jr (1916-2009), American broadcast journalist, anchor for The CBS Evening News (1962-1981), Free the Airwaves! (2002)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We The People

... Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.  Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their "personhood" often serves as a useful legal fiction.  But they are not themselves members of "We the People" by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

-- Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissent to the Citizens United decision, 21 January 2010

Monday, November 12, 2012

Are And Forever Will Be

America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class.  I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love.  It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests.  We're not as cynical as the pundits believe.  We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.  We are and forever will be the United States of America.

-- Barack Obama, in his re-election victory speech, 7 November 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

Not Hard-Add Enough

[I]f we lose this election there is only one explanation -- demographics. If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn't conservative enough I'm going to go nuts.  We're not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we're not being hard-ass enough.

-- South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, in an interview with Jonathan Martin of Politico, 5 November 2012

Thursday, November 08, 2012


The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will.  This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through.  That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.

-- Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, after Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, allowing for the legal, recreational use of marijuana, 7 November 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Put The People Before The Poltics

The nation, as you know, is at a critical point.  At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing.  Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work.  And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.

We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery.  We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.  We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes.  We look to job creators of all kinds.  We're counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.  And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America.  I believe in the people of America.  And I ran for office because I'm concerned about America.  This election is over, but our principles endure.  I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

-- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, concesssion speech, 7 November 2012

Monday, November 05, 2012

Much More Importance

American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver's license age than at voting age.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), Canadian philosopher of communication theory, Understanding Media (1964)

Friday, November 02, 2012


Perhaps the best known, and certainly the most vaunted, "discovery" of modern public opinion research is the indifference and ignorance of a majority of the electorate in western democracies.

-- Sir Moses I. Finley CBE FBA (1912-1986), American and English classical scholar, Democracy Ancient And Modern (1985), Chapter 1, Leaders and Followers, p. 3

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Democracy Gap

The "democracy gap" in our politics and elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote, or listlessly vote for the "least worst" every four years and then wonder why after every cycle the "least worst" gets worse.

-- Ralph Nader (1934-), American lawyer and Green Party politician, Green Party Presidential Candidacy Speech, 21 February 2001

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three Things

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.

-- Linus, in Charles M. Schulz's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Reach My Hand

I come in and my job is I reach my hand across 100-million miles of emptiness and move something on the surface of another planet.  That never gets old.

-- University of Illinois computer science graduate and NASA Mars Rover Driver Team Lead Scott Maxwell, on driving Curiosity

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Age Of The Internet

Moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that.  A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world's champions.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007), American novelist, Bluebeard: A Novel (1987)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dark Ages

In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics.  And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost.  We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better.

-- Michael Crichton (1942-2008), American author and film producer, Environmentalism as a Religion (2003)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Capitalism Triumphed

In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism.  In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.

-- Fran Lebowitz (1950-), American journalist and author, Social Studies (1981)

Monday, October 22, 2012


You know, sometimes, when they say you're ahead of your time, it's just a polite way of saying you have a real bad sense of timing.

-- George McGovern (19 July 1922 - 21 October 2012), American historian, author, US Representative and Senator, 1972 Democratic presidential nominee

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not The Kernel

For money you can have everything it is said.  No, that is not true.  You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace.  The shell of all things you can get for money.  But not the kernel.  That cannot be had for money.

-- Arne Garborg, (1851-1924) Norwegian writer

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ask The Young

Ask the young. They know everything.

-- Joseph Joubert (1754-1824), French moralist and essayist

Monday, October 15, 2012

Way Harder

It was way harder than I expected.  ... Sometimes you have to get up really high to know how small you are.

-- Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner, 43, on his 10-minute fall after jumping from a height of 24 miles, setting altitude and speed (833.9 mph) records for skydiving, 14 October 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Only About Myself

Two years ago, I was approached by U.S. federal investigators, and more recently by USADA, and asked to tell of my personal experience in these matters.  I would have been much more comfortable talking only about myself, but understood that I was obligated to tell the truth about everything I knew.  So that is what I did.

-- Retired professional cyclist George Hincapie on the US Anti-Doping Agency's case file against Lance Armstrong in which Hincapie and 10 other Armstrong teammates testified about a culture of organized doping centered around Armstrong, 10 October 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

72 IF

Christ said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." And the Indians say that, and the Zen people say that. We're all God. I'm not a god or the God, but we're all God and we're all potentially divine -- and potentially evil. We all have everything within us and the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh and within us, and if you look hard enough you'll see it.

-- John Lennon (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980), singer, songwriter, and political activist, The Beatles Anthology (2000), p 226

Monday, October 08, 2012


Can you live without answers?  All of you, ask that of yourself.  Can you live without answers?  Because if you cannot, then most assuredly you will invent your own answers and they will comfort you.  And all those who do not share your view will by their very existence strike fear and hatred into your heart.

-- Steven Erikson (7 October 1959-), pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, Canadian archaeologist, anthropologist, & novelist Toll The Hounds (2008)

Friday, October 05, 2012


Learn to control ego.  Humans hold their dogmas and biases too tightly, and we only think that our opponents are dogmatic!  But we all need criticism.  Criticism is the only known antidote to error.

-- David Brin (6 October 1950-), American scientist and award-winning science fiction author, interview at, March 2008

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cycling 100

I did a little better than I hoped.  However, the going was tough in the last few kilometers.

-- French centenarian cyclist Robert Marchand (26 November 1911-), as he set a record for fastest 100-year-old to cover 100km (4:17:27, 14.3mph avg speed), Lyon, France, 28 September 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012


This is my pension.

-- Victor Victorio, 67, who forages for fruits and vegetables in the garbage at a market in Madrid, New York Times, 25 September 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We Would Have

We would have killed many of them already, but our commanders are cowards and don't let us.

-- Abdul Hanan, an Afghan soldier, on American military advisers, New York Times, 26 September 2012