Thursday, July 31, 2014

Puzzles, Enigmas, And Allegories

There's something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas, and allegories.

-- Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), American film director, quoted by Thomas Allen Nelson, in Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze (2000) p 10

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Who's Doing It?

We are not powerless.  We have tremendous potential for good or ill.  How we choose to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it.  We're told every day, "You can't change the world." But the world is changing every day.  Only question is -- who's doing it?  You or somebody else?

-- J. Michael Straczynski (1954-), American writer and producer of television series, author, "At The Midpoint (Spoilers For Everything)" (1995)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tour de France 2014

Props to the winner(s) of this year's 101st Tour de France.

Vincenzo Nibali won, with a margin of 7 minutes, 37 seconds, the widest margin since at least 1999.  He is 29, and has now won all 3 grand tours, Italy 2013, Spain 2010, and now France.

Peter Sagan won the best sprinter's Green jersey, his third in a row, and he's just 24 years old.  He won the jersey despite never winning a stage in this year's Tour.

Poland's Rafal Majka, another 24 year old, won the best climber's Polka Dot jersey, and provided quite a show in winning stage 17.

The first two Frenchman to finish on the podium since 1997, in 2nd and 3rd place, were 37 year old Jean-Christophe Peraud and 24 year old Thibaut Pinot, who also won the White jersey as best young rider.

The best placed American was Tejay van Garderen, who is 25, and finished 5th.  I expect we'll be hearing a lot about all the 25 and under's in this note for years to come.  This should be fun to watch.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000.  No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him.  Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?

-- Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956), industrialist, president of IBM

Friday, July 25, 2014

Given Freely

Advice is given freely because so much of it is worthless.

-- James Geary, American aphorist and journalist; quote from James Geary website (2009)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight.  You talk to me of nationality, language, religion.  I shall try to fly by those nets.

-- James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist and poet, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Chapter 5 (1916)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Valor Was Everywhere That Day

Valor was everywhere that day, and the real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home.  It is their names, not mine, that I want everyone to know.

Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling.  The Chosen Few.

-- Former Army staff sergeant Ryan M. Pitts, after receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat in Afghanistan, 21 July 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Secrets Of Literature

One of the secrets of literature that every writer knows is that any life will do.  It's not necessary to go bathe one's feet in the Ganges and travel around the world and work on a steamer to be a poet.  Meaning is in small things.

-- Marvin Bell (1937-). American poet

Friday, July 18, 2014

Political Capacity

We must either breed political capacity or be ruined by Democracy, which was forced on us by the failure of the older alternatives.  Yet if Despotism failed only for want of a capable benevolent despot, what chance has Democracy, which requires a whole population of capable voters.

-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish playwright, Nobel laureate in Literature, Man and Superman, Epistle Dedicatory (1903)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Border Crisis

I don't feel like we have to solve the border crisis for a terrified child to be shown some compassion.

-- Dallas County, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins, who is leading efforts to house 2,000 immigrant children in the county, New York Times, 17 July 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm Joe Biden

I probably shouldn't say this, but then again I'm Joe Biden.  No one ever doubts I mean what I say, but the problem is I sometimes say all that I mean.

-- Vice President Joe Biden, joking about his reputation for making gaffes, at the National Governors Association, 11 July 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


In light of the constitutional debates, we have concluded that the provision was aimed at protecting the right to receive the promised retirement benefits, not the adequacy of funding to pay for them.

-- 6-1 Majority decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, ruling that the state constitution's pension protection clause bars any diminishment of health care benefits for retired state employees, 3 July 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014


Standing in the middle of the road with your back turned while 200 cyclists come at you, just to take a selfie.  #think #TDF2014

-- American cyclist Tejay van Garderen (@tejay_van), complaining about self-indulgent fans at this year's Tour de France, 6 July 2014

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Practical Reason For Freedom

The practical reason for freedom is that freedom seems to be the only condition under which any kind of substantial moral fiber can be developed -- we have tried law, compulsion, and authoritarianism of various kinds, and the result is nothing to be proud of.

-- Albert Jay Nock (1873-1945), American author, social critic, and libertarian conservative, "On Doing the Right Thing", in The American Mercury (1925)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Obviously Wrong

I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong.

-- Salman Rushdie (1947-), Indian-born British author, Salman Rushdie -- Talking with David Frost (1993)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

All We Have Of Freedom

All we have of freedom, all we use or know --
This our fathers bought for us, long and long ago.

-- Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), British author and poet, "The Old Issue" (1899)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Just Don't Want To

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we've got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.

-- Stephen Colbert (1964-), American political satirist, "Jesus is a Liberal Democrat", The Colbert Report, 16 December 2010

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Suck It Up

Quantum mechanics is just counterintuitive and we just have to suck it up.

-- Seth Lloyd, quantum physicist at MIT, quoted in "Fluid Tests Hint at Concrete Quantum Reality", Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine, 24 June 2014