Friday, January 30, 2015

I Never Know

I never know how much of what I say is true.  If I did, I'd bore myself to death.

-- Bette Midler (1945-), American comedic actress, in her autobiography, A View From a Broad (1980)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Friendship Nine

In 1961, when we were downtown, it wasn't for any glory.  We were not looking for any hero worship.  We were simply 10 students who was tired of the status quo, tired of being treated like second-class citizens, tired of being spat on, kicked, called the N-word, drinking out of the colored water fountain.  We got tired of that.

-- Clarence Graham, 1 of 9 found guilty of trespassing in 1961 for sitting at an all-white South Carolina lunch counter; their records were recently cleared by Judge John C Hayes III, nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence, Democracy Now, 29 January 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Belief System

Everyone has a Belief System (BS); the trick is to learn not to take anyone's BS too seriously, especially your own.

-- Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007), American novelist, essayist, and Absurdist philosopher, famous for The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1993, 1996)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An IPhone And A Better TV

The middle has basically stayed the same; it hasn't improved.  You've got an iPhone now and a better TV, but your median income hasn't changed. What's really changed is the penthouse has become supernice.

-- Lawrence F. Katz, a Harvard economist, on the shrinking American middle class, New York Times, 26 January 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Psychic Entropy

The psychic entropy peculiar to the human condition involves seeing more to do than one can actually accomplish and feeling able to accomplish more than what conditions allow.

-- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934-), Italian-born American psychologist, Flow, page 228

Friday, January 23, 2015

Idiot Savant

Every normal man, woman, and child is, then, a genius at something, as well as an idiot at something.

-- Charles Spearman (1863-1945), English psychologist and statistician, on his theory conceiving intelligence as made up of a "general factor" as well as "special factors" more specific to particular mental tasks, The Abilities of Man: Their Nature and Measurement (1927) p221

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On That Understanding

Unlike the exemption this Court approved in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., accommodating petitioner's religious belief in this case would not detrimentally affect others who do not share petitioner's belief.  On that understanding, I join the Court's opinion.

-- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurring with the Court's unanimous decision in Holt v. Hobbs, establishing that a Muslim inmate may grow a half-inch beard "in accordance with his religious beliefs", 20 January 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing?  Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?

Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another, or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?  ...

Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and begun again the work of remaking America.  We have laid a new foundation.  A brighter future is ours to write.

-- President Obama, in his 6th State of the Union address, 20 January 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

No Freedom Should Be Abandoned

No freedom should be abandoned.

-- Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, cautioning against an overreaction to recent terrorism, New York Times, 17 January 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

True Peace

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (15 January 1929 - 4 April 1968), African-American civil rights leader, 1955 response to an accusation that he was "disturbing the peace" by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, as quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound : A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr (1982) by  Stephen B. Oates

Thursday, January 15, 2015


They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

-- Andy Warhol (1928-1987), American painter, filmmaker, publisher, actor and major figure in the Pop Art movement, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: (From A to B and Back Again) (1975) Ch. 7: Time

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Car ce n'est pas assez d'avoir l'esprit bon, mais le principal est de l'appliquer bien.

It is not good enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.

-- Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650) French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, writer, Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences, Pt 1 (1637)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Primordial Concern

Terrorism being a complex phenomenon, is an alarming kind of violence, threat, a method to combat or a strategy to achieve certain goals aiming to induce a state of fear in the victim, which is ruthless and does not confirm to humanitarian norms where publicity becomes an essential factor in the terrorist strategy indulging killing of innocent and destruction of much valuable property thereby creating wide panic and gripping the remotest part of the world.  Thus, the fight against terrorism has not only become a primordial concern for all the nations but also for research study in the context of global security under the impact of globalization.

-- Shreyasi Ghosh, Research Scholar, Presidency University, Kolkata India, Understanding Terrorism in the Context of Global Security, Socrates, Edition II, Vol II, June 2014

Monday, January 12, 2015

State Of Fear

We cannot go on like this, living in a state of fear.  There must be liberty of expression; expression cannot be met with violence.

-- Mustafa Qadir, a Pakistani citizen who works in London but traveled to Paris for a march against terrorism that reportedly drew more than one million people, New York Times, 12 January 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015

2014 Mileage

It's been a while since I gave an annual summary of my auto usage, but I've got some numbers for 2014.  They're not as good as the numbers I formerly got when using software on my Palm phone to track it.

I still drive my 1999 Saturn SC2.  The car finished 2014 with 360,902 miles, an increase of 28,982 for the year.  That's more than I used to drive, with 26,777 in 2013.  I'm not clear why this year's total was higher, so I need to do some research on that.

I used a total of 834.118 gallons of gasoline to get the job done, giving me an average of 34.745 miles per gallon for the year.  One of the things that keeps me in this car, besides its general reliability, is the high gas mileage.  Unfortunately, I don't have numbers on the cost of that gasoline.

If I averaged 60 mph, it would take me 6000 hours to drive 360,000 miles; I'm sure I've spent many more hours than that in the Saturn.  I'm finally starting to get a little tired of it, but it's fun to run up the miles. I'm forming a plan to either hand it down to my youngest daughter, or retire it at 400,000 miles, which should come sometime in the summer of 2016.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

In Order To Exist At All

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.

-- William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897-1962), American novelist and poet, 1949 Nobel laureate in Literature

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Put Something Back

Anyone who has got any pleasure at all from living should try to put something back. ...  I'm glad to be giving something back because I've been so extraordinarily lucky and had such great pleasure from it.

-- Gerald Durrell (1925-1995), naturalist, zookeeper, and author, as quoted in Gerald Durrell:  The Authorised Biography (1999) by Douglas Botting

Monday, January 05, 2015

2014 Workout Summary

I previously mentioned in here that I use, an on-line site that tracks my workouts (walking, running, and cycling tracked with GPS, swimming, tae kwon do, and some other activities tracked manually).

My workout summary for the year 2014:
Workouts    : 666
Duration    : 478:24:56
Miles       : 1268.73
Calories    : 241,873
The high number of workouts (and a significant portion of the duration) result from 342 walks.

I got these numbers by summing the 12 monthly totals for 2014. Interestingly, I was prompted to write this trvth on the basis of an "annual summary email" they sent me -- and that email summary significantly overstates all of these values, so I added them up instead of using what they sent me.