Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

May the good Lord watch over you, loved ones be near you, friends stand by you, and fortune shine on you in the coming new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

RIP Zsa Zsa

A man in love is incomplete until he has married.  Then he's finished.

-- Zsa Zsa Gabor (born Sári Gábor, 6 February 1917 - 18 December 2016), Hungarian-American actress and socialite, Newsweek, 28 March 1960

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Origin of campanology (the principles or art of making bells, bell ringing, etc.)

The Late Latin noun campāna (plural campānae) meant "bell," so called because bells were made in Campania (which means "wide, level plain"), whose chief city has always been Naples. About 400 A.D. St. Paulinus of Nola (c354–c431), bishop of Nola, commissioned a large bell to be cast to summon Christians to worship.  The Italian word for bell is campana, which has the derivatives campanile, the distinctive bell tower of an Italian church (as opposed to a steeple) and campanilismo, local rivalry, usually petty, sometimes fierce.  The word entered English in the 1820s in the sense "the art of bell ringing."

-- From Word of the Day, 5 December 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Rusty Elevator

Old men only lie in wait for people to ask them to talk.  Then they rattle on like a rusty elevator wheezing up a shaft.

-- Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920 - 2012), American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer, Dandelion Wine (1957)

Get Close Enough

It's sad to say, but a lot of times when you go to these competitions, you're like: Just get close enough to top three because you never know who's going to test positive.

-- American high jumper Chaunte Lowe, who finished sixth at the 2008 Summer Olympics but last week was awarded the bronze medal when three athletes ahead of her were disqualified after testing positive for drugs, New York Times, 22 November 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

That Should Stop

We should buckle up for a pretty rocky six months or year in the China-U.S. relationship.  There was a sort of delusion based on overly optimistic ideas about Trump.  That should stop.

-- Wang Dong, associate professor, Peking University, New York Times, 4 December 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

I Could Have Walked Out

I could have walked out, and you know, that's just what I was thinking, but then I just like, I don't know, I don't want to say spur of the moment, but, you know, I just finally decided I had to do it.

-- Dylann S. Roof, in a videotaped interview shown at his trial, describing how he almost decided not to open fire during a June 2015 Bible study session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., New York Times, 10 December 2016

Thursday, December 08, 2016


Godspeed, John Glenn.

-- Scott Carpenter, as mission controller, as Glenn was about to launch into orbit on Friendship 7, 20 February 1962

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (18 July 1921 - 8 December 2016), (Col, USMC, Retired),  was a Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States senator. Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth, and the fifth person in space

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Invisible Hand

When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent.  Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people's free enterprise system gets amputated.  Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets.  Republicans oppose this, remember?  Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember?  Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.

-- Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin in an article on the Young Conservative website, 2 December 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cartoon Thunderstorms

I think it's still possible to make energetic, thrashy music without necessarily walking around being these sulky, angry, sullen, dark people with black cartoon thunderstorms over their heads.

-- Lars Ulrich, drummer for the rock band Metallica, New York Times, 17 November 2016

Monday, December 05, 2016

Too Interesting And Dangerous

The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency.  We need all the fallibility we can get.  Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds.  That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.

-- Lewis Thomas (1913 - 1993), physician, author, administrator, educator, policy advisor and researcher, Dean of Yale Medical School, Dean of the New York University School of Medicine, and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, "Computers" (1974)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Joy In Playing

I'm very happy that at the end of the match I managed to find joy in playing. That's the most important thing.

-- Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen, after defeating challenger Sergey Karjakin, 30 November 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dad Strength

Dad-Strength: That energy that a father can transfer to his child through his embrace. Useful for soothing injuries, persevering through hardship, restoring hope, and overcoming obstacles.

-- Don Appleman

Monday, November 14, 2016


Trump's appointments over the next six weeks will be very significant because they can show whether he wants to create some unity in the country, or whether he really intends to deliver on his ideas.

-- Presidential historian Robert Dallek, New York Times, 13 November 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Good Rule

This a good rule: Don't answer any questions when they start yelling at you.

-- President Barack Obama to president-elect Donald Trump after they met for the first time at the White House, 10 November 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Tinnunculite: A mineral that grows in the feces of the Kestrel after being cooked by underground coal fires.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Tremendous Potential

As I've said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their families.

It's a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.

Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream.  I've spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world.  That is now what I want to do for our country.

Tremendous potential.  I've gotten to know our country so well -- tremendous potential.  It's going to be a beautiful thing.  Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential.  The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

-- Republican President-elect Donald J. Trump in his victory speech, 9 November 2016

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Just A Headline

I'm just a headline -- the bad president, the bad guy, who is killing the good guys.  You know this narrative.  The real reason is toppling the government.

-- Syrian President Bashar al Assad, welcoming a group of Western visitors to his palace in Damascus, New York Times, 2 November 2016

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.

-- John D. Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, on the announcement from the FBI that it was investigating newly-surfaced emails related to Mrs. Clinton's handling of classified information, New York Times, 29 October 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Do Democracy

If we are to be a great democracy, we must all take an active role in our democracy.  We must do democracy.  That goes far beyond simply casting your vote.  We must all actively champion the causes that ensure the common good.

-- Martin Luther King III (1957-), human rights advocate and community activist, first son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Speech at the Democratic Convention (28 August 2008)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I need a beer and my wife right now.

-- Ultramarathon runner Pete Kostelnick, after completing a record-setting run across the United States

Kostelnick kept a rigid routine, sleeping in an RV on the route until 3 a.m.  He would then run 40 miles in roughly seven hours -- a nine- to 10-minute per-mile pace.  He'd take a short break for lunch, then continue for 30 miles or more into the night.  He spent upwards of 14 hours running each day for six straight weeks.

The 29-year-old from Lincoln, Nebraska, left San Francisco's City Hall on September 12 -- his birthday -- at 8 a.m.  He then headed east for 3,067 miles, completing the trek in 42 days, 6 hours, and 30 minutes.  The feat is unprecedented, and ends one of the oldest ultrarunning records recognized by Guinness World Records [by more than 4 days].

Runners World, 24 October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fail Forward

The conceit of "data journalism," at least as I see it, is to apply the scientific method to the news.  That means observing the world, formulating hypotheses about it, and making those hypotheses falsifiable.  (Falsifiability is one of the big reasons we make predictions.)  When those hypotheses fail, you should re-evaluate the evidence before moving on to the next subject.  The distinguishing feature of the scientific method is not that it always gets the answer right, but that it fails forward by learning from its mistakes.

-- Nate Silver (1978-), American statistician and writer, How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump (18 May 2016)

Thursday, October 20, 2016


CHRIS WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country -- in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power and that no matter how hard-fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner -- not saying that you're necessarily going to be the loser or the winner, but that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together, in part for the good of the country.  Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?

DONALD TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time.  I'll keep you in suspense.  OK?

-- Exchange between the moderator and the Republican candidate during the 3rd and final Presidential Debate, 19 October 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2.7 Inches Per Year

Australia moves 2.7 inches a year because of its position on a remarkably active tectonic plate.  The country has issued a reset of its official coordinates four times in the past 50 years and will issue a fifth at the end of the year. 

The next adjustment, due at the end of the year, will be about 1.5 meters (4.9 feet).

-- New York Times, via Walt Hickey in Significant Digits,, 13 October 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fire In A Dark Night

The idea for a novel is like a little tiny fire in a dark night.  And, one by one, the characters come and stand around it and warm their hands.

-- Thomas Williams (1926-1990), American novelist, as quoted by Stephen King in an interview with Jeffrey Brown at the Library of Congress National Book Festival, NewsHour Bookshelf, 6 October 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

Poetic Expressions

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

-- Statement of the Nobel Academy, 13 October 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

At A Deeper Level

The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level.

-- Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (1900 – 1958), Austrian-Swiss physicist, one of the pioneers of quantum physics, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945, to Jagdish Mehra, in Berkeley, California (May 1958), as quoted in The Historical Development of Quantum Theory (2000) by Jagdish Mehra

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm The Slime

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

-- Frank Zappa (1940-1993), excerpt from the lyrics to "I'm The Slime" (1973)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tic Tac

Tic Tac respects all women.  We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.

-- Tweet by @TicTacUSA in response to comments made by Donald Trump in 2005 during a taping of Access Hollywood, 2:03 PM - 8 October 2016

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


The really sad part is that in the United States we accept 35,092 people dying on the roadways and thinking that's okay.  It should be unacceptable.

-- Mark Rosekind, the head of NHTSA, NPR, 5 October 2016

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other.  I would please ask you to wait until the other is finished.

-- Moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News, after the first part of the Vice Presidential debate was marked by the candidates frequently interrupting and talking over each other, 4 October 2016

Monday, October 03, 2016

Doomsday Scenario

That is the doomsday scenario, in some respects, of having an eight-member court.

-- Carter G. Phillip, a lawyer, describing the possibility that a deadlocked Supreme Court might face a dispute over the outcome of the presidential race in its next session, New York Times, 2 October 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Possible For Beer

We got the idea from looking at other life provisions that run through pipes.  Water pipes, electricity pipes, cable distribution, etc.  So why wouldn't that be possible for beer?

-- Xavier Vanneste, director of De Halve Maan, or The Half Moon, a Belgian brewery, on the world's first beer pipeline, in Bruges, New York Times, 17 September 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Same Way

Optimists and pessimists die the same way.  They just live differently.  I prefer to live as an optimist.

-- Shimon Peres (2 August 1923 - 28 September 2016), Polish-born Israeli statesman, as quoted in "Serving 60 Years to Life", Newsweek Europe (12 December 2005)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ahead Of My Time

I haven't worried about an email being hacked since I've never sent one.  I'm, like, ahead of my time.

-- Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on the queasiness in Washington as yet another victim, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, fell prey to seeing his personal musings distributed on the Internet and highlighted in news reports, New York Times, 16 September 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Million Pianos

It sounded like a million pianos just dropped.

-- Unidentified young girl near the scene of a terrorist bombing in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, 19 September 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Arab Dictator 2.0

He's a different kind of bloodthirsty dictator, the kind who shops online on his iPad. He's sort of Arab dictator 2.0.

-- Nadim Houry, of Human Rights Watch, referring to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, New York Times, 18 September 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Worn Thin

Once again the crust of civilization has worn thin, and beneath can be heard the muttering of primeval fires.  Once again many accepted principles of government have been overthrown, and the world has become a laboratory where immature and feverish minds experiment with unknown forces.  Once again problems cannot be comfortably limited, for science has brought the nations into an uneasy bondage to each other.     

--John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875 - 1940), Scottish novelist, poet, and politician, Augustus (1937)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mother Teresa

I think, perhaps, we may have some difficulty in calling her St. Teresa: Her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful, that we continue to spontaneously call her Mother Teresa.

-- Pope Francis, in off-the-cuff remarks during his homily at the canonization ceremony elevating Mother Teresa to sainthood, New York Times, 5 September 2016

Thursday, September 08, 2016

To Boldly Go

Space: the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

-- Canadian actor William Shatner (1931-), in the voice-over introduction to the television series Star Trek in its debut episode, 8 September 1966

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

We Will Rock You

It's just a dot of light, but it's a very special dot of light.

-- Queen guitarist Brian May, describing the asteroid (official designation: Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury) named for his late friend and bandmate, Freddie Mercury

The celestial body was discovered in the same year Mercury died at age 45.  It was dedicated to the singer in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, in a move that May announced in a video shown at a party for Mercury's 5 September 2016 birthday, in Montreux, Switzerland.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

American Women

American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the earth. We can do anything we want to do.

-- Phyllis Schlafly (15 August 1924 - 5 September 2016), American conservative political activist and Equal Rights Amendment opponent, Cultural Conservatism and the Religious Right, (4 April 2012)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Greenland Shark

It's no fish tale: The Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet, a new study says.

The largest shark in the study, at 16.5 feet (five meters) in length, was estimated to be approximately 392 years old.  Nielsen says there is some uncertainty around that estimate.  He and his colleagues determined with 95 percent certainty that the shark was between 272 and 512 years old, and it was most likely around 390.

-- National Geographic, "272-Year-Old Shark Is Longest-Lived Vertebrate on Earth", by Mary Bates, 11 August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What Problems

Don't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up.  Ask them what problems they want to solve.  This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for, to what do I need to learn in order to be able to do that.

-- Jaime Casap, Google Global Education Evangelist, on Twitter as @jcasap, 24 January 2015

Monday, August 29, 2016

RIP, Gene Wilder

It is so hard for us little human beings to accept this deal that we get.  It's really crazy, isn't it?  We get to live, then we have to die.  What we put into every moment is all we have ....  What spirit human beings have!  It is a pretty cheesy deal -- all the pleasures of life, and then death.

-- Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989), American comedienne and actress, It's Always Something (1989), pg. 87 (2009 edition)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rules Of The Road

Their relationship as a current president and a former president would be a very, very sensitive issue early on, and they'd need to carefully work out the rules of the road for the sake of both of them.

-- David Gergen, senior adviser to several presidents, including Bill Clinton, on his role if Hillary Clinton were to be elected president, New York Times, 27 July 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

One Of The Shouts

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will.  Incredible.  The Life Force experimenting with forms.  You for one.  Me for another.  The Universe has shouted itself alive.  We are one of the shouts.

-- Ray Bradbury, American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer, "G. B. S. -- Mark V", in I Sing the Body Electric: And Other Stories (1998)