Monday, December 30, 2019

A God Within

The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things.  They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language -- the word "enthusiasm" -- en theos [Εν Θεος] -- a god within.  The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring.  Happy is he who bears a god within and obeys it.

-- Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895), French microbiologist, chemist, pioneer of the "Germ theory of disease", discoverer of molecular asymmetry and stereo-chemistry, and inventor of the process of Pasteurization, as quoted in The Ghost in the Machine (1967) by Arthur Koestler, p. 220

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Passionately Convinced

Let us face squarely the paradox that the world which goes to war is a world, usually, genuinely desiring peace.  War is the outcome, not mainly of evil intentions, but on the whole, of good intentions which miscarry or are frustrated.  It is made, not usually by evil men knowing themselves to be wrong, but is the outcome of policies pursued by good men usually passionately convinced that they are right.

-- Sir Norman Angell, born Ralph Norman Angell Lane, (26 December 1872 - 7 October 1967), British economist, lecturer, writer, Member of Parliament for the Labour Party, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933, "Peace and the Public Mind" Nobel lecture (12 June 1935)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

Hey -- Have a merry Christmas!

I just counted, and currently there are stockings for 23 people (including one for grandkid #11, expected early in 2020) hanging from my mantel.  Most of those people will be at my house tomorrow (Christmas day) for a meal, or some pie, or a short visit.  I count myself lucky.

I hope you are equally blessed with the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, friends, and family.  May 2020 treat us all well.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Every Time Around

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around and why his parents will always wave back.

-- William D. Tammeus, attributed in Reader's Digest Quotable Quotes (1997), p. 58

Friday, December 20, 2019

Global Citizenship

Part of the challenge we have as humans is that when things get complicated and confusing we tend to want to block it out and look for simple answers.

So we are, often times, getting a leadership that reflects our own insecurities and problems.

We are electing somebody whose basic message is that all your problems are a result of that group over there that's not like us.

We are electing people who say there is no such thing as climate change so that you don't even have to worry about it.

We elect people who say "I am the tough guy and if you are worried about crime or terrorists, I'm just going to round everybody up," which leads to extra-judicial killings or torture or violates human rights.

That's not just the leader's fault.  It's not just a challenge of leadership, it's a challenge of global citizenship.

-- Former President Barack Obama, speaking in Singapore, 16 December 2019

Thursday, December 19, 2019


I have no interest in a God who does not smite.

-- William Ashley "Billy" Sunday (1862 - 1935), American athlete who, after being a popular outfielder in baseball's National League during the 1880s, became the most celebrated and influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th century, quoted in Gerald McLoughlin, "Billy Sunday Was His Real Name", University of Chicago Press, (1955), p. 179

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Ayes Have It


House Resolution 755      18-Dec-2019      8:32 PM
QUESTION:  On Agreeing to Article I of the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors

Ayes 230, Noes 197, Present 1, Not voting, 3


House Resolution 755      18-Dec-2019      8:50 PM
QUESTION:  On Agreeing to Article II of the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors

Ayes 229, Noes 198, Present 1, Not voting, 3

-- Vote results for the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, both of which passed, from the website of the US House of Representatives, 18 December 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Frequency

The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.  The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court.  Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis.

THEREFORE, the Court ORDERS that the government shall, no later than January 10, 2020, inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.

-- Rosemary Mayers Collyer (1945 -), Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in an order excoriating the FBI for abuses in applications for surveillance of Carter Page, 17 December 2019

Monday, December 16, 2019

To Spend Or Waste

To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner.  To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly.  We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it.  But once passed, it is gone forever.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), known professionally as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher, Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living (2000) edited by John Little, p. 10

Friday, December 13, 2019

Advice To Young People

I have previously shared with you Balk's Law ("Everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people") and Balk's Second Law ("The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything").  Here I will impart to you Balk's Third Law: "If you think The Internet is terrible now, just wait a while."  The moment you were just in was as good as it got. ...  [T]he Internet is going to keep getting worse and there will be no chance for escape.  It's a massive torrent of sewage blasted at you at all hours and you pay handsomely for the privilege of having a hand-held cannon you carry with you at all times to spray more shit-sludge at yourself whenever you're bored or anxious.  Some of you sleep with it right next to your head in case you wake in the middle of the night and need to deliver another turgid shot to your wide-open mouth.

-- Alex Balk, blog post at "The Awl", "My Advice To Young People", 10 February 2015

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Working Paper

Three years ago, 3.9 million Americans received a plain-looking envelope from the Internal Revenue Service. Inside was a letter stating that they had recently paid a fine for not carrying health insurance and suggesting possible ways to enroll in coverage.

New research concludes that the bureaucratic mailing saved lives.

Three Treasury Department economists have published a working paper finding that these notices increased health insurance sign-ups. Obtaining insurance, they say, reduced premature deaths by an amount that exceeded any of their expectations. Americans between 45 and 64 benefited the most: For every 1,648 who received a letter, one fewer death occurred than among those who hadn’t received a letter.

In all, the researchers estimated that the letters may have wound up saving 700 lives.

-- New York Times, "The I.R.S. Sent a Letter to 3.9 Million People. It Saved Some of Their Lives", 10 December 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

There Is A Tomorrow

We can't just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow.  That is all we are saying.

-- Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, as quoted in Time Magazine's 2019 Person of the Year cover story, 4 December 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Resolved, That Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Article I: Abuse of Power
Article II: Obstruction of Congress

In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.  President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

-- Text of proposed articles of impeachment, produced by the House Judiciary Committee, 10 December 2019

Monday, December 09, 2019

RIP Paul Volcker

We live in a world in which individuals and businessmen, as never before, have the capacity and the incentives to buy and sell, invest and travel, where they want and when they want -- and they want to do so unencumbered by national boundaries.  At the same time, modern democracies, at least as much as other forms of government, long for autonomy; they want to control their own destinies in ways responsive to the needs of an electorate often concerned less with national than with local or sectorial interests.  Yet, theory and experience indicate we can't have it both ways, full integration and full autonomy.

-- Paul Adolph Volcker, Jr. (5 September 1927 - 8 December 2019), American economist, Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from August 1979 to August 1987, "The Political Economy of the Dollar", the Fred Hirsch lecture at Warwick University, Coventry, England, 9 November 1978

Friday, December 06, 2019


I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more -- the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort -- to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires -- and expires, too soon -- too soon before life itself.

-- Joseph Conrad (1857 - 1924), Polish writer, working in England, Youth, A Narrative (1902)

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Nothing Is Simpler

Nothing is simpler than to kill a man; the difficulties arise in attempting to avoid the consequences.

-- Rex Stout (1886 - 1975), American author of detective fiction most famous as the creator of the fictional detective Nero Wolfe, Too Many Cooks, chapter 3 (1938)

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Time To Leave The Roost

Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost.  While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it's time to assume the role of proud parents -- offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions -- a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets.  We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.

-- Larry Page and Sergey Brin in "A letter from Larry and Sergey", announcing their departure from active management of Google and its parent company Alphabet, 3 December 2019

Tuesday, December 03, 2019


It's not just about equality.  It's not just about allowing women to be equal as men, to develop their masculine side and act with equality and be treated the same way as men do.  It's about treating femininity equal, with the same amount of regard as masculinity is held.

-- Sifu Steven Macramalla, author, professor of cognitive psychology at San Jose State University, and Chien-Lung martial arts instructor, speaking on episode 454 of Whistlekick Martial Arts Podcast, December 2019

Monday, December 02, 2019

Various Ways

There are various ways to call a man a liar.  One way is just to scream it at him, which doesn't prove anything.  Another is to establish facts by long and patient investigation.  Still another way is not to call him a liar at all -- let him do it himself.

-- Rex Stout (1886 - 1975), American author of detective fiction most famous as the creator of the fictional detective Nero Wolfe, on his work on Our Secret Weapon, as quoted by Trudi McCullough in The Milwaukee Journal (30 September 1942)

Friday, November 29, 2019

A Thanksgiving

Lord, for the erring thought
  Not into evil wrought:
Lord, for the wicked will
  Betrayed and baffled still:
For the heart from itself kept,
  Our thanksgiving accept.

For ignorant hopes that were
  Broken to our blind prayer:
For pain, death, sorrow, sent
  Unto our chastisement:
For all loss of seeming good,
  Quicken our gratitude.

-- William Dean Howells (1837 - 1920), American realist author and literary critic, A Thanksgiving

[I had 17 family members at the house today (Friday) for Thanksgiving, because my kids are all grown up and have their own Thanksgivings on Thursday. The above is a little much of a downer to use as a prayer before a Thanksgiving meal, but he's got good points. I can relate.]

Thursday, November 28, 2019

My Choice

I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection.  For me, I'm going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others.  This is my choice.

-- Mike Ericksen, American author and musician, Upon Destiny's Song (2013)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Primary Takeaway

Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.  To make the point as plain as possible, it is clear to this Court for the reasons explained above that, with respect to senior-level presidential aides, absolute immunity from compelled congressional process simply does not exist.

[T]his Court holds that individuals who have been subpoenaed for testimony by an authorized committee of Congress must appear for testimony in response to that subpoena -- i.e., they cannot ignore or defy congressional compulsory process, by order of the President or otherwise.

-- United States District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruling in "Committee on the Judiciary, United States House Of Representatives, Plaintiff, v. Donald F. McGahn II, Defendant", repudiating the concept of "absolute immunity", 25 November 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

My Family, My Flag And My Faith

The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries.  Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again ....  The Constitution, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all.

Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline.  I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I hereby acknowledge my termination as United States Secretary of the Navy, to be effective immediately.

-- Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, in his resignation letter resulting from a dispute over his handling of the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, whose demotion had been reversed by President Donald Trump, 25 November 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Propaganda Machine

Today around the world, demagogues appeal to our worst instincts.  Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream.  It's as if the Age of Reason -- the era of evidential argument -- is ending, and now knowledge is delegitimized and scientific consensus is dismissed.  Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march.  Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.

What do all these dangerous trends have in common?  I'm just a comedian and an actor, not a scholar.  But one thing is pretty clear to me.  All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history.

The greatest propaganda machine in history.

-- Sacha Baron Cohen in his Keynote Address ascribing antisocial behaviors to Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others, at the Anti-Defamation League's 2019 Never Is Now Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate, 21 November 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Nagging is the repetition of unpalatable truths.

-- Edith Clara Summerskill, Baroness Summerskill CH PC (1901 - 1980), British physician, feminist, Labour politician and writer, appointed to the Privy Council in 1949, speech to the Married Women's Association in the House of Commons (14 July 1960)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Respectable People

If you talk to gangsters long enough, you'll find out they're just as bad as respectable people.

-- James Murray Kempton (1917 - 1997), American journalist who won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, as quoted by Ron Rosenbaum in The Secret Parts of Fortune (2000)

Monday, November 18, 2019


For the Commander-in-Chief to reach into the military system and provide a pardon, especially in a preemptive way before a trial and appeal process, is a mistake.  It will undermine our own standards, as junior enlisted personnel try to understand a pardon for doing something we constantly train to avoid.  It strengthens enemy propaganda, as they will correctly say that we do not hold ourselves accountable for our own standards.  It undercuts our relations with allies who have strong systems in place to prevent these kinds of actions.  And it spurs our enemies on to even more barbaric behavior as the battlefield descends into moral chaos on both sides of the line of combat.  This kind of pardon disrespects every single one of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who follow the strict standards of the Code of Conduct.  They do not abuse captives who have surrendered, use torture to interrogate, cause needless casualties to civilians through collateral damage or desecrate corpses.

-- Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and Operating Executive at The Carlyle Group, Time Magazine, "I Commanded Several of the Servicemen Trump May Pardon.  Letting Them Off Will Undermine the Military", 22 May 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

More Often

Consciences keep silent more often than they should, that's why laws were created.

-- José de Sousa Saramago, GColSE (1922 - 2010), Portuguese novelist, poet, playwright and journalist, 1998 Nobel Laureate in Literature, All the Names (1997)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pride vs Humility

Pride looks back upon its past deeds, and calculating with nicety what it has done, it commits itself to rest; whereas humility looks to that which is before, and discovering how much ground remains to be trodden, it is active and vigilant. Having gained one height, pride looks down with complacency on that which is beneath it; humility looks up to a higher and yet higher elevation. The one keeps us on this earth, which is congenial to its nature; the other directs our eye, and tends to lift us up to heaven.

-- James McCosh (1811 - 1894), prominent philosopher of the Scottish School of Common Sense,  president of Princeton University (1868 - 1888), Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 485

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Harder Matter

[A] lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.

-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1st Baron Tennyson) (1809 - 1892), Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, "The Grandmother", st. 8 (1864)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Unchanged On Tuesday

You wouldn't have known the stock market was open on Tuesday just by looking at the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The 30-stock average closed flat going out to at least six decimal places.  It's rare for trading to be this futile.  The last time the Dow closed perfectly unchanged was April 24, 2014.  It's the third time the Dow has closed perfectly unchanged since 2000.

The unchanged close came despite some action during the trading day.  The Dow flirted with a record high, rising as much as 79.37 points to trade about 4 points below its all-time high of 27,774.67.  President Donald Trump gave a big economic speech in New York but traders by the end of the day determined they had heard most of what he said on trade and the Federal Reserve before.

-- Fred Imbert, "The Dow was perfectly unchanged on Tuesday", CNBC, 12 November 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Armistice Day

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day.  When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another.  I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute.  They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.  So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (11 November 1922 - 11 April 2007), American novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, Breakfast of Champions (1973)

Friday, November 08, 2019

Officium Officialium

Officium officialium, quorum te numero aggregasti, hodie est, jura confundere, suscitare lites, transactiones rescindere, innectere dilationes, suprimere veritatem, fovere mendacium, quaestum sequi, aeqitatem vendere, inhiare exactionibus, versutias concinnare.

The role of officials today is to upset the laws, to stir up lawsuits, to annul agreements, to devise delays, to suppress the truth, to encourage falsehood, to follow profit, to sell justice, to attend closely to exacting money, to practise cunning.

-- Peter of Blois or Petrus Blesensis, Archdeacon of Bath (c. 1130 - 1211 or 1212), French theologian, diplomat and poet, Letter 25, to the Judicial Vicar of the Bishop of Chartres, in J. A. Giles (ed.) Petri blesensis bathoniensis archidiaconi opera omnia (Oxonii: J. H. Parker, 1846-7) vol. 1, p. 91

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Favorite Hobby

Not everyone enjoys baseball or even fishing, but every person is obsessed with himself.  You're your own favorite hobby.

-- Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk (1962 -), American satirical novelist and freelance journalist, Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey (2007)

Monday, November 04, 2019

Sip Only Little

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

-- Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784), French philosopher and chief editor of the historic project to produce L'Encyclopédie, Rameau's Nephew (1762)

Friday, November 01, 2019

Nirmal Purja

14 highest peaks in 189 days

I often feel bad about how I don't exercise enough, but Nirmal Purja's ambition was clearly a little bit higher.  He smashed the record for climbing the world's 14 highest peaks in 189 days, or a little over six months.  The Nepalese former British army soldier's speedy itinerary included climbing Everest, Lhotse and Makalu back-to-back in only 48 hours and summiting Shishapangma, his last climb, at 8:58 a.m. local time on Tuesday.  South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho held the previous record of seven years, 11 months, and 14 days.

-- From Significant Digits, 30 October 2019, based on an article in The Guardian

Thursday, October 31, 2019

This Is Halloween

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween

This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody scream
In this town of Halloween

I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under yours stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

-- "This is Halloween" lyrics, Danny Elfman (1993)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Double Double Toil And Trouble

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

-- William Shakespeare, Song of the Witches: "Double, double toil and trouble", Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Lantern On The Stern

If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us!  But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834), English poet, critic and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets, Specimens of the Table Talk of S.T. Coleridge 1821-1834 by Henry N. Coleridge (1835), 18 December 1831

Monday, October 28, 2019

Deep Sadness

Dear Friends and Community Partners of the Art Theater,

It is with deep sadness that the Art Film Foundation announces it has stopped showing films and that it will cease operations at the Art Theater on October 31, 2019.

We thank you for your donations, your volunteer hours, your memberships, and your attendance. While the Art Film Foundation and the Art Theater have come to an end, we truly believe that this incredible community of cinema-lovers in the local area will carry on.

With gratitude,
The Art Film Foundation

-- Farewell email from the Art Film Foundation, announcing the closing of The Art Theater in downtown Champaign, 25 October 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019


Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

-- Stephen R. Covey (1932 - 2012), American author, The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, p. 239 (1989)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Reality Check

One of life's joys was to have friends who gave you reality checks ... who would call you on your crap before it rose so high you drowned in it.

-- Glen David Brin (1950 -), American science fiction author, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, former NASA consultant and physics professor, Earth Part VI (p. 311) (1990)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Functional Anonymity

Let's begin with capitalism, a word that has gone largely out of fashion.  The approved reference now is to the market system.  This shift minimizes -- indeed, deletes -- the role of wealth in the economic and social system.  And it sheds the adverse connotation going back to Marx.  Instead of the owners of capital or their attendants in control, we have the admirably impersonal role of market forces.  It would be hard to think of a change in terminology more in the interest of those to whom money accords power.  They have now a functional anonymity.

-- John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006), Canadian-American economist and author, "Free Market Fraud", The Progressive (January 1999)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Basic Equipment

Thing is: the internet's made of IP addresses, opinions, and assholes.  It's what's there.  That's the basic equipment.

-- Merlin Dean Mann III (26 November 1966 -), author, speaker, and productivity consultant, "kung fu grippe" blog post, ~2010

Monday, October 21, 2019

Never Friendless Ever

Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog;
but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog.

-- Douglas Malloch (5 May 1877 - 2 July 1938), American poet, short-story writer and Associate Editor of American Lumberman, a trade paper in Chicago

Saturday, October 19, 2019


For my 50th birthday (10 years ago), my kids got me an Australian Shepherd by the name of Angie (short for Evangeline). She was about 9 months old when I got her from a rescue place in St Louis.

A little under 3 hours ago, I had to let her go.

She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (and pulmonary hypertension) in January, but the meds (lots of meds) were keeping it in check. Today things suddenly went south.

Her super power was that she didn't need a leash on walks. She had no interest in squirrels or rabbits, and only passing interest in other dogs while out walking.

There were a lot of walks.

She was the calmest, most laid-back Australian Shepherd I've encountered.

I'd like to go on one more walk, please.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

RIP Elijah Cummings

My mission is one that comes out of a vision that was created long, long ago.  It is a mission and a vision to empower people. ... to make people realize that the power is within them, that they too can do the things that they want to do.

There's a poem that Parren Mitchell said many many years ago that I say sometimes 20 times a day, and it's a very simple poem, but it's one that I live by.

    I only have a minute.
    Sixty seconds in it.
    Forced upon me, I did not choose it.
    But I know that I must use it,
    give account if I abuse it,
    suffer if I lose it.
    Only a tiny little minute,
    but eternity is in it.

-- Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (18 January 1951 - 17 October 2019), in his first speech from the floor of the House of Representatives, shortly after he was sworn into Congress by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on 25 April 1996, citing a poem written by Civil Rights pioneer Dr. Benjamin Mays, which he credited Mitchell as reciting many times.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

No Reasonable Man

Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?  This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked.  When we have realized the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy -- for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we do in ordinary life and even in the sciences, but critically, after exploring all that makes such questions puzzling, and after realizing all the vagueness and confusion that underlie our ordinary ideas.

-- Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872 - 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic, 1950 Nobel laureate in Literature, The Problems of Philosophy (1912)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019