Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year.  It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.  Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions.  Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.

-- Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 - 1936), British writer, A Chesterton Calendar Compiled from the Writings of G.K.C. (1911)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Scramble For Money

Let's put a limit to the scramble for money. ...  Having got what you wanted, you ought to begin to bring that struggle to an end.

-- Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 - 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus, Satires, Book I, Satire i, N. Rudd, trans. (2005), v. 92-94.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

At A Standstill

Every optimist moves along with progress and hastens it, while every pessimist would keep the world at a standstill.  The consequence of pessimism in the life of a nation is the same as in the life of the individual.  Pessimism kills the instinct that urges men to struggle against poverty, ignorance, and crime, and dries up all the fountains of joy in the world.

-- Helen Adams Keller (1880 - 1968), American writer and social activist, Optimism (1903)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Moment Of Reflection

Most of the time man does not do what he wills, but what he has willed.  Through his decisions, he always gives himself only a certain direction, in which he then moves until the next moment of reflection.  We do not will continuously, we only will intermittently, piece by piece.  We thus save ourselves from willing: principle of the economy of the will.  But the higher man always experiences this as thoroughly immoral.

-- Otto Weininger (1880 - 1903), Austrian philosopher, Collected Aphorisms, as translated by Martin Dudaniec & Kevin Solway

Friday, December 25, 2020

Happy Christmas

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fears

-- John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Happy Christmas (War Is Over), Imagine (1971)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ideal Christmas

There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.

-- Bill McKibben (1960 -), American environmentalist and writer on global warming, alternative energy, and more localized economies, in Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For a More Joyful Christmas

[Tonight there are 23 stockings hanging above the fireplace. My five daughters aren't here, but I've spoken with them all in the last 24 hours. Likely I'll speak to them all again in the next 24 hours. Likewise, my three brothers. This Christmas is sufficiently ideal. Merry Christmas.]

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Lights, Please

"Lights, please."

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

[Linus picks up his blanket and shuffles off-stage.]

-- Christopher Shea as Linus van Pelt, sharing the true meaning of Christmas in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

I Heard A Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing

  In the dark of December.

A magical thing

  And sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to Spring

  Than we were in September,"

I heard a bird sing

  In the dark of December.

-- Oliver Herford (1863 - 1935), American humorous poet and illustrator, "I Heard a Bird Sing" from Welcome Christmas! A Garland of Poems (Viking Press, 1955)

Monday, December 21, 2020

We Need Bridges

Christmas is a bridge.  We need bridges as the river of time flows past.  Today's Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.

-- Gladys Taber (1899 - 1980), American author, Still Cove Journal (1981)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Strict And Liberal

People understand instinctively that the best way for computer programs to communicate with each other is for each of the them to be strict in what they emit, and liberal in what they accept.  The odd thing is that people themselves are not willing to be strict in how they speak, and liberal in how they listen.  You'd think that would also be obvious. 

-- Larry Wall (1954 -), programmer, best known as the creator of the Perl programming language, "2nd State of the Onion", on Jon Postel's Robustness Principle applied to human communication

Thursday, December 17, 2020


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is aware of compromises of U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure entities, and private sector organizations by an advanced persistent threat (APT) actor beginning in at least March 2020.  This APT actor has demonstrated patience, operational security, and complex tradecraft in these intrusions.  CISA expects that removing this threat actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging for organizations.

CISA has determined that this threat poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.  CISA advises stakeholders to read this Alert and review the enclosed indicators.

-- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Alert (AA20-352A) Advanced Persistent Threat Compromise of Government Agencies, Critical Infrastructure, and Private Sector Organizations, 17 December 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Major Leaguers

Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that Major League Baseball is correcting a longtime oversight in the game's history by officially elevating the Negro Leagues to "Major League" status.  During this year's centennial celebration of the founding of the Negro Leagues, MLB is proud to highlight the contributions of the pioneers who played in these seven distinct leagues from 1920-1948.  With this action, MLB seeks to ensure that future generations will remember the approximately 3,400 players of the Negro Leagues during this time period as Major League-caliber ballplayers.  Accordingly, the statistics and records of these players will become a part of Major League Baseball's history.

All of us who love baseball have long known that the Negro Leagues produced many of our game's best players, innovations and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice.  We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record.

-- Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. in an official statement, "MLB to Elevate the Negro Leagues to Major League Status", 16 December 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Force Your Way In

Do not merely practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; it deserves that, for only art and science can exalt man to divinity.

-- Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770, died 26 March 1827), German composer and pianist who lived predominantly in Vienna, Austria, Letter to Emilie, 17 July 1812, Quoted in Musical news, Vol. 3 (1892), p. 627

Monday, December 14, 2020

Operation Warp Speed

Congratulations to President Donald Trump who recognized at the outset that Operation Warp Speed was a necessary, though tragically not by itself sufficient, response to the pandemic.  Today, that effort paid off with the first inoculations of Americans with a new vaccine, developed in under a year.  Science and technology came together to make this happen, and I'm impressed.

Friday, December 11, 2020


I object, Your Honor!  This trial is a travesty!  It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham!

-- Woody Allen (1 December 1935 -), American film director, writer, and actor, as Fielding Mellish in Bananas (1971)

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Science And Magic

While science and technology play critical roles in sustaining modern civilization, they are not part of our culture in the sense that they are not commonly studied or well comprehended.  Neither the potential nor the limitations of science are understood so that what can be achieved and what is beyond reach are not comprehended.  The line between science and magic becomes blurred so that public judgements on technical issues can be erratic or badly flawed.  It frequently appears that some people will believe almost anything.  Thus judgements can be manipulated or warped by unscrupulous groups.  Distortions or outright falsehoods can come to be accepted as fact.

-- Henry Way Kendall (1926 - 1999), American particle physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 jointly with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor, A Distant Light : Scientists and Public Policy (2000) Introduction, p. 4

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Democracy Is Not Self-Repairing

Democracy is not self-repairing.  Over time, without citizens who are committed to protecting it, it will eventually die, smashed under the iron fist of a would-be strongman who attracted a big enough chunk of the electorate to go along with him.  Trump failed, but it was close.

-- Brian Klaas, associate professor of global politics at University College London, "America has an authoritarian voter problem", Washington Post, 9 December 2020

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

RIP Chuck Yeager

I have flown in just about everything, with all kinds of pilots in all parts of the world -- British, French, Pakistani, Iranian, Japanese, Chinese -- and there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between any of them except for one unchanging, certain fact: the best, most skillful pilot has the most experience.

-- Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (13 February 1923 - 7 December 2020), United States Air Force officer, flying ace, and record-setting test pilot who in 1947 became the first pilot in history confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight,

Monday, December 07, 2020

Ultimate Aim

The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.

-- Gichin Funakoshi, as quoted on the opening title card of David Liban's documentary "Looking for Mr. Miyagi"

Friday, December 04, 2020

I Shaved

I got my cancer diagnosis in October 2015.  While getting ready for December surgery I started growing a beard.  I figured I would shave it off when I was declared cancer-free, and I thought that would take about six months.  I've been getting my numbers checked every three months for five years now.  With a string of zeroes, and the zero that I got this week, we're switching to testing every four months.  Baby steps, but things are looking good.

Yesterday, I shaved the beard.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Men Always Grow Vicious

Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired: for in the course of things, men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers; but if you would once convince the town or country profligate, by topics drawn from the view of their own quiet reputation, health, and advantage, their infidelity would soon drop off: This I confess is no easy task, because it is almost in a literal sense, to fight with beasts.

-- Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745), Anglo-Irish writer and satirist, Letter to a Young Clergyman (9 January 1720), on proving Christianity to unbelievers

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Four Years

It's been an amazing four years.  We're trying to do another four years.  Otherwise, I'll see you in four years.

-- President Donald Trump, speaking at the White House at a holiday reception for members of the Republican National Committee and others, 1 December 2020

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Abandoned In The Present

I construct my memories with my present.  I am lost, abandoned in the present.  I try in vain to rejoin the past: I cannot escape.

-- Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (1905 - 1980), French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist, and critic, Nausea (1938)

Monday, November 30, 2020


Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition.  Man is the only being who knows he is alone.

-- Octavio Paz Lozano (1914 - 1998), poet, writer, diplomat, and winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first Mexican writer to become a Nobel Laureate, The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950)

Friday, November 27, 2020


Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency.  Man is a social being.  Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism.  His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality.

-- Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 21 March 1929, p. 93

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

Yesterday and today I made 6 pies -- 2 apple pies, 3 pumpkin pies, and a sweet potato pie.  Those pies are going to the households of my 5 adult daughters.  This morning we Zoomed, and I got to see my 11 grandchildren.

I've got all the fixings ready for 3 or 4 more pies, but I ran out of pie pans.  I'll have to get some back before I can bake myself a pie.

Plenty to be thankful for.  I hope you can say the same.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

For What I Am & Have

I am grateful for what I am & have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.  It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite -- only a sense of existence.  Well, anything for variety.  I am ready to try this for the next 1000 years, & exhaust it.  How sweet to think of!  My extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while.  My breath is sweet to me.  O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.  No run on my bank can drain it -- for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.

-- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), American essayist, poet, and philosopher, Letter to Harrison Gray Otis Blake (6&7 December 1856), as published in The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau (1958), p. 444

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Please Wear A Mask

In the last week (604,800 seconds), through this morning at midnight, the United States saw 1,221,179 new covid cases.  For a little perspective, that's 2.02 positive cases *per second* for a week.

Over the same period, there was a covid death in the United States every 55.90 seconds.

Last Friday 20 November, there were 204,580 new cases and 1968 new deaths.  That works out to 2.4 new cases per second over a 24-hour period, with a death every 44 seconds.  On Saturday, it was 1 death every 42 seconds.

Please wear a mask around others.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Arecibo Going Dark

After more than a half-century of supporting breakthrough scientific work -- and providing a scenic backdrop for Contact, GoldenEye and other blockbuster Hollywood films -- the iconic Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is going dark.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), which owns the observatory, announced on November 19 that it will begin the process of planning for "controlled decommissioning" of the 305-meter telescope.  Over the past several months the instrument has suffered two catastrophic failures of cables that support its 900-ton (817-metric-ton) central receiving platform.

"This decision is intended to preserve life and safety of people and prevent the loss of the entire Arecibo Observatory, including the visitor education center, in the event of an unexpected and uncontrolled collapse," said Sean Jones, assistant director of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the NSF, during a press conference.  "This decision is not an easy one for NSF to make. But safety of people is our number-one priority."

-- Leonard David, Arecibo Observatory to Close Its Giant Eye on the Sky, Scientific American, 20 November 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Undemocratic Action

Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election.  It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.

-- Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), tweeting as @MittRomney, 19 November 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Most Fabulous

I am the most fabulous whiner.  I do whine because I want to win.  And I'm not happy if I'm not winning.  And I am a whiner.  And I'm a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.  And I'm going to win for the country and I'm going to make our country great again.

-- Donald Trump, in a CNN "New Day" interview with Chris Cuomo, as quoted by Colin Campbell in "Donald Trump: 'I am the most fabulous whiner'", Business Insider, 11 August 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.

-- Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662), French mathematician, logician, physicist and theologian, De l'Art de persuader ["On the Art of Persuasion"] (1658)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Great Potential Cost

Moral bankruptcy: the state a person reaches when he trades away or violates too many of his core moral values and commitments.  He may also lose important relationships either as a cause or consequence of his loss of moral commitments.  Someone who is morally bankrupt may or may not recognize that he has reached this state. 

Some people may never recognize they have reached the point of moral bankruptcy.  Denial, the first cousin of rationalization, functions to maintain a person's perception of reality.  Denial helps a person to maintain a fiction in the cold light of fact.  Denial is a perversely remarkable creative ability that carries a great potential cost. 

-- Peg O'Connor, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and gender, women, and sexuality studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, Declaring Moral Bankruptcy, Psychology Today, 31 October 2014

Monday, November 16, 2020

Boulder Pushers

We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known.  They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse.  They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave.  They have known it.  We know it.  But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it?  No.  It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them.  Because the great men are too great to be bothered.  They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon.  That is what is important for our time.  You and I are the boulder-pushers.  All our lives, you and I, we'll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain.  The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.

-- Doris Lessing (1919 - 2013), British writer, born Doris May Tayler.  In October 2007 Lessing became the eleventh woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in its 106-year history, and its oldest recipient ever.  Paul Tanner, in "Free Women: 1", The Golden Notebook (1962)

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Way To Cede Power

I don't know what the calculation is that goes on in the mind of the leaders about what to take to the floor, but we don't vote on a lot of legislation.  If the Senate refuses to tackle the major issues, then the president will and he'll just issue executive orders.  Just saying "No" doesn't enhance our power.  It's a way to cede power.

-- Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), as quoted by David Brooks in How Biden Could Steer a Divided Government, New York Times, 12 November 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A Promised Land

What I can say for certain is that I'm not yet ready to abandon the possibility of America -- not just for the sake of future generations of Americans but for all of humankind.  I'm convinced that the pandemic we're currently living through is both a manifestation of and a mere interruption in the relentless march toward an interconnected world, one in which peoples and cultures can't help but collide.  In that world -- of global supply chains, instantaneous capital transfers, social media, transnational terrorist networks, climate change, mass migration, and ever-increasing complexity -- we will learn to live together, cooperate with one another, and recognize the dignity of others, or we will perish.  And so the world watches America -- the only great power in history made up of people from every corner of the planet, comprising every race and faith and cultural practice -- to see if our experiment in democracy can work.  To see if we can do what no other nation has ever done.  To see if we can actually live up to the meaning of our creed.

-- Barack Obama, in his new memoir A Promised Land, as excerpted in The Atlantic, November 2020

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Not Our Job

I think it's hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.

I think, frankly, that they wanted the court to do that.  But that's not our job.

-- Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, addressing Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins, in California v Texas, which seeks an end to the Affordable Care Act, NPR, 10 November 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Take Morality Seriously

Aristotle wrote that good habits formed at youth make all the difference.  And moral education must affirm the central importance of moral example.  It has been said that there is nothing more influential, more determinant, in a child's life than the moral power of quiet example.  For children to take morality seriously they must be in the presence of adults who take morality seriously.  And with their own eyes they must see adults take morality seriously.

-- William Bennett in "Book of Virtues" (1993) pg 11, as quoted by John Dickerson on Twitter, 8 November 2020

Monday, November 09, 2020

Prayers For His Success

I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.  I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night.  I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency.  Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.  The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans.  I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.

I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign. He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans - an extraordinary political achievement.  They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.  

The challenges that face our country will demand the best of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris - and the best of us all.   We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future. There is no problem that will not yield to the gathered will of a free people. 

-- Statement by President George W. Bush, congratulating President-elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris, 8 November 2020

Friday, November 06, 2020

Illusion Of A Horse Race

The fact that ballots are counted sequentially lends the process of vote counting important transparency.  But it can also lead us to apply inappropriate mental frames.  For instance, we may resort to horse-race language that suggests that Biden is pulling ahead at the last second, but in fact these votes were all cast on or before Election Day.  The illusion of a dramatic horse race is simply a product of the order in which we count votes.

-- Dan Hopkins, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, on the FiveThirtyEight 2020 Election Live Blog, 6 November 2020 at 10:16 AM

Thursday, November 05, 2020

The Vote Is Sacred

In America, the vote is sacred.  It's how people of this nation express their will.  And, it is the will of the voters, no one, not anything else, that chooses the president of the United States of America.  So, each ballot must be counted, and that's what we're going to see going through now, and that's how it should be.

Democracy is sometimes messy.  It sometimes requires a little patience as well.  But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that's been the envy of the world. 

So, I ask everyone to stay calm, all people to stay calm.  The process is working.  The count is being completed, and we'll know very soon.  So, thank you all, for your patience. We have to count the votes.

-- Remarks by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Wilmington, DE, 5 November 2020

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Count Von Count

Greetings it is I the Count!  They call me the Count because I love to count things!!  HA HA HA!!!

-- Count von Count, on Sesame Street

Monday, November 02, 2020

Consent Of Governors And Governed

Metaphysicians and politicians may dispute forever, but they will never find any other moral principle or foundation of rule or obedience, than the consent of governors and governed.

-- John Adams (1735 - 1826), American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat, second President of the United States (1797-1801), and first Vice President (1789-1797), Novanglus essays (1774-1775), No. 7

Friday, October 30, 2020

I Can't Hear It

If someone says, "Democracy is a sham, those people don't speak for me... the system's rigged," you say, "Vote."  Someone says, "I was making a statement by not voting," and then you say, "Well I can't hear it." 

-- Jesse Williams, American actor, director, producer, and activist, in an election PSA posted by super PAC Save the Day on YouTube, 27 September 2016

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Every Vote Counts

The first lesson is this: take it from me -- every vote counts.  In our Democracy, every vote has power.  And never forget: that power is yours.  Don't let anyone take it away or talk you into throwing it away.  And let's make sure that this time every vote is counted.

-- Former Vice President Al Gore, at the Democratic National Convention, 27 July 2004

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

We Are Not Enemies

We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

-- Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), 16th President of the United States, First Inaugural Address (4 March 1861)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Really Disloyal?

Who are those who are really disloyal?  -- Those who inflame racial hatreds, who sow religious and class dissensions.  Those who subvert the Constitution by violating the freedom of the ballot box.  Those who make a mockery of majority rule by the use of the filibuster.  Those who impair democracy by denying equal educational facilities.  Those who frustrate justice by lynch law or by making a farce of jury trials.  Those who deny freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly.  Those who press for special favors against the interest of the commonwealth.  Those who regard public office as a source of private gain.  Those who would exalt the military over the civil.  Those who for selfish and private purposes stir up national antagonisms and expose the world to the ruin of war.

-- Henry Steele Commager (1902 - 1998), American historian and teacher, Who is Loyal to America? (1947)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Burnt Norton

Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,

Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

-- Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 - 1965), American-born English poet, dramatist, and literary critic, The Four Quartets, Burnt Norton (I), Collected Poems 1909–1935 (1936)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Doubling The Value

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day.  By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting.  In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.

-- David Foster Wallace (1962 - 2008), American novelist, essayist, and short story writer, "Up, Simba" (2000)