Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Gravity Fatigue

I remain concerned about falling off of things but we also must take into account gravity fatigue.  I care.  I do.  But how long must this go on?  As such, I will no longer be exercising caution near ledges, cliffs, and precarious stairwells.

-- James Hamblin, preventive medicine M.D. and public health policy lecturer, tweeting as @jameshamblin, 29 November 2021

Monday, November 29, 2021

Without Ambition

Time is the only critic without ambition.

-- John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (1902 - 1968), one of the most famous and most widely read American writers of the 20th century; winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, Writers at Work (1977), On Critics

Friday, November 26, 2021

Just A Man

Every child grows up thinking their father is a hero or villain until they are old enough to realize that he is just a man.

-- Mark Maish, Strategist, Business Capture Manager, and Civil Engineer from Nairobi, Kenya

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!  All of my kids had their own Thanksgiving gatherings today, so my get-together is slated for Friday evening.  Enjoy the holiday, and the presence of one another.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

That's What They Mean

But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck.  You heard what Linus was saying out there.  Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too.  We should just be thankful for being together.  I think that's what they mean by "Thanksgiving", Charlie Brown.

-- The character Marcie in "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973), by Charles Schulz

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation.  Go find somebody's hand and squeeze it, while there's time.

-- Dale Alan Dauten (1950 -), American business management columnist, author, and professional speaker, cited in: Colleen Zuck et al. (2002) Daily Word for Families, p. 167

Monday, November 22, 2021

2021 More Deadly Than 2020

As of September 25th 2021, more people had died of covid in 2021 than died during 2020.  The pandemic took 350,837 American lives through December 31st last year, and reached 703,778 lives lost through September 25th, adding 352,941 deaths in 2021.  The total through yesterday is 783,161, with just over 432K covid deaths in 2021.  Americans continue to die at a rate a little north of 1000 per day (and cases are rising again).  There are about 40 days left in the year.

I don't have anything deep or wise to add to that.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Self Defense


The use of force to protect oneself from an attempted injury by another.  If justified, self-defense is a defense to a number of crimes and torts involving force, including murder, assault and battery.  

-- Definition of self-defense from the Legal Information Institute

Thursday, November 18, 2021

All Too Familiar

The events that led to my conviction and wrongful imprisonment should never have happened.  Those events were the result of a process that was corrupt to its core -- one that is all too familiar -- even in 2021.

While I do not need a court, prosecutors, or a piece of paper to tell me I am innocent, I am glad that my family, my friends, and the attorneys who have worked and supported me all these years are finally seeing the truth we have all known officially recognized.

-- Muhammad Aziz, 83, who along with Khalil Islam, who died in 2009, was convicted in connection with the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, after both men were exonerated, 18 November 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Wise And Sensitive Persons

Is there really someone who, searching for a group of wise and sensitive persons to regulate him for his own good, would choose that group of people that constitute the membership of both houses of Congress?

-- Robert Nozick (1938 - 2002), American libertarian philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), Ch. 2 : The State of Nature; Protective Associations, p. 14

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Nothing Is Harder

Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.  If there's the hundredth part of a false note in speaking the truth, it leads to a discord, and that leads to trouble.  But if all, to the last note, is false in flattery, it is just as agreeable, and is heard not without satisfaction.  It may be a coarse satisfaction, but still a satisfaction.  And however coarse the flattery, at least half will be sure to seem true.  That's so for all stages of development and classes of society.

-- Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881), Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher whose works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia, Crime And Punishment (1866), Part VI, Chapter 4, p. 471

Monday, November 15, 2021

Freedom Or Loneliness?

And when nobody wakes you up in the morning, and when nobody waits for you at night, and when you can do whatever you want.  What do you call it, Freedom or Loneliness?

-- Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994), US poet and novelist, "Loneliness", South Of No North (1973)

Friday, November 12, 2021

As Detailed

As detailed in the indictment, on September 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon.  The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee.  According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.

-- U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, as quoted in a Justice Department press release, "Stephen K. Bannon Indicted for Contempt of Congress", 12 November 2021

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Consume And Transform

All great human deeds both consume and transform their doers.  Consider an athlete, or a scientist, or an artist, or an independent business creator.  In the service of their goals they lay down time and energy and many other choices and pleasures; in return, they become most truly themselves.  A false destiny may be spotted by the fact that it consumes without transforming, without giving back the enlarged self.

-- Lois McMaster Bujold (1949 -), American author of science fiction and fantasy works, most noted for the works in her Vorkosigan Saga, Cordelia's Honor (1996), "Author's Afterword"

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


A U.S. space launch start-up has, for the first time, demonstrated a kinetic-based system that’s intended one day to put small spacecraft into orbit.  The SpinLaunch concept, which feels ripped right from the classic age of science fiction, is based around a vacuum-sealed centrifuge that spins an unpowered projectile at several times the speed of sound before releasing it, hurling it into the upper atmosphere, and ultimately into orbit.  In this way, the company, based in Long Beach, Calif., hopes to challenge traditional rockets for putting payloads into space.

The first test flight of a prototype -- a so-called suborbital accelerator -- took place at Spaceport America in New Mexico on October 22, but the company only announced the milestone yesterday.

The system uses a vacuum chamber within which a rotating arm brings a projectile up to very high speed without any drag penalty, before hurling it into the atmosphere "in less than a millisecond," according to the company, as a port opens for a fraction of a second to release the projectile.  A counterbalance spins in the opposite direction to prevent the system from becoming unbalanced.  The vacuum seal stays in place until the projectile breaks through a membrane at the top of the launch tube. 

-- Thomas Newdick and Tyler Rogoway, "Space Launch Start-Up Just Used A Giant Centrifuge To Fling A Projectile Into The Upper Atmosphere", thedrive.com, 10 November 2021

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Object Of Our Study

When we study law we are not studying a mystery but a well-known profession.  We are studying what we shall want in order to appear before judges, or to advise people in such a way as to keep them out of court.  The reason why it is a profession, why people will pay lawyers to argue for them or to advise them, is that in societies like ours the command of the public force is entrusted to the judges in certain cases, and the whole power of the state will be put forth, if necessary, to carry out their judgments and decrees.  People want to know under what circumstances and how far they will run the risk of coming against what is so much stronger than themselves, and hence it becomes a business to find out when this danger is to be feared.  The object of our study, then, is prediction, the prediction of the incidence of the public force through the instrumentality of the courts.

-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841 - 1935), American jurist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, The Path of the Law (1897) Harvard Law Review 457

Monday, November 08, 2021

Death Toll Gap

Then the vaccines arrived.

They proved so powerful, and the partisan attitudes toward them so different, that a gap in Covid's death toll quickly emerged.  I have covered that gap in two newsletters -- one this summer, one last month -- and today's newsletter offers an update.

The brief version: The gap in Covid's death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000).  October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.

-- David Leonhardt, U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder, New York Times, 8 November 2021

Friday, November 05, 2021

First To Arrive

Some marry the first information they receive, and turn what comes later into their concubine.  Since deceit is always first to arrive, there is no room left for truth.

-- Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601 - 1658), Spanish Jesuit author regarded as one of the most accomplished prose stylists of the Baroque era, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647), Maxim 227 (p. 128)

Thursday, November 04, 2021

The Rainbow

We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into that matter.

-- Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 - 1910), more famous by his pen name Mark Twain, American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer, A Tramp Abroad (1880)

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

No Party

No party is as bad as its state and national leaders.

-- William Penn Adair Rogers (4 November 1879 - 15 August 1935), American humorist and entertainer; known primarily as Will Rogers, "I Accept the Nomination", Life magazine, 31 May 1928

Tuesday, November 02, 2021


What does winter or autumn or spring or summer know of memory. They know nothing of memory. They know that seasons pass and return. They know that they are seasons. That they are time. And they know how to affirm themselves. And they know how to impose themselves. And they know how to maintain themselves. What does autumn know of summer. What sorrows do seasons have. None hate. None love. They just pass.

-- Giannina Braschi (1953 -), Puerto Rican poet, novelist, and political philosopher, Empire of Dreams (1988)

Monday, November 01, 2021

Think And See

The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.

-- Huangbo Xiyun (died 850), influential Chinese master of Chan Buddhism. He was born in Fujian, China in Tang Dynasty.  Later he became a monk in Huangbo Shan (lit. Huangbo Mountain), after which he was named, as quoted in Visions from Earth (2004) by James R. Miller, p. 17