Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year? Yes please!

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

-- Bill Vaughan (8 October 1915 - 25 February 1977), American columnist and author

[I posted this 13 years ago, but I like it, and it definitely applies this year.]

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Not As A Couch

We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.

 -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963), 35th President of the United States (1961–1963), "Address in New York City to the National Association of Manufacturers (496)," 5 December 1961, Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Nature Is The Sovereign

As we approach the end of 2021, everyone is drawing conclusions about the past year and guessing what 2022 will bring.  From my perspective, 2021 has been a good year, a year of learning, and learning is definitely good.  It may not have been pleasant, but that does not mean I do not appreciate what we, as humanity, have been receiving.  The main lesson we learned this year has been that nature is the sovereign, and we are its subjects.  This is a priceless lesson because if we remember this, we will avoid future mistakes that could cost us countless lives and horrible disasters.

-- Michael Laitman, Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute, "A (very) Short Summary of 2021", The Times of Israel blogs

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Special Experience

[T]here will always be people like me, who believe that to ripple the pages of a printed book is a special experience, one that through the centuries has taken millions from the darkness into the light.

-- Quintin Jardine's blog, "The Kindle threat" (29 September 2010)

Monday, December 27, 2021

RIP Desmond Tutu

Without us, God has no eyes, without us, God has no ears; without us, God has no arms or hands.  God relies on us.  Won't you join other people of faith in becoming God's partners in the world?

-- Desmond Mpilo Tutu (7 October 1931 - 26 December 2021), South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.  God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations (2011), Foreword

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

-- Final line from "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" as published anonymously in the Troy [NY] Sentinel (23 December 1823)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas Is The Time

Christmas is the time for looking ahead courageously through the gates of the swiftly approaching new year ... of resolving that the coming months will reflect a kinder, more forgiving and less heedless person than mirrored in the past.

-- Ellen V. Morgan in "Christmas is the Time"

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

What You Think

It is a very great thing to be able to think as you like; but, after all, an important question remains: what you think.

-- Matthew Arnold (1822 - 1888), English poet, essayist, and cultural critic, "Democracy" (1861)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Moral Progress

My own experience and development deepen every day my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.

-- Mary Ann Evans (1819 - 1880), English novelist and poet, more well-known by her pen name George Eliot, Letter to Charles Bray (15 November 1857)

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Winter Of Our Discontent

But unlike last winter, we now have the power to protect ourselves.

Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible.  If you are vaccinated, you could test positive.  But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild.

We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated.  You've done the right thing, and we will get through this.

For the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.

So, our message to every American is clear: There is action you can take to protect yourself and your family.  Wear a mask in public indoor settings.  Get vaccinated, get your kids vaccinated, and get a booster shot when you're eligible.

-- Jeffrey Zients speaking at a press briefing by the White House COVID-⁠19 Response Team and Public Health Officials, 17 December 2021

Friday, December 17, 2021

The More We Know

Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space.  It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age.  The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of the Macedonian hero can never apply, -- there are always new worlds to conquer.

-- Sir Humphry Davy (17 December 1778 - 29 May 1829), Cornish chemist who discovered several chemical elements and studied the human body's response to electricity, discourse Delivered at the Royal Society (30 November 1825), published in The Edinburgh Review Or Critical Journal (October 1827)

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Balance Day

Today is my Marriage/Divorce Balance Day.  6,087 days ago (18 April 2005), I got divorced.  6,087 days before that (19 August 1988), I got married.  About 16 years, 8 months of each.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

To Understand

To understand is difficult; to act is easy.

-- Sun Yat-sen (1866 - 1925), Chinese revolutionary leader and statesman, considered by many to be the "Father of Modern China", as quoted in Great Britain and the East, Vol. 61, Issues 1727-1742 (1944), p. 19

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Not Enough

DJ: He's got to condemn this shit ASAP.  The Capitol police tweet is not enough. 

MM: I'm pushing it hard.  I agree

DJ: We need an Oval Office address.  He has to lead now.  It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.

-- Text messages between Donald Trump, Jr and then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows exchanged on the afternoon of 6 January 2021 while the Capitol insurrection was on-going

Monday, December 13, 2021

Don't Watch

Don't watch the clock; do what it does.  Keep going.

-- Samuel Levenson (1911 - 1980), American humorist, writer, teacher, television host, and journalist, You Don't Have to Be in Who's Who to Know What's What, The Choice Wit and Wisdom of Sam Levenson (2016)

Friday, December 10, 2021

Extinction Of Values

Hatred is a feeling which leads to the extinction of values.

-- José Ortega y Gasset (1883 - 1955), Spanish philosopher, Meditations on Quixote (1914)

Thursday, December 09, 2021


If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even more.

-- Eric Ken Shinseki (1942 -), retired US Army general who served as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Chief of Staff of the Army, as quoted in Mackubin Thomas Owens, "Marines Turned Soldiers", National Review Online, 10 December 2001

Wednesday, December 08, 2021


Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ...

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945), American statesman and political leader who served as President of the United States from 1933 to 1945, Address to Congress after the attack on Pearl Harbor (8 December 1941)

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

RIP Bob Dole

There has been a lot of talk about what it will take to heal our country.  We have heard many of our leaders profess "bipartisanship".   But we must remember that bipartisanship is the minimum we should expect from ourselves.

America has never achieved greatness when Republicans and Democrats simply manage to work together or tolerate each other.  We have overcome our biggest challenges only when we focused on our shared values and experiences.  These common ties form much stronger bonds than political parties.

When we prioritize principles over party and humanity over personal legacy, we accomplish far more as a nation.  By leading with a shared faith in each other, we become America at its best: a beacon of hope, a source of comfort in crisis, a shield against those who threaten freedom.

Our nation's recent political challenges remind us that our standing as the leader of the free world is not simply destiny.  It is a deliberate choice that every generation must make and work toward.  We cannot do it divided.

Our nation has certainly faced periods of division.  But at the end of the day, we have always found ways to come together.

We can find that unity again.

-- Robert Joseph Dole (22 July 1923 - 5 December 2021), American politician who represented Kansas in the US Senate from 1969 to 1996, and was the Republican presidential nominee in the 1996 election, in a column drafted early in 2021 to be published around the time of his death, Washington Post, 6 December 2021

Monday, December 06, 2021

Own Up

All you've got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you'll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.

-- Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (5 December 1901 - 15 December 1966), American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator, as quoted by Mike Strickland, Director of Photographers at Walt Disney, Co. in Power Marketing for Wedding and Portrait Photographers (2004) by Mitche Graf, p. 19

Friday, December 03, 2021

You'll Die A Lot

If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you'll die a lot of times.

-- Dean Smith (1931 - 2015), American basketball coach

Thursday, December 02, 2021

An Infallible Medicine

Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.

-- Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745), Anglo-Irish writer and satirist, The Examiner No. XIV (9 November 1710)