Friday, December 30, 2022

Not Older

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

-- Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830 - 1886), American poet, Letter to Frances and Louise Norcross, late 1872

Thursday, December 29, 2022

RIP Pelé

Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pelé.  I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man.

-- Edson Arantes do Nascimento (23 October 1940 - 29 December 2022), known as Pelé, Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward; he is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time; quoted in "SI Flashback: Soccer's greatest genius" Sports Illustrated, (1 June 1999)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Not Policymakers

But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.  And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency.  We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.

-- Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissenting in Arizona et al v Secretary of Homeland Security, in which the majority left in place Title 42 restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum, pending further hearings, 27 December 2022

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Veil

I am on the edge of mysteries and the veil is getting thinner and thinner.

-- Louis Pasteur (27 December 1822 - 28 September 1895), French microbiologist, chemist, and inventor of the process of Pasteurization, Letter (December 1851), as quoted in The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History (2004) by John M. Barry

Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Christmas

My kids had their family Christmas celebrations yesterday on the day.  Many of us gathered at my house today -- 3 of my 5 daughters, and 9 of 11 grandkids.  I hope you all had a fun and fulfilling holiday season, spent with those you care about, and who care about you.

Friday, December 23, 2022

It Came Just The Same

He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
"It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more."

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904 - 1991), American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, and poet, known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957)

Thursday, December 22, 2022


Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?

-- Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918 - 2008), Russian philosopher, novelist, dramatist, and historian, 1970 Nobel laureate in Literature, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

RIP InSight

My power's really low, so this may be the last image I can send.  Don't worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene.  If I can keep talking to my mission team, I will -- but I'll be signing off here soon.  Thanks for staying with me.

-- NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) lander, which has been conducting scientific explorations on the Martian surface for nearly four years, 11 December 2022

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

I Regret

I'm sorry for everything that happened and I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time.  That's all I can say.

-- 97-year-old Irmgard Furchner, a former Nazi camp secretary, convicted of complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof camp in occupied Poland, speaking to the regional court in the northern town of Itzehoe at the end of what is expected to be the last Nazi war-crimes trial, 20 December 2022

Monday, December 19, 2022

Ensure Accountability

Today, beyond our findings, we will also show that evidence we've gathered points to further action beyond the power of this committee or the Congress to help ensure accountability under law -- accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.

-- Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, in a statement announcing criminal referrals to the Department of Justice of Donald Trump and others

Friday, December 16, 2022

Understand More

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

-- Marie Curie (1867 - 1934), Polish-born scientist, first woman to win the Nobel Prize (for Physics in 1903); first person to win a second Nobel Prize (for Chemistry, 1911), as quoted in Our Precarious Habitat (1973) by Melvin A. Benarde, p. v

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fulfilled My Oath

The Republican Party used to believe in a big tent which welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  Now, we shelter the ignorant, the racist, who only stoke anger and hatred to those who are different than us. ...

When one party's megaphone echoes calls for a civil war, and the other tacitly and in some cases openly supports it then we are clearly lost, Mr. Speaker.  Much like the Titanic on its maiden voyage if Republicans and Democrats don't urgently course correct, I fear we will hit the iceberg right in front of us. ...

Had I known standing up for truth would cost me my job, friendships and even my personal security, I would -- without hesitation -- do it all over again.  I can rest easy at night, knowing that I fulfilled my oath to the office.

I know many in this institution cannot do the same. 

-- Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), in his final floor speech to Congress, 15 December 2022

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Counter With Water

If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.

-- Morihei Ueshiba (14 December 1883 - 26 April 1969), philosopher, martial artist, author, and the creator of the discipline of Aikido, The Art of Peace (1992)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Nothing Is More

Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.

-- Gustave Flaubert (12 December 1821 - 8 May 1880), influential French writer who was perhaps the leading exponent of literary realism of his country, Sentimental Education (1869) Pt. 1, Ch. 5

Monday, December 12, 2022

Inertial Confinement

This result is a major breakthrough in fusion science.  The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory uses the largest laser in the world to compress heavy hydrogen to conditions similar to those in the centre of the sun.  The lasers enter the ends of a centimetre-scale cylinder, hitting its inner walls, making them glow x-ray hot.  These x-rays then heat a sphere at the centre that contains the nuclear fuel.  The outside of the sphere vaporises and becomes a plasma, that rushes off the surface, creating an imploding "spherical rocket" which in a few billionths of a second reaches velocities of order 400 kilometres per second.  The subsequent "crunch" at the centre is tailored in a specific way to make a hot spark in the middle, and the density of the compressed "fuel" surrounding the spark is so great that the nuclear fusion reaction takes place in about a tenth of a billionth of a second -- faster than the tiny hot sphere can fly apart.  It is thus confined by its own inertia, and thus this method of fusion is called inertial confinement fusion.

-- Professor Justin Wark, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for High Energy Density Science, in comments about recent advances in nuclear fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 12 December 2022

Friday, December 09, 2022

The Drop

The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something.  The strongest, by dispensing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.  The drop, by continually falling, bores its passage through the hardest rock.  The hasty torrent rushes over it with hideous uproar, and leaves no trace behind.

-- Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881), Scottish essayist, historian, and philosopher, The life of Friedrich Schiller: Comprehending an examination of his works (1825)

Thursday, December 08, 2022

As We Shall Return

Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come -- but we believe not too long into the future -- I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record.  That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow.  And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.  "Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

-- Eugene Andrew "Gene" Cernan (1934 - 2017), American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot, eleventh and final human being to walk on the Moon, on his final lunar excursion, 14 December 1972

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

An Indispensable Step

It is doubtful whether there is such a thing as impulsive or natural tolerance.  Tolerance requires an effort of thought and self-control.  Acts of kindness, too, are rarely without deliberation and "thoughtfulness."  Thus, it seems that some artificiality, some posing and pretense, is inseparable from any act or attitude which involves a limitation of our appetites and selfishness.  We ought to beware of people who do not think it necessary to pretend that they are good and decent.  Lack of hypocrisy in such things hints at a capacity for a more depraved ruthlessness.  Pretense is often an indispensable step in the attainment of genuineness.  It is a form into which genuine inclinations flow and solidify.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 218

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Heckuva Fight

I am not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heckuva fight.

-- Herschel Junior Walker (1962 -), American former football running back and Republican nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Georgia, in a statement to supporters conceding defeat against incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, 6 December 2022 (h/t

Monday, December 05, 2022

To Be A Teacher

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner.  Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and the way he understands it, in case you have not understood it before.  Or if you have understood it before, you allow him to subject you to an examination so that he may be sure you know your part.

-- Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), Danish Christian philosopher and theologian, as quoted in Kierkegaard Anthology by Robert Bretall (1946), page 335

Friday, December 02, 2022

Anew Each Day

The autonomous individual is stable only so long as he is possessed of self-esteem.  The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual's power and inner resources.  We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day.  When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity.  He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride, the explosive substitute for self-esteem.  All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 217

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Transparent Or Opaque

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.  Whether this being different results in dissimulation or a real change of heart, it cannot be realized without self-awareness.  Yet, it is remarkable that the very people who are most self-dissatisfied, who crave most for a new identity, have the least self-awareness.  They have turned away from an unwanted self and, hence, never had a good look at it.  The result is that most dissatisfied people can neither dissimulate nor attain a real change of heart.  They are transparent and their unwanted qualities persist through all attempts at self-dramatization and self-transformation.  It is the lack of self-awareness which renders us transparent.  The soul that knows itself is opaque.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 216

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

RIP Christine McVie

For you, there'll be no more crying
For you, the sun will be shining
And I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score

-- Christine Anne McVie (12 July 1943 - 30 November 2022), English musician, singer, and songwriter, lyrics from Songbird, from the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours (1977)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Respect For Marriage Act

This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.

Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)

The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.

-- Summary of S. 4556, Respect for Marriage Act, passed by the US Senate 29 November 2022, expected to pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden

Monday, November 28, 2022

Not What They Appear

Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.

-- Siddhārtha Gautama (c. 563/624 - c. 483/544 BCE) also called the Gautama Buddha, monk, philosopher, teacher, and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded, believed to have lived in ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, Shurangama Sutra, as quoted in 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom (2006) by David Ross

Friday, November 25, 2022

Now It Is Our Turn

Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand.  Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933.  Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics.

-- David L. Goodstein, in the opening sentences of his textbook, States of Matter (1975), as quoted in Kannan Jagannathan's review of Eric Johnson's Anxiety and the Equation: Understanding Boltzmann's Entropy, American Journal of Physics 87, 765 (2019)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

No One Would Be In Need

"But whom do I treat unjustly," you say, "by keeping what is my own?"  Tell me, what is your own?  What did you bring into this life?  From where did you receive it? ...  For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

-- Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great (~329 - 379), Byzantine bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Homily 6, "I Shall Tear Down My Barns," C. P. Schroeder, trans., in Saint Basil on Social Justice (2009), p. 69

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Gratitude Bestows Reverence

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life (is it abundant or is it lacking?) and the world (is it friendly or is it hostile?).

-- Sarah Ban Breathnach (5 May 1947 -), author, philanthropist, and public speaker, in Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude (1996)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.

-- Nathaniel Lee (c. 1653 - 1692), English dramatist, remark after being incarcerated in Bedlam for five years, as quoted in the Introduction of A Social History of Madness : The World Through the Eyes of the Insane (1987) by Roy Porter

Monday, November 21, 2022

Constant Companions

Ignorance and confidence are constant companions.

-- John David McAfee (1945 - 2021), American computer programmer, businessman, and founder of McAfee Anti-Virus company, Into the Heart of Truth (2001)

Friday, November 18, 2022

You Have To Adapt

I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do.  I've tried to get ahead of it.  You can't just try to do the same thing you did the year before.  But yeah, kind of the stigma that as you get older, you're going to keep getting worse.  I mean, nobody likes that.  They don't like being told you can't do something, so it's definitely motivation.

-- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, on being voted the National League MVP, in an interview on MLB Network (17 November 2022).  Goldschmidt led the NL in slugging (.578) and OPS (.981), hitting .317 with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs for the season

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A New Generation

Now, we must move boldly into the future: grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far and open to fresh possibilities for the future.

Scripture teaches us that: "For everything there is a season -- a time for every purpose under heaven."

My friends, no matter what title you all, my colleagues, have bestowed upon me -- Speaker, Leader, Whip -- there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this Floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco.

This I will continue to do as a Member of the House: speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great State of California and defending our Constitution.

And with great confidence in our Caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic Leadership in the next Congress.

For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect.

-- Nancy Patricia Pelosi (1940 -), American politician serving as speaker of the US House of Representatives since 2019, and previously from 2007 to 2011, in a floor speech announcing her future plans, 17 November 2022

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Only Irony

If parody alone can adequately render the reality of our times, only irony offers us the freedom and detachment that are the essential condition of responsible analysis and action.

-- Theodore Ziolkowski (1932 - 2020), scholar in the fields of German studies and comparative literature, in the Foreword of a 1969 edition of The Glass Bead Game (1943) by Hermann Hesse

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

When They See It

Arizonans know BS when they see it.

-- Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake, in a tweet that ironically explains her loss to Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs, 14 November 2022

Monday, November 14, 2022

A Milestone

On 15 November 2022, the world's population is projected to reach 8 billion people, a milestone in human development.  This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine.  It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries.

While it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 to 8 billion, it will take approximately 15 years -- until 2037 -- for it to reach 9 billion, a sign that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing.

-- Statement by the United Nations on their "Day of Eight Billion" web page

Friday, November 11, 2022

You Kept The Faith

Today we pay homage not only to those who gave their lives but to their comrades present today and all across the country.  You didn't forget.  You kept the faith.  You walked from the litter, wiped away your tears, and returned to the battle.  You fought on, sustained by one another and deaf to the voices of those who didn't comprehend.  You performed with a steadfastness and valor that veterans of other wars salute, and you are forever in the ranks of that special number of Americans in every generation that the Nation records as true patriots.

-- President Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004), Remarks at Dedication Ceremonies for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Statue, 11 November 1984

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Fear Of One Evil

Souvent la peur d'un mal nous conduit dans un pire.

Often the fear of one evil leads us into a worse.

-- Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636 - 1711), commonly called Boileau, French poet and critic, The Art of Poetry (1674), Canto I, l. 64

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The Privilege To Concede

I have a privilege right now, a privilege, as someone who was the Democratic nominee, I have the privilege to concede this race to J.D. Vance.  Because the way this country operates is that when you lose an election, you concede.  And you respect the will of the people.  Right?  We can't have a system where if you win, it's a legitimate election, and if you lose, someone stole it.  That is not how we can move forward in the United States. 

-- Democratic senate candidate Tim Ryan, in his concession speech acknowledging the electoral victory of Republican J. D. Vance, 8 November 2022

Monday, November 07, 2022

What Has Gone Wrong

When citizens are relatively equal, politics has tended to be fairly democratic.  When a few individuals hold enormous amounts of wealth, democracy suffers.  The reason for this pattern is simple.  Through campaign contributions, lobbying, influence over public discourse, and other means, wealth can be translated into political power.  When wealth is highly concentrated -- that is, when a few individuals have enormous amounts of money -- political power tends to be highly concentrated, too.  The wealthy few tend to rule.  Average citizens lose political power.  Democracy declines. 

-- Benjamin I. Page (born c. 1939 -), Gordon S. Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, with Martin Gilens, Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It (University of Chicago Press: 2017), p. 19

Friday, November 04, 2022

First Rate

I wrote somewhere once that the third-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the majority, the second-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the minority, and the first-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking.

-- Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne (1882 - 1956), English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, War with Honour, Macmillan War Pamphlets, Issue 2 (1940)

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Poetry Of Words

I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty.

-- Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849), American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic, The Poetic Principle (1850)

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Each Opening Creating Another

The difference between an expert and a novice fighter is that the expert makes use of each opportunity and follows up on each opening.  He makes use of his sensitive and dominating aura and his imposing rhythm.  He delivers his blows and/or kicks in a well-planned series, each opening creating another, until finally a clean shot is obtained.

-- Lee Jun-fan (1940 - 1973), commonly known as Bruce Lee, Hong Kong American martial artist and actor, Tao Of Jeet Kune Do (1975), p. 208

[This sounds like business advice, pocket billiards, and martial arts all at once.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2022


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

-- Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne (1882 - 1956), English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, Year In, Year Out, page 130 (1952)

Monday, October 31, 2022

Most American

In many ways, Halloween is the most American of holidays: secular, irreverent, and unashamedly consumerist.  And as with many American cultural products, it has become a wildly successful export.

-- Lisa Morton (1958 -), American horror author and screenwriter, in: Eugenia Williamson Böö! Halloween’s quest for world domination, The Boston Globe, 28 October 2012

Friday, October 28, 2022

It Didn't Take A Year

I don't think that that's something that baseball should really be proud of.  It looks bad.  It let's people know it didn't take a year or even a decade to get to this point.  But there is help on the way.  You can tell by the number of African American No. 1 draft choices.

-- Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker Jr. (15 June 1949 -), American baseball manager and former outfielder who is the manager of the Houston Astros in Major League Baseball, currently playing the 2022 World Series, regarding the fact that the 2022 Series features zero U.S.-born Black players for the first time since 1950, 27 October 2022

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Justice Is

I remember -- the interruption of the honorable Gentleman reminds me of the words of a great writer, who said that "Grace was beauty in action."  Sir, I say that justice is truth in action.  Truth should animate an opposition, and I hope it does animate this opposition.

-- Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804 - 1881), British politician, novelist, and essayist, serving twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, speech in the House of Commons (2 February 1851)

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A Progressive Discovery

Sixty years ago I knew everything.  Now I know nothing.  Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

-- William James Durant (1885 - 1981), American historian, philosopher, and writer, quoted in "Books: The Great Gadfly", Time magazine, 8 October 1965 (review of The Age of Voltaire by Will and Ariel Durant)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Last Fifteen Minutes

For the first half hour, you don't think of anything, the next 15 minutes you're thinking about how you can do something big and the last 15 minutes I wanted to fall off just to put an end to the agony.  I wanted to puncture, anything, and finish the bid there and then.  I just couldn't go on.

-- Italian cyclist Filippo Ganna who beat the Hour Record in Grenchen, Switzerland, pushing it to 56.792 kilometres, a huge jump on the previous total of 55.548, set by Brit Dan Bigham on 19th August 2022, also at the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen.  Ganna spoke to El País newspaper in an interview made during the Ineos Grenadiers training camp in Nice, 8 October 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022


How we live from day to day affects our future.  Warm-heartedness is the key factor.  I think about it always because it’s warm-heartedness that brings us peace of mind.

-- The Dalai Lama, via Twitter as @DalaiLama, 3 October 2022