Tuesday, February 28, 2023

But One Coward

Finally, the necessity must again be emphasized of keeping clearly before students the object of all science, amid the turmoil and intense feeling that clouds the discussion of a burning social question.  We live in a day when in spite of the brilliant accomplishments of a remarkable century, there is current much flippant criticism of scientific work; when the truth-seeker is too often pictured as devoid of human sympathy, and careless of human ideals.  We are still prone in spite of all our culture to sneer at the heroism of the laboratory while we cheer the swagger of the street broil.  At such a time true lovers of humanity can only hold higher the pure ideals of science, and continue to insist that if we would solve a problem we must study it, and that there is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.

-- William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868 - 1963), American civil rights activist, sociologist, and educator, The Study of the Negro Problems, paragraph 51, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. XI (January 1898)

Monday, February 27, 2023

Only Ones

If you're in trouble or hurt or need -- go to poor people.  They're the only ones that'll help -- the only ones.

-- John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (27 February 1902 - 20 December 1968), American writer, 1962 Nobel Laureate in Literature, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Ma Joad, p. 376

Friday, February 24, 2023

Not Experts

We're a court.  We really don't know about these things.  You know, these are not like the nine greatest experts on the internet.

-- Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, during oral arguments on Gonzalez v. Google, which challenges Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, 21 February 2023

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Extreme Rashness

It always seems to me extreme rashness on the part of some when they want to make human abilities the measure of what nature can do.  On the contrary, there is not a single effect in nature, even the least that exists, such that the most ingenious theorists can arrive at a complete understanding of it.  This vain presumption of understanding everything can have no other basis than never understanding anything.  For anyone who had experienced just once the perfect understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that of the infinity of other truths he understands nothing.

-- Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei (1564 - 1642), Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632)

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Buster Brown

Sadly, Father Time caught up with Buster today.  My youngest daughter, Alyssa, and I had to bid him farewell.

Alyssa received her Buster Brown, a dachshund, for her fifteenth birthday 9 1/2 years ago, when he was reportedly already 8 years old.  He had been neglected in his early years, and was happy to make himself comfortable as a part of our family.  

In recent years he lost much of his eyesight and hearing.  He was always happy, as long as he had a person to rest against on the couch.  Today marked the end of an amazing 17-year run.

I'll catch you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, Buster.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.  He has the full support of his family and his medical team.  The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.

-- The Carter Center, Statement on President Carter’s Health, 18 February 2023

Friday, February 17, 2023


I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're skeptical.

-- Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (1917 - 2008), British author, inventor, and futurist, "Sir Arthur's Quotes", The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Looking Back

Looking back on things, the view always improves.

-- Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. (1913 - 1973), American animator and cartoonist, usually known simply as Walt Kelly, most famous for the comic strip Pogo, Impollutable Pogo (1970)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A Consequential Difference

David Brooks: My thinking about the G.O.P. goes back to a brunch I had with Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D'Souza in the '80s that helps me see, in retrospect, that people in my circle were pro-conservative, while Ingraham and D'Souza and people in their circle were anti-left.  We wanted to champion Edmund Burke and Adam Smith and a Reaganite foreign policy.  They wanted to rock the establishment.  That turned out to be a consequential difference because almost all the people in my circle back then -- like David Frum and Robert Kagan -- ended up, decades later, NeverTrumpers, and almost all the people in their circle became Trumpers or went bonkers.

Bret: Right, they weren't conservatives.  They were just illiberal.

-- Bret Stephens and David Brooks, "The Party’s Over for Us. Where Do We Go Now?", New York Times (11 January 2023)

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Look At Them Each Time

I really do not want my pictures in your offices, for the President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait.  Hang your kids' photos instead, and look at them each time you are making a decision.

-- Volodymyr Zelenskyy (1978 -), in his Inaugural Address as President of Ukraine, 20 May 2019

Monday, February 13, 2023

Passion And Desire

When others blame thee, blame them not; when others are angry at thee, return not anger.  Joy cometh only as Passion and Desire part.

-- Kumazawa Banzan (1619 - 1691), Japanese Confucian, as quoted in Bushido, The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobi (1899), "Honor"

Friday, February 10, 2023

Religion Or Policy

Your honesty is not to be based either on religion or policy.  Both your religion and policy must be based on it.  

-- John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), English author, poet, and painter, Time and Tide (1867), Letter VIII: Things Written, section 330

Thursday, February 09, 2023

RIP Burt Bacharach

Raindrops are fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet
Are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head
They keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like
The way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head
They keep fallin'

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me
Won't defeat me
It won't be long 'til happiness
Steps up to greet me

-- Burt Bacharach (12 May 1928 - 8 February 2023), American composer, songwriter, and pianist, Academy Award-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (1969, with Hal David)

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Love The Game

First, the facts: LeBron James passed my scoring record and now is the leading scorer in NBA history.  It takes unbelievable drive, dedication, and talent to survive in the NBA long enough to rack up that number of points when the average NBA career lasts only 4.5 years.  It's not just about putting the ball through the hoop, it's about staying healthy and skilled enough to climb the steep mountain in ever-thinning oxygen over many years when most other players have tapped out.

It's also about making sure your team gets their moments to shine and thrive and pursue their own greatness.  A record is nothing if you used other players' careers as stepping stones just for self-aggrandizement.  For me, I strove to play at the highest level I could in order to be a good teammate. The points -- and the record -- were simply a by-product of that philosophy.

I think LeBron has the same philosophy.

Bottom line about LeBron and me: LeBron makes me love the game again.  And he makes me proud to be part of an ever-widening group of athletes who actively care about their community.

-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (16 April 1947 -), "What I Think About LeBron Breaking My NBA Scoring Record", SubStack, 8 February 2023

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

We Are Not Bystanders

My fellow Americans, we meet tonight at an inflection point.  One of those moments that only a few generations ever face, where the decisions we make now will decide the course of this nation and of the world for decades to come.

We are not bystanders to history.  We are not powerless before the forces that confront us.  It is within our power, of We the People. We are facing the test of our time and the time for choosing is at hand.

We must be the nation we have always been at our best.  Optimistic.  Hopeful.  Forward-looking.

A nation that embraces, light over darkness, hope over fear, unity over division.  Stability over chaos.

We must see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans.  We are a good people, the only nation in the world built on an idea.

That all of us, every one of us, is created equal in the image of God.  A nation that stands as a beacon to the world.  A nation in a new age of possibilities.

Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong.

-- President Joe Biden, State of the Union Address, 7 February 2023

Monday, February 06, 2023

Hurry History?

A wise man does not try to hurry history.  Many wars have been avoided by patience and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.

-- Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (1900 - 1965), American politician and statesman, Speeches of Adlai Stevenson (1952), p. 39

Friday, February 03, 2023

Art Of Persistence

The art of love is largely the art of persistence.

-- Albert Ellis (1913 - 2007), American psychologist and psychotherapist

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Just Another Step

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope.  Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life.  But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

-- Bill Murray as Phil Connors in the movie Groundhog Day (1993), written by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Heaven Of Animals

Here they are.  The soft eyes open.   
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

To match them, the landscape flowers,   
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

-- James Lafayette Dickey (2 February 1923 - 19 January 1997), popular American poet and novelist, appointed eighteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1966, "The Heaven of Animals" from The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992