Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Here We Stand

I and this mystery here we stand. 

-- Walt Whitman (31 May 1819 - 16 March 1892), American journalist and poet, Song of Myself (1855; 1881), Section 3

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

To Destroy

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make bored.

-- Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908 - 1964), British author and journalist, paraphrasing Reverend William Anderson Scott; Fleming created the character of James Bond and also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang; From Russia with Love (1957), Ch. 11 : The Soft Life

Monday, May 29, 2023

Contemplating A Memorial

Five score years ago the ground on which we here stand shuddered under the clash of arms and was consecrated for all time by the blood of American manhood.  Abraham Lincoln, in dedicating this great battlefield, has expressed, in words too eloquent for paraphrase or summary, why this sacrifice was necessary.  Today, we meet not to add to his words nor to amend his sentiment but to recapture the feeling of awe that comes when contemplating a memorial to so many who placed their lives at hazard for right, as God gave them to see right. 

-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (29 May 1917 - 22 November 1963), 35th president of the United States, "Message from the President on the Occasion of Field Mass at Gettysburg, delivered by John S. Gleason, Jr." (29 June 1963)

Friday, May 26, 2023

Wake Up And Find

It is my firm belief that all our lives we are preparing to be somebody or something, even if we don't do it consciously.  And the time comes one morning when you wake up and find that you have become irrevocably what you were preparing all this time to be.

-- Katherine Anne Porter (1890 - 1980), American journalist, essayist, short story writer, and novelist, Writers at Work interview (1963)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Retire To

Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to.

-- Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878 - 1969), American Baptist and Presbyterian minister, as quoted in Wisdom for Our Time (1961) by James Nelson

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

RIP Tina Turner

People think my life has been tough but I think it's been a wonderful journey. The older you get, the more you realise it's not what happens, it's how you deal with it.

-- Anna Mae Bullock (26 November 1939 - 24 May 2023), singer, dancer, actress, and author, known by her stage name Tina Turner, quoted by Michelle Davies, "TINA TURNER", Marie Claire South Africa (May 2018), p. 125

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


We're forgetting-machines.  Men are things that think a little but chiefly forget.  That's what we are.

-- Henri Barbusse (1873 - 1935), French novelist, journalist, and member of the French Communist Party, Under Fire (1916) Ch. 24 "The Dawn"

Monday, May 22, 2023

Their Consciences

It is not because men's desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak.

-- John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), English political philosopher and economist who was an advocate of utilitarianism, On Liberty (1859)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Bad Salad

The Bad Salad of William Archibald Spooner

Why do I always watch my birds?
I know that statement sounds absurd
but today I reached an all-lime toe
when I received a blushing crow.

It's wetting gorse -- and here's the crunch:
my conversation packs a lunch.
I'm not sure when all this began
but I think I need a plaster man

to help me when my stouth gets muck.
I should sit, perhaps, and bead a rook,
fight a liar, or flick some powers.
Think I'll go and shake a tower.

-- Brian Bilston, posting on Twitter as @brian_bilson, 2 December 2022

Thursday, May 18, 2023

First They Came

First they came for the journalists.  We don't know what happened after that.

-- Sign held by a protestor, perhaps in the Philippines, ca. 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Canola Fields

And there's not much moving on the romance radar
Not that I'm craving it all that much
But I still need to feel every once in a while
The warmth of a smile and a touch

Cashing in on a thirty-year crush
You can't be young and do that

-- James McMurtry (1962 -), American Texas rock and Texas country singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Canola Fields (2021)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

I Am A Man

That hand is not the color of yours, but if I prick it, the blood will flow, and I shall feel pain.  The blood is of the same color as yours.  God made me, and I am a man.

-- Standing Bear, Ponca chief and Native American civil rights leader, successfully arguing in United States ex rel. Standing Bear v. Crook that Native Americans are "persons within the meaning of the law" and have the right of habeus corpus (April 1879)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Cavalier Attitude Towards Accuracy

Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.  As noted, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith committed a criminal offense by fabricating language in an email that was material to the FBI obtaining a FISA surveillance order.  In other instances, FBI personnel working on that same FISA application displayed, at best, a cavalier attitude towards accuracy and completeness.  FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek renewals of that FISA surveillance while acknowledging -- both then and in hindsight -- that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or knowingly helping another person in such activities.  And certain personnel disregarded significant exculpatory information that should have prompted investigative restraint and re-examination.

-- Special counsel John Durham, in the conclusion to his "Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns" (12 May 2023)

Friday, May 12, 2023

Stop And Think

It pays to stop and think whenever you've got time to stop and think.

-- Eric Frank Russell (1905 - 1978), British author best known for his science fiction novels and short stories, Major Ingredients (2000), Hobbyist (p. 202)

Thursday, May 11, 2023

My Nature

It's my nature to go around in high spirits most of the time and then to collapse.

-- Margaret Sullavan (1909 - 1960), American stage and film actress, Haywire (1977) by Brooke Hayward, Jonathan Cape Ltd., p. 215

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Full Of Strangers

Great cities are not like towns, only larger.  They are not like suburbs, only denser.  They differ from towns and suburbs in basic ways, and one of them is that cities are, by definition, full of strangers.

-- Jane Jacobs (1916 - 2006), American-born Canadian urbanist, writer, and activist, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) p. 30

Tuesday, May 09, 2023


The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.  But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

-- Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, passed by Congress 13 June 1866, ratified 9 July 1868

Monday, May 08, 2023

Define Creativity

I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value.

-- Sir Kenneth Robinson (1950 - 2020), British author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to governments and non-profits, speaking at a TED Conference (2006)

Friday, May 05, 2023

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

-- John Lennon & Paul McCartney, "When I'm Sixty-Four" from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967)

[I have these lyrics looping through my head this week, as today I turned 64!  Sir Paul, who sang these lyrics back in the day, turned 64 in 2006.]

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Shouldn't Be A Thing

No one should assume that the Fed can really protect the economy and the financial system and our reputation globally from the damage that [a U.S. default] might inflict.  We shouldn't even be talking about a world in which the U.S. doesn't pay its bills.  It just shouldn't be a thing.

-- Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in a press statement announcing an interest rate hike of 0.25%, 3 May 2023

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Market Signals

A state that does not plan does not, by default turn this function over to the market.  Even if the market is perfectly efficient, it still suffers from two ineradicable defects.  The first relates to the distribution of income and power: the market conveys signals only in relation to the purchasing power of the individuals transmitting them.  The poor do not matter to the market.  The second relates to representation: people not yet born do not turn up at the stores.  They send no market signals at all.

-- James K. Galbraith (1952 -), American economist who writes frequently for the popular press on economic topics, The Predatory State (2008) p. 116

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Shape The Clay

Up to a point a man's life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him; then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be.  Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate.  Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow.  The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds.

-- Louis Dearborn L'Amour (1908 - 1988), American novelist and short story writer whose works consisted primarily of Western novels, The Walking Drum (1984), Chapter 46

Monday, May 01, 2023

I Do Not Yet Know

I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.

-- Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777 - 1855), German mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, The Mind and the Eye (1954) by A. Arber