Unattributed quotes are of my own invention, and are italicized.
Note: Some of these may not be word-for-word accurate.
I've put them here as best I remember them.
September 18, 1997: He who shits in the road meets flies on his return. (African proverb)
September 22, 1997: Today's panacea is tomorrow's belly laugh.
September 23, 1997: Nothing's going to work just because you want it to. You got to make the damn thing work. (Thomas A. Edison)
September 23, 1997: The secret waits for the insight of eyes unclouded by longing. (Lao Tzu)
September 24, 1997: Climbing is an ordeal, and like all ordeals, it has the power to bind one closely to it. (James Salter)
September 25, 1997: Technology is imposed on the land, but technique means conforming to the landscape. They work in opposite ways, one forcing a passage while the other discovers it. The goal of developing technique is to conform to the most improbable landscape by means of the greatest degree of skill and boldness supported by the least equipment. (Doug Robinson)
September 26, 1997: Enjoy yourself. Get drunk and throw up in a cab. (Red Foxx)
September 27, 1997: Once you've lost your innocence, you can never get it back (unknown)
September 28, 1997: The more deeply you understand something, the harder it is to explain.
September 30, 1997: Send lawyers, guns and money. Dad, get me out of this. (Warren Zevon)
October 1, 1997: Your practice is one continuous mistake. (unknown)
October 2, 1997: You must change your life. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
October 3, 1997: Complaining makes it worse.
October 4, 1997: Smoking is the leading cause of statistics. (Heard on 102.1FM)
October 5, 1997: The people who are most sure of themselves are the most dangerous.
October 8, 1997: Give a man a fish, feed him for a meal.
Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. (Chinese proverb)
Teach a man to fish and he'll squander all his money on a bass boat. (Unknown.)
October 10, 1997: The invisible and the nonexistent look much alike. (heard on KKFI)
October 16, 1997: If you don't do it, it doesn't get done.
October 19, 1997: Thinking in words is a bad habit.
October 25, 1997: Each form of communication is emotionally more limited than the form it replaces: writing is weaker than speech, and electronic media are weaker yet. This is because our technology seems to get increasingly abstract, in order to work across space and time. But emotional resonances, the overtones, are lost.
November 12, 1997: Never be ashamed of your enthusiasms.
November 15, 1997: A book is an axe, to break the frozen sea within. (Kafka)
November 16, 1997: The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. (Cameron Davidson)
November 17, 1997: A contradiction at the heart of contemporary psychology is that we consider people maladjusted if they don't get along, don't conform, "stick out" somehow - yet psychologists don't encourage people to conform, but to express themselves and act as they please, without regard to others. Our psychology directs people to self-expression, but condemns them for what it encourages them to do.
November 24, 1997: If this is the country of time-saving conveniences, why don't we ever have any time?
November 26, 1997: A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems (Paul Erdos)
December 2, 1997: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Wittgenstein)
December 8, 1997: What is more important... to make a million dollars, or to enjoy your life in your effort, little by little, even though it is impossible to make that million; to be successful, or to find some meaning in your effort to be successful? [If you know the answer to this question], you will have found the true treasure of life. (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki)
December 10, 1997: You sit down by a brook. [The master] shakes his head and points at a piece of cork floating past; it has been in a fire and half of it is black. "That... is your personality", the master says... You look at the piece of cork. Pieces of it detach themselves and disappear. The cork is getting smaller... "Getting smaller all the time." The quiet voice of the master is very close. He speaks English, you have no trouble understanding him. "Till nothing is left of it", the master says... He looks quiet and pleasant. There is only a little old man who wants to point out something to you. Nothing will remain. You will lose your name, your body, and your character. Your fear diminishes. If it has to happen it will happen. Nothing will remain. And nothing you will be. (A Glimpse of Nothingness, Janwillem van de Wetering).
December 11, 1997: I never forget a face, but in your case, I'll make an exception. (Groucho Marx)
December 12, 1997: The scale of observation creates the phenomena observed. (Alan Watts?)
December 16, 1997: I can resist anything but temptation. (Oscar Wilde)
December 17, 1997: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. (Harry Truman)
December 19, 1997: It's like deja vu all over again. (Yogi Berra)
December 22, 1997: Goodness is not enough. Strength and courage are also required.
December 31, 1997: I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate himself through a conscious endeavor. (Emerson? or Thoreau? Sounds more like Emerson.)
January 5, 1998: Who is dragging this corpse around? (Zen saying)
January 7, 1998: You are not breathe-ing - the breath is you-ing.
January 8, 1998: The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes. (Steven Wright)
January 10, 1998: If you're standing still, you'll be left behind.
January 11, 1998: When solving a problem, check the simple things first. Next, check the things that are quick and easy to eliminate.
January 18, 1998: Everything is becoming less real, more man-made, more "virtual": money, virtual sex on the web, recreation, even our bodies. We use PCs, we don't build things. The tangible and the natural are evaporating.
January 22, 1998: Enlightenment is just another illusion.
January 23, 1998: The Mustang Ranch is a brothel in the Reno area. Is there something I should be DOING with a GLAZED DONUT?? The Mustang Ranch continues to prosper. The MYSTERIANS are in here with my CORDUROY SOAP DISH!! If you stop for a beer at the Mustang, please don't disturb the staff. I wonder if BOB GUCCIONE has these problems! (Thanks to Urban legends and Zippy meets meta-html)
January 26, 1998: Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. (Spanish (or Sicilian?) proverb)
January 28, 1998: You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself. (Ethel Barrymore)
January 29, 1998: The ancient society of weird foreign scientists seized neither leisure nor the sheik's heifers at their height. (slightly modified from Virginia Scott Miner's exceptions to the "i-e" spelling rules we all learned in grade school -i.e., "i before e except after c, or when sounded as 'a', as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh' ")
January 30, 1998: When good Americans die, they go to Paris. (Oliver Wendell Holmes)
January 31, 1998: ...it's impossible to have courage without convictions, [and] it's equally impossible to have convictions without knowledge and understanding. (Lewis H. Lapham)
February 1, 1998: Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great... (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
February 2, 1998: Nothing lasts, impermanence is universal, and more so all the time.
February 3, 1998: Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but don't want to hear it. (or words to that effect; Erica Jong)
February 4, 1998: The oldest books are still just out for those who have not read them. (Samuel Butler)
February 5, 1998: God is on the side of the big guns. (Napoleon)
February 6, 1998: Things that go away by themselves can come back by themselves. (Microsoft Word tip of the day)
February 7, 1998: Fix the problem, not the blame. (John Jantsch)
February 8, 1998: A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. (Carl Sandburg)
February 9, 1998: You learn more by listening than you do by talking.
February 10, 1998: Keep your ears open and your mouth shut. (Robert Kip)
February 11, 1998: If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends? (bumper sticker)
February 12, 1998: Time is the best teacher; unfortunately, it kills all its students. (bumper sticker)
February 13, 1998: Hatred does not end by hatred. Hatred ends by love. (The Dhammapada)
February 14, 1998: Familiarity breeds. (unknown)
February 15, 1998: That which is not commanded is forbidden. (Big Brother, 1984)
February 16, 1998: A jury consists of 12 persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. (Robert Frost)
February 17, 1998: Remarks are not literature. (a remark by Gertrude Stein)
February 18, 1998: Less is more. (Mies van der Rohe) Less is a bore. (Robert Venturi?)
February 19, 1998: Critics are low on the food chain. They're parasitic. (T. C. Boyle)
February 20, 1998: A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants. (Alben Barkley)
February 21, 1998: A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness. (Fontenelle)
February 23, 1998: The only thing you can control in this world is yourself.
February 24, 1998: The things most worth doing are often the most difficult to do.
February 25, 1998: The human race can master the world, but not itself.
February 28, 1998: Discipline is more important than ability.
March 1, 1998: Embarrassment is a waste of energy.
March 2, 1998: You know your life is over when you own a lawn mower. (Todd Skinner)
March 3, 1998: You cannot choose when you are born or when you will die, but what you do in between is up to you. (Vadim Vinokur)
March 4, 1998: Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. (Steven Wright)
March 5, 1998: Chaos should be regarded as very good news. (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche)
March 6, 1998: Is a cloud a member of the sky? (Han-San, in The Empty Mirror)
March 7, 1998: Robinson's law of computing: features expand to consume resources.
March 8, 1998: Man is the animal that uses things up, making trash in doing so.
March 9, 1998: Data are not facts. Facts are not knowledge. Knowledge is not truth. Truth is not wisdom. Wisdom is neither eternal nor sufficient. (adapted from Frank Zappa, Joe's Garage?)
March 16, 1998: The control and operation of some of the riskiest technologies require organizations so complex that serious failures are virtually guaranteed to occur. (William Langewiesche, in this month's Atlantic)
March 18, 1998: Democrats want to regulate business behavior, Republicans want to regulate personal behavior.
March 19, 1998: Why is it that sequins are favored both by country singers and female classical musicians? The two groups have nothing else in common.
March 19, 1998: My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with facts. (Dale Robinson)
March 22, 1998: Do your best. (Buddha's dying words.) If you do your best, you can't regret it. If you don't, you will.
March 26, 1998: The illusion of having a special destiny is the most dangerous of all.
March 26, 1998: "The world is not only more complicated than we imagine, it is more complicated than we can imagine." (Alfred North Whitehead? or J.B.S. Haldane? I've seen it attributed to each of them.)
March 26, 1998: "Those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments." (Adam Smith)
March 29, 1998: Open your mouth: first mistake. (Zen proverb)
April 1, 1998: Life is what happens while you're busy with other things. (anonymous)
April 2, 1998: "I have found my mother's hands. They are hanging from my wrists." (a girl I once dated; stolen from Sylvia Plath?)
April 3, 1998: No means to an end, only ends - everything an end in itself.
April 4, 1998: "Good planets are scarce and few/earthworms and caribou." ( Steve Forbert)
April 6, 1998: "What's society built on?/It's built on bluff." (StereoLab, Motoroller Scalatron)
April 8, 1998: Only people whose relation to the land was already alienated could hold up wilderness as a model for human life in nature, for the romantic ideology of wilderness leaves precisely nowhere for human beings actually to make their living from the land. (William Cronon, in Best American Essays of 1996)
April 9, 1998: Liquor in the front, poker in the rear. (sign on a Nevada roadhouse)
April 17, 1998: Those who would change the world rarely, I notice, succeed. (Lao Tzu, in the Tao Te Ching)
April 20, 1998: We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet. (Wallace Stegner)
April 21, 1998: A poem is the clear expression of mixed feelings. (W.H. Auden)
April 23, 1998: Rationalization is the root of all evil (at least for those of us who have consciences to silence).
April 27, 1998: If you're not sure what you want to do, you won't be able to do it.
April 29, 1998: Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change ready. (bumper sticker)
April 30, 1998: Some Zen students, who have come from other religious paths, listen for the "inner voice". This can be a great delusion. Lots of people are in prison or in asylums because they made a practice of listening to their inner voice. (Robert Aitken)
May 1, 1998: Hurray, hurray for the first of May, outdoor fucking starts today. (unknown)
May 2, 1998: Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. (bumper sticker)
May 4, 1998: It's wise to live in the moment - a moment is about as much as the human mind can handle.
May 11, 1998: I didn't work my way to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian. (bumper sticker)
May 12, 1998: "When you eat, eat well. When you make love, make it last a long time. When you kill, kill for pleasure." (Xavier St. Cloud, in Unholy Alliance, Part 2, the Highlander episode in which he gets killed.)
May 21, 1998:
Sentient beings are numberless; we vow to save them all.
Delusions are endless; we vow to cut through them all.
The teachings are infinite; we vow to learn them all.
The Buddha way is inconceivable; we vow to attain it.
(The 4 vows.)
May 22, 1998: Zen (at least Rinzai and Kwan Um) is like a final exam composed of nothing but trick questions. They're called koans.
May 29, 1998: Robinson's law of technology: Every useful technology gets easier, cheaper, and more widespread.
June 13, 1998: Gambling is nicotine for the soul. (Colin Robinson)
June 17, 1998: "I'd rather have a President who screwed women than one who screwed the country." (Shirley MacLaine, on JFK)
June 18, 1998: If you have a staff, I will give you one. If you do not have a staff, I will take it away. (Zen saying)
July 3, 1998: McCauley Culkin gets married. He'll never be home alone again.
July 4, 1998: Life is on the wire. The rest is just waiting. (Papa Wallenda.)
July 30, 1998: Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged -- people keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can't. Everything is deeply intertwingled. (Ted Nelson, from Mozilla blue-sky.)
August 17, 1998: An open mind is a prerequisite for an open heart. (Robert Sepulski)
August 26, 1998: As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. (Unknown)
August 27, 1998: Just because you can see a dog's teeth doesn't mean he's smiling. (Charles Sharp)
August 28, 1998: Boredom has its uses. (Jack Culligan)
September 3, 1998: An organized man can be comfortable even in hell. (Japanese saying)
September 6, 1998: Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. (Picasso)
September 8, 1998: My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. (Adlai Stevenson)
September 10, 1998: Patience is the supreme virtue. (Genghis Khan)
September 11, 1998: Stilger's Second Law: You always have to do something else before you can do the thing you want to do. (Jeff Stilger)
September 13, 1998: Columbus didn't discover America. He invaded it. (bumper sticker)
September 15, 1998: My karma ran over my dogma. (bumper sticker)
September 18, 1998: If you can remember the 60's, you weren't there. (Robin Williams)
September 19, 1998: Love makes time pass, and time makes love pass. (Italian saying)
September 25, 1998: There is no substitute for hard work. (Thomas Barr)
September 26, 1998: I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do. (Alvin Lee?)
September 27, 1998: You're flunking the universe. (My wife, when I left my lunch on the floor)
September 28, 1998: God gave man a penis and a brain, and only enough blood to operate one at a time. (Robin Williams)
September 29, 1998: History is a Jewish invention. (Hitler)
September 30, 1998: Live simply, so others may simply live. (Gandhi)
October 1, 1998: Today, the National Directory of New Hires takes effect.
It calls for all employers to submit the names and Social Security numbers of new employees to law enforcement agencies. (October issue of Atlantic Monthly, page 16.)
Big Brother is watching. How did this get by us? We'll be sorry about this later.
October 2, 1998: Every moment of resistance to temptation is a victory. (Frederick William Faher)
October 3, 1998: Robinson's Rule of Technology: All else being equal, every technology should be at least as reliable as the technology it replaces. (But it usually isn't.) Corollary: although more features means less reliability, the pressure to beat the competition usually leads to more features (feature creep), making the product easier to sell, and less reliable.
October 4, 1998: If you didn't vote, then stop whining about politics.
October 12, 1998: Sometimes I need to hear myself talk because I can't think silently.
October 15, 1998: The squeaky wheel
gets the grease. (American saying)
The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. (Japanese saying)
October 19, 1998: Wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which fills up fastest. (Clarence Ross)
October 21, 1998: We have met the enemy, and he is us. (Pogo)
October 22, 1998: What, me worry? (Alfred E. Neuman)
October 23, 1998: It behooves a man to act like a testicled animal. (Alexander King)
October 25, 1998: Monkeys on a rock. (Steve Gaskin, describing the human race)
October 31, 1998: Clinton left a stain on a dress. Nixon left one on the Constitution. (David Obst)
November 3, 1998: Robinson's Observation: Whenever you need to talk to a co-worker who does not sit near you, he will not be at his desk. If he is at his desk, he will already be on the phone.
November 4, 1998: The right attitude is no particular attitude. (Gary Mass)
November 5, 1998: Zen is not about gaining things. Done properly, Zen is about losing things. (Giles Thompson)
November 6, 1998: It's all beta. (Charles Sharp)
November 7, 1998: The man with a new idea is a crank until the new idea succeeds. (Mark Twain)
November 8, 1998:
From the November/December Utne Reader:
I see us living in an increasingly artificial world, where the natural world has been replaced by products, and our machines are sometimes faster and smarter than we are. (Susan Stern)
In the realm of celebrity, the fallen share center stage with the glorious, the evil with the good. The emotional glue that binds us to those we love to hate is not unrelated to the glue that binds us to those we love to love. The celebrity-making machinery capitalizes on this, and dissolves values in an acid bath of fame. (Todd Gitlin)
The older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love that you need. (Leonard Cohen, quoting Roshi Joshu Sasaki)
November 9, 1998: Businesses exist to serve people, not the other way around. The same is true of government.
November 10, 1998: Everything is becoming visible- first in magazines and movies and TV, now on the web. Nothing is hidden any longer; every kinky thing is visible to anyone who cares to look.
November 11, 1998: Reality: what a concept. (Ed Bender, quoting someone else)
November 12, 1998: True listening is done with the heart, not the ears.
November 13, 1998: From the November
Sprint web site:
Character is a victory, not a gift.
You can always find a helping hand: it's attached to your arm.
The only creature that can keep its feet on the ground while its head is in the clouds is a giraffe.
November 14, 1998: Why do black clothes attract white lint and white clothes attract black lint? (Mike Bauer)
November 15, 1998: Not one of the 1.5 million black soldiers who fought in the two world wars received the Medal of Honor until 1991. (Black historian Leroy Ramsay, in the Wall Street Journal on November 13.)
November 17, 1998: From the
wall of quotations:
The telephone is the greatest single enemy of scholarship; for what our intellectual forebears used to inscribe in ink now goes once over a wire into permanent oblivion. (Stephen Jay Gould)
Why did they call it World War I, unless they knew it was the first of a series? (Paul Krassner)
Every revolutionary ends as an oppressor or a heretic. (Albert Camus)
November 18, 1998: If life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life, then let's all get wasted together and have the time of our lives. (Bathroom graffiti, Armand's Pizza, Washington, DC)
November 19, 1998: The dogs bark. The caravan passes. (Arab saying)
November 21, 1998: Because the pleasure given equaled the pleasure received. (Sartre's comment on Genet's preference for masturbation.) Has love become a formula, in which the parts must cancel out to zero?
November 22, 1998: Pioneer: the guy full of arrows. (Dale Robinson)
November 23, 1998: Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without effect. (Winston Churchill)
November 24, 1998: Marc's Monday Morning Rule: Nothing useful gets done Monday mornings.
November 25, 1998: From The Indian
Hill C Style Manual:
When the code and the comments disagree, both are probably wrong. (Norm Schryer)
A program that produces wrong answers twice as fast is infinitely slower. The same is true of programs that crash occasionally or clobber valid data.
November 26, 1998: As hell I reminded me for a bird in the first fellow nights we had ever after all of alcohol, must be silly and MTV I have the goateed dinosaurs. (DadaDodo)
December 1, 1998: If I tell people chickens can pull trains, it's their job to hook 'em up. (James Barkdale, CEO of Netscape, and obviously a more typical American businessman than the Netscape hype would have us believe.)
December 2, 1998: Talk does not cook rice. (Chinese saying. Thanks for this one, Curtis.)
December 3, 1998 (from math
Television is something the Russians invented to destroy American education. (Erdos)
Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics. (Gauss)
An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them. (Heisenberg)
An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field. (Bohr)
Mathematics is a field in which one's blunders tend to show very clearly and can be corrected or erased with a stroke of the pencil. It is a field which has often been compared with chess, but differs from the latter in that it is only one's best moments that count and not one's worst. A single inattention may lose a chess game, whereas a single successful approach to a problem, among many which have been relegated to the wastebasket, will make a mathematician's reputation. (Wiener)
Mathematicians have tried in vain to this day to discover some order in the sequence of prime numbers, and we have reason to believe that it is a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate. (Euler)
Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed. (Pascal)
When the passions become masters, they are vices. (Pascal)
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. (Einstein)
December 6, 1998: To have a life, you must make a life.
December 7, 1998: Of all the virtues we can learn, no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge. (Mihalyi Czikszentmilaly.)
December 8, 1998: Bodhi day. Traditionally considered to be the day the Buddha attained enlightenment.
December 9, 1998: As long as we have a due date, we're going to have bad data. (John Ritz)
December 10, 1998: International Human Rights Day. The fiftieth anniversary of the signing of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
December 11, 1998: The number of "number 1" priorities and the amount of work accomplished are inversely proportional. (Charles Sharp)
December 12, 1998:
Kids: "Tell us about the good old days, Grandma."
Grandma Robinson: "There weren't any."
December 13, 1998: No more crises today. My schedule is full. (Henry Kissinger)
December 20, 1998: If you won't leave me, I'll find somebody who will. (Warren Zevon)
December 21, 1998: The trouble with parents is, their memories get rusty. And as soon as they forget, they change. The truth is that parents are nothing but children gone sour. (The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters)
December 22, 1998: Poetry is what gets lost in the translation. (Robert Frost)
December 23, 1998: The English are at their best when everything is going badly. The French are at their best when everything is going well. (unknown - John Fowles?)
December 24, 1998: Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money. (Satchel Paige)
December 25, 1998: Anyone can handle failure, but few can handle success. (David Ray)
December 26, 1998: The clock is the fundamental machine of the modern industrial age. (Lewis Mumford)
December 27, 1998: A monstrous failure of the imagination. (Kafka, speaking of World War I)
December 28, 1998: Wagner has given us some wonderful moments, and some excruciating hours. (unknown - maybe Ravel?)
December 29, 1998: I usually need a grocery list just for bread. (Bill Tammeus) I know how you feel.
January 1, 1999: The castle of ego is empty and not worth defending.
January 9, 1999: Washington could not tell a lie; Nixon could not tell the truth; Reagan cannot tell the difference. (Mort Sahl)
January 10, 1999: When I was with Gladstone, I thought he was the most fascinating man in the world. When I was with Disraeli, I thought I was the most fascinating woman in the world. (A young woman who was escorted on different occasions by the two great 19th-century British Prime Ministers)
January 11, 1999: How do you ever know just how much you've forgotten? (Byron Gregory)
January 12, 1999: Mathematics is the surest path to immortality. (Paul Erdos) It's true - Newton, or at least his invention, the calculus, will be remembered when Napoleon has long been forgotten.
January 13, 1999: Don't stray far from the unbeaten path. (Paul Turan)
January 14, 1999: Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching. (Lonna Whiteaker, quoting someone else?)
January 15, 1999: Work expands to fill time. (C. Northcote Parkinson)
January 16, 1999: He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad. (The first sentence of Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini)
January 17, 1999: The dictatorship means - learn this once and for all - unrestrained power based on force, not on law. (Lenin) How does the human race continue to produce assholes who can say, and even believe, things like this?
January 18, 1999: We believe in ourselves as we do not believe in others. We permit all things to ourselves, and that which we call sin in others is experiment for us. (Emerson)
January 19, 1999: When you're the smallest person in the family, you shouldn't try to throw your weight around. (Advice to my son.)
January 20, 1999: Business is business, personal is personal. (Jennifer Turner)
January 21, 1999: Just give me some interrupts to handle, and I'll be happy (especially if the machine has a front panel).
January 22, 1999: What a joy it is to satisfy desire. (Jack Aubrey, in The Hundred Days)
January 23, 1999: How stupid of me, not to have thought of that before. (Thomas Huxley, upon reading Darwin's theory of evolution. Huxley later became known as "Darwin's bulldog", for his successful defenses of the theory, especially in the famous debate with Bishop Wilberforce.)
January 24, 1999: Youth is wasted on the young. (George Bernard Shaw?; thanks to Gary Schultz for the attribution)
January 25, 1999: He never knows
when to stop. (A remark by Stalin on Hitler)
A mad clown. (Mussolini, after his first meeting with Hitler)
January 26, 1999: He not busy being born is busy dying. (Bob Dylan)
January 27, 1999: The only thing to be done with responsibility is to accept it.
January 28, 1999: Any attempt to force an issue is as likely as not to result in the opposite of the desired outcome.
January 29, 1999: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke?)
January 30, 1999: Truth is all around me, but it's just beyond my grasp. (Country Joe)
January 31, 1999: A world of strife shut out, a world of love shut in. (Words painted on the mantelpiece of a house where I once lived)
February 1, 1999: The children come first. (Frances Robinson -- my mother)
February 2, 1999: Love is more easily demonstrated than defined. (Mayor Melba, in Gasoline Alley)
February 3, 1999: She believes in a God who's all thumbs...she believes the meek will inherit the earth, but by then it won't be worth much. (Exene Cervenka)
February 4, 1999: Happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got. (Garth Brooks)
February 5, 1999: The only thing opinions have ever got me is trouble.
February 6, 1999: Don't allow anything in your life that you don't want reproduced in your children's lives. (Sprint internal web site, 2/5/99)
February 7, 1999: If everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. (Garrison Keillor, stealing from Steven Wright)
February 8, 1999: Eat well, shit strongly, and you will not fear death. (Catalan saying)
February 9, 1999: Dude, you're drinking bong water. (Unknown)
February 10, 1999: There are many here among us who think that life is but a joke. (Bob Dylan)
February 11, 1999: There is no "away". (Barry Commoner)
February 12, 1999: The older I get, the less I know.
February 13, 1999: Boy, do I wish I knew as much as you think you know. (My dad, speaking to me when I was a teenager.)
February 14, 1999: There is always a better way. (unknown) What an American thing to say.
February 15, 1999: Be not content with this order of things. (Jesus Christ)
February 16, 1999: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. (Marx? Engels? Saint-Simon?)
February 17, 1999: A man's reach must exceed his grasp. (Robert Browning?)
February 18, 1999: When listening to someone, concentrate on what they say, not how they say it. When speaking to them, do the opposite: concentrate on how you say it, not what you say.
February 19, 1999: There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy. The fish is a fish. (Ernest Hemingway)
February 20, 1999: I am become Shiva, destroyer of worlds. (Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita moments after the first atomic bomb test)
February 21, 1999: Government is a big insurance company. (Garrison Keillor)
February 22, 1999: Writers crave interruptions. (Garrison Keillor)
February 23, 1999: Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get me. (Unknown)
February 24, 1999: Paranoia is the only intelligent state of mind nowadays. (Lenny Bruce)
February 25, 1999: Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said. (Mark Twain)
February 26, 1999: Money is very easy to ignore until you can't ignore it any more...If you don't deal with your money, your money will deal with you. (Barbara Bloch)
February 28, 1999: Time in Cambodia begins now. (The Khmer Rouge, upon assuming power)
March 1, 1999: Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.
It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get back up again. (Vince Lombardi)
March 2, 1999: A Spam haiku I wrote:
Oh marvelous pink
Like nothing I've ever seen.
Enough! Down the hatch.
March 3, 1999: If not me, who? (Andrei Sakharov, speaking of his political activism)
March 4, 1999: If it ain't been in a pawn shop, it can't play the blues. (Frank Edwards)
March 5, 1999: In classical music and jazz, musicians establish a theme and then feel obligated to play a variation on it every time around. In [rock], musicians find a riff they like and play it exactly the same way for as long as they feel like it. In metal, musicians find a riff they like and play it twice as long as anyone else feels like it. In industrial, musicians have their computers play the riff until next Tuesday. (Bob Blumenthal and Charles M. Young, in the March 1999 Atlantic Monthly)
March 6, 1999: War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. (General William Tecumseh Sherman)
March 7, 1999: I'll tell you what war is about. You've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough, they stop fighting. (General Curtis E. LeMay)
March 21, 1999: There is more to life than increasing speed. (Gandhi)
March 22, 1999: Such men as John Vane will inevitably find their way in numbers to the desks of the Capitol. Better and wiser men than he will be corrupted by a lobby which has thoroughly learned the easy trick of paying a hundred thousand out of every stolen million. Nothing in the future is more certain than that, if this huge "special legislation" machine for bribery is not broken up, our Congress will surely and quickly become what some sad souls claim it already is, a den of thieves. (Honest John Vane, by John W. de Forest, published in 1873)
March 28, 1999: He who loses his temper loses the argument... If you enter into a personal attack on your opponent, the chance of you losing the argument dramatically increases. (Richard Butler, chief U.N. arms inspector)
March 29, 1999: House-to-house fighting is out. Cruise missiles are in. (Thomas Friedman, on the exercise of American power)
March 30, 1999: Parents are the last amateurs. (Mike Ford)
March 31, 1999: We want the world, and we want it now. (Jim Morrison)
April 1, 1999: There are only three sports - mountain climbing, bull fighting, and motor racing - the others are games. (Hemingway)
April 2, 1999: It isn't even wrong. (Wolfgang Pauli, aghast at a bad physics theory)
April 3, 1999: In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert's, there are only a few. (Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind)
April 4, 1999: At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry. (Unknown)
April 5, 1999: There's a lot of uncertainty that's not clear in my mind. (Gib Lewis)
April 8, 1999: When you come to the fork in the road, take it. (Yogi Berra)
April 9, 1999: It's not the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog. (Archie Moore?)
April 10, 1999: Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. (The Main Street Saints)
April 11, 1999: My only hope, my only prayer, is caught in the zipper of that thing that you wear. (Richard Julian)
April 12, 1999: That which does not kill me makes me stronger. (Nietzsche)
April 13, 1999: Mostly, people just want someone to listen to them.
April 14, 1999: How can you hit and think at the same time? (Yogi Berra)
April 15, 1999: Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you. (Satchel Paige)
April 16, 1999: Everything that can be said, can be said clearly. (Wittgenstein)
April 17, 1999: There will be plenty of time to rest in the grave. (Erdos)
April 18, 1999:
The body is a Bodhi tree,
the mind a mirror shining bright.
Keep this mirror clean.
Take care lest dust alight.
The body is not a Bodhi tree,
the mind is not a mirror bright.
From the beginning not a thing exists.
Where would the dust alight?
April 23, 1999: Character is more important than intelligence or ability, and what you do is more important than what you think or feel.
April 27, 1999:
To study the way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.
To be enlightened by all things is to transcend the distinction of self and other and to go on in ceaseless enlightenment forever.
- Dogen Kigen Zenji
I have seen the above quote on three successive days, in a book, on a web page, and then (humorously mangled) in a cartoon by Matt Groening (an episode of "Life in Hell").
April 29, 1999: Trust everyone, but cut the cards. (Unknown)
April 30, 1999: Magnetic poetry on our refrigerator: Inside the castle garden, the little dinosaur came for the baby star... She handed me a wet pink woman box... The sad girl silently ate Dad's top hat... Another one, not on the refrigerator: The girl is a goddess. I lick her pink meat and moan.
May 1, 1999: The best way to get something done faster is usually not by increasing the speed at which you are working. Instead, eliminate wasted movement and time, unnecessary and repetitive processes, and so on. Going faster usually causes as many problems as it solves. Stay calm and focus on efficiency instead of speed. Or, as the father of a friend of mine said: You don't save time by hurrying.
May 2, 1999: In a perfect world, the cops would be English, the cooks French, the engineers German, the bureaucrats Swiss, and the lovers Italian. But we live in a world that's diametrically opposite, where the cops are German, the cooks English, the engineers Italian, the bureaucrats French, and the lovers Swiss. (unknown)
May 3, 1999: The brain is a muscle. It grows stronger with use, and weakens otherwise.
May 4, 1999: Learn to forget. (Jim Morrison)
May 5, 1999: Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens, then everybody disagrees. (Boris Marshalov)
May 6, 1999: "High tonight, low tomorrow, and precipitation is expected." (Tom Waits, The emotional weather report)
May 10, 1999: The web site you seek cannot be located, but countless more exist. (YarraNet) Well, duh.
May 16, 1999: Nothing threatens the world more than disunity... It's disunity that will destroy us. (Dr. Robert Bohl)
May 19, 1999: Death is the price paid to have trees and clams and birds and grasshoppers, and death is the price paid to have human consciousness. (Ursula Goodenough)
May 20, 1999: Everyone seems to think that Buddhism will be fully Westernized when it has fused with our psychology. I disagree. I think it will be Westernized when it has been deeply permeated with our science.
May 24, 1999: Where is the universe? (A child's question) It's the sum of all wheres.
May 26, 1999: Actually, you just think that's a telephone. Really, it's the alarm that rings whenever I get out of my chair. (E.S., whoever that is.)
May 27, 1999: You've got legs clear up to your neck/you're making me a physical wreck. (Rod Stewart)
May 28, 1999: Any fool can start a war, but it takes many wise men to end one. (Nikita Kruschev)
May 29, 1999: Writing a thesis is a very gorgeous task. You stay up for 3 hours and then you sleep for pi hours. You dog, you star and then you boggle. If your creepy thesis advisor is a building, then you will have to fornicate your thesis, or at least pray to the kinky devils of Thesis. With any luck, after 2.1 years, you will have a ditzy thesis. Either that, or you will be kicked out to live in the slime where you will be forced to work as a ditch digger. (My inane result on StoryFun!.)
May 30, 1999: You catch more flies with honey. (Unknown)
May 31, 1999: Peace, love and crabs. (Seen on a motorcyclist's tee shirt.)
June 1, 1999; Is this love, baby, or just confusion? (Jimi Hendrix)
June 2, 1999: The gap in my life between "should be" and "is", is too big.
June 4, 1999: 10th anniversary of the Tien An Men massacre. In which the Chinese Army, at the order of the pigs who run the country, slaughtered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of peaceful civilians.
June 9, 1999: I'd sooner sleep with a python. He'd suck my brains, memorize my Rolodex, and use my phone to get a better job at twice the pay. (A Harvard MBA, when asked whether he'd ever hire a Harvard MBA.)
June 12, 1999: Having a great time. Why? (Postcard from a depressive on vacation.)
June 20, 1999: "When I said it, it was true. When you said it, it was false." (Shunryu Suzuki)
June 21, 1999: The fundamental problem all men have is the belief that what they think is the truth. (Earl Griffith, quoting someone else)
June 22, 1999: Forgiveness is much sweeter than all the other choices. (Mike Flynn)
June 23, 1999: An army marches on its belly. (Napoleon)
June 24, 1999: If you wanna get to heaven/you've got to raise a little hell. (The Ozark Mountain Daredevils)
June 27, 1999: Those who believe in their truth... leave the earth behind them strewn with corpses. (E. M. Cioran)
July 1, 1999: The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. (Emerson) Reminds me of Carl Icahn
July 5, 1999: The capacity of an animal to cause damage is proportional to its intelligence. (Konrad Lorenz)
July 6, 1999: At the age of 40, deja vu is as good as it gets. (Joyce Carol Oates)
July 25, 1999: We were put on earth to make things. (W. H. Auden)
August 5, 1999: If you want a kitten, start out asking for a pony. (A 15-year-old girl)
August 20, 1999: Dirty old men need love, too. (Bumper sticker)
August 31, 1999: We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing. When it's all over, we haven't told you a thing. We all know that crap is king. Give us dirty laundry. ("Dirty Laundry", Don Henley)
September 1, 1999: Those to whom evil is done do evil in return... We must love one another or die. ("September First, 1939", by W. H. Auden)
September 6, 1999: Those who care most about themselves are the least happy; those who care most about others are the most happy.
September 9, 1999: A .357 Magnum might help. (Melvin Murphy)
September 10, 1999: You never marry the first person you see the movie Casablanca with. (Kinky Friedman?)
September 21, 1999: Life isn't fair. (John F. Kennedy)
September 23, 1999: A straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and usually the least interesting route to take between them.
September 28, 1999: If you want it to happen, make it happen. (William D. Draper)
September 29, 1999: If you hit me, don't leave me standing. (William D. Draper)
October 10, 1999: If it works, it's obsolete. (Marshall McLuhan)
October 14, 1999: Private affluence and public squalor. (John Kenneth Galbraith, commenting on the United States.)
October 16, 1999: Speak slowly, I'm blond. (Markus Krampe)
October 24, 1999: Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. (Unknown) So they say. (Charles Sharp)
October 29, 1999: Your mind is on vacation, but your mouth is workin' overtime. (Mose Allison) Been there, done that.
October 30, 1999: If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die. (Bruce Cockburn)
November 5, 1999: [Jokes] are funny when they're true. (Neil Larue)
November 23, 1999: Better is not the same as good.
December 6, 1999: You won't get fired if you do something, you will if you don't do anything. Do something if it is wrong, for you can correct that, but there is no way to correct nothing. (John Stevens)
December 13, 1999: Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children. (Bumper sticker)
December 23, 1999:
Endurance is not enough--
There is a kind of sullenness
about the word.
It is the robe endurance
wears that counts.
(Virginia Scott Miner)
December 31, 1999: Superlatives are meaningless.
January 1, 2000: Plus ca change, plus le meme chose. ("The more things change, the more they stay the same." French proverb)
January 2, 2000: I don't want the cheese. I just want out of the mousetrap. (Spanish proverb)
January 3, 2000: When forced to choose between two evils, I pick the one I haven't tried before. (Mae West)
January 13, 2000: I have never considered
the ascendancy of the Northern European peoples more than a temporary historical
accident. (Norbert Wiener?)
January 18, 2000: Ignorance is more likely than knowledge to give confidence. (Charles Darwin) Take that, you ignorant anti-evolutionists!
January 23, 2000: You'll never reach enlightenment on a full stomach. (Doug Scott)
January 28, 2000: I need a dump truck, baby, to unload my head. (Bob Dylan)
February 20, 2000: City living makes you free. (German proverb)
March 22, 2000: Vast emptiness and nothing holy. (Bodhidharma, when asked about Buddhism)
March 23, 2000: Spaced repetition is the key to human learning. (Unknown)
April 5, 2000:
And then some evening their bodies will
become quite comfortable and their minds
quite still. Ah! And for a moment, a bare
moment, they have an intimation of what
Hakuin meant when he sang:
This very place is the Lotus-land,
this body Buddha.
Afterwards, without speaking a word, they
will put on their coats and go home.
- Ruth Fuller Sasaki
April 6, 2000: Screamin' in the back room, waiting for the big boom. (Escape Club, Wild, Wild West)
April 11, 2000: It isn't the mistake that kills you; it's the coverup. (Bill Clinton) Who should know better?
April 15, 2000: He who wants to devote himself to painting must begin by cutting out his tongue. (Matisse)
April 16, 2000: Schopenhauer speaks of the solipsist as a "madman shut up in an impregnable blockhouse". (Sartre)
April 17, 2000: All alone on the road to perfection / at the inspection booth they tried to discourage me. (Warren Zevon)
May 5, 2000: One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic. (Stalin)
May 6, 2000: Who needs Zen, when you're in love? (Ted Mehl)
May 7, 2000: When I think of you, I touch myself. (The Divinyls)
May 9, 2000: It isn't the is that makes us unhappy, it's the could be.
May 13, 2000: The net, in its present infantile condition, gives access, not to the sum of preserved human knowledge, but rather to advertisements, cranks, journalists, and technical reports. (Cosma Shalizi)
May 18, 2000: I want to get a pliers, pick them up by their tongue studs, drag them to a real coffeehouse - not a Starbucks, but some tumbledown dim gloomy tomb of a room with tubercular patrons and sarcastic waitresses, and I want to dump the kids around a table, fling Winstons and Rilke at them and command them to shut up, stop whining, and start arguing about angst and meter. (James Lileks, 5/18/2000)
May 29, 2000: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. (Unknown)
June 1, 2000: An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. (John Gardner, quoted by former Senator George Mitchell.)
June 2, 2000: One great and growing sin of a national character is an inordinate desire to get rich and rich in a hurry... The "haste to get rich" fosters a speculative spirit, and men rush hap-hazard into schemes for the sudden acquisition of wealth. Bubbles are blown, consequently, all around us. The man who amasses wealth thus rarely retains it, while his momentary success lures thousands to the same delusive pursuits. What can be more fatal to society than such practices? (Scientific American, June 1850.)
June 6, 2000: If you want something to happen, you have to measure it. (Andy Grove)
June 9, 2000: But if you can see that all phenomena are transparent, ephemeral, and indeed altogether void, then the thrush will sing in your heart, and you can suffer with the prostitute. (Robert Aitken)
June 10, 2000: [S]ocieties die from intensification of their own first principles, so that Athens dies of an excess of democracy, Sparta dies of an excess of order, and what we're dying of is an excess of liberty. (Former Boston mayor James Michael Curley)
July 11, 2000: There are five ages - Flood, Eclipse, Volcano, Hurricane, and Earthquake. In the first of five, the gods mold men from ash; then the water overtakes all, and the men become fish. In the second of five, the sun is eclipsed, and in the darkness the jaguars eat the men. (From Aztec creation myths, as quoted on Twenty-six)
July 12, 2000: If God had not meant man to eat pussy, why did he make it look so much like a taco? (Unknown)
July 14, 2000: I appreciate the best, but I'll settle like the rest, so I'm looking for the next best thing. (Warren Zevon)
July 28, 2000: To speak is to lie. (William Burroughs)
August 3, 2000: [W]hile we are only young once, we can be immature forever. (Paul Sittenfeld)
August 4, 2000: There's more than enough in a half-filled cup. (The father of a folksinger acquaintance of mine)
August 19, 2000: Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me. (Unknown)
August 25, 2000: I've got a fifth of whiskey and a case of the blues. (Unknown)
August 31, 2000: Put a smile on your face in the morning and get it over with. (W. C. Fields)
September 2, 2000: The last speaker [of the language Eyak], Marie Smith Jones, is eighty-one years old, and there is no other native speaker of Eyak on earth... [T]he last speaker of Eyak knows [how the world will end]: it will end in silence... [T]he weak must speak to the strong in the language of the strong. (Harper's Magazine, August 2000, page 38)
September 10, 2000: Where does the ant die? In the sugar. (Unknown; Spanish proverb?)
September 15, 2000: If I seem weird, think how you seem to me. (Unknown) My new slogan.
September 21, 2000: In a perfectly liberal [i.e., open market] economic system, some will accumulate considerable fortunes; others will wallow in unemployment and misery. In a perfectly liberal sexual system, some will enjoy a varied and exciting erotic life; others will be reduced to masturbation and solitude. (Michel Houellebecq)
September 30, 2000: A philosopher is one who knows everything and nothing else. (George Polya)
October 6, 2000: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. (Calvin Coolidge)
November 22, 2000: My brain hasn't worked right since I got it fixed. I haven't had one good idea since I got it back. (Mark Sandman)
November 24, 2000: Why must life be so complex? I only want to watch you get undressed... This is love! This is love! (P. J. Harvey)
December 9, 2000: Speak truth to power. (Quaker dictum)
December 10, 2000: I've got dozens of friends, and the fun never ends, that is, as long as I'm buyin'. (Rock song)
January 21, 2001: Today one must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being. (John Le Carre)
January 26, 2001: I think we agree, the past is over. (George W. Bush) Duh.
January 27, 2001: American best-sellers [are] the Musak of literature. (Peter Maass)
January 28, 2001: The trouble with women is, they've got all the pussy. (Unknown, but probably a Texan)
February 11, 2001: A weapon is an enemy even to its owner. (Turkish proverb)
February 12, 2001: If you're going to be sorry later for not doing it now, then do it now. Don't wait.
February 18, 2001: There is something in my right hand which will not allow me to sign a sentence of death. (Charles II) Too bad George W. Bush didn't feel the same way as governor of Texas, when he put a record number of people to death. Or later, with his military adventures.
February 19, 2001: "...the almost infinite English language ... statistically larger than all the others [it] offers so many possibilities for the writer, particularly in its concrete verbs". (Jorge Luis Borges)
February 20, 2001: Everything near becomes distant. (Goethe)
March 11, 2001: Eat your vegetables, exercise, don't smoke. Die anyway. (Unknown)
March 12, 2001: Kids in the back seat cause accidents, and accidents in the back seat cause kids. (Unknown)
August 31, 2001: Was that a raindrop or a tear in your eye? Were you dryin' your nails or wavin' goodbye? (Tom Waits, 2:19)
November 19, 2001: Hope dies last. (unknown)
November 20, 2001: Words are the only things which last forever. (Churchill)
November 21, 2001: We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fighting with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatever. This is our testimony to the whole world. (17th-century Quakers)
November 22, 2001: An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. (Gandhi)
January 9, 2002: There doesn't seem to be very much malice in the world. There is simply not enough intelligence to conduct the intricate affairs of a complex civilization. All the chief actors in the war appear now in the light of children who played with dangerous toys. If they were criminal it was in the sense that the weal of millions was involved in their dangerous games and they didn't let that fact dissuade them from their play. All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
January 10, 2002: Look at the industrial enterprise anywhere and you find criminal indifference on the part of the strong to the fate of the weak. The lust for power and the greed for gain are the dominant note in business. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
January 11, 2002: We are told by a delightful "expert" that we ought not really teach our children about God lest we rob them of the opportunity of making their own discovery of God, and lest we corrupt their young minds by our own superstitions. If we continue along these lines the day will come when some expert will advise us not to teach our children the English language, since we rob them thereby of the possibility of choosing the German, French or Japanese languages as possible alternatives. Don't these good people realize they are reducing the principle of freedom to an absurdity?... We do not get a higher type of religious idealism from children merely by withholding our own religious ideas from them (however they may be filled with error), any more than we would get a higher type of civilization by letting some group of youngsters shift for themselves on a desert island... Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections. More probably it assures the repetition of past errors. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
March 5, 2002: Nobody ever drowned in sweat. (Papa Joe Scalet)
May 8, 2002: A normal person clings to his experiences as being 'real', concrete and permanent. But if we look closely at what happens, experience is simply experience, and is not made out of anything. It has no form, no sound, no color, no taste, no texture, it is simply empty cognizance. (Unknown Dzogchen practitioner)
May 9, 2002: You get from people what you give them. If you give them loyalty, they will be loyal to you. If you give them love, they will love you in return.
May 10, 2002: For most of us, it's easier to give advice than to take it. But given advice is usually ignored, while received advice is often valuable. (This is not advice, but an observation...)
July 18, 2002: [A]n army is of little use in fighting ideas. (Bruce Stokes) On the other hand, an army is very handy when you want to force everyone to pretend to agree with you.
July 19, 2002: I do not believe that the great object in life is to make everything cheap. (Senator Henry Teller, during the debate on the Sherman Antitrust Act)
October 21, 2002: "I" is as imaginary in psychology as "i" is in mathematics; in both, it is a useful device, without any substance.
November 9, 2002: Self is just a state of mind.
November 24, 2002: You can't hear what you don't understand. You can't see your own blind spots. (Nancy Blair Moon)
February 15, 2003: Reason at its best is often simply a description of a chain of fact.
May 11, 2003: The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do. (Samuel P. Huntington)
July 15, 2003: To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. (International court, Nuremberg tribunal, 1946) Strange that it was us, the U.S., who said this, way back then. We seem to have forgotten this notion, haven't we?
July 16, 2003: The deeper you look into an issue, idea, or situation, the more ambiguity and complexity you will find.
July 20, 2003: The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land. (Me quoting Ben Malcolm quoting Pico Iyer quoting Hugo of St. Victor)
September 2, 2003: Love lives on propinquity, but dies on contact. (Thomas Hardy)
September 12, 2003: Now I'm down to nothing but the whistle and the stink. (Tom Waits)
September 13, 2003: Went and told my psychic, "Keep it to yourself. I don't wanna hear it, and don't be telling no one else." (Warren Zevon)
September 23, 2003: Communication is the death of marriage. (Garrison Keillor)
October 25, 2003: You've never lived under a Republican administration. You have no idea how terrible this is going to be. (Rienhold Niebuhr, to his daughter, in 1952)
October 25, 2003: The sixties was a neo-romantic era that equated intensity of sensation with authenticity of feeling... (Judith Thurman)
November 30, 2003: If you don't get involved with politics, politics will eventually get involved with you. (Lenin)
December 1, 2003: These blues are gonna rub me raw. Every single cure seems to be against the law. (Warren Zevon)
December 13, 2003: When death comes to find you, may it find you alive. (African proverb)
January 18, 2003: [T]his solemn regard for the employer as untouchable and beyond the realm of persuasion unless in violation of the law permeates the culture of American antipoverty efforts... Wages and hours are set by the marketplace, and you cannot expect magnanimity from the marketplace. It is the final arbiter from which there is no appeal. (David K. Shipler, N.Y. Times Sunday magazine)
January 22, 2003: Concerning the Patriot Act, and our unprovoked invasion of Iraq:
Talking of patriotism, what humbug it is; it is a word which always commemorates a robbery. There isn't a foot of land in the world which doesn't represent the ousting and re-ousting of a long line of successive owners. (Mark Twain)
Those who would give up essential liberties for a measure of security, deserve neither liberty nor security. (Ben Franklin)
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. (George Orwell)
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. (Hermann Goering, at the Nuremburg Trials)
Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.(Guy de Maupassant)
March 20, 2004: The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. (Milan Kundera)
March 27, 2004: If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
March 28, 2004: Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. (Richard Bach)
July 9, 2004: As a medium, writing is a million times weaker than speech. It's a hieroglyph competing with a symphony. (Louis Menand)
July 10, 2004: I never got in trouble for what I didn't say. (Unknown) Obviously unmarried, or he's never forgotten his anniversary.
July 11, 2004: The tongue is the only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use. (Unknown)
July 12, 2004: Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. (Henry Ford)
July 13, 2004: From http://www.quotegarden.com/honesty.html:
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. (Mark Twain)
No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. (Abraham Lincoln)
Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind. (Austin O'Malley)
The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. (Aristotle)
With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back. (Russian proverb)
We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger. (Tad Williams)
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. (Thomas Jefferson)
Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children. (Oliver Wendell)
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. (Winston Churchill)
The truth is more important than the facts. (Frank Lloyd Wright)
People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty. (Richard J. Needham)
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)
Speak the truth, but leave immediately after. (Slovenian Proverb)
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde)
A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. (Mark Twain)
It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen. (Homer Simpson)
July 14, 2004: Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. (Mark Twain)
July 15, 2004: The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. (Mark Twain)
July 16, 2004: The best technology is never the market leader. (David Goldstein)
July 17, 2004: Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form... All dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease. Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness. (The Heart Sutra)
August 4, 2004: Beati illi qui in circulum circumeunt, fient enim magnae rotae.
August 5, 2004: It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy. (Groucho Marx) Since I live in K.C., I understand.
August 6, 2004: Mea Vita. Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. (Kierkegaard) Typical Kierkegaard remark, because useless. In fact, I don't understand life at all -- backwards, or any other way -- and suspect no one else does, either.
August 25, 2004: A system and its commands should behave the way most people would predict, that is, the system should operate with "least astonishment." (Principle of Least Astonishment, Mike Sperber)
August 26, 2004: Our land must be built with law or laid waste with lawlessness. (Njal, of Njal's Saga)
August 27, 2004: "I want to get the government out of everything... I trust business more than I trust government." (Overheard in the locker room) Apparently this fellow has never heard of Enron, MCI, Global Crossing, or Michael Milken, or (to go further back) the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, Teapot Dome, the Robber Barons, or John D. Rockefeller giving the order to open fire on unarmed striking workers. Does this gentleman even know why Teddy Roosevelt had to carry a big stick?
August 28, 2004: It is always difficult to forgive people we have harmed. (Rebecca Armstrong)
August 29, 2004: Objects that transform like zeroth-rank tensors are called scalars, those that transform like first-rank tensors are called vectors, and those that transform like second-rank tensors are called matrices. (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tensor.html)
August 30, 2004: Modern life: instant gratification and constant frustration.
September 12, 2004: ...that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself. (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility)
September 12, 2004: "The wind gets on their nerves. Then they get on the nerves of the rest of the country." (A 1920's New York Times editorial about Kansans, referred to at http://kunmr2.chem.ukans.edu/~dave/kansas.html)
September 13, 2004: If Java had proper garbage collection, most programs would self-delete upon execution. -- Jucius Maximus
October 26, 2004: One man's Mede is another man's Persian. (George S. Kaufman)
October 28, 2004: It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. (John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790)
October 30, 2004: Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. (Niels Bohr)
November 2, 2004: This election is about Bush, pure and simple: whether you agree with him and want to keep him in office, or dislike him and want to get rid of him. Kerry is almost irrelevant.
November 3, 2004:
Men think women are crazy and women think men are children.
Men hate women for what they do and women hate men for what they are.
Women don't feel what they know and men don't know what they feel.
Men are victimized by their sexuality and women are victimized by men.
As you get older the pickings get slimmer, but the people sure don't.
This reminds me of that time I had deja vu.
November 4, 2004: There are three races: men, women, and children. None of them understand the others. (Unknown)
November 5, 2004: Our values are not God's values. Either that, or he's not omnipotent. (See above, "A God that's all thumbs".) An all-powerful God with human values would not have created a world this full of pain and confusion.
November 6, 2004: Never ask the barber whether you need a haircut. (Warren Buffett)
November 7, 2004: Constant praise is like heroin. And you know, no one can resist constant praise. (John Patrick Shanley)
November 17, 2004: The problem with most socioeconomic systems is that the scum rises to the top.
November 18, 2004: Portability is for people who cannot write new programs. (Linus Torvalds)
November 28, 2004: To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war. (Winston Churchill)
November 30, 2004: People who live in glass houses shouldn't run around naked at night with the lights on.
December 1, 2004: I can't get my arms around the world, only little pieces of it.
December 2, 2004: For the roots of crises, look to powerful men feeling vulnerable and underestimated. Their dread of weakness, even imagined frailty, begets belligerence. (Max Frankel, on Kennedy and Kruschev, though the words are applicable to George W. Bush.)
December 3, 2004: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. (Dwight Eisenhower)
December 4, 2004: The devil is real. He lives inside C programs. (Eve Andersson)
December 5, 2004: Unix: You think it won't work, but if you find the right wizard, he can make it work. Macintosh: You think it will work, but it won't. PC/Windows: You think it won't work, and it won't. (Eve Andersson)
December 12, 2004: In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion. (Unknown)
December 13, 2004: The past is never dead. It's not even past. (William Faulkner)
December 14, 2004: The fact that something is new just means it hasn't had time to disappoint us yet. (David Henry Hwang)
December 15, 2004: A society cannot be both ignorant and free. (Thomas Jefferson)
December 16, 2004: The only time I'm sure of anything is when I'm completely ignorant about the subject.
December 17, 2004: A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to take it off of you. (Francoise Sagan)
December 18, 2004: Even a broken clock is right twice a day. (Unknown)
December 30, 2004: "Let me see if I understand your thesis. You think we shouldn't anthropomorphize people?" (Sidney Morgenbesser, to B. F. Skinner)
January 3, 2005: There are no uninteresting things, there are only uninterested people. (G. K. Chesterson)
January 10, 2005: Do you ever feel like you're trapped in your body and you can't get out?
January 27, 2005: What are "facts"? If they are what we like to think they are (indisputable), then why are we always arguing over them?
January 28, 2005: I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do, so I leave it up to you. (Alvin Lee?)
January 29, 2005: If you're aware of something (e.g., a disease, a problem of any sort), you will estimate its frequency higher than will those who are not aware.
January 30, 2005: Ignorance is bliss -- for the time being...
January 31, 2005: Most obstacles are mental.
February 1, 2005: People are fungible. (Donald Rumsfeld) Sure thing, Don! You first.
February 2, 2005: Schopenhauer ... observed that the listener is always fighting battles in his head which he can never win in real life. "We like to hear in its language the secret history of our will and of all its stirring and strivings," the philosopher observed. (Alex Ross)
February 8, 2005: Once you don that religious mantle, who can criticize you? (C. Christine Fair)
February 9, 2005: After 40 a woman has the right to choose between her face and her fanny. (French saying.)
February 10, 2005: One does not laugh because one is happy; one is happy because one laughs.(Mireille Guiliano)
March 10, 2005: I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. (Tom Waits)
March 11, 2005: A wise man learns something new every day. The fool knows it all already. (Unknown)
March 12, 2005: A math problem is like a grain of sand in an oyster: until you build the pearl around it (i.e., solve the problem), it's an irritant.
March 17, 2005: It's easy to look like a champ when you're fighting a chump.
March 31, 2005: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. (General George Patton)
April 1, 2005: True religion does not draw men out of the world but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it. (William Penn)
April 2, 2005: Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery. (Attributed to William Penn)
May 14, 2005: An expert is just some guy from out of town. (Mark Twain)
May 24, 2005: From http://www.arareko.net/climbing/quotes/ :
Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it. (Anonymous climber.)
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun. (Barry Blanchard)
If you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain. (Chris Darwin)
There is no difference between religion and politics. Both involve lies and fanatical beliefs that generally defy logic... Just like rock climbing. (Dave Schuller)
Blood /n./ substance commonly used to mark a climbing route. (Unknown climber)
Well, I'll say this: climbing can kill you, but women can destroy you. There's a big difference, y'know. (Derek Hersey)
Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. (Doug Lawson)
Climbing may be hard, but it's easier than growing up. (Ed Sklar)
I knew I was in trouble when my farts came out cold. (Edwin Drummond)
I think climbers should get credit just for remembering what their jobs are on Mondays. (Gary Clark)
The difference between climbers and normal workers is that climbers are glad of the Mondays, so they can rest. (Guillaume Dargaud)
Doubt is the enemy of success. (Jim Bridwell)
June 14, 2005: Programming languages are chosen mainly for business reasons. I spend most of my time working with languages that I don't really like because the languages that I'd like to work with carry business disadvantages that outweigh their technical merits. That's the nature of the game. I can accept the situation (my choice) or find a new employer. Whining about how I can't use Java or Python or whatever at work just isn't an option. (comp.lang.c refugee)
June 19, 2005: I've been rich and I've been poor. Rich is better. (Sophie Tucker)
June 20, 2005: From birth to age eighteen, a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty-five, she needs good looks. From thirty-five to fifty-five, she needs a good personality. From fifty-five on, she needs good cash. (Sophie Tucker)
June 21, 2005: I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. (E. B. White.)
June 22, 2005: Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. (Mark Twain.)
June 23, 2005: The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat. (Lily Tomlin.)
June 24, 2005: [W]alking with a swagger for extended periods may result in a loss of equilibrium. (Gino L. Morrow II)
June 25, 2005: Some Americans have promoted multiculturalism at home; some have promoted universalism abroad; and some have done both. Multiculturalism at home threatens the United States and the West; universalism abroad threatens the West and the world. Both deny the uniqueness of Western culture. The global monoculturalists want to make the world like America. The domestic multiculturalists want to make America like the world. A multicultural America is impossible because a non-Western America is not American. A multicultural world is unavoidable because global empire is impossible. The preservation of the United States and the West requires the renewal of Western identity. The security of the world requires acceptance of global multiculturality. (Samuel P. Huntington)
June 27, 2005: "I don't agree that when you make the haystack bigger you find the needle." (Carol Rose of the ACLU, on Homeland Security's collection of data on U.S. citizens)
June 28, 2005: Faith is the quality that enables you to eat blackberry jam on a picnic without looking to see whether the seeds move.
June 29, 2005: Contrary to popular belief, Unix is user friendly. It just happens to be selective about who it makes friends with. (From http://mail-index.netbsd.org/port-mac68k/1996/08/21/0035.html)
June 30, 2005: Last long enough and some knowledge might stick. Or, as my friend Steve Mitchell puts it: "He's not smart, he's just old."
July 6, 2005: If you wish to be happy for one hour, get drunk.
If you wish to be happy for three days, get married.
If you wish to be happy for a month, kill your pig and eat it.
If you wish to be happy forever, learn to fish.
July 7, 2005: Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one. (A. J. Liebling)
July 8, 2005: The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. (John Kenneth Galbraith)
July 9, 2005: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic. (Unknown)
July 13, 2005: If it's too good to be true, it isn't. (Unknown). Robinson's corollary: If it's too good to last, it won't.
July 14, 2005: Testing can demonstrate the presence of bugs, but not their absence. (Edsger Dijkstra)
July 30, 2005: Although children receive no instruction in learning their native language, they are able to fully master it in less than five years. This is all the more confusing as language is computationally more complex than, say, simple arithmetic, which often takes years to master. (The Economist, November 3, 2001.)
July 31, 2005: A book which is lacking in power cannot be moral. Dullness is worse than obscenity... An art which is to be strong cannot be based on opinions. Opinions can be accepted, questioned, dismissed. A work of art can't be question or dismissed. (Saul Bellow)
August 4, 2005: The best way to predict the future is to invent it. (Alan Kay)
August 15, 2005: Freedom makes new prisons. (Camille Paglia.)
August 16, 2005: Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true? (Robert Frost)
August 21, 2005: She's so fine there's no telling where the money went. (Rock song)
August 22, 2005: Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods -- such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job -- then the evidence paints a very different picture. The less we spend on conspicuous consumption goods, the better we can afford to alleviate congestion; and the more time we can devote to family and friends, to exercise, sleep, travel, and other restorative activities. On the best available evidence, reallocating our time and money in these and similar ways would result in healthier, longer -- and happier -- lives. (Robert H. Frank)
August 26, 2005: Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. (John Le Carre)
September 22, 2005: Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. (E. B. White) [According to a New Yorker editor, this should read: Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind. See http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/cartoonists/2012/07/seinfeld-episode-about-new-yorker-cartoons.html]
September 25, 2005: One of the tricks to getting through life well is to assume responsibility for your own situation even when other people or circumstances are responsible for your difficulties -- and to do so with good cheer.
September 26, 2005: There is no greater human presumption than to read the mind of the Almighty, and no more dangerous individual than the one who has convinced himself that he is executing the Almighty's will. (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. summarizing Rienhold Niebuhr's view on the subject, which applies not only to Osama bin Laden, but to George W. Bush.)
September 27, 2005: The brain is the body's greediest consumer of calories. (Natalie Angier.)
September 28, 2005: One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. (George Orwell, "Homage to Catalonia")
September 29, 2005: There are problems to whose solution I would attach an infinitely greater importance than to those of mathematics, for example touching ethics, or our relation to God, or concerning our destiny and our future; but their solution lies wholly beyond us and completely outside the province of science. (Carl Friedrich Gauss, from http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Quotations/Gauss.html)
September 29, 2005: [W]riting briefly takes far more time than writing at length. (Carl Friedrich Gauss)
September 30, 2005: No generalization is worth a damn, including this one. (Mark Twain)
October 26, 2005: Shadows brush the stairs, but the dust remains. (Zen koan?)
October 31, 2005: Intelligent design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo. (Leonard Krishtalka)
November 1, 2005: Action is what separates a belief from an opinion. (Ibu Patel.)
November 8, 2005: It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense. (Alfred North Whitehead)
November 10, 2005: I keep thinking life can't get any more complicated, and then it does.
November 11, 2005: I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. (Joe Walsh)
November 12, 2005: I watched the Indy 500, and I was thinking that if they left earlier, they wouldn't have to go so fast. (Steven Wright)
November 15, 2005: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)
November 28, 2005: Eventually, I believe, current attempts to understand the mind by analogy with man-made computers that can perform superbly some of the same external tasks as conscious beings will be recognized as a gigantic waste of time. (Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere.)
December 5, 2005: Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives. (Dumas fils; thanks, Nicole)
December 12, 2005: Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf. (American Indian saying.)
December 14, 2005: Scroll down to "cool space junk facts"
December 17, 2005: "Some day" is not a day of the week. (Unknown)
January 3, 2006: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
January 13, 2006: From Braided Creek, by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser:
If you can awaken
inside the familiar
and discover it strange
you need never leave home.
What is it the wind has lost
that she keeps looking for
under each leaf?
The face you look out of
is never the face
your lover looks into.
At my age,
even in airports,
why would you wish
time to move faster?
jots a note on the wind
to remind itself of something.
How can it be
that everyone my age
is older than I?
Suddenly my clocks agree.
One has been stopped for several
months, but twice a day
they have this tender moment.
"What I would do for wisdom,"
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog.
Waited all day for the moon to rise.
It just happened.
I can't believe my luck.
I have used up more than
20,000 days waiting to see
what the next one would bring.
A light snow shows
that even the old wagon track
Come to think of it,
there's no reason to decide
who you are.
How is it the rich always know
what is best for the poor?
Just before I fly out of myself
I'll say a puzzled goodbye.
Our bodies are women who were never
meant to be faithful to us.
So what if women
no longer smile to see me?
I smile to see them!
On every topographic map,
the fingerprints of God.
January 20, 2006: Those for whom the world is not enough: poets, philosophers, and all lovers of books. (Joseph Joubert)
February 7, 2006: God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another. (From a fortune cookie)
February 8, 2006: We have not succeeded in answering all of our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things. (B.Øksendal)
February 8, 2006: Those who first broke the yoke of what called itself the Universal Church were in general as little willing to permit difference of religious opinion as that church itself… Wherever the sentiment of the majority is still genuine and intense, it is found to have abated little of its claim to be obeyed. ( John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty") The current analog is Muslim fanaticism and intolerance.
February 16, 2006: All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. ( John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty")
March 2, 2006: You can't control your heart. It has a mind of its own.
March 9, 2006: You might as well expect the rivers to run backwards as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. (Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, at the time of his surrender to the U.S. Army.)
March 10, 2006: Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing. (J.S. Mill, "On Liberty")
March 11, 2006: It is not because men's desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak. (J.S. Mill, "On Liberty")
March 11, 2006: From Cousin Bette, by Honore de Balzac:
Perpetual work is the law of art, as it is the law of life.
In short, he became a critic, like all the feeble folk who fall below their promise.
Life cannot go on without much forgetting.
April 25, 2006: Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something. (Plato)
April 27, 2006: I love my country… but I fear my government. (Bumper sticker)
May 19, 2006: The objections that environmentalists make tend to be aesthetic, masquerading as moral.
May 27, 2006: Christianity is a wonderful religion, if only someone would try it. (Gandhi -- or perhaps he said "Christianity is a wonderful religion, if only it existed anywhere in the world." Can anyone give me the exact quote? Send e-mail to marc at thusness dot com.)
June 9, 2006: Man is like a tile floor: if laid properly, a woman can walk all over him forever. (Unknown)
June 10, 2006: We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them. (Seneca)
June 24, 2006: There is a Greek ideal of self-development, which the Platonic and Christian ideal of self-government blends with, but does not supersede. It may be better to be a John Knox than an Alcibiades, but it is better to be a Pericles than either; nor would a Pericles, if we had one in these days, be without anything good which belonged to John Knox. (J. S. Mill, “On Liberty”)
June 28, 2006: Republicans see Democrats as gutless and soft-headed. Democrats see Republicans as hard-hearted and fork-tongued. Take your pick.
July 10, 2006: When comparing your own skills or technology to the other guy’s, his always looks more impressive, because you don’t understand it, and you take your own for granted. (His magic is mysterious, but yours, in the process of becoming familiar, has lost its mystery to you.)
July 11, 2006: When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home. (Winston Churchill)
July 18, 2006: If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will avoid one hundred days of sorrow. (Zen saying)
August 2, 2006: My father rode a camel.
I drive a car.
My son will fly a jet.
His son will ride a camel.
August 14, 2006: Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers. (William Penn)
August 26, 2006: Do not introduce unnecessary entities in explanations. Or: All else being equal, choose the simplest explanation that fits the facts. (Occam's Razor, by William of Occam, 14th-century monk and logician)
August 27, 2006: There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly. To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession. (Thomas Paine, "Common Sense", concerning King George -- the one we had back then...)
September 9, 2006: Those who work without knowledge will damage more than they can fix and those who walk quickly on the wrong path will only distance themselves from their goal. (Arab proverb)
September 22, 2006: A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of your bank account, the car you drove or the square footage of your house. The world might differ greatly however, based on your impact in the life of a small child. (Ridgely Goldsborough)
October 10, 2006: The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. (Shaker proverb)
October 11, 2006: You ask: what is the meaning or purpose of life? I can only answer with another question: do you think we are wise enough to read God's mind? (Freeman Dyson)
October 19, 2006: Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. (Henry Ford)
November 2, 2006: More systems have been wiped out by admins than any hacker could do in a lifetime. (Rick Furniss)
November 28, 2006: Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo. (Unknown)
December 1, 2006: When you're hungry, sing; when you're hurt, laugh. (Yiddish saying)
December 2, 2006: The way that can be spoken is not the true way. (Lao Tzu)
December 3, 2006: The thought of suicide is a great consolation. By means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night. (Nietzsche)
December 17, 2006: We want to know, and when we don't, we make up the answers. (Most of us are still children.)
December 21, 2006: If I bothered my head about every triviality in my life, I'd lose what little mind I have left. (This is how I rationalize not doing chores at home, among other things.)
December 26, 2006: Even if this world is the real thing, as most of us think, it's only the evidence. There's more, but we're not intelligent enough to figure out what.
December 29, 2006: Without terror, there is no joy.
January 13, 2007:
I eat when I'm hungry, I sleep when I'm tired. (A Zen Master)
I eat when I'm hungry, I drink when I’m dry. (American folk song, “Rye Whisky”)
January 14, 2007: We have met the enemy, and he is us. (Pogo)
January 20, 2007: There are no simple answers, including this one.
January 30, 2007: Why do humans continue to talk about things they don't and can't understand -- which they even admit they don't understand, such as God?
February 1, 2007: The idea of lycanthropy gives me paws.
February 7, 2007: Philosophical reflection is barren when divorced from poetic imagination, for we proceed to understanding of the world upon two legs, not one. (Alan Watts)
March 22, 2007: A general who is stupid and courageous is a calamity. (Chinese proverb) Just as a President who is stupid, bold, and autocratic is a calamity.
March 23, 2007: A clever master turns even a loss into a gain. (Hungarian proverb)
March 24, 2007: We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. (American Indian proverb)
March 25, 2007: Sow an action and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
March 26, 2007: To every grave problem there is an answer that is simple, easy and wrong. (H. L. Mencken) Too often, that answer has been war, which leaves behind nothing but more problems than originally existed.
April 2, 2007: It can all be summed up in a single sentence: It isn't what you think it is. But now that I think about it, scratch that. I'm certain to be wrong.
April 6, 2007: If there is no dark and dogged will, there will be no accomplishment. If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement. (Chinese saying.)
April 19, 2007: Quotes from Paul Erdos (search for his last name, in the quotes above, for more):
There will be plenty of time to rest in the grave.
Usually [mathematicians] don't like to deal with numbers.
If I drew in 4 dimensions you wouldn't be able to see.
Finally I'm becoming stupider no more.
God may not play dice with the universe, but something strange is going on with the prime numbers.
Property is a nuisance.
There are three signs of senility. The first sign is that a man forgets his theorems. The second sign is that he forgets to zip up. The third sign is that he forgets to zip down.
April 27, 2007: The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet. (William Gibson)
April 28, 2007: Reality is nothing but a collective hunch. (Lily Tomlin)
April 29, 2007: Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. (Lily Tomlin)
June 1, 2007: The intellect, then, is a purely practical faculty, which has evolved for the purposes of action. What it does is to take the ceaseless, living flow of which the universe is composed and to make cuts across it, inserting artificial stops or gaps in what is really a continuous and indivisible process. The effect of these stops or gaps is to produce the impression of a world of apparently solid objects. These have no existence as separate objects in reality; they are, as it were, the design or pattern which our intellects have impressed on reality to serve our purposes. (C.E.M. Joad, explaining Henri Bergson.)
June 2, 2007: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Arthur C. Clarke)
June 3, 2007: "Mother always told me, if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else." (Satchel Paige)
June 4, 2007: This, too, shall pass. (Supposedly, a king asked his wisest men to give him a proverb that would comfort him in affliction, and temper his happiness when successful. In other versions of the story, the king asks for something that will make a happy man sad, and a sad man happy. In a third version, the king asked his wise men to sum up all the wisdom of the world in a single sentence.)
June 5, 2007: Advice is freely given, but only the wise profit from it. (Found in a fortune cookie)
June 6, 2007: A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. (Sam Goldwyn)
June 7, 2007: Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. (George Carlin)
June 8, 2007: I'm no martyr. I had a really hard day at work. My feet were hurting, and I was too tired to give up my seat. (Rosa Parks)
June 9, 2007: God helps those who help themselves -- and too many people help themselves to whatever they can get.
June 10, 2007: In the old days, proper dashboard decor was: Cadillacs got Jesus; Oldsmobiles got Mary. (Gina Cascone)
June 11, 2007: Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. (Spinoza)
June 12, 2007: To her lover, a beautiful woman is a delight. To an ascetic, she is a distraction. To a wolf, she is a good meal. (Zen poem)
June 13, 2007: Victory breeds hatred; the defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful live, giving up victory and defeat. (The Buddha)
June 14, 2007: The people you most need to influence are usually the ones you can't.
June 15, 2007: A process cannot be understood by stopping it. (Frank Herbert)
June 21, 2007: Children -- they'll break your heart. Then they'll put it back together.
June 30, 2007: The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude. No doctrine however profound and sublime will be effective unless it is presented as the embodiment of the one and only truth. It must be the one word from which all things are and all things speak. Crude absurdities, trivial nonsense and sublime truths are equally potent in readying people for self-sacrifice if they are accepted as the sole, eternal truth.
It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in. We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength. Once we understand a thing, it is as if it had originated in us. And, clearly, those who are asked to renounce the self and sacrifice it cannot see eternal certitude in anything which originates in that self. The fact that they understand a thing fully impairs its validity and certitude in their eyes. (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer)
July 3, 2007: A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. (Henry David Thoreau) -- In other words, less is more, or as Thoreau also said: Simplify, simplify.
Live like there's no tomorrow, and there won't be.
Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form. (Vladimir Nabokov.)
Man would fain be great and sees that he is little; would fain be happy and sees that he is miserable; would fain be perfect and sees that he is full of imperfections... [H]e conceives a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults. (Blaise Pascal)
October 9, 2007: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. (Confucius)
October 16, 2007: Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous. (Confucius)
October 20, 2007: Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
October 21, 2007: [I]ntelligence languishes where thought is not free. (Bertrand Russell)
November 27, 2007: In The Origin of Species Darwin noted “the strange fact that every particle of food and drink which we swallow has to pass over the orifice of the trachea, with some risk of falling into the lungs”. Until the recent invention of the Heimlich maneuver, choking on food was the sixth leading cause of accidental death in the United States, claiming over six thousand victims a year. The positioning of the larynx deep in the throat, and the tongue far enough low and back to articulate a range of vowels, also compromised breathing and chewing. Presumably the communicative benefits outweighed the physiological costs. (Stephen Pinker) Pinker is saying that the evolutionary cost of speech is that we are at risk of choking to death. But one thing he neglects to explain is that there are a few other species (e.g., elk and red and fallow deer, as well as koala bears) with this unusual laryngeal arrangment, and that in other species the larynx can descend during vocalization (lions, tigers, and other members of the genus Panthera). But only humans have language. Like many scientists, Pinker is thinking about evolution teologically (like his creationist opponents). The tipoff to this is in the last sentence of the quote above, in which he implies that the laryngeal arrangement evolved in order to enable speech. There are theories that the dropped larynx developed to allow males with deeper voices to intimidate opponents, or to allow humans to swim and dive, but it seems to me at least as likely that the arrangement of the larynx was a genetic accident, and that this accident, in the case of the bizarre species homo sapiens, later found use in speech. It was a lucky break, in other words.
January 1, 2008: The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there... If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away. (William James)
January 2, 2008: It is time for writers to admit that nothing in this world makes sense. Only fools and charlatans think they know and understand everything. The stupider they are, the wider they conceive their horizons to be. And if an artist decides to declare that he understands nothing of what he sees, this in itself constitutes a considerable clarity in the realm of thought, and a great step forward. (Chekhov)
January 25, 2008: A man who speaks two languages sees with two souls. (Socrates)
January 28, 2008: Behind every great fortune you can’t account for is an undiscovered crime, because it was properly carried out. (Balzac)
February 25, 2008: The other creatures probably do find us a bit frivolous: we keep changing our outfits, and we eat too may different things. (Gary Snyder?)
April 22, 2008: If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. (George Bernard Shaw)
April 23, 2008: Patriotism is the conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it. (George Bernard Shaw)
April 29, 2008: The story of past times (from "When Languages Die"; the author quotes a creation myth from a tribe in India):
Once there was old man Luku and old woman Lukumi.
They two were alone on the earth.
There were forests and mountains everywhere.
There were very beautiful springs, with fruits, flowers, leaves, trees and stones.
Old man Luku and old woman Lukumi were very happy eating fruits that were in the trees.
They two had no sinful thoughts in their minds.
As for clothes, they didn’t have any on their bodies.
God thought, “If they stay like this, there will be no more generations.”
So God came down, and taught them how to make liquor from grass seeds.
They drank the liquor in a cup made from leaves of the sar-fruit tree, and they got drunk.
In their minds they felt another type of joyful thoughts; they thought about coming together as man and woman.
Then they started copulating, and shame and arousal came to them.
So they covered each other up at the waist with tree bark.
Ten months later from Lukumi’s body, a boy child was born.
In this manner, they bore seven boys and seven girls.
Thus they spread us humans on this earth.
It was a golden age at that time.
There was no cheating, quarreling, cruelty, nothing bad.
There was no cold or starvation, fever or sadness.
The people remained in joy, happiness and peace; this is called paradise.
September 2, 2008: History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it. (Winston Churchill -- and he did, and won the Nobel Prize for literature for it)
September 10, 2008: I think men talk to women so they can sleep with them and women sleep with men so they can talk to them. (Jay McInerney)
September 29, 2008: Never try to conquer uncertainty. Embrace it. (Michael Moschen, the world's top juggler.)
October 9, 2008: Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. (Thomas Jefferson.)
November 13, 2008: Success is more dangerous than failure; the ripples break over a wider coastline. (Graham Greene.)
November 24, 2008: A science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life. (G. H. Hardy, writing in 1940.)
December 24, 2008: To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing -- straighten yourself. You are your only master. (The Buddha)
December 26, 2008: The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music. (Lewis Thomas)
February 23, 2009: You don’t get what you expect. You get what you inspect. (Kirk someone-or-other, on the subject of building small cookstoves for third-world countries, observing how necessary it is to get out in the field and see what actually goes on, but this applies to anything engineered, including software.)
March 8, 2009: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. (Unknown)
March 9, 2009: ... believe nothing because the belief is generally held, believe nothing because it is written in ancient, so called books... believe only what you yourself judge to be true through your reason and experience. (The Buddha, in the Anguttara-Nikaya Sutra, or "Sutta")
March 10, 2009: Don't bore me with your low self-esteem. (My wife)
May 26, 2009: The disparity between what we are told or what we believe about war and war itself is so vast that those who come back ... are often rendered speechless. What do you say to those who advocate war as an instrument to liberate the women of Afghanistan or bring democracy to Iraq? How do you tell them what war is like? How do you explain that the very proposition of war as an instrument of virtue is absurd? How do you cope with memories of children bleeding to death with bits of iron fragments peppered throughout their small bodies? How do you speak of war without tears? (Chris Hedges)
May 27, 2009: Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me. (Unknown – Lenny Bruce?)
[R]eason alone is an empty vessel. (Russell Shorto, “Descartes’ Bones”, page 98.)
If you want total security, go to prison. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
June 11, 2009: A witty saying proves nothing. (Unknown)
June 12, 2009: It is better to be cautious a thousand times than to die once. (Mark Twain)
June 13, 2009: It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. (Mark Twain)
July 10, 2009: It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better... while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more. (Woody Allen)
July 11, 2009: From Eric Smith at http://www.brouhaha.com/ :
Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity. (Hanlon's Razor)
Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. (Mike Albaugh)
...the bottom line is that nobody, including a full university staff, can create a programmer. Only somebody that loves to play with the damn things can do that, for themselves. ...Being able to "write a computer program" and being a programmer are as different as being able to "read and write" and being an author. Only the first can be taught. The other has to be learnt. (Donald Tees)
July 16, 2009: Every goodbye is the birth of a memory. (A remark by Jonny Copp, a climber who said this on departing for an expedition in the Himalayas, and who recently died on a mountain in China. I guess he knew about goodbyes, didn’t he?)
August 13, 2009: Truth can be dangerous and misleading. It is sometimes more hazardous than ignorance.
August 13, 2009: Although there is a connection between objectivity and reality ... still not all reality is better understood the more objectively it is viewed. (Thomas Nagel)
September 2, 2009: Poverty and hard work are twin plagues; education is the vaccination against them. (Reg Theriault)
October 22, 2009: Without a theory the facts are silent. (F. A. Hayek, an economist, of course.) And without facts, theory is both empty and dangerous.
October 22, 2009: I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine ... War is hell. (General William Tecumseh Sherman)
October 22, 2009: Women, however, do not fight. They rarely fight among themselves and they never, in any military sense, fight men. If warfare is as old as history and as universal as mankind, we must now enter the supremely important limitation that it is an entirely masculine activity. (John Keegan, "A History of Warfare", the last words of the chapter "Limitations on Warmaking".) To which I offer the observation that Keegan's statement is irrelevant. If you don't believe me, then ponder the actions of Maggie Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Golda Meir.
November 4, 2009: A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. (Unknown)
November 9, 2009: The older the violin, the sweeter the music. (Unknown)
June 18, 2010: If you don't engineer the experience, your customers will experience the engineering. (arcball.com)
July 1, 2010:
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.
(W. S. Merwin)
July 2, 2010: Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with every Microsoft product. (Demotivational poster.)
July 3, 2010: Reason without faith is an empty vessel. (Unknown)
September 4, 2010: Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. (Albert Einstein)
September 19, 2010: But although the content of public writing and performance was spectacularly metamorphosed by the fall of Hitler, Mussolini and their followers, the tone stayed much the same. The apocalyptic urgency of the Fascists; their call for violent, "definitive" solutions, as though genuine change necessarily led through root-and-branch destruction; the distaste for the compromise and "hypocrisy" of liberal democracy and the enthusiasm for Manichean choices (all or nothing, revolution or decadence); these impulses could serve the far Left equally well and after 1945 they did so. (Postwar, Chapter VII ("Culture Wars"), by Tony Judt.) As, after 1994, they served the Right in the United States.
September 20, 2010: The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. (Archilochus)
March 9, 2011: Robinson's Rule of Expediency: All else being equal, human beings will choose the more convenient option, which will carry hidden costs they haven’t bothered to figure out, while the costs of the less convenient choices tend to be more obvious, making them apparently (but misleadingly) less appealing.
December 24, 2011: Philosophy is misused, from the side of the state as a tool, from the other side as a means of gain. Who can really believe that truth also will thereby come to light, just as a by-product? (Schopenhauer, replying to those who criticized his comments about Hegel being the kept man of the Prussian monarchy, as quoted by Karl Popper in Volume 2 of The Open Society and Its Enemies, page 46.)
December 24, 2011: May God protect us from our friends. From our enemies, we can try to protect ourselves. (Kant, dissociating himself from Fichte, as quoted by Karl Popper in Volume 2 of The Open Society and Its Enemies, page 54.)
April 30, 2012: Robinson's axiom of interface design: elegance at the expense of efficiency is counterproductive. (For evidence, you need look no farther than the Macintosh and its one-button mouse and lack of keyboard shortcuts.)
June 11, 2012: James Salter, too [writes exquisite letters] -- and Salter uses an old typewriter and rewrites by hand. His handwriting is very good. He uses hotel stationery, some of it very exotic. (John Irving, page 8 of The New York Times Book Review, June 10, 2012.) I can testify that he's correct, having myself received a letter from Salter, typewritten with hand corrections on stationery from an Austrian hotel.
July 11, 2012: Any fool can learn from his mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others. (Bismarck)
June 12, 2012: Twenty-first century Americans work an average of 350 hours more per years than their European counterparts. [p. 66]
... a society that moved its cultural center of gravity in the direction of noise would also be a society in danger of losing its adulthood... Such a society would almost certainly privilege adolescence [...and...] would be unable to manage either its financial or its natural resources ... for the common good. Its popular entertainments would resemble nothing so much as schoolyard hazing rituals ... or masturbatory fantasies... Its foreign policy would consist of swaggering about the globe picking fights with nations weaker than itself. [pp. 68-69]
When the debate becomes too shrill, only the shrill debate. [p. 71] (The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want, by Garret Keizer.)