Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American writer, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. (Click for full Wikipedia article.
A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.
All truly great achievements in history resulted from the actualization of principles, not from the clever evaluation of political conditions.
America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.
Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.
Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
Even a paranoid can have enemies.
I don't read books, I write them.
I've always acted alone. Americans like that immensely.
If you believe that their real intention is to kill you, it isn't unreasonable to believe that they would lie to you.
Intellectuals are cynical and cynics have never built a cathedral.
Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.
Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
The guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win.
The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault.
The superpowers often behave like two heavily armed blind men feeling their way around a room, each believing himself in mortal peril from the other, whom he assumes to have perfect vision.
The true conservative is not at home in social struggle. He will attempt to avoid unbridgeable schism, because he knows that a stable social structure thrives not on triumphs but on reconciliations.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
Those who learn from history are condemned to watch others repeat it.
We must learn to distinguish morality from moralizing.
Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.
Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize.
Happy birthday to one of my few personal heroes: Thomas Andrew Lehrer (born April 9, 1928). He is 29.44 today. (He always gives his birthday in Celsius.)
"Lehrer was able to express and to expose, in humorous verse and lilting
music, some of the most powerful dangers of the second half of the
century... Many of the causes of which Lehrer sang became, three decades
later, part of the main creative impulse of mankind.
-Sir Martin Gilbert, historian, who in 1999 named Lehrer one of the ten great figures of the previous 100 years.
Observations from Tom Lehrer:
Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media. What we have now- to quote myself at my most pretentious- is a nimiety of scurrility with a concomitant exiguity of taste. For example, the freedom (hooray!) to say almost anything you want on television about society's problems has been co-opted (alas!) by the freedom to talk instead about flatulence, orgasms, genitalia, masturbation, etc., etc., and to replace real comment with pop-culture references and so-called "adult" language. Irreverence is easy- what's hard is wit.
Always predict the worst and you be hailed as a prophet.
Base eight is just like base ten, really... if you're missing two fingers.
I don't like people to get the idea that I have to do this for a living. I mean, it isn't as though I had to do this, you know, I could be making, oh, $3,000 a year, just teaching.
I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.
I feel that if any songs are going to come out of World War III, we'd better start writing them now.
I have never used an illegal drug in my life. Also, I have never told a lie.
I never got a Ph.D. I wanted to be a graduate student all my life and they wanted me to be a Ph.D. These two goals were incompatible.
I think there is a lingering desire for literacy and I pride myself on being literate to the point of pretentiousness. I still say “whom” a lot. Why say “since” when you can say “in as much as?”
I'd like to take you now, on wings of song as it were, and try and help you forget for a while your drab, wretched lives.
I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another and I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that!
If anyone disagrees with anything I say, I am quite prepared to not only retract it, but also to deny under oath I ever said it.
If you've been to Cincinatti, there's no need to go to Cleveland.
In my youth... there were certain words you couldn't say in front of a girl; now you can say them, but you can't say “girl.”
Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends upon what you put into it.
No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has the Truth. To be an atheist is almost as arrogant as to be a fundamentalist. But then again, I can get pretty arrogant.
On my income tax 1040 it says “Check this box if you are blind.” I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away.
Once all the Germans were warlike and mean
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in nineteen eighteen
And they've hardly bothered us since then.
MLF Lullaby (1964)
Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Self-indulgence is better than no indulgence at all.
(YouTube video: "Hannukah in Santa Monica")
(YouTube video: "All I Want for Christmas is Jews")
America's greatest musical satirist and inventor of the Jell-O shot, Tom Lehrer, turns 83 today. The last professionally recorded video of Lehrer performing before an audience is the clip below, from a 1998 tribute to Broadway producer Cameron Mackintosh. And, yes, that really is Stephen Sondheim introducing him.
I think there is a lingering desire for literacy and I pride myself on being literate to the point of pretentiousness.
I still say "whom" a lot. Why say "since" when you can say "in as much as?"
It's already 72° here in Tampa, and either the humidity is 90% or my cell phone is almost fully charged. (Note to self: check data locations on new Droid screen layout.)
Challenging work. Sometimes I have to stop, take a deep breath, and ask myself, "What would MacGyver do in a situation like this?"
The hotel vending machines are reasonably priced, but have an interesting customer gouging approach. My first purchase in any of their machines never dispenses; it gets stuck in the chute. The devices appear to be bolted to the floor so I can't shake them. Rather than waste time calling maintenance, I buy a second one of whatever I previously purchased, and both then fall successfully from the twirly-thingie.
Local television news is stupid everywhere. Saw a segment on how to deal with the high temperature and humidity. In Tampa. In September.
Time for breakfast and the free scrambled eggs and sausage patties. As Tom Lehrer sang, "To think of all the marvelous ways they're using plastics nowadays..."
Categories: Tom Lehrer