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Really, NBC?

Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 10:16 AM EDT
Jul 31 2012

Instead of showing the Olympic Opening Ceremony's tribute to the victims of the London 7/7 terrorist attack, NBC ran a tape of Ryan Seacrest interviewing Michael Phelps.

Remember what England did after 9/11?

(YouTube video of "The Star-Spangled Banner" performed at Buckingham Palace after 9/11.)

Categories: England, Olympics, TV, Video, YouTube

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Happy birthday, Superman

Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 8:02 AM EDT
Jul 31 2012

Actor Dean Cain turns 46 today. In the 1993-1997 ABC series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Cain perfectly played an updated version of the superhero. While the show embraced many elements of the traditional Superman mythos, the major twist was the portrayal of Clark Kent as the "real person", and the Superman identity as a disguise. As he said in one episode, "Clark Kent is who I am... Superman is what I can do."

(YouTube video: Dean Cain panel at Wizard World, 2012)

Categories: Dean Cain, Superman, Video, YouTube

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Political Jokes of the Week

Published Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 9:24 AM EDT
Jul 30 2012

Mitt Romney is now in London to see his horse compete in the dressage event. Dressage is kind of like horse ballet. Finally something that connects Romney with the average American voter.
-Jay Leno

Mitt Romney said while he is in Europe, he won't be apologizing to anybody. He has nothing to apologize for. A lot of those people overseas now have good jobs because of him. They are very very grateful.
-Jay Leno

The Jim Henson company, which created the Muppets, have cut their ties with Chick-Fil-A because of the company's anti-gay marriage stance. Insiders say the move came after intense pressure from Bert and Ernie.
-Jay Leno

To prepare for the Republican Convention, a strip club in Tampa, Florida has hired a Sarah Palin look-a-like to perform. This stripper is so much like Sarah Palin, she actually has written on her hand, 'take off top, shake breasts, swing around pole.'
-Jay Leno

A cyber attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is causing all their computers to play AC/DC. Today, the attackers said 'If our demands aren't met, tomorrow we start blasting Nickelback.'
-Conan O'Brien

There's talk that Mitt Romney's campaign is paying for Twitter followers. Yes, he's paying for people to like him. Or, as it's called politics.
-Jimmy Fallon

Mitt Romney's search for a vice president continues. As you know, one of Mitt Romney's problems is that he's never hired an American for a job before, so this is new.
-Jay Leno

A new study published by The British Medical Journal found that inactivity can kill you. I mean, these are the kind of findings that just scare the hell out of Congress.
-Jay Leno

Olympics can inspire American kids to get active. Or it can inspire American kids to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics.
-Conan O'Brien

Even though the Olympics take place during Ramadan, some Muslim athletes said they will not fast during games. Then, after sampling the British food, they said, on second thought, fasting sounds good.
-Conan O'Brien

Speaking of Romney, I read that his campaign has raised $10 million in California over the last two days. One million was from a fundraiser while $9 million was from Romney checking a pocket in some old khakis.
-Jimmy Fallon

The European countries are really hoping to do well in the Olympics. If they win gold medals, they can use them as cash.
-David Letterman

And a collection from the prolific Andy Borowitz:

US politics: the opposite of the Olympics. Every 4 years, billions of dollars are spent to show humans at their worst.

I worry that all the pomp and excitement of the Olympics is making the world forget that Kristen cheated on Rob.

Romney: "The Israelis love me. They've even given me a neat nickname: Mittshugenah."

Dick Cheney says Sarah Palin was not ready to be VP, according to We Know That Already, Dumbass magazine.

Romney: "I don't mind that the British keep saying I'm a banker, but why do they pronounce it with a W?"

Mitt Romney is coming across as an out-of-touch rich person in a country that still has a Queen.

If the Internet is any guide, the two things pro-gun people hate most are 1) background check and 2) spell check.

Categories: Andy Borowitz, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, Dick Cheney, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Mitt Romney, Olympics, Political Jokes of the Week, Politics, Sarah Palin

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Published Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 6:29 AM EDT
Jul 30 2012

Yep. It's Monday.

Categories: Patrick Stewart, Photo of the day, Star Trek

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Quotes of the day

Published Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 7:53 AM EDT
Jul 29 2012

Quotes of the day- Don Marquis:
Donald Robert Perry Marquis (July 28, 1878 – June 16, 1937) was a humorist, journalist, and author. He was variously a novelist, poet, newspaper columnist, and playwright. He is remembered best for creating the characters "Archy" (a cockroach) and "Mehitabel" (a cat), supposed authors of humorous verse. (Click for full article.)

A demagogue is a person with whom we disagree as to which gang should mismanage the country.

A hypocrite is a person who- but who isn't?

A man thinks he amounts to a great deal but to a flea or a mosquito a human being is merely something good to eat.

A man who is so dull that he can learn only by personal experience is too dull to learn anything important by experience.

A pessimist is a man who has had to listen to too many optimists.

A sequel is an admission that you've been reduced to imitating yourself.

An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it.

An optimist is a guy that has never had much experience.

Ancestors never boast of the descendants who boast of ancestors.

Bores bore each other, too, but it never seems to teach them anything.

By the time a bartender knows what drink a man will have before he orders, there is little else about him worth knowing.

Did you ever notice that when a politician does get an idea he usually gets it all wrong?

Each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.

Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint.

Fate often puts all the material for happiness and prosperity into a man's hands just to see how miserable he can make himself.

Fishing: a delusion entirely surrounded by liars in old clothes.

Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.

Heredity runs in our family.

Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.

How beautiful is the universe when something digestible meets with an eager digestion. How sweet the embrace when atom rushes to the arms of waiting atom.

I am so unlucky that I run into accidents that started out to happen to someone else.

I have noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food, they often find that there is enough for all of them. I wonder if it might not be the same with the human race.

I've conquered that god-damn willpower of mine. Gimme a double scotch.

Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun.

If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when they're reading to themselves.

Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself, “Have I vibrated in tune with the Infinite today, or have I failed?”

Not every woman in old slippers can manage to look like Cinderella.

Ours is a world where people don't know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it.

Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Poetry is what Milton saw when he went blind.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Prohibition makes you want to cry into your beer and denies you the beer to cry into.

Some persons are likeable in spite of their unswerving integrity.

The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.

The female of all species are most dangerous when they appear to retreat.

The most pleasant and useful persons are those who leave some of the problems of the universe for God to worry about.

The trouble with the public is that there is too much of it.

There is nothing quite as habit-forming as money.

Vibrations are the key to everything. Atoms used to be, but atoms have quite gone out.

What man calls civilization always results in deserts.

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: “Whose?”

When you can't have anything else, you can have virtue.

Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.

Categories: Don Marquis, Quotes of the day

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Eligible for Social Security

Published Saturday, July 28, 2012 @ 6:36 AM EDT
Jul 28 2012

Jonathan Edwards (born July 28, 1946; Aitkin, Minnesota) talks about Sunshine:

Categories: Eligible for Social Security, Jonathan Edwards, Music, Politics, Video, YouTube

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If I had a Queen, I'd want it to be Elizabeth...

Published Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:49 PM EDT
Jul 27 2012

YouTube video of James Bond escorting Queen Elizabeth
to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.
With Corgis!

Categories: Daniel Craig, Dogs, James Bond, Olympics, Queen Elizabeth, TV, Video, YouTube

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #903

Published Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 9:55 AM EDT
Jul 27 2012

Yep. Any day now.

Categories: Photo of the day, Signs of the Apocalypse

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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 7:12 AM EDT
Jul 27 2012

Quotes of the day- Gertrude Stein:
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American writer, poet, and art collector who spent most of her life in France. The youngest of a family of five children, she was born February 3, 1874, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (merged with Pittsburgh in 1907) to upper-class German Jewish parents, Daniel and Amelia Stein. Her father was a railroad executive whose investments in streetcar lines and real estate made the family wealthy. (Click for full article.)

A house in the country is not the same as a country house.

A real failure does not need an excuse. It is an end in itself.

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.

Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really frightening.

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.

Everybody thinks that this civilization has lasted a very long time but it really does take very few grandfathers' granddaughters to take us back to the dark ages.

History takes time... History makes memory.

I do want to get rich, but I never want to do what there is to get rich.

I have always noticed that in portraits of really great writers the mouth is always firmly closed.

I like a view but I like to sit with my back turned to it.

If you can do it then why do it?

In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is.

It is always a mistake to be plain-spoken.

It is funny the two things most men are proudest of is the thing that any man can do and doing does in the same way, that is being drunk and being the father of their son.

It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself.

It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.

Let me listen to me and not to them.

Money is always there, but the pockets change.

Pigeons on the grass alas.

Poetry consists in a rhyming dictionary and things seen.

Romance is everything.

Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone.

The deepest thing in any one is the conviction of the bad luck that follows boasting.

The unreal is natural, so natural that it makes of unreality the most natural of anything natural. That is what America does, and that is what America is.

There ain't no answer. There ain't going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer.

There is no there there. (Referring to her childhood in Oakland.)

Very likely education does not make very much difference.

We are always the same age inside.

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.

Categories: Gertrude Stein

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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 6:15 AM EDT
Jul 26 2012

Quotes of the day- George Bernard Shaw:
George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 – November 2, 1950) was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege. (Click here for full article.)

A doctor's reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care.

A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned.

A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.

A man never tells you anything until you contradict him.

A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell.

A pessimist thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.

Alcohol is a very necessary article... it enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.

Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelettes.

An Englishman is a creature who thinks he is being virtuous when he is only being uncomfortable.

Anarchism is a game at which the police can beat you.

As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.

Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.

Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.

Changeable women are more enduring than monotonous ones. They are sometimes murdered but seldom deserted.

Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.

Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.

Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error.

Criminals do not die by the hands of the law; they die by the hands of other men.

Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is poverty. What is matter with the rich is uselessness.

Do you know what a pessimist is? A person who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself and hates them for it.

Every man over forty is a scoundrel.

Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.

Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich, something for nothing.

Get married, but never to a man who is home all day.

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.

I don't know if there are men on the moon, but if there are, they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum.

I make a fortune from criticizing the policy of the government, and then hand it over to the government in taxes to keep it going.

I'm an atheist and I thank God for it.

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.

If nations had any sense, they would begin a war by sending their oldest men to the trenches. They would not risk the lives of their young men except in the last extremity.

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton you might as well make it dance.

If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman's pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.

In Heaven an angel is nobody in particular.

In order to fully realize how bad a popular play can be, it is necessary to see it twice.

Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

It is most unwise for people in love to marry.

Lack of money is the root of all evil.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.

Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability.

Morality is not respectability.

My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity.

My specialty is being right when other people are wrong.

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.

No public man in these islands ever believes that the Bible means what it says: he is always convinced that it says what he means.

Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.

Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.

Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.

Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad.

Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny: they have only shifted it to another shoulder.

Rich men without convictions are more dangerous in modern society than poor women without chastity.

Science is always wrong- it never solves a problem without creating ten more.

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

Taste: a quality possessed by persons without originality or moral courage.

The Churches must learn humility as well as teach it.

The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity.

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

[The game of chess is] A foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever, when they are only wasting their time.

The greatest danger in communication is the illusion it has been achieved.

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.

The more I see of the monied classes, the more I understand the guillotine.

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

The nation's morals are like its teeth, the more decayed they are the more it hurts to touch them.

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want; and, if they can't find them, make them.

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

The problem with communication is the assumption that it has been accomplished.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist.

The worst cliques are those which consist of one man.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity.

There are only two qualities in the world: efficiency and inefficiency, and only two sorts of people: the efficient and the inefficient.

There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.

There is danger, destruction, torment- what more do we need to make us merry?

There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it

There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.

Two people getting together to write a book is like three people getting together to have a baby. One of them is superfluous.

We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.

We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.

We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years and justify our existence... on pain of liquidation.

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.

You can not believe in honor until you have achieved it. Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

You cannot have power for good without having power for evil too. Even mother's milk nourishes murderers as well as heroes.

You see things as they are and ask, “Why?” I dream things as they never were and ask, “Why not?”

You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.

Your word can never be as good as your bond because your memory can never be as trustworthy as your honor.

Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.

Youth, which is forgiven everything, forgives itself nothing: age, which forgives itself everything, is forgiven nothing.

Categories: George Bernard Shaw, Quotes of the day

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Headline of the day

Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 1:15 AM EDT
Jul 25 2012

AP Headline: "In sweeping indictment, Romney says Obama threatens US security"

Romney promises to keep US secrets safe: offshore, in the same vault where he stores his tax returns.

Categories: Headline of the day, KGB Opinion, Mitt Romney

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Quotes of the day

Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 25 2012

Quotes of the day- Eric Hoffer:
Eric Hoffer (July 25, 1902 – May 21, 1983) was an American social writer. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that his book The Ordeal of Change was his finest work. In 2001, the Eric Hoffer Award was established in his honor with permission granted by the Eric Hoffer Estate in 2005. (Click here for full article.)

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.

A society becomes stagnant when its people are too rational or too serious to be tempted by baubles.

A sublime religion inevitably generates a strong feeling of guilt. There is an unavoidable contrast between loftiness of profession and imperfection of practice. And, as one would expect, the feeling of guilt promotes hate and brazenness. Thus it seems that the more sublime the faith the more virulent the hatred it breeds.

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.

Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us.

Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for lost faith in ourselves.

Far more crucial than what we know or what we do not know is what we do not want to know.

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience- the knowledge that our mighty deeds will come to the ears of our contemporaries or “of those who are to be.”

Humility is not renunciation of pride but the substitution of one pride for another.

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.

It is a perplexing and unpleasant truth that when men have something worth fighting for, they do not feel like fighting.

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.

It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.

Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experiences as a sinner.

No one has a right to happiness.

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.

Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars, and a God somewhere in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.

Rudeness is now serving as a substitute for power, for faith, and for achievement.

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.

Scratch an intellectual and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the sound, and the smell of common folk.

Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.

Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.

Sometimes it seems that people hear best what we do not say.

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.

The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep.

The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.

The fear of becoming a has-been keeps some people from becoming anything.

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, rather, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life.

The greatest weariness comes from work not done.

The Greeks invented logic but were not fooled by it.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.

The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.

The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.

The so-called nonconformists travel in groups and woe unto him who doesn't conform.

The true believer is eternally incomplete, eternally insecure.

The well-adjusted make poor prophets.

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.

There is a tendency to judge a race, a nation or any distinct group by its least worthy members.

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.

To the intellectual, America's unforgivable sin is that it has revolutions without revolutionaries, and achieves the momentous in a matter-of-fact way.

Unlimited opportunities can be as potent a cause of frustration as a paucity or lack of opportunities.

We can remember minutely and precisely only the things which never really happened to us.

We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression.

We clamor for equality chiefly in matters in which we ourselves cannot hope to obtain excellence.

We have rudiments of reverence for the human body, but we consider as nothing the rape of the human mind.

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

We usually see only the things we are looking for- so much so that we sometimes see them where they are not.

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

When there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.

You cannot gauge the intelligence of an American by talking with him.

Categories: Eric Hoffer, Quotes of the day

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Cartoon of the day

Published Tuesday, July 24, 2012 @ 7:19 AM EDT
Jul 24 2012

Pat Byrnes / The New Yorker Collection, cartoonbank.com.

Categories: Cartoons, Pat Byrnes, The New Yorker

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Quotes of the day

Published Monday, July 23, 2012 @ 7:52 AM EDT
Jul 23 2012

Quotes of the day- Raymond Chandler:
Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at age forty-four, he decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been realized into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California. (Click for complete article.)

A really good detective never gets married.

Above all never forget that a marriage is in one way very much like a newspaper. It has to be made fresh every damn day of every damn year.

Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off.

Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.

Crime isn't a disease, it's a symptom. Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumor.

From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.

He didn't curl his lip because it had been curled when he came in.

He looked as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.

Hollywood is the kind of town where they stick a knife in your back and then arrest you for carrying a concealed weapon.

Hollywood is wonderful. Anyone who doesn't like it is either crazy or sober.

I hung up. It was a step in the right direction, but it didn't go far enough. I ought to have locked the door and hid under the desk.

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.

I never saw any of them again- except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them.

I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.

If you liked a book, don't meet the author.

If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up.

She opened her mouth like a firebucket and laughed. That terminated my interest in her. I couldn't hear the laugh but the hole in her face when she unzippered her teeth was all I needed.

She was kind of girl who'd eat all your cashews and leave you with nothing but peanuts and filberts.

Television's perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze.

The dilemma of the critic has always been that if he knows enough to speak with authority, he knows too much to speak with detachment.

The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like ear and smiled a small fluffy smile. She looked playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself, like a new kitten in a house where they don't care much about kittens.

The private detective of fiction is a fantastic creation who acts and speaks like a real man. He can be completely realistic in every sense but one, that one sense being that in life as we know it such a man would not be a private detective.

The solution, once revealed, must seem to have been inevitable. At least half of all the mystery novels published violate this law.

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart

We sneered at each other across the desk for a moment. He sneered better than I did.

When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.

Dead men are heavier than broken hearts

I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.

She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.

The General spoke again, slowly, using his strength as carefully as an out- of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings.

At three A.M. I was walking the floor listening to Khachaturyan working in a tractor factory. He called it a violin concerto. I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it.

The voice got as cool as a cafeteria dinner.

If you don't leave, I'll get somebody who will.

I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.

There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren't as good as others.

As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style.

The streets were dark with something more then night.

The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right. To say goodbye is to die a little.

I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.

Police business is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we get.

Some days I feel like playing it smooth. Some days I feel like playing it like a waffle iron.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Raymond Chandler

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Just sayin'...

Published Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:55 AM EDT
Jul 22 2012

Categories: Hypocrisy, Observations, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

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Quotes of the day

Published Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 12:32 AM EDT
Jul 22 2012

Quotes of the day- Carl Sandburg:
Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He was the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. H.L. Mencken called Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat". (Click for full article.)

A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.

I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.

I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.

I won't take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

Our lives are like a candle in the wind.

Six feet of earth make us all one size.

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.

Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.

The greatest cunning is to have none at all.

The history of the world and its peoples in three words: “born, troubled, died.”

There are people who want to be everywhere at once, and they get nowhere.

There are some people who can receive a truth by no other way than to have their understanding shocked and insulted.

There is an eagle in me that wants to soar and there is also a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

Time is the storyteller you can't shut up.

Yesterday is done. Tomorrow never comes. Today is here. If you don't know what to do, sit still and listen.

Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen.

I believe in everything- I am only looking for proofs.

Look out how you use proud words.

Man is a long time coming.
Man will yet win.
Brother may yet line up with brother:
This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.

If she (America) forgets where she came from, if the people lose sight of what brought them along, if she listens to the deniers and mockers, then will begin the rot and dissolution.

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.

Categories: Carl Sandburg, Quotes of the day

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You know we're in trouble...

Published Saturday, July 21, 2012 @ 2:06 PM EDT
Jul 21 2012

...when "satire" in The Onion is about the only honest, objective view you'll get of this abysmal situation.

Sadly, Nation Knows Exactly How Colorado
Shooting's Aftermath Will Play Out

(The Onion, July 20, 2012)

WASHINGTON-Americans across the nation confirmed today that, unfortunately, due to their extreme familiarity with the type of tragedy that occurred in a Colorado movie theater last night, they sadly know exactly how the events following the horrific shooting of 12 people will unfold.

While admitting they "absolutely hate" the fact they have this knowledge, the nation's 300 million citizens told reporters they can pinpoint down to the hour when the first candlelight vigil will be held, roughly how many people will attend, how many times the county sheriff will address the media in the coming weeks, and when the town-wide memorial service will be held.

Additionally, sources nationwide took no pleasure in confirming that some sort of video recording, written material, or disturbing photographs made by the shooter will be surfacing in about an hour or two.

"I hate to say it, but we as Americans are basically experts at this kind of thing by now,” said 45-year-old market analyst Jared Gerson, adding that the number of media images of Aurora, CO citizens crying and looking shocked is “pretty much right in line with where it usually is at this point." "The calls not to politicize the tragedy should be starting in an hour, but by 1:30 p.m. tomorrow the issue will have been politicized. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the shooter's high school classmate is interviewed within 45 minutes."

"It's like clockwork," said Gerson, who sighed, shook his head, and walked away.

According to the nation's citizenry, calls for a mature, thoughtful debate about the role of guns in American society started right on time, and should persist throughout the next week or so. However, the populace noted, the debate will soon spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of any substance, a fact Americans everywhere acknowledged they felt "absolutely horrible" to be aware of.

With scalpel-like precision, the American populace then went on to predict, to the minute, how long it will take for the media to swarm Aurora, CO, how long it will take for them to leave, and exactly when questions will be raised as to whether or not violence in movies and video games had something to do with the act.

The nation's citizens also confirmed that, any time now, some religious figure or cable news personality will say something unbelievably insensitive about the tragic shooting.

"Unfortunately, I've been through this a lot, and I pretty much have it down to a science when President Obama will visit Colorado, when he will meet with the families of those who lost loved ones, and when he will give his big speech that people will call 'unifying' and 'very presidential,'" Jacksonville resident Amy Brennen, 32, said, speaking for every other person in the country. "Nothing really surprises me when it comes to this kind of thing anymore. And that makes me feel terrible."

"Oh, and here's another thing I hate I know," Brennen continued, "In exactly two weeks this will all be over and it will be like it never happened."

Categories: Barack Obama, Hypocrisy, News Media, Observations, Politics, Questions for the Ages, Religion, Second Amendment, The Onion, TV, U.S. Constitution

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Quotes of the day

Published Saturday, July 21, 2012 @ 6:52 AM EDT
Jul 21 2012

Quotes of the day- Ernest Hemingway:
Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature. (Click here for full article.)

A big lie is more plausible than truth.

A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.

All good books have one thing in common- they are truer than if they had really happened.

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn... American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.

All politics is a matter of working hard without reward, or with a living wage for a time, in the hope of booty later.

All things truly wicked start from an innocence.

All thinking men are atheists.

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

America is the land of wide lawns and narrow minds.

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his friends.

And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Every day above earth is a good day

Everybody is friends when things are bad enough.

Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

However you make your living is where your talent lies.

I [like to write letters] because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something.

I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?

I've been in love (truly) with five women, the Spanish Republic and the 4th Infantry Division.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

It wasn't by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.

Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.

Never confuse movement with action.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead.

Nobody knows what's in him until he tries to pull it out. If there's nothing, or very little, the shock can kill a man.

One cat just leads to another.

Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.

That is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.

The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life- and one is as good as the other.

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.

The sole purpose of the cabaret is for unattached men to find complaisant women. All the rest is a wasting of time in bad air.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.

There is honor among pickpockets and honor among whores. It is simply that the standards differ.

There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.

There is no such thing as safety. There are so many seeking safety here now that they make a great danger. In seeking safety now you lose all.

They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

To be a successful father there's one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don't look at it for the first two years.

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

War is no longer made by simply analysed economic forces if it ever was. War is made or planned now by individual men, demagogues and dictators who play on the patriotism of their people to mislead them into a belief in the great fallacy of war when all their vaunted reforms have failed to satisfy the people they misrule.

Wars are Spinach. Life in general is the tough part. In war all you have to do is not worry and know how to read a map and co-ordinates.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

When some people hear an echo, they think they originated the sound.

When you give power to an executive you do not know who will be filling that position when the time of crisis comes.

When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.

You never understand anybody that loves you.

Categories: Ernest Hemingway, Quotes of the day

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Observation of the day

Published Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 7:24 AM EDT
Jul 20 2012

Categories: Christopher Hitchens, Observations, Quotes of the day

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James (Jimmy) Doohan: March 3, 1920 - July 20, 2005

Published Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 20 2012

A Public Farewell

"From one old engineer to another: thanks, mate."

Neil Armstrong congratulates James Doohan during the actor's final appearance at a Star Trek convention in August, 2004. Armstrong, the keynote speaker at a banquet in Doohan's honor, was an engineer prior to his NASA career. Doohan died on July 20, 2005, the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and Armstrong's first walk on the moon.
(Photo from Soul of Star Trek)

(from 8/30/2004):

With Jimmy Doohan's final public appearance as Montogomery Scott, I thought I'd rerun some stuff from a May 1999 KGB Report...

Beaming In Scotty: NBC, the television network responsible for the popularization of color television in the 60s and 70s and stereo television in the 80s, introduced the first regularly-scheduled high definition television program last month, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Commercial viability of the digital format notwithstanding, the network and Leno deserve credit for launching the new service with an appearance by actor Jimmy Doohan, portraying his Star Trek character Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. In an inspired bit during the opening monologue, Doohan's Scotty struggled with "overloaded high definition generators" in the bowels of NBC engineering, and solved the problem by "diverting power from one of the many NBC Datelines." We suspect there may be a closet Trekkie on Mr. Leno's staff- aside from the comedy angle, it's somehow appropriate and a little bit touching that Scotty would play a role in the first NBC HDTV broadcast. NBC, of course, originally aired Star Trek from 1966 to 1968. Doohan and the late Greg Morris, who played technical wizard Barney Collier on CBS' Mission: Impossible, are responsible for launching thousands of geekish techno-nerds into careers in computing. Imagine how much better we'd get along with technology today if Scotty and Barney ran Microsoft and Intel. Sigh.

My Scotty Story: I heard Doohan tell this at a convention. In gratitude to NASA for its assistance on the Trek movies, Paramount sends series stars to various space agency sites for publicity junkets. One problem with being Scotty, Doohan noted, is that real technicians think of him as the ultimate expert. During a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an engineer was showing the actor a radio receiver that processed data transmitted from a deep space probe. "We've noticed a frequency drift that seems to be induced by thermal variations on the antenna emitter circuit, and we haven't been able to devise a compensation schema. Do you think a dynamic beat frequency oscillator would be effective?" Aware that scores of technicians were breathlessly awaiting his diagnosis, and not wanting to embarrass the engineer who posed the question, Doohan smiled, cocked his head, and said in his lilting Scottish brogue, "Ah, laddie... sorry, but I dinna ken a thing aboot antiques."

Requiem for a Fictional Scotsman
(originally published 7/24/2005)

Other kids worshipped baseball players. My hero was a fictional Scottish engineer from the 23rd century.

Before the terms geek and nerd entered the vernacular, we were called brains, or, more cruelly, weirdos. We built Heathkits, disassembled televisions and tape recorders, and bribed the librarian to give us first crack at the new issues of Popular Science and Popular Electronics, usually by changing the ribbon or switching the golf balls on her newfangled IBM Selectric.

The normal people left us alone until they needed their eight tracks fixed, or someone to set up the projector for health class, or install a new ink pad on the mimeograph machine. Task completed, we would be summarily dismissed with a curt thank you. We'd return to the backstage of the auditorium/gym, the traditional sanctuary of the oddballs on the audio/visual team.

Scotty was our hero because he was one of us. Instead of the backstage, he was buried in the bowels of the Enterprise's engineering section, which wasn't even in the main part of the ship. There he ruled, serenely, totally in control, obtaining supreme satisfaction in the knowledge that while the idiots on the bridge were supposedly in charge, he was the one who made possible their continued existence.

And then there was the Spock business. We Scotty aficionados resented the Vulcan science officer. In the first place, the whole "I'm totally in control and have no emotions" thing was patently dishonest. He was like the guy on the AV squad who discovered girls over the summer and was suddenly Mr. Cool. Yeah, right. When his girlfriend dumped him for the football team towel manager (quasi-athlete is still better than certified nerd), he nearly fried the pre-amp in the PA system by replacing the 1 megohm resistor in the main power supply with a 1K unit while in his emotionally distraught state.

Spock was our high school principal, a pointy eared deus ex machina who appeared and broke the rules of the game. I recall spending days overhauling the motor and drive assembly of an old Wollensak reel-to-reel mono tape recorder, finally getting its wow and flutter back within specs. Rather than praise my efforts, the principal said "Oh, we'll just buy a new one." Buy a new one? The possibility had never even been presented to me! This is the parsimonious wretch who only two weeks ago made me use rubber bands to replace the capstan drive belt to save 50 cents! No wonder Scotty drank himself into oblivion when he was off duty!

The Star Trek writers used Spock and abused Scotty in the same manner. They placed the Enterprise in some ludicrous situation which had no resolution, then sent Spock down into engineering to order Scotty to perform some action totally in violation of Trek's already delusional laws of physics.

Until the arrival of Bill Gates, Scotty was the first expression of the belief that the nerds could probably run things better, but were disinclined to deal with such mundane challenges. Notice that when he was forced to take the con of the Enterprise- usually because Kirk was being held captive by the father of the native princess he'd just boinked into delirium, and the hyper- intelligent Spock had been rendered unconscious by a judiciously applied blunt object wielded by an alien with the appearance and IQ of a turnip- Scotty was by far the best strategic commander of the lot.

When you saw him in the captain's chair, you knew Kirk and Spock had screwed up yet again- but you also knew things would turn out fine because the Scotsman would handily defeat the enemy du jour and would beam his sorry superiors' behinds back up to ship before the last commercial break. And then what would happen? The episode would end with Kirk and Spock congratulating themselves on their ingenuity while Scotty had already disappeared back into the depths of engineering to deal with the real responsibility of keeping the ship running.

Those of you who have saved customer presentations, demos and initial installations from ten-thumbed marketing types know what I'm talking about. The suits go out for a night on the town to celebrate their technical savvy and sales skills, while you're stuck in the cheap hotel room with a poorly stocked mini-bar that you're not permitted to access anyway because of the cost, on the phone resolving a customer crisis while simultaneously answering inane support questions via e-mail. And frankly, you're happy about it. Who wants to listen to salesmen talk about sports?

But I digress.

Finally, Scotty embodied the benefits of technology and the "can do" attitude that pervaded the 60s. Oh, he might complain mightily about some absurd demand being placed upon him: what geek isn't conservative when it comes to maintaining stable environments for critical systems? But he believed, as did his real-world counterpart Gene Krantz, that "Failure is not an option." It's the unspoken challenge that motivates those of us for whom Scotty is the ultimate role model.

Montgomery Scott, the fictional character, will continue to perform engineering miracles indefinitely on film, video, DVD, and media yet to be devised. For that, we are grateful. But I sincerely mourn the passing of James Montgomery Doohan- ironically, on the 36th anniversary of the first manned moon landing- who made Scotty the cultural icon he became.

The word is given, Mr. Scott. Warp speed.

Categories: James (Jimmy) Doohan, Jimmy Doohan, Montgomery Scott, Neil Armstrong, Star Trek

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We have the technology...

Published Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 8:26 AM EDT
Jul 19 2012

Thanks to long-time KGB Report friend Rafal Sulejman, the search engine for the KGB Quotation Database has been enhanced and updated. It's no longer flummoxed by punctuation characters, so names like Hunter S. Thompson and H.L. Mencken produce the desired results.

Try it out here.

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.

Categories: KGB Blog News, KGB Quotations Database, Quotes of the day, Rafal Sulejman

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Photo of the day

Published Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 7:07 AM EDT
Jul 19 2012

"We're on a mission from Dog."

Categories: Dogs, Photo of the day

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Random observations, quotations, and just plain gonzo

Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 1:45 AM EDT
Jul 18 2012

Mitt Romney was promised that he'd get the majority of delegates in the GOP primaries and would be the presumptive nominee. The guy with the ruddy complexion, sulfurous b.o. and pointed prehensile tail didn't actually say he'd get the nomination. Always read the small print before you sign anything, Mittens. Especially in blood. (Wasn't a variation of this an old Twilight Zone episode?)


The Internet is run by a guy named Heisenberg, and his principles are uncertain.
-Kevin G. Barkes


Expect a resolution in short order to the Viacom-DirecTV dispute. My mother discovered yesterday that Jon Stewart's Daily Show was missing from her DVR. She was not amused, and called me prior to phoning DirecTV's customer service line. I think she just wanted to be certain that I was in town if she needed bail money. There are stiff penalties for using that kind of language on the telephone, even if you're an 85-year-old retired teacher with a vocabulary that spans two languages and can cause sailors to blush in either.


Speaking of DirecTV and The Daily Show, the program's staff constantly updated the satellite provider's customers on Twitter with Viacom shows they were missing during the blackout:

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Latest episode of Spike TV's "World's Fullest Bras."

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Teen Grandmom Season Premier!

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Nazis vs. Martians on Deadliest Warrior. Go Nazis!

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ On Centric, that Soul Train Line dance your uncle was in.

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ "Harlan Oaklee's Meth Kitchen" premiere on Spike TV.

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Rick Astley and Adam Ant host VH-1's "Hits of the Reagan Era" special.

#OnViacomRightNow‬ The cast of "Real World: St. Thomas" clean their house and treat each other like human beings. Once in a lifetime, people!

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Roseanne puts special surprise in the LunchBox's loose meat on TV Land. Meanwhile, Darlene broods.

‪#OnViacomRightNow‬ Snooki tells Jersey Shore housemates she's pregnant, switches to white wine.


Also on Twitter, a Tea Party member called Keith Olberman a "douchback." Better than being a humpbag, I guess.


Andy Borowitz was on a roll, as well:

Judging from Internet comments, the only thing the right wing hates more than healthcare is spelling.

Having your movie attacked by Rush Limbaugh is like having your movie attacked by an obese drug addict.

McCain: "Romney had all his money hidden in Switzerland. Sarah Palin was better, because she had never heard of Switzerland."

I had never heard of Yahoo's new CEO, so I Googled her.

John McCain calls Obama's 1st term "the worst thing I've ever observed." I guess he didn't watch Katie Couric's interview with his VP pick.

To celebrate National Karma Day, a pack of wild dogs just strapped Mitt Romney to the roof of a car.


Bonus birthday quotes of the day- Hunter S. Thompson:

Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author. He first came to popular attention with the publication of Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1966), although the work he remains best known for is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), which was first serialised in Rolling Stone magazine.

Thompson became a counter cultural figure as the creator of "Gonzo Journalism," an experimental style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He had an inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon, who he claimed represented "that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character" and who he characterised in what many consider to be his best book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (1972). He was known also for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs; his love of firearms and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.

While suffering a bout of health problems, he committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 67.

The full Wikipedia article on Thompson is available here.

A collection of Thompson quotes from the KGB Quotations Database is available here.

"I was also drunk, crazy and heavily armed at all times. People trembled and cursed when I came into a public room and started screaming in German"
-Hunter S. Thompson

Categories: Andy Borowitz, Daily Show, Hunter S. Thompson, Jon Stewart, KGB Family, KGB Opinion, Mitt Romney, Observations, Politics, Quotes of the day

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Bob Babbitt (1937-2012): The Motown legend from Pittsburgh

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 12:30 AM EDT
Jul 17 2012

Bob Babbitt

Bob Babbitt, the bass guitarist who provided the driving, iconic bass lines for "Cool Jerk," "Band of Gold," "The Tears of a Clown," and scores of other hits, died yesterday of brain cancer. He was 74.

Born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh on November 26, 1937, Babbitt was a member of Motown's house band, The Funk Brothers, from 1966 to 1972. He alternated with the legendary James Jamerson on most of the label's hits.

Babbitt's legendary performances include "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols; "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder; "War" by Edwin Starr; "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye; "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne; "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

One of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry, Babbitt played on hundreds of recordings for scores of stars. His distinctive stylings helped to make many of those songs classic hits. A small sample includes "Little Town Flirt" by Del Shannon; "I Got a Name" by Jim Croce; "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips; "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band; and "(The) Rubberband Man" by The Spinners. His bass line in "Scorpio" was the standard by which bass players were judged in the 70s; those who couldn't duplicate Babbitt's performance didn't get the gig.

Babbitt is featured in the 2002 film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," which documented the Funk Brothers' previously unheralded contribution to the label's success. He also performed on Phil Collins' 2010 Motown tribute album, "Going Back." In March, 2011 he appeared onstage in an episode of American Idol, backing up Jacob Lusk's performance of "You're All I Need To Get By" for the show's "Motown Week."

A full biography of Babbitt is available on his web site.

As a kid growing up in Homestead, PA in the 60s and 70s, Babbitt was an integral part of my daily existence, even though I didn't learn of his contributions- let alone his name- until decades later. Motown was everywhere then- and for me, it still is. I don't think I've gone more than two or three days without hearing something with a Babbitt bass line since I bought "Cool Jerk" at the little record store on Eighth Avenue in July '66.

Thanks, Bob, for all the memories.

(YouTube video: Cool Jerk, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown")

(YouTube video: Love Is Like A Heat Wave, with Bob Babbitt on bass,
from the film Phil Collins' "Going Back" documentary.)

Categories: Bob Babbitt, Motown, Music, Video, YouTube

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"Sometimes I get this crazy dream that I just take off in my car...

Published Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 6:10 AM EDT
Jul 16 2012

...but you can travel on ten thousand miles, and still stay where you are..."

Harry Forster Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) was an American singer-songwriter best known for his folk rock songs, including "Taxi", "W*O*L*D", and the number-one hit "Cat's in the Cradle". Chapin was also a dedicated humanitarian who fought to end world hunger; he was a key player in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977. In 1987, Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work. (Click here for full article.)

(YouTube video: Harry Chapin performing "W*O*L*D")

(YouTube video: Harry Chapin performing "Circle")

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the night-time, 'til the daybreak comes around
All my life's a circle, but I can't tell you why
The seasons spinning 'round again, the years keep rolling by

It seems like I've been here before, I can't remember when
But I've got this funny feeling that we'll all get together again
There's no straight lines make up my life, and all my roads are bends
There's no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead ends

I've found you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same
But then we lose each other, it's like a children's game
As I find you here again the thought runs through my mind
Our love is like a circle, let's go round one more time

Categories: Harry Chapin, Music, Video, YouTube

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Photo of the day

Published Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 5:22 PM EDT
Jul 15 2012

Categories: Barack Obama, Elections, Mitt Romney, Photo of the day, Political Jokes of the Week, Politics

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Quotes of the day

Published Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 12:08 AM EDT
Jul 15 2012

Quotes of the day- Anton Chekov:
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (January 29, 1860 – July 15, 1904) was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practised as a doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress." (Click for full article.)

Any idiot can face a crisis. It's this day-to-day living that wears you out.

Better a debauched canary than a pious wolf.

Better to perish from fools than to accept praises from them.

Despicable means used to achieve laudable goals render the goals themselves despicable.

Everyone has the same God; only people differ.

He who doesn’t know how to be a servant should never be allowed to be a master; the interests of public life are alien to anyone who is unable to enjoy others’ successes, and such a person should never be entrusted with public affairs.

I don't know anything about the ballet; all I know is that during the intermission the ballerinas stink like horses.

If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there.

If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry.

It is easier to ask of the poor than of the rich.

It is unfortunate that we try to solve the simplest questions cleverly, and therefore make them unusually complicated. We should seek a simple solution.

Love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something.

Lying is the same as alcoholism. Liars prevaricate even on their deathbeds.

Man is what he believes.

Money, like vodka, turns a person into an eccentric.

Of course politics is an interesting and engrossing thing. It offers no immutable laws, nearly always prevaricates, but as far as blather and sharpening the mind go, it provides inexhaustible material.

One can prove or refute anything at all with words. Soon people will perfect language technology to such an extent that they’ll be proving with mathematical precision that twice two is seven.

One must speak about serious things seriously.

Solomon made a great mistake when he asked for wisdom.

The bourgeoisie loves so-called “positive” types and novels with happy endings since they lull one into thinking that it is fine to simultaneously acquire capital and maintain one’s innocence, to be a beast and still be happy.

The government is not God. It does not have the right to take away that which it can’t return even if it wants to.

The more refined one is, the more unhappy.

The sea has neither meaning nor pity.

The world is a fine place. The only thing wrong with it is us. How little justice and humility there is in us, how poorly we understand patriotism!

They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.

Those who come a hundred or two hundred years after us will despise us for having lived our lives so stupidly and tastelessly. Perhaps they’ll find a means to be happy.

When a person doesn’t understand something, he feels internal discord: however he doesn’t search for that discord in himself, as he should, but searches outside of himself. Thence a war develops with that which he doesn’t understand.

When a thinking man reaches maturity and attains to full consciousness he cannot help feeling that he is in a trap from which there is no escape.

Women do not forgive failure.

You will not become a saint through other people's sins.

Categories: Anton Chekov, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day

Published Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 5:29 AM EDT
Jul 14 2012

Quotes of the day- Adlai E. Stevenson II:
Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (February 5, 1900 – July 14, 1965) was an American politician, noted for his intellectual demeanor, eloquent oratory, and promotion of liberal causes in the Democratic Party. He served as the 31st Governor of Illinois, and received the Democratic Party's nomination for president in 1952 and 1956; both times he was defeated by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination for a third time in the election of 1960, but was defeated by Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. After his election, President Kennedy appointed Stevenson as the Ambassador to the United Nations; he served from 1961 to 1965. He died on July 14, 1965 in London, England after suffering a heart attack.

His most famous moment came on October 25, 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, when he gave a presentation at an emergency session of the Security Council. He forcefully asked the Soviet representative, Valerian Zorin, if his country was installing missiles in Cuba, punctuated with the famous demand "Don't wait for the translation, answer 'yes' or 'no'!" Following Zorin's refusal to answer the abrupt question, Stevenson retorted, "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over." In one of the most memorable moments in U.N. history, Stevenson then showed photographs that proved the existence of missiles in Cuba, just after the Soviet ambassador had implied they did not exist.

Stevenson was assaulted by an anti-United Nations protesters in Dallas, Texas, on October 24, 1963, one month before the assassination of Kennedy in that same city. A women struck him on the head with a sign, and a man spat on him and on a policeman. Amid the furor, Stevenson said of his assailants: "I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school." (Click for full article.)

A beauty is a woman you notice. A charmer is one who notices you.

A diplomat's life is made up of three ingredients: protocol, Geritol and alcohol.

A hungry man is not a free man.

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

Accuracy is to a newspaper what virtue is to a lady, except that a newspaper can always print a retraction.

After four years at the United Nations I sometimes yearn for the peace and tranquillity of a political convention.

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. All change is the result of a change in the contemporary state of mind.

America is a country that can choke on a gnat, or swallow tigers.

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.

Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.

Do not... regard the critics as questionable patriots. What were Washington and Jefferson and Adams but profound critics of the colonial status quo?

Every age needs men who will redeem the time by living with a vision of the things that are to be.

Flattery is all right so long as you don't inhale.

Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set.

He who slings mud generally loses ground.

I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

I have tried to talk about the issues in this campaign... But, strangely enough, my friends, this road has been a lonely road because I never meet anybody coming the other way.

I regret that I have but one law firm to give to my country.

Ignorance is stubborn and prejudice dies hard.

In America any boy may become President, and I suppose it's just one of the risks he takes.

In matters of national security emotion is no substitute for intelligence, nor rigidity for prudence. To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man- and also a nation.

In quiet places, reason abounds.

It will be helpful in our mutual objective to allow every man in America to look his neighbor in the face and see a man- not a color.

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.

Laws are never as effective as habits.

Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that he sometimes has to eat them.

Man has wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

Nature is indifferent to the survival of the human species, including Americans.

Nixon is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump for a speech on conservation.

Nothing so dates a man as to decry the younger generation.

Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

Power corrupts, but lack of power corrupts absolutely.

Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.

Some people approach every problem with an open mouth.

The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.

The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.

The human race has improved everything except the human race.

The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.

The important thing is not to believe your own propaganda.

The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

The time to stop a revolution is at the beginning, not the end.

The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism.

There are worse things than losing an election; the worst thing is to lose one's convictions and not tell the people the truth.

There is no evil in the atom, only in men's souls.

There is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action.

There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.

They pick a President and then for four years they pick on him.

Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.

To strike freedom of the mind with the fist of patriotism is an old an ugly subtlety.

True Patriotism, it seems to me, is based on tolerance and a large measure of humility.

Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.

Unreason and anti-intellectualism abominate thought. Thinking implies disagreement; and disagreement implies nonconformity; and nonconformity implies heresy; and heresy implies disloyalty- so, obviously, thinking must be stopped. But shouting is not a substitute for thinking and reason is not the subversion but the salvation of freedom.

We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.

We have confused the free with the free and easy.

We inherited freedom. We seem unaware that freedom has to be remade and re-earned in each generation of man.

We must never delude ourselves into thinking that physical power is a substitute for moral power, which is the true sign of national greatness.

What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is, for the most part, incommunicable.

When political ammunition runs low, inevitably the rusty artillery of abuse is wheeled into action.

With the supermarket as our temple and the singing commercial as our litany, are we likely to fire the world with an irresistible vision of America's exalted purpose and inspiring way of life?

Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one.

You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.

You will find that truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal. For, in the vernacular, we Americans are suckers for good news.

Categories: Adlai E. Stevenson II, Elections, History, Politics, Quotes of the day

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It's Friday the 13th...

Published Friday, July 13, 2012 @ 8:12 AM EDT
Jul 13 2012

...and it's going to be one of those days...

Categories: Computers, Friday the 13th

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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 @ 6:06 AM EDT
Jul 12 2012

Quotes of the day- Buckminster Fuller:
Richard Buckminster Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American philosopher, systems theorist, architect, and inventor, known to many of his friends and fans as "Bucky" Fuller. He created and popularized terms such as "Spaceship Earth", ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, the most famous of which is the geodesic dome. (Click for full article.)

All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly- right now.

As a consequence of the slavish “categoryitis” the scientifically illogical, and as we shall see, often meaningless questions “Where do you live?” “What are you?” “What religion?” “What race?” “What nationality?” are all thought of today as logical questions. By the twenty-first century it either will have become evident to humanity that these questions are absurd and anti-evolutionary or men will no longer be living on Earth.

Corporations are neither physical nor metaphysical phenomena. They are socioeconomic ploys- legally enacted game-playing- agreed upon only between overwhelmingly powerful socioeconomic individuals and by them imposed upon human society and its all unwitting members.

Dare to be naïve.

Don't fight forces, use them.

Every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less.

Everything you've learned in school as obvious becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.

God, to me, it seems is a verb, not a noun, proper or improper.

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.

I find people only listen to you when they ask you to talk to them.

I think it's absolutely touch-and-go whether we're going to make it.

It is the integrity of each individual human that is in final examination. On personal integrity hangs humanity's fate.

Life is the spirit incarnate in time.

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.

People are born with legs, not roots.

Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers.

Pollution is nothing but resources we're not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.

Relativity is inherently convergent, though convergent toward a plurality of centers of abstract truths.

Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don't hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.

The most important thing to teach your children is that the sun does not rise and set. It is the Earth that revolves around the sun. Then teach them the concepts of North, South, East and West, and that they relate to where they happen to be on the planet's surface at that time. Everything else will follow.

The nearest each of us can come to God is by loving the truth.

The opposite of nature is impossible.

The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done.

The Universe consists of non-simultaneously apprehended events.

Thinking is a momentary dismissal of irrelevancies.

We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.

We must progress to the stage of doing all the right things for all the right reasons instead of doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Also on July 12...

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.

Click here for Wikipedia's full article on Thoreau. Click here for a collection of Thoreau quotes from the KGB Quotations Database.

Categories: Buckminster Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Quotes of the day

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An E.B. White extra

Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 6:04 AM EDT
Jul 11 2012

Ira Handelsman, my high school English teacher, introduced me to the works of many authors who still influence me. The writer with the greatest impact- even more than James Thurber- was E.B. White, specifically due to this marvelously concise satire. Written in 1938, it's still relevant- and hysterical.

by E.B. White

Along about 1920 it became apparent that more things were being written than people had time to read. That is to say, even if a man spent his entire time reading stories, articles, and news, as they appeared in books, magazines, and pamphlets, he fell behind. This was no fault of the reading public; on the contrary, readers made a real effort to keep pace with writers, and utilized every spare moment during their walking hours. They read while shaving in the morning and while waiting for trains and while riding on trains. They came to be a kind of tacit agreement among numbers of the reading public that when one person laid down the baton, someone else must pick it up; and so when a customer entered a barbershop, the barber would lay aside the Boston Evening Globe and the customer would pick up Judge; or when a customer appeared in a shoe-shining parlor, the bootblack would put away the racing form and the customer would open his briefcase and pull out The Sheik. So there was always somebody reading something. Motormen of trolley cars read while they waited on the switch. Errand boys read while walking from the corner of Thirty-ninth and Madison to the corner of Twenty-fifth and Broadway. Subway riders read constantly, even when they were in a crushed, upright position in which nobody could read his own paper but everyone could look over the next man s shoulder. People passing newsstands would pause for a second to read headlines. Men in the back seats of limousines, northbound on Lafayette Street in the evening, switched on tiny dome lights and read the Wall Street Journal. Women in semi-detached houses joined circulating libraries and read Vachel Lindsay while the baby was taking his nap.

There was a tremendous volume of staff that had to be read. Writing began to give off all sorts of by-products. Readers not only had to read the original works of a writer, but they also had to scan what the critics said, and they had to read the advertisements reprinting the favorable criticisms, and they had to read the book chat giving some rather odd piece of information about the writer such as that he could write only when he had a gingersnap in his mouth. It all took time. Writers gained steadily, and readers lost.

Then along came the Reader's Digest. That was a wonderful idea. It digested everything that was being written in leading magazine, and put new hope in the hearts of readers. Here, everybody thought, was the answer to the problem. Readers, badly discouraged by the rate they had been losing ground, took courage and set out once more to keep abreast of everything that was being written in the world. For a while they seemed to hold their own. But soon other digests and short cuts appeared, like Time, and The Best Short Stories of 1927, and the new Five-Foot Shelf, and Well's Outline of History, and Newsweek, and Fiction Parade. By 1939 there were one hundred and seventy-three digests, or short cuts, in America, and even if a man read nothing but digests of selected material, and read continuously, he couldn't keep up. It was obvious that something more concentrated than digests would have to come along to take up the slack.

It did. Someone conceived the idea of digesting the digests. He brought out a little publication called Pith, no bigger than your thumb. It was a digest of Reader's Digest, Time, Concise Spicy Tales, and the daily news summary of the New York Herald Tribune. Everything was so extremely condensed that a reader could absorb everything that was being published in the world in about forty-five minutes. It was a tremendous financial success, and of course other publications sprang up, aping it: one called Core, another called Nub, and a third called Nutshell. Nutshell folded up, because, an expert said, the name was too long; but half a dozen others sprang up to take its place, and for another short period readers enjoyed a breathing spell and managed to stay abreast of writers. In fact, at one juncture, soon after the appearance of Nub, some person of unsound business tendencies felt that the digest rage had been carried too far and that there would be room in the magazine field for a counterdigest, a publication devoted to restoring literary bulk. He raised some money and issued a huge thing called Amplifo, undigesting the digests. In the second issue the name had been changed to Regurgitans. The third issue never reached the stands. Pith and Core continued to gain, and became so extraordinarily profitable that hundreds of other digests of digests came into being. Again readers felt themselves slipping. Distillate came along, a superdigest which condensed a Hemingway novel to the single word "Bang!" and reduced a long article about the problem of the unruly child to the words "Hit him."

You would think that with such drastic condensation going on, the situation would have resolved itself and that an adjustment would have been set up between writer and reader. Unfortunately, writers still forged ahead. Digests and superdigests, because of their rich returns, became as numerous as the things digested. It was not until 1960, when a Stevens Tech graduate named Abe Shapiro stepped in with and immense ingenious formula, that a permanent balance was established between writers and readers. Shapiro was a sort of Einstein. He had read prodigiously; and as he thought back over all the things that he had ever read, he became convinced that it would be possible to express them in mathematical quintessence. He was positive that he could take everything that was written and published each day, and reduce it to a six-letter word. He worked out a secret formula and began posting daily bulletins, telling his result. Everything that had been written during the first day of his formula came down to the word IRTNOG. The second day, everything reduced to EFSITZ. People accepted these mathematical distillations; and strangely enough, or perhaps not strangely at all, people were thoroughly satisfied, which would lead one to believe that what readers really craved was not so much the contents of books, magazines, and papers as the assurance that they were not missing anything. Shapiro found that his bulletin board was inadequate, so he made a deal with a printer and issued a handbill at five o clock every afternoon, giving the Word of the Day. It caught hold instantly.

The effect on the populace was salutary. Readers, once they felt confident that they had one-hundred-per-cent coverage, were able to discard the unnatural habit of focusing their eyes on words every instant. Freed of the exhausting consequences of their hopeless race against writers, they found their health returning, along with a certain tranquility and a more poised way of living. There was a marked decrease in stomach ulcers, which, doctors said, had been the result of allowing the eye to jump nervously from one newspaper headline to another after a heavy meal. With the dwindling of reading, writing fell off. Forests which had been plundered for newsprint, grew tall again; droughts were unheard of; and people dwelt in slow comfort, in a green world.

Categories: E.B. White, Ira Handelsman

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Quotes of the day

Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 @ 6:03 AM EDT
Jul 11 2012

Quotes of the day- E.B. White:
E.B. White (July 11, 1899-October 1, 1985) was one of the most influential modern American essayists, largely through his work for the New Yorker magazine. He also wrote two children's classics (Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little) and revised William S. Strunk's The Elements of Style, widely used in college English courses. (Click for full article.)

A man who publishes his letters becomes a nudist- nothing shields him from the world's gaze except his bare skin. A writer, writing away, can always fix himself up to make himself more presentable, but a man who has written a letter is stuck with it for all time.

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.

All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.
(From Here is New York, 1949)

Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words.

An editor is a person who knows more about writing than writers do but who has escaped the terrible desire to write.

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the one thing left to us in a bad time.

Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand.

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.

His words leap across rivers and mountains, but his thoughts are still only six inches long.

Home was quite a place when people stayed there.

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.

Humor plays close to the big, hot fire which is Truth.

I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear.

I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.

I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat.

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

I have occasionally had the exquisite thrill of putting my finger on a little capsule of truth, and heard it give the faint squeak of mortality under my pressure.

I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.

I remember what it is like to be in love before any of love’s complexities or realities or disturbances has entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else.

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

In a free country it is the duty of writers to pay no attention to duty.

In every queen there's a touch of floozy.

It is easier for a man to be loyal to his club than to his planet; the bylaws are shorter, and he is personally acquainted with the other members.

Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can't erase it.

Life's meaning has always eluded me and I guess it always will. But I love it just the same.

Loneliness is a strange gift.

Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.

Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.

No man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.

No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself- a lad of about 19.

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.

People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.

Semi-colons only prove that the author has been to college.

Television hangs on the questionable theory that whatever happens anywhere should be sensed everywhere. If everyone is going to be able to see everything, in the long run all sights may lose whatever rarity value they once possessed, and it may well turn out that people, being able to see and hear practically everything, will be specially interested in almost nothing.

The bonus is really one of the great give-aways in business enterprise. It is the annual salve applied to the conscience of the rich and the wounds of the poor.

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for Nature to follow. Now we just set the clock an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.

The future, wave or no wave, seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people.

To achieve style, begin by affecting none.

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

Whatever else an American believes or disbelieves about himself, he is absolutely sure he has a sense of humor.

When an American family becomes separated from its toothbrushes and combs and pajamas for a few hours it considers that it has had quite an adventure.

When I get sick of what men do, I have only to walk a few steps in another direction to see what spiders do. Or what the weather does. This sustains me very well indeed.

When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of your having said it are only fair.

Writing is both mask and unveiling.

Categories: E.B. White, Quotes of the day

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Do you mean the satellite or the song? Yes.

Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 @ 12:20 AM EDT
Jul 10 2012

Telstar is the name of various communications satellites, including the first such satellite to relay television signals. Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

(YouTube video: Newsreel of Telstar launch.)

(YouTube video: Telstar by The Tornados.)

Telstar was a 1962 instrumental record performed by The Tornados. It was the first single by a British band to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was also a number one hit in the UK. The record was named after the AT&T communications satellite Telstar, which went into orbit in July 1962. The song was released five weeks later on August 17, 1962. It was written and produced by Joe Meek, and featured a clavioline, a keyboard instrument with a distinctive electronic sound. It was estimated to have sold at least five million copies worldwide

Categories: History, Music, Telstar, Video, YouTube

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Quotes of the day

Published Monday, July 09, 2012 @ 6:52 AM EDT
Jul 09 2012

Quotes of the day- Eric Sevareid:
Arnold Eric Sevareid (November 26, 1912 – July 9, 1992) was a CBS news journalist from 1939 to 1977. He was one of a group of elite war correspondents hired by pioneering CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow, and thus dubbed "Murrow's Boys". He was the first to report the fall of Paris when it was captured by the Germans during World War II. Traveling into Burma during World War II, his aircraft was shot down and he was rescued from behind enemy lines by a search and rescue team established for that purpose. He was the final journalist to interview Adlai Stevenson before his death. After a long and distinguished career, he followed in Murrow's footsteps as a commentator on the CBS Evening News for 12 years for which he was recognized with Emmy and Peabody Awards. (Click for full article.)

As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.

Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt.

Brotherhood is not so wild a dream as those, who profit by postponing it, pretend.

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.

Consultant: any ordinary guy more than fifty miles from home.

Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks.

I have never quite grasped the worry about the power of the press. After all, it speaks with a thousand voices, in constant dissonance.

I'm sort of a pessimist about tomorrow and an optimist about the day after tomorrow.

Never underestimate your listener's intelligence, or overestimate you listener's information.

Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.

No man was ever more than about nine meals away from crime or suicide.

Saints are usually killed by their own people.

The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness.

The biggest big business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television. It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety.

The chief cause of problems is solutions.

Wisdom is essential in a president, the appearance of wisdom will do in a candidate.

With breathtaking rapidity, we are destroying all that was lovely to look at and turning America into a prison house of the spirit. The affluent society, with relentless single-minded energy, is turning our cities, most of suburbia and most of our roadways into the most affluent slum on earth.

You can't know who you are, as a nation or a people, unless you know where you've been.

(YouTube video: Eric Sevareid's last broadcast, Wednesday, November 30, 1977.)

Categories: Eric Sevareid, News Media, Quotes of the day, Video, YouTube

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"Too Big To Fail"

Published Sunday, July 08, 2012 @ 12:14 AM EDT
Jul 08 2012

This scene from the 2011 HBO film succinctly explains why financial markets collapsed in 2008. The film pops up from time to time on HBO and various online sources. It's worth watching.

(YouTube video: pivotal scene from "Too Big To Fail")

Categories: Dialogue of the day, Movies, Too Big To Fail, TV, Video, YouTube

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Quote of the day

Published Saturday, July 07, 2012 @ 5:34 AM EDT
Jul 07 2012

Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert A. Heinlein

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The Dalai Lama is 77 today.

Published Friday, July 06, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 06 2012

Dolly Parton is still 66. In case you're confused:

Categories: Dolly Parton, The Dalai Lama

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Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane...

Published Thursday, July 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 05 2012

(YouTube video: "Walking in Memphis" official music video.)

Born on July 5, 1959, Marc Cohn was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Orphaned as a youngster, he was barely out of infancy when his mother died; his father died ten years later, when Cohn was 12. As a teenager in the 1970s Cohn was inspired by the plaintive voices of his generation, idolizing Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and especially Paul Simon, whose music, Cohn says, can bring him to tears. Cohn learned to play guitar and started writing songs when he was in junior high school, playing and singing with a local band called Doanbrook Hotel. While attending Oberlin College in Ohio he taught himself to play the piano, then after transferring to the University of California at Los Angeles began to perform in the intimate coffeehouse and steakhouse venues popular in that locale.

Read more: Marc Cohn Biography

Categories: Marc Cohn, Music, Video, YouTube

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Have a happy Independence Day

Published Wednesday, July 04, 2012 @ 9:10 AM EDT
Jul 04 2012

Put on a hat. Run around in the grass. Pursue happiness.

Categories: Animals, Dogs, Holidays, Photo of the day

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We appreciate it

Published Tuesday, July 03, 2012 @ 11:11 AM EDT
Jul 03 2012

(YouTube video, The Andy Griffith Show: "Opie the Birdman")

When I remember watching Andy and Opie and Barney and Aunt Bee, I can't help but smile. There's no greater compliment.

Andrew Samuel "Andy" Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock. Griffith died on July 3, 2012 at the age of 86. (Click here for full article.)

Categories: Andy Griffith, TV, Video, YouTube

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Quotes of the day

Published Tuesday, July 03, 2012 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Jul 03 2012

Quotes of the day- Tom Stoppard:
Sir Tom Stoppard, OM, CBE, FRSL (born Tomáš Straüssler, July 3, 1937) is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil and Shakespeare in Love and has won one Academy Award and four Tony Awards. Themes of human rights, censorship and political freedom pervade his work along with exploration of linguistics and philosophy. Stoppard has been a key playwright of the National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. (Click for full article.)

A foreign correspondent is someone who flies around from hotel to hotel and thinks that the most interesting thing about any story is the fact that he has arrived to cover it.

Actors are the opposite of people.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

All mystical experience is coincidence; and vice versa, of course.

Audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in.

Death followed by eternity the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought.

Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

For all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure.

Give us this day our daily mask.

I agree with everything you say, but I would attack to the death your right to say it.

I will take his secret to the grave, telling people along the way. Betrayal is no sin if it is whimsical.

If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music. And aviation.

It is a defect of God's humor that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them.

It would have been nice to have had unicorns.

It's better to be quotable than to be honest.

It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.

Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.

Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.

Never believe in mirrors or newspapers.

Public postures have the configuration of private derangement.

Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.

Since we cannot hope for order let us withdraw with style from the chaos.

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.

The days of the digitals are numbered. The metaphor is built into them like a self-destruct mechanism.

The media. It sounds like a convention of spiritualists.

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said- no. But somehow we missed it.

To be an artist at all is like living in Switzerland during a world war. To be an artist in Zurich, in 1917, implies a degree of self-absorption that would have glazed over the eyes of Narcissus.

War is capitalism with the gloves off and many who go to war know it but they go to war because they don't want to be a hero. It takes courage to sit down and be counted.

We've traveled too far, and our momentum has taken over; we move idly towards eternity, without possibility of reprieve or hope of explanation.

What a fine persecution- to be kept intrigued without ever quite being enlightened.

You can't treat royalty like people with normal perverted desires.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Tom Stoppard

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Quotes of the day

Published Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 2:30 AM EDT
Jul 02 2012

Quotes of the day- Hermann Hesse:
Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. (Click for complete article.)

All gods and devils that have ever existed are within us.

Any attempt to replace the personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism.

Faith and doubt go hand in hand, they are complementaries. One who never doubts will never truly believe.

God does not send us despair in order to kill us, he sends it in order to awaken us to new life.

Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.

Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap.

I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.

I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I've got.

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.

I hold that it is permissible for each one of us to die for his faith, but not to kill for his faith.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is a part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

It is possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard.

Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.

Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.

Often it is the most deserving people who cannot help loving those who destroy them.

Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.

One cannot have pleasure without giving it.

Only the ideas that we actually live are of any value.

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.

Property, possessions and riches had also finally trapped him. They were no longer a game and a toy. They had become a chain and a burden.

Seriousness is an accident of time. It consists in putting too high a value on time. In eternity there is no time. Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.

Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go.

The bourgeois prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to the deathly inner consuming fire.

The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.

There is nothing so evil, savage, and cruel in nature as the normal man.

There's no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.

Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.

Three things can not hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.

We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.

When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.

When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.

Within us there is someone who knows everything, wills everything, does everything better than we ourselves.

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.

Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others.

No permanence is ours, we are a wave that flows to fit whatever form it finds.

Categories: Hermann Hesse, Quotes of the day

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Paraphrase of the day

Published Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 8:22 AM EDT
Jul 01 2012

Comedian Bill Maher asserts the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter tanked because no one wants to pay to see a Republican battle imaginary evils...

Categories: Bill Maher, Quotes of the day

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Published Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 6:24 AM EDT
Jul 01 2012

I messed up yesterday's leap second. I turned my clock ahead one second instead of back one second.

Swell. Now I'm going to be running early all day.

Categories: KGB, Trivia of the day, WTF?

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