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Adventures in motoring

Published Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 7:46 AM EDT
Jun 30 2013

I got a rental car over the weekend, and the subcompact model available was a 2013 Toyota Yaris.

It reminds me of my first car, a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle. Small, noisy- probably less of a death trap because of the front and side airbags- but somehow endearing in a "Little Train That Could" sort of way.

It has a trunk accessible through its hatchback, but that's being somewhat charitable. Like the brains of some congresspersons, it's there, it more or less functions, but it lacks the capacity to be of any practical use. I managed to lug a new lawn mower back home from the store last night, but it required dropping the back seats and a bit of acrobatics.

Toyota says the name is a combination of "ya," the German affirmative, and "charis," a Greek word for beauty and elegance. As in, "What do you think of my car?" "Cough.. Uh... yeah, beautiful and elegant. Snrk."

That's being unkind. Toyotas are known for their efficiency and longevity, and the reviews I saw online really had nothing bad to say about the car. And you have to admire the droll Japanese sense of humor:

140 miles per hour? Perhaps, if it's dropped from an airplane. There are YouTube videos showing people attaining 119 miles per hour on the Autobahn while traveling downhill with a tailwind, but it's not something I'd attempt.

Oh, and the car had Arkansas plates. Yee-haw!

Categories: KGB Opinion, Toyota

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Current events

Published Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 12:36 AM EDT
Jun 29 2013

The Family Research Council is either adorably oblivious,
or their PR outfit is just plain evil.

Variations on a theme:

When this man smiles, a fairy dies:

Speaking of smiles:

(YouTube video: formerly captive ducks see water for the first time).

Categories: Animals, Cartoons, Church and State, Politics, Religion, Supreme Court, The New Yorker, Video, YouTube

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Quote of the day

Published Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 2:36 PM EDT
Jun 28 2013

If you really don't want gay people to get married, you shouldn't ban gay marriage, you ban gay divorce.

Goldfish crackers have launched a macaroni and cheese line. 'Cause after all the Paula Deen stuff, it's nice to finally hear some good news about crackers.
-Craig Ferguson

Categories: Craig Ferguson, Quotes of the day

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You've been warned

Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 @ 10:03 AM EDT
Jun 27 2013

Categories: Twinkies

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Tweets from on high or something like it

Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 @ 7:39 AM EDT
Jun 27 2013

If you're on Twitter and are not easily offended, consider following TheTweetofGod...

Anyone who thinks human life is sacred to Me has never read the Bible. That thing makes Tarantino look like Disney.

Life is a struggle not between good and evil, but between those who see it that way and those who don't.

Well I've lost faith in you, too.

From now on I'd like to be called P. Deity.

Paula Deen saying all that matters is "what's in your heart" is cardiologically hilarious.

Wow, I really enjoyed deciding who won that game.

The big difference between me and Kanye is I impregnated a virgin, whereas Kanye... well, did not.

Sometimes Jesus asks himself, "What would some self-righteous hypocrite do?"

You're welcome, Phil.

I could totally beat Superman in a fight.

"Despicable Me 2" was My original title for the New Testament.

I support marijuana. I created it for you. In fact the Garden of Eden was full of it. That was Eve's downfall. She got the munchies.

I find the vast majority of you profoundly unpleasant.

Lying makes Jesus cry. Stealing makes Jesus cry. Jaywalking makes Jesus cry. A real pussy, that kid.

There is a book with stories about incest, genocide, rape and crucifixion in almost every hotel room in the world.

I designed the sun to be 100% solar-powered. #green

My love for you is unconditional, provided you do and think exactly as I say.

Please stay safe, Oklahoma, because evidently I'm angry at you again for absolutely no reason.

The twist ending to M. Night Shyamalan's career is that it turns out it was dead the whole time.

When I work in mysterious ways it's called grace. When you work in mysterious ways it's called grounds for termination.

The first person to call you a jerk is probably just jealous, but the hundredth may be on to something.

@TheTweetOfGod 723.9K followers
@RichardDawkins 723.6K followers
Believe in THAT, Dick!
It's no "delusion"!

Categories: Quotes on a topic, Twitter

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #909

Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 4:28 AM EDT
Jun 26 2013

In case you missed it- which you probably did, since no broadcast or cable "news" organization carried it- a real-life episode of The West Wing took place in Austin, Texas yesterday and early this morning.

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R-No Kidding) had unexpectedly added to a special session of the state legislature a major anti-abortion bill that called for- among other misogynistic actions- closing all but five of the huge state's 42 clinics.

Texas state senator Wendy Davis responded with a 13-hour filibuster, a wondrous effort that simultaneously demonstrated the inherent virtue of American government and the hideous manner in which it can be distorted and abused.

When it appeared the Republicans had managed to silence her by citing a series of disingenuous "rules" violations, the legislature was stopped dead in its tracks when enraged citizens in the gallery howled, sang, and shouted the proceedings to a halt. It was sheer pandemonium. And a thing of beauty.

You can find the sordid details in assorted places- here, for one- but unless you were following on Twitter or a live stream on YouTube or some other site, you wouldn't have known the senate of one of the largest states in the union was violating its own constitution and doing so while hundreds of enraged citizens in the gallery screamed in protest.

For while the very principles of a sovereign constitutional republic were being mocked and circumvented by scheming, reprehensible ideologues, CNN- The Network For News, mind you- was airing this:

To quote my sainted grandfather, "I shit you not."
Pardon my French.

I didn't expect Fox News to carry anything, of course- and they didn't. But even liberal-tilted MSNBC was airing reruns of the evening's earlier commentary shows.

In the meantime, things got even more bizarre in Texas. Their constitution requires votes on bills to be completed before special sessions expire. The Texas senate's website originally noted the bill was passed on 6/26/2013, after the midnight deadline.

No problem. They just changed the date of the vote on the website back to 6/25/2013. Texas not only strictly controls female bodies, they also can warp the space-time continuum.

And the print media? With datelines up to an hour before the actual vote took place, USA Today and others reported the filibuster failed and the legislation passed.

Note I used the past tense. So did they.

The conspiracy-minded will probably claim the conservative-leaning owners of mainstream media outlets knew the outcome well in advance, and just got sloppy. I like to take the more optimistic view that journalists today are lazy, intellectually dishonest hacks whose irredeemable cynicism and proximity to power have reduced their usefulness to nil.

It may require more effort on my part for vetting and verification, but I think from now on my primary sources of information will be live feeds and social media.

Postscript- at 4:15 am, when the websites for CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC and Reuters were still saying the outcome of the vote was in doubt, a live stream available through Twitter- nearly an hour earlier- showed Senator Davis announcing that the lieutenant governor of Texas had reversed his previous ruling and declared the vote invalid. The AP story broke at 4:01 am.

Categories: News Media, Signs of the Apocalypse, Twitter

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Things I'd like to see...

Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 2:50 PM EDT
Jun 25 2013

... Audience reaction when the lights go down and the screen is filled with the words "A Santorum Film".

Santorum to head faith-based film company.

Categories: Observations, Rick Santorum

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Busy day...

Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 1:28 PM EDT
Jun 25 2013

The Internets were busy today...

Monica Lewinsky Negligee Up For Auction To Bidders Nostalgic For A Time When Oral Sex Was Our Country's Biggest Problem

Impatient Nation Demands Supreme Court Just Get To The Gay Stuff

In oral arguments re: gay marriage, Scalia made a big deal out of the silliness of saying something became unconstitutional over time. Apparently this view does not extend to the Voting Rights Act.

You don't have to rebrand if you get to decide who votes.

I'm just a white guy in a robe asking you to understand that racism as it existed in 1965 is basically over.

from Ruther Bader Ginsburg's dissent on the Voting Rights Act:

Demand for a record of violations equivalent to the one earlier made would expose Congress to a Catch-22. If the statute was working, there would be less evidence of discrimination, so opponents might argue that Congress should not be allowed to renew the statute. In contrast, if the statute was not working, there would be plenty of evidence of discrimination, but scant reason to renew a failed regulatory regime.

Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake­ proofed, places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination.

The full dissent is here.

Conservatives: We can't use voting data from 1965 but let's stick to a definition of marriage from 1620.

I'm old enough to remember with Republicans thought judicial overreach was a bad thing.
-Ana Marie Cox

Categories: Miscellany

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Oh, please...

Published Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 6:54 AM EDT
Jun 25 2013

"Doctors have reported a surge in cases of ‘digital dementia’ among young people.

"They say that teenagers have become so reliant on digital technology they are no longer able to remember everyday details such as their phone numbers. South Korean experts have found that those who rely more on technology suffer a deterioration in cognitive abilities more commonly seen in patients who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness."

Digital dementia?

Oh, please.

My daughter had problems reading analog clocks because she grew up surrounded with digital displays. I don't remember the phone numbers of the friends and business associates I've acquired since the advent of smartphones.

But- I remember the phone number of my mother, my kids, my family doctor, the local drug store. I remember my Pennsylvania drivers' license number.

We remember what we need to remember: what's important.

Brains are pretty smart. They learn things. They organically know there are limits to memory and, therefore, store and discard data based upon its importance and accessibility.

While I'm not as fanatical as some who have adopted his system, I agree with David Allen's Getting Things Done approach, which pretty much boils down to the rule: get stuff out of your brain and written down somewhere.

I have a daily to-do list in Microsoft Outlook that contains 30 tasks that need to be completed every day by 10 am. Some make fun of me for doing this, or say I need to simplify my life- but simplifying my life in a way that somehow still addresses their needs.

In any event, I've found that on days when I've neglected the list, I've forgotten at least three or four items on it- taking medication, making certain my cellphone is charged, reminding someone else of something they need to do that will affect me down the line.

A long time ago I realized that I didn't have to know everything, I just needed to know where to look. With the advent of Google and online search engines, the statement needs some modification: I don't need to know everything, I just need to know how to look. I learned how to phrase questions and build inquiries, so that my online searches return the precise information for which I'm looking, not pages and pages of irrelevant references.

Albert Einstein said, "A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels." Should I develop the part of my brain that stores telephone numbers, or the part that stores knowledge about using systems that store far more information than I could ever possibly stuff into that fat-based, hormone-soaked chunk of wetwear between my ears?

And where did I leave my cellphone?

(Original article.)

Categories: KGB Opinion

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Published Monday, June 24, 2013 @ 4:37 AM EDT
Jun 24 2013

The very bright full moon, shining through a small opening in the bedroom blinds, has convinced our oldest dog that it's time to get get up.

And when the alpha female says it's time to get up, it's time to get up...

Categories: Dogs

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Photo of the day

Published Sunday, June 23, 2013 @ 9:43 AM EDT
Jun 23 2013

Fascinating. Tell me more about "peanuts" in "jars."

(Original photo by Külli Kittus)

Categories: Animals, Photo of the day

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Tweets of the day

Published Saturday, June 22, 2013 @ 8:52 AM EDT
Jun 22 2013

Whether it's the border, guns or gays, Republicans always have the same fear: someone coming in the back door.
-Bill Maher

Thomas Jefferson could never get a Food Network show now.

Home is anywhere you don't have to wear pants.

Crayola needs to create a color called "Boehner".

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% other people cheapening the meaning of the word "genius".

If you want to avoid full fury of the U.S., don't leak secrets to public. Play it safe and just wreck the economy to enrich yourself.

Days like today make me second-guess my decision to base my life on the moral teachings of Food Network stars.

Categories: Twitter

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Quote of the day

Published Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 7:35 AM EDT
Jun 21 2013

A new study says 70 percent of Americans are on prescription drugs. If you find that number depressing, talk to your doctor about Cymbalta.
-Stephen Colbert

Categories: Colbert Report, Quotes of the day, Stephen Colbert

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Published Thursday, June 20, 2013 @ 7:24 AM EDT
Jun 20 2013

Stephen Colbert honors his late mother.

Categories: Colbert Report, Passages, Stephen Colbert, Video

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Good job?

Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 @ 11:52 AM EDT
Jun 19 2013

That phrase wasn't my first choice.

Categories: Animals, Video, WTF?

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Some days...

Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 @ 9:39 AM EDT
Jun 19 2013

I don't mean to be a diva, but some days you wake up and you're Barbara Streisand.
-Courtney Love

I don't think the intelligence reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of The New York Times.
-John F. Kennedy

Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Some days even wearing my lucky rocketship underwear doesn't help. (From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)
-Bill Watterson

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

Some days I wake up grouchy. Most days I let her sleep.

Some days those bridge abutments at the side of the road look pretty damned attractive.
-Kevin G. Barkes

Some days you need to look reality in the eye, and deny it.
-Garrison Keillor

Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant.

Categories: Quotes on a topic

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Back in service

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 7:07 AM EDT
Jun 18 2013

The fountain returns.

The fountain at Pittsburgh's Point State Park is working again. Photo by Dave DiCello.

Categories: Photo of the day, Pittsburgh

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Cartoon of the day

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 7:07 AM EDT
Jun 18 2013

NSA dog

Categories: Cartoons, Fourth Amendment

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An incredible simulation!

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 6:22 AM EDT
Jun 18 2013

While getting a dish of Breyers ice cream last night, I noticed something odd... the package didn't say "ice cream."

Instead, in the lower right hand corner was the title "Frozen Dairy Dessert."

I visited the Breyers web site. The front page makes several references to ice cream, but no mention of frozen dairy dessert.

I eventually found what I was seeking, about halfway down the FAQ page:

Frozen Dairy Dessert products are made with many of the same high-quality ingredients that are commonly found in Ice Cream– like fresh milk, cream and sugar– and offer a great taste and even smoother texture. According to the FDA, in order for a product to be labeled ice cream, it needs to meet two key requirements:

· Not less than 10% dairy fat
· A percentage of overrun that results in a finished product weighing more than 4.5 pounds per gallon

Anything that does not meet both of those requirements is not considered ice cream.

5) Why did Breyers make the change to Frozen Dairy Dessert?

Our consumers are at the center of every recipe decision we make. We work hard to understand what people want most and work to give them the best possible product experience. People have told us they have various flavor or texture preferences. For example, some tell us that they want a smoother texture, which is what we’re able to deliver with our Frozen Dairy Dessert products.

Yeah, in addition to milk, cream, and sugar, I'd like five different types of gums and stabilizing agents.

And don't forget the corn syrup. Yum.

(New York Times article, "Ice Cream's Identity Crisis": "You might ask what the difference is between ice cream and a frozen dairy dessert, and I might answer that it is the same as the difference between a slice of American cheese and a slice of Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.")

And there's this, and also this:

Categories: Hypocrisy, KGB Opinion, WTF?

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"I have my cape here..."

Published Monday, June 17, 2013 @ 6:55 AM EDT
Jun 17 2013

(YouTube video: Dean Cain on Jimmy Kimmel: Live!))

The always charming Dean Cain learns that they somehow made Man of Steel without him. Cain spent more time on screen in the iconic costume than any other actor. Hard to believe, but Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman premiered nearly 20 years ago, in September, 1993.

Categories: Dean Cain, Jimmy Kimmel, Superman, Video, YouTube

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Published Sunday, June 16, 2013 @ 7:53 AM EDT
Jun 16 2013

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel

Given the surprising number of negative reviews, I was worried when the curtains widened and the stylized Warner Bros logo appeared at the beginning of Man of Steel.

The review aggregation site rottentomatoes.com had pegged the latest reboot of the Superman legend at a tepid 57%. But then, this was the same collection of critics who rated the execrable Star Trek: Into Darkness at an unfathomably favorable 87%. So I tried to be optimistic.

I find myself agreeing with the guy on the AMC Movie Talk YouTube channel who said, "My only explanation for why some critics didn't like the show... is perhaps their heads were so far up their asses that they couldn't see the movie screen."

Man of Steel is unlike previous incarnations of Superman. It isn't presented like a fairy tale. It's a solid science fiction epic, but one that requires far less suspension of disbelief than other entries in the relatively new cgi-based superhero genre.

This isn't the childish Superman who spins the world backward to reverse time, or gives Lois Lane amnesia by kissing her. The villain isn't trying to destroy California in order to make a killing in real estate, or forcing all the oil tankers in the world cruise in circles to jack up the price of gasoline.

This is the story of an extraterrestrial refugee with amazing abilities, raised by good people after he was stranded as an infant on an alien world. He has to decide whether to defend his adopted planet or watch its destruction at the hands of members of his own true race.

The criticisms I've read are disheartening. They mean some truly don't get the concept of Superman. They aren't bright enough to follow a straightforward narrative told partly in flashback to provide exposition and character motivation. They can't put aside the archaic "rules" that governed Superman's behavior, motivated not by a dedication to a higher moral code, but by the fear that government intervention would negatively affect comic book sales in the 1940s and 1950s.

My first memory of television is watching George Reeves pause at a storeroom door, remove his glasses, then hurl himself via a barely-concealed springboard into the monochromatic skies of a stock footage Los Angeles. That was probably around 1958.

It took them 55 years, but they finally got it right.

Categories: KGB Opinion, Superman

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Fingers crossed

Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 @ 7:57 AM EDT
Jun 15 2013

Superman through the ages.

My kids are taking me to see Man of Steel today, an early Father's Day present. I'm really looking forward to seeing it; I've been a fan of Superman since, oh, 1957, once I was old enough to focus my eyes on the blurry black-and-white image of George Reeves in his foam-padded shoulders.

Here's hoping they pulled it off.

Categories: Superman

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Quotes of the day: Roger Zelazny

Published Friday, June 14, 2013 @ 4:05 AM EDT
Jun 14 2013

Roger Joseph Zelazny (May 13, 1937 - June 14, 1995) was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series. He won the Nebula award three times and the Hugo award six times, including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel ...And Call Me Conrad (1965; subsequently published under the title This Immortal, 1966) and the novel Lord of Light (1967). (Click for full Wikipedia article.

A totally nondenominational prayer: Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that I be forgiven for anything I may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which I may be eligible after the destruction of my body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

Between the black of yesterday and the white of tomorrow is the great gray of today, filled with nostalgia and fear of the future.

Coincidence is like a rubber band. Stretch it too far and it snaps.

Death is the only god who comes when you call.

Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.

I enjoy slaughtering beasts, and I think of my relatives constantly.

I sometimes think of us as a gang of mean little old ladies in a combination rest home and obstacle course.

It is anticipation and recollection that fill the heart- never the sensation of the moment.

It would be nice if there were some one thing constant and unchanging in the universe. If there is such a thing, then it is a thing which would have to be stronger than love, and it is a thing which I do not know.

Life is full of doors that don't open when you knock, equally spaced amid those that open when you don't want them to.

Love is a negative form of hatred.

No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.

Nobody steals books but your friends.

That's life: trust and you're betrayed; don't trust and you betray yourself.

The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.

The death of an illusion tends to disconcert.

The function of criticism should not be confused with the function of reform.

The power to hurt... has evolved in a direct relationship to technological advancement.

The universe did not invent justice. Man did. Unfortunately, man must reside in the universe.

There's no such thing as civilization. The word just means the art of living in cities.

There's really nothing quite like someone wanting you dead to make you want to go on living.

To paraphrase Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, and all those guys, “I wish I had known this some time ago.”

When inspiration is silent reason tires quickly.

When you are about to die, a wombat is better than no company at all.

While I had often said that I wanted to die in bed, what I really meant was that in my old age I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love.

(Also- G.K. Chesteron died on this date in 1936.)

Categories: Question of the day, Roger Zelazny

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Moving on up

Published Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 7:53 AM EDT
Jun 13 2013

Leanna's last day of 4th grade

Granddaughter Leanna's last day of fourth grade.

Categories: KGB Family

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The secret...

Published Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 7:20 AM EDT
Jun 13 2013

From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.
-John Updike

I think I've discovered the secret of life- you just hang around until you get used to it.
-Charles M. Schulz

I think the secret of life is there is no secret.
-Rita Mae Brown

I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.
-Frank Sinatra

I've always believed in the adage that the secret of eternal youth is arrested development.
-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Melancholy is at the bottom of everything, just as at the end of all rivers is the sea. Can it be otherwise in a world where nothing lasts, where all that we have loved or shall love must die? Is death, then, the secret of life?
-Henri Frederic Amiel

Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "old one." I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
-Albert Einstein

That's the secret to life... replace one worry with another... (In the comic strip Peanuts)
-Charles M. Schulz

The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success.
-Henry Ward Beecher

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The secret is to always let the other man have your way.
-Claiborne Pell

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and have the two as close together as possible.
-George Burns

The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
-Oswald Spenger

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.
-Aristotle Onassis

The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent.
-Mel Lazarus

The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.
-Honoré de Balzac

The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one has to do.
-James M. Barrie

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness.
-F.H. Bradley

The secret of happiness... is to be happy already.
-Julian Barnes

The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly deceived.
-Oscar Wilde

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.
-Lucille Ball

The secret of success in life is known only to those who have not succeeded.
-John Collins

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.
-Benjamin Disraeli

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.
-Jean Giraudoux

The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven't made up their minds.
-Casey Stengel

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning.

The secret of the demagogue is to appear as dumb as his audience so that these people can believe themselves as smart as he is.
-Karl Kraus

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
-Mike Murdock

The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.
-Dave Weinbaum

The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible...
-Bertrand Russell

The secret to true happiness is a combination of low expectations and insensitivity.
-Olivia Goldsmith

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In the end...

Published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 @ 7:12 AM EDT
Jun 12 2013

An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.
-Bertrand Russell

Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State's failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community.
-H.G. Wells

I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
-Margaret Thatcher

I know everything will work out in the end, but just once, couldn't something work out in the beginning?
-Rose Auerbach

If the presidency is the head of the American body politic, Congress is its gastrointestinal tract. Its vast and convoluted inner workings may be mysterious and unpleasant, but in the end they excrete a great deal of material whose successful passage is crucial to our nation's survival.
-Jon Stewart

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
-C.S. Lewis

In the end you have only you.
-Leo Buscaglia

In the end, no matter how much you love your work, your work will not love you back.
-Anne-Marie Slaughter

In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.
-John C. Sawhill

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
-Ursula K. LeGuin

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can expect them not to believe that violence in the end is rewarded.
-Margaret Mead

Religion is a tribal concept, a human invention that assuages the fears of some and provides political cover to others. In the end, religious constructs are invariably self-defeating, since human behavior, in the end, will be always driven by practical needs. Once you get down to the practical, you've already left the "leap of faith" behind.

That place where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people.
-Heinrich Heine

The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.
-Henry Steele Commager

The goal in the end is not to win elections. The goal is to change society.
-Paul Krugman

The high sentiments always win in the end- the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
-George Orwell

The miners lost because they had only the constitution. The other side had bayonets. In the end, bayonets always win.
-Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones)

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.
-Edward R. Murrow

The shah always falls in the end, Saddam always turns on you, and the Saudis always betray you. If we support evil, the long-term price is almost always too high.
-Ralph Peters, Lt. Col. (Ret)

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.
-Carl Sagan

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.
-Winston Churchill

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

We all, in the end, have the freedom to die in a ditch. It's the only inalienable right we have.
-Brian J. Goggin

What we seek in the end is not unconditional love but a love for which we, uniquely in all the world, meet all the conditions.
-Robert Brault

You devote your whole life to entertaining people who, in the end, depress you so much you off yourself.
-Kris Kristofferson

You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. (In the book Ball Four)
-Jim Bouton

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David and DeForest

Published Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @ 7:04 AM EDT
Jun 11 2013

David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 - June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997.

From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored, with Chet Huntley, NBC's top-rated nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of This Week with David Brinkley and a top commentator on election-night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Brinkley is also remembered for an exchange that occurred several days before his previously announced retirement. It happened at the end of ABC News' live coverage of the 1996 presidential election, in which Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole to win a second term.

Brinkley: "I wish to say that we all look forward with great pleasure to four years of wonderful, inspiring speeches full of wit, poetry, music, love and affection. More goddamn nonsense."

Peter Jennings: "You can't say that on the air, Mr. Brinkley."

Brinkley: "Well, I'm not on the air."

Jennings: "David, we are on the air."

Brinkley: "Too bad. I told you I was leaving."

Brinkley's explanation:

Brinkley's complete three-hour interview can be viewed here. It's worth the time.


A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.

Most of my life I've simply been a reporter covering things, and writing and talking about it.

People have the illusion that all over the world, all the time, all kinds of fantastic things are happening. When in fact, over most of the world, most of the time, nothing is happening.

The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.

Washington DC is a city filled with people who think they are important.


Actor DeForest Kelley, famous for his role as Dr. Leonard McCoy in the original Star Trek television and movie series, died on this date in 1999. Our tribute to him is here.

Categories: David Brinkley, Quotes of the day

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The most talented human on earth

Published Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 11:29 AM EDT
Jun 10 2013

(YouTube video: "It's Bigger," the opening number from the 2013 Tony Awards.)

Watch Neil Patrick Harris' jaw-dropping performance at last night's Tony Awards show- eight minutes of stunning perfection that includes singing, dancing, a ten-second costume change, an acrobatic leap through a hoop, nearly having his ear bitten by Mike Tyson, a trick that mystifyingly transports him in under ten seconds to the back of the cavernous Radio City Music Hall, plus the choruses from every musical currently on Broadway.

Mr. Harris is unique. I know of no other performer with these stellar abilities, in addition to being intellectually brilliant, self-deprecating and dedicated to his family.

He turns 40 this Saturday- at 40, I began having difficultly bending at the knees.

Here's to his continued success.

Categories: Music, Neil Patrick Harris, Tony Awards

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Quotes of the day: Saul Bellow

Published Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 6:56 AM EDT
Jun 10 2013

Saul Bellow (June 10, 1915 - April 5, 2005) was a Canadian-born American writer. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to win the National Book Award for Fiction three times and he received the Foundation's lifetime Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1990. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A good American makes propaganda for whatever existence has forced him to become.

A human soul devoid of longing was a soul deformed, deprived of its highest good, sick unto death.

A man is only as good as what he loves.

Americans must be the most sententious people in history. Far too busy to be religious, they have always felt that they sorely needed guidance.

Anxiety destroys scale, and suffering makes us lose perspective.

Boredom is the shriek of unused capacities

California's like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need. You can quote me.

Conquered people tend to be witty.

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.

For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.

Goodness is achieved not in a vacuum, but in the company of other men, attended by love.

I don’t actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I’m beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.

Ignorance of death is destroying us. Death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything.

It's usually the selfish people who are loved the most. They do what you deny yourself, and you love them for it. You give them your heart.

Live or die but don't poison everything.

No amount of assertion will make an ounce of art.

No realistic, sane person goes around Chicago without protection.

One of the booby traps of freedom- which is bordered on all sides by isolation- is that we think so well of ourselves. I now see that I have helped myself to the best cuts at life's banquet.

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.

Psychoanalysis pretends to investigate the Unconscious. The Unconscious by definition is what you are not conscious of. But the Analysts already know what’s in it. They should, because they put it all in beforehand. It's like an Easter Egg hunt.

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity.

Respect is better than love.

She was what we used to call a suicide blonde: dyed by her own hand.

The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés the first prize.

There is no limit to the amount of intelligence invested in ignorance when the need for illusion runs deep.

Unexpected intrusions of beauty. That is what life is.

What is imposed on us by birth and environment is what we are called upon to overcome

When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.

You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.

You have to fight for your life. That's the chief condition on which you hold it.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Saul Bellow

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Dialogue of the day

Published Sunday, June 09, 2013 @ 2:08 PM EDT
Jun 09 2013

From Lois and Clark- The New Adventures of Superman:

Lois Lane: I like your new glasses.
Clark Kent: Thanks.
Lois Lane: Did you ever think of getting contacts?
Clark Kent: No.

Categories: Dialogue of the day, Superman

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An intellectual exercise

Published Sunday, June 09, 2013 @ 12:24 PM EDT
Jun 09 2013

The GlobalPost asks, "What if journalists covered the United States like they covered other countries?"

This is satire. Although the news is real, very little actual reporting was done for this story and the quotes are imagined. It is the first installment of an ongoing series that examines the language journalists use to cover foreign countries. What if we wrote that way about the United States?

BOSTON, Mass. — Human rights activists say revelations that the US regime has expanded its domestic surveillance program to private phone carriers is more evidence of the North American country’s pivot toward authoritarianism.

The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported this week that a wing of the country’s feared intelligence and security apparatus ordered major telecommunications companies to hand over data on phone calls made by private citizens.

“The US leadership in Washington continues to erode basic human rights,” said one activist, who asked to remain anonymous, fearing that speaking out publicly could endanger his organization. “If the US government is unwilling to change course, it’s time the international community considered economic sanctions.”

Over the last decade, the United States has passed a series of emergency laws that give security forces sweeping powers to combat “terrorism.” But foreign observers say the authorities abuse those laws, using them instead to monitor ordinary Americans.

While the so-called Patriot Act passed in 2001 is perhaps the most dramatic legislation to date curbing freedoms here, numerous lesser-known laws have expanded monitoring of news outlets, email, social media platforms and even opposition groups — like the Occupy and Tea Party movements — that are critical of the regime.

US leader Barack Obama, a former liberal community organizer and the country's first black president who attracted a wave of support from young voters, rose to power in 2008 promising reform. He was greeted in the United States — a country of about 300 million people — with optimism. But he has since disappointed those supporters, ruling with a sometimes iron fist and continuing, if not expanding, the policies of the country’s former ruler, George W. Bush.

On a recent visit to the United States by GlobalPost, signs of the increased security apparatus could be found everywhere.

At all national airports, passengers are now forced to undergo full-body scans before boarding any flights. Small cameras are perched on many street corners, recording the movements and actions of the public. And incessant warnings on public transportation systems encourage citizens to report any “suspicious activity” to authorities.

Several American villagers interviewed for this story said the ubiquitous government marketing campaign called, “If you see something, say something,” does little to make them feel safer and, in fact, only contributes to a growing mistrust among the general population.

“I’ve deleted my Facebook account, stopped using email, r visiting websites that might be considered anti-regime,” a resident of the northern city of Boston, a tough-as-nails town synonymous with rebellion, told GlobalPost. It was in Boston that an American militia first rose up against the British empire. “But my phone? How can I stop using my phone? This has gone too far.”

American dissidents interviewed by GlobalPost inside the United States say surveillance by domestic intelligence agencies is just one part of a seemingly larger effort by the Obama administration to centralize power.

The American leader, for example, has in recent years personally approved the jailing — and in some cases execution — of American citizens suspected of involvement in what the regime calls “terrorist activity.”

“What exactly is terrorism? The term is used so loosely these days it could include just about anyone,” said one anti- government protester, who was tear-gassed and then arrested in 2011 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in New York, America’s largest city and its economic capital.

Obama has also overseen a crackdown on whistleblowers, most famously jailing Bradley Manning, a US soldier, for leaking documents that called into question US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The government quietly imprisoned Manning for three years before finally trying him in a military court this week. He spent the first nine months of that in solitary confinement, where prison officials forced him to sleep naked without pillowsor sheets and prevented him from reading newspapers, watching television or even exercising.

Activists also criticize the US regime for imprisoning without trial foreigners it deems threatening to national security in an offshore prison camp called Guantanamo Bay. This week an investigation revealed that the US regime force-fed Guantanamo inmates participating in a hunger strike. Force-feeding is illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, whispering in the streets about what the regime might do next has reached a dull roar. But after a national uprising in 2011 by the leftist Occupy movement ended in evictions, arrests and tear gas, Americans appear hesitant to take their anger into the streets.

Most major media outlets, which in the United States are largely controlled by politically-connected corporations — many of them, in fact, finanncially supported Obama’s election — have been relatively quiet on such issues.

Foreign observers, however, say the recent news about domestic surveillance is spreading wildly in other ways — on Twitter and around the dinner table. They say the news has the potential to spark an uprising — at least among urban, educated elites in the country’s major cities — mirroring those happening now in Turkey and that earlier swept parts of the Arab world.

One foreign businessman who works closely with the US government on issues of security said he thought Obama was too well-established and had too strong a security force for any challenge to its authority to take hold.

“This isn’t Tunisia,” he said. “This is more like China, where a massive security presence could easily put down any organized opposition movement.”

The businessman added that Obama was democratically elected twice, which he believes gives the leader enough credibility to weather any serious opposition to his rule.

In a small, unassuming house near Boston’s bustling seaport, though, supporters of the opposition disagreed, saying the leader had lost “all credibility.” The group said the opposition continued to organize and grow, and that it was just a matter of time before the rest of the American population joined them.

Indeed, different political factions are beginning to unite over the issue of domestic surveillance, despite their strong differences.

“We meet in person these days to talk about strategy, phones and email are no longer safe for us,” one of them said. “Our goal now is to just get out the message to the world about what is going on here. That’s the first step. We need to educate not only Americans but the world about the extent the US regime is controlling the lives of its citizens.”

(Original article on the GlobalPost.)

Categories: News Media, Politics

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Quotes of the day: Aaron Sorkin

Published Sunday, June 09, 2013 @ 7:43 AM EDT
Jun 09 2013

Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an Academy and Emmy-award winning American screenwriter, producer, and playwright, whose works include A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network, Moneyball, and The Newsroom. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


There's a story about a man and a woman who have been married for 40 years. One evening at dinner the woman turns to her husband and says, "You know, 40 years ago on our wedding day you told me that you loved me and you haven't said those words since." They sit in silence for a long moment before the husband says "If I change my mind, I'll let you know."


An artist’s job is to captivate... if we stumble into truth, we got lucky.

Any time you get two people in a room who disagree about anything, the time of day, there is a scene to be written. That's what I look for.

Bumper-sticker patriotism is no way to honor our veterans.

Decisions are made by those who show up. Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world.

Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt.

Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.

I am all for everyone having a voice, I just don't think everyone has earned the microphone. And that's what the Internet has done.

I became a writer, because I wanted to be Donald Hollinger, because he got a girl like Ann Marie.

I'm a registered Republican, I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage.
(dialogue from "The Newsroom")

I'm writing the same way as the guys who wrote "I Love Lucy," and I’m hoping for the best.

If you feel that strongly about something, you have an obligation to try and change my mind.

In her defense, I'm sure the moose had it coming. (On "Sarah Palin's Alaska")

In terms of protagonists, I'm less interested in the difference between good and bad than I am in the difference between good and great. What can a good person do if they realize their potential?

It's a combination of life being unpredictable, and you being super dumb.

It's the rules that make it cool. Without rules in any kind of art, it's just finger painting.

Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense.
(Dialogue from "The West Wing".)

Smart girls have more fun.

Socializing on the internet is to socializing, what reality TV is to reality.

Stupid people surround themselves with smart people. Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them.

The appearance of reality is more important than reality.

The Internet's not written in pencil... it's written in ink. (dialogue from "The Social Network")

To get one good idea, your mind has to flip through a rolodex of 50,000 bad ideas to get there.

You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work- right up until the moment they decimate your life.

You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?
(From "The West Wing.")

You'll meet a lot of people who, to put it simply, don't know what they're talking about.

Categories: Aaron Sorkin, Quotes of the day

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Social media 101

Published Saturday, June 08, 2013 @ 12:24 PM EDT
Jun 08 2013

Be selective. You may later regret posting photos you thought were hilarious at the time.

I don't know this man.

Categories: Internet, KGB Family, Photo of the day

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Follow him. Now.

Published Saturday, June 08, 2013 @ 8:14 AM EDT
Jun 08 2013

You really need to follow The Covert Comic. Do so on his Facebook page, on Twitter, or his website.

CC on Facebook

(Screen capture of CC's latest Facebook entry.)

Categories: Covert Comic, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Scott Adams

Published Saturday, June 08, 2013 @ 7:34 AM EDT
Jun 08 2013

Scott Raymond Adams (born June 8, 1957) is the American creator of the Dilbert comic strip and the author of several nonfiction works of satire, commentary, business, and general speculation. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


"Analysis" comes from the root "anal" and the ancient Greek word "lysis," meaning "to pull numbers out of."

A good way for ineffective people to cling to power in an organization is by creating a monopoly on information.

A mission statement is defined as "a long awkward sentence that demonstrates management's inability to think clearly." All good companies have one.

Ambiguity succeeds where Honesty dares not venture.

An optimist is simply a pessimist with no job experience.

Anything that makes employees unhappy makes the stock price go up.

Are leaders born or made? And if they're made, can we return them under warranty?

Change is good. You go first.

Consultants will return your calls, because it's all billable time to them.

Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent.

Eighty percent of good management is hiring the right people. The other 20 percent is getting out of their way.

Employees want to feel they participated in the formation of the business plan. This scam is called "buy in," and it's essential for reminding the employees that if anything goes wrong, it's their fault.

Engineers understand that their appearance only bothers other people and therefore it is not worth optimizing.

Every layer of management exists for the sole purpose of warning us about the layer above.

Executives hate talking to employees because they always bring up a bunch of unresolvable issues. Salespeople just buy the executives lunch. It's no contest.

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

Freedom's just another word for not caring about the quality of your work.

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you're a consultant.

I believe everybody in the world should have guns. Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too. I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice. However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition. Because frankly, I wouldn't trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string.

I cried because I did not have an office with a door, until I met a man who had no cubicle.

I don't understand what you do. Therefore, it must be simple.

I get funnier looking every year and I'd like to think it's part of an overall plan to seize power instead of some pathetic aging problem.

I've noticed that when a new policy mentions me by name, it's never a good thing.

If you can't get rid of bad employees, as a last resort put the poor performers in charge of the United Way campaign and let everybody suffer with you.

If you have any trouble sounding condescending, find a Unix user to show you how it's done.

If you notice a lot of attention being given to process improvement, it's a sure sign that all the smart employees have left the company and those who remain are desperately trying to find a "process" that is so simple that the boneheads who remain can handle it.

If you spend all of your time arguing with people who are nuts, you'll be exhausted and the nuts will still be nuts.

In Japan, employees occasionally work themselves to death. It's called Karoshi. I don't want that to happen to anybody in my department. The trick is to take a break as soon as you see a bright light and hear dead relatives beckon.

In the future, more people will work for themselves, creating a huge market for bizarre products.

In the future, most democratic countries will be led by tall people with good hair.

In the future, the most important job skill will be a lack of ethics.

In the old days, quality was just an empty word meaning "good." Eventually, it evolved into a complicated method for transferring your money to business consultants.

Intelligence has much less practical application than you'd think.

It's funny to me that I have to prove to the banks that I'm honest.

It's hard to argue with the government. Remember, they run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, so they must know a thing or two about satisfying women.

It's vital for employees to accept the "buy-in" process. That way management has someone to blame when things go wrong.

Large corporations welcome innovation and individualism in the same way the dinosaurs welcomed large meteors.

Leadership is nature's way of removing morons from the productive flow.

Managers are like cats in a litter box. They instinctively shuffle things around to conceal what they've done.

Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle of lotteries, dating and religion.

Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.

On time. Zero defects. Pick one.

People are idiots.

Re-engineering is like performing an appendectomy on yourself. It hurts quite a bit, you might not know exactly how to do it, and there's a good chance you won't survive it.

Reality is always controlled by the people who are most insane.

Remember, you can't be wrong unless you take a position. Don't fall into that trap.

Reporters are faced with the daily choice of painstakingly researching stories or writing whatever people tell them. Both approaches pay the same.

Responsibility is not power.

Stupidity is like nuclear power, it can be used for good or evil. But you still don't want to get any on you.

Success is the happy feeling you get between the time you do something and the time you tell a woman what you did.

The best jobs are those that have results that cannot be measured.

The children are our future. And that is why, ultimately, we're screwed.

The creator of the universe works in mysterious ways. But he uses a base ten counting system and likes round numbers.

The entire economic system depends on the fact that people are willing to do unpleasant things in return for money.

The future depends on assumptions and assumptions are just stuff you make up. No sense in knocking yourself out.

The longer you work here, diverse it gets.

The new CEO is always some tall white guy with no experience in your business.

The purpose of analysis is to avoid making hard decisions. Therefore, there can never be too much analysis.

The universe is mostly empty space, and so is your job.

There's a fine line between participation and mockery.

They can't break you if you don't have a spine.

We're a planet of nearly six billion ninnies living in a civilization that was designed by a few thousand amazingly smart deviants.

We're called rebels because we're easily manipulated into doing stupid things.

When people stare at you in disbelief, do you repeat what you just said, only louder and slower? Good, you're management material.

You can test a person's importance in the organization by asking how much RAM his computer has. Anyone who knows the answer to that question is not a decision maker.

Your brain is like your stomach in the sense that if it's empty, you're willing to put anything in there to fill it up.

Categories: Scott Adams

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Photo of the day

Published Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 5:31 AM EDT
Jun 07 2013

Categories: Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Internet, Photo of the day, Snrk, Verizon

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Quotes of the day: E.M. Forster

Published Friday, June 07, 2013 @ 5:30 AM EDT
Jun 07 2013

Edward Morgan Forster (January 1, 1879 - June 7, 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster's humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect...". His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A humanist has four leading characteristics- curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race.

A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.

Death destroys a man; the idea of Death saves him.

Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied as sparingly as possible.

Happiness in the ordinary sense is not what one needs in life, though one is right to aim at it. The true satisfaction is to come through and see those whom one loves come through.

Hardship is vanishing, but so is style, and the two are more closely connected than the present generation supposes.

How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?

I do not believe in Belief.

If God could tell the story of the Universe, the Universe would become fictitious.

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.

Laughing at mankind is rather weary rot, I think. We shall never meet with anyone nicer. Nature, whom I used to be keen on, is too unfair. She evokes plenty of high and exhausting feelings, and offers nothing in return.

Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wants to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.

Love is a great force in private life; it is indeed the greatest of all things; but love in public affairs does not work.

Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talks that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence.

One can run away from women, turn them out, or give in to them. No fourth course.

One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.

Pathos, piety, courage- they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value.

Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.

The human mind is not a dignified organ, and I do not see how we can exercise it sincerely except through eclecticism.

The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected.

The newspapers still talk about glory but the average man, thank God, has got rid of that illusion.

The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.

There lies at the back of every creed something terrible and hard for which the worshipper may one day be required to suffer.

There's enough sorrow in the world, isn't there, without trying to invent it.

Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think is creation's.

To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.

Tolerance is just a makeshift, suitable for an overcrowded and overheated planet. It carries on when love gives out, and love generally gives out as soon as we move away from our home and our friends.

Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world where ignorance rules, and Science, which ought to have ruled, plays the pimp.

Tolerance, good temper and sympathy- they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long.

Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.

We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

What an ill constructed world this is! Love is always being given where it is not required.

Science, when applied to personal relationships, is always just wrong.

Self-pity? I see no moral objections to it, the smell drives people away, but that's a practical objection, and occasionally an advantage.


Author Dorothy Parker died on this date in 1967. Click here for our Dorothy Parker page.

Categories: E.M. Forster, Quotes of the day

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Looks phine oot meee...

Published Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 7:05 AM EDT
Jun 06 2013

"Just because you can't decrypt the cipher doesn't mean there's something wrong with the code."
-The Covert Comic

My favorite post-modern aphorist, CIA spook, and fellow webmaster, The Covert Comic (follow him on Twitter; friend him on Facebook) sent me an e-mail yesterday telling me that the column on the right side of the page isn't rendering properly on Internet Explorer 8.

I jumped over to a remote machine running XP and IE8 and confirmed his report; the right column was appearing under the left column, and the horizontal position was wrong, too.

The page looked fine in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and the various browsers on my Android phone. It also rendered correctly in IE9 and IE10.

W3C's online markup validation service showed the style sheet was valid, but it did reveal some errors on the page. I manually corrected the bad code, ftp'ed it up to the website, and:

Big effing deal.

Back over to the XP/IE8 machine. Rename the page so I don't grab a bad, cached version. Type in the new url, and:


Alrighty, then.

If you're still using XP and IE8, you have much bigger problems than reading this page. You know what they say:

We now return you to our regularly scheduled whatever.

Categories: Covert Comic, Internet, KGB Blog News

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Mann

Published Thursday, June 06, 2013 @ 1:34 AM EDT
Jun 06 2013

Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 - August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.

A man's dying is more his survivor's affair than his own.

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

All interest in disease and death is only another expression of interest in life.

Beauty can pierce one like pain.

Democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness.

Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.

Everything is politics.

Hold every moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment.

Hold fast the time! Guard it, watch over it, every hour, every minute!

Human reason needs only to will more strongly than fate, and she is fate.

I stand between two worlds, am at home in neither, and in consequence have rather a hard time of it.

If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it.

It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.

Only indifference is free. What is distinctive is never free, it is stamped with its own seal, conditioned and chained.

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject- the actual enemy is the unknown.

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact- it is silence which isolates.

The beautiful word begets the beautiful deed.

The good Lord sees your heart, not the braid on your jacket. Before Him we are all in our birthday suits, generals and common men alike.

The only religious way to think of death is as part and parcel of life; to regard it, with the understanding and the emotions, as the the inviolable condition of life.

There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once that she is politically suspect.

Time cools, time clarifies, no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.

Time has no divisions to mark its passage; there is never a thunderstorm to announce the beginning of a new year. It is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.

Wagner's art is the most sensational self-portrayal and self-critique of German nature that it is possible to conceive.

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side.

What a glorious gift is imagination, and what satisfaction it affords!

Writing well was almost the same as thinking well, and thinking well was the next thing to acting well.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Mann

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IE8 glitch

Published Wednesday, June 05, 2013 @ 10:10 AM EDT
Jun 05 2013

A reader reported, and I've confirmed, that our pages aren't being rendered properly in Internet Explorer 8.

It looks fine in Internet Explorer 10, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and assorted Android browsers.

Odds are that if you're using IE8, you're also using Windows XP. That's because if you're using XP, you were stuck on IE8 because IE9 wouldn't run on IE8 due to some stupid Microsoft design decisions.

So, if you're using IE8- stop doing that.

Seriously, I'll research the problem and get back to you.

But if you're running XP and IE8, you have bigger problems than seeing a distorted version of this web site. You're using a 12 year old operating system. Mainstream support for it ended in 2009, and extended support will end next April.

Time to move on, amigos...

Categories: Internet, KGB Blog News

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Quotes of the day: John Maynard Keynes

Published Wednesday, June 05, 2013 @ 7:12 AM EDT
Jun 05 2013

John Maynard Keynes (June 5, 1883 - April 21, 1946) was a British economist whose ideas have fundamentally affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, and informed the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern macroeconomics and the most influential economist of the 20th century. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. (Click for Wikipedia article)


Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering what average opinion believes average opinion to be; and this national weakness finds its nemesis in the stock market.

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.

Economic privation proceeds by easy stages, and so long as men suffer it patiently the outside world cares little.

Economics is a very dangerous science.

Education is the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent.

I do not know which makes a man more conservative- to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past.

I work for a Government I despise for ends I think criminal.

If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.

It is generally agreed that casinos should, in the public interest, be inaccessible and expensive. And perhaps the same is true of Stock Exchanges.

Logic, like lyrical poetry, is no employment for the middle-aged.

Men will not always die quietly.

Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older.

Once doubt begins it spreads rapidly.

Perhaps it is historically true that no order of society ever perishes save by its own hand.

The avoidance of taxes is the only pursuit that still carries any reward.

The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems- the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion.

The division of the spoils between the victors will also provide employment for a powerful office, whose doorsteps the greedy adventurers and jealous concession hunters of twenty or thirty nations will crowd and defile.

The glory of the nation you love is a desirable end, but generally to be obtained at your neighbor's expense.

The importance of money flows from it being a link between the present and the future.

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.

The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind.

There is no harm in being sometimes wrong- especially if one is promptly found out.

There is nothing so disastrous as a rational investment policy in an irrational world.

They offer me neither food nor drink- intellectual nor spiritual consolation... [Conservatism] leads nowhere; it satisfies no ideal; it conforms to no intellectual standard, it is not safe, or calculated to preserve from the spoilers that degree of civilisation which we have already attained.

We are, as I have said, one equation short.

When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals.

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.

Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.

Categories: John Maynard Keynes, Quotes of the day

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #908: WTF?

Published Tuesday, June 04, 2013 @ 10:37 PM EDT
Jun 04 2013

(Story here.)

In related news, the Holocaust Museum announced plans for a "Hogan's Heroes" display.

Categories: Signs of the Apocalypse, WTF?

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Published Tuesday, June 04, 2013 @ 9:39 AM EDT
Jun 04 2013

Kaiser, a 30 month old German Shepherd canine officer for the Plymouth, Massachusetts Police Department, was euthanized last Friday due to the ravaging effects of severe liver and kidney disease.

Kaiser's handler, Jamie LeBretton, had announced last Wednesday that his partner had retired from the force that day. He sadly noted a ceremony at Angel View Pet Cemetery would follow Kaiser's final trip to the Court Street Animal Hospital.

Honor guard

Kaiser was met by a silent, respectful group of his fellow officers, who stood at attention and saluted him as he followed his partner and friend.


"I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to witness his bravery and heroic actions while serving the people of Plymouth and my brothers and sisters in blue," Officer LeBretton said. "Although his career was short-lived, he made a huge impact that will never be forgotten."

The Plymouth Police Department depends upon contributions from the public to operate and maintain its K-9 unit. Please consider making a donation online here, or send a check to:

Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation
20 Long Pond Road
Plymouth MA 02360
Attn: Marc Higgins


The fidelity of a Dog is a precious gift, demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a Human Being. The bond with a True Dog is as lasting as the ties of this Earth will ever be.
-Konrad Lorenz

Sources: Top photo, Old Colony Memorial on Facebook. Bottom photo, Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation. Facebook page. (Photos were cropped and processed for this web page's display requirements).

Categories: Animals, Dogs, Passages

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Quotes of the day: Robert Fulghum

Published Tuesday, June 04, 2013 @ 1:07 AM EDT
Jun 04 2013

Robert Lee Fulghum (born June 4, 1937) is an American author, primarily of short essays. (Click for full Wikipedia article).


Above all, if what you've done is stupid, but it works, it ain't stupid.

Always trust your fellow man. And always cut the cards. Always trust God. And always build your house on high ground. Always love thy neighbor. And always pick a good neighborhood to live in.

And sure, I know if you eat this way you'll die. So? If you don't eat this way you're still going to die. Why not die happy?

Anything not worth doing is worth not doing well.

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.

I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know.

I've always thought anyone can make money. Making a life worth living, that's the real test.

If I don't have time to live my life well the first time, when am I going to find the time to go back and live it over?

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.

If you want an interesting party sometime combine a few cocktails and a box of crayons.

It doesn’t matter what you say you believe- it only matters what you do.

Just when you thought that you already learned the way how to live, life changes- and you're left the same as you begun.

Liberation, I guess, is everybody getting what they think they want, without knowing the whole truth. Or in other words, liberation finally amounts to being free from things we don't like in order to be enslaved by things we approve of. Here's to the eternal tandem.

Making a living and having a life are not the same thing.

Once you know where the roller coaster is going, are you in for the ride?

Speed and efficiency do not always increase the quality of life.

The examined life is no picnic.

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

To ponder is not to brood or grieve or even meditate. It is to wonder at a deep level.

Until you have experienced raccoons mating underneath your bedroom at three in the morning, you have missed one of life's sensational moments.

When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Why is love easy? I don’t know. And the raccoons don’t say.

Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.

You are free to give life meaning, whatever meaning you want to give it.

You will continue to read stories of crookedness and corruption- of policemen who lie and steal, doctors who reap where they do not sew, politicians on the take. Don't be misled. They are news because they are the exceptions.

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.


Everything I needed to know in life, I learned in kindergarten. Like, always check for extraneous roots when squaring to remove the radicals.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert Fulghum

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Quotes of the day: Allen Ginsberg

Published Monday, June 03, 2013 @ 1:43 AM EDT
Jun 03 2013

Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 - April 5, 1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem "Howl", in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States.


1. You can't win. 2. You can't break even. 3. You can't even get out of the game.

Candor disarms paranoia.

Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don't care who's listening.

Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!

I don't think there is any truth. There are only points of view.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.

It isn't enough for your heart to break because everybody's heart is broken now.

It's never too late to do nothing at all.

It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway. America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

My own experience is that a certain kind of genius among students is best brought out in bed.

Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own. We were all three, I suppose.

Nobody saves America by sniffing cocaine, jiggling your knees blankly in the rain, when it snows in your nose you catch cold in your brain.

Our heads are round so thought can change direction.

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.

Poets are Damned... but See with the Eyes of Angels.

The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive

The suffering itself is not so bad, it's the resentment against suffering that is the real pain.

There is a very famous saying among Tibetan Buddhists: "If the student is not better than the teacher, then the teacher is a failure."

There is nothing to be learned from history anymore. We're in science fiction now.

To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness.

We are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter.

Well, while I'm here I'll do the work- and what's the work? To ease the pain of living.

Which way will the sunflower turn surrounded by millions of suns?

Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.

What if someone gave a war and Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again.


What if they gave a war and nobody came?
Why, then, the war would come to you!
-Bertolt Brecht

Categories: Allen Ginsberg, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Cornel West

Published Sunday, June 02, 2013 @ 12:18 AM EDT
Jun 02 2013

Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, academic, activist, author, and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. West is a 1973 graduate of Harvard University and received his PhD at Princeton University. He is currently a professor of African American Studies at Princeton and of Religious Philosophy and Christian Studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


Clever gimmicks of mass distraction yield a cheap soulcraft of addicted and self-medicated narcissists.

Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it.

Every president needs to deal with the permanent government of the country, and the permanent government of the country is Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats and the questions becomes what is the relationship between that president and Wall Street.

Every religious tradition has gangsters and thugs. We also have humans and heroes in those same traditions. Some simple truths need to be said over and over again.

I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.

If our world is regulated by reductionist, narrow, sophomoric versions of Darwin; or reductionist, narrow, sophomoric versions of religious dogma; you end up being childishly anti-scientific, and childishly anti-religious, and you miss the very complex interaction.

If your success is defined as being well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference then we don't want successful leaders. We want great leaders- who love the people enough and respect the people enough to be unsought, unbound, unafraid and unintimidated to tell the truth.

It takes courage to interrogate yourself. It takes courage to look in the mirror and see past your reflection to who you really are when you take off the mask, when you’re not performing the same old routines and social roles. It takes courage for folk to stand up.

Look at the world through the eyes of the weak and vulnerable.

Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.

None of us alone can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.

Oftentimes in this country, sadly and unfortunately, you have to constitute some kind of threat to the status quo in order for the weak and the vulnerable to get some kind of attention.

There is always a fundamental tension between a commitment to truth and a quest for power.

To accept your country without betraying it, you must love it for that which shows what it might become.

To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely- to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping, because the something that sustains you, no empire can give you, and no empire can take away

To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.

To love and serve is to persevere and endure.

Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.

When ordinary people wake up, elites begin to tremble in their boots.

Whether we agree with the reasons for war or not, we must be grateful for our courageous brothers and sisters in uniform who have risked their lives for us on the battlefield, and always be in prayer for their families.

Without the presence of black people in America, European-Americans would not be "white"- they would be Irish, Italians, Poles, Welsh, and other engaged in class, ethnic, and gender struggles over resources and identity.

You can't lead the people if you don't love the people. You can't save the people if you don't serve the people.

You can't move forward until you look back.

You must let suffering speak, if you want to hear the truth.

You've got to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; a thermometer just reflects it.

Categories: Cornel West, Quotes of the day

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #907: The Mark of Motorola

Published Saturday, June 01, 2013 @ 3:29 PM EDT
Jun 01 2013

Motorola shows off tattoo and swallowable password hardware

Mobe manufacturer playing long game for end times
By Iain Thomson in San Francisco

Motorola has shown off an electronic authentication tattoo and an FDA-approved pill that uses the body to transmit passwords, and says it wants to see a new generation of smartphones geared towards such wearable- or edible- technology.


One marketing problem Motorola may not have anticipated is the reaction of biblical literalists to its wearable authentication systems

A surprising number of people in the US still adhere to an apparent literal translation of the current version of the Bible. These include Jehovah's Witnesses, who refuse blood transfusions and shun those who take them, to those who look to the finale of the New Testament: The Book of Revelation- or, for you believers of the Catholic persuasion, The Apocalypse.

The text, thought to be written about 60 years after the biblical death of Christ, is regarded as either a description of the end times of humanity, a satirical pastiche on the increasingly subverted tenants of Christian bureaucracy, or a really bad mushroom trip on a Greek island. Nevertheless it contains the following warning:

"It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666."

Be reassured that the majority of people of faith in the US and elsewhere aren't quite so inflexible. Those that aren't may be shrill, particularly in the US, but do not form a representative sample of Christianity.

(Click for full article.)

Categories: Religion, Signs of the Apocalypse, Technology

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Serious physical injury or property losing.

Published Saturday, June 01, 2013 @ 10:45 AM EDT
Jun 01 2013

Nerd outfitter extraordinaire ThinkGeek is unsurpassed when it comes to clever advertising and customer communications:

Good, indeed. ">

Which makes me wonder if the instructions for their R/C Quadcopter is the just the manufacturer's twisted Chinese to English translation, or a literary parody unequalled in the annals of mail-order retail sales:

No habla gibberish

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Chinese instructions were badly translated from English?

All kidding aside, you have to marvel that technology has progressed to the point where you can buy a four-channel, radio controlled flying device with an integrated, microprocessor-controlled six-axis electronic gyroscope for under $25.

But I still don't have my jetpack.

Categories: ThinkGeek, Inc., WTF?

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Published Saturday, June 01, 2013 @ 12:40 AM EDT
Jun 01 2013


Categories: Photo of the day, WTF?

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Quotes of the day: Reinhold Niebuhr

Published Saturday, June 01, 2013 @ 12:37 AM EDT
Jun 01 2013

Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr (June 21, 1892 - June 1, 1971) was an American theologian, ethicist, public intellectual, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years. Also known for authoring the Serenity Prayer, Niebuhr received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. Among his most influential books are Moral Man and Immoral Society and The Nature and Destiny of Man (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


A church has the right to set its own standards within its community. I don't think it has a right to prohibit birth control or to enforce upon a secular society its conception of divorce and the indissolubility of the marriage tie.

All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.

As individuals, men believe they ought to love and serve each other and establish justice between each other. As racial, economic and national groups they take for themselves, whatever their power can command.

Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be changed.

Communists are atheistic and godless, but I don't think that that's what's primarily the matter with them.

Democracies are indeed slow to make war, but once embarked upon a martial venture are equally slow to make peace and reluctant to make a tolerable, rather than a vindictive, peace.

Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses.

Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.

It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of rationalism.

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.

My personal attitude toward atheists is the same attitude that I have toward Christians, and would be governed by a very orthodox text: "By their fruits shall ye know them." I wouldn't judge a man by the presuppositions of his life, but only by the fruits of his life.

Not necessarily every standard that every church tries to enforce upon the society is from the society's standpoint a good standard.

One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun.

Real religion produces the spirit of humility and repentance. It destroys moral conceit.

Reason tends to check selfish impulses and to grant the satisfaction of legitimate impulses in others.

Religion, declares the modern man, is consciousness of our highest social values. Nothing could be further from the truth. True religion is a profound uneasiness about our highest social values.

Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.

The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.

The individual or the group which organizes any society, however social its intentions or pretensions, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself.

The inevitable hypocrisy, which is associated with the all the collective activities of the human race, springs chiefly from this source: that individuals have a moral code which makes the actions of collective man an outrage to their conscience.

The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery.

The more complex the world situation becomes, the more scientific and rational analysis you have to have, the less you can do with simple good will and sentiment.

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.

The separation of church and state is necessary partly because if religion is good then the state shouldn't interfere with the religious vision or with the religious prophet.

The society in which each man lives is at once the basis for, and the nemesis of, that fullness of life which each man seeks.

The stupidity of the average man will permit the oligarch, whether economic or political, to hide his real purposes from the scrutiny of his fellows and to withdraw his activities from effective control.

The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.

The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power.

There ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.

To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible.

Ultimately evil is done not so much by evil people, but by good people who do not know themselves and who do not probe deeply.

We Protestants ought to humbly confess that the theater and the sports have done more for race amity, for race understanding than, on the whole, the Protestant Church in certain type, in certain parts of the nation.

We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.

We have, on the whole, more liberty and less equality than Russia has. Russia has less liberty and more equality. Whether democracy should be defined primarily in terms of liberty or equality is a source of unending debate.

Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments.

A wise architect observed that you could break the laws of architectural art provided you had mastered them first. That would apply to religion as well as to art. Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections.


Reinhold Niebuhr is a man of God, but a man of the world as well. Dr. Niebuhr would seem to be saying that if a nation would survive and emain free, its citizens must use religion as a source of self- criticism, not as a source of self-righteousness.
-Mike Wallace

Categories: Reinhold Niebuhr

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