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Quotes of the day: Roberto Clemente

Published Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 6:29 AM EDT
Sep 30 2013

On this day in 1971, Roberto Clemente recorded his 3,000th hit.

Clemente was- and is- my only sports "hero." When news of his death was announced, it was the first and only time I ever saw my father cry.


Any time you have the opportunity to accomplish something and you don't, you are wasting your time on this earth.

God tells you how long you're going to be here. So you never know what can happen tomorrow.

I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball.

I believe we owe something to the people who watch us. When we don't try one hundred percent, we steal from them.

I don't believe in color.

I get kids together and talk about the importance of being a good citizen, the importance of respecting their mother and father.

I like workers. I like people that suffer because these people have a different approach to life from the people that have everything and don't know what suffering is.

I never heard any hate in my house. Not for anybody. I never heard my mother say a bad word to my father, or my father to my mother.

I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give.

In a way, I was born twice. I was born in 1934 and again in 1955 when I came to Pittsburgh. I am thankful to say that I lived two lives.

My greatest satisfaction comes from helping to erase the old opinion about Latin Americans and blacks.

Pitch me outside, I will hit .400. Pitch me inside, and you will not find the ball.

Why does everyone talk about the past? All that counts is tomorrow's game.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Roberto Clemente

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Published Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 9:19 AM EDT
Sep 29 2013





With no support in the Senate and the guarantee of a presidential veto, House Republicans and Tea Partiers vote to approve spending only if the Affordable Care Act is delayed for one year and a tax on the manufacture of medical devices is killed, effectively insuring the shutdown of most of the Federal government.

Ironically, the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges are not affected, and will open on Tuesday.

Categories: Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: W.H. Auden

Published Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 5:10 AM EDT
Sep 29 2013

Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907 - September 29, 1973), who published as W.H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A god who is both self-sufficient and content to remain so could not interest us enough to raise the question of his existence.

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office every day. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do

A vice in common can be the ground of a friendship but not a virtue in common.

All pity is self-pity.

All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.

All the possibilities
It had to reject are
What give life and warmth to
An actual character;
The roots of wit and charm tap
Secret springs of sorrow,
Every brilliant doctor
Hides a murderer.

Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation, a mental or physical barter, to be terminated when one or both parties run out of goods.

America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an élite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment.

Anyone who has a child today should train him to be either a physicist or a ballet dancer. Then he'll escape.

Aphorisms are essentially an aristocratic genre of writing. The aphorist does not argue or explain, he asserts; and implicit in his assertion is a conviction that he is wiser and more intelligent than his readers.

Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.

Dogmatic theological statements are neither logical propositions nor poetic utterances. They are 'shaggy dog' stories; they have a point, but he who tries too hard to get it will miss it.

Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.

Evil is unspectacular and always human,
And shares our bed and eats at our own table.

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.

Genealogies are admirable things, provided they do not encourage the curious delusion that some families are older than others.

History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.

I see little hope for a peaceful world until men are excluded from the realm of foreign policy altogether and all decisions concerning international relations are reserved for women, preferably married ones.

In all technologically 'advanced' countries, fashion has replaced tradition, so that involuntary membership in a society can no longer provide a feeling of community.

In any modern city, a great deal of our energy has to be expended in not seeing, not hearing, not smelling. An inhabitant of New York who possessed the sensory acuteness of an African Bushman would very soon go mad.

In general, when reading a scholarly critic, one profits more from his quotations than from his comments.

In most poetic expressions of patriotism, it is impossible to distinguish what is one of the greatest human virtues from the worst human vice, collective egotism.

It takes little talent to see clearly what lies under one's nose, a good deal of it to know in which direction to point that organ .

It's usually the stupid people that develop long illnesses. You need more than indolence and selfishness, you need endurance to make a good patient.

Lead us not into temptation and evil for our sake.
They will come all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine.

Machines have no political opinions, but they have profound political effects. They demand a strict regimentation of time, and, by abolishing the need for manual skill, have transformed the majority of the population from workers into laborers.

Most people call something profound, not because it is near some important truth but because it is distant from ordinary life. Thus, darkness is profound to the eye, silence to the ear; what-is-not is the profundity of what-is.

Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest.

No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.

No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted.

Of course, Behaviorism 'works.' So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviorist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public.

One can only blaspheme if one believes.

One cannot review a bad book without showing off.

Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.

Politics cannot be a science, because in politics theory and practice cannot be separated, and the sciences depend upon their separation.

Private faces in public places
Are wiser and nicer
Than public faces in private places.

Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable.

Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered.

Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.

The law cannot forgive, for the law has not been wronged, only broken; only persons can be wronged. The law can pardon, but it can only pardon what it has the power to punish.

The surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it.

There is no love;
There are only the various envies, all of them sad.

Thou shalt not sit
With statisticians nor commit
A social science.

Thoughts of his own death,
like the distant roll
of thunder at a picnic.

to be free
Is often to be lonely;

To have a sense of sin means to feel guilty at there being an ethical choice to make, a guilt which, however 'good' I may become, remains unchanged.

What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.

Whatever the field under discussion, those who engage in debate must not only believe in each other's good faith, but also in their capacity to arrive at the truth.

When words lose their meaning, physical force takes over.

Without Art, we should have no notion of the sacred; without Science, we should always worship false gods.

You must go to bed with friends or whores, where money makes up the difference in beauty or desire.

Young people, who are still uncertain of their identity, often try on a succession of masks in the hope of finding the one which suits them- the one, in fact, which is not a mask.

Categories: Quotes of the day, W.H. Auden

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Public Opinion

Published Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 10:15 AM EDT
Sep 28 2013

(Written by Walter Lippmann in 1922)

Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct a propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks wise or desirable. For while people who have direct access can misconceive what they see, no one else can decide how they shall misconceive it, unless he can decide where they shall look, and at what. The military censorship is the simplest form of barrier, but by no means the most important, because it is known to exist, and is therefore in certain measure agreed to and discounted.

At different times and for different subjects some men impose and other men accept a particular standard of secrecy. The frontier between what is concealed because publication is not, as we say, "compatible with the public interest" fades gradually into what is concealed because it is believed to be none of the public's business. The notion of what constitutes a person's private affairs is elastic. Thus the amount of a man's fortune is considered a private affair, and careful provision is made in the income tax law to keep it as private as possible. The sale of a piece of land is not private, but the price may be. Salaries are generally treated as more private than wages, incomes as more private than inheritances. A person's credit rating is given only a limited circulation. The profits of big corporations are more public than those of small firms. Certain kinds of conversation, between man and wife, lawyer and client, doctor and patient, priest and communicant, are privileged. Directors' meetings are generally private. So are many political conferences. Most of what is said at a cabinet meeting, or by an ambassador to the Secretary of State, or at private interviews, or dinner tables, is private. Many people regard the contract between employer and employee as private. There was a time when the affairs of all corporations were held to be as private as a man's theology is today. There was a time before that when his theology was held to be as public a matter as the color of his eyes. But infectious diseases, on the other hand, were once as private as the processes of a man's digestion. The history of the notion of privacy would be an entertaining tale. Sometimes the notions violently conflict, as they did when the bolsheviks published the secret treaties, or when Mr. Hughes investigated the life insurance companies, or when somebody's scandal exudes from the pages of Town Topics to the front pages of Mr. Hearst's newspapers.

Whether the reasons for privacy are good or bad, the barriers exist. Privacy is insisted upon at all kinds of places in the area of what is called public affairs. It is often very illuminating, therefore, to ask yourself how you got at the facts on which you base your opinion. Who actually saw, heard, felt, counted, named the thing, about which you have an opinion? Was it the man who told you, or the man who told him, or someone still further removed? And how much was he permitted to see? When he informs you that France thinks this and that, what part of France did he watch? How was he able to watch it? Where was he when he watched it? What Frenchmen was he permitted to talk to, what newspapers did he read, and where did they learn what they say? You can ask yourself these questions, but you can rarely answer them. They will remind you, however, of the distance which often separates your public opinion from the event with which it deals. And the reminder is itself a protection.

From Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann, published in 1921.

Categories: Walter Lippmann

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Quotes of the day: Peter De Vries

Published Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 6:50 AM EDT
Sep 28 2013

Peter De Vries (February 27, 1910 - September 28, 1993) was an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.

Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, What's in it for me?

Before the mind snaps, or the heart breaks, it gather itself like a clock about to strike. It might even be said one pulls himself together to disintegrate.

Confession is good for the soul in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff.

Everybody hates me because I'm so universally liked.

Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us.

Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection.

I am not impressed by the Ivy League establishments. Of course they graduate the best- it's all they'll take, leaving to others the problem of educating the country. They will give you an education the way the banks will give you money- provided you can prove to their satisfaction that you don't need it.

I don't understand why people keep saying marriage is doomed. All of mine worked out.

I wanted to be bored to death, as good a way to go as any.

I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.

It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.

Let us hope, that a kind Providence will put a speedy end to the acts of God under which we have been laboring.

Life is a crowded superhighway with bewildering cloverleaf exits on which a man is liable to find himself speeding back in the direction he came.

Life is a zoo in a jungle.

Marriage is a lottery in which men stake their liberty and women their happiness.

Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums.

My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that, too.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

One dreams of the goddess Fame and winds up with the bitch Publicity.

Pain is the question mark turned like a fishhook in the human heart.

The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds- they mature slowly.

The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.

The human brain is merely a device to prevent the ears grating on one another.

The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, 'Thou shalt not kill,' is so monstrously, immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long.

The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive, and eventually releases him again for another chance.

The trouble with treating people as equals is that the first thing you know they may be doing the same thing to you.

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.

There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you.

We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.

We must love one another, yes, yes, that's all true enough, but nothing says we have to like each other. It may be the very recognition of all men as our brothers that accounts for the sibling rivalry, and even enmity, we have toward so many of them.

What baffles me is the comfort people find in the idea that somebody dealt this mess. Blind and meaningless chance seems to me so much more congenial- or at least less horrible. Prove to me that there is a God and I will really begin to despair.

What people believe is a measure of what they suffer.

When I can no longer bear to think of the victims of broken homes, I begin to think of the victims of intact ones.

Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.

Why is the awfulness of families such a popular reason for starting another?

Words fashioned with somewhat over precise diction are like shapes turned out by a cookie cutter.

You can make a sordid thing sound like a brilliant drawing-room comedy. Probably a fear we have of facing up to the real issues. Could you say we were guilty of Noel Cowardice?

You can't be happy with a woman who pronounces both d's in Wednesday.

You can't talk about the serious and the comic separately and still be talking about life, any more than you can independently discuss hydrogen and oxygen and still be talking about water.

Categories: Peter De Vries, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Marc Maron

Published Friday, September 27, 2013 @ 6:41 AM EDT
Sep 27 2013

Marc Maron (b. September 27, 1963) is an American stand-up comedian, podcast host and actor. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


Be careful not to medicate bitterness because you've mistaken it for depression, because the truth is, you're right: Everything does suck most of the time, and there's a fine line between bitterness and astute cultural observation.

Bitterness is just amplied self-pity.

Buying my wife a gun is sorta like me saying 'Y'know, I kinda wanna kill myself... but I want it to be a surprise.'

Comedy is obviously a matter of personal taste and the world always needs a clown and some people have no taste at all and any clown will do.

Comedy saved my life but also destroyed it in many ways.

Do you remember when you used to be able to remember five phone numbers?

Faith in the face of disappointment is only enhanced by laughter in the face of pain.

For my next trick I will make everyone understand me.

I look at every book as a self-help book.

The only difference between disappointment and depression is your level of commitment.

I'm not completely sure we aren't all living in a hallucination now.

In the digital age our idea of political activism is forwarding an e-mail. You copy four people and think, 'I've effin' done my part for today.'

I've gotten old enough to resent people for being young.

It seems people are more willing to let other people control their minds now and recreational drug use doesn't seem to have that same renegade sense of adventure that it once did.

It seems that the drugs have become more focused in their applications and less romanticized. I don't know if that discussion will ever be relevant again.

It's easy to maintain your integrity when no one is offering to buy it out.

Left wing, right wing, I am wingless and tired of trying to fly. Here comes the ground.

Show business is one of the few businesses that the devil will actually agree to own just a portion of your soul because he knows if you have a performer's ego you were probably working for him all along.

Sometimes a "general meeting" just means that executives had an open day, needed to fill out their schedule and want to be entertained. Don't get your hopes up.

Surveillance induced morality: relics of cultural retardation.

The Internet has usurped the collective unconscious and access to cosmic consciousness has become difficult and almost primitive.

The next evolutionary step is into the screen.

The target is the mighty Oz. An illusion. Lets get the guy at the controls behind the curtain out here and see what he's made of.

There are also always those burnt, hard kernels at the bottom that don't pop. You know why they don't pop? They don't pop because they have integrity.

There is really no business like show business. Except maybe prostitution. There's a bit of overlap there.

There were a lot of casualties. Things change and drugs change.

This is not a meritocracy. Get over yourself.

We need the children of Indonesia and the Philippines to manufacture our freedom of choice.

When you actually meet the devil and he offers you a deal most artists eventually negotiate.

When you're young you really think you're angry for reasons and causes. As you get older, you realize you might just be angry.

You got to decide what your soul can handle and how you want to be seen.

Categories: Marc Maron, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: T.S. Eliot

Published Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 12:14 AM EDT
Sep 26 2013

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalized as a British subject in 1927 at age 39. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All cases are unique, and very similar to others.

Ambition fortifies the will of man to become ruler over other men: it operates with deception, cajolery, and violence, it is the action of impurity upon impurity.

And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls."

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Atheism is often merely a variety of Christianity.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Birth, and copulation, and death. That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks.

Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.

Disillusion can become itself an illusion
If we rest in it.

Every moment is a fresh beginning.

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.

Half of the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to feel important.

Hold tight, hold tight, we must insist that the world is what we have always taken it to be.

Human kind cannot bear very much reality.

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.

I don't belong to any generation.

If we all were judged according to the consequences
Of all our words and deeds, beyond the intention
And beyond our limited understanding
Of ourselves and others, we should all be condemned.

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

In the case of many poets, the most important thing for them to do is to write as little as possible.

It is certain that a book is not harmless merely because no one is consciously offended by it.

It is impossible to design a system so perfect that no one needs to be good.

It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. Resign yourself to be the fool you are.

Men tighten the knot of confusion
Into perfect misunderstanding

Neither way is better.
Both ways are necessary. It is also necessary
To make a choice between them.

Only by acceptance of the past will you alter its meaning.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Our age is an age of moderate virtue
And moderate vice

Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen.

Saints are not made by accident.

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.

Success is relative; it is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.

The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious.

The circle of our understanding
Is a very restricted area.

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.

The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith; and when the ordinary man calls himself a skeptic or an unbeliever, that is ordinarily a simple pose, cloaking a disinclination to think anything out to a conclusion.

The man who returns will have to meet
The boy who left.

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.

There is another way, if you have the courage.

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Those you say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste and end by debauching it.

We had the experience but missed the meaning.

We must always take risks. That is our destiny.

What is hell? Hell is oneself.
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries

You are the music while the music lasts.

You do not know what hope is, until you have lost it.

You will find that you survive humiliation
And that's an experience of incalculable value.

Categories: Quotes of the day, T.S. Eliot

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Quotes of the day: Christopher Reeve

Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Sep 25 2013

Christopher D'Olier Reeve (September 25, 1952 - October 10, 2004) was an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author and activist. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, in particular his motion picture portrayal of the fictional superhero Superman.

On May 27, 1995, Reeve became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, VA. He required a wheelchair and breathing apparatus for the rest of his life. He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


By reaching out, more comes back than you can possibly imagine.

Even if your body doesn't work the way it used to, the heart and the mind and the spirit are not diminished.

Even though I don't personally believe in the Lord, I try to behave as though He was watching.

Gratitude, like love, needs to be active.

I don't want Superman to be accused of being a piece of American propaganda. We're living in a global village now, and there has to be a new heightened awareness of our interactions as people on this planet.

I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life. There is only one way to go in life and that is forward.

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them.

I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us. It may be God, I don't know. But I think that if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.

If I can laugh, I can live.

In the face of adversity, hope often comes in the form of a friend who reaches out to us.

It's very hard for me to be silly about Superman, because I've seen firsthand how he actually transforms people's lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character really matters. It's not Superman the tongue-in-cheek cartoon character they're connecting with; they're connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it.

Living a life with meaning means spreading the word. Even if you can't move, you can have a powerful effect with what you say.

Living in fear is not living at all.

Never accept ultimatums, conventional wisdom, or absolutes.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.

Some people are walking around with full use of their bodies and they're more paralyzed than I am.

The Unitarian believes that God is good, and believes that God believes that man is good. Inherently. The Unitarian God is not a God of vengeance. And that is something I can appreciate.

There is a relationship between the mind and the body that can both create a physical condition and enable us to recover from it.

We all have powers within us that we don't know exist until we're tested. There are no limitations to what you can do if you have the determination.

We live in a culture of diminished ethics and morality, but there are resources within us we known little about... by searching for the best within ourselves we can create a better society and a better world.

We live in a time when the words impossible and unsolvable are no longer part of the scientific community's vocabulary. Each day we move closer to trials that will not just minimize the symptoms of disease and injury but eliminate them.

What I do is based on powers we all have inside us; the ability to endure; the ability to love, to carry on, to make the best of what we have- and you don't have to be a 'Superman' to do it.

You begin to say to yourself, instead of 'What life do I have?' is 'What life can I build?' And the answer, surprisingly, is, 'More than you think.'

You play the hand you're dealt. I think the game's worthwhile.

You should have a dream and absolutely go for it. Don't let anybody say you can't do it.

You should take some responsibility for the way you present yourself. But you should not be hung up on your looks, whether you are ugly or handsome, because it isn't an achievement.

Your body is not who you are. The mind and spirit transcend the body.

Categories: Christopher Reeve, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: John Brunner

Published Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 2:30 AM EDT
Sep 24 2013

John Kilian Houston Brunner (September 24, 1934 – August 26, 1995) was a prolific British author of science fiction novels and stories. His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, about an overpopulated world, won the 1969 Hugo Award for best science iction novel, and the BSFA award the same year. The Jagged Orbit won the BSFA award in 1970. Brunner was born at Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St. Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne then to Cheltenham. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, published under the name of Gill Hunt, but did not write full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Sauer in 1958. His health began to decline in the 1980s, and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986. He remarried in 1991. Brunner died of a heart attack in Glasgow, Scotland on August 25, 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention there. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any society which gives lip-service to the idea of equal opportunity is going to generate jealousy of others who are better off than you are, even if the thing that's in short supply can't be carved up and shared without destroying it.

But there isn't an outside. Talking about 'society's outcasts' or 'opting out' is so much whaledreck. The fact that we generate huge quantities of waste is all that allows people to go outside; they're benefiting from the superficial affluence which conformists use to alleviate boredom. In essence, using the term 'out' is as meaningless as trying to define a location outside the universe. There's no place for 'outside' to be.

Coincidence: You weren't paying attention to the other half of what was going on.

This is the third stage of human social evolution. First we had the legs race. Then we had the arms race. Now we're going to have the brain race. And, if we're lucky, the final stage will be the human race.

First you use machines, then you wear machines, and then...? Then you serve machines.

How do you whip up resentment against absentee landlords and pocketers of bribes when the highest ambition of the people is either to become the former or be in a position to receive the latter?

I can make a guess. There's going to be trouble. Come to think of it, that's a safe catch-all prophecy. Whatever happens in present circumstances there's going to be trouble.

If the evidence says you're wrong, you don't have the right theory. You change the theory, not the evidence.

If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists in treating another human being as a thing.

If you want to know what's shortly due for the guillotine look for the most obvious of all symptoms: extremism. It is an almost infallible sign- a kind of death-rattle- when a human institution is forced by its members into stressing those and only those factors which are identificatory, at the expense of others which it necessarily shares with competing institutions because human beings belong to all of them.

In an individual one would regard it as evidence of insanity to see someone repeatedly undertaking enterprises that resulted in his losing precisely what he claimed he was trying to achieve; it is not less lunatic to do it on the international scale, but if you've been catching the news lately you'll have noticed it's being done more than ever.

It's not because my mind is made up that I don't want you to confuse me with any more facts. It's because my mind isn't made up. I already have more facts than I can cope with.

Leadership: A form of self-preservation exhibited by people with autodestructive imaginations in order to ensure that when it comes to the crunch it'll be someone else's bones which go crack and not their own.

Like living creatures, automobiles expired when their environment became saturated with their own excreta. We ourselves are living creatures. We don't want the same to happen to us.

Love and joy are incredibly habit-forming; often a single exposure is enough to cause permanent addiction.

Nothing short of religion could persuade a normal girl to make herself look so awful.

The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history... I know guys can't learn from yesterday.

There are two kinds of fools. One says, 'This is old, and therefore good.' And one says, 'This is new, and therefore better.'

Unfair: Term applied to advantages enjoyed by other people which we tried to cheat them out of and didn't manage.

What people want, mainly, is to be told by some plausible authority that what they are already doing is right. I don't know know of a quicker way to become unpopular than to disagree.

When a species becomes terrified of its own young, it appears to be scheduled for the grand disposal down which went the dinosaurs.

You don't have to know everything. You simply need to know where to find it when necessary.

You have many years to live- do things you will be proud to remember when you're old.

Your life from birth to death resembles the progress of a hopeless drunk tightrope walker whose act has been so bad up till now that he's being bombarded with rotten eggs and broken bottles.

Categories: John Brunner, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Walter Lippmann

Published Monday, September 23, 2013 @ 6:42 AM EDT
Sep 23 2013

Walter Lippmann (September 23, 1889 - December 14, 1974) was an American public intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War; he coined the term stereotype in the modern psychological meaning as well. Lippmann was twice awarded (1958 and 1962) a Pulitzer Prize for his syndicated newspaper column, 'Today and Tomorrow'. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A country survives its legislation. That truth should not comfort the conservative nor depress the radical. For it means that public policy can enlarge its scope and increase its audacity, can try big experiments without trembling too much over the result. This nation could enter upon the most radical experiments and could afford to fail in them.

A large plural society cannot be governed without recognizing that, transcending its plural interests, there is a rational order with a superior common law.

Ages when custom is unsettled are necessarily ages of prophecy. The moralist cannot teach what is revealed; he must reveal what ca n be taught. He has to seek insight rather than to preach.

Almost always tradition is nothing but a record and a machine-made imitation of the habits that our ancestors created. The average conservative is a slave to the most incidental and trivial part of his forefathers' glory- to the archaic formula which happened to express their genius or the eighteenth-century contrivance by which for a time it was served.

An alliance is like a chain. It is not made stronger by adding weak links to it. A great power like the United States gains no advantage and it loses prestige by offering, indeed peddling, its alliances to all and sundry. An alliance should be hard diplomatic currency, valuable and hard to get, and not inflationary paper from the mimeograph machine in the State Department.

Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealizations and selections which we call our character.

Football strategy does not originate in a scrimmage: it is useless to expect solutions in a political compaign.

Great men, even during their lifetime, are usually known to the public only through a fictitious personality.

He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.

If all power is in the people, if there is no higher law than their will, and if by counting their votes, their will may be ascertained- then the people may entrust all their power to anyone, and the power of the pretender and the usurper is then legitimate. It is not to be challenged since it came originally from the sovereign people.

In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.

In government offices which are sensitive to the vehemence and passion of mass sentiment public men have no sure tenure. They are in effect perpetual office seekers, always on trial for their political lives, always required to court their restless constituents.

In making the great experiment of governing people by consent rather than by coercion, it is not sufficient that the party in power should have a majority. It is just as necessary that the party in power should never outrage the minority.

In really hard times the rules of the game are altered. The inchoate mass begins to stir. It becomes potent, and when it strikes... it strikes with incredible emphasis. Those are the rare occasions when a national will emerges from the scattered, specialized, or indifferent blocs of voters who ordinarily elect the politicians. Those are for good or evil the great occasions in a nation's history.

It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.

Let a human being throw the energies of his soul into the making of something, and the instinct of workmanship will take care of his honesty.

No amount of charters, direct primaries, or short ballots will make a democracy out of an illiterate people.

Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience

Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.

Social movements are at once the symptoms and the instruments of progress. Ignore them and statesmanship is irrelevant; fail to use them and it is weak.

Statesmanship... consists in giving the people not what they want but what they will learn to want.

Success makes men rigid and they tend to exalt stability over all the other virtues; tired of the effort of willing they become fanatics about conservatism.

The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master's ear. It is the court fool, not the foolish courtier, whom the king can least afford to lose.

The Bill of Rights does not come from the people and is not subject to change by majorities. It comes from the nature of things. It declares the inalienable rights of man not only against all government but also against the people collectively.

The disesteem into which moralists have fallen is due at bottom to their failure to see that in an age like this one the function of the moralist is not to exhort men to be good but to elucidate what the good is. The problem of sanctions is secondary.

The effort to calculate exactly what the voters want at each particular moment leaves out of account the fact that when they are troubled the thing the voters most want is to be told what to want

The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.

The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples.

The history of the notion of privacy would be an entertaining tale.

The newspaper is in all its literalness the bible of democracy, the book out of which a people determines its conduct.

The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event. That is why until we know what others think they know, we cannot truly understand their acts.

The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. For his supporters will push him to disaster unless his opponents show him where the dangers are. So if he is wise he will often pray to be delivered from his friends, because they will ruin him. But though it hurts, he ought also to pray never to be left without opponents; for they keep him on the path of reason and good sense.

The ordinary politician has a very low estimate of human nature. In his daily life he comes into contact chiefly with persons who want to get something or to avoid something. Beyond this circle of seekers after privileges, individuals and organized minorities, he is aware of a large unorganized, indifferent mass of citizens who ask nothing in particular and rarely complain. The politician comes after a while to think that the art of politics is to satisfy the seekers after favors and to mollify the inchoate mass with noble sentiments and patriotic phrases.

The press is no substitute for institutions. It is like the beam of a searchlight that moves restlessly about, bringing one episode and then another out of darkness into vision. Men cannot do the work of the world by this light alone. They cannot govern society by episodes, incidents, and eruptions. It is only when they work by a steady light of their own, that the press, when it is turned upon them, reveals a situation intelligible enough for a popular decision.

The private citizen, beset by partisan appeals for the loan of his Public Opinion, will soon see, perhaps, that these appeals are not a compliment to his intelligence, but an imposition on his good nature and an insult to his sense of evidence.

The simple opposition between the people and big business has disappeared because the people themselves have become so deeply involved in big business.

The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.

There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission. They are possessed with the sin of pride, they have yielded to the perennial temptation.

There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral.

This is one of the paradoxes of the democratic movement- that it loves a crowd and fears the individuals who compose it- that the religion of humanity should have no faith in human beings.

Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying: 'I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles.'

Unless the reformer can invent something which substitutes attractive virtues for attractive vices, he will fail.

We are quite rich enough to defend ourselves, whatever the cost. We must now learn that we are quite rich enough to educate ourselves as we need to be educated.

What we call a democratic society might be defined for certain purposes as one in which the majority is always prepared to put down a revolutionary minority.

When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute.

When men can no longer be theists, they must, if they are civilized, become humanists.

When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers.

Where mass opinion dominates the government, there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society.

With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men.

Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Walter Lippmann

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Published Sunday, September 22, 2013 @ 2:08 PM EDT
Sep 22 2013

End of the week desktop cleanup...


The iPhone’s fingerprint lock also works with toes and nipples

Categories: Miscellany

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Maybe it was on the fence...

Published Sunday, September 22, 2013 @ 11:52 AM EDT
Sep 22 2013

A non-native English speaking friend of my was complaining about the behavior of relatives whose loyalty was questionable when situations threatened their perceived well-being.

"I can't trust them," he said. "They're playing both sides of the chicken."

My mind decoded the mixed metaphor as a combination of playing chicken and being on both sides of the fence. But I also started giggling, trying to imagine how one would play both sides of a chicken and, more precisely, why you would want to do so.

Giggling still, waiting for a chance to use that phrase during a conversation and see the reaction...

Categories: Observations

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Quotes of the day- Fall; the season (and other variations)

Published Sunday, September 22, 2013 @ 6:40 AM EDT
Sep 22 2013

Each fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, football fans cheer for their favorite irrational number: "Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, three point one four one five nine!"
-Bruce Watson

Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.
-David Letterman

Ah, the gap between expectation and achievement is filled with the screams of good men, still falling.
-Reginald Hill

All through history it's the nations that have given most to generals and the least to the people that have been the first to fall.
-Harry S. Truman

Attempted assassinations are the accidents of kings, just as falling chimneys are the accidents of masons. If we must weep, let us weep for the masons.
-Benito Mussolini

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
-Colin Powell

Be aware that a halo has to fall only a few inches to be a noose.
-Dan McKinnon

Character is made by what you stand for; reputation, by what you fall for.
-Robert Quillen

I hate when my foot falls asleep during the day because it means it's going to be up all night.
-Steven Wright

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

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, is Bambi squashed beneath it any less dead?
-Mason Capwell

If I must fall, may it be from a high place.
-Paulo Coelho

If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.
-General Marquisde Lafayette

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

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a horizontal fall.
-Jean Cocteau

Man is a fallen god who remembers the heavens.
-Alphonse de Lamartine

Man never falls so low that he can see nothing higher than himself.
-Theodore Parker

Many a man who falls in love with a dimple make the mistake of marrying the whole girl.
-Evan Esar

Night is falling: at dusk, you must have good eyesight to be able to tell the Good Lord from the Devil.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Old age is not an accomplishment; it is just something that happens to you despite yourself, like falling downstairs.
-Robert A. Heinlein

On the fall of an oak every man gathers wood.

One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.
-Robert Firth

Only when a tree has fallen can you take a measure of it. It is the same with a man.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

People who wrestle with their consciences usually go for two falls out of three.

Politics is like a race horse. A good jockey must know how to fall with the least possible damage.
-Edouard Herriot

Romance without finance is a nuisance. Few men value free merchandise. Let the chippies fall where they may.
-Sally Stanford

Running a ball club is like raising kids who fall out of trees.
-Tom Trebelhorn

The bigger they come, the harder they fall on you.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

The hardest tumble one can take is to fall over his own bluff.

The highlight of my baseball career came in Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium when I saw a fan fall out of the upper deck. When he got up and walked away, the crowd booed.
-Bob Uecker

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
-Paulo Coelho

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 sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to catch up.
(Sign in NASA Onboard Shuttle Software Group)

There is wonder and a certain wicked pleasure in these giddy ascents and terrible falls, especially as they happen to other people.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
-Alexander Hamilton

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

We see men fall from high estate on account of the very faults through which they attained it.
-Jean de la Bruyere

Whosoever shall not fall by the sword or by famine, shall fall by pestilence; so why bother shaving?
-Woody Allen

You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.
-Paulo Coelho

You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave.
-Quentin Crisp

You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.
-James Thurber

Categories: Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Stephen King

Published Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 6:50 AM EDT
Sep 21 2013

(Today is also the birthday of H.G. Wells. Click here to visit his KGB Report page.)

Stephen Edwin King (b. September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books. King has published 50 novels, including seven under the pen-name of Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has written nearly two hundred short stories, most of which have been collected in nine collections of short fiction. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man who lies about beer makes enemies.

A secret needs two faces to bounce between; a secret needs to see itself in another pair of eyes.

America's two great specialties are demagogues and rock and roll, and we've all heard plenty of both in our time.

Americans are apocalyptic by nature. The reason why is that we've always had so much, so we live in deadly fear that people are going to take it away from us.

Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret.

Don't let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.

Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.

French is the language that turns dirt into romance.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

God is cruel... Sometimes he makes you live.

Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don't.

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.

I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses.

I have the heart of a young boy... in a jar on my desk.

I started out as a storyteller; along the way I became an economic force.

I work until beer o'clock.

If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.

It wouldn't kill you to go to a movie once a month that has subtitles on the bottom of the screen.

Kids, the fiction is the truth inside the lie,

Luck was a joke. Even good luck was just bad luck with its hair combed.

Ninety-five percent of people who walk the earth are simply inert. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are people who do what they say they can do.

Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.

Peter Pan graduated back in '73 and now has a nice little farm in Bethel.

Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance... logic can be happily tossed out the window.

The devil's voice is sweet to hear.

The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.

The world has teeth and it can bite you with them any time it wants.

We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.

When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, 'Why God? Why me?' and the thundering voice of God answered, 'There's just something about you that pisses me off.'

You graduated college ten years ago, so how come there are no damn books in your house? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?

Categories: Stephen King

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Quotes of the day: Upton Sinclair

Published Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 1:10 AM EDT
Sep 20 2013

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 - November 25, 1968), was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906). It exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muckraking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the “free press” in the United States. Four years after the initial publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescapably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda.

American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whatever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it.

An event of colossal and overwhelming significance may happen all at once, but the words which describe it have to come one by one in a long chain.

Dad, as a good American, believed his newspapers.

Fascism is capitalism plus murder.

For the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.

Human beings suffer agonies, and their sad fates become legends; poets write verses about them and playwrights compose dramas, and the remembrance of past grief becomes a source of present pleasure- such is the strange alchemy of the spirit.

I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.

I intend to do what little one man can do to awaken the public conscience, and in the meantime I am not frightened by your menaces.

I just put on what the lady says. I've been married three times, so I've had lots of supervision.

I'm going to stop squandering money for things I don't want. I'm going to stop accepting invitations, and meeting people I don't like and don't want to know.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

It is futile to try and win democracy abroad, while we are losing it at home.
(in a letter to President Woodrow Wilson)

Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters.

Man is an evasive beast, given to cultivating strange notions about himself. He is humiliated by his simian ancestry, and tries to deny his animal nature, to persuade himself that he is not limited by its weaknesses nor concerned in its fate. And this impulse may be harmless, when it is genuine. But what are we to say when we see the formulas of heroic self-deception made use of by unheroic self-indulgence?

A large section of the idling classes of England get their incomes by believing that Jesus was born of a virgin and that Jonah swallowed a whale; and with the progress of science they were naturally finding this more and more difficult. A school of ingenious Bible-twisters arose, to invent symbolical and literary meanings for fairy tales, in order that people who no longer believed could continue with good conscience to collect the salaries of belief.

Now and then it occurs to one to reflect upon what slender threads of accident depend the most important circumstances of his life; to look back and shudder, realizing how close to the edge of nothingness his being has come.

One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption.

The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label.

The first thing brought forth by the study of any religion, ancient or modern, is that it is based upon Fear, born of it, fed by it- and that it cultivates the source from which its nourishment is derived.

The supreme crime of the church today is that everywhere and in all its operations and influences it is on the side of sloth of mind; that it banishes brains, it sanctifies stupidity, it canonizes incompetence

There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where things are behind bars, and the man is outside.

They were trying to save their souls- and who but a fool could fail to see that all that was the matter with their souls was that they had not been able to get a decent existence for their bodies?

Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.

You don't have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn't like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I've been trying to change it ever since.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Upton Sinclair

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Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 6:02 AM EDT
Sep 19 2013

I was in the middle of trying to figure out why a recursive function wasn't recursing, when my wife called me upstairs.

She was in the living room, holding a ball of matted fur. With eyes. And a tail, wagging. Furiously.

One of her son's clients was going into a personal care home. The woman had suffered a stroke a week after adopting the Shih Tzu puppy Cindy cradled in her arms. An older Shih Tzu the infirm woman owned had found a new home, but this four-month old had not been so fortunate.

"They haven't been able to find anyone to take her," my wife said.

"And if this sweet, innocent puppy that looks like something you fished out of the sink trap in the bathroom goes to the pound, it will be on your head, you heartless bastard."

To be fair, she didn't actually say that. That was the part of my brain that had just clubbed insensate the other part- the one saying "Swell. You now have three Shetland Sheepdogs, two cats, and a mutant Ewok."

I named her Pixie, after the mythical creatures who are, according to Wikipedia, "generally benign, mischievous, short of stature and attractively childlike." Insert your David Spade joke here.

We got her in to the nearest vet office, and the report was better than expected; 7 pounds, 7 ounces; good health aside from an umbilical hernia that will be corrected when she's spayed; a few fleas; some sores from her scratching off bows some idiot groomer had glued to her head; and incredibly matted hair. Until her grooming appointment, I've been using my beard trimmer- it's battery powered, and makes less puppy-scaring noise- to remove the worst areas.

I'm just afraid that once we get all the hair removed, we'll discover she's really a guinea pig.

The three Shelties think she's a puppy. We believe this because Lucy, the 15-year-old queen of the household, just sat there when Pixie got in her face and started aggressively smelling the older dog.

The cats... well, they don't know what the hell she is. Pixie's three pounds lighter and several inches smaller than Pumpkin, the "evil" cat who does not like changes in the environment. The feline watched intently as I trimmed the puppy yesterday morning. I got the impression Pumpkin thought I was engaged in the moral equivalent of chicken plucking.

So, the cat and the puppy will remain under enhanced surveillance. Especially between mealtimes.

Pixie surveys the area.

Riley watches as Pixie explores the back yard.

Riley demonstrates the mien and posture of a true herding dog.
Pixie, not so much.

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Will Cuppy

Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 5:04 AM EDT
Sep 19 2013

William Jacob "Will" Cuppy (August 23, 1884 - September 19, 1949) was an American humorist and literary critic, known for his satirical books about nature and historical figures. He is almost forgotten today, and his life was, from most accounts, not a particularly happy one. Click here for full Wikipedia article. Click here for Down With Tyranny's superb retrospective.


A few cobras in your home will soon clear it of rats and mice. Of course, you will still have the cobras.

A hermit is simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself.

Ah, well! We live and learn, or, anyway, we live.

All modern men are descended from a worm-like creature, but it shows more on some people.

Aristotle described the crow as chaste. In some departments of knowledge, Aristotle was too innocent for his own good.

Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.

Armadillos make affectionate pets, if you need affection that much.

Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.

Even as a child back in Indiana, whenever I took a butterbelly off the hook I used to ask myself, 'Does this fish think?' I would even ask others, 'Do you suppose this Butterbelly can think?' And all I would get in reply was a look. At the age of eighteen, I left the state.

Great men seem to have only one purpose in life- getting into history. That may be all they are good for.

He (Columbus) believed you could reach the East by going west. That is true enough, if you don't overdo it. You can reach Long Island City by taking the ferry for Weehawken, but nobody does it on purpose.

I only know that all is lost, and that nothing can help me unless I inherit money, strike oil or go to work.

I think you are absolutely right about everything, except I think humor springs from rage, hay fever, overdue rent and miscellaneous hell.

Intelligence is the capacity to know what we are doing and instinct is just instinct. The results are about the same.”

It's easy to see the faults in people I know; it's hardest to see the good. Especially when the good isn't there.

Just when you're beginning to think pretty well of people, you run across somebody who puts sugar on sliced tomatoes.

My philosophy of life can be summed up in four words: It can't be helped.

The Age of Reptiles ended because it had gone on long enough and it was all a mistake in the first place. A better day was dawning at the close of the Mesozoic Era. There were some little warm-blooded animals around which had been stealing and eating the eggs of the dinosaurs, and they were gradually learning to steal other things, too. Civilization was just around the corner

The ancient Egyptians considered it good luck to meet a swarm of Bees on the road. What they considered bad luck I couldn't say.

The chameleon's face reminded Aristotle of a Baboon. Aristotle wasn't much of a looker himself.

The Egyptians of the First Dynasty were already civilized in most respects. They had hieroglyphics, metal weapons for killing foreigners, numerous government officials, death, and taxes.

The head of a pike, served at supper, is said to have caused the death from terror of Theodoric the Goth, who imagined the fish's features to be those of Symmachus, a man he had just killed. But for this story, we of today would have no idea what Symmachus looked like.

The moral of the story of the Pilgrims is that if you work hard all your life and behave yourself every minute and take no time out for fun you will break practically even, if you can borrow enough money to pay your taxes.

The Phoenicians employed an alphabet of twenty-one consonants. They left no literature. You can't be literary without a few vowels.

There is no use murdering people; there are always so many left, and if you tried to murder them all you would never get anything else done.

They (the Pilgrim Fathers) believed in freedom of thought for themselves and for all other people who believed exactly as they did.

To give the beaver his due, he does things because he has to do them, not because he believes that hard work per se will somehow make him a better beaver- the beaver may be dumb, but he is not that dumb!

We have no common vipers in the United States, but we have worse.

You can't do much for the poor, as they are not in with the right people.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Will Cuppy

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Quotes of the day: Samuel Johnson

Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 6:31 AM EDT
Sep 18 2013

Samuel Johnson (September 18, 1709, December 13, 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of 'the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature:' James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.

A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.

A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.

A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.

Be not too hasty to trust, or to admire, the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels, but they live like men.

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks as truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

Every man who attacks my belief diminishes in some degree my confidence in it, and therefore makes me uneasy; and I am angry with him who makes me uneasy.

Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are almost always cunning.

He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.

He that is happy, by whatever means, desires nothing but the continuance of happiness.

Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed.

I am very fond of the company of ladies. I like their beauty, I like their delicacy, I like their vivacity, and I like their silence.

I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.

Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal, and a man may be properly charged with that evil which he neglected or refused to learn how to prevent.

In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

It is better to live rich than to die rich.

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

Keep always in your mind, that, with due submission to Providence, a man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

Let me smile with the wise, and feed with the rich.

Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.

Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.

Men who cannot deceive others are very often successful at deceiving themselves.

Merit is much more cheaply acknowledged than rewarded.

Much may be made of a Scotchman if he be caught young.

Nature has given women so much power that the law has wisely given them very little.

No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.

No man is a hypocrite in his pleasures.

No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.

No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.

Nothing at all will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen.

Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.

Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea.

Solitude is dangerous to reason, without being favorable to virtue- Remember that the solitary mortal is certainly luxurious, probably superstitious, and possibly mad.

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.

The triumph of hope over experience. (on second marriages)

The true art of memory is the art of attention.

The true, strong, and sound mind is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small.

There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.

There is less flogging in our great schools than formerly, but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.

When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets, and wonder what you have done that they do not delight in your company.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Samuel Johnson

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We The People...

Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 7:43 AM EDT
Sep 17 2013

More for Constitution Day...

A citizen's constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be.
-Earl Warren

A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
-John Adams

A country that can put men on the moon can put women in the Constitution.
-Margaret Heckler

All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.
-Felix Frankfurter

At the constitutional level where we work, ninety percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections.
-Charles Evans Hughes

Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine.
-Gore Vidal

Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.
-Edward Gibbon

Demagogues and agitators are very unpleasant, they are incidental to a free and constitutional country, and you must put up with these inconveniences or do without many important advantages.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well. It means that everybody should have a job, if he's willing to work, and an education, and the right to bring up his children without fear of the future. And it means that the old shall be provided for, without shame to themselves or to their families. It means do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It also means the prayers of the pilgrim fathers in the wilderness, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and the dreams of an immigrant mother for her children. And that's what I believe in.
-Dalton Trumbo

Each public officer who takes an oath to support the constitution swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others.
-Andrew Jackson

Experience has already shown that the impeachment the Constitution has provided is not even a scarecrow.
-Thomas Jefferson

History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.
-Thurgood Marshall

I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office, rather than to the flag and the nation.
-Carl Sagan

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.
-Benjamin Disraeli

I have a problem with people who take the Constitution loosely and the Bible literally.
-Bill Maher

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
-Thomas Jefferson

I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.
-Molly Ivins

I'm afraid the Constitution doesn't say anything about the separation of church and politics.
-Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.

I've always been a big supporter of the constitutional right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition government for redress of grievances. It's just that I never envisioned it taking the form of thousands of people screaming, "You asshole, you asshole," at me.
-Lowell Weicker

If our free society is to endure, and I know it will, those who govern must recognize that the Framers of the Constitution limited their power in order to preserve human dignity and the air of freedom which is our proudest heritage.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

If you have a weak candidate and a weak platform, wrap yourself up in the American flag and talk about the Constitution.
-Matthew Stanley Quay

It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemnly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
-Molly Ivins

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us.
-Alex Kozinski

It so happens that everything that is stupid is not unconstitutional.
-Antonin Scalia

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
-Learned Hand

Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.
-Samuel Adams

Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit.
-Warren Burger

On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
-Thomas Jefferson

Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes.
-Benjamin Franklin

Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks, and U.S. Senators. There ought to be one day (just one) when there is open season on senators.
-Will Rogers

Preferring members of any one group for no reason other than race or ethnic origin is discrimination for its own sake. This the Constitution forbids.
-Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

Since when is public safety the root password to the Constitution?
-C.D. Tavares

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human.
-Thomas Jefferson

Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.
-James Madison

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.
-George Washington

The Constitution is a delusion and a snare if the weakest and humblest man in the land cannot be defended in his right to speak and his right to think as much as the strongest in the land.
-Clarence Darrow

The Constitution was framed fundamentally as a bulwark against governmental power, and preventing the arbitrary administration of punishment is a basic ideal of any society that purports to be governed by the rule of law.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. (speech at the 1787 Constitutional Convention)
-Elbridge Gerry

The genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

The great cause of revolutions is this, that while nations move onward, constitutions stand still.
-Thomas Babington Macaulay

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
-Henry Kissinger

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 people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
-Abraham Lincoln

The rank and file have let their servants become their masters and dictators... Provision should be made in all union constitutions for the recall of leaders. Big salaries should not be paid. Career hunters should be driven out, as well as leaders who use labor for political ends. These types are menaces to the advancement of labor.
-Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones)

The right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
-Erwin N. Griswold

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

There is no Constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong- deadly wrong- to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States' rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
-Abraham Lincoln

Violence has no constitutional sanction; and every government from the beginning has moved against it. But where grievances pile high and most of the elected spokesmen represent the Establishment, violence may be the only effective response.
-William O. Douglas

We current justices read the Constitution in the only way that we can: as 20th-century Americans.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. I don't know how wise they were.
-Gore Vidal

Where mass opinion dominates the government, there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society.
-Walter Lippmann

Without faith we might relapse into scientific or rational thinking, which leads by a slippery slope toward constitutional democracy.
-Robert Anton Wilson

Categories: Quotes on a topic, U.S. Constitution

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Happy Constitution Day

Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 7:12 AM EDT
Sep 17 2013

The U.S. Constitution and the Bible have a lot in common.

Few people have read them in their entirety; they are quoted out of context and cherry-picked; their official interpreters wear robes and issue pronouncements that sometimes benefit an entitled few or discriminate against women and minorities; and their decrees and commandments are simply ignored when they interfere with the interests of those in power.

Categories: KGB Opinion, U.S. Constitution

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Quotes of the day: Rita Rudner

Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 6:53 AM EDT
Sep 17 2013

Rita Rudner (born September 17, 1953) is an American comedienne, writer and actress. (Click here for full Wikipedia article.)


A good place to meet a man is at the dry cleaner. These men usually have jobs and bathe.

Before I met my husband I'd never fallen in love, though I'd stepped in it a few times.

Cats are a waste of fur.

I love being married. It's so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

I love to sleep... It really is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious.

I never get lost. I just change where it is that I want to go.

I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself 'well, that's not going to happen'.

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.

I want to have children and I know my time is running out: I want to have them while my parents are still young enough to take care of them.

I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight.

I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso.

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.

I'm going to water ski someday, as soon as I can mentally separate it from being dragged by a boat.

In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk.

It wasn't that no one would ask me to the prom, it was that no one would tell me where it was.

Men do cry- but only when assembling furniture.

Men like cars, women like clothes. Women only like cars because they take them to clothes.

Men like to barbecue. Men will cook if danger is involved.

Men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage - they've experienced pain and bought jewelry.

My boyfriend and I broke up. He wanted to get married and I didn't want him to.

My grandmother was a very tough woman. She buried three husbands. Two of them were just napping.

My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.

My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around my neck that's worth more than my head.

Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.

Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be.

Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it's quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid.

When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always.

When I meet a man I ask myself, "Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?"

You know the oxygen masks on airplanes? I don't think there's really any oxygen. I think they're just to muffle the screams.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rita Rudner

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Indulgent photo of the day

Published Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 10:23 AM EDT
Sep 16 2013

My oldest granddaughter, Leanna, has two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome 16. This genetic condition caused a mutation in the MC1R protein.

In short, she's a redhead.

While none of her parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents have red hair, it's not really a surprise, given her ancestry. There's a lot of the British Isles in her. According to Wikipedia, 13% of the population of Scotland has red hair and 40% carry the recessive redhead gene; 10% of the Irish population has red, auburn, or strawberry blond hair while a whopping 46% of the Irish population carries the recessive redhead gene.

After a generation or two of dominant eastern European genetic influence, the Scots/Irish ancestry is making a spectacular comeback.

The photo is by Melissa Butscher Photography. Check out her website and blog, which explains "Project Red."

Categories: KGB Family, Melissa Butscher Photography, Photo of the day

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Quotes of the day: Laurence J. Peter

Published Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Sep 16 2013

Laurence J. Peter (September 16, 1919 - January 12, 1990) was a Canadian educator and author. Peter began his career as an educator, teaching both within the school system and as a professor of education at the college level. He was particularly interested in special education, and published several texts in the field. He is best known to the general public, however, for the formulation of the "Peter Principle." (Click here for full New Work encyclopedia article)


In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.-The Peter Principle


A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place.

A man doesn't know what he knows until he knows what he doesn't know.

A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.

According to obituary notices, a mean and useless citizen never dies.

Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.

All useful work is done by individuals who haven't yet reached their level of incompetence.

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.

An intelligence test sometimes shows a man how smart he would have been not to have taken it.

Aristotle's axiom: The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

As a matter of fact is an expression that precedes many an expression that isn't.

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.

Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.

During a campaign the air is full of speeches- and vice versa.

Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.

Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent.

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has much more patience.

History teaches us the mistakes we are going to make.

If two wrongs don't make a right, try three.

If you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, you don't need advice.

If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.

In every organization there is a considerable accumulation of dead wood in the executive level.

In most hierarchies, super-competence is more objectionable than incompetence.

In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.

In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties. Do not be fooled by apparent exceptions.

Incompetence plus incompetence equals incompetence

It's better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.

Man can live without air for seconds, without water for days, without food for weeks, and without ideas for years.

Man lives by praise; most of us would rather be hurt by flattery than helped by criticism.

Many live by their wits but few by their wit.

Middle age is when anything new in the way you feel is most likely a symptom.

Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.

Never stand when you can sit; never walk when you can ride; never Push when you can Pull.

Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.

Political success is the ability, when the inevitable occurs, to get credit for it.

Some are born good, some make good, and some are caught with the goods.

Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.

Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.

The cream rises until it sours.

The good life starts only when you stop wanting a better one.

The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.

The habitually punctual make all their mistakes right on time.

The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.

The man who believes he can do it is probably right, and so is the man who believes he can't.

The man who is always waving the flag usually waives what it stands for.

The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.

The most useful of all social graces is the ability to yawn with your mouth closed.

The noblest of all dogs is the hot dog; it feeds the hand that bites it.

The only problems money can solve are money problems.

The only valid rule about the proper length of a statement is that it achieve its purpose effectively.

The trouble with resisting temptation is that you may not get another chance.

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.

Two can live as cheaply as one- if they both have good jobs.

When you see yourself quoted in print and you're sorry you said it, it suddenly becomes a misquotation.

Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can make a damn fool of yourself any old time.


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Quotes of the day: Agatha Christie

Published Sunday, September 15, 2013 @ 7:05 AM EDT
Sep 15 2013

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (September 15, 1890 – January 12, 1976) was an English crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for the 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections she wrote under her own name, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence. She also wrote the world's longest-running play, The Mousetrap. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.

Any medical man who predicts exactly when a patient will die, or exactly how long he will live, is bound to make a fool of himself. The human factor is always incalculable. The weak have often unexpected powers of resistance, the strong sometimes succumb.

Any woman can fool a man if she wants to and if he's in love with her.

But surely for everything you have to love you have to pay some price.

Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.

Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.

Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.

Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend.

Everything that has existed, lingers in the eternity.

Evil is not something superhuman, it's something less than human.

Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that's no reason not to give it.

I don't think necessity is the mother of invention — invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.

I have always admired the Esquimaux. One fine day a delicious meal is cooked for dear old mother, and then she goes walking away over the ice, and doesn't come back.

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

I live now on borrowed time, waiting in the anteroom for the summons that will inevitably come. And then - I go on to the next thing, whatever it is. One doesn't, luckily, have to bother about that.

If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles, one would hardly see anybody.

It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.

It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.

Men always tell such silly lies.

Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes - they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice.

Never do anything yourself that others can do for you.

One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late.

One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.

That one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back- that the essence of life is going forward. Life is really a one-way street, isn't it?

The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves they don't give a damn.

The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.

The popular idea that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea which has been impressed on them in very tender years.

There is nothing more thrilling in this world, I think, than having a child that is yours, and yet is mysteriously a stranger.

There's too much tendency to attribute to God the evils that man does of his own free will.

Where large sums of money are concerned, it is advisable to trust nobody.

Categories: Agatha Christie, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Margaret Sanger

Published Saturday, September 14, 2013 @ 3:37 AM EDT
Sep 14 2013

Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American birth control activist, sex educator, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger's efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Sanger is a frequent target of criticism by opponents of birth control and has also been criticized for supporting eugenics, but remains an iconic figure in the American reproductive rights movement. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

Sanger is frequently quoted out of context to support both pro-choice and anti-abortion positions.


Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises.

All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class, and if morality is to mean anything at all to us, we must regard all the changes which tend toward the uplift and survival of the human race as moral.

Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man's equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation.

Eugenists imply or insist that a woman's first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. We maintain that a woman possessing an adequate knowledge of her reproductive functions is the best judge of the time and conditions under which her child should be brought into the world. We further maintain that it is her right, regardless of all other considerations, to determine whether she shall bear children or not, and how many children she shall bear if she chooses to become a mother.

Greater understanding and practice of planned parenthood, through the use of contraceptive measures prescribed by doctors and clinics, will mean that there will be more strong and healthy children and fewer defective and handicapped babies unable to find a useful or happy place in life.

It is apparent that nothing short of contraceptives can put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide.

Life has taught me one supreme lesson. This is that we must- if we are really to live at all, if we are to enjoy the life more abundant promised by the Sages of Wisdom- we must put our convictions into action.

My remuneration has been that I have been privileged to act out my faith.

No despot ever flung forth his legions to die in foreign conquest, no privilege-ruled nation ever erupted across its borders, to lock in death embrace with another, but behind them loomed the driving power of a population too large for its boundaries and its natural resources.

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.

Our laws force women into celibacy on the one hand, or abortion on the other. Both conditions are declared by eminent medical authorities to be injurious to health.

Society is much like the ostrich with its head in the sand. It will not look at facts and face the responsibility of its own stupidity.

Supremacist thinking belongs in the museum.

The basic freedom of the world is woman's freedom. A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. A woman enchained cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters.

The real hope of the world lies in putting as painstaking thought into the business of mating as we do into other big businesses.

War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.

When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race.

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.

Categories: Margaret Sanger, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Milton S. Hershey

Published Friday, September 13, 2013 @ 4:03 AM EDT
Sep 13 2013

Milton Snavely Hershey (September 13, 1857 - October 13, 1945) was an American confectioner, philanthropist, and founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company and the "company town" of Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man accomplishes little when he thinks and acts alone.

An interest in something new triumphs over the calendar.

Business is a matter of human service.

Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.

Give them quality. That's the best kind of advertising.

I failed three times because I had not taken the time to get all the facts. After that I learned my lesson well.

I think if you study- if you learn too much of what others have done, you may tend to take the same direction as everybody else.

I'll stake everything on chocolate.

In this blooming civilization, with its economic setup, relatively few men can afford tailor-made suits or shoes built according to their own lasts. But, there is not a man who can't tailor the garments of his own soul; to get an excellent fit in principles; wearing his philosophy in comfort and pride.

It isn't what you leave your children but how you leave them.

My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren't so because of what they know, but because of their insatiable need to know more.

My success is the result of not being satisfied with mediocrity, and in making the most of my opportunities

One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy and only useful as he contributes his influences for the finer callings in life.

Take a man of fair intelligence, give him a fair chance, and he will soon learn to do anything that any other intelligent man is doing.

We should deal with one another not as classes but as persons, as brothers. The more closely we work together, the more effectively can we contribute to the better health of all mankind; this should be our common objective and its achievement would make the world a happier place in which to live.

Whatever money you boys earn during your lifetime, use it wisely. Spend it for the good of others, and you will be richly rewarded.

Categories: Milton S. Hershey, Quotes of the day

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XO blows it again (Updated)

Published Thursday, September 12, 2013 @ 8:49 PM EDT
Sep 12 2013

(It probably wasn't XO. See this more recent post.)

After a massive outage last weekend, XO Communications- the host of KGB Report and thousands of other sites- has followed up its sterling record of customer service by making their hosted sites unreachable by ftp.

FTP- file transfer protocol- is the method we use to transfer and update files on the website. I just discovered that XO's host won't allow me to upload anything using standard ftp clients.

So, I had to use their incredibly inconvenient web-based file transfer mechanism to upload this page to post this status report.

I also discovered XO's web hosting support team only works from 8am to 8pm eastern time.

After last weekend's disaster, XO called me and offered me five months of free hosting to compensate me for my inconvenience.

That's nice, but if I can't get to my website to update it, free hosting's rather pointless, isn't it?

After 15 years, I really hate to have to move the site to another hosting company. But it's beginning to look like it's the only responsible thing to do.

So, if you click on a page, and it's not there, I apologize.

I hope to have things up and running again tomorrow morning.

After 8 am, of course.


(The file protection problem was resolved ahortly after this post; probably unannounced maintenance and/or a transitory issue. No matter. I need 24/7 support.)

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Quotes of the day: Louis C.K.

Published Thursday, September 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Sep 12 2013

(Today is also the birthday of H.L. Mencken. Visit his page here.}

Louis Szekely (b. September 12, 1967), known professionally as Louis C.K., is a Mexican-American Emmy and Grammy Award-winning stand-up comedian, television and film writer, producer, director, and actor. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


America's a family. We all yell at each other. It all works out.

Being single... after ten years of marriage and two kids is difficult. That’s like having a bunch of money in the currency of a country that doesn’t exist anymore.

Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.

Every day starts, my eyes open and I reload the program of misery. I open my eyes, remember who I am, what I'm like, and I just go, 'Ugh.'

Everything's amazing right now, and nobody's happy.

Friends should always tell you the truth. But please don’t.

How many advantages can one person have? I'm a white man!

Human kindness has no reward. You should give to others in every way you see. You should expect absolutely nothing from anyone. It should be your goal to love every human you encounter. All human suffering that you're aware of and continues without your effort to stop it becomes your crime.

I don't stop eating when I'm full. The meal isn't over when I'm full. It's over when I hate myself.

I don't think it makes any sense to try to get anyone to not talk.

I don't think women are better than men, I think men are a lot worse than women.

I don’t think you should ever say anything that you’re going to have to apologize for later. If the heat gets hot, just let them get mad.

I have a lot of beliefs and I live by none of 'em. That's just the way I am. They're just my beliefs. I just like believing them. I like that part.

I killed my Facebook page years ago because time clicking around is just dead time. Your brain isn't resting and it isn't doing. I think people have to get their heads around this thing. All this unmitigated input is hurting folks.

I like New York. This is the only city where you actually have to say things like, 'Hey, that's mine. Don't pee on that.'

I never viewed money as being 'my money' I always saw it as 'the money.' It's a resource. If it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.

'I'm bored' is a useless thing to say. You live in a great, big, vast world that you've seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say 'I’m bored.'

I've started to kind of hate people, and it's not because I have anything against them. It's just, I enjoy it. It's recreation.

If you do something and people think you’re stupid, just go for crazy. You get more respect that way because nobody likes stupid people.

If you’re a woman and a guy’s ever said anything romantic to you, he just left off the second part that would have made you sick if you could have heard it.

If you’re older, you’re smarter. I just believe that. If you’re in an argument with someone older than you, you should listen to 'em. Even if they’re wrong, their wrongness is rooted in more information than you have.

It's a positive thing to talk about terrible things and make people laugh about them.

It's more fun to experience things when you don't know what's going to happen.

Kids are like buckets of disease that live in your house.

Life is full of horrible mistakes.

Life isn't something you possess. It's something you take part in, and you witness.

Most people are dead. Hitler. Ray Charles. Some other guys. But mostly those two.

Now we live in an amazing, amazing world and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots.

One thing I learned from drinking is that if you ever go Christmas caroling, you should go with a group of people. And also go sometime in December.

Out of the people that ever were, almost all of them are dead. There are way more dead people, and you're all gonna die and then you're gonna be dead for way longer than you're alive. Like that's mostly what you're ever gonna be. You're just dead people that didn't die yet.

People get successful and they start saying, 'Well of course I am! I was chosen! I'm special!' No, you're not.

Some things I think are very conservative, or very liberal. I think when someone falls into one category for everything, I'm very suspicious. It doesn't make sense to me that you'd have the same solution to every issue.

Sorry, Americans only buy things that come from suffering. They just enjoy it more when they know someones getting hurt.

That’s what being a parent is like. It’s like Platoon.

The only time you should look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them.

The problem is, the more famous you get, the more people see you who didn't choose to.

To me, art supplies are always okay to buy.

We spend all our time now on customer service phone calls. I used to read when I was on the toilet, but now that's when I make customer service calls.

Well, my wife assassinated my sexual identity, and my children are eating my dreams. We don't bother you with that. We just say 'Great.'

When I read things like the foundations of capitalism are shattering, I'm like, maybe we need that. Maybe we need some time where we're walking around with a donkey with pots clanging on the sides.

When I was younger, I lied all the time, because once you understand the power of lying, it's really like magic because you transform reality for people.

When people are getting richer and richer but they're not actually producing anything, it can't end well.

Women try to compete. They're like, 'Well I'm a pervert. You don't know. I have really sick sexual thoughts.' I'm like, 'No, you have no idea. You have no idea. 'Cause you see, you get to have those thoughts. I have to have those thoughts. You're a tourist in sexual perversion. I'm a prisoner there. You're Jane Fonda on a tank. I'm John McCain in the hut.

Categories: Louis C.K., Quotes of the day

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Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:46 AM EDT
Sep 11 2013

(Originally published September 11, 2010)

Earle V. Wittpenn

Earle Wittpenn died last year on my birthday. I've tried to write about him a dozen times since then.

I've failed miserably.

The problem is that I can't talk about Earle without talking about myself. What should be a tribute to the man who rescued me from potential oblivion and gave my life drive and direction, ends up sounding like self-aggrandizing drivel.

I had graduated from high school at 16 as class salutatorian and was scheduled to enter Duquesne University's journalism school in the fall. It was an exciting time. I had something most of my contemporaries appeared to lack- an actual career goal- and a clear path to achieve it.

It was not to be.

My parents' personal demons made another of their cyclical visits. I found myself with no way to pay for college and no job prospects. My paternal grandparents, who always took me in when my mother and father found themselves incapable or unwilling to shoulder their parental responsibilities, again provided shelter and encouragement.

The mother of my high school english teacher, Mrs. H., was incensed when she heard a family member of mine say "He'll never amount to anything without college." She coerced one of her relatives to give me a job as a veterinary assistant.

On the day of what should have been my first semester in journalism school, I was restraining dogs and cats and checking stool speciments for worm eggs. I actually enjoyed the work and learned a great deal. It kept me busy, provided a minimum wage income, and, as Mrs. H. noted, "it'll keep you floating until your ship comes by again."

During one of our conversations, Mrs. H. said she had seen a classified ad in the Daily Messenger for a reporter/photographer. I dismissed it out of hand. "I'm not qualified for that," I told her. "You should apply anyway," she said. "They'll probably say no. They might say yes. It's worth asking."

My interview was with Ralph, the city editor, and I could tell he was less than impressed by my meager resume. My journalism background consisted of being editor of the high school newspaper and having three articles published in Model Rocketry magazine.

I'd also written a weekly high school news column for the Messenger during my senior year, for which I received ten cents per column inch and $2 per photo. I showed the check stubs to Ralph. "Technically, I've already written for the Messenger," I said, "so I do have daily newspaper experience."

I swear I heard crickets in the ten seconds of silence that followed.

Ralph was exceedingly friendly, thanked me for coming, and promised he'd get back to me. Even at 17, I was perceptive enough to know that my immediate future would still involve furry mammals and centrifuged feces.

On the way down the Messenger's seemingly endless flight of steps I bumped into the paper's editor, Earle Wittpenn. "Mr. Barkes!" he said, "How the hell are you? How's Duquesne?" I was stunned he remembered my name, let alone my college choice.

Earle had taken me to lunch at the H&H Restaurant on Eighth Avenue in Homestead shortly before my graduation. He thanked me for writing the high school news column. He said he was impressed that I was the only high school contributor who had never missed a deadline, and that I had always submitted at least two usable photos every week.

He was also amused that I managed to include the high school honor roll in my column, which was submitted two days before the paper received the official list from the district. "How'd you manage that?" he asked. "I have contacts," I replied, in my best pre-Woodward and Bernstein conspiratorial tone.

He laughed, and said he didn't mind paying me ten cents an inch for a list of names he could get for free a few days later. "We scooped The Daily News", he chuckled. "That's worth two bucks."

As Earle paid the check, I boldly asked if there were any part-time openings at the paper. He put his hand on my shoulder, shook my hand, and told me that at 16, I was a bit too young. "See me in a year," he said.

Anyway, I told Earle about my situation and that I had just put in my application with Ralph. "How old are you?" Earle asked. "Seventeen," I replied, somewhat timidly.

"Well, I started when I was 17 and it worked out ok," he laughed. "Give Ralph a call and let him know when you can come in."

The rest, as they say, is history.

One very important lesson Earle taught me was recognizing one's limitations. "There's always someone better than you," he said. "Someone who comes up with the right words for a situation. If you can't do better yourself, then use what that person wrote, but be sure to give them the credit."

At the memorial service, Earle's nephew, Matt Phillips, ended his transcendent eulogy with the lyrics from "For Good", a song written by Stephen Schwartz for the musical Wicked. His words are far better than any I could cobble together:

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend.

As usual, Earle was right.


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Quote of the day

Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 @ 7:20 AM EDT
Sep 11 2013

The better day, the worse deed.
-Matthew Henry

Categories: Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Dalton Trumbo

Published Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 6:13 AM EDT
Sep 10 2013

James Dalton Trumbo (December 9, 1905 – September 10, 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist. As one of the Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of Communist influences in the motion picture industry. Trumbo won two Academy Awards while blacklisted; one was originally given to a front writer, and one was awarded to "Robert Rich," Trumbo's pseudonym. Blacklisting effectively ended in 1960 when it lost credibility. Trumbo was publicly given credit for two blockbuster films: Otto Preminger made public that Trumbo wrote the screenplay for the smash hit, Exodus, and Kirk Douglas publicly announced that Trumbo was the screenwriter of Spartacus. Further, President John F. Kennedy crossed picket lines to see the movie. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good businessman never makes a contract unless he's sure he can carry it through, yet every fool on earth is perfectly willing to sign a marriage contract without considering whether he can live up to it or not.

A man doesn't say I will starve myself to death to keep from starving, or that he'd spend all of his money to save money. Why should he be willing to die for the privilege of living?

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well. It means that everybody should have a job, if he's willing to work, and an education, and the right to bring up his children without fear of the future. And it means that the old shall be provided for, without shame to themselves or to their families. It means do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It also means the prayers of the pilgrim fathers in the wilderness, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and the dreams of an immigrant mother for her children. And that's what I believe in.

Dishonesty in government is the business of every citizen.... It is not enough to do your own job. There's no particular virtue in that. Democracy isn't a gift. It's a responsibility.

Everybody now seems to be talking about democracy. I don't understand this. As I think of it, democracy isn't like a Sunday suit to be brought out and worn only for parades.

I fought fire with oil.

I never considered the working class anything other than something to get out of.

It's the kind of a life a decent man leads, it's something to live for and to die for....

Now the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of things people don't understand. Take the Einstein theory. Take taxes. Take love. Do you understand them? Neither do I. But they exist. They happen.

One of the disadvantages of being a patrician is that occasionally you're obliged to act like one.

Privately, I believe in none of them. Neither do you. Publicly, I believe in them all.

The blacklist was a time of evil. No one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil. There was bad faith and good, honesty and dishonesty, courage and cowardice, selflessness and opportunism, wisdom and stupidity, good and bad on both sides. It will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims. Some suffered less than others, some grew or were diminished, but in the final tally we were all victims because almost without exception each of us felt compelled to say things he did not want to say, to do things he did not want to do, to deliver and receive wounds he truly did not want to exchange. That is why none of us- right, left, or center- emerged from that long nightmare without sin.

The chief internal enemies of any state are those public officials who betray the trust imposed upon them by the people.

The only interesting thing that can happen in a Swiss bedroom is suffocation by feather mattress.

The only kind of love worth having is the kind that goes on living and laughing and fighting and loving.

There's no problem about proving authorship. The problem, in Hollywood, has been to admit authorship.

Well, life isn't always what one likes.

What's so noble about being dead?

When one man says, 'No, I won't,' Rome begins to fear.

You know, I was born in Colorado, and I remember the first self-starting car that came to town. And I flew here today on a 747. That's too damned much for one lifetime.

Categories: Dalton Trumbo, Quotes of the day

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Cartoon of the day

Published Monday, September 09, 2013 @ 4:31 PM EDT
Sep 09 2013

Categories: Cartoons

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Quotes of the day: Leo Tolstoy

Published Monday, September 09, 2013 @ 6:09 AM EDT
Sep 09 2013

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 - November 20, 1910), also known as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.

Boredom: the desire for desires.

Debates conceal rather than reveal the truth. Truth is revealed in solitude.

Don't seek God in temples. He is close to you. He is within you.

Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.

History would be a wonderful thing- if it were only true.

If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.

If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.

In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.

It's hard to love a woman and do anything.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games- but not with pleasure.

Not only does the action of Governments not deter men from crimes; on the contrary, it increases crime by always disturbing and lowering the moral standard of society.

Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.

Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.

The best stories don't come from 'good vs. bad' but 'good vs. good.'

The happiness of men consists in life. And life is in labor.

The moral progress of mankind is due to the aged. The old grow wiser and better.

The more we live by our intellect, the less we understand the meaning of life.

The strongest of all warriors are these two- Time and Patience.

The struggle with evil by means of violence is the same as an attempt to stop a cloud, in order that there may be no rain.

The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.

There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way.

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.

We lost because we told ourselves we lost.

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.

Where there is law, there is injustice.

Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult.

Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.

Categories: Leo Tolstoy, Quotes of the day

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Political jokes of the week

Published Sunday, September 08, 2013 @ 7:23 AM EDT
Sep 08 2013

Late night jokes from the past week. For the complete list (and a lot of other great material), visit Daniel Kurtzman's political humor section on about.com.)

Stephen Colbert:

You know what, folks? I miss George W. Bush. That man knew how to sell a war. Obama has hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction and he can't even get England to go along with it. Meanwhile, President Bush got an international coalition with nothing more than Colin Powell's reputation and half a test tube of crystal light.

Only 29% of Americans want the U.S. to attack Syria- which on the plus side means that 29% of Americans know there is a place called Syria.

Jay Leno:

John McCain was caught playing video poker on his iPhone during the Senate hearings the other day. Everybody is criticizing McCain, but compared to what other politicians are doing on their iPhones, that's not so bad, OK?

President Obama is asking Congress to support a military strike in Syria. If they approve, it will be the first time Congress has officially declared war since Obamacare.

President Obama is trying to get congressional approval before we attack Syria. And if that works, there's talk we might even consider bringing back the rest of the Constitution.

President Obama is pretty clever. Did you see what he is doing to get Congress to approve the attack? He told them Syrian President Assad supports Obamacare.

Eighteen women are accusing Bob Filner of sexual assault. He even groped a great grandmother. Isn't that awful? Even great grandfathers don't do that.

The state attorney general of New York is suing Donald Trump for $40 million, claiming that Donald Trump University is not a real university. The state claims it's not a real college because students get very little education and were unable to find jobs after they graduated. Sounds like a real college to me.

About $30 million in $100 bills had to be destroyed because of a printing problem. Isn't that unbelievable? The only thing we know how to do right in this country is print money and we screw that up.

Before we give the government any more money, show us some receipts.

Jimmy Fallon:

A new study found that using Facebook has actually changed how our brains work. Yeah, it's true. Before Facebook, when you said you liked something, you actually did.

Anthony Weiner turned 49 years old today, marking one of the two days of the year that Weiner is the one who is receiving lots of packages.

David Letterman:

I guess we're getting ready to attack Syria. But if we win, in the semifinals we face Iran.

There is trouble at Charlie Sheen's birthday party. John Kerry says there is evidence of illegal chemical use. They have to go in there.

Conan O'Brien:

They're now making the first smartphone that's not made overseas. It's made in Texas. It's also the first smartphone that doubles as a handgun.

Categories: Political Jokes of the Week

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Szasz

Published Sunday, September 08, 2013 @ 5:12 AM EDT
Sep 08 2013

Thomas Stephen Szasz (April 15, 1920 - September 8, 2012) was a psychiatrist and academic. Since 1990 he had been professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness (1970) set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.

A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.

Adulthood is the ever-shrinking period between childhood and old age. It is the apparent aim of modern industrial societies to reduce this period to a minimum.

Although both the natural and moral sciences seek to understand the objects of their observation, in natural science the purpose of this is to be able to control them better, whereas in moral science it is, or ought to be, to be better able to leave them alone. The morally proper aim of psychology, then, is self-control.

Anxiety is the unwillingness to play even when you know the odds are for you. Courage is the willingness to play even when you know the odds are against you.

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.

Classifying thoughts, feelings and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying whale as fish.

Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.

Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

He who does not accept and respect those who want to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself.

How men hate waiting while their wives shop for clothes and trinkets; how women hate waiting, often for much of their lives, while their husbands shop for fame and glory.

If someone does something we disapprove of, we regard him as bad if we believe we can deter him from persisting in his conduct, but we regard him as mad if we believe we cannot.

If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic.

In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.

In the past, men created witches: now they create mental patients.

It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.

It taught me, at an early age, that being wrong can be dangerous, but being right, when society regards the majority’s falsehood as truth, could be fatal.

Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; and love by love.

Marx said that religion was the opiate of the people. In the United States today, opiates are the religion of the people.

Men are rewarded or punished not for what they do but for how their acts are defined. That is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves.

Men love liberty because it protects them from control and humiliation from others, and thus affords them the possibility of dignity. They loathe liberty because it throws them back on their own abilities and resources, and thus confronts them with the possibility of insignificance.

Parents teach children discipline for two different, indeed diametrically opposed, reasons: to render the child submissive to them and to make him independent of them. Only a self-disciplined person can be obedient; and only such a person can be autonomous.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.

Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.

Psychiatrists classify a person as neurotic if he suffers from his problems in living, and as psychotic if he makes others suffer.

Psychotherapy conquered what is in effect the human condition by annexing it in its entirety to the medical profession.

Punishment is now unfashionable... because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.

Science can give us power over nature, but it cannot give us power over human nature.

Since this is the age of science, not religion, psychiatrists are our rabbis, heroin is our pork, and the addict is the unclean person.

So long as men denounce each other as mentally sick (homosexual, addicted, insane, and so forth)- so that the madman can always be considered the Other, never the Self- mental illness will remain an easily exploitable concept, and Coercive Psychiatry a flourishing institution.

The language of science- and especially of a science of man- is, necessarily, anti-individualistic, and hence a threat to human freedom and dignity.

The passion to interpret as madness that with which we disagree seems to have infected the best of contemporary minds.

The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity.

The proverb warns that, 'You should not bite the hand that feeds you.' But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are.

The wise treat self-respect as non-negotiable, and will not trade it for health or wealth or anything else.

There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse.

When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him..

Why don't you have a right to say you are Jesus? And why isn't the proper response to that 'congratulations?'

Why is self-control, autonomy, such a threat to authority? Because the person who controls himself, who is his own master, has no need for an authority to be his master.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Szasz

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Recursive plunge of the day

Published Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 6:15 PM EDT
Sep 07 2013

"On August 15, a resident from the 6300 Block of Crestview Drive found a chameleon in his front yard. If any resident has lost a chameleon, please call the South Park Police Department..."
-Park News, September 6, 2013

South Park Police.
Hi, I'm calling about that lost chameleon.
Yes, sir. Can you describe it?
Excuse me?
Can you describe it? You know, like what color is it?"

Categories: WTF?

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Quotes of the day: Taylor Caldwell

Published Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 2:51 AM EDT
Sep 07 2013

Janet Miriam Holland Taylor Caldwell (September 7, 1900 – August 30, 1985) was an Anglo-American novelist and prolific author of popular fiction, also known by the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner, and by her married name of J. Miriam Reback. In her fiction, she often used real historical events or persons. Taylor Caldwell's best-known works include Dynasty of Death, Dear and Glorious Physician (about Saint Luke), and The Captains and the Kings. Her last major novel, Answer as a Man, appeared in 1980 (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man who feels, views life as a tragedy. A man who thinks, views life as a comedy.

A statement that is repugnant to one's beliefs can be as true as one that is pleasurable.

A wise man distrusts his neighbor. A wiser man distrusts both his neighbor and himself. The wisest man of all distrusts his government.

Are we not all desperate one way or another?

Corrupt citizens breed corrupt rulers, and it is the mob who finally decides when virtue shall die.

Despair is sometimes the great energizer of the mind, though sometimes its flowering may be sterile.

Even the most malignant gods would not continue to inflict life upon humanity, time without end.

Giving a phenomenon a label does not explain it.

Honest men live on charity in their age; the almshouses are full of men who never stole a copper penny. Honest men are the fools and the saints.

I gratefully look forward to oblivion, but I must be sure of it.

I have had four happy days in my life, and three of them turned out to be illusions.

I like animals because they are not consciously cruel and don't betray each other.

I've always enjoyed poor health.

If they can't do it in California, it can't be done anywhere.

In sleep, you are safe from the revolting mechanics of living and being a prey to outrageous fortune.

It is a stern fact of history that no nation that rushed to the abyss ever turned back. Not ever, in the long history of the world. We are now on the edge of the abyss. Can we, for the first time in history, turn back? It is up to you.

It is human nature to instinctively rebel at obscurity or ordinariness.

It is inevitable, that eventually the people will demand absolute security from the state... And absolute security is absolute slavery.

It is not always wise to appear singular.

It's a funny thing about love: you don't need to have it returned to love somebody. Loving's enough.

Obscurity can be a fire of ambition in those who have stalwart souls.

Reading, not just an escape, but an exercise in living...

The American insanity for Loving Everybody is ruining my good temper and delivering my stomach to enormous bouts with acidity.

The more wants a man has, the less freedom.

The world is a penal institution.

You can be happy with money and you can be wretched with it. It depends on what kind of person you are.

Learning should be a joy and full of excitement. It is life's greatest adventure; it is an illustrated excursion into the minds of the noble and the learned.

Men who retain irony are not to be trusted. They can't always resist an impulse to tickle themselves.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Taylor Caldwell

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Ignoring Private Ryan

Published Friday, September 06, 2013 @ 10:01 AM EDT
Sep 06 2013

"Going to an American hospital, for a veteran, shouldn't require more courage than storming the beach at Normandy."

Categories: Daily Show, Jon Stewart, Video

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A country united

Published Friday, September 06, 2013 @ 7:27 AM EDT
Sep 06 2013

Some would add the President and his cabinet as well. Via the ever-reliable Onion.

Categories: Congress, Syria, The Onion

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Quotes of the day: Jeff Foxworthy

Published Friday, September 06, 2013 @ 6:39 AM EDT
Sep 06 2013

Jeffrey Marshall "Jeff" Foxworthy (b. September 6, 1958) is an American comedian, television and radio personality and author. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Getting married to get sex is like buying a 747 to get free peanuts.

Watching a baby being born is a little like watching a wet St. Bernard coming in through the cat door.

You moon the wrong person at an office party and suddenly you're not a professional any more.

If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair.

You break into my house, I will shoot you. My wife will shoot you and then spend thirty minutes telling you why she shot you.

Men like beer and something naked.

Buying a used rental car is kind of like going to a house of ill repute looking for a wife. Anything that's been driven that hard by that many people, you really don't want to put your key in it.

I don't know why my brain has kept all the words to the Gilligan's Island theme song and has deleted everything about triangles.

I know if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Find something in life that you love doing. If you make a lot of money, that's a bonus, and if you don't, you still won't hate going to work.

Did you know babies are nauseated by the smell of a clean shirt?

There's no down time any more.

Changing a diaper is a lot like getting a present from your grandmother - you're not sure what you've got but you're pretty sure you're not going to like it.

It's true I married my wife for her looks... but not the ones she's been giving me lately.

Pride is the first step in people unraveling and companies unraveling and relationships unraveling.

I've been to all 50 states, and traveled this whole country, and 90 percent of the people are good folks. The rest of them take after the other side of the family.

If men have a smell it's usually an accident.

A free book that comes to my house full of nothing but women in their underwear? God Bless America!

You always lose expensive sunglasses and the cases that cassette tapes come in.

I still don't know how much is the appropriate amount for a urine sample. Why won't they just put a line on that cup?

Sophisticated people have retirement plans. Rednecks play the lottery.

Louisiana has, guarantee you, the best food on this planet as long as you don't ask too many questions about what you're eating.

I need some space... is half a sentence. The rest of it is 'without you in it.'

There's a whole segment of the population with a mentality that bases good times on where they can go and what they can buy.

My wife is so analytical with raising kids, and I am not. My feeling is if they turn out good, then that means I was a good daddy and put a lot of effort into it. If they turn out bad, it means they took after her side of the family.

You take a normal guy, give him a wife, give them time, and you've got an idiot!

Categories: Jeff Foxworthy, Quotes of the day

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Observation of the day

Published Thursday, September 05, 2013 @ 4:58 PM EDT
Sep 05 2013

Categories: Colbert Report, Observations, Stephen Colbert

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Quotes of the day: Bob Newhart

Published Thursday, September 05, 2013 @ 4:28 AM EDT
Sep 05 2013

George Robert "Bob" Newhart (b. September 5, 1929) is an American stand-up comedian and actor. Noted for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery, Newhart came to prominence in the 1960s when his album of comedic monologues The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart was a worldwide bestseller and reached number one on the Billboard pop album chart. It remains the 20th best-selling comedy album in history. The follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! was also a massive success, and the two albums held the Billboard number one and number two spots simultaneously, a feat unequaled until the 1991 release of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II by hard rock band Guns N' Roses.


A guy walks into a psychologist's convention with a banana in his pocket. When asked about the significance of this he says: well,they were all out of grapes.

All comedians are, in a way, anarchists. Our job is to make fun of the existing world.

Humor's a weapon if you want to make it one.

I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for those people who like country music, denigrate means "put down."

I don't want to find the secret. I'm afraid all the joy will go out of it if I find the secret.

I guess I'll just never learn to live like a star. Jack Lord was born that way; I just can't get the hang of it.

I still feel 30, except when I try to run.

I think everyone probably starts out sounding like someone else, but gradually you develop your own sound.

I think one reason for a successful marriage is laughter. I think laughter gets you through the rough moments in a marriage.

I've been told to speed up my delivery when I perform. But if I lose the stammer, I'm just another slightly amusing accountant.

It won an Emmy, a Peabody Award and a pink slip from NBC. All in the same year. (re: his 1961 variety show)

It's getting harder and harder to differentiate between schizophrenics and people talking on a cell phone.

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.

Life is a hamburger. Fry some of the fat away, take a couple bites, and it's gone.

Marriage and fatherhood heighten the disillusion that we all think we are born handy. We confidently believe that we can fix things around the house, as if it's part of the collective brain that was further enhanced by eighth-grade shop class.

Stammering is different than stuttering. Stutterers have trouble with the letters, while stammerers trip over entire parts of a sentence. We stammerers generally think of ourselves as very bright. My own private theory is that stammerers have so many ideas swirling around their brains at once that they can't get them all out, though I haven't found any scientific evidence to back that up.

Television series are like the stock market. There's room for bears and bulls but no room for pigs

The giant superstars are people whose talent is so enormous that their death wish can't destroy it.

The problem is that we live in an uptight country. Why don't we just laugh at ourselves? We are funny. Gays are funny. Straights are funny. Women are funny. Men are funny. We are all funny, and we all do funny things. Let's laugh about it.

This stammer got me a home in Beverly Hills, and I'm not about to screw with it now.

You may not think I'm a sex symbol, but I became a father at the age of 48. Now young people think of me as a mini-folk hero because it's difficult for them to believe a man of my age is sexually active.

You shouldn't get too close to the truth, because then maybe you stop being funny.

Categories: Bob Newhart, Quotes of the day

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The price of "security"

Published Wednesday, September 04, 2013 @ 1:34 PM EDT
Sep 04 2013

"In the months after 9/11, so many people chose to drive instead of fly that the resulting deaths dwarfed the deaths from the terrorist attack itself, because cars are much more dangerous than airplanes."
Bruce Schneier, "Our Newfound Fear of Risk"

Categories: Bruce Schneier, Risk, Terrorism

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Queen of the realm

Published Wednesday, September 04, 2013 @ 10:46 AM EDT
Sep 04 2013

Lady Lucia (aka Lucy) watches as Dad cuts the grass. It's good to be the queen.

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Paul Harvey

Published Wednesday, September 04, 2013 @ 2:49 AM EDT
Sep 04 2013

Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was an American radio broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks. He broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Harvey's programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers.


A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth, without an anesthetic.

Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don't vote.

Every pessimist who ever lived has been buried in an unmarked grave. Tomorrow has always been better than today, and it always will be.

Golf is a game in which you yell 'fore,' shoot six, and write down five.

I am fiercely loyal to those willing to put their money where my mouth is.

I started taking better care of myself once I saw how expensive funerals are.

I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.

If 'pro' is the opposite of 'con' what is the opposite of 'progress?'

If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then nine times out of ten it will.

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.

Like what you do. If you don't like it, do something else.

My nightmares relate all of man's inhumanity to man- to our willing acceptance of cruelty to the other animals.

Oh, things always get better. Tomorrow will always be better. Just think about it... is there any time in history in which you'd rather live than now?

Remember the uncertain soldier in our Civil War who, figuring to play it safe, dressed himself in a blue coat and gray pants and tip-toed out unto the field of battle. He got shot from both directions.

Retiring is just practicing up to be dead. That doesn't take any practice.

The road to success is always under construction.

There's a whole argument in the relief world about whether aid undermines the social and political contract between the state and its citizens. But if the government can't provide assistance, do you want to allow people to die?

These things I wish for you- tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

We've drifted away from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium.

When your outgo exceeds your income, the upshot may be your downfall.

Categories: Paul Harvey, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Pauline Kael

Published Tuesday, September 03, 2013 @ 2:45 AM EDT
Sep 03 2013

Pauline Kael (June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) was an American film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. Earlier in her career, her work appeared in City Lights, McCall's and The New Republic. Kael was known for her "witty, biting, highly opinionated, and sharply focused" reviews, her opinions often contrary to those of her contemporaries. She is often regarded as the most influential American film critic of her day. She left a lasting impression on many major critics, including Armond White, whose reviews are similarly non-conformist, and Roger Ebert, who has said that Kael "had a more positive influence on the climate for film in America than any other single person over the last three decades." Owen Gleiberman said she "was more than a great critic. She re-invented the form, and pioneered an entire aesthetic of writing. She was like the Elvis or the Beatles of film criticism." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A mistake in judgment isn't fatal, but too much anxiety about judgment is.

De Mille's bang-them-on-the-head-with-wild-orgies-and-imperilled-virginity style is at its ripest; the film is just about irresistible.

Earlier generations went to see what was forbidden in life and developed a real excitement about the movies. Today's rating system keeps kids out of the good ones. I wouldn't want them to see movies like Natural Born Killers, but my tendency is you're better off seeing things than not. That glazed indifference kids develop can be worse than over-excitement.

Genre movies are often just what we want and all we want.

Her only flair is in her nostrils.

How can people go on talking about the dazzling brilliance of movies and not notice that the directors are sucking up to the thugs in the audience?

I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.

I loved writing about things when I was excited about them. It's not fun writing about bad movies. I used to think it was bad for my skin.

I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

I've been told I've influenced some people to become directors. Unfortunately, most of them are lousy.

If I never saw another fistfight or car chase or Doberman attack, I wouldn't have any feeling of loss. And that goes for Rottweilers, too.

If there is any test that can be applied to movies, it's that the good ones never make you feel virtuous.

If we make any kind of decent, useful life for ourselves we have less need to run from it to those diminishing pleasures of the movies.

If you can't make fun of bad movies on serious subjects, what's the point?

In movies, the balance between art and business has always been precarious, with business outweighing art, but (in the past) the business was, at least, in the hands of businessmen who loved movies.

In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.

In this country we encourage 'creativity' among the mediocre, but real bursting creativity appalls us. We put it down as undisciplined, as somehow 'too much.'

Irresponsibility is part of the pleasure of all art; it is the part the schools cannot recognize.

It seems likely that many of the young who don't wait for others to call them artists, but simply announce that they are, don't have the patience to make art.

It's painful writing about the bad things in an art form, particularly when young kids are going to be enthusiastic about those things, because they haven't seen anything better, or anything different.

It's sometimes discouraging to see all of a director's movies, because there's so much repetition. The auteurists took this to be a sign of a director's artistry, that you could recognize his movies. But it can also be a sign that he's a hack.

Kicked in the ribs, the press says 'art' when 'ouch' would be more appropriate.

McLuhanism and the media have broken the back of the book business; they've freed people from the shame of not reading. They've rationalized becoming stupid and watching television.

Men are now beginning their careers as directors by working on commercials- which, if one cares to speculate on it, may be almost a one-sentence résumé of the future of American motion pictures.

Moviegoers like to believe that those they have made stars are great actors. People used to say that Gary Cooper was a fine actor- probably because when they looked in his face they were ready to give him their power of attorney.

Moviemaking is so male-dominated now that they think they're being pro-feminine when they have women punching each other out.

Moviemaking is so male-dominated now that they think they're being pro-feminine when they have women punching each other out.

Movies are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.

Movies make hash of the schoolmarm's approach of how well the artist fulfilled his intentions.

Patrons of burlesque applaud politely for the graceful erotic dancer but go wild for the lewd lummox who bangs her big hips around. That's what they go to burlesque for.

People are cynical about advertising, of course, but their cynicism is so all-inclusive now that they're indifferent, and so they're more susceptible to advertising than ever.

People who are just getting 'seriously interested' in film always ask a critic, 'Why don't you talk about technique and 'the visuals' more?' The answer is that American movie technique is generally more like technology and it usually isn't very interesting.

Regrettably, one of the surest signs of the Philistine is his reverence for the superior tastes of those who put him down.

The craftsmanship that Hollywood has always used as a selling point not only doesn't have much to do with art- the expressive use of techniques- it probably doesn't have very much to do with actual box-office appeal, either.

The critical task is necessarily comparative, and younger people do not truly know what is new.

The first prerogative of an artist in any medium is to make a fool of himself.

The past has a terror and fascination and a beauty beyond almost anything else.

The words 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.

There are so many kinds of innocence to be lost at the movies.

There is a standard answer to this old idiocy of if-you-know-so-much-about-the-art-of-the-film-why-don't-you-make-moviess. You don't have to lay an egg to know if it tastes good.

Trash has given us an appetite for art.

TV executives think that the programs with the highest ratings are what TV viewers want, rather than what they settle for.

Watching old movies is like spending an evening with those people next door. They bore us, and we wouldn't go out of our way to see them; we drop in on them because they're so close.

When you clean them up, when you make movies respectable, you kill them. The wellspring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable.

Categories: Pauline Kael, Quotes of the day

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Published Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 12:53 PM EDT
Sep 02 2013

Riley is taking it easy this Labor Day. You should, too.

Categories: Dogs, Photo of the day

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Quotes of the day: Cleveland Amory

Published Monday, September 02, 2013 @ 5:51 AM EDT
Sep 02 2013

Cleveland Amory (September 2, 1917 – October 14, 1998) was an American author who devoted his life to promoting animal rights. He was perhaps best known for his books about his cat, named Polar Bear, whom he saved from the Manhattan streets on Christmas Eve 1977. The executive director of the Humane Society of the United States described Amory as "the founding father of the modern animal protection movement." Amory was also a social commentator on NBC's Today show for 11 years, a guest stint that ended in 1963. That same year he became chief critic for TV Guide, a position he held until 1976. He was also a columnist for The Saturday Review and for some time broadcast a daily radio essay on Curmudgeon at Large. He was a senior contributing editor of Parade Magazine from 1980 until his death. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A 'good' family, it seems, is one that used to be better.

A person has an idea about foreign policy or doesn't know one's arse from one's elbow.

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.

Every damn President since I can remember has been so in love with foreign policy that they're just like a schoolboy with a new girl.

Have you ever heard one civilized person whose opinion you respect, at any time, anywhere, in any civilized country anywhere, say the good new days?

I can't take a well-tanned person seriously.

I detest professional anythings but particularly professional writers. Most of them today are just garbage collectors.

I've always had a sneaking fondness for Martin Van Buren. He wrote his autobiography, you know, and never once mentioned his wife. Now that's what I call a man's man.

If you're a customer today, you're an intruder.

In my day the schools taught two things, love of country and penmanship- now they don't teach either.

One of the ways in which cats show happiness is by sleeping.

People ask me what makes a good funeral, and I tell them the most important thing is your man in the casket. If you have a man of substance in there, you have the makings of a first-class funeral.

Philadelphia asks about a man's parents; Boston wants to know about his grandparents.

Relations between the sexes are so complicated that the only way you can tell if members of the set are going together is if they are married. Then, almost certainly, they are not.

The New England conscience does not stop you from doing what you shouldn't-it just stops you from enjoying it.

The opera is like a husband with a foreign title- expensive to support, hard to understand and therefore a supreme social challenge.

There are three terrible ages of childhood- 1 to 10, 10 to 20, and 20 to 30.

Unlike some people who have experienced the loss of an animal, I did not believe, even for a moment, that I would never get another. I did know full well that there were just too many animals out there in need of homes for me to take what I have always regarded as the self-indulgent road of saying the heartbreak of the loss of an animal was too much ever to want to go through with it again. To me, such an admission brought up the far more powerful admission that all the wonderful times you had with your animal were not worth the unhappiness at the end.

You can't make the Duchess of Windsor into Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The facts of life are very stubborn things. (On resigning as collaborator on the memoirs of the former Wallis Warfield Simpson)

You cannot expect everything even from the friendliest cat. It is still a cat.

You won't find the word happy in any self-respecting grumbler's dictionary, no matter it's Christmas Eve or the any other day.

Categories: Cleveland Amory, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ann Richards

Published Sunday, September 01, 2013 @ 6:38 AM EDT
Sep 01 2013

Dorothy Ann Willis Richards (September 1, 1933 – September 13, 2006) was an American politician and the 45th Governor of Texas. She first came to national attention as the state treasurer of Texas, when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Richards served as the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995 and was defeated for re-election in 1994 by George W. Bush. Ann Richards was the second female governor of that state. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I believe in recovery, and I believe that as a role model I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.

I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.'

I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don't have any.

I hate to see them take that creche out of the capitol. It could be the only chance we'll ever have to get three wise men in that building.

I have always had the feeling I could do anything and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong.

I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, you never look back.

I'm not afraid to shake up the system, and government needs more shaking up than any other system I know.

I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew. Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile. They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose.

I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.

If you can't fill the till, then don't pass the bill.

If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don't, you're simply ducking your responsibilities.

Let me tell you, sisters, seeing dried egg on a plate in the morning is a lot dirtier than anything I've had to deal with in politics.

Life is not fair, but government absolutely must be.

Most of all, I remember those children in the classrooms and those kids who grabbed me around the knees, and I think of the old people who really need a voice when they're trapped in wheelchairs in dirty nursing homes. The person in this office really must have a conscience to know that how they direct this government dramatically affects the lives of those people.

Nothing's wrong with you that you can't fix in November.

Poor George. He can't help it- he was born with a silver foot in his mouth. (On George W. Bush)

Power is what calls the shots, and power is a white male game.

The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it's all we'll need.

The higher up you go, the more it's the same, except the stakes are higher: There are more zeros at the end.

The public does not like you to mislead or represent yourself to be something you're not... They don't ask their public officials to be perfect. They just ask them to be smart, truthful, honest, and show a modicum of good sense.

There is a lot more to life than just struggling to make money.

They blame the low income women for ruining the country because they are staying home with their children and not going out to work. They blame the middle income women for ruining the country because they go out to work and do not stay home to take care of their children.

They go up there and forget who brung 'em to the dance. (re: Congressmen in Washington DC)

We're not going to have the America that we want until we elect leaders who are going to tell the truth - not most days, but every day.

You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.

Categories: Ann Richards, Quotes of the day

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