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Quotes of the day: David Mamet

Published Saturday, November 30, 2013 @ 12:29 AM EST
Nov 30 2013

David Alan Mamet (b. November 30, 1947) is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director. As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he has received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (1982) and Wag the Dog (1997). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

Art and mass entertainment and propaganda, they can all be plotted on the same graph, but there is a difference.

Every fear hides a wish.

Everybody makes their own fun. If you don't make it yourself, it isn't fun. It's entertainment.

For all industries migrate toward monopoly, and decrease in competition inevitably results in decrease in quality.

I hate vacations. There's nothing to do.

I recall the homily of old, that thousands worked over years to build the cathedrals, and no one put his name on a single one of them.

I've always been more comfortable sinking while clutching a good theory than swimming with an ugly fact.

In a world we find terrifying, we ratify that which doesn't threaten us.

In Chicago, we love our crooks!

In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, solely based on our ability to speak the language viciously.

In the meantime: (1) be direct; (2) remember that, being smarter than men, women respond to courtesy and kindness; (3) if you want to know what kind of a wife someone will make, observe her around her father and mother; (4) as to who gets out of the elevator first, I just can't help you.

It is my experience that being self-supporting is like shooting free throws: if you hit, you get to shoot again, if not, not.

It's not a lie. It's a gift for fiction.

It's only words... unless they're true.

Money spent on crossing guards cannot be spent on books. Both are necessary, a choice must be made and that this is the Tragic view of life.

My idea of perfect happiness is a healthy family, peace between nations, and all the critics die.

Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.

Our prosperity will be in direct proportion to our ability to fulfill the needs of others.

People may or may not say what they mean... but they always say something designed to get what they want.

Policemen so cherish their status as keepers of the peace and protectors of the public that they have occasionally been known to beat to death those citizens or groups who question that status.

The avant-garde is to the left what jingoism is to the right. Both are a refuge in nonsense.

The day of the dramatic script is ending. In its place we find a premise, upon which the various gags may be hung.

The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong.

The spiritualist and the politician are magicians, one offering diversion, the other security, in exchange for a suspension of common sense.

The surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle. Let's think about what's the whole battle.

When the three branches of government have failed to represent the citizenry and the mass of the media has failed to represent the citizenry, then the citizenry better represent the citizenry.

You can't bluff someone who's not paying attention.


Mamet wrote the screenplay for the 1982 film The Verdict, and afforded actor Paul Newman- who should have won the Best Actor Oscar that year- with perhaps the most memorable and emotionally powerful court room scene since To Kill A Mockingbird. I'd include the clip here, but the film's producers have and continue to scour YouTube and other online sites to remove it. While the words are powerful, you must see and hear Newman deliver it:

"You know, so much of the time we're just lost. We say, please God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true. When there is no justice– the rich win, the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead, a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims. And we become victims. We become weak. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our beliefs. We doubt our institutions. And we doubt the law. Well, today you are the law. You are the law. Not some book. Not the lawyers. Not the marble statue or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are... they are, in fact, a prayer, a fervent and a frightened prayer. In my religion, they say act as if ye had faith... and faith will be given to you. If, if we are to have faith in justice we need only to believe in ourselves. And act with justice. See, I believe there is justice in our hearts."

Categories: David Mamet, Paul Newman, Quotes of the day, The Verdict

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Quotes of the day: Louisa May Alcott

Published Friday, November 29, 2013 @ 6:19 AM EST
Nov 29 2013

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 - March 6, 1888) was an American novelist best known as author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A.M. Barnard. Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children's novel today. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. She died in Boston. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A real gentleman is as polite to a little girl as to a woman.

A time will come when you will find that in gaining a brief joy you have lost your peace forever.

Be worthy love, and love will come.

Conceit spoils the finest genius.

Girls are so queer you never know what they mean. They say No when they mean Yes, and drive a man out of his wits for the fun of it.

Housekeeping ain't no joke.

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

If I didn't care about doing right and didn't feel uncomfortable doing wrong, I should get on capitally.

If you dear little girls would only learn what real beauty is, and not pinch and starve and bleach yourselves out so, you'd save an immense deal of time and money and pain. A happy soul in a healthy body makes the best sort of beauty for man or woman.

It takes three or four women to get each man into, through, and out of this world.

It takes two flints to make a fire.

Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can.

Love is a great beautifier.

Men are always ready to die for us, but not to make our lives worth having. Cheap sentiment and bad logic.

Nothing is impossible to a determined woman.

Nothing provokes speculation more than the sight of a woman enjoying herself.

Our actions are in our own hands, but the consequences of them are not.

Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow...

Strong convictions precede great actions.

Talent isn't genius, and no amount of energy can make it so.

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.

The small hopes and plans and pleasures of children should be tenderly respected by grown-up people, and never rudely thwarted or ridiculed.

There is always light behind the clouds.

We don't choose our talents; but we needn't hide them in a napkin because they are not just what we want.

What do girls do who haven't any mothers to help them through their troubles?

When I had youth I had no money; now I have the money I have no time; and when I get the time, if I ever do, I shall have no health to enjoy life.

Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.

Work is and always has been my salvation and I thank the Lord for it.

Young men often laugh at the sensible girls whom they secretly respect, and affect to admire the silly ones whom they secretly despise, because earnestness, intelligence, and womanly dignity are not the fashion.

Categories: Louisa May Alcott, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Rita Mae Brown

Published Thursday, November 28, 2013 @ 5:18 AM EST
Nov 28 2013

Rita Mae Brown (b. November 28, 1944) is an American writer and feminist. She is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle. Published in 1973, it dealt with lesbian themes in an explicit manner unusual for the time. Brown is also a mystery writer and screenwriter. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.

A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.

Art is moral passion married to entertainment. Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.

Confession is not necessarily communication.

Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.

Education is a wonderful thing. If you couldn't sign your name you'd have to pay cash.

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.

I think the secret of life is there is no secret.

I've met many irresponsible people in my life but never an irresponsible cat.

If Michelangelo had been a heterosexual, the Sistine Chapel would have been painted basic white and with a roller.

If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

It's an act of faith to be a writer in a postliterate world.

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.

Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.

Morals are private. Decency is public.

Normal is the average of deviance.

Novelty is not necessarily a virtue.

One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.

The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.

Writers will happen in the best of families.

You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners.

You sell a screenplay like you sell a car. If somebody drives it off a cliff, that's it.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rita Mae Brown

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Complaint Department

Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013 @ 1:31 AM EST
Nov 27 2013

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with- and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism. (in 1950)
-Harry S. Truman

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.
-Benjamin Franklin

Complaining about not getting the latest version of Windows is like complaining about not getting the latest version of influenza.
-James Nicoll

Complaints will always discredit you. Rather than compassion and consolation, they provoke passion and insolence, and encourage those who hear our complaints to behave like those we complain about. Once divulged to others, the offenses done to us seem to make others pardonable. Some complain of past offenses and give rise to future ones.
-Baltasar Gracián

Everyone complains of his memory, but nobody of his judgment.
-Francois de la Rochefoucauld

For 50,000 years, ever since mankind invented fire, the wheel and recently the microprocessor, he has been striving endlessly to make himself 100 percent redundant. Now, when at least some of us are teetering on the verge of success, why all the trivial complaints about the high level of unemployment?
-Reginald James Edwards

For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship's captain complaining about the sea.
-Enoch Powell

I hate to complain...No one is without difficulties, whether in high or low life, and every person knows best where their own shoe pinches.
-Abigail Adams

I look upon life as a gift from God. I did nothing to earn it. Now that the time is coming to give it back, I have no right to complain.
-Joyce Carey

I once complained to my father that I didn't seem to be able to do things the same way other people did. Dad's advice? "Margo, don't be a sheep. People hate sheep. They eat sheep."
-Margo Kaufman

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
-Maya Angelou

If you turn the other cheek, you will get a harder blow on it than you got on the first one. This does not always happen, but it is to be expected, and you ought not to complain if it does happen.
-George Orwell

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.
-Jeff Raskin

Instead of complaining because you don't get what you want, be thankful you don't get what you deserve. (Finnish Proverb)

Ironically, those people that complain of boredom tend to be incredibly boring people.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

It is a general error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
-Edmund Burke

It is just as foolish to complain that people are selfish and treacherous as it is to complain that the magnetic field does not increase unless the electric field has a curl. Both are laws of nature.
-John von Neumann

It's my belief we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.
-Jane Wagner

Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect.
-Benny Hill

Life is a fatal complaint, and an eminently contagious one.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Never complain and never explain.
-Benjamin Disraeli

One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.
-Thomas Sowell

People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.
-Søren Kierkegaard

The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.
-Lou Holtz

The measure of woman's distaste for any part of her life lies not in the loudness of her lamentations (these are only an attempt to buy a martyr's crown at a reduced price) but in her persistent pursuit of that occupation of which she never ceases to complain.
-Quentin Crisp

The only people with a right to complain about what I do for a living [fur trapper] are vegetarian nudists.
-Ken Bates

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.
-Walter Lippmann

The people who live in a Golden Age usually go around complaining how yellow everything looks.
-Randall Jarrell

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.
-James Maxwell

There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound reasonable...in large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Those who do not complain are never pitied.
-Jane Austen

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
-Jean de la Bruyere

We need two kinds of acquaintances, one to complain to, while to the others we boast.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

We pretend so that we might be loved, then complain that we are not loved for who we are.
-Robert Brault

When politicians complain that TV turns proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.
-Edward R. Murrow

When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it's usually because they are being treated like human beings. (From the film Heathers)
-Daniel Waters

Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?
-George Wallace

Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month I can be myself.

Categories: Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Charles Schulz

Published Tuesday, November 26, 2013 @ 12:05 AM EST
Nov 26 2013

Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 - February 12, 2000) was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others). He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson wrote in 2007: "Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip, so even now it's hard to see it with fresh eyes. The clean, minimalist drawings, the sarcastic humor, the unflinching emotional honesty, the inner thoughts of a household pet, the serious treatment of children, the wild fantasies, the merchandising on an enormous scale- in countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A beep on the nose is a sign of great affection.

A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing day after day without repeating himself.

All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.

Be yourself. No one can say you're doing it wrong.

Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.

Each generation must be able to blame the previous generation for all its problems. It doesn't solve anything, but it makes us all feel better.

Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

Happiness is a warm puppy.

I have a feeling that when my ship comes in I'll be at the airport.

I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time.

I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?

I love mankind. It's people I can't stand.

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

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

Life is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.

My anxieties have anxieties.

Never lie in bed at night asking yourself questions you can't answer.

No problem is so big or complicated that it can't be run away from.

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.

Once you're over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.

Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."

Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, "Why me?," then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up."

That's the secret to life... replace one worry with another...

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people... Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin.

There is no heavier burden than a great potential.

There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.

"X" is almost always eleven, and "y" is almost always nine.

Categories: Charles Schulz, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ricardo Montalbán

Published Monday, November 25, 2013 @ 5:22 AM EST
Nov 25 2013

Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG (November 25, 1920 - January 14, 2009) was a Mexican radio, television, theatre, and film actor. He had a career spanning seven decades, and was known for many different roles. During the mid-1970s, Montalbán was a spokesman in automobile advertisements for Chrysler, including those in which he extolled the "soft Corinthian leather" used for the Cordoba's interior. From 1977 to 1984 he played Mr. Roarke, the host character in the television series Fantasy Island. He played Khan Noonien Singh in the 1967 episode "Space Seed" of the original Star Trek series, and the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He won an Emmy Award in 1978 for his role in the miniseries How the West Was Won and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. In his 80s, he provided voices for animated films and commercials, and appeared in the Spy Kids films as "Grandfather Valentin". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)



A child without discipline is, in a way, a lost child. You cannot have freedom without discipline.

Ask not what the role can do for you; ask what you can do for the role.

Because we should always respect other nationalities, I have always tried to play them with dignity.

If you shake your fist, the other guy will shake his too. But if you extend your hand to shake their hand, then they will extend theirs also, and you've made a friend.

Politics is too partisan, and sometimes patriotism is cast aside. Patriotism is honor and love of your country and your brothers and sisters. With politics I get the impression that it's all about what's good for the party and not necessarily what's good for the country.

Standing on soil feels so much different than standing on city pavement; it lets you look inward and reflect and see who you really are, while you see a beautiful, unspoiled land as far as the eye can see. It allows your inner life to grow.

True love doesn't happen right away; it's an ever-growing process. It develops after you've gone through many ups and downs, when you've suffered together, cried together, laughed together.

We have seen immorality and violence revealed in the media that in my day would have ended the career of the actor. Unfortunately today, that kind of publicity can make the actor more colorful and bankable.

You see the color; you're not blind, but it doesn't matter. You see the human being first.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Ricardo Montalbán

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Clearing off the desktop...

Published Sunday, November 24, 2013 @ 2:01 PM EST
Nov 24 2013









Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: Dale Carnegie

Published Sunday, November 24, 2013 @ 7:20 AM EST
Nov 24 2013

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (né Carnagey until c. 1922) (November 24, 1888 - November 1, 1955) was an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born into poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), Lincoln the Unknown (1932), and several other books. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.

Don't be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.

Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.

Feeling sorry for yourself and your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.

I deal with the obvious. I present, reiterate and glorify the obvious- because the obvious is what people need to be told.

If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

Knowledge isn't power until it is applied.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

Our thoughts make us what we are.

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.

Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

Talk to someone about themselves and they'll listen for hours.

The essence of all art is to take pleasure in giving pleasure.

The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?

Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.

Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. It often means that you have aroused jealousy and envy. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog.

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Categories: Dale Carnegie, Quotes of the day

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Temporal ramblings (Updated)

Published Saturday, November 23, 2013 @ 6:18 PM EST
Nov 23 2013

It seems everyone who remembers November 22, 1963 spent at least a part of yesterday rummaging through the recesses of their memories. So I was in the appropriate frame of mind when Homestead Councilman and fellow Daily Messenger alumni Lloyd Cunningham sent me this old advertisement:

From 1959 through 1967, my father and I lived with his mother and stepfather on the third floor of this former hotel, at the corner of East Eighth Avenue and McClure Street.

The picture's undated, but I'm guessing it's circa 1910. Note the reference in the ad to P. & A. Telephone? According to Poor's Manual of Public Utilities, the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Telephone Company bought the Homestead Telephone Company in 1903, so it's sometime between that date and 1914, when P. & A. went into receivership. Allegheny County's property assessment website, usually a good source of information, had no building details and an incorrect street address- 344 instead of 342. [While the property dates to the early 1900s, Lloyd reports the photo was taken in 1942, when it was called the Liberty Hotel.]

Here's the Google Maps photo of the property from this past August:

Directly opposite was the Mellon Bank managed by Mike Solomon, and the Gulf gasoline station owned by Jack Scandrol and George New, Katilius Furniture was on the Munhall side. Capitol Cleaners was on the other corner.

We had seven rooms and one bath. The structures on the roof and the second floor porch/deck shown in the old photo were already gone when we lived there. There was a rickety fire escape outside the bathroom window. My grandmother kept old rugs there and some potted plants, and it was the shortcut to get to the garbage cans in the alley. The second floor was occupied by a dentist office, a steelworker who rented just one room, and a woman who rented the rest of the floor. (She owned and ran Juanita's Restaurant, at the corner of McClure Street and Hazel Way, the alley between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.)

Note the two small extrusions casting shadows on the front of the building? They supported a large sign for the clothing store once located on the ground floor: "Solomons," with the name spelled vertically in foot-high letters. I remember it vividly because I could see it from my bedroom (the window on the top right of the building). I also remember it because during a game of laundry catch with my Uncle Doyle, he missed, and a pair of my grandfather's dirty boxer shorts ended up hanging from the sign. I don't recall how they were removed, but I do remember my grandmother wouldn't speak to me for two days. It's more than fifty years ago, and I remember Grandma's silent treatment and how she forgave me and made me promise I'd never hurt her again by embarrassing her with my behavior. (My family never believed in spanking, but elevated guilt to an art form.)

Ownership of the building changed hands, and a discount shoe store opened on the ground floor. Eventually, the owner decided to convert the building into one-room cubbyholes, and we moved to a second floor apartment at 810 Ann Street, above Jones & McClure Realty at the corner of East Ninth Avenue and Ann Street, directly across from the Homestead United Presbyterian Church. I lived there until June, 1973, when I got married.

Here's an aerial map of a portion of Homestead and Munhall. On November 22, 1963, I was in fourth grade, and nine years old. It's interesting to note where a nine year old could wander unsupervised, provided he had a destination (Grandma checked) and the street lights hadn't gone on yet.

Ranging Habits of a Nine Year Old Boy
(circa 1963)

  1. Home (342 East Eighth Avenue)
  2. Homestead Elementary School (12th Avenue and Glenn Street)
  3. J & I Dairy, 13th Avenue & McClure Street (source of Superman comic books)
  4. Carnegie Library of Homestead (510 East 10th Avenue, Munhall)
  5. Ninth Avenue Playground/Homestead Borough Building
  6. Ray Roland's house (East 12th Avenue near McClure Street)
  7. Margie's Dairy Store (East 12th Avenue and Ann Street)
  8. Homestead United Presbyterian Church (908 Ann Street)
  9. "You are not allowed to cross West Street. I don't care if it has traffic lights, walk signs, or the Angel Gabriel. It's not safe."

Categories: History, KGB, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: George Eliot

Published Friday, November 22, 2013 @ 12:09 AM EST
Nov 22 2013

Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans (November 22, 1819 - December 22, 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.

An ass may bray a good while before he shakes the stars down.

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.

Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love...

Animals are such agreeable friends-they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning; but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing.

Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son's education, than leave it to him in your will.

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.

Childhood has no forebodings; but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.

Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before- consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves.

Every man who is not a monster, a mathematician, or a mad philosopher, is the slave of some woman or other.

Hate is like fire- it makes even light rubbish deadly.

Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty — it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.

If art does not enlarge men's sympathies, it does nothing morally.

Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities.

Imagination is a licensed trespasser: it has no fear of dogs, but may climb over walls and peep in at windows with impunity.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

It's never too late to become what you might have been.

It is so much easier to make up your mind that your neighbor is good for nothing, than to enter into all the circumstances that would oblige you to modify that opinion.

I've never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.

Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease.

My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.

Love has a way of cheating itself consciously, like a child who plays at solitary hide-and-seek; it is pleased with assurances that it all the while disbelieves.

Nice distinctions are troublesome.

One gets a bad habit of being unhappy.

Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution.

Our deeds are like children that are born to us; they live and act apart from our own will. Nay, children may be strangled, but deeds never: they have an indestructible life both in and out of our consciousness;

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds...

People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors.

People who can't be witty exert themselves to be devout and affectionate.

Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

The blessed work of helping the world forward, happily does not wait to be done by perfect men.

The darkest night that ever fell upon the earth never hid the light, never put out the stars. It only made the stars more keenly, kindly glancing, as if in protest against the darkness.

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.

The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.

The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

There are few prophets in the world; few sublimely beautiful women; few heroes. I can't afford to give all my love and reverence to such rarities: I want a great deal of those feelings for my every-day fellow-men, especially for the few in the foreground of the great multitude, whose faces I know, whose hands I touch for whom I have to make way with kindly courtesy.

There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and to have recovered hope.

There's a sort of wrong that can never be made up for.

To judge wisely, we must know how things appear to the unwise.

To manage men, one ought to have a sharp mind in a velvet sheath.

We cannot reform our forefathers.

We hand folks over to God's mercy, and show none ourselves.

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

Worldly faces, never look so worldly as at a funeral.

Categories: George Eliot, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Quentin Crisp

Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 @ 5:35 AM EST
Nov 21 2013

Quentin Crisp (born Denis Charles Pratt, December 25, 1908 – November 21, 1999), was an English writer and raconteur. From a conventional suburban background, Crisp grew up with effeminate tendencies, which he flaunted by parading the streets in make-up and painted nails, and working as a rent-boy. He then spent thirty years as a professional model for life-classes in art colleges. The interviews he gave about his unusual life attracted increasing public curiosity, and he was soon sought-after for his highly individual views on social manners and the cultivating of style. His one-man stage show was a long-running hit, both in England and America, and he also appeared in films and on TV. Crisp defied convention by criticising both gay liberation and Diana, Princess of Wales. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A pinch of notoriety will do.

An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.

As we all know from witnessing the consuming jealousy of husbands who are never faithful, people do not confine themselves to the emotions to which they are entitled.

Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.

Even a monotonously undeviating path of self-examination does not necessarily lead to self-knowledge. I stumble towards my grave confused and hurt and hungry.

Even hooligans marry, though they know that marriage is for a little while. It is alimony that is for ever.

Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are.

Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigor.

For flavor, instant sex will never supersede the stuff you have to peel and cook.

Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbors.

I became one of the stately homos of England.

I now know that if you describe things as better as they are, you are considered to be romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you are called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you are called a satirist.

I take it to be axiomatic that people are revolted by witnessing the shameless gratification of an appetite they do not share.

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.

If Mr. Vincent Price were to be co-starred with Miss Bette Davis in a story by Mr. Edgar Allan Poe directed by Mr. Roger Corman, it could not fully express the pent-up violence and depravity of a single day in the life of the average family.

In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast.

Indeed, is not the whole world a vast house of assignation of which the filing system has been lost?

It is explained that all relationships require a little give and take. This is untrue. Any partnership demands that we give and give and give and at the last, as we flop into our graves exhausted, we are told that we didn't give enough.

Life was a funny thing that happened to me on the way to the grave.

Living en famille provides the strongest motives for rudeness combined with the maximum opportunity for displaying it.

Love is the extra effort we make in our dealings with those whom we do not like and once you understand that, you understand all.

Manners are love in a cool climate.

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.

Nothing in our culture, not even home computers, is more overrated than the epidermal felicity of two featherless bipeds in desperate congress.

Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically- for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist- but then what isn't?

Sex is the last refuge of the miserable.

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to place their entire life in the hands of some other person. For this purpose they frequently choose someone who doesn't even want the beastly thing.

The English think incompetence is the same thing as sincerity.

The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.

The law is simply expediency wearing a long white dress.

The measure of woman's distaste for any part of her life lies not in the loudness of her lamentations (these are only an attempt to buy a martyr's crown at a reduced price) but in her persistent pursuit of that occupation of which she never ceases to complain.

The most anyone can expect from a holiday is a change of agony.

The trouble with children is that they are not returnable.

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us.

The young always have the same problem- how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.

There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.

To my disappointment I now realized that to know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody.

Vice is its own reward.

Whenever we confront an unbridled desire we are surely in the presence of a tragedy-in-the-making.

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

Categories: Quentin Crisp, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Robert F. Kennedy

Published Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @ 5:14 AM EST
Nov 20 2013

Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 - June 6, 1968), commonly known as "Bobby" or by his initials RFK, was an American politician, who served as a Senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was previously the 64th U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964, serving under his older brother, President John F. Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A revolution is coming- a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough- But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.

About one- fifth of the people are against everything all the time.

Are we like the God of the Old Testament, that we in Washington can decide which cities, towns, and hamlets in Vietnam will be destroyed? Do we have to accept that? I don't think we do. I think we can do something about it.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.

Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and then the total- of all those acts- will be written the history of this generation.

If we must act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done.

It is not easy to plant trees when we will not live to see their flowering. But that way lies greatness. And in search of greatness we will find it- for ourselves as a nation and a people.

It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it.

It is not given to us to right every wrong, to make perfect all the imperfections of the world. But neither is it given to us to sit content in our storehouses- dieting while others starve, buying eight million new cars a year while most of the world goes without shoes. We are simply not doing enough.

It is the essence of responsibility to put the public good ahead of personal gain.

It should be clear that, if one man's rights are denied, the rights of all are in danger- that if one man is denied equal protection of the law, we cannot be sure that we will enjoy freedom of speech or any other of our fundamental rights.

Just because we cannot see clearly the end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey. On the contrary, great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change we will become its victims.

Nations around the world look to us for leadership not merely by strength of arms, but by the strength of our convictions. We not only want, but we need, the free exercise of rights by every American. We need the strength and talent of ever American. We need, in short, to set an example of freedom for the world- and for ourselves.

Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ends at river shore, his common humanity is enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town or his views and the color of his skin.

Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.

The challenge of politics and public service is to discover what is interfering with justice and dignity for the individual here and now, and then to decide swiftly upon the appropriate remedies.

The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.

The enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.

The essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer- not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people.

The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic towards common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects.

The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use- of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.

The road toward equality of freedom is not easy, and great cost and danger march alongside us.

Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

We can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

We know full well the faults of our democracy- the handicaps of freedom- the inconvenience of dissent. But I know of no American who would not rather be a servant in the imperfect house of Freedom, than be a master of all the empires of tyranny.

We must continue to prove to the world that we can provide a rising standard of living for all men without the loss of civil rights or human dignity to any man.

We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous, although it is; not because the laws of God command it, although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.

What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert F. Kennedy

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Observation of the day

Published Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 4:44 PM EST
Nov 19 2013

Categories: Observations

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False equivalency of the day

Published Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 5:04 AM EST
Nov 19 2013

Obamacare is Obama's Katrina. Right.

Categories: False equivalency of the day

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Quotes of the day: Billy Sunday

Published Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 4:20 AM EST
Nov 19 2013

William Ashley "Billy" Sunday (November 19, 1862 – November 6, 1935) was an American athlete who, after being a popular outfielder in baseball's National League during the 1880s, became the most celebrated and influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Being a king, emperor, or president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother.

Better die an old maid, sister, than marry the wrong man.

Deathbed repentance is burning the candle of life in the service of the devil, and then blowing the smoke into the face of God.

Don't hunt through the Church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the mirror. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less.

Going to church on Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than going into a garage makes you an automobile.

Home is the place we love best and grumble the most.

I dare not exercise personal liberty if it infringes on the liberty of others.

If there is no hell, a good many preachers are obtaining money under false pretenses.

If you don't do your part, don't blame God.

Live so that when the final summons comes you will leave something more behind you than an epitaph on a tombstone or an obituary in a newspaper.

More men fail through lack of purpose than lack of talent.

Personal liberty is not personal license.

Some persons think that they have to look like a hedgehog to be pious.

The fellow that has no money is poor. The fellow that has nothing but money is poorer still.

The only way to keep a broken vessel full is to keep it always under the tap.

The reason you don't like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.

The trouble with many men is that they have got just enough religion to make them miserable. If there is not joy in religion, you have got a leak in your religion.

There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.

They tell me a revival is only temporary; so is a bath, but it does you good.

Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.

What have you given the world it never possessed before you came?

When the English language gets in my way, I walk over it.

Categories: Billy Sunday, Quotes of the day

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A high probability of stupidity

Published Monday, November 18, 2013 @ 12:22 PM EST
Nov 18 2013

I was watching a report on the Weather Channel this morning. The anchor was displaying the front pages of newspapers in communities hit by yesterday's storms. One banner headline read, "Storm Strafes City." The anchor said, "I looked up the word 'strafe,' because I didn't know what it meant. It means to attack something with machine guns or cannons from low-flying airplanes."

I guess that it goes without saying that if you don't know the definition of "strafe," you probably don't know what "metaphor" means, either.

How can someone attend college for four years, obtain a degree in atmospheric science or meteorology, and not know what strafe means?

Categories: News Media, The Weather Channel, WTF?

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Quotes of the day: Clarence Day

Published Monday, November 18, 2013 @ 2:29 AM EST
Nov 18 2013

Clarence Shepard Day, Jr. (November 18, 1874 – December 28, 1935) was an American author, best known for his 1935 work, Life With Father. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A moderate addiction to money may not always be hurtful; but when taken in excess it is nearly always bad for the health.

Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.

Ants are good citizens, they place group interests first.

As time goes on, new and remoter aspects of truth are discovered which can seldom be fitted into creeds that are changeless.

As to modesty and decency, if we are simians we have done well, considering: but if we are something else- fallen angels- we have indeed fallen far.

Babies are unreasonable; they expect far too much of existence. Each new generation that comes takes one look at the world and thinks wildly, 'Is this all they've done to it?' and bursts into tears.

Creatures whose main spring is curiosity will enjoy the accumulating of fact, far more than the pausing at times to reflect on those facts.

Dogs have more love than integrity. They've been true to us, yes, but they haven't been true to themselves.

Elephants suffer from too much patience. Their exhibitions of it may seem superb- such power and such restraint, combined, are noble- but a quality carried to excess defeats itself.

I thought of God as a strangely emotional being. He was powerful; he was forgiving yet obdurate, full of wrath and affection. Both His wrath and affection were fitful, they came and they went, and I couldn't count on either to continue; although they both always did. In short God was such a being as my father himself.

If you don't go to other men's funerals, they won't go to yours.

If your parents didn’t have any children, there is a good chance that you won’t have any.

Information's pretty thin stuff, unless mixed with experience.

It is possible that our race may be an accident, in a meaningless universe, living its brief life uncared-for, on this dark, cooling star: but even so- and all the more- what marvelous creatures we are

Reason is the servant of instinct.

The real world is not easy to live in. It is rough; it is slippery. Without the most clear-eyed adjustments we fall and get crushed. A man must stay sober; not always, but most of the time.

The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead.

The worshipper of energy is too physically energetic to see that he cannot explore certain higher fields until he is still.

There certainly seems to be a power at work in the world, by virtue of which every living thing grows and develops. And it tends toward splendor.

There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.

This is a hard and precarious world, where every mistake and infirmity must be paid in full.

Too many moralists begin with a dislike of reality.

We have no sure vision. Hopes, guesses, beliefs- that is all.

We talk of our mastery of nature, which sounds very grand; but the fact is we respectfully adapt ourselves, first, to her ways.

You can't sweep other people off their feet, if you can't be swept off your own.

Categories: Clarence Day, Quotes of the day

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Cleaning off the desktop

Published Sunday, November 17, 2013 @ 11:04 AM EST
Nov 17 2013







Son Douglas and granddaughter Joelle enjoy a quiet Sunday morning.


WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released its first smartphone app, a free program that allows consumers to measure the broadband speed they are getting on their mobile devices and to determine whether it is as fast as wireless companies say.
Gee, wonder what else it can do?



A group of eleventh graders from Homestead High School, Homestead, PA, in the fall of 1969. Believe it or not, I'm one of them.


This past Friday, November 15, marked the start of my 23rd year of residence here at Dr. Barkes' 3-D House of Shedding Fur and Domestic Bliss, which has, since those halcyon days of the early 90s, sheltered scores of fish, eleven dogs, four cats, and three pairs of children, grandchildren, and spouses. And that's just the interior.

Positioned as we are next a wooded area bordering a 3,000 acre county park, there's an endless parade of indigenous fauna. They effortlessly ignore the fence surrounding the back yard as they go about their daily routines. Some actively reside within its confines. I see deer almost daily, and groundhogs, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and skunks from April through November.

Surprisingly, I had never encountered a raccoon until last week. It did not end well.

The dogs were frantically barking at the far end of the yard. They had the poor little fella surrounded.

When you see a raccoon during the day, there's something amiss. This guy was, fortunately, sitting quietly and not responding to the two adult shelties and one shih tzu puppy surrounding him. I got the dogs back into the house and quickly checked them out. They had no bite marks or scratches, which was a relief. While they all are current on their rabies vaccinations, they would still have had to be quarantined if they had been bitten. Relieved, I called the township and within ten minutes a personable South Park police officer arrived.

"This doesn't look good," the officer said as we approached the animal. "A healthy raccoon would run away from us." He picked up a fallen branch and gently poked the raccoon in the side. No reaction. The officer sighed, took out his can of pepper spray, and delivered a short blast. The raccoon slowly turned his back to us, but otherwise didn't move.

"Do you have a couple plastic garbage bags and a shovel?" he asked. I nodded. "Please get them."

I walked back up the yard. Halfway to the house, I heard the discharge. I returned and the officer bagged the small, inert form. It was clean shot at point blank range. The little guy hadn't felt a thing.

It was a series of firsts: first raccoon, first police officer in the back yard, first firearm on the property. The first, and, I sincerely hope, the last.

Vaya con Dios, pequeño mapache.

Categories: Animals, Cleaning off the desktop, Dogs, Miscellany

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Historical quote of the day

Published Sunday, November 17, 2013 @ 7:02 AM EST
Nov 17 2013

I'm not a crook.
-Richard M. Nixon (news conference, November 17, 1973

Categories: Quotes of the day, Richard Nixon

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137 thoughts on computers and technology, and an error message

Published Sunday, November 17, 2013 @ 2:28 AM EST
Nov 17 2013

[A] computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match.
-Bill Bryson

A computer cuts your work in half and gives you back the bloody stumps.

A computer is only as good as the people who are employed to replace the people who were made redundant by the computer.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
-Mitch Ratcliffe

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
-(If Error Messages Were Haiku, www.pcpoetry.com)

A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable.
-Leslie Lamport

A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.
-Bill Gray

A successful technology creates problems that only it can solve.
-Alan Kay

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.

All scientifically possible technology and social change predicted in science fiction will come to pass, but none of it will work properly.
-Neil Gaiman

All technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.
-David Ross Brower

An idiot with a computer is a faster, better idiot.
-Rich Julius

Any idiot can use a computer. Many do.

Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of indirection. But that usually will create another problem.
-David Wheeler

Any research done on how to efficiently use computers has been long lost in the mad rush to upgrade systems to do things that aren't needed by people who don't understand what they are really supposed to do with them.
-Graham Reed

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
-Arthur C. Clarke

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
-James Klass

Artificial intelligence is the study of how to make real computers act like the ones in movies.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error.

As practiced by computer science, the study of programming is an unholy mixture of mathematics, literary criticism, and folklore.
-B.A. Sheil

Asking if computers can think is like asking if submarines can swim.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

Bad command or file name. Good typing, though.
(Computer error message)-Unattributed

Bad things come in threes. However, when dealing with computers, the fourth thing is always the start of the next group of three.

Cheese in an aerosol can is the greatest advance in technology since fire.
-James Angove

Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
-E.W. Djikstra

Computer Science: A study akin to numerology and astrology, but lacking the precision of the former and the success of the latter.
-Stan Kelly-Bootle

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
-Joseph Campbell

Computers are man's attempt at designing a cat: it does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and rarely ever at the right time.

Computers are such time-saving devices. In fact, I've just spent the last three years trying to print out an envelope.
-Elayne Boosler

Computers can do better than ever what needn't be done at all. Making sense is still a human monopoly.
-Marshall McLuhan

Computers can now keep a man's every transgression recorded in a permanent memory bank, duplicating with complex programming and intricate wiring a feat his wife handles quite well without fuss or fanfare.
-Lane Olinghouse

Computers can still barely open a printer port, much less the pod bay doors.
-Lee Gomes

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
-Andy Rooney

Don't anthropomorphize computers. They hate it when you do that.

Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to virgins.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.
-Unattributed (From Engineers Explained)

Enter any eleven-digit prime number to continue.
-Unattributed (Computer command prompt)

Even though today's technology provides us with mountains of data, it is useless without judgment.
-Felix G. Rohatyn

Every time you turn on your new car, you're turning on 20 microprocessors. Every time you use an ATM, you're using a computer. Every time I use a set top box or game machine, I'm using a computer. The only computer you don't know how to work is your Microsoft computer, right?
-Scott McNealy

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.
-Alice Kahn

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
-Richard P. Feynman,
in his analysis of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. Academy Award winner William Hurt portrays Dr. Feynman in "The Challnger Disaster," a drama based on the late Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist's final book, "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" If you missed last night's premiere, it will be rebroadcast again tonight at 9 pm on The Science Channel.

Having a computer is like having a small, silicon version of Gary Busey on your desk. You never know what's going to happen.
-Bill Maher

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.
-Buckminster Fuller

I have a computer, a vibrator and pizza delivery. Why should I leave the house?

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.
-Bjarne Stroustrup

I may be just an empty flesh terminal relying on technology for all my ideas, memories and relationships, but I am confident that all of that, everything that makes me a unique human being, is still out there, somewhere, safe in the theoretical storage space owned by giant multi-national corporations.
-Stephen Colbert

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.
-Stephen Hawking

I think everyone in this country should learn to program a computer. Everyone should learn a computer language because it teaches you how to think. I think of computer science as a liberal art.
-Steve Jobs

I think it is time we learned the lesson of our century: that the progress of the human spirit must keep pace with technological and scientific progress, or that spirit will die. It is incumbent on our educators to remember this; and music is at the top of the spiritual must list.
-Leonard Bernstein

I was shocked upon viewing Internet porn while surfing the Web last night. Then I realized my wife must have wired the mouse on our computer.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a computer to be moral.
-Samuel P. Ginder

If the Catholic church couldn't stop Galileo, then governments won't be able to stop things now.
-Carlo de Benedetti (re: regulation of information technology.)

If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling in human lives.
-Freeman Dyson

If you can't beat your computer at chess, try kickboxing.

If you don't know how to do something, you don't know how to do it with a computer.

If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled, and no one dares to criticize it.
-Pierre Gallois

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.
-Jeff Raskin

In a way, staring into a computer screen is like staring into an eclipse. It's brilliant and you don't realize the damage until it's too late.
-Bruce Sterling

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

In computer science, we stand on each other's feet.
-Brian K. Reid

In the computer business, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and benchmarks.

In the long run, everything is a toaster.
-Bruce Greenwald (on innovative technologies)

In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are now the same thing.
-Douglas Adams

It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atomic bomb, and then puts its hands over its eyes and says, "My God, what have I done?"
-Ursula K. LeGuin

It's a truism in technological development that no silver lining comes without its cloud.
-Bruce Sterling

Let's be frank, the Italians' technological contribution to humankind stopped with the pizza oven.
-Bill Bryson

Levitt's First Law of Information Technology: If it's free, adopt it.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.
-Wernher von Braun

Memory is like an orgasm. It's a lot better if you don't have to fake it.
-Seymour Cray (re: computer virtual memory)

Misuse of reason might yet return the world to pre-technological night; plenty of religious zealots hunger for just such a result, and are happy to use the latest technology to effect it.
-A.C. Grayling

Most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically Java vocational training.
-Alan Kay

My perception was/is that while the rest of the computer world was striving for Fault Tolerant Software, Microsoft was working on Fault Tolerant Users.
-John Robinson

Never let a computer know you're in a hurry.

Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
-Steve Wozniak

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.
-Stewart Brand

Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal.
-Albert Einstein

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.
-Isaac Asimov

PCMCIA stands for either Personal Computer Memory Card International Association or People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.

Read, read, read and put away computers. Forget the Internet, that's all crap.
-Ray Bradbury

Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading sex manuals without the software. In both cases the cure is simple though usually very expensive.
-Arthur C. Clarke

Science is everything we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else.
-Donald Knuth

Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.
-Stan Kelly-Bootle

Some technologies do their job perfectly and tend to stick around. The spoon is one example, the lawn-roller another. Paper may well be a third.
-Unattributed (From The Economist)

Technological man can't believe in anything that can't be measured, taped, or put into a computer.
-Clare Boothe Luce

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
-Aldous Huxley

Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it.
-Max Frisch

Technology frightens me to death. It's designed by engineers to impress other engineers, and they always come with instruction booklets that are written by engineers for other engineers- which is why almost no technology ever works.
-John Cleese

Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.
-Alan Kay

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

Technology is not in itself opposed to spirituality and to religion. But it presents a great temptation.
-Thomas Merton

Technology is really civilization, let's face it.
-Arthur C. Clarke

Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.
-John Tudor

Technology today is the campfire around which we tell our stories. There's this attraction to light and to this kind of power, which is both warm and destructive.
-Laurie Anderson

That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
-Jerry Pournelle

The British don't make computers because they never figured out how to make them leak oil.

The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain.
-Robert Pirsig

The computer industry has frequently borrowed from mythology: Witness the sprites in computer graphics, the demons in artificial intelligence, and the trolls in the marketing department.
-Jeff Meyer

The computer industry is a chicken on growth hormones, sloshing around in a nutrient bath with its head cut off.
-Peter Sugarman

The computer is a moron.
-Peter Drucker

The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas.
-Alan Kay

The computer saves man a lot of guesswork, but so does the bikini.
-Evan Esar

The difference between e-mail and regular mail is that computers handle e-mail, and computers never decide to come to work one day and shoot all the other computers.
-Jamais Cascio

The entire body of computer science can be viewed as nothing more than the development of efficient methods for the storage, transportation, encoding, and rendering of pornography.

The fault lies not with our technologies but with our systems.
-Roger Levian

The first time a person gets a screwdriver, he's going to go around the house tightening all the screws, whether they need it or not. There's no reason a computer will not be similarly abused.
-Theodore K. Robb

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it.

The human race has today the means for annihilating itself-either in a fit of complete lunacy, i.e., in a big war, by a brief fit of destruction, or by careless handling of atomic technology, through a slow process of poisoning and of deterioration in its genetic structure.
-Max Born

The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs.
-Alan Kay

The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents.
-Nathaniel Borenstein

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

The only thing God didn't do to Job was give him a computer.
-I.F. Stone

The only truly portable computer language is profanity.

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

The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited.
-Alan Kay

The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.
-E.O. Wilson

The Republic of Technology where we will be living is a feedback world.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

The Web brings people together because no matter what kind of a twisted sexual mutant you happen to be, you've got millions of pals out there. Type in "Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire" and the computer will ask, "Specify type of goat."
-Richard Jeni

The world is just filling up with more and more idiots! And the computer is giving them access to the world! They're spreading their stupidity! At least they were contained before- now they're on the loose everywhere!
-Harlan Ellison

There are more computers running Windows than VMS. There are also more cockroaches than humans.
-Kevin G. Barkes

There are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data and those who will lose data.

There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you play with them.
-Richard P. Feynman

There is an evil tendency underlying all our technology- the tendency to do what is reasonable even when it isn't any good.
-Robert Pirsig

There is no data to support that computers make business more productive... most companies have merely found faster and cheaper ways to do dumb things.
-Gary Loveman

There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.
-Neil Postman

This computer makes me all frowny with pure nougat-filled hatred!
-Jhonen Vasquez

Unlike human beings, computers possess the truly profound stupidity of the inanimate.
-Bruce Sterling

We are reaching the stage where the problems we must solve are going to become insoluble without computers. I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.
-Isaac Asimov

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
-Douglas Adams

We build our computer [systems] the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.
-Ellen Ullman

We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
-Carl Sagan

While modern technology has given people powerful new communication tools, it apparently can do nothing to alter the fact that many people have nothing useful to say.
-Lee Gomes

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?
-Clifford Stoll

Without software, a computer is just a lump of plastic- whereas with software, it's a lump of plastic that can permanently destroy critical data.
-Dave Barry

Writing is a slow and a difficult process mentally. How you physically render the words onto a screen or a page doesn't help you. I'll give you this example. When words had to be carved into stone, with a chisel, you got the Ten Commandments. When the quill pen had been invented and you had to chase a goose around the yard and sharpen the pen and boil some ink and so on, you got Shakespeare. When the fountain pen came along, you got Henry James. When the typewriter came along, you got Jack Kerouac. And now that we have the computer, we have Facebook. Are you seeing a trend here?
-P.J. O'Rourke

Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
-(If Error Messages Were Haiku, www.pcpoetry.com)



Remember that potential race condition I warned you about in the coding implementation meetings? You know, the one you condescendingly dismissed in front of your in-house staff of snickering, cognitively challenged ex-baristas? The condition that could never happen 'in the real world' and therefore could be ignored?
Guess what, Skippy? Some other process on the system- perhaps one from that odd location called 'reality'- just changed the offset into the next available customer acccount number table.
Fortunately for you, I ignored your explicit refusal to authorize the time necessary to write the code to lock and release the table offset. I did it on my own time out of a sense of professional pride and responsibility. If I hadn't, this application- and, through the resulting series of cascading failures, your entire production system- would have reduced this server to a puddle of molten silicon.

The arcane segmentation fault it would have thrown would have corrupted the entire account number sequencing mechanism. Your crack team of outsourced, clueless code monkeys would have taken weeks to identify the cause, let alone correct it. And who are we kidding? You would have been on the phone to me in under an hour, pleading- no, demanding- that I supply a patch, immediately and at no charge, because it's in a part of the code that I wrote and, therefore, is my fault, despite the fact it behaved exactly in the inane manner you decreed.
I would have then directed you here: http://tinyurl.com/nak5n7c
It's a capture of that portion of the aforementioned video conference meeting where I warned you about this problem and spent ten minutes describing situations in which the condition could occur- and your response, accompanied by the smirks and giggles of your obsequious minions.
This message will appear in the production run log file only this one time and will probably not be seen by anyone, since you only check log files when something crashes and burns. You never check for non-fatal processing errors that should be corrected but aren't because that would be contrary to your policy of ignoring the smoke emanating from your hat until your hair ignites.
Anyway, in the unlikely event someone does read this, you should also check the report date function two modules down. As written, the end of month summary publication will at some point display a cover date of February 30. I pointed this out in our last meeting and would have corrected it, but it required access to another function in another module which I couldn't access. You said you'd have Bjorn fix it. Let me tell you about Bjorn. His real name is Walter. He changed it to Bjorn because he thought it would improve his chances of being hired. Walter is only vaguely aware of his surroundings and, if you look right now, is wearing mis-matched socks.
You're welcome.
And I'm still waiting for that last check.

Categories: Computers, Quotes on a topic, Technology

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Quotes of the day: George S. Kaufman

Published Saturday, November 16, 2013 @ 12:04 AM EST
Nov 16 2013

Pittsburgh-born George Simon Kaufman (November 16, 1889 – June 2, 1961) was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers. One play and one musical that he wrote won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: You Can't Take It With You (1937, with Moss Hart), and Of Thee I Sing (1932, with Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin). He also won the Tony Award as a director, for the musical Guys and Dolls. (Click here for complete article)


Am in the rear of the theater watching your performance. Wish you were here.

At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that's better than an absent one is a dead one.

Epitaph for a dead waiter- God finally caught his eye.

Everything I've ever said will be credited to Dorothy Parker.

I did not like it, but perhaps this judgment is unfair. I saw it under adverse conditions- the curtain was up.

I like terra firma; the more firma, the less terra.

I understand your new play is full of single entendres.

Madam, don't you have any unexpressed thoughts?

Odets, where is thy sting?

Over my dead body. (When asked to suggest the epitaph for his tombstone.)

Posterity is just around the corner.

Satire is what closes on Saturday night.

The kind of doctor I want is one who when he's not examining me is home studying medicine.

The trouble with Shakespeare is that you never get to sit down unless you're a king.

There was laughter at the back of the theatre, leading to the belief that someone was telling jokes back there.

They're not understudies, they're overstudies.

Things are so bad on Broadway today an actor is lucky to be miscast.

We learned that when an audience does not laugh at a line at which they're supposed to laugh, then the thing to do was to take out that line and get a funnier line. So help me, we didn't know that before. I always thought it was the audience's fault, or when the show got to New York they'd laugh.

When I invite a woman to dinner, I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay.

You're a birdbrain, and I mean that as an insult to birds.

Your eyes shine like the pants of a blue serge suit.

Categories: George S. Kaufman, Quotes of the day

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #910

Published Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 4:05 PM EST
Nov 15 2013

Categories: Signs of the Apocalypse

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Quotes of the day: Franklin P. Adams

Published Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 12:19 AM EST
Nov 15 2013

Franklin Pierce Adams (November 15, 1881 - March 23, 1960) was an American columnist, well known by his initials F.P.A., and wit, best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower", and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio's Information Please. A prolific writer of light verse, he was a member of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s and 1930s. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Age is when a girl rings and says "Do you remember me?" And you reply, "No, I don't, and hang up the receiver."

Christmas is over and Business is Business.

Conscience: A small, still voice that makes minority reports.

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

Every time we tell anybody to cheer up, things might be worse, we run away for fear we might be asked to specify how.

Having imagination it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that if you were unimaginative would take you only a minute.

Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.

I hate the pollyanna pest who says that all is for the best.

In a body (like Congress) where there are more than one hundred talking lawyers, you can make no calculation upon the termination of any debate.

Ninety-two percent of the stuff told you in confidence you couldn't get anyone else to listen to.

Nobody can write such ironic things unless he has a deep sense of injustice-injustice to those members of the race who are victims of the stupid, the pretentious and the hypocritical.

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.

Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there.

Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.

Since I am used to speaking in public, I know that it is useless.

The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.

The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.

Then here's to the City of Boston,
The town of the cries and the groans,
Where the Cabots can't see the Kabotschniks,
And the Lowells won't speak to the Cohns.

There are plenty of good five-cent cigars in the country. The trouble is they cost a quarter. What this country really needs is a good five-cent nickel.

There must be a day or two in a man's life when he is the precise age for something important.

To err is human; to forgive, infrequent.

Too much Truth Is uncouth.

When a man you like switches from what he said a year ago, or four years ago, he is a broad-minded person who has courage enough to change his mind with changing conditions. When a man you don’t like does it, he is a liar who has broken his promises.

When the political columnists say 'Every thinking man' they mean themselves, and when candidates appeal to 'Every intelligent voter' they mean everybody who is going to vote for them.

Years ago we discovered the exact point, the dead centre of middle age. It occurs when you are too young to take up golf and too old to rush up to the net.

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.

You do not know what you can miss before you try.

Categories: Franklin P. Adams, Quotes of the day

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Published Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 11:43 AM EST
Nov 14 2013

I used to be an Application Support Engineer.

I am now an Enterprise Support Engineer.

Just call me Scotty. And keep the red shirt, ok?

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Quotes of the day: Jawaharlal Nehru

Published Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 5:14 AM EST
Nov 14 2013

Jawaharlal Nehru (November 14, 1889 - May 27, 1964) was the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics for much of the 20th century. He emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian Independence Movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in office in 1964. Nehru is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state; a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.

America is a country no one should go to for the first time.

Because we have sought to cover up past evil, though it still persists, we have been powerless to check the new evil of today. Evil unchecked grows, Evil tolerated poisons the whole system.

Democracy and socialism are means to an end, not the end itself.

Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse. So we are forced to accept democracy. It has good points and also bad. But merely saying that democracy will solve all problems is utterly wrong. Problems are solved by intelligence and hard work.

Essentially I am interested in this world, in this life, not in some other world or future life.

Even if God exists, it may be desirable not to look up to Him or to rely upon Him. Too much dependence on supernatural forces may lead, and has often led, to loss of self-reliance in man, and to a blunting of his capacity and creative ability.

Failure comes only when we forget our ideals and objectives and principles.

Great causes and little men go ill together.

If you let victory become the end in itself then you've gone astray and forgotten what you were originally fighting about.

Ignorance is always afraid of change.

India is supposed to be a religious country above everything else, and Hindu and Muslim and Sikh and others take pride in their faiths and testify to their truth by breaking heads.

It is only too easy to make suggestions and later try to escape the consequences of what we say.

Let us be a little humble; let us think that the truth may not perhaps be entirely with us.

Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.

Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.

Religion merges into mysticism and metaphysics and philosophy. There have been great mystics, attractive figures, who cannot easily be disposed of as self-deluded fools. Yet, mysticism (in the narrow sense of the word) irritates me; it appears to be vague and soft and flabby, not a rigorous discipline of the mind but a surrender of mental faculties and living in a sea of emotional experience. The experience may lead occasionally to some insight into inner and less obvious processes, but it is also likely to lead to self-delusion.

The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The law of life should not be competition or acquisitiveness but cooperation, the good of each contributing to the good of all.

The only alternative to coexistence is codestruction.

The person who talks most of his own virtue is often the least virtuous.

The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.

The world of today has achieved much, but for all its declared love for humanity, it has based itself far more on hatred and violence than on the virtues that make one human.

Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.

Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves.

To be in good moral condition requires at least as much training as to be in good physical condition.

Ultimately what we really are matters more than what other people think of us.

We must constantly remind ourselves that whatever our religion or creed, we are all one people.

Without peace, all other dreams vanish and are reduced to ashes.

You don't change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall.

Categories: Jawaharlal Nehru, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Robert Louis Stevenson

Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013 @ 6:31 AM EST
Nov 13 2013

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (November 13, 1850 – December 3, 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


After a certain distance, every step we take in life we find the ice growing thinner below our feet.

Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal.

Every man is his own doctor of divinity, in the last resort.

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.

Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest-
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered.

I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both; and I believe they both get paid in the end; but the fools first.

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.

Idleness, which is often becoming and even wise in the bachelor, begins to wear a different aspect when you have a wife to support.

If your morals make you dreary, depend on it: they are wrong.

It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser.

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.

Let any man speak long enough, he will get believers.

Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but principally by catchwords; and the little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.

Many's a long night I've dreamed of cheese- toasted mostly.

Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.

Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is- nor yet so good a Christian.

Old and young, we are all on our last cruise.

Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits.

Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.

So long as we love we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I would almost say that we are indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.

Ten thousand bad traits cannot make a single good one any less good.

The cruelest lies are often told in silence.

The price we have to pay for money is paid in liberty.

The true wisdom is to be always seasonable, and to change with a good grace in changing circumstances.

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.

There is no foreign land; it is the traveler only that is foreign.

There is so much good in the worst of us, an so much bad in the best of us, that it behooves all of us not to talk about the rest of us.

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life.

To equip a dull, respectable person with wings would be but to make a parody of an angel.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.

Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man.

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

Youth is wholly experimental.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert Louis Stevenson

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First snow

Published Tuesday, November 12, 2013 @ 3:38 PM EST
Nov 12 2013

Pixie, the six-month old small, Ewokish, dog-like creature my wife rescued a few months ago, encounters snow for the first time.

The shelties teach her that it tastes good.

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Charles Manson

Published Tuesday, November 12, 2013 @ 5:30 AM EST
Nov 12 2013

Charles Milles Manson (b. November 12, 1934) is an American criminal and musician who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca carried out by members of the group at his instruction. He was convicted of the murders through the joint-responsibility rule, which makes each member of a conspiracy guilty of crimes his fellow conspirators commit in furtherance of the conspiracy's objective. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As long as there's hate in your heart, there'll be hate in the world. You can't fight for peace and you cannot capture freedom.

Death is psychosomatic.

Do you feel blame? Are you mad? Uh, do you feel like wolf kabob Roth vantage? Gefrannis booj pooch boo jujube; bear-ramage. Jigiji geeji geeja geeble google. Begep flagaggle vaggle veditch-waggle bagga?

How you gonna go to heaven unless you've danced in hell? I mean how are you gonna know it? How you gonna feel good unless you feel bad?

I am friend to everything I see, everything I know, everything I feel.

I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me, but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.

I can't judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.

I never thought I was normal, never tried to be normal.

I was so smart when I was a kid that I learnt that I was dumb fast.

I'm nobody. I'm a tramp, a bum, a hobo. I'm a boxcar and a jug of wine, and a straight razor if you get too close to me.

I'm probably one of the most dangerous men in the world if I want to be. But I never wanted to be anything but me.

If I had a desire, it would be to be free from desire.

If you are going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy.

Look down at me and you see a fool; look up at me and you see a god; look straight at me and you see yourself.

Look in your medicine cabinet and look at everything in there that says kills 99 percent of the germs and figure that you're one in that 99 percent.

No sense makes sense.

People don't hear each other. We talk to each other, but very seldom do we ever communicate.

Prison's in your mind. Can't you see I'm free?

Progress? There's no such thing as progress. There's only change. You dig a hole in the ground, you build up a city, and you fight a war, and you call it progress?

Sanity is a small box; insanity is everything.

See, prison doesn't begin and end at the gate. Prison is in the mind. It's locked in one world that's dead and dying, or it's open to a world that's free and alive.

There's nothing wrong with being incompetent. It just means you don't have to do as much.

These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.

Total paranoia is just total awareness.

When I was a child I was an orphan and too ugly to be adopted. Now I am too beautiful to be set free.

When you're on death row, there's a bell in the chapel that rings every day, and after you're there for a couple of years, you begin to realize the bell you hear every day never ends. Nothing begins and nothing ends, it goes on forever. It's like a big sound wave going out into the universe.

You're in prison more than I'm in prison. It's all prison. You've got more rules to live by than I do. I can sit down and relax. Can you?

You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.

Categories: Charles Manson, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Published Monday, November 11, 2013 @ 5:32 AM EST
Nov 11 2013

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (November 11, 1821 - February 9, 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A just cause is not ruined by a few mistakes.

A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.

A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others.

A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense.

Civilization has made man, if not always more bloodthirsty, at least more viciously, more horribly bloodthirsty.

I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.

I think the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.

If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself.

Inventors and geniuses have almost always been looked on as no better than fools at the beginning of their career, and very frequently at the end of it also.

Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.

Lying is only man's privilege over all other organisms.

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.

Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that.

Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those they have slain.

Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth.

Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.

The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.

What terrible tragedies realism inflicts on people.

There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.

Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up.

Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.

There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it.

Categories: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Quotes of the day

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Clearing off the desktop

Published Sunday, November 10, 2013 @ 3:04 PM EST
Nov 10 2013



There must have been a disturbance in the force.



Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: Oliver Goldsmith

Published Sunday, November 10, 2013 @ 5:18 AM EST
Nov 10 2013

Oliver Goldsmith (November 10 1730 – April 4, 1774) was an Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright and poet, who is best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), his pastoral poem The Deserted Village (1770), and his plays The Good-Natur'd Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1771, first performed in 1773). He also wrote An History of the Earth and Animated Nature. He is thought to have written the classic children's tale The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, the source of the phrase "goody two-shoes." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A book may be very amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity.

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.

A modest woman, dressed out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.

All that a husband or wife really wants is to be pitied a little, praised a little, and appreciated a little.

Conscience is a coward, and those faults it has not strength enough to prevent it seldom has justice enough to accuse.

Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.

Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.

For he who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he who is in battle slain
Can never rise and fight again.

Friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals; love, an abject intercourse between tyrants and slaves.

I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.

I... chose a wife, as she did her wedding gown, not for a fine glossy surface, but such qualities as would wear well.

Men may be very learned, and yet very miserable.

Modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler virtues.

Mortifications are often more painful than real calamities.

O Memory! thou fond deceiver.

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

People seldom improve when they have no model but themselves to copy after.

Politeness is the result of good sense and good nature.

Silence gives consent.

Some faults are so closely allied to qualities that it is difficult to weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.

That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.

The first blow is half the battle.

The more enormous our wealth, the more extensive our fears, all our possessions are paled up with new edicts every day, and hung round with gibbets to scare every invader.

The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

Categories: Oliver Goldsmith, Quotes of the day

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Fall is here...

Published Saturday, November 09, 2013 @ 9:37 AM EST
Nov 09 2013

The Library Tasty Creme is closed, the South Park Ice Skating Rink is open, and senior granddaughter Leanna introduces junior granddaughter Joelle to the joys of falling leaves.

Categories: KGB Family

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The Big Blackout

Published Saturday, November 09, 2013 @ 7:21 AM EST
Nov 09 2013

If your birthday is August 2, you're 47 years old, and your parents lived in New York or the northeast on November 9, 1965, odds are pretty good you were conceived during the Great Northeast Blackout.

Click here for a recording New York radio station WABC 770 AM in the minutes prior to the blackout. As the failure cascaded through the grid, the power frequency dropped from 60 Hz to between 50-55 Hz, so the motors in the turntables and cart machines were running slow and the lights in the studio started dimming. The DJ noted "the electricity is slowing down."


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Quotes of the day: Sargent Shriver

Published Saturday, November 09, 2013 @ 5:40 AM EST
Nov 09 2013

Robert Sargent "Sarge" Shriver, Jr. (November 9, 1915 - January 18, 2011) was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Shriver was the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps, founded the Job Corps, Head Start and other programs as the "architect" of Johnson's "War on Poverty" and served as the United States Ambassador to France. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A line has to be drawn somewhere between what is essential and what is peripheral.

Being accused of enthusiasm is something I'll never live down.

Break your mirrors! Yes, indeed- shatter the glass. In our society, which is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own.

Built into each individual's experience must be an occasion for giving, a task of humanity, an act of sharing and sacri?ce.

Do the job first. Worry about the clearance later.

Do we talk about the dignity of work? Do we give our students any reason for believing it is worthwhile to sacrifice for their work because such sacrifices improve the psychological and mental health of the person who makes them?

Does politics have to be injected into everything?

Freedom is a crusade, to be carried on enthusiastically around the earth. These are Americans who have not lost the enthusiasm and audacity of the American Revolution.

He who knows all things and believes nothing is damned.

I hate goofballs.

I'm doing the best I can with what God has given me.

If a young person has any idealism at all, it's strongest about the time he finishes college.

If education does not create a need for the best in life, then we are stuck in an undemocratic, rigid caste society.

It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is.

It's the most rewarding thing to be a civil servant.

Just keep working hard. Something good will happen.

My parents had always preached the virtues of hard work. But hard work is one thing; economic struggle is another.

My parents were second cousins. That is enough to explain all of my peculiarities.

Of all our ideals none surpasses the importance of service.

Peace does not comes through strength. Quite the opposite. Strength comes through peace.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.

Respect for another man's opinion is worthy. It is the realization that any opinion is valuable, for it is the sign of a rational being.

The natural idealism of youth is an idealism, alas, for which we do not always provide as many outlets as we should.

The only genuine elite is the elite of those men and women who gave their lives to justice and charity.

There is an alternative to war. It has been with us forever.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sargent Shriver

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Published Friday, November 08, 2013 @ 6:05 AM EST
Nov 08 2013

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to form a corporation.
-Howard Scott

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the Course."
-Lee Iacocca

CEOs of large corporations earn 400 times what their workers make. That is not what America is supposed to be about.
-Bernie Sanders

Corporate corruption gives al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other Muslim radicals second thoughts about messing with the United States. If we'll screw our own grandmothers in the stock market, God knows what we'll do to them.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
-Ambrose Bierce

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

Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.
-Sir Edward Coke

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

I have a problem with the concept of a virtual corporation, because it might lead to virtual profits. I prefer the concrete corporation leading to concrete profits.
-Scott McNealy

I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are assholes.
-Jon Stewart

I may be just an empty flesh terminal relying on technology for all my ideas, memories and relationships, but I am confident that all of that, everything that makes me a unique human being, is still out there, somewhere, safe in the theoretical storage space owned by giant multi-national corporations.
-Stephen Colbert

I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one.
-Katie Thomas

If figures of speech based on sport and fornication were suddenly banned, American corporate communication would be reduced to pure mathematics.
-Jay McInerny

In the corporate world, sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting practices.
-George W. Bush

It's an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death. Even corporations with their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous.
-Gloria Steinem

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

Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.
-Dave Barry

Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Nothing significant ever happened in corporate America before 11 am.
-Bran Ferren

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity- much less dissent.
-Gore Vidal

The difference between corporations and governments is governments have a monopoly on force. It's a lot easier to vote with your feet or your wallet than it is to change a government with your vote.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The human being who would not harm you on an individual, face-to-face basis, who is charitable, civic-minded, loving and devout, will wound or kill you from behind the corporate veil.
-Morton Mintz

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
-Noam Chomsky

This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.
-Rutherford B. Hayes

When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Categories: Quotes on a topic

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Mea culpa, XO/Concentric and Comcast

Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 10:02 PM EST
Nov 07 2013

The good news is I solved my ftp problem. The better news is it was wasn't XO/Concentric's fault.

One would assume the 550 access denied message comes from the ftp server.

It doesn't.

The message seems to be generated by the ftp client software on the user machine. The client displays the message when the command is not executed.

However, failure to execute the command isn't the server's fault; the problem is the failure of the user's system to open a TCP/IP port.

I discovered this when a Google search for ftp 550 errors returned a number of hits containing references to Comcast, my broadband internet provider. Like a good Comcast customer, I didn't bother to call support... I just unplugged the router and hit reset on the cable modem.

It took a good five minutes for the modem to come back up, indicating a configuration change or firmware update was being performed. Once the reboot was completed, I plugged the router back in, waited for the computer to reconnect to the net, and the fired up the ftp client:

Command: STOR qcount.txt
Response: 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for qcount.txt.
Response: 226 Transfer complete.
Status: File transfer successful, transferred 8 bytes in 1 second

Relieved, I regenerated the website pages and started formulating nasty things to say about Comcast. I ordered my ftp client to begin the transfer, and:

Response: 550 Access is denied.


What could have changed in the ten minutes between connect attempts?

I glanced at the Network and Sharing Center display I had opened after rebooting the modem to make certain all the machines on the home network were up. They were- along with a VPN connection to my office in Chicago, a connection I rarely use but had activated to connect via remote desktop to my workstation there.

I disconnected from the VPN and tried again:

Command: STOR qcount.txt
Response: 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for qcount.txt.
Response: 226 Transfer complete.
Status: File transfer successful, transferred 8 bytes in 1 second

So, the problem wasn't XO's ftp server, or Comcast blocking ports, but rather a network connection conflict and a misleading error message.

I apologize for blaming XO/Concentric and almost blaming Comcast.

I've been working with computers for over 30 years, and yet I still fell for the oldest mistake in the book: believing the error message.

The older I get, the more I discover the new stuff I learn every day is actually old stuff I just forgot.


Categories: KGB Blog News

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Quotes of the day: Albert Camus

Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 9:14 PM EST
Nov 07 2013

Albert Camus (November 7, 1913 - January 4, 1960) was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The Rebel" that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A fate is not a punishment.

A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers.

A time comes when one can no longer feel the emotion of love. The only thing left is tragedy.

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.

As I usually do when I want to get rid of someone whose conversation bores me, I pretended to agree.

At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.

Do not wait for the Last Judgement. It comes every day.

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian.

Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.

In the depth of winter I finally realized that there was in me an invincible summer.

Integrity has no need of rules.

It's better to be wrong by killing no one than to be right with mass graves.

It's better to bet on this life than on the next.

Life is a sum of all your choices.

Live to the point of tears.

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it.

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

Politics and the shape of mankind are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness. Men who have greatness within them don't concern themselves with politics.

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding.

The one thing your friends will never forgive you is your happiness.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.

To grow old is to pass from passion to compassion.

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.

We rarely confide in those who are better than we are.

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.

What is a rebel? A man who says no.

Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and "historical tasks" is an actual or potential assassin.

Categories: Albert Camus, Quotes of the day

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XO / Concentric strikes again

Published Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 6:39 AM EST
Nov 07 2013

For the third time in less than two months, KGB Report's hosting service, XO Communications (aka Concentric) has developed a glitch that prevents me from uploading material to the website via conventional methods. It's like renting an apartment and discovering the landlord changed all the locks, and the only way in is that little window over the tub in the bathroom.

The last two times this happened, the problem mysteriously corrected itself, with no explanation from XO/Concentric of the cause.

XO also promised me five free months of service, then claimed no one was authorized to make that offer, even after I provided them with the name and phone number of the representative who had called me. They grudgingly gave me one free month when I complained.

They say the third time's a charm. I've been with Concentric for 15 years, and until a few months ago, I've never had any problems. But obviously they have competence issues, and their dedication to their customers is evidenced by being just about the only major web hosting provider that doesn't provide 24/7 technical support.

More as things develop...


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Quotes of the day: Zig Ziglar

Published Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 5:51 AM EST
Nov 06 2013

Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar (November 6, 1926 – November 28, 2012) was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A goal properly set is halfway reached.

A man or woman is seldom happy unless he or she is sustaining him or herself and making a contribution to others.

Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.

Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.

Failure has been correctly identified as the line of least persistence.

Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.

Fewer people are bent from hard work than are crooked from avoiding it.

If you aim at nothing you will hit every time.

If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.

If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost.

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days."

Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.

Others can stop you temporarily- you are the only one who can do it permanently.

Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.

Some of us learn from other people's mistakes, the rest of us have to be the other people.

Some people find fault like there's a reward for it.

The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.

The elevator to success is not running; you must climb the stairs.

The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.

There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

When you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.

When you do things the right way, you have nothing to lose because you have nothing to fear.

When you throw dirt at people, you're not doing a thing but losing ground.

Where you start is not as important as where you finish.

Worry is interest paid before it's due.

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

You can start where you are with what you've got and go to wherever it is you want to go.

You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Zig Ziglar

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Voting quoting

Published Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 5:47 AM EST
Nov 05 2013

A democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
-Gore Vidal

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

A fool and his money are soon elected.
-Kinky Friedman

A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.
-Dan Quayle

A society is not "free" merely because the freedoms the people are doing away with are those they voted at the last election to do without.
-William F. Buckley, Jr.

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.
-O. Henry

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
-John Quincy Adams

America is a land where a citizen will cross the ocean to fight for democracy- and won't cross the street to vote in a national election.
-Bill Vaughan

An election is a bet on the future, not a popularity test of the past.
-James Reston

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.
-George Eliot

Any sufficiently advanced coup is indistinguishable from an election.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

Applause, mingled with boos and hisses, is about all that the average voter is able or willing to contribute to public life.
-Elmer Davis

As people do better, they start voting like Republicans... unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.
-Karl Rove

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
-Gore Vidal

Ask a man which way he is going to vote, and he will probably tell you. Ask him, however, why, and vagueness is all.
-Bernard Levin

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
-George J. Nathan

Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one's friends.
-George F. Will

Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.
-Robert Byrne

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?
-Robert Orben

Domestic policy can only lose elections. Foreign policy can kill us.
-John F. Kennedy

Don't get mad. Don't get even. Just get elected, then get even.
-James Carville

Don't vote. It only encourages them.

During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa.
-Henry Adams

Elected office holds more perks than Elvis' nightstand.
-Dennis Miller

Elected officials should be limited to two terms: one in office and one in prison.
-Kinky Friedman

Election year is that period when politicians get free speech mixed up with cheap talk.
-J.B. Kidd

Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.
-Franklin P. Adams

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
-H.L. Mencken

Finally, it occurs to me that the biggest problem with our elections is that however you vote, you wind up electing a politician.
-Burt Prelutsky

Florida's number three industry, behind tourism and skin cancer, is voter fraud.
-Dave Barry

Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market means they are on sale to the highest bidder.
-Arundhati Roy

Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.
-Frank Dane

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.
-Harry S. Truman

Given a choice between two bald political candidates, the American people will vote for the less bald of the two.
-Vic Gold

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
-H.L. Mencken

I can understand the poor and stupid voting for Marxism or one of its fashionable variants. If you've no hope of being other than a slave, you may as well opt for the most efficient form of slavery.
-P.D. James

I didn't vote for change, but that's all I have left.

I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

I have never had a vote, and I have raised hell all over this country. You don't need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!
-Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones)

I like to remind people the choice the American electorate had in 1796 for candidates for President. You could choose between the chairman of the American Society of Arts and Letters and the founding president of the American Academy of Sciences. There's been a bit of a decline in the standards of candidacy since then.
-Christopher Hitchens

I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough.
-Claire Sargent

I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there.
-Maureen Reagan

I'll be glad to either reply to or dodge your questions, whichever I think will help our election most.
-George Herbert Walker Bush

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.
-Walter Lippmann

If elected, I will win.
-Pat Paulsen

If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.
-Orson Scott Card

If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates. (book title)
-Jim Hightower

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.
-Emma Goldman

If you don't vote, then you may be leaving the decisions up to someone dumber than you.
-Jesse Ventura

If you make less than $50,000 a year and vote Republican, you are a moron.
-Rack Jite

If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing.
-Woodrow Wilson

If you voted for change, you better start counting it.

If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons.
-Alice Cooper

In a democracy, the votes of the vicious and stupid count. On the other hand, in any other system, they might be running the show. (from The Boston Globe)

In any relatively close election you can generally credit almost any subgroup as providing the marginal votes.
-Duncan Black

In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
-Mogens Jallberg

In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it's a sport.
-Dick Gregory

In nature, stupidity gets you killed. In the workplace, it gets you fired. In politics, it gets you re-elected.
-Bill VanRemmen

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.
-Charles de Gaulle

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.
-Walter Lippmann

It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.

It makes no difference who you vote for- the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.
-Gore Vidal

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

Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.
-Larry Flynt

Men may make laws to hinder and fetter the ballot, but men cannot make laws that will bind or retard the growth of manhood.
-Booker T. Washington

Never pass up an opportunity to appear on C-Span. C-Span viewers vote.
-Lamar Alexander

Never vote for the best candidate. Vote for the one who will do the least harm.
-Frank Dane

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them.
-Lily Tomlin

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

Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate.
-Mark B. Cohen

Nothing is quite so wretchedly corrupt as an aristocracy which has lost its power but kept its wealth and which still has endless leisure to devote to nothing but banal enjoyments. All its great thoughts and passionate energy are things of the past, and nothing but a host of petty, gnawing vices now cling to it like worms to a corpse.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

Our elections are free, it's in the results where eventually we pay.
-Bill Stern

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.
-Otto von Bismarck

People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything but against something.
-H.H. Munro (Saki)

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

Some politician some years ago said that bad officials are elected by good voters who do not vote.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Son, if you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against 'em, you don't deserve to be here.
-Sam Rayburn

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
-Winston Churchill

The difference between a politician and a statesman is: a politician thinks of the next election and a statesman thinks of the next generation.
-James Freeman Clarke

The difference between a real horse race an election is that in a horse race the whole horse wins.

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.
-Walter Lippmann

The first thing I'll do if elected is demand a recount.
-Kinky Friedman

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

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
-Art Spander

The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
-Aldous Huxley

The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.
-George Carlin

The only way to win an election by a greater margin than Saddam Hussein in Iraq is to be a Democratic candidate in Chicago.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
-Henry Cote

The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work; then they get elected and prove it.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.
-Thomas Paine

The Senate is just what the mode of its election and the conditions of public life in this country make it.
-Woodrow Wilson

The universe is not rich enough to buy the vote of an honest man.
-Dick Gregory

There are two fundamental problems in American politics. The first is that most Americans do not believe that elected officials represent their interests. The second is that they are correct.
-John Gastil

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

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

There's a true schizophrenia where if you say to voters, you know, do you think the federal government spends too much money and they should spend less, they say yeah, absolutely. Then you name specific things, like Pell grants for students and they say, no, not that. How 'bout NIH, medical research funding? Nah, you really shouldn't cut that. And pretty soon you've proved that what the American public is against is arithmetic.
-Bill Gates

Things on the whole are much faster in America; people don't "stand for election", they "run for office."
-Jessica Mitford

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.
-G.K. Chesterton

Trickery is what humans are all about. They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them.
-Terry Pratchett

Truth is not determined by majority vote.
-Doug Gwyn

Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule-and both commonly succeed, and are right.
-H.L. Mencken

Unfortunately, you can't vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place.
-Noam Chomsky

Usually an elected official who has compromised to get nominated, compromised to get elected, and compromised repeatedly to stay in office.
-Dick Gregory

Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing.
-Bernard Baruch

Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
-Ambrose Bierce

Voters don't decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.
-George F. Will

Voters inclined to loathe and fear elite Ivy League schools rarely make fine distinctions between Yale and Harvard. All they know is that both are full of rich, fancy, stuck-up and possibly dangerous intellectuals who never sit down to supper in their undershirt no matter how hot the weather gets.
-Russell Baker

Voters quickly forget what a man says.
-Richard M. Nixon

We already know the winners of the next election. They'll be old white men who don't care about you or your problems.
-Craig Kilborn

We elect Democrats to the Congress to give us stuff and we elect Republicans to the White House so we don't have to pay for it.
-Charlie McDowell

We live in a country where voting rights get gutted but Sharknado gets a sequel.
-John Fugelsang

We live under a republican form of government. We need forever to remember that representative government does represent. A careless, indifferent representative is the result of a careless, indifferent electorate. The people who start to elect a man to get what he can for his district will probably find they have elected a man who will get what he can for himself.
-Calvin Coolidge

We need to be asking for the vote in the most powerful way possible, which is to have people asking for the vote who are comfortable and look like and sound like the people that we're asking for the vote from.
-Karl Rove

We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

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.
-Ann Richards

What's real in politics is what the voters decide is real.
-Ben J. Wattenberg

When your opponent sets up a straw man, set it on fire and kick the cinders around the stage. Don't worry about losing the Strawperson-American community vote.
-James Lileks

Why take a chance on a candidate who might lose? You can always buy them after the election.
-Santo Trafficante, Jr.

Years ago, fairy tales all began with "Once upon a time..." Now we know they all begin with "If I am elected."
-Carolyn Warner

Yet in all our rejoicing let us neither express, nor cherish, any harsh feeling towards any citizen who, by his vote, has differed with us. Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.
-Abraham Lincoln

You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.
-Guy de Maupassant

You tell me your favorite novelists and I'll tell you whom you vote for, or whether you vote at all.
-Stephen Vizinczey

You will never escape the will of the mob. About the best anyone has ever figured out to do is herd them into voting booths.
-Barry Shein

Categories: Politics, Quotes on a topic

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Elegy to a Mostly Maine Coon

Published Monday, November 04, 2013 @ 6:39 AM EST
Nov 04 2013

(Originally published November 4, 2002)

Hobbes came home yesterday.

More precisely, our late feline's cremated remains were delivered to my unsuspecting wife, who received a telephone call from the nice lady at Backyard Burials a scant 30 minutes prior to his arrival.

Hobbes' true pedigree had never been firmly established. He had been harvested from a litter of feisty farm kittens of various flavors. We surmised a good percentage of his lineage was Maine Coon; a Mostly Maine Coon, if you will.

He was a big fella, 16 pounds, even in declining health. He was various shades of orange with a few swirls of white, the color depending on his current degree of shedding or attitude toward personal hygiene.

His gargantuan skull bore the distinctive dark "M" above his forehead, which I jokingly said stood for "moron." His temperament matched the breed's description: a big, gentle, good-natured goof. He had a high-pitched, trilling voice that was consistent with Maine Coons and totally out of character for a creature of his impressive bulk. Think of a feline Mike Tyson, and you'll get the effect.

My then pre-teen daughter Sara named him after the stuffed tiger in Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. I always believed the moniker was more accurately a nod to the English philosopher. The cat was a living example of Thomas Hobbes' theory of materialism: people (and, apparently, big goofy house cats) are motivated by appetite and aversion. Hobbes the cat demonstrated this on a daily basis. It became a family game to place a tempting morsel near an object that frightened him, to watch his reactions as his "fear/food" calculator kicked in, and to wager whether his innate gluttony would overcome his intrinsic cowardice.

Like most house cats, Hobbes really had no useful function in our household, other than to use the white wall to wall carpeting as a canvas for his prodigious hairball output and to generate carbon dioxide for the house plants. He could have been the prototype for Star Trek's tribbles. Like the fictional creatures, he was warm and furry, semi-mobile, possessed a ravenous appetite and made purring noises that engendered a feeling of serenity in the humans around him.

Hobbes was a karmic grounding rod, especially in his later years. He was always serene, almost Buddha-like, dozing in the sun, intently watching the dust motes float by. Dogs can sense emotional turmoil and, in response, express empathy and concern. They're reflectors of anxiety. Express anxiety in the presence of a dog and you have an anxious dog. Hobbes was an angst heat sink. You could feel the distress dissipate as you petted him, his aura of imperturbable calmness surrounding you.

While we received his ashes yesterday, Hobbes departed over a month ago. The cremation of animals doesn't seem to warrant the same sense of urgency as human dissolution. There are no wakes to hold, no religious ceremonies to conduct. Indeed, many claim there are no animals in the afterlife.

I once got into an discussion with a minister about the seeming exclusion of non-humans from Paradise. I pointed out that in the Book of Revelation, the apostle John says "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse."Revelation also states "the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." Which indicates to me that not only are there animals in heaven, they're really snazzy dressers. (One could argue that if John had his vision today, he would see Humvees instead of palominos. But I'll leave this exercise in operational semantics to the Left Behind folks.)

Of course, the real question here is: do animals have immortal souls? Pope John Paul II said in 1990 that "animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren"; that all animals are "fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect" and are "as near to God as men are." The Reverend Billy Graham sort of sidestepped the issue by stating "God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there."


It was a very stressful time. Sara was dealing with severe morning sickness and emotionally wasn't up to it. Pam was recovering from her bypass surgery and couldn't be alone, so Doug had to stay at home with her.

It was just me, sitting in the small examination room, waiting for them to return with Hobbes and the IV apparatus. I desperately wished Doug or Sara was there. Their presence would have switched me into Dad Mode, where the neurons and synapses arrange themselves in a way that causes me to become the gruff but sensitive old curmudgeon who provides emotional support and words of sage advice.

Instead, it was just me. The guy who cries at the end of Field of Dreams. The fool who was scarred for life by Old Yeller. The idiot who has to leave the room when Emergency Vets is on. The sap whose last act before filing for bankruptcy was sending a check to the local no-kill shelter.

The doctor returned with Hobbes, who was his normal placid self. Only the slightly labored breathing belied his condition but, as always, he maintained his ineffable cockeyed equanimity. He studiously ignored the hideous, lethal device attached to his leg. Decorum demanded it.

He sat sphinx-like, front legs outstretched. He opened his eyes, focused them with some effort, became aware of my presence. He emitted that ridiculous girlish chirp of his. It was a sound he reserved for those rare instances in which he felt it necessary to summon me to witness an event of tremendous import. His last great discovery was that dry cat food batted into a cold air return would cause the furnace's electrostatic air cleaner to make an amazing zapping sound.

I believe he sensed he was on the threshold of an even more significant revelation.

I knelt down, level with his ears, and softly told him what a good Hobbers he was. I put one hand across his front legs and scratched his neck.

His head slowly pointed upwards and he sniffed the air. He made that goofy smile of his, then opened his eyes and looked into mine.

He rested his head on my hand. I focused on that big stupid "M" on his forehead, but peripherally I was aware of the plunger slowly sinking into the barrel, fluids flowing in clear plastic tubes.

Hobbes relaxed. He leaned against me, closed his eyes again, and began purring. He didn't stop until the syringe was empty.

I don't know what Heaven looks like. But I know it sounds like the purring of a mostly Maine Coon.

Categories: Animals, Cats, KGB Family

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The Yummy in Your Tummy song

Published Sunday, November 03, 2013 @ 5:21 AM EST
Nov 03 2013

Granddaughter Leanna feeds granddaughter Joelle while mommy Angela provides background vocals and Aunt Sara does sound effects.

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Quotes of the day: James Reston

Published Sunday, November 03, 2013 @ 4:58 AM EST
Nov 03 2013

The American journalist James Barrett "Scotty" Reston (1909-1995) was one of the most important political commentators in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s. His column in the New York Times was widely read by leading politicians and diplomats. (Click here for full article)


A newspaper column, like a fish, should be consumed when fresh; otherwise it is not only undigestible but unspeakable.

A resolute minority has usually prevailed over an easygoing or wobbly majority whose prime purpose was to be left alone.

All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.

Americans have always been able to handle austerity and even adversity. Prosperity is what is doing us in.

An election is a bet on the future, not a popularity test of the past.

Golf: A plague invented by the Calvinistic Scots as a punishment for man's sins.

I'm a Scotch Calvinist and nothing makes us happier than misery.

If it's far away, it's news, but if it's close at home, it's sociology.

In any war, the first casualty is common sense, and the second is free and open discussion.

In foreign policy you have to wait twenty-five years to see how it comes out.

In the old days, the reporters or couriers of bad news were often put to the gallows; now they are given the Pulitzer Prize, but the conflict goes on.

International crises have their advantages. They frighten the weak but stir and inspire the strong.

Nations, like individuals, have to limit their objectives or take the consequences.

One of the advantages of defeat in life, maybe the main advantage, is that it provides an excuse for change. Defeat... invariably leads to new adventures.

People are always dying in the Times who don't seem to die in other papers, and they die at greater length and maybe even with a little more grace.

Stick with the optimists. It's going to be tough enough even if they're right.

The conflict between the men who make and the men who report the news is as old as time. News may be true, but it is not truth, and reporters and officials seldom see it the same way.

The grossest thing in our gross national product today is our language. It is suffering from inflation.

The people of the United States will do anything for Latin America, except read about it.

The rising power of the United States in world affairs... requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism... Our job in this age, as I see it, is not to serve as cheerleaders for our side in the present world struggle but to help the largest possible number of people to see the realities of the changing and convulsive world in which American policy must operate.

The ship of state is the only known vessel that leaks from the top.

This is the devilish thing about foreign affairs: they are foreign and will not always conform to our whim.

Wealth is conspicuous, but poverty hides.

Categories: James Reston, Quotes of the day

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Politics: 163 observations

Published Saturday, November 02, 2013 @ 12:06 AM EDT
Nov 02 2013

A famous Frenchman once said, War has become far too important to entrust to the generals. Today, business, I think, should be saying: Politics have become far too important to entrust to the politicians.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

A hungry child knows no politics.
-Ronald Reagan

A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.
-Eric Idle

A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.
-Theodore Roosevelt

A week is a long time in politics.
-Harold Wilson

All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.
-George Orwell

All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.
-James Reston

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

All politics takes place on a slippery slope. The most important four words in politics are "up to a point."
-George F. Will

Although He is regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.
-George Mitchell

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.
-Upton Sinclair

Americans have a tendency to think the problem with politics lies with their candidates and not themselves. The truth is Americans deserve the blame for the state of our politics and the state of our media.
-Jonah Goldberg

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.
-Eugene McCarthy

Engineering is the implementation of science; politics is the implementation of faith.
-Marc Stiegler

Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics.
-Charles Peguy

Everything is politics.
-Thomas Mann

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.
-Richard M. Nixon

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

I always wanted to get into politics, but I was never light enough to make the team.
-Art Buchwald

I don't know a lot about politics, but I can recognize a good party man when I see one.
-Mae West

I don't take art as seriously as politics.
-Orson Welles

I hate all bungling as I do sin, but particularly bungling in politics, which leads to the misery and ruin of many thousands and millions of people.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have never found in a long experience of politics that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance.
-Harold Macmillan

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
-John Adams

I reject the cynical view that politics is inevitably, or even usually, a dirty business.
-Richard M. Nixon

I seldom think of politics more than 18 hours a day.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

I wasn't involved in politics at all- until about the age of four.
-Theodore (Ted) Sorensen

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

I'm not so much interested in politics as I am in overthrowing the government.
-Mort Sahl

I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.
-Ann Richards

Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism.
-Bill Moyers

Ideas matter in American politics, but results matter more.
-Dan Balz

If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of [chasing women] and drinking, you'd have no government.
-Barry M. Goldwater

If you doubt that it is stinky personality that is the driving force behind conservative politics, look back to your pre-political youth. A dollar to a doughnut everyone of those childhood friends and acquaintances who was an asshole then is a conservative today.
-Rack Jite

If you ever injected truth into politics you'd have no politics.
-Will Rogers

In America the absence of honest passion is a distinguishing feature of both professional wrestling and politics.
-Murray Kempton

In nature, stupidity gets you killed. In the workplace, it gets you fired. In politics, it gets you re-elected.
-Bill VanRemmen

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.
-Charles de Gaulle

In politics nothing is immutable. Events carry within them an invincible power. The unwise destroy themselves in resistance. The skillful accept events, take strong hold of them and direct them.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

In politics the middle way is none at all.
-John Adams

In politics you can't be true to all of your friends all of the time.
-Perry S. Heath

In politics you have no friends, only allies.
-John F. Kennedy

In politics you must always keep running with the pack. The moment that you falter and they sense that you are injured, the rest will turn on you like wolves.
-R.A. Butler

In politics, a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendship.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

In politics, a lie unanswered becomes truth within 24 hours.
-San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.

In politics, an absurdity is not an impediment.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
-Margaret Thatcher

In politics, nothing is contemptible.
-Benjamin Disraeli

In politics, nothing is permanent and, therefore, nothing is too late.
-Bill Clinton

In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Instant analysis is the occupational disease. There are no smokestacks, there's no black lung. Politics is the only industry.
-Kirk O'Donnell

It is known, however, that men enter local politics solely as a result of being unhappily married.
-C. Northcote Parkinson

It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave: Though at the same time, it appears somewhat strange, that a maxim should be true in politics, which is false in fact.
-David Hume

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.

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.
-Ann Richards

Liberal comes from the Latin liberalis, which means pertaining to a free man. In politics, to be liberal is to want to extend democracy through change and reform. One can see why the word had to be erased from our political lexicon.
-Gore Vidal

Loyalty in politics was simply devotion to the side which a man conceives to be his side, and which he cannot leave without danger to himself.
-Anthony Trollope

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.
-Henry Adams

My political life has been informed by the view that if there was any truth to religion there wouldn't really be any need for politics.
-Christopher Hitchens

No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.
-Jacob Bronowski

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Nowadays almost every business is like show business, including politics, which has become more like show business than show business is.
-Russell Baker

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

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

People who are wise, good, smart, skillful, or hardworking don't need politics, they have jobs.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff?
-Tina Fey

Politics and the shape of mankind are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness. Men who have greatness within them don't concern themselves with politics.
-Albert Camus

Politics are a lousy way for a free man to get things done. Politics are, like God's infinite mercy, a last resort.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.
-Winston Churchill

Politics are not the task of a Christian.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Politics are usually the executive expression of human immaturity.
-Vera Brittain

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

Politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth.
-Paul Krugman

Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with.
-Will Rogers

Politics have no relation to morals.
-Niccolò Machiavelli

Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.
-Albert Einstein

Politics is a science. You can demonstrate that you are right and that others are wrong.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Politics is about compromises... really stupid compromises.
-Bill Maher

Politics is about who wins and loses. The rest is of marginal interest.
-Sean Wilentz

Politics is an act of faith; you have to show some kind of confidence in the intellectual and moral capacity of the public.
-George McGovern

Politics is applesauce.
-Will Rogers

Politics is applied biology.
-Ernst Haeckel

Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.
-Jimmy Durante

Politics is how you live your life, not whom you vote for.
-Jerry Rubin

Politics is just like show business, you have a hell of an opening, coast for a while and then have a hell of a close.
-Ronald Reagan

Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.

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

Politics is like the bumper cars at the amusement park. It's a delusion to think that by refusing to move, you can protect yourself from being hit.
-Unattributed (From The Weekly Standard)

Politics is like the stock market: it's a bad business for people who can't afford to lose.
-Richard M. Nixon

Politics is made up largely of irrelevancies.
-Dalton Camp

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.
-Ronald Reagan

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Politics is show business for ugly people.
-Sonny Bono

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
-Ernest Benn

Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.
-Henri Queuille

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
-Paul Valery

Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
-Frank Zappa

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
-Oscar Ameringer

Politics is the only field of human endeavor where the more experience you have, the worse you get.
-Kinky Friedman

Politics is the pursuit of trivial men who, when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men.
-George J. Nathan

Politics is the science of urgencies.
-Theodore Parker

Politics is the science of who gets what, when, and why.
-Sidney Hillman

Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
-Lester B. Pearson

Politics isn't about left versus right; it's about top versus bottom.
-Jim Hightower

Politics should be limited in scope to war, protection of property, and the occasional precautionary beheading of a member of the ruling class.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.
-George F. Will

Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people.
-Richard M. Nixon

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
-Henry Adams

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.
-Richard Armour

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.
-Ambrose Bierce

Politics: the art of keeping as many balls as possible up in the air at one time- while protecting your own.
-Sam Attlesey

Politics: where fat, bald, disagreeable men, unable to be candidates themselves, teach a president how to act on a public stage.
-Jimmy Breslin

Practical politics consists of ignoring facts.
-Henry Adams

Real politics are the possession and distribution of power.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Son, in politics you've got to learn that overnight chicken sh*t can turn to chicken salad.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

Statesmanship is harder than politics. Politics is the art of getting along with people, whereas statesmanship is the art of getting along with politicians.
-Fletcher Knebel

The central conservative truth is that is it culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The difference between politics and baseball is that in baseball, when you get caught stealing, you're out.
-Ron Dentinger

The flood of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy.
-Theodore H. White

The great difficulty with politics is, that there are no established principles.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

The history of American politics is littered with bodies of people who took so pure a position that they had no clout at all.
-Ben Bradlee

The introduction of religious passion into politics is the end of honest politics, and the introduction of politics into religion is the prostitution of true religion.
-Lord Hailsham

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other.
-Will Rogers

The only thing worse than a silly politician analyzing art is a silly artist analyzing politics.
-Jonathan Alter

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.
-Walter Lippmann

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

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
-H.L. Mencken

The word "politics" is derived from the word "poly," meaning "many," and the word "ticks," meaning "blood sucking parasites."
-Larry Hardiman

The world of politics is always twenty years behind the world of thought.
-John Jay Chapman

There are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party, and our country.
-John McCain

There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.
-Alan Clark

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

There are two fundamental problems in American politics. The first is that most Americans do not believe that elected officials represent their interests. The second is that they are correct.
-John Gastil

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Things get very lonely in Washington sometimes. The real voice of the great people of America sometimes sounds faint, and sometimes sounds distant in that strange city. You hear politics until you wish that both parties were smothered in their own gas.
-Woodrow Wilson

This is quite a game, politics. There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
-William Clay

Those against politics are in favor of the politics inflicted upon them.
-Bertolt Brecht

Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them.
-Jean Jacques Rousseau

To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as morals.
-William Penn

To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.
-Hubert H. Humphrey

Tolerance is an admirable intellectual gift, but it is worth little in politics.
-Woodrow Wilson

Too often in politics, there are fallacious either/or arguments put up as a justification or an excuse for an action or view which is skewed in such a way as too suggest that there is only one acceptable choice.
-Peter Garrett

Truth is a habit of integrity, not a strategy of politics.
-George McGovern

Trying to take money out of politics is like trying to take jumping out of basketball.
-Bill Bradley

War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.
-Karl von Clausewitz

We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy.
-Martin L. Gross

What art needs is greater men, and what politics needs is better men.
-William Saroyan

What's real in politics is what the voters decide is real.
-Ben J. Wattenberg

When a politician starts preaching, I tend to react the same way as when a preacher starts talking politics. I become very, very wary.
-Madeleine Albright

When a thing defies physical law, there's usually politics involved.
-P.J. O'Rourke

When I die, I want to be buried in Chicago, so I can still be active in politics.
-Charlie Rangel

When I entered politics, I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism.
-Jim Hightower

When politics and religion are intermingled, a people is suffused with a sense of invulnerability, and gathering speed in their forward charge, they fail to see the cliff ahead of them.
-Frank Herbert

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way.
-Frank Herbert

When you get into politics, you find that all your worst nightmares about it turn out to be true, and the people who are attracted to large concentrations of power are precisely the ones who should be kept as far away from it as possible.
-Ken Livingstone

Without alienation, there can be no politics.
-Arthur Miller

You can't ignore politics, no matter how much you'd like to.
-Molly Ivins

Categories: Politics, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Kinky Friedman

Published Friday, November 01, 2013 @ 5:03 AM EDT
Nov 01 2013

Richard Samet "Kinky" Friedman (born November 1, 1944) is an American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain. He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A choice between Democrats or Republicans is like a choice between paper or plastic.

A fool and his money are soon elected.

A happy childhood is the worst possible preparation for life.

A lot of politicians manage to be important without being significant.

Always respect your superiors, if you have any.

An artist is anyone who's ahead of his time and behind on his rent.

But if you're paranoid long enough, sooner or later you're gonna be right.

Cats, as a rule, don't like lawyers. They have great insight into human character.

Elected officials should be limited to two terms: one in office and one in prison.

Every time you see a beautiful woman, just remember, somebody got tired of her S**t.

Everybody I admire died with no money.

Everything great was created by people who don't feel well.

How can you look at the Texas legislature and still believe in intelligent design?

I don't apologize to people with an agenda.

I even went so far as to become a Southern Baptist for a while, until I realized that they didn't hold 'em under long enough.

I'd often felt that a man without a woman was like a neck without a pain.

I'm too young for Medicare and too old for women to care.

If you don't love Jesus- go to hell!

If you fail at something long enough you become a legend.

If you have the choice between humble and cocky, go with cocky. There's always time to be humble later, once you've been proven horrendously, irrevocably wrong.

If you're patient and you wait long enough, something will usually happen and it'll usually be something you don't like.

Man's ability to delude himself is infinite.

Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.

No one's ever won the human race, but guys like Abbie Hoffman sometimes make it fun to watch. Every hamster doesn't ride the wheel.

On the whole, I preferred cats to women because cats seldom if ever used the word "relationship."

Politics is the only field of human endeavor where the more experience you have, the worse you get.

Remember: Y'all is singular. All y'all is plural. All y'all's is plural possessive.

The Democrats and Republicans are the same guy admiring himself in the mirror.

The first thing I'll do if elected is demand a recount.

There are no good lawyers. There may be lady wrestlers and Catholic universities. There may be military intelligence. But a good lawyer is a contradiction in terms.

They say God created whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world.

We've got to clear some of the room out of the prisons so we can put the bad guys in there, like the pedophiles and the politicians.

Well, I just said that Jesus and I were both Jewish and that neither of us ever had a job, we never had a home, we never married and we traveled around the countryside irritating people.

You don't accomplish much by swimming with the mainstream. Hell, a dead fish can do that.

Categories: Kinky Friedman, Quotes of the day

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