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Out with the old...

Published Tuesday, December 31, 2013 @ 5:38 AM EST
Dec 31 2013

May this arbitrary, transient aspect of your solipsistic discernment of the space-time continuum delineate the initiation of a procession of random events which trend in a manner you perceive as favorable.
-Kevin G. Barkes

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
-Bill Vaughan

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
-Benjamin Franklin

Celebrate what you want to see more of.
-Tom Peters

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.
-Brooks Atkinson

Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn't it, of a long line of proven criminals?
-Ogden Nash

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.
-T.S. Eliot

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
-Oscar Wilde

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.
-F.M. Knowles

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the apostles, but a good deal about their acts.
-Horace Mann

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.
-Anaïs Nin

I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's.
-Henry Moore

Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since.
-Dave Beard

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.
-Joey Adams

New Year's Day... now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
-Mark Twain

New Year's Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.
-James Agate

New Years Eve: when the beautiful promise of tomorrow is transformed into the ugly reality of today, and the disgusting miasma of now becomes the rosy nostalgic netherworlds of yesterday.
-J.C. Duffy

Resolutions, like the good, die young.
-Fulton J. Sheen

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to.
-P.J. O'Rourke

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

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
-Hal Borland

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.
-Mark Twain

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
-Helen Keller

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to.
-Bill Vaughan

Categories: Holidays, New Years, Quotes on a topic, Resolutions

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The Hamilton Beach BrewStation® 40-Cup Urn (Model 40514): a review

Published Monday, December 30, 2013 @ 11:29 AM EST
Dec 30 2013

I swear there's a person at Hamilton Beach whose sole function is to review products before they're manufactured to make certain each contains at least one maddeningly stupid design flaw.

The last Brewmaster® I owned had the dispensing spout so close to the side of the coffeemaker that you could only use "regular" thin-walled coffee cups. Have an insulated cup or one with a slight lip? Watch the amazing Brewmaster® as the coffee pours down the outside walls of your cup!

When I saw this model in the store, I thought... aha! An aluminium pot with a hole in the side! How can you possibly screw this up?

Oh, Hamilton Beach, you adorable knuckleheads... I underestimated you.

At ten cups, the flow slows to a trickle. At six cups, it's below the spout opening. But don't tip the pot, because safety!

This coffee is what's left below the spout opening. It exists to remind you that perfection is a goal to be attempted, not achieved.

As the photos show, at the ten cup mark (60 ounces, using the six-ounce coffee cup standard), the coffee level reaches the top of the spout and the flow slows to a maddening trickle. At four cups (24 ounces), the coffee level drops below the spout. Since the instructions admonish the user not to tip the pot, this means you're waiting forever for the last six accessible cups, and throwing away the remaining four.

So, you may ask, why buy this sterling example of a badly-engineered consumer product and recommend it to others?

Well, it's cheap. It's well-made. It brews ok. It keeps the coffee hot. Its irritating behavior doesn't begin until the bottom of the pot, at which point you should be sufficiently caffeinated to deal with it without flying into a seething rage or collapsing, sobbing uncontrollably, into a fetal position on the kitchen floor.

If your household drinks a lot of coffee, it's more convenient than making several 10-12 cup pots.

And in some perverse way, the fact each Hamilton Beach coffeemaker I've ever owned has had some dumb design element is somewhat endearing.

I picture a decent, dedicated guy in Ohio somewhere working feverishly to come up with the Next Great Thing and, just like Wile E. Coyote, being crushed when the first manufacturing run from China comes in and he realizes he just designed a coffee pot capable of dispensing only 90% of what it produces.

And then some middle manager-type, like Lumbergh in Office Space, saunters over to his cubicle and says, "Ah. Yeah. So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?"

Hey guy, it happens. Hang in there. I'm rooting for you.

Which is why I keep buying HB coffeemakers. It gives me something to anticipate in my advancing years. I used to say I hope I live to see my grandchildren. Now I say I hope I live to see HB produce the perfect coffeemaker.

Who knows? Perhaps when I buy my next unit in two years (the average HB coffeemaker lifespan; about a nickel a day, which isn't bad), they'll have a 16 cup unit with a programmable timer, a spout design that accommodates cups of all sizes, and a pot that fully empties.

And, just for old times' sake, a power cord that's only three inches long.

Categories: KGB Opinion, WTF?

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Quotes of the day: Rudyard Kipling

Published Monday, December 30, 2013 @ 4:13 AM EST
Dec 30 2013

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 - January 18, 1936) was an English short story writer, poet, and novelist. He is chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his stories for children. He was born in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901), many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888); and his poems, including "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If-" (1910). He is regarded as a major "innovator in the art of the short story"; his children's books are enduring classics of children's literature; and his best works are said to exhibit "a versatile and luminous narrative gift." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A people always ends by resembling its shadow.

All gods have good points, just as have all priests.

And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

Being kissed by a man who didn't wax his moustache was like eating an egg without salt.

Bite on the bullet, old man, and don't let them think you're afraid.

Enough work to do, and strength enough to do the work.

Everyone is more or less mad on one point.

Fiction is Truth's elder sister. Obviously. No one in the world knew what truth was till some one had told a story.

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Four things greater than all things are,-
Women and Horses and Power and War.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

I keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

Many religious people are deeply suspicious. They seem- for purely religious purposes, of course- to know more about iniquity than the unregenerate.

More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.

Never praise a sister to a sister, in the hope of your compliments reaching the proper ears.

Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.

The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a clever woman to manage a fool.

What you do when you don't have to, determines what you will be when you can no longer help it.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
-The Young British Soldier (1892)

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.


Q. Do you like Kipling?

A. I don't know; I've never kippled.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rudyard Kipling

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Clearing off the desktop, part 2

Published Sunday, December 29, 2013 @ 2:25 PM EST
Dec 29 2013

"Grudge Match" stars three Oscar winners and a two-time Oscar nominee in a tale of two old men who beat the hell out of each other to settle a 30-year dispute. You already know if you want to see it.
-Odie Henderson


Unbeknownst to most theologians, there was a
fourth wiseman, who was turned away
for bringing a fruitcake.


I am tired of headlines and tv news teases telling me how I'm going to react to a story. That's not your job. I've been around a long time. Odds are I will believe what happened, and I won't be moved to tears, especially since you've given me advance warning. And you're right, I never guess what the story is. I just turn off the television or leave Facebook and read the real news.


better !pout !cry
better watchout
lpr why
santa claus <north pole > town

cat /etc/passwd >list
ncheck list
ncheck list
cat list | grep naughty >nogiftlist
cat list | grep nice >giftlist
santa claus <north pole > town

who | grep sleeping
who | grep awake
who | grep bad || good
for (goodness sake) { be good; }



I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.


No one knows how to use apostrophes, but everyone knows how to spell "Roethlisberger."


It's easy to blame others for your mistakes. Seriously. Try it.

Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Miscellany

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Cleaning off the desktop, part 1

Published Sunday, December 29, 2013 @ 2:23 PM EST
Dec 29 2013

From someecards, "when you care enough to hit send."







Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Miscellany, Snrk, someecards

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Ruh Roh

Published Sunday, December 29, 2013 @ 8:07 AM EST
Dec 29 2013

Granddaughter Joelle's first Christmas, in which Mommy (my daugter-in-law Angela) and Aunt Sara (my daughter, off-camera) demonstrate the wonders of modern speech recognition technology with a faux canine stuffed with foam, electronics, and advanced software. She seems rather unimpressed. Senior Granddaughter Leanna takes after her maternal grandfather and is actually reading the instructions.

Categories: Christmas, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: William Gladstone

Published Sunday, December 29, 2013 @ 5:43 AM EST
Dec 29 2013

(Today is also the birthday of comedienne Paula Poundstone.)

William Ewart Gladstone (December 29, 1809-May 19, 1898) was a British Liberal politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times (1868-1874, 1880-1885, February-July 1886 and 1892-1894), more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 when he resigned for the last time. He had also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes.

Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won't have to hunt for happiness.

Failure is success if we learn from it.

Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good government at home.

How little do politics affect the life, the moral life of a nation. One single good book influences the people a vast deal more.

It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right.

Justice delayed, is justice denied.

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; conservativism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.

Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.

National injustice is the surest road to national downfall.

No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes.

Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.

Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead. I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.

The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.

The contemporary mind may in rare cases be taken by storm; but posterity never. The tribunal of the present is accessible to influence; that of the future is incorrupt.

The disease of an evil conscience is beyond the practice of all the physicians of all the countries in the world.

The free expression of opinion, as experience has taught us, is the safety-valve of passion. The noise of the rushing steam, when it escapes, alarms the timid; but it is the sign that we are safe.

To comprehend a man's life it is necessary to know not merely what he does, but also what he purposely leaves undone.

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.

What is morally wrong cannot be politically right.

You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side.

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Gladstone

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Quotes of the day: Woodrow Wilson

Published Saturday, December 28, 2013 @ 7:07 AM EST
Dec 28 2013

Woodrow Wilson, (December 28, 1856 - February 3, 1924) in Staunton, Virginia, spent his youth in the South, as the son of a devout Presbyterian family, seeing the ravages of the Civil War and its aftermath. A dedicated scholar and enthusiastic orator, he earned multiple degrees before embarking on a university career. In a fast rise politically, he spent two years as governor of New Jersey before becoming the two-term 28th president of the United States in 1912. Wilson saw America through World War I, negotiating the Versailles Treaty and crafting a League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. He suffered his second stroke during the last year of his presidency and died three years after leaving office, on February 3, 1924, with sweeping reforms for the middle class, voting rights for women and precepts for world peace as his legacy. (Click here for full biographt.com article)


A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.

America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.

At every crisis in one's life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving.

Because I love the South, I rejoice in the failure of the Confederacy.

Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.

By "radical," I understand one who goes too far; by "conservative," one who does not go far enough; by "reactionary," one who won't go at all.

Conservatism is the policy of making no changes and consulting your grandmother when in doubt.

I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it. (in 1919)

I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.

I would... rather lose in a cause that I know some day will triumph than triumph in a cause that I know some day will lose.

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.

If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing.

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Liberty is its own reward.

Never murder a man who is committing suicide.

No country can afford to have its prosperity originated by a small controlling class.

No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence.

No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation.

Nothing is easier than to falsify the past. Lifeless instruction will do it. If you rob it of vitality, stiffen it with pedantry, sophisticate it with argument, chill it with unsympathetic comment, you render it as dead as any academic exercise.

One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.

Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.

Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American.

The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.

The great malady of public life is cowardice. Most men are not untrue, but they are afraid. Most of the errors of public life, if my observation is to be trusted, come not because men are morally bad, but because they are afraid of somebody.

The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.

The office of President requires the constitution of an athlete, the patience of a mother, and the endurance of an early Christian.

The only excuse that America can ever have for the assertion of her physical force is that she asserts it in behalf of the interests of humanity.

The seed of revolution is repression.

The Senate is just what the mode of its election and the conditions of public life in this country make it.

The success of a party means little except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.

The truth is, we are all caught in a great economic system which is heartless.

The way to stop financial joy-riding is to arrest the chauffeur, not the automobile.

There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.

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.

Tolerance is an admirable intellectual gift, but it is worth little in politics.

Uncompromising thought is the luxury of the closeted recluse.

We are not put into this world to sit still and know; we are put into it to act.

We cannot, we will not, choose the path of surrender.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Woodrow Wilson

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And no ants

Published Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 6:21 AM EST
Dec 27 2013

Granddaughter Joelle and her Dad have a post-Christmas picnic.

Categories: KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Sarah Vowell

Published Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 5:10 AM EST
Dec 27 2013

Sarah Jane Vowell (b. December 27, 1969) is an American author, journalist, essayist and social commentator. Often referred to as a "social observer," Vowell has written six nonfiction books on American history and culture. She was a contributing editor for the radio program This American Life on Public Radio International from 1996–2008, where she produced numerous commentaries and documentaries and toured the country in many of the program's live shows. She was also the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Along with voting, jury duty, and paying taxes, goofing off is one of the central obligations of American citizenship.

Behind every bad law, a deep fear.

Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know.

Being up in the middle of the night is kind of nice actually. It's quiet and dark and the phone doesn't ring. You can listen to records and weirder movies are on TV. I've never known another life and now I'm not sure I want to.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's high school was built on top of a vortex of evil, the Hellmouth. And whose wasn't?

Except for the people who were there that one day they discovered the polio vaccine, being part of history is rarely a good idea. History is one war after another with a bunch of murders and natural disasters in between.

From New England's Puritans we inherited the idea that America is blessed and ordained by God above all nations, but lost the fear of wrath and retribution.

Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food.

I fear that the consumer who buys a Confederate flag coffee cup, which she will then put on her American flag place mat, is the sort of sophisticated thinker who is open-minded enough that she is capable of hating blacks and Arabs at the same time.

I guess if I had to pick a spiritual figurehead to possess the deed to the entirety of Earth, I'd go with Buddha, but only because he wouldn't want it.

I revere the Bill of Rights, but at the same time I believe that anyone who's using three or more of them at a time is hogging them too much.

I was enjoying a chocolatey cafe mocha when it occurred to me that to drink a mocha is to gulp down the entire history of the New World. From the Spanish exportation of Aztec cacao, and the Dutch invention of the chemical process for making cocoa, on down to the capitalist empire of Hershey, PA, and the lifestyle marketing of Seattle's Starbucks, the modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top.

Like Lincoln, I would like to believe the ballot is stronger than the bullet. Then again, he said that before he got shot.

My lips are chapped from the winds of change.

My motto is Sine coffea nihil sum. Without coffee, I'm nothing.

Never underestimate the corrective lens that is sentimentality.

So much of broadcasting hasn't really noticed that Watergate happened, that no one takes the voice of authority seriously anymore.

Some afternoons a person just wants to rent Die Hard, close the curtains, and have Cheerios for lunch.

The internet is the nerd Israel, a place to speak and listen to spectacularly specific concerns.

The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief. And by dangerous I don't mean thought-provoking. I mean: might get people killed.

The true American patriot is by definition skeptical of the government.

There's nothing more depressing than bad capitalism.

We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left.

What are you hiding? No one ever asks that.

What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.

When I think about my relationship with America, I feel like a battered wife: Yeah, he knocks me around a lot, but boy, he sure can dance.

When someone asks if I'm the black sheep of the family I always say no, we're all black sheep.

While I am obsessed with death, I am against it.

While I gave up God a long time ago, I never shook the habit of wanting to believe in something. So I replaced my creed of everlasting life with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sarah Vowell

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Quotes of the day: David Sedaris

Published Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 3:46 AM EST
Dec 26 2013

David Raymond Sedaris (b. December 26, 1956) is an American Grammy Award-nominated humorist, comedian, author, and radio contributor. He was publicly recognized in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand Diaries." He published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. His next five essay collections, Naked (1997), Holidays on Ice (1997), Me Talk Pretty One Day (2000), Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (2004), and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008), became New York Times Best Sellers. In 2010, he released a collection of stories, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. In 2013, Sedaris released his latest collection of essays, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

By 2008 his books had sold seven million copies. Much of Sedaris' humor is autobiographical and self-deprecating, and often concerns his family life, his middle-class upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, Greek heritage, jobs, education, drug use, obsessive behaviors and his life in France, London, and the English South Downs.

(Click here for full Wikipedia article)

A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.

A zoo is a good place to make a spectacle of yourself, as the people around you have creepier, more photogenic things to look at.

After a few months in my parents' basement, I took an apartment near the state university, where I discovered both crystal methamphetamine and conceptual art. Either one of the these things are dangerous, but in combination they have the potential to destroy entire civilizations.

All I do is lie, and that has made me immune to compliments.

All of us are left to choose our own quality of life and take pleasure where we find it with the understanding that like Mom used to say. 'Sooner or later, something’s going to get you.'

All of us take pride and pleasure in the fact that we are unique, but I’m afraid that when all is said and done the police are right: it all comes down to fingerprints.

At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basket and tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.

Boys who spent their weekends making banana nut muffins did not, as a rule, excel in the art of hand-to-hand combat.

He looked as though his life had not only passed him by but paused along the way to spit in his face.

I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.

I knew my fear was getting the best of me when I started wondering why they don’t sell cuts of meat in vending machines.

If you aren’t cute, you may as well be clever.

If you read somebody's diary, you get what you deserve.

In other parts of the country people tried to stay together for the sake of the children. In New York they tried to work things out for the sake of the apartment.

It is funny the things that run through your mind when you’re sitting in your underpants in front of a pair of strangers.

It’s a pretty grim world when I can’t even feel superior to a toddler.

It’s safe to assume that by 2085 guns will be sold in vending machines but you won’t be able to smoke anywhere in America.

I’d tried to straighten him out, but there’s only so much you can do for a person who thinks Auschwitz is a brand of beer.

Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings.

She is, like most of my friends, a terrible judge of character.

Sometimes the sins you haven't committed are all you have left to hold onto.

The real voice of reason sounds like Bea Arthur.

There is still the outside world to contend with. A world of backfiring cars, and their human equivalents.

Think ahead, and plan accordingly, especially in regard to your vices.

We were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a well-made cocktail.

Weird doors open. People fall into things.

Categories: David Sedaris, Quotes of the day

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First Christmas

Published Wednesday, December 25, 2013 @ 10:42 AM EST
Dec 25 2013

Granddaugter Joelle's first Christmas.

Wishing yours is as much fun.

Categories: Christmas, Holidays, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Rod Serling

Published Tuesday, December 24, 2013 @ 11:18 AM EST
Dec 24 2013

Rodman E. "Rod" Serling (December 25, 1924 - June 28, 1975) was an American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen, and helped form television industry standards. He was known as the "angry young man" of Hollywood, clashing with television executives and sponsors over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A medium (television) best suited to illumine and dramatize the issues of the times has its product pressed into a mold, painted lily-white, and has its dramatic teeth yanked out one by one.

Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete.

Being like everybody is the same as being nobody.

Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.

Everybody has to have a hometown... For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will find— I've still got a hometown. This, nobody's gonna take away from me.

For every man who goes up, someone has to leave. And when the departure of the aged is neither philosophical nor graceful, there's an aching poignancy in the changing of the guard.

Hollywood's a great place to live... if you're a grapefruit.

I ask for your indulgence when I march out quotations. This is the double syndrome of men who write for a living and men who are over forty. The young smoke pot- we inhale from our Bartlett's.

I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I've written there is a thread of this: a man's seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.

I was a Christmas present that was delivered unwrapped.

If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man.

If you need drugs to be a good writer, you're not a good writer.

If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.

If you write, fix pipes, grade papers, lay bricks or drive a taxi- do it with a sense of pride. And do it the best you know how. Be cognizant and sympathetic to the guy alongside, because he wants a place in the sun, too. And always...always look past his color, his creed, his religion and the shape of his ears. Look for the whole person. Judge him as the whole person.

It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.

Never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.

On The Twilight Zone, I knew that I could get away with Martians saying things that Republicans and Democrats couldn't.

Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.

Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, a talent becomes a curse.

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is in the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.

There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.

We're developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won't be able to think.

Whenever you write, whatever you write, never make the mistake of assuming the audience is any less intelligent than you are.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rod Serling

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Christmas Eve

Published Tuesday, December 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM EST
Dec 24 2013

Riley has visions of sugarplums dancing in his head.

Sassy knows the fat guy with the beard
will give her cookies.

And maybe Santa will, too!

Merry Christmas from Kevin, Cindy,
and all the furry minions.

Categories: Christmas, Dogs, Holidays, KGB Family

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Observation of the day

Published Monday, December 23, 2013 @ 5:22 PM EST
Dec 23 2013

A few years ago, The Onion ran a piece entitled "Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be." While satire, it underscored an important point: there are many good, sincere people who base their beliefs and principles on what they've been told by persons in positions of false or perceived authority. The problem is the information they're getting is incomplete at best, or, at worst, just plain wrong.

Don't blindly accept what you're told. Read the Constitution. Read the Bible. Read the Tanakh. Read The Book of Mormon. They're all available online.

(Don't bother with Dianetics. Trust me.)

And when someone throws a chapter and verse in your face, go the chapter and read the verse. Then read the verse before and the verse after. Better yet, read the whole chapter. Then read the whole book.

Then think for yourself.

Categories: Observations

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Quote of the day

Published Monday, December 23, 2013 @ 2:10 PM EST
Dec 23 2013

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."
-Pope Francis

Categories: Pope Francis, Quotes of the day

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A Festivus for the rest of us!

Published Monday, December 23, 2013 @ 4:54 AM EST
Dec 23 2013

(Photo: The Grey Lodge Pub)

Festivus, a well-celebrated parody, has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 which serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas holiday season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O'Keefe working on the American sitcom Seinfeld, the holiday entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 episode of the program. The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength," and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."

(YouTube video: "Seinfeld")

"The tradition of Festivus begins... with the airing of grievances!"

Categories: Dan O'Keefe, Festivus, Holidays, Seinfeld, Video, YouTube

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Cleaning off the desktop, part 4: General miscellany

Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 8:46 PM EST
Dec 22 2013





Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, Google, Miscellany

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Cleaning off the desktop, part 3: Holiday miscellany

Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 8:45 PM EST
Dec 22 2013






Categories: Batman, Christmas, Christopher Walken, Church and State, Civil Rights, Cleaning off the desktop, Congress, Fox News, Holidays, Politics

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Cleaning off the desktop, part 2: Duck Amok

Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 8:45 PM EST
Dec 22 2013

The real Duck Dynasty.



Categories: Church and State, Civil Rights, Cleaning off the desktop, Duck Dynasty, First Amendment, Religion

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Cleaning off the desktop, part 1: Santa

Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 8:44 PM EST
Dec 22 2013





Categories: Christmas, Cleaning off the desktop, NSA, Star Trek, The New Yorker, TSA

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Quotes of the day: Samuel Beckett

Published Sunday, December 22, 2013 @ 12:02 AM EST
Dec 22 2013

Samuel Beckett (April 13, 1906 - December 22, 1989) was an Irish avant-garde playwright, poet and novelist best known for his play Waiting for Godot. Strongly influenced by fellow Irish writer, James Joyce, Beckett is sometimes considered the last of the Modernists, however, as his body of work influenced many subsequent writers, he is also considered one of the fathers of the Postmodernist movement. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, "for his writing, which- in new forms for the novel and drama- in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation." (Click here for full article)


Ah, the old questions, the old answers, there's nothing like them!

All I say cancels out, I'll have said nothing.

Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order.

Don't wait to be hunted to hide, that's always been my motto.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

God is a witness that cannot be sworn.

Habit is a great deadener.

I can't go on. I'll go on.

I do not feel like spending the rest of my life writing books that no one will read. It is not as though I wanted to write them.

If I had the use of my body, I would throw it out the window.

In me there have always been two fools, among others, one asking nothing better than to stay where he is and the other imagining that life might be slightly less horrible a little further on.

It sometimes happens and will sometimes happen again that I forget who I am and strut before my eyes, like a stranger.

Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all.

My mistakes are my life.

Nothing is more real than nothing.

The contented person is never poor- the discontented is never rich. The quantum of wantum remains constant.

The end is in the beginning and yet you go on.

The fact is, it seems, that the most you can hope is to be a little less, in the end, the creature you were in the beginning, and the middle.

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

There is a little of everything, apparently, in nature, and freaks are common.

There is something... more important in life than punctuality, and that is decorum.

There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet.

We are all born mad. Some remain so.

What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.

Words are all we have.

You're on earth. There's no cure for that.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Samuel Beckett

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Happy solstice!

Published Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 12:23 AM EST
Dec 21 2013

Categories: Holidays

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Quotes of the day: Benjamin Disraeli

Published Saturday, December 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM EST
Dec 21 2013

Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, (December 21, 1804 - April 19, 1881) was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure. He served in government for 40 years, twice as Prime Minister of Great Britain. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party after the Corn Laws schism of 1846. In the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century, the concept of one-nation conservatism associated with him, with its emphasis on obligations to all classes, was highly influential in Britain. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy.

A consistent soul believes in destiny, a capricious one in chance.

A majority is always better than the best repartee.

A man's fate is his own temper.

A precedent embalms a principle.

A realist is a man who insists on making the same mistakes his grandfather did.

A university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning.

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.

All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.

All of us encounter, at least once in our life, some individual who utters words that make us think forever. There are men whose phrases are oracles; who can condense in one sentence the secrets of life; who blurt out an aphorism that forms a character, or illustrates an existence.

Almost everything that is great has been done by youth.

An insular country, subject to fogs, and with a powerful middle class, requires grave statesmen.

An obedient wife commands her husband.

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

Assassination has never changed the history of the world.

At present the peace of the world has been preserved, not by statesmen, but by capitalists.

Be amusing: never tell unkind stories; above all, never tell long ones.

Beware of endeavoring to become a great man in a hurry. One such attempt in ten thousand may succeed: These are fearful odds.

Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention of printing.

But this principle of race is unfortunately one of the reasons why I fear war may always exist; because race implies difference, difference implies superiority, and superiority leads to predominance.

Characters do not change. Opinions alter, but characters are only developed.

Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.

Coalitions though successful have always found this, that their triumph has been brief.

Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future.

Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.

Debt is the prolific mother of folly and of crime.

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

Despair is the conclusion of fools.

Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.

Duty cannot exist without faith.

Every great decision creates ripples- like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge, rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.

Every man has a right to be conceited until he is successful.

Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.

Everything comes if a man will only wait.

Experience is the child of Thought, and Thought is the child of Action. We can not learn men from books.

Fear makes us feel our humanity.

Frank and explicit; that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and confuse the minds of others.

Great countries are those that produce great people.

Great services are not canceled by one act or by one single error.

Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of Grief the blunder of a life.

He is a self-made man, very much in love with his creator.

How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.

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

I am prepared for the worst, but hope the best.

I feel a very unusual sensation. If it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.

I have always thought that every woman should marry, and no man.

I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfilment.

I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?

I never deny, I never contradict. I sometimes forget.

I repeat that all power is a trust; that we are accountable for its exercise; that from the people, and for the people all springs, and all must exist.

I suppose, to use our national motto, something will turn up.

I think the author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.

I will not go down to posterity talking bad grammar.

I will sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me.

If a man be gloomy let him keep to himself. No one has the right to go croaking about society, or what is worse, looking as if he stifled grief.

If you are not very clever, you should be conciliatory.

Ignorance never settles a question.

In a progressive country change is constant; and the great question is not whether you should resist change which is inevitable, but whether that change should be carried out in deference to the manners, the customs, the laws and the traditions of a people, or whether it should be carried out in deference to abstract principles, and arbitrary and general doctrines.

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor.

In politics, nothing is contemptible.

Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man.

It destroys one's nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being.

It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.

It is knowledge that influences and equalizes the social condition of man; that gives to all, however different their political position, passions which are in common, and enjoyments which are universal.

It is well-known what a middleman is: he is a man who bamboozles one party and plunders the other.

Justice is truth in action.

Life is too short to be small.

Like all great travelers I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.

Little things affect little minds.

Man is a being born to believe. And if no church comes forward with its title-deeds of truth to guide him, he will find altars and idols in his own heart and his own imagination.

Man is not a rational animal. He is only truly good or great when he acts from passion.

Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.

Moderation is the centre wherein all philosophies, both human and divine, meet.

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.

Most people die with their music still locked up inside them.

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.

Nationality is the miracle of political independence; race is the principle of physical analogy.

Nature has given us two ears but only one mouth.

Nature is more powerful than education; time will develop everything.

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth.

Never complain and never explain.

Never have fools for friends; they are no use.

News is that which comes from the North, East, West and South, and if it comes from only one point on the compass, then it is a class publication and not news.

Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage.

No government can be long secure without formidable opposition.

No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home.

Nobody is forgotten, when it is convenient to remember him.

Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose.

Nowadays, manners are easy and life is hard.

Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.

Nurture your minds with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic makes heroes.

O Music! Miraculous art! A blast of thy trumpet and millions rush forward to die; a peal of thy organ and uncounted nations sink down to pray.

One of the hardest things in this world is to admit you are wrong. And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission.

Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.

Protection is not a principle, but an expedient.

Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.

Real politics are the possession and distribution of power.

Something unpleasant is coming when men are anxious to tell the truth.

Success is the child of audacity.

Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.

The difference between a misfortune and a calamity? If Gladstone fell into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, it would be a calamity.

The fool wonders, the wise man asks.

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.

The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.

The Jews are a nervous people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have taken a toll.

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.

The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.

The more you are talked about the less powerful you are.

The pursuit of science leads only to the insoluble.

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.

The sense of existence is the greatest happiness.

The Services in war time are fit only for desperadoes but, in peace, are fit only for fools.

The world is governed by far different personages than what is imagined by those not behind the scenes.

The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.

There can be no economy where there is no efficiency.

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

There is moderation even in excess.

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honor.

There is no education like adversity.

There is no index of character so sure as the voice.

There is no waste of time in life like that of making explanations.

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.

Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time.

Time is the great physician.

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.

To govern men, you must either excel them in their accomplishments, or despise them.

To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder.

Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends.

Variety is the mother of Enjoyment.

We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.

We are indeed a nation of shopkeepers.

We live in an age when to be young and indifferent can no longer be synonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The claims of the Future are represented by suffering millions; and the Youth of a Nation are the trustees of Posterity.

We make our own fortunes and we call them fate.

What is crime amongst the multitude, is only vice among the few.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.

When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire from the world.

When I want to read a novel, I write one.

When little is done, little is said; silence is the mother of truth.

When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.

Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.

Where knowledge ends, religion begins.

With words we govern men.

Without publicity there can be no public support, and without public support every nation must decay.

Without tact you can learn nothing.

Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.

You have heard me accused me of being a flatterer. It is true. I am a flatterer. I have found it useful. Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.

You know who critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.

You must possess, at the same time, the habit of communicating and the habit of listening. The union is rather rare, but irresistible.

You will find as you grow older that courage is the rarest of all qualities to be found in public men.

You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is less valuable, and your freedom less complete.

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.

Categories: Benjamin Disraeli, Quotes of the day

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Observation of the day

Published Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 9:48 AM EST
Dec 20 2013

So we're dealing with the "free speech" stuff again.

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment guarantees that the government can't control your speech.

It doesn't guarantee you freedom from the consequences of your speech.

The government won't punish you for posting on Facebook that your wife's new Christmas dress makes her ass look fat.

It doesn't have to.


"I'll tell you who I feel sorry for, folks... A&E. With this controversy, they may have just lost Duck Dynasty's massive black and gay audience."
-Stephen Colbert

Categories: Colbert Report, KGB Opinion, Observations, Stephen Colbert, Video

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Quotes of the day: Moss Hart

Published Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 6:01 AM EST
Dec 20 2013

Moss Hart (October 24, 1904 - December 20, 1961) was a celebrated and commercially successful playwright, collaborating with fellow writer George S. Kaufman on works like Once in a Lifetime and the Pulitzer Prize-winning You Can't Take It With You. Hart was also a stage director and film screenwriter, having penned Judy Garland's A Star Is Born. (Click here for full biography.com article)


A playwright must have the courage to make mistakes.

A sharp sense of the ironic can be the equivalent of the faith that moves mountains. Far more quickly than reason or logic, irony can penetrate rage and puncture self-pity.

Boredom is the keynote of poverty... for where there is no money there is no change of any kind, not of scene or of routine.

Charity in the theater begins and ends with those who have a play opening within a week of one's own.

He's the kind of fellow I'd be if I were a Jew, isn't he?

I have a pet theory of my own, probably invalid, that the theatre is an inevitable refuge of the unhappy child.

I have had many successes and many failures in my life. My successes have always been for different reasons, but my failures have always been for the same reason: I said yes when I meant no.

Nobody bores any man as much as an unhappy female.

Nothing is immutable. The logic of one year is a folly of the next.

One begins with two people on a stage, and one of them had better say something pretty damn quick.

Playwriting, like begging in India, is an honorable but humbling profession.

Poor people know poor people, and rich people know rich people. It is one of the few things La Rochefoucauld did not say, but then La Rochefoucauld never lived in the Bronx.

Self-deception is sometimes as necessary a tool as a crowbar.

So far as I know, anything worth hearing is not usually uttered at seven o'clock in the morning; and if it is, it will generally be repeated at a more reasonable hour for a larger and more wakeful audience.

The self-hatred that destroys is the waste of unfulfilled promise.

The theatre breeds its own kind of cruelty, and its sadism takes on a keener edge since it can be enjoyed under the innocent guise of critical judgment.

There is nothing like tasting the grit of fear for rediscovering that the umbilical cord is made of piano wire.

There's nothing the matter with Hollywood that a good earthquake couldn't cure.

You'd be surprised how many kings are only a queen with a moustache.

Categories: Moss Hart, Quotes of the day

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A whole lot of stupid

Published Thursday, December 19, 2013 @ 1:03 AM EST
Dec 19 2013

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen, and quotes about hydrogen and stupidity.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
-Bertrand Russell

A TV program can never be worse than its viewers; for the more stupid it is, the more stupid they are to watch it.
-Clive James

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

Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain.
-Friedrich von Schiller

Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package. How efficient of you.
-J. Michael Straczynski

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
-Victor Hugo

Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.
-Hedy Lamarr

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Avaritia Facit Bardus. (Greed makes you stupid.)
-(Credo of refdesk.com)

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

Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization.
-Jon Bentley

Complete masculinity and stupidity are often indistinguishable.
-H.L. Mencken

Conspiracy theories depend on the perpetrators being endlessly clever. I think you'll find the facts also work if you assume everyone is endlessly stupid.
-Brian E. Moore

Contrary to what people may say, there's no upper limit to stupidity.
-Stephen Colbert

Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.
-Edwin H. Land

Darwin's Blade: All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually stupidity. (corollary to Occam's Razor)
-Dan Simmons

Doing something stupid once is just plain stupid. Doing something stupid twice is a philosophy.
-Dan O'Neill

Early risers are conceited in the morning and stupid in the afternoon.
-Rose Henniker Heaton

Earnestness is just stupidity sent to college.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Education makes us more stupid than the brutes. A thousand voices call to us on every hand, but our ears are stopped with wisdom.
-Jean Giraudoux

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
-Frank Leahy

Freedom means the right to be stupid.
-Penn Jillette

From stupidity there is always something to be learned, but it's always the same thing: don't be stupid.
-Robert M. Adams

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
-Elbert Hubbard

Good generally conquers evil. Unless, of course, good is stupid.

Human beings can always be relied upon to assert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.
-Dean Koontz

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.
-Edith Sitwell

I believe in equality. Equality for everybody. No matter how stupid they are or how superior I am to them.
-Steve Martin

I don't care what people think. People are stupid.
-Charles Barkley

I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.
-Henrik Ibsen

I don't think for a moment that Americans are inherently more stupid or brain-dead than anyone else. It's just that they are routinely provided with conditions that spare them the need to think, so they have got out of the habit.
-Bill Bryson

I have never come across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity. Moral people, as they are termed, are simple beasts.
-Oscar Wilde

I know your little fourth grade teacher said there are no stupid questions. She was wrong. This is the Internet.

I like to think of my behavior in the Sixties as a "learning experience." Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I've done as a "learning experience." It makes me feel less stupid.
-P.J. O'Rourke

I made a pact with myself a long time ago: Never watch anything stupider than you. It's helped me a lot.
-Bette Midler

I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.
-Dorothy Parker

I think the problem with people like this (Sarah Palin) is that they are so stupid, that they have no idea how stupid they are.
-John Cleese

I think we can agree racial prejudice is stupid. Because if you spend time with someone from another race and really get to know them, you can find other reasons to hate them.
-Bernadette Luckett

I'll take crazy over stupid any day.
-Joss Whedon

I'm not implying you are stupid. I observed your behavior, formulated a hypothesis, then tested and confirmed that hypothesis by listening to you. You are stupid. (Internet post)

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

If honesty really is the best policy then why don't people appreciate it when I tell them how stupid they are?
-Olivia Ramsey

If it's stupid, but it works, it's not stupid.

If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
-Will Rogers

If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
-P.J. O'Rourke

If wicked actions are atoned for only in the next world, stupid ones are only atoned for in this.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

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

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 fact, when you get right down to it, almost every explanation Man came up with for anything until about 1926 was stupid.
-Dave Barry

In nature, stupidity gets you killed. In the workplace, it gets you fired. In politics, it gets you re-elected.
-Bill VanRemmen

In science, it doesn't matter if you're wrong, as long as you're not stupid. In business, it doesn't matter if you're stupid, so long as you're not wrong.

In view of the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity.
-Dean Acheson

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
-George Bernard Shaw

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is so pleasant to come across people more stupid than ourselves. We love them at once for being so.
-Jerome K. Jerome

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

It's a sad and stupid thing to have to proclaim yourself a revolutionary just to be a decent man.
-David Harris

It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful.
-Anton Szandor LaVey

Let us say that I despise stupidity. Especially when it masquerades as virtue.
-Miguel de Cervantes

Life is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid.
-John Wayne

Like most intellectuals, he is immensely stupid.
-Marquise de Merteuil

Many learned persons have read themselves stupid.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

McLuhanism and the media have broken the back of the book business; they've freed people from the shame of not reading. They've rationalized becoming stupid and watching television.
-Pauline Kael

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
-Bertrand Russell

Money tends to make you stupid.
-H. Ross Perot

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But remember, any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. Think about it. People aren't out to get you, they're just stupid.
-Jane Espenson

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume your opponent is the ignorant one- until you can show it isn't you.
-M.N. Plano

Never underestimate the power of a lot of stupid people working in the same company.
-Karen Boucher

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Nothing could be more stupid than for the communications commission to give to people who handle the means of broadcasting the inventing of what to broadcast, and then, disturbed at the poor quality, to worry about censorship.
-Paul Goodman

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.
-C.S. Lewis

Obedience to public authority ought not to be based either on ignorance or stupidity.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

On some deeper level, science fiction writers truly are cultural allies of scientists. We have a whole lot of the same enemies, and anyone who wants to hurt them, wants to hurt us. Also, we both get all depressed when we see stupid people being happy.
-Bruce Sterling

Once the XFL was canceled for not being stupid enough, it was clear that America's internal enemies had already triumphed.
-P.J. O'Rourke

One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
-Bertrand Russell

Only in Britain could it be thought a defect to be "too clever by half." The probability is that too many people are too stupid by three-quarters.
-John Major

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.
-Heinrich Heine

Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.
-Carl Sagan

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
-Bertrand Russell

Politics is about compromises... really stupid compromises.
-Bill Maher

Posterity! Why should people be less stupid tomorrow than they are today?
-Jules Renard

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

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things... a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.
-Dee Hock

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

Some fellows get credit for being conservative when they are only stupid.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

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

Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.
-Stephen Vizinczey

Stupid people shouldn't breed.

Stupid people surround themselves with smart people. Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them.
-Aaron Sorkin

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation.
-Robert A. Heinlein

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

Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it.
-Pope John Paul II

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

Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere. (sign)

Stupidity is replicating itself at an enormous rate. The person who stands up and says, "This is stupid," either is asked to "behave" or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful, "Yes, we know! Isn't it terrific!"
-Frank Zappa

Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Stupidity, thy name is the Texas House of Representatives.
-Molly Ivins

Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.
-Sloan Wilson

The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.
-Will Rogers

The better the actor the more stupid he is.
-Truman Capote

The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing.
-Gamel Abdel Nasser

The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
-Art Spander

The hard part about being a bartender is figuring out who is drunk and who is just stupid.
-Richard Braunstein

The initial objective of problem solving is not to solve the problem but to keep from doing something stupid.
-Ron Evans

The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action.
-A. Kindsvater

The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

The problem with the world is there are too many stupid people and nobody to eat 'em.
-Carlos Mencia

The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity and until they do (and find the cure) all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.
-Richard P. Feynman

The stupid have an answer for every question.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
-Thomas Szasz

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

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

The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are.
-Thomas Szasz

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
-Harlan Ellison

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering. (From the TV series Dr. Who.)

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
-Gustave Flaubert

The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives.
-Lois McMaster Bujold

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 no stupid questions, but there a lot of inquisitive idiots.
-Larry Kersten, PhD

There are only two ways by which to rise in this world, either by one's own industry or by the stupidity of others.
-Jean de la Bruyere

There are some frauds so well conducted that it would be stupidity not to be deceived by them.
-Charles Caleb Colton

There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.
-Frank Zappa

There is no limit to stupidity. Space itself is said to be bounded by its own curvature, but stupidity continues beyond infinity.
-Gene Wolfe

There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.
-Robertson Davies

There is no sin except stupidity.
-Oscar Wilde

There is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
-G.K. Chesterton

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
-Gustave Flaubert

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

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

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

When you argue stupid, you campaign stupid. When you campaign stupid, you win stupid. And when you win stupid, you govern stupid.
-David Frum

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing it is always from the noblest motive.
-Oscar Wilde

With stupidity and sound digestion man may front much.
-Thomas Carlyle

You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.
-P.J. O'Rourke

You can be sincere and still be stupid.

You can't fix stupid.
-Ron White

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.
-Robert A. Heinlein

You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.
-Charles de Gaulle

Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, drunkenness sobered, but stupidity lasts forever.

Categories: Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Saki (H.H. Munro)

Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 6:45 AM EST
Dec 18 2013

Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 - November 13, 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H.H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and Kipling, his work influenced A.A. Milne, Noël Coward, and P.G. Wodehouse. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

Saki was one of the authors presented by my high school English teacher, Ira Handelsman. He had a wonderful method of insuring his students were familiar with the material: he read the stories, aloud, to the class. I vividly recall his presentation of Sredni Vashtar, which, at least in my memory, was as riveting as this performance by Tom Baker:

Ira did not have an English accent, but he had precise diction and a voice perhaps best described in contemporary terms as serious NPR announcer-ish. Even the densest of jocks in the class fell silent as the story continued. At its conclusion, Ira received, if not applause, several grunts of approval.

Thus began my appreciation of H.H. Munro.

And my dislike of ferrets.


A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation.

A woman who takes her husband about with her everywhere is like a cat that goes on playing with a mouse long after she's killed it.

Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts.

All decent people live beyond their incomes; those who aren't respectable live beyond other people's; a few gifted individuals manage to do both.

Children are given to us to discourage our better emotions.

Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance.

Every reformation must have its victims. You can't expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal's return.

He is one of those persons who would be enormously improved by death.

His socks compelled one's attention without losing one's respect.

I always say beauty is only sin deep.

I hate babies. They're so human.

I hate posterity- it's so fond of having the last word.

I love Americans, but not when they try to talk French. What a blessing it is that they never try to talk English.

I think she must have been very strictly brought up, she's so desperately anxious to do the wrong thing correctly.

I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.

In baiting a mouse trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.

Never be a pioneer. It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.

People talk vaguely about the innocence of a little child, but they take mighty good care not to let it out of their sight for twenty minutes.

People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything but against something.

Poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up.

The fashion just now is a Roman Catholic frame of mind with an Agnostic conscience: you get the mediaeval picturesqueness of the one with the modern conveniences of the other.

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened.

There is no outlet for demonstrating your feelings towards people whom you simply loathe. That is really the crying need of our modern civilization.

Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing indiscretions of other people.

To be among people who are smothered in furs when one hasn't any oneself makes one want to break most of the Commandments.

To have reached thirty is to have failed in life.

Women and elephants never forget an injury.

You can't expect a boy to be vicious till he's been to a good school.

Categories: H.H. Munro, Ira Handelsman, Saki, Tom Baker, Video, YouTube

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Lady Lucia

Published Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 5:25 PM EST
Dec 17 2013

We said goodbye to Lucy (Lady Lucia) today, less than two months from her 16th birthday.

Since March 4- when she developed focal seizures- our schedule was pretty much dictated by her.

When Lucy decided it was time to wake up, we woke up. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've slept past 6:30 am in the past ten months.

The household schedule was arranged so that someone was always around at 9 am and 9 pm to administer her seizure medication. And we never left her alone for more than four hours.

From 7 pm to about 10 pm, her place was on the living room couch, where she'd watch tv and snooze. When she thought it was time to go to bed, we went to bed. And the next day, we'd do it all over again.

Things changed on Sunday. She didn't want to eat, and was only mildly interested in the cheese in which we wrapped her drugs. She spent the entire day under my desk. Her occasional excursions to survey the back yard stopped.

Yesterday she stopped drinking water and making her bathroom trips.

This morning, she woke us up at 4:30 am. I took her downstairs and put her out in the yard with the other dogs. Instead of her usual morning constitutional- walking the perimeter of the yard, inspecting the fence- she laid down in the snow at the end of the patio and didn't move. She didn't even correct the Shih Tzu puppy when the little one started barking at her and licking her face.

I picked her up and brought her inside. She sat stoically next to my chair, her old, cloudy eyes unfocused and yet looking at something. I said her name, softly. She wagged her tail, but her gaze remained steady.

I'd seen that intent, focused stare before, and my heart sank. She was concentrating on the next place, her destination. And it was time.

She was quiet during the car ride. She wagged her tail when the lady in the white coat entered the room.

She gave us sloppy kisses. Her mom held her close, and, with a relieved sigh, we felt her leave.


Dogs' lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you're going to lose a dog, and there's going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can't support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There's such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.

When you have dogs, you witness their uncomplaining acceptance of suffering, their bright desire to make the most of life in spite of the limitations of age and disease, their calm awareness of the approaching end when their final hours come. They accept death with a grace that I hope I will one day be brave enough to muster.

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family, Passages

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Ho ho ho...

Published Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 12:08 PM EST
Dec 17 2013

Granddaughter Joelle and Santa meet for the first time. Both seem favorably impressed.

Categories: Holidays, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: William Safire

Published Tuesday, December 17, 2013 @ 4:32 AM EST
Dec 17 2013

William Lewis Safire (December 17, 1929 - September 27, 2009) was an American author, columnist, journalist, and presidential speechwriter. He was perhaps best known as a long-time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and the author of "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics from its inception.

His list of grammar and usage rules, which appeared in the New York Times on November 4, 1979, was later published in book form and has been widely distributed- usually without attribution- on the Internet.


  • Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
  • Don't use no double negatives.
  • Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
  • Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  • No sentence fragments.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  • Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
  • If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • Eschew dialect, irregardless.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Writers should always hyphenate between syllables and avoid un-necessary hyph-ens.
  • Write all adverbial forms correct.
  • Don't use contractions in formal writing.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  • It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
  • Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
  • Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'"
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Safire

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Quotes of the day: George Santayana

Published Monday, December 16, 2013 @ 6:19 AM EST
Dec 16 2013

Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, known as George Santayana (December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American, although he always kept a valid Spanish passport. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. At the age of 48, Santayana left his position at Harvard and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.

A man's hatred of his own condition no more helps to improve it than hatred of other people tends to improve them.

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.

America is a young country with an old mentality.

America is the greatest of opportunities and the worst of influences.

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.

Facts are all accidents. They might have all been different.

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.

Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.

Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.

Habit is stronger than reason.

Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.

If you bravely make the best of a crazy world, eternity is full of champions that will defend you.

In solitude it is possible to love mankind; in the world, for one who knows the world, there can be nothing but secret or open war.

Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.

It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.

It is not society's fault that most men seem to miss their vocation. Most men have no vocation.

Life is a succession of second bests.

Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.

Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste, nor condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.

Music is essentially useless, as life is.

Oaths are the fossils of piety.

One Englishman- an idiot, two Englishmen- a sporting event, three Englishmen- an empire.

Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.

Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.

Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled.

Society is like the air, necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.

That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.

The family is one of nature's masterpieces.

The idea that horrors are required to give zest to life and interest to art is the idea of savages, men of no experience worth mentioning, and of merely servile, limited sensibilities. Don't tolerate it.

The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations.

The mass of mankind is divided into two classes- the Sancho Panzas who have a sense for reality, but no ideals; and, the Don Quixotes, with a sense for ideals, but mad.

The mediocrity of everything in the great world of today is simply appalling. We live in intellectual slums.

The need of exercise is a modern superstition, invented by people who ate too much and had nothing to think about. Athletics doesn't make anybody either long-lived or useful.

The people with whom I agree frighten me, and I frighten those with whom I naturally sympathize.

The workings of great institutions is mainly the result of a vast mass of routine, petty malice, self-interest, carelessness and sheer mistake. Only a residual fraction is thought.

The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.

There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text. The world is one of those books.

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.

To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.

To fight is a radical instinct; if men have nothing else to fight over they will fight over words, fancies, or women, or they will fight because they dislike each other's looks, or because they have met walking in opposite directions.

To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood.

Wealth is dismal and poverty cruel unless both are festive.

Wealth, religion, military victory have more rhetorical than efficacious worth.

When men and women agree, it is only in the conclusions; their reasons are always different.

Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.

Categories: George Santayana, Quotes of the day

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Clearing off the desktop...

Published Sunday, December 15, 2013 @ 2:42 PM EST
Dec 15 2013

Pumpkin and Chloe share a bed.
In related news, Hell has frozen over.










I don't think granddaughter Joelle is buying
the whole dancing sugarplums visions thing.

Categories: Cats, Cleaning off the desktop, Congress, KGB Family, Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: J. Paul Getty

Published Sunday, December 15, 2013 @ 6:20 AM EST
Dec 15 2013

Jean Paul Getty (December 15, 1892 - June 6, 1976) was an Anglo-American industrialist. He founded the Getty Oil Company, and in 1957 Fortune magazine named him the richest living American; the 1966 Guinness Book of Records named him as the world's richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion (approximately $8.6 billion in 2012). At his death, he was worth more than $2 billion (approximately $8.2 billion in 2012). A book published in 1996 ranked him as the 67th richest American who ever lived, based on his wealth as a percentage of the gross national product. Preceding him in death by two months, Howard Hughes' estate was listed at 2.5 billion. But while Hughes had engaged in a great deal of philanthropy, despite his wealth, Getty was known for being a miser. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A billion dollars is not what it used to be.

A lasting relationship with a woman is only possible if you are a business failure.

Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil.

Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you're just sitting still?

I buy when other people are selling.

I'd rather have one percent of the effort of a hundred men than one hundred percent of my own effort.

If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars.

If you owe the bank a hundred dollars, that's your problem. If you owe the bank a hundred million dollars, that's the bank's problem.

In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.

Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.

Money isn't everything but it sure keeps you in touch with your children.

My father said, 'You must never try to make all the money that's in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won't have many deals.'

No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or 'get rich' in business by being a conformist.

People who don't respect money don't have any.

Some people find oil. Others don't.

The beauty one can find in art is one of the pitifully few real and lasting products of human endeavor.

The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.

The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights.

There are one hundred men seeking security to one able man who is willing to risk his fortune.

Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even, the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying.

Categories: J. Paul Getty, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Margaret Chase Smith

Published Saturday, December 14, 2013 @ 5:11 AM EST
Dec 14 2013

Margaret Madeline Chase Smith (December 14,1897 - May 29, 1995) was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, she served as a U.S Representative (1940-1949) and a U.S. Senator (1949-1973) from Maine. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress, and the first woman to represent Maine in either. A moderate Republican, she is perhaps best remembered for her 1950 speech, "Declaration of Conscience," in which she criticized the tactics of McCarthyism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.

Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others.

Freedom unexercised may be freedom forfeited.

I believe that in our constant search for security we can never gain any peace of mind until we are secure in our own soul.

I don't like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity.

I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.

In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person.

Leadership is not manifested by coercion, even against the resented. Greatness is not manifested by unlimited pragmatism, which places such a high premium on the end justifying any means and any measures.

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk.

One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little. They act impulsively without thinking.

Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.

Smears are not only to be expected but fought. Honor is to be earned, not bought.

The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism-
The right to criticize.
The right to hold unpopular beliefs.
The right to protest.
The right of independent thought.

We should not permit tolerance to degenerate into indifference.

When people keep telling you that you can't do a thing, you kind of like to try it.

Our freedoms today are not so much in danger because people are consciously trying to take them away from us as they are in danger because we forget to use them.

The preservation of freedom is in the hands of the people themselves- not of the government.

Categories: Margaret Chase Smith, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Samuel Gompers

Published Friday, December 13, 2013 @ 12:26 AM EST
Dec 13 2013

Samuel Gompers (January 27, 1850 - December 13, 1924) was an English-born American cigar maker who became a labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and served as the organization's president from 1886 to 1894 and from 1895 until his death in 1924. He promoted harmony among the different craft unions that comprised the AFL, trying to minimize jurisdictional battles. He promoted "thorough" organization and collective bargaining to secure shorter hours and higher wages, the first essential steps, he believed, to emancipating labor. He also encouraged the AFL to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies." During World War I, Gompers and the AFL openly supported the war effort, attempting to avoid strikes and boost morale while raising wage rates and expanding membership. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Do I believe in arbitration? I do. But not in arbitration between the lion and the lamb, in which the lamb is in the morning found inside the lion.

Doing for people what they can and ought to do for themselves is a dangerous experiment. In the last analysis, the welfare of the workers depends upon their own initiative. Whatever is done under the guise of philanthropy or social morality which in any way lessens initiative is the greatest crime that can be committed against the toilers. Let social busybodies and professional 'public morals experts' in their fads reflect upon the perils they rashly invite under this pretense of social welfare.

I am very suspicious of the activities of governmental agencies.

I do not think American labor is engaged in a class struggle and I do not think American labor believes it is engaged in a class struggle, because in our country we have no such thing and I hope never will have.

I love my liberty, and imprisonment would be, to say the least, very disagreeable to me; but there are some things that are even less desirable, among them one's loss of self-respect and the loss of inherent and lawful constitutional right

Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.

No race of barbarians ever existed yet offered up children for money.

One fact stands out in bold relief in the history of man's attempts for betterment. That is that when compulsion is used, only resentment is aroused, and the end is not gained. Only through moral suasion and appeal to man's reason can a movement succeed.

Show me the country that has no strikes and I'll show you the country in which there is no liberty.

That which we call freedom, that which we call liberty, are not tangible things. They are not handed to any people on a silver platter. They are principles, they are questions of the spirit, and the people must have a consciousness that they not only have the term liberty and freedom, but they must have the power and the right to exercise these great attributes of life.

The industrial field is littered with more corpses of organizations destroyed by the damning influences of partisan politics than from all other causes combined.

The man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day.

The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.

There is not a right too long denied to which we do not aspire in order to achieve; there is not a wrong too long endured that we are not determined to abolish.

Time is the most valuable thing on earth: time to think, time to act, time to extend our fraternal relations, time to become better men, time to become better women, time to become better and more independent citizens.

We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more. And we shall never cease to demand more until we have received the results of our labor.

What does labor want? We want more school houses and less jails. More books and less guns. More learning and less vice. More leisure and less greed. More justice and less revenge.

When a man puts a pistol to my head and tells me to deliver, there is no arbitration.

Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected.

Why should the wealth of the country be stored in banks and elevators while the idle workman wanders homeless about the streets and the idle loafers who hoard the gold only to spend it on riotous living are rolling about in fine carriages from which they look out on peaceful meetings and call them riots?

Categories: Quotes of the day, Samuel Gompers

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Chinese Sheltie

Published Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 6:28 AM EST
Dec 12 2013

Sassy and Riley want me to tell the Shih Tzu puppy she's not really a Chinese Sheltie, but we're not going to break it to her until she's a bit older...

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family

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Quotes of the day: Gustave Flaubert

Published Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 5:43 AM EST
Dec 12 2013

(Today is also the birthday of Frank Sinatra.)

Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 - May 8, 1880) was an influential French writer widely considered one of the greatest novelists in Western literature. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. The celebrated short story writer Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A thing derided is a thing dead; a laughing man is stronger than a suffering man.

Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live.

Exuberance is better than taste.

Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.

I don't believe that happiness is possible, but I think tranquility is.

Love art. Of all lies, it is the least untrue.

My deplorable mania for analysis exhausts me. I doubt everything, even my doubt.

Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises in which we have failed.

Of all the icy blasts that blow on love, a request for money is the most chilling.

One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.

One must not always think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form.

Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.

Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.

Sadness is a vice.

That man has missed something who has never left a brothel at sunrise feeling like throwing himself into the river out of pure disgust.

The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him.

The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.

There is no truth. There is only perception.

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.

What is beautiful is moral, that is all there is to it.

You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.

You need a high degree of corruption or a very big heart to love absolutely everything.

Categories: Gustave Flaubert, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Fiorella LaGuardia

Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013 @ 3:01 AM EST
Dec 11 2013

Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (December 11, 1882 - September 20, 1947) was the 99th Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945 after having been previously elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922 through 1930. Irascible, energetic, and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the three or four greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet tall, he was called "the Little Flower" (Fiorello is Italian for "little flower").

LaGuardia, a Republican who appealed across party lines, was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage from LaGuardia's foes. LaGuardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine, and reestablished merit employment in place of patronage jobs.

(Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I am certain that the good Lord never intended grapes to be made into grape jelly.

I think the reporter should get his facts straight before he distorts them.

It makes no difference if I burn my bridges behind me- I never retreat.

Let's drive the bums out of town.

My generation has failed miserably. We've failed because of lack of courage and vision. It requires more courage to keep the peace than to go to war.

Politics is very much like taxes- everybody is against them, or everybody is for them as long as they don't apply to him.

Prohibition cannot be enforced for the simple reason that the majority of American people do not want it enforced and are resisting its enforcement.

The Devil is easy to identify. He appears when you're tired and makes a very reasonable request which you know you shouldn't grant.

There is no Democratic or Republican way of cleaning the streets.

To the victor belongs the responsibility of good government.

We have had two chickens in every pot, two cars in every garage, and now we have two headaches for every aspirin.

When I make a mistake, it's a beaut!

Categories: Fiorello LaGuardia, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Merton

Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ 12:32 AM EST
Dec 10 2013

Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968), was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)


Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

May God prevent us from becoming "right-thinking men"- that is to say, men who agree perfectly with their own police.

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.

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

Teenagers have no monopoly (on adolescent behavior), except insofar as we are in fact a teenager society- a society that likes to play "chicken," not with fast cars, but with ballistic missiles.

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.

The least of the work of learning is done in the classrooms.

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.

The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have- for their usefulness.

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of men and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.

We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.

Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.

When ambition ends, happiness begins.

I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other people conform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my own body obey me.

Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.

If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.

Everybody makes fun of virtue, which by now has, as its primary meaning, an affectation of prudery practiced by hypocrites and the impotent.

We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes...

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Merton

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Quotes of the day: Evan Essar

Published Monday, December 09, 2013 @ 6:02 AM EST
Dec 09 2013

Evan Esar was a writer and compiler of books of humor. (Click here for full New York Times obituary.)


A hamburger by any other name costs twice as much.

A husband is like a fire, he goes out when unattended.

A signature always reveals a man's character- and sometimes even his name.

A vacation is like love: anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and Jill a wealthy widow.

Character is what you have left when you've lost everything you can lose.

Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does.

Hope is tomorrow's veneer over today's disappointment.

If you think there is safety in numbers, try playing roulette.

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

Most new books are forgotten within a year, especially by those who borrow them.

Never trust a woman who tells you her real age; she's liable to tell you the truth about anything.

No matter how much you nurse a grudge it won't get better.

One ounce of example is worth a pound of advice.

Romance begins with a prince kissing an angel, and ends with a bald headed man yawning at a fat woman.

Shakespeare murdered Hamlet, and a great many Hamlets have murdered Shakespeare.

The best time to relax is when you don't have time to relax.

The best way to spoil a good story is by sticking to the facts.

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

The girl with a future avoids a man with a past.

The trouble with the family is that children grow out of childhood, but parents never grow out of parenthood.

We can't do much about the length of our lives, but we can do plenty about it's width and depth.

Writing things down is the best secret of a good memory.

You can never get rid of a bad temper by losing it.

Categories: Evan Essar, Quotes of the day

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Cleaning off the desktop

Published Sunday, December 08, 2013 @ 10:01 AM EST
Dec 08 2013

It's surprising what pops up on Google...

It's U.S. Patent #7,249,057 B2, issued July 24, 2007: "Product Information Supplying Method, Product Information Acquiring Method, Product Information Registering Method And Recording Medium," and the description is equally enlightening:

"There is provided a product information supply method for supplying a user who desires to purchase a product with proper information about a related product that could be bought in combination with the product, so that the user is assisted in purchasing products. Registration of combination information to be supplied to the user is made with a database managed by a service provider server by a person who has bought the above product by means of a registration page so that a lot of combination information is accumulated in the database. The registered information includes not only information specifying a combinable product but also information about the effects of the combination and the ways of using products in combination. The database is searched in response to inquiry information from the user who makes reference to a page of products. Thus, corresponding combination information is extracted from the database and is sent to the user."

I'm no expert in intellectual property law, but- this is something patentable? A database of related products, with the added twist of returning information on "effects of the combination and the ways of using products in combination." You mean like peanut butter and jelly? Gin and tonic? Water and Alka-Seltzer tablets?

Even more puzzling is the reference to one of my old DEC Professional DCL Dialogue columns. It deals with referrals and recommendations for computer hardware and software, but its relevance to this patent eludes me. You can read the column here.

Other stuff that passed across the desktop this week:




Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Computers, Holidays, Miscellany, Star Trek, Technology, WTF?

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Quotes of the day: Golda Meir

Published Sunday, December 08, 2013 @ 12:02 AM EST
Dec 08 2013

(Today is also the birthday of James Thurber)

Golda Meir (May 3, 1898 - December 8, 1978) was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A leader who doesn't hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.

Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short.

Being seventy is not a sin.

Don't be humble... you're not that great.

Even paranoids have real enemies.

Fashion is an imposition, a rein on freedom.

I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.

Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!

Men who have reached and passed forty-five, have a look as if waiting for the secret of the other world, and as if they were perfectly sure of having found out the secret of this.

Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome.

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you're aboard there's nothing you can do.

One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.

Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.

There's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse.

Those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either.

To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.

To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man.

What person with any sense likes himself? I know myself too well to like myself.

Whether women are better than men I cannot say- but I can say they are certainly no worse.

Women's Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It's the men who are discriminated against. They can't bear children. And no one's likely to do anything about that.

You can get used to anything if you have to, even feeling perpetually guilty.

You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.

Categories: Golda Meir, Quotes of the day

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Observation of the day

Published Saturday, December 07, 2013 @ 11:29 AM EST
Dec 07 2013

The pacifier changes, the sucking remains.
-The Covert Comic

Categories: Covert Comic, Observations

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Quotes of the day: Willa Cather

Published Saturday, December 07, 2013 @ 6:46 AM EST
Dec 07 2013

Willa Sibert Cather (December 7, 1873 - April 24, 1947) was an American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, in works such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and The Song of the Lark. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours (1922), a novel set during World War I. Cather grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska. She lived and worked in Pittsburgh for ten years, then at the age of 33 she moved to New York, where she lived for the rest of her life. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Desire is creation, is the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement.

Even in harmonious families there is this double life: the group life, which is the one we can observe in our neighbour's household, and, underneath, another- secret and passionate and intense- which is the real life that stamps the faces and gives character to the voices of our friends.

Give the people a new word and they think they have a new fact.

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.

It does not matter much whom we live with in this world, but it matters a great deal whom we dream of.

Love itself draws on a woman nearly all the bad luck in the world.

Men are all right for friends, but as soon as you marry them they turn into cranky old fathers, even the wild ones.

Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.

No one can build his security upon the nobleness of another person.

Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family- but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything.

Only the stupid and the phlegmatic should teach.

People can be lovers and enemies at the same time, you know.

Pittsburgh was even more vital, more creative, more hungry for culture than New York. Pittsburgh was the birthplace of my writing.

Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers.

Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Success is never so interesting as struggle.

The dead might as well try to speak to the living as the old to the young.

The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor.

The great pines stand at a considerable distance from each other. Each tree grows alone, murmurs alone, thinks alone. They do not intrude upon each other.

The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.

The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.

The world is always full of brilliant youth which fades into grey and embittered middle age: the first flowering takes everything. The great men are those who have developed slowly, or who have been able to survive the glamour of their early florescence and to go on learning from life.

There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.

When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them, as if their reason had left them.

When people ask me if it has been a hard or easy road, I always answer with the same quotation, the end is nothing, the road is all.

Where there is great love there are always miracles.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Willa Cather

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Quotes of the day: Baltasar Gracián

Published Friday, December 06, 2013 @ 3:07 AM EST
Dec 06 2013

Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ (January 8, 1601 - December 6, 1658) was a Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher. He was born in Belmonte, near Calatayud (Aragon). His proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man of honor should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.

A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

All victories breed hate.

Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.

Be master over yourself before you would be master over others.

Beauty and folly are generally companions.

Because the ignorant do not know themselves, they never know for what they are lacking. Some would be sages if they did not believe they were so already.

Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.

Better to be cheated by the price than by the merchandise.

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.

Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.

Fortune rarely accompanies anyone to the door.

Honorable beginnings should serve to awaken curiosity, not to heighten people's expectations. We are much better off when reality surpasses our expectations, and something turns out better than we thought it would.

Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.

If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.

Knowing how to keep a friend is more important than gaining a new one.

Many owe their greatness to their enemies. Flattery is fiercer than hatred, for hatred corrects the faults flattery had disguised.

Never compete with a man who has nothing to lose.

Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.

Not believing others implies that you yourself are deceitful. The liar suffers twice: he neither believes nor is believed.

Politeness and a sense of honor have this advantage: we bestow them on others without losing a thing.

Readiness is the mother of luck.

Ridicule is the subtlest form of revenge.

Some die because they feel everything, others because they feel nothing. Some are fools because they suffer no regrets, and others because they do.

The beautiful woman should break her mirror early.

The right kind of leisure is better than the wrong kind of work.

There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent that he cannot be excelled.

Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.

Those who want to look like hard workers give the impression that they aren't up to their jobs.

To overvalue something is a form of lying.

Trust the friends of today as though they will be the enemies of tomorrow.

Virtue alone is for real; all else is sham. Talent and greatness depend on virtue, not on fortune.

When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

Words are feminine; deeds are masculine.

You should avoid making yourself too clear even in your explanations.

Categories: Baltasar Gracián, Quotes of the day

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"There is no easy walk to freedom..."

Published Thursday, December 05, 2013 @ 7:25 PM EST
Dec 05 2013

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid icon, died December 5, 2013 following a series of lung infections. He was 95 years old. Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) party in the 1940s and led protests against the ruling apartheid regime, which restricted the basic rights of South Africa’s nonwhite population and barred their participation in government. His resistance to such oppressive policies earned him nearly three decades in prison, during which he became an international symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. Upon his release in 1990, Mandela helped negotiate an end to the apartheid system, and four years later he won election as the the first black president of South Africa. He retired from politics in 1999, but remained a global advocate for peace and social justice. (Click here for full article)


A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

Any man that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Lead from the back- and let others believe they are in front.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.

One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.

One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.

Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.

Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward.

Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

We must ensure that color, race and gender become only a God-given gift to each one of us and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords a special status to any.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.

I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Categories: Nelson Mandela

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Quotes of the day: Walt Disney

Published Thursday, December 05, 2013 @ 2:32 AM EST
Dec 05 2013

Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (December 5, 1901 - December 15, 1966) and his brother Roy co-founded Walt Disney Productions, which became one of the best-known motion-picture production companies in the world. Disney was an innovative animator and created the cartoon character Mickey Mouse. He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was the founder of theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World. (Click here for full biography.com article)


A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there.

All our dreams can come true- if we have the courage to pursue them.

All you've got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you'll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.

Childishness? I think it's the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor.

Do a good job. You don't have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work- then try to trump it.

Faith I have, in myself, in humanity, in the worthwhileness of the pursuits in entertainment for the masses. But wide awake, not blind faith, moves me.

Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time.

For every laugh, there should be a tear.

Girls bored me- they still do. I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I've ever known.

I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral.

I don't believe in playing down to children, either in life or in motion pictures. I didn't treat my own youngsters like fragile flowers, and I think no parent should.

I had a brother who I really envied because he was a mailman. But he's the one that had all the fun. He had himself a trailer, and he used to go out and go fishing, and he didn't worry about payrolls and stories and picture grosses or anything. And he was the happy one. I always said, 'He's the smart Disney.'

I have long felt that the way to keep children out of trouble is to keep them interested in things. Lecturing to children is no answer to delinquency. Preaching won't keep youngsters out of trouble, but keeping their minds occupied will.

It's a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

Laughter is America's most important export.

Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.

Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.

Never get bored or cynical. Yesterday is a thing of the past.

Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.

The special secret it seems to me is summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Courage, Confidence and Constancy. And the greatest of all is Confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.

To the youngsters of today, I say believe in the future, the world is getting better; there still is plenty of opportunity. Why, would you believe it, when I was a kid I thought it was already too late for me to make good at anything.

We're not trying to entertain the critics... I'll take my chances with the public.

When we do fantasy, we must not lose sight of reality.

Why worry? If you've done the very best you can, worrying won't make it better.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Walt Disney

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Carlyle

Published Wednesday, December 04, 2013 @ 12:07 AM EST
Dec 04 2013

Thomas Carlyle (December 5, 1795 - February 5, 1881) was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era. He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man lives by believing something; not by debating and arguing about many things.

A well-written Life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.

A word spoken in season, at the right moment, is the mother of ages.

Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.

All greatness is unconscious, or it is little and naught.

Be not the slave of Words.

Clever men are good, but they are not the best.

Democracy is, by the nature of it, a self-canceling business; and it gives in the long run a net result of zero.

Do nothing, only keep agitating, debating; and things will destroy themselves.

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires, - Necessity and Free Will.

For love is ever the beginning of Knowledge, as fire is of light.

If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, hear what he had to say, and make fun of him.

In every man's writings, the character of the writer must lie recorded.

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

Nature admits no lie.

Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die.

Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

The great law of culture is: Let each become all that he was created capable of being.

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.

The Public is an old woman. Let her maunder and mumble.

The three great elements of modern civilization, gunpowder, printing, and the Protestant religion.

The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something. The strongest, by dispensing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.

There are depths in man that go to the lowest hell, and heights that reach the highest heaven, for are not both heaven and hell made out of him, everlasting miracle and mystery that he is.

To a shower of gold most things are penetrable.

With stupidity and sound digestion man may front much.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Carlyle

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Observation of the day

Published Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 2:34 PM EST
Dec 03 2013

Be very, very careful what you put in that head because you will never, ever get it out.
-Thomas Cardinal Wolsey

Categories: Observations

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Christmas Future (redux)

Published Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 1:56 PM EST
Dec 03 2013

Categories: Leonard Bernstein, Star Trek, Technology, William Shatner

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Christmas Future

Published Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 6:06 AM EST
Dec 03 2013

(Paul Noth, The New Yorker)

Categories: Cartoons, Holidays, Technology, The New Yorker

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Quotes of the day: Jean-Luc Godard

Published Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 12:13 AM EST
Dec 03 2013

(Today is also the birthday of Joseph Conrad)

Jean-Luc Godard (b. December 3, 1930) is a French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic. He is often identified with the 1960s French film movement La Nouvelle Vague, or "New Wave". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.

All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.

American pictures usually have no subject, only a story. A pretty woman is not a subject. Julia Roberts doing this and that is not a subject.

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.

Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion.

Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.

Every edit is a lie.

First there was Greek civilization. Then there was the Renaissance. Now we're entering the Age of the Ass.

I pity the French Cinema because it has no money. I pity the American Cinema because it has no ideas.

I would never see a good movie for the first time on television.

It's not where you take things from- it's where you take them to.

Movies in Hollywood now, for the past 20 or 30 years, are made mainly by lawyers or agents.

My aesthetic is that of the sniper on the roof.

Objects exist and if one pays more attention to them than to people, it is precisely because they exist more than the people. Dead objects are still alive. Living people are often already dead.

Photography is truth. Cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.

Poetry is a game of loser-take-all.

Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.

The more one talks, the less the words mean.

The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea.

There is no such thing as intellectual property.

To be or not to be. That's not really a question.

To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body- both go together, they can't be separated.

Categories: Jean-Luc Godard, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ivan Illich

Published Monday, December 02, 2013 @ 12:02 AM EST
Dec 02 2013

Ivan Illich (September 4, 1926 - December 2, 2002) was an Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest, and "maverick social critic" of the institutions of contemporary Western culture and their effects on the provenance and practice of education, medicine, work, energy use, transportation, and economic development. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As enclosure by the lords increased national productivity by denying the individual peasant to keep a few sheep, so the encroachment of the loudspeaker has destroyed that silence which so far had given each man and woman his or her proper and equal voice. Unless you have access to a loudspeaker, you now are silenced.

At the moment of death I hope to be surprised.

Effective health care depends on self-care; this fact is currently heralded as if it were a discovery.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

Inevitably modern technology has polarized society. It has polluted the environment. It has disabled very simple native abilities and made people dependent on objects.

It is from your eye that I find myself.

It takes more time and effort and delicacy to learn the silence of a people than to learn its sounds.

Jesus was an anarchist savior. That's what the Gospels tell us.

Leadership does not depend on being right.

Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and that such machines force people to behave like machines.

Man must choose whether to be rich in things or in the freedom to use them.

Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn't organized to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.

Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting.

People need new tools to work with rather than new tools that work for them.

School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age.

School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.

Schooling, which we engage in and which supposedly creates equal opportunities, has become the unique, never-before-attempted way of dividing the whole society into classes. Everybody knows at which level of his twelve or sixteen years of schooling he has dropped out, and in addition knows what price tag is attached to the higher schooling he has gotten. It's a history of degrading the majority of people.

Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends on knowing that secret; that secrets can be known only in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags.

Societies in which most people depend for most of their goods and services on the personal whim, kindness, or skill of another are called underdeveloped, while those in which living has been transformed into a process of ordering from an all-encompassing store catalogue are called advanced.

To hell with the future. It's a man-eating idol.

Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.

We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation.

Categories: Ivan Illich, Quotes of the day

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Cleaning off the deskop

Published Sunday, December 01, 2013 @ 2:43 PM EST
Dec 01 2013

While the "War on Christmas" people are irritating, the no-tolerance, politically-correct clan are equally vexatious. I wrote this six years ago, and send it to people of the latter persuasion who irritate me:

I offer, without obligation -either explicit or implicit- my forthright felicitations and sincere wishes that the coming weeks, which may- dependent upon your unique and personal ideological perspective, encompass a series of deistically oriented and/or telluric events with which you may, or may not, at your sole and unilateral discretion, associate either substantial or inconsequential significance, transpire in a manner through which you achieve or transcend your expectations, should you possess them.

You weasels.

(KGB's Weasel Words All-Purpose December Holiday Card)






Categories: Cleaning off the desktop, Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: Rex Stout

Published Sunday, December 01, 2013 @ 6:41 AM EST
Dec 01 2013

(Note: Today is also the birthday of Woody Allen.)

Rex Todhunter Stout (December 1, 1886 - October 27, 1975) was an American writer noted for his detective fiction. Stout is best known as the creator of the larger-than-life fictional detective Nero Wolfe, described by reviewer Will Cuppy as "that Falstaff of detectives.". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lie isn't a lie if it's in reply to a question the questioner has no right to ask.

A man may debar nonsense from his library of reason, but not from the arena of his impulses.

A person who does not read cannot think. He may have good mental processes, but he has nothing to think about.

A pessimist gets nothing but pleasant surprises, an optimist nothing but unpleasant.

Any spoke will lead an ant to the hub.

As I understand it, a born executive is a guy who, when anything difficult or unexpected happens, yells for somebody to come and help him.

Dignities are like faces; no two are the same.

Genius is fine for the ignition spark, but to get there someone has to see that the radiator doesn't leak and no tire is flat.

I can dodge folly without backing into fear.

I cannot agree that mountain climbing is merely one manifestation of man's spiritual aspirations. I think instead it is a hysterical paroxysm of his infantile vanity.

I don't answer questions containing two or more unsupported assumptions.

I don't approve of open fires. You can't think, or talk or even make love in front of a fireplace. All you can do is stare at it.

I try to know what I need to know. I make sure to know what I want to know.

In a world that operates largely at random, coincidences are to be expected, but any one of them must always be mistrusted.

No one likes the authority of superior intellect.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.

One trouble with living beyond your deserved number of years is that there's always some reason to live another year.

The brain can be hoodwinked but not the stomach.

The minute those two little particles inside a woman's womb have joined together, billions of decisions have been made. A thing like that has to come from entropy.

The more you put in your brain, the more it will hold- if you have one.

There are only two kinds of books which you can write and be pretty sure you're going to make a living- cook books and detective stories.

There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.

There is only one object on earth that frightens me: a physicist working on a new trick.

To say that man is a reasoning animal is a very different thing than to say that most of man's decisions are based on his rational process. That I don't believe at all.

War doesn't mature men; it merely pickles them in the brine of disgust and dread.

We are all vainer of our luck than our merits.

What do I believe in? Belief means faith, and there's only one damn thing in the world I have any faith in. That's the idea of American democracy, because it seems to me so obvious that that's the only sensible way to run human affairs.

What good is an obscenity trial except to popularize literature?

When people's brains stop working, just go somewhere else.

Women don't require motives that are comprehensible to my intellectual processes.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rex Stout, Woody Allen

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