What are words for?
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear,simple,and wrong
H. L. Mencken
I do not question that the great austerity of manners that is observable in the United States arises,in the first instance,from religious faith… .its influence over the mind of woman is supreme,and women are the protectors of morals. There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is more respected than in America or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated…
In the United States the influence of religion is not confined to the manners,but it extends to the intelligence of the people…. Christianity,therefore reigns without obstacle,by universal consent; the consequence is,as I have before observed,that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate...
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good,and if America ever ceases to be good,America will cease to be great.
Alexis de Tocqueville,Democracy in America
The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.
Yes,I saw Twilight - my granddaughter made me watch it,she said it was the greatest vampire film ever. After the 'film' was over I wanted to smack her across her head with my shoe,but I do not want a (tell-all) book called Grannie Dearest written on me when I die. So instead I gave her a DVD of Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu (1922) and told her,'Now that's a vampire film!' And that goes for all of you! Watch Nosferatu instead!
You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe - when it knocked down our buildings,it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble.
Prince Charles,on the sometimes esoteric architecture of the modern London skyline
Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.
President Calvin Coolidge
I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people,unless it is directly related to our own national security.
President Gerald R Ford
What we had to do was set about investigating what was the truth and we had to be very careful about that because there is a distinction between investigating something to find out what the real situation is and trying to prove something that you believe is true. Those are two very different things and the second is a very dangerous thing. It is the enemy of great journalism. It is a trap that is very easy to fall into.
Lara Logan,CBS News
I've got the feeling that soon,we're going to actually have to stop eating pigs because they are,probably,more intelligent than we are,and it's going to be proved,and we're going to have to stop eating them; and I plan to eat as many of them as possible before that happens!
Emma Thompson,on The Late Late Show 8/12/10
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary of trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns,and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evil,except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity,the most important of the code,will respect the less important and arbitrary ones,which can be violated with ease and impunity,and which,if strictly obeyed,would put an end to personal liberty -- so dear to men,so dear to the enlightened legislator -- and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides,for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes,produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts,and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.
18th century criminologist,Cesare Beccaria
Write once. Exploit everywhere.
Jim Hranicky,UF IT security type,discussing the merits of Java
No one knows for certain the antecedents of the cuisine of the British Isles,but an oft-repeated culinary legend holds that an ancient Saxon shepherd left a lunch of goat cheese in a leather bag in a cool cave,then forgot where he put it. When he came upon it again several weeks later,ravenously hungry,he discovered in the sack a delicate,pungent,perfectly veined piece of Roquefort. Wasting no time,he threw the funny-smelling cheese away,cleaned and boiled the leather bag and ate it.
unknown,I first spotted it in a book of cooking jokes years ago
If you ever attended a concert of so-called "Modern Music",you will know what it sounds like: astringent,restrained and difficult to follow,even when you know the system. It's mostly quite ugly acoustically,and difficult to recall in any detail as you leave the hall.
This quote came from an article in Fast Company Magazine about WallyWorldWe want clean air,clear water,good living conditions,the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions.
Steve Dobbins,president of thread maker Carolina Mills
Cows are vegetarians so you don't have to be.
Seen on a t-shirt
The choicest of ironies given the current kerfluffle over debt ceilingsThe fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that,"the buck stops here.' Instead,Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Senator Barack H. Obama,March 2006
When you start taking away the rights of the American citizens,when you undercut the Bill of Rights in order to pursue security,I think you become more dangerous than bin Laden. I think that if this country goes down,it will not be because of the enemies that are outside this country. I think that if this country goes down,it’s because those within the country undercut our basic rights,undercut the principles that gave birth to this institution.
Tony Campolo,during a post-9/11 debate at Wheaton College
People cheer me because they all understand me,and they cheer you because nobody understands you.
Charlie Chaplin,speaking to Albert Einstein
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
Behind the debris of these solemn supermen and self-styled Imperial diplomatists stands the gigantic figure of one person because of whom,by whom,in whom,and through whom alone mankind may still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ. The more I look at the saviors of men,the more beautiful the Lamb of God looks to me.
While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician,I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.
Margaret Sanger (1920). "Contraceptives or Abortion?". Woman and the New Race
A palpable irony - one of the guiding lights behind Planned Parenthood was opposed to abortion
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
Microsoft's biggest and most dangerous contribution to the software industry may be the degree to which it has lowered user expectations.
Esther Schindler,OS/2 Magazine
Those who seek absolute power,even though they seek it to do what they regard as good,are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you,they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt,and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality,ladies and gentlemen. Equality,rightly understood,as our founding fathers understood it,leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood,as it has been so tragically in our time,it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
Barry Goldwater - Acceptance speech,1964 Republican convention
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient,for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare,for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws,but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs,but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution,or that have failed their purpose,or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' "interests," I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
Barry Goldwater,"The Conscience of A Conservative"
Ponder THIS one while contemplating all the intrusive, unwarranted, ineffectual and ultimately arguably unconstitutional (as if that matters to anyone in a position to do anything about it) obstacles the government insists upon putting on one's ability to freely travel by commercial airliner.We actually ultimately do have a vision of trying to move the security checkpoint away from the gate,deeper into the airport itself, but there's always going to be some place that people congregate. So if you're asking me, is there any way to protect against a person taking a bomb into a crowded location and blowing it up, the answer is no."
Department of Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff,when asked about those mile-long lines at the checkpoints in airports
In this present crisis,government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule,that government by an elite group is superior to government for,by,and of the people. Well,if no one among us is capable of governing himself,then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together,in and out of government,must bear the burden.
To want to own a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction. What causes such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people? Why would anyone who has worked hard,saved money and often been successful in other fields want to pump his hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically,at least,will almost purely prove dry? Why venture into an industry with enormous fixed expenses (rent, electricity, gas, water, linen, maintenance, insurance, license fees, trash removal, etc.),with a notoriously transient and unstable workforce and highly perishable inventory of assets? The chances of ever seeing a return on your investment are about one in five. What insidious spongiform bacterium so riddles the brains of men and women that they stand there on the tracks,watching the lights of the oncoming locomotive,knowing full well it will eventually run them over? After all these years in the business,I still don't know.
Anthony Bourdain - Kitchen Confidential
The problem with Christians is they aren't as good as Jesus. But thank God most Muslims are better than Muhammad.
One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we've developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.
William Pitt,in the House of Commons November 18,1783
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
My father was an avid gardener. On many a summer morning he rousted me out of bed well before sunup and handed me a hoe. We had more than an acre to tend,and the objective was to get as much as possible done before the sun got too high in the sky and the temperature rose above 100. The humidity in that region,while good for the skin and for growing vegetables,is oppressive,and heat exhaustion is always a possibility in summer. On several occasions my thoughts turned patricidal. But as the years have passed,I have grown to appreciate what my dad taught me,not only about growing things in the earth,but also about responsibility and the value of hard,physical work. I now derive physical and spiritual pleasure from gardening. All this galls me a little,because my dad always said it would turn out this way.
Let the black man vote when he is fit to vote. Prohibit the white man from voting when he is unfit to vote. Whether you like it or not,unless our democracy is a lie,you must stand for that equality.
Warren G. Harding
In the great fulfillment we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.
Warren G. Harding
The world needs to be reminded that all human ills are not curable by legislation.
Warren G. Harding
There are some ideas so ridiculous that only an intellectual could believe them.
Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like.
I came out for exercise,gentle exercise,and to notice the scenery and to botanise. And no sooner do I get on that accursed machine than I go off hammer and tongs.
H.G. Wells,about the bicycle
You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
random sigfile quote nicked from a marriage forum I frequent
I can guarantee there will be no new taxes... What we're doing is doubling the old taxes.
Senator Batson D. Belfry,in "Shoe"
I would rather be governed by the first 400 names in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard University.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Always vote for principle,though you may vote alone,and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
John Quincy Adams
No man's life,liberty,or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
Gideon J. Tucker,in Final Accounting in The Estate of A. B. (1866)
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame,two is a law firm,and three or more is a congress.
...the generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.
Robert Coveyou,mathematician at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Suffice it to say that when the lid is left off a box of entropy this large,there is money to be made for the soldier of fortune.
Howard Taylor,delightfully twisted mentality behind Schlock Merceneary, discoursing on warfare and civil disorder on a galactic scale
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money.
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal,well meaning but without understanding.
Louis Brandeis,in Olmstead v. United States (1928)
I am not a vegetarian because I love animals. I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.
A. Whitney Brown
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency,first by inflation and then by deflation,the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
...banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity,under the name of funding,is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind,none has been more effectual than that which deludes them with paper money.
Paper money has had the effect in your State [Rhode Island] that it ever will have,to ruin commerce--oppress the honest,and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.
Gentlemen,I have had men watching you for a long time,and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won,you divided the profits amongst you,and when you lost,you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter,I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true,gentlemen,but that is your sin! Should I let you go on,you will ruin fifty thousand families,and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out,and by the eternal God,I will rout you out.
Andrew Jackson,meeting with bankers about the Bank Renewal Bill of 1832
So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause...
Padme Amidala,as Palpatine declares the Empire,Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith
Build a man a fire,and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire,and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
Sir Edward Grey,English Foreign Minister,on the eve of World War One
An open mind is all very well in its way,but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it. It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes',or it may be found a little drafty.
Hurry up and put that code into production; we need to test it!
An applications programmer at UF,to a CICS systems programmer
You see,wire telegraph is a kind of a very,very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here,they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
Albert Einstein,explaining radio
There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies,and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. C.A.R. Hoare
Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in the mud; after a while you realize you are muddy and the pig is enjoying it.
yet another cool random .sig quote
When we are planning for posterity,we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.
It's true... your speakers sound a whole lot better with a really big TV.
My ever-quotable co-cubicle-rat Eli Bothe,shortly after acquiring a 56" TV
I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion,and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake,or an eternal fever. Besides,who would ever shave themselves in such a state?
Lord Byron,in a letter to Thomas Moore,5 July 1821
Americans hate music. But they love entertainment.
He is a Frenchman,and I do not say how far one should trust him.
Henry VIII of England,on Francis I of France
If USENET is anarchy,IRC is a paranoid schizophrenic after 6 days on speed
Mlman,on IRC - slashnet channel #ufies
You know you're doing it right when you have to install a heatsink on your credit card
Eli Bothe,fellow cuberat
You have an amazing capacity for self-deception. How do you do that?
Number Six,to Gaius Baltar,in the Battlestar Galactica miniseries
Trust your brain; it knows more than you do.
The Midnight Skulker,in Johnny Hart's "BC"
We live in an era where your office computer and your living room television have exactly the same capacity to entertain,with only differences in production values.
Eric,the meister of Websnark
The moment you buy into the idea you're above anyone else is the moment you need to be slapped in the face.
We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing,which is one reason why they write so little.
Anne Lamott - snagged from a .sig file online somewhere
That conversation made sense right up to when I started talking.
Eli Bothe,fellow cuberat
Under capitalism,man exploits man. Under communism,it's just the opposite.
All nervous fliers well know that when a pilot signals "moderate turbulence," he is implying,"If you have any religious beliefs,it is time to start expressing them."
I'm not going to make a standard anything I'm willing to break at the drop of a hat.
Sheard Goodwin,our infrastructure top dog,on walljack labelling
Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself being silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing.
If only there were a way to negotiate with cats.
coworker Eli Bothe,while discussing bathing housecats
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
random sigfile quote,attributed to Ben Franklin
Love is like riding a snowmobile on the tundra. Suddenly,it flips over! You are trapped underneath it! At night,the ice weasels come.
Matt Groening,Love is Hell
Our inability to alter what is actual frustrates our grandiose delusions of being sovereign over everything.
Of all the dispositions and teachings of thinkers and ethicists,the one doctrine that I have no sufficient counter for is Jesus on that Cross.
America will always do the right thing,once it has exhausted all the alternatives.
I'm improving myself by shooting aliens. So tell me...how has watching sitcoms made YOU a better person?
Canine,on undernet.org IRC channel #userfriendly
People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war or before an election....
Otto von Bismarck
Software QA is like cleaning my cat's litter box: Sift out the big chunks. Stir in the rest. Hope it doesn't stink.
Random /. quote
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
Charles A. Beard
... a Christian's decision should never be based upon the potential outcome of his decision,but upon the rightness of his decision. As John Quincy Adams succinctly stated,"Duty is ours; results are God's."
Chuck Baldwin,Constitution Party Vice Presidential nominee
Imagine that Cray computer decides to make a personal computer. It has a 150 MHz processor,200 megabytes of RAM,1500 megabytes of disk storage,a screen resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels,relies entirely on voice recognition for input,fits in your shirt pocket and costs $300. What's the first question that the computer community asks? "Is it PC compatible?"
/usr/games/fortune (circa 1989)
Make God laugh; plan for the future
Today was a good Monday. I actually felt like I knew almost everything I was behind on."
Dan Miller,my boss,on this Monday
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history - with the possible exception of handguns and Tequila.
I once spoke with a Harvard professor who told me that it is quite easy to get a Harvard undergraduate degree without ever once encountering a tenured member of the faculty inside a classroom; I don't know if this is actually true but it's a delightful piece of slander regardless
Chip Morningstar,"How to Deconstruct Almost Anything -- My Postmodern Adventure"
Genius may have its limitations,but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
I was captivated by how ambitiously bad it was.
Flewellyn,on #userfriendly, about the Logan's Run tv series
The Seven P Theorem: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
unknown,it's been on my whiteboard for weeks now
The Apathy Party should not have a majority.
I used to say that the state of programming was medieval,but that's unfair to the middle ages - they knew a lot about learning craft skills.
When the anthropologists look back on the 1980s and 1990s and do the archaeological digs,and get their callipers and brooms and microscopes out,they will blame the massive reduction in productivity during the 1980s and 1990s entirely on Microsoft Office.
Scott McNeally,in a Press Club presentation in Australia
It's not important until it fails when you need it.
Dan Miller (my boss),on network hardware
IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
martin__ on irc #userfriendly
Beware of programmers who carry screwdrivers.
We don't think that the popularity of an error makes it the truth.
EMACS: It's a nice OS,but to compete with Linux or Windows it needs a better text editor.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Especially apropos now that the Homeland
Security Act has been passed