Friday, September 28, 2007

(3089/898) Unrigorous

Ogden Nash / Ashleigh Brilliant / Paul Kindel / Alfred Korzybski / a map. which is not the territory, but is pretty darn useful anyway
1363) Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.
Ogden Nash
"Let's Not Climb the Washington Monument Tonight"
Saturday Evening Post (7/5/1947)
republished in Versus (1949) [WQ]
posted by Chris West [ISQ] (10/2/1995)

1364) Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am master of my fate and captain of my soul.
Ashleigh Brilliant
quoted by Douglas R. Hofstadter in
"Self-Referential Sentences: A Follow-Up" in
Metamagical Themas (1985)
posted by stoneb [IQM] (10/5/1995)
[Note: cf. #1253 Jong and #1275 Updike.]
1365) [N]ever get into rock fights with kids who have ugly faces, because they have nothing to lose!
Paul Zindel
The Pigman and Me (1992)
[Note: Often seen as an unattributed quote in the form: Never get into fights with ugly people because they have nothing to lose.]
1366) Auditors are people who come onto the field after the battle is over and bayonet the wounded. The lawyers follow the auditors and strip the bodies.
posted by Chris West [ISQ] (10/4/1995)

1367) The map is not the territory. [...] The word is not the thing.
Alfred Korzybski
"A Non-Aristotelian System and its Necessity
for Rigour in Mathematics and Physics,"
American Mathematical Society (12/28/1931)
reprinted in Science and Sanity (1933) [WP]
posted by Roberto Hartman [IQM] (10/4/1995)
[Note: Also, the picture is not the person, but in the absence of Korzybski in the flesh you can get a pretty good idea of what he looked like (and pehaps even - dare one say it? - some small insight into his character) by viewing his photograph — and you can get from Syracuse to Buffalo with the map, too.]

[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list
[ISQ] - Internet Serial-Quotations mailing list
[WP] - Wikipedia
[WQ] - Wikiquote

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 479 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/28/2007 03:46:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Thursday, September 27, 2007

(3089/898) Questions, answers, intellect and stupidity

1352) "How do you know so much about everything?" was asked of a very wise and intelligent man; and the answer was "By never being afraid or ashamed to ask questions as to anything of which I was ignorant."
John Abbott (attributed)
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (10/2/1995)

1353) If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.
Edward Hodnett (attributed)
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (10/2/1995)

1354) No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.
George Bernard Shaw (attributed)
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (10/2/1995)
[Note: This quote is also attributed to Karl Otto von Schonhausen Bismarck, from a "Declaration to the Prussian House of Delegates."]
1355) It's better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
James Thurber
"The Scotty Who Knew Too Much"
The New Yorker (2/18/1939) [WQ]
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (10/2/1995)

1356) An educated man is one who has finally discovered that there are some questions to which nobody has the answer.
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (10/2/1995)

1357) Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization.
Jon Louis Bentley
More Programming Pearls: Confessions of a Coder (1988)
posted by Gerard Gobillard [IQM] (10/4/1995)

1358) Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.
Arthur Schopenhauer
"Our Relations to Others" in
Essays [B16]
Kathy White, personal e-mail (10/5/1995)

1359) If in any discussion or conversation, another man shows more knowledge, greater love of truth, a sounder judgment, better understanding than we, or generally exhibits intellectual qualities which cast ours into the shade, we can at once annul his superiority and our own shallowness, and in our turn be superior to him, by being insulting and offensive. For rudeness is better than any argument; it totally eclipses intellect. If our opponent does not care for our mode of attack, and will not answer still more rudely [...] we are the victors and honor is on our side. Truth, knowledge, understanding, intellect, wit, must beat a retreat and leave the field to this almighty insolence.
Arthur Schopenhauer
"Position, or a Man’s Place
in the Estimation of Others
The Wisdom of Life (1901)
posted by Chris West [ISQ] (10/4/1995)

1360) No plan can prevent a stupid person from doing the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time--but a good plan should keep a concentration from forming.
Charles E. Wilson (widely attributed)
former CEO of General Motors
and Secretary of Defense
posted by George Osner [ISQ] (10/4/1995)
[Note: Wilson was the man who is supposed to have said "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." In actuality, during hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation as Secretary of Defense, Wilson was asked if he would be able to make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors. He responded:

"Yes, sir, I could. I cannot conceive of one because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country." (1/15/1953) [WP] & [NGF]]
Richard Feynman1361) The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.

Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure -- that it is possible to live and not know. But I don't know whether everyone realizes that this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. Permit us to question -- to doubt, that's all -- not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Here lies a responsibility to society.
Richard Feynman
"The Value of Science"
address, National Academy of Sciences (Autumn, 1955)
published in
What Do You Care What Other People Think? (1988)
quoted, in part, by Timothy Ferris in
"Astronomical Notebook: Minds and Matter"
The New Yorker (5/15/1995)

1362) If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?
Thomas Huxley
"On Elementary Instruction in Physiology" (1877) [WQ]
posted by George Osner [ISQ] (10/7/1995)


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)
[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list
[ISQ] - Internet Serial-Quotations mailing list
[NGF] - "Nice Guys Finish Seventh" (1992), Ralph Keyes
[WP] - Wikipedia
[WQ] - Wikiquote

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 480 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/27/2007 11:20:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

(3089/898) Thinking abstract thoughts

1344) I hadn't realized until that moment that I was not thinking abstract thoughts. It's one of those wonderful contradictions - if you can think, "I'm not having abstract thoughts," then you're having one.
Ginny Ruffner
on her recovery from brain injury
quoted by Ellen Pall in
"Starting From Scratch" in
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

1345) One might think that the social reforms of the 20th century and advancements in medical science would have meant the death knell for America's freak shows. Alas, today we have the electronic equivalent. You can step right up and see the adulterers on Jenny Jones, white supremacists on Geraldo, transsexuals on Jerry Springer. Next to these modern-day freak shows, Barnum and his exhibitions seem quaint and almost dignified.
Ken Gelwasser
letter to the editor
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

1346) If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he next comes to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begun upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time.
Thomas De Quincey
Murder Considered As One of the Fine Arts (1827) [WQ]
posted by Jim Speirs [ISQ] (9/29/1995)

1347) The new grammar of race is constructed in a way that George Orwell would have appreciated, because its rules makes some ideas impossible to express - unless, of course, one wants to be called a racist.
Stephen Carter
Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby (1992) [CQ]

1348) There are only two races on this planet - the intelligent and the stupid.
John Fowles
(London) Daily Telegraph (8/15/1991) [CQ]

1349) Money talks, bullshit walks.
Aphorism (c.1975)

1350) Money doesn't talk, it swears.
Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman)
"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" on
Bringing It All Back Home (lp, 1965)

1351) Statisticians know that if you put a man's head in a sauna and his feet in a deep freeze, he will feel pretty good - on the average.
posted by Jim Speirs [ISQ] (9/29/1995)


[CQ] - Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993)
[ISQ] - Internet Serial-Quotations mailing list
[WQ] - Wikiquote

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 481 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/26/2007 05:41:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Has Elvis left the building?

Young Elvis
1341) It's Death Week here in Memphis, the week leading up to the mass veneration of Elvis Presley's grave [...] [i]t's the central ritual in Elvis Culture, a phenomenon that has lately transcended the familiar contours of a dead celebrity cult and has begun to assume the dimensions of a redemptive faith. [...] I've been hearing about the Death Night ceremony, about the way it's grown into a must-see sui generis American folk ritual, a fusion of our longing for spirituality and our lust for celebrity. [...] It has become a truism that the three most identifiable names in the world are Jesus, Coca-Cola and Elvis. What's remarkable is that, to some, Elvis has come to seem less like the soft drink - just another commodity - and more like a savior.
Ron Rosenbaum
"Among the Believers"
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

1342) Peter Whitmer delivered a paper on Elvis as a "Twinless Twin," his take on the thesis that the primal defining event of Elvis's life occurred in the moments before his birth, when his twin, Jesse Garon Presley, emerged stillborn, leaving Elvis a lifelong legacy of loss, pain and survivor guilt. Some say Elvis would "talk to" Jesse for the rest of his life. And that every song he sang was really a duet - with the ghost of his dead twin. (Other "twinless twins," according to Whitmer: Liberace, Diego Rivera, Thorton Wilder, Philip K. Dick and - yes - Ed Sullivan.)
Ron Rosenbaum
"Among the Believers"
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

Old Elvis1343) "This [Sun Studios in Memphis, where Sam Phillips discovered Elvis Presley] is a place of life," one woman was saying, "while Graceland - I was just over there and it's so sad."

"Sad because of what became of him?" I asked her.

"No," she said, "sad because of what became of us."

But that's precisely why America has come to love and embrace the Late, Fat, Pain-Racked, Self-Destructive Elvis. It's a way of coming to terms with our own sense of loss, with what's become of us as a nation - the transition America has made from the young, vital, innocent pioneer nation we once were (the young vital Elvis we put on our stamps) to the bloated colossus we feel we've become: the Fat Elvis of nations. For America, finding a way to love the fat, sweaty figure Elvis turned into, the heartbroke, pain-and-pill-filled impersonator of greatness, may be our way of finding, in our own decline, some forgiveness, some humor, even some healing.
Ron Rosenbaum
"Among the Believers"
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 481 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/26/2007 04:58:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

(3089/898) Two cities: NYC (slight return)

1339) Outsiders keep calling [New York City] unlivable, but consider one crucial distinction of New York, it's the only major American city that, within its 19th-century boundaries, has an many inhabitants as it did 50 years ago. The other old cities have been losing population.
Kenneth T. Jackson and Fred Kameny
editors of The Encyclopedia of New York (1995)
interviewed by John Tierney in
"The Big City: You Could Look It Up" in
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

1340) The anonymity of [New York City] allows eccentricity, but the congestion discourages extremely aberrant behavior. We'll let you wear pajamas out at 3 in the morning and sing in the streets. but it would be hard to commit 50 murders or eat a lot of bodies. Somebody would see you or hear the screaming. Where in a Manhattan apartment would you have room to store the bodies? You don't have a basement where you can build a dungeon. Anyway, by the time you want a dungeon, you've probably left the city anyway, because you couldn't stand having to deal with so many other people.
Kenneth T. Jackson and Fred Kameny
editors of The Encyclopedia of New York (1995)
interviewed by John Tierney in
"The Big City: You Could Look It Up" in
New York Times Magazine (9/24/1995)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 482 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/25/2007 10:07:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Interrobang

1336) There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.
Alfred Hitchcock
quoted by Leslie Halliwell in
Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion (1984) [CQ]
posted by Chris West [ISQ] (9/25/1995)

1337) It is after you have lost your teeth that you can afford to buy steaks.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (attributed)
posted by Chris West [ISQ] (9/25/1995)

1338) Genius is a will-o'-the-wisp if it lacks a solid foundation of perseverence and fanatical tenacity. This is the most important thing in all of human life ...
Adolf Hitler
quoted by Richard Overy in
How the Allies Won (1995)
citing P.E. Schramm
Hitler: The Man and the Military Leader (1972)


[ISQ] - Internet Serial-Quotations mailing list

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 482 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/25/2007 09:40:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



Buried in a bill on treatment of detainees which has already passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate is a provision that would retroactively pardon Bush and members of his administration for any possible violation of the Geneva Convention in the treatment of detainees.

Jack Cafferty of CNN has the lowdown. He concludes with these words:
You want to know the real disgrace, what these people are about to do or are in the process of doing? Senator Bill Frist and Congressmen Dennis Hastert and their Republican stooges apparently don't see anything wrong with this. I really do wonder sometimes what we're becoming in this country.
[Thanks to Shirley.]

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/25/2007 05:07:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


The long road

The Bradshaw Foundation and Stephen Oppenheimer map the Journey of Mankind in populating the world from our initial origins in Africa.

[Thanks to Gar]

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/25/2007 12:14:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday Photography: Manhattan Bridge

click to enlarge
Daryl Samuel

Location: New York City

Previous: Photos posted in 2006 / 2007: Pagoda / Ferry / Sand Tracks / General Store / Taverna Tables / Finger Piano / Bridge at Sunset / Snowfall in Cambridge / Boats / Grandma in Motion / Museum Silhouette / Brooklyn Bridge / Seascape / City Hall / Santa Fe Hotel / Lunch Break / Low Rider / Giant Crab Invades Boston! / East Meets West / Building Reflections / Flatiron Spring / Hands With Glasses / Fishing Net / Steps / Oil and Vinegar / Gas Station / Brooklyn Bridge in Sepia / Windmill on the Paralia / Santa Fe Art / Island Time / Battleship Rock / Copper Mine / Slide! / Playing Piano / Underground Cistern / Broken Windmill / Forked River

Ed Fitzgerald | 9/23/2007 10:38:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am...
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what I've been reading
Martin van Creveld - The Transformation of War

Jay Feldman - When the Mississippi Ran Backwards

Martin van Creveld - The Rise and Decline of the State

Alfred W. Crosby - America's Forgotten Pandemic (1989)
bush & company are...
class warriors
con artists
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Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
recently seen
Island in the Sky (1952)

Robot Chicken

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House M.D. (2004-7)
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David Addington
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All the fine sites I've
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Be sure to visit them all!!
recent listening
Smash Mouth - Summer Girl

Poulenc - Piano Music

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"Singin' in the Rain"
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The Specials
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Talking Heads/David Byrne
Tangerine Dream
Hunter S. Thompson
J.R.R. Tolkien
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
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03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
06/01/2008 - 06/08/2008
09/21/2008 - 09/28/2008

search websearch unfutz

Bullshit, trolling, unthinking knee-jerk dogmatism and the drivel of idiots will be ruthlessly deleted and the posters banned.

Entertaining, interesting, intelligent, informed and informative comments will always be welcome, even when I disagree with them.

I am the sole judge of which of these qualities pertains.

All e-mail received is subject to being published on unfutz without identifying names or addresses.

I correct typos and other simple errors of grammar, syntax, style and presentation in my posts after the fact without necessarily posting notification of the change.

Substantive textual changes, especially reversals or major corrections, will be noted in an "Update" or a footnote.

Also, illustrations may be added to entries after their initial publication.
the story so far
unfutz: toiling in almost complete obscurity for almost 1500 days
2005 koufax awards


Carpetbagger Report
*Crooks and Liars*
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2004 koufax winners
2003 koufax award
"best blog" nominees
the proud unfutz guarantee
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.

If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.

(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)

Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.

original content
© 2003-2008
Ed Fitzgerald


take all you want
but credit all you take.

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