Why is our calendar so stupid? The year is 365 days long. Why can't we have twelve 30-day months and then 5 days of Mardi Gras? Wouldn't that be easier than torturing our children with bad poetry?
If we're going to insist on poetry, let's replace that "Thirty days hath" crap with a nice haiku.
February sucks ass. Is it twenty-nine this year? Stupid bastard month.
Try asking for anything on military history in any bookstore here in Santa Cruz. They immediately direct you to those lily-like plants that shoot spores at you to make you feel better and want to work on a farm.
The California climate makes the sick well, and the well sick, the old young and the young old.
[Los Angeles is] nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis.
Los Angeles seems an inconceivably shoddy place . . . a pasture, fore-ordained for the cow-town evangelism of the former sideshow wriggler.
In Southern California the vegetables have no flavor and the flowers have no smell.
There is not a perfectly sane man in San Francisco.
[Oakland]: There is no there there.
The terrible thing about LA is that you sit down, you're 25 and you get up you're 62.
Route 66 is a giant chute down which everything loose in this country is sliding into Southern California.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Even when Canadian humour is awful it just lies there being awful in its own fresh way.
Robert Thomas Allen
Canadian French is essentially bad English as spoken by a Belgian with an inferiority complex.
Ivan C. Amaya
Canada is a good country to be from. It has a gentler slower pace — it lends perspective.
I wish the British Government would give you Canada at once. It is fit for nothing but to breed quarrels.
Canada as a separate but dominated country has done about as well under the U.S. as women have under men.
If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia.
The school struck up with squeaks and flats, and we sang "O Canada!", the words to which I can never remember because they keep changing them. Nowadays they do some of it in French, which once would have been unheard of. We sat down, having affirmed our collective pride in something we can't pronounce.
It is a peculiar Canadian trait to be able to spot an inequity better at a distance, especially if facing south, than close up.
The Arctic expresses the sum of all wisdom: Silence.
I have no desire to bolster the sagging cultural economy of this country.
A Canadian is somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe.
Canadians consistently mistake the sidelines for more honourable ground.
In Canada we don't ban demonstrations, we re-route them.
Canada has no cultural unity, no linguistic unity, no religious unity, no economic unity, no geographic unity. All it has is unity.
Perhaps the most striking thing about Canada is that it is not part of the United States.
J. Bartlett Brebner
Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.
J. Bartlett Brebner
Canadians are concerned about the rape of our country by the Americans. And I say that it is not true — how can you rape a prostitute?
Canada is a collection of ten provinces with strong governments loosely connected by fear.
Canadian books may occasionally have had a mild impact outside Canada; Canadian literature has had none.
All the yachts you could build with your Canadian royalties you could sail in your bathtub.
[F]or most Americans, Canada is sort of like a case of latent arthritis. We really don't think about it, unless it acts up.
Canadians . . . have been defended by the United States, they pay nothing for defence. [. . .] That place is a complete haven for international terrorists. Even their own retired security guys say it's a complete haven. We . . . need lectures from some people, not from Soviet Canuckistan.
John Kenneth Galbraith and Marshall McLuhan are the two greatest modern Canadians the United States has produced.
The beaver is a good national symbol for Canada. He's so busy chewing he can't see what's going on.
The real friend of this country is the guy who believes in excellence, seeks for it, fights for it, defends it, and tries to produce it.
I don't even know what street Canada is on.
My take on Quebec is that they're the stereotypical spoiled trophy wife. Always demanding more goodies and threatening to leave if she doesn't get them, but deep down understanding that she has the best meal ticket that could be had.
[On visiting Canada,] I was told I'd be ok as long as I didn't eat the Tim-bits®. Apparently all you need to do is munch on a few of those tiny morsels, and before you know it you're foaming at the mouth and raving about multiculturalism and social medicine.
Canada lived in a British universe, culturally, until quite recently — and that cultural heritage includes the British comic mainstream rather than the U.S.'s. British comedy, to risk a very broad generalization, is zany, intellectual, and playful, a product of the music hall rather than the strip club.
There's no real excuse for the outrage. It's being fomented by the social-democratic NDP, which is opposed to humor on principle, and by Quebec politicians, who have an interest in representing Quebec to Quebeckers as being constantly under siege by menacing Anglo imperialists. [. . .]
The halfwits who denounced a plastic dog-shaped glove have put a brand-new weld in the sealed American conviction that the gay-marrying, pot-legalizing, military-hating, gun-registering, socialized-everything Canadians are completely bughouse — a freakish bastard admixture of Yippie and commissar. Even the Kucinich voters with braided beards and BUSH KNEW tattoos are looking north and going "Dude . . . it's a puppet. Chill." Given the uproar, who wants to visit Toronto and possibly touch off some kind of international incident by saying the wrong thing? Aren't there dank, fungal Turkish-style prisons up there for people who make ethnic jokes? (Answer: not yet, but check back in ten years.)
One of the great advantages of living in the peaceable land of Canada is the near total absence of the daily crisis and hazard that troubles those in less favoured parts of the planet.
One of the down-sides, however, of this general freedom from strife and peril — beyond the obvious danger implicit in getting out of bed each day — is our penchant for hysterical overreaction to the smallest of problems and slightest of risks.
Truth be told, if beating gnats to death with sledgehammers were an Olympic sport, we'd sweep the medals every time.
March winds and April showers always a month late in this country of ours.
There has never been a war of Canadian origin, nor for a Canadian cause.
William Arthur Deacon
Quebec is one of the ten provinces against which Canada is defending itself.
It's about time Canada became America's universal scapegoat, as the United States is already and has been for decades the scapegoat for anything Canada doesn't like.
[I]n Canada, marijuana is close to legal. Same-gender marriage is recognized. So all these gay married Canadians are sitting around smoking pot and watching NFL Sunday Ticket — enjoying total access to games made possible by the tax dollars of Americans! — while in the United States, you can only drink beer, marry someone of the opposite sex and watch whatever awful woofer game your local network affiliate has chosen for you.
How long are Americans going to stand for this? If I were you, Canada, I'd drop the smug routine. The Army has to come home from Iraq someday, and it's going to be looking for something to do.
Canada has never been a melting pot; more like a tossed salad.
Canada — a triumph of politics over geography and economics — and sometimes it seems over common sense.
Robert T. Elson
Self-deluded regarding their endurance, self-congratulatory in their masochism, Canadians are a breed apart. When it comes to winter, they are legends in their own minds.
Will & Ian Ferguson
Canadians face the same choices election after election: The bland versus the bland spouting vanilla policies which have been put through a blender manned only by politically correct bilinguals who all live in Ottawa. These people, who lick stamps and backsides for a living, are about as representative of the Canadian populace as was California's transvestite candidate.
The Canadian parliamentary system has deteriorated to the point where there is no point checking out individuals to vote for because they are lobotomized the minute they get to Ottawa for the winning side. That's because party leaders must sign all nomination papers, thus controlling the purse strings and forcing the caucus to vote the party line or face expulsion.
The central fact of Canadian history: the rejection of the American Revolution.
[The Canadian flag should show] 10 jackasses eating the leaves off a single maple tree.
50 years after Canadian troops helped win World War II and Canadian diplomats helped shape the international institutions that remade a shattered globe, Canada seems to have neither the will nor the wallet to make its mark on the world. Canadians can look back with pride at their past achievements on the world stage: the heroism at Dieppe in 1942 and on D-day in 1944, the brokering of the truce that stanched the 1956 Suez crisis, leadership in dozens of U.N. peacekeeping missions in the 1960s and '70s. But those glory years are gone. Canada's influence these days is more like a phantom limb: it feels to Canadians as though it's still there, but to many observers the reality is different. The nation's ability to extend power and influence has been hacked back to a shadow of its former self.
It's culture, grounded in mythology, that keeps Europe from seeing this remarkable history with any clarity. European culture teaches its elites that America is run by ignorant gun-toting cowboys. How could Europe possibly learn from people like that? In France, and in countries like Canada as well, anti-Americanism resembles a unique French beverage, absinthe. It's exciting, it's satisfying, and it's built into cultural history. But it does tend to leave you blind.
For Canadians, cultural anti-Americanism provides, among other things, a way to avoid reality. It helps us escape responsibility for mass culture. If the cultural preferences of our fellow citizens dismay us (or our own appetites make us feel guilty) we blame the Americans. Because most of the mass culture we receive originates in the United States, we place the burden of our cultural sins on American shoulders. In these matters, we have lost the power of self-reflection.
My generation of Canadians grew up believing that, if we were very good or very smart, or both, we would someday graduate from Canada.
The only way to get away from the influence of the American economy would be to float our half of the continent off somewhere else.
John Kenneth Galbraith
When the white man came we had the land and they had the Bibles; now they have the land and we have the Bibles.
Chief Dan George
Canadians have for a while now taken it upon themselves to be a "moral superpower," not a military superpower. The problem with this — as is so often the case with groups, institutions, and even nations seeking to be the conscience of the world — is that it leads to knee-jerk and cost-free preachiness rather than any attempt at real sacrifices. Canada was once willing to back up its moral ambitions with force of arms; today it's ranked 37th on the list of peacekeepers. Its military, which used to punch well above its weight, is quite literally rusting through, and there are no plans to remedy that. In short, Canada has willfully forgotten that a nation which wants to be a moral superpower doesn't just say nice things, it does right things even at great cost — as when Great Britain put an end to the slave trade by force of arms, not force of words.
Can you imagine another country flipping out over the comments of a daytime talking head?
This underscores the massive, spine-bending chip the Canadians have on their shoulders. It's like the raging Cornell-Harvard rivalry which fills the minds of Cornellians but goes totally unknown at Harvard. While researching my article, I was simply staggered by the obsession Canadians have with the United States: about their superiority, about America's problems compared to Canada's, about how Canadians know so much about American but Americans know nothing about Canada. [. . .] Anyway, the comparison to a college campus works on a lot of levels. In the intellectual and political sphere, Canada is one giant university quad. On college campuses, tiny grievances are accorded tectonic significance and the most microscopic slights become metaphysical offenses. Passion is more persuasive than reason and facts take a backseat to self-esteem.
Another attribute of campus culture is a near-absolute phobia about judging people. Canada has a similar ailment, in part because it has always emphasized "multiculturalism" over assimilation. The problem with this way of looking at the world is that it saps your moral and intellectual self-confidence. If you're unwilling to condemn people, "Who am I to judge?" eventually becomes "It is impossible to judge." This is one reason Canada has lost the ability to put forth a positive moral national vision — because such a vision is likely to offend somebody's self-esteem and that is an automatic disqualifier. So instead, the Canadians just work from the assumption that whatever the U.S. does is wrong and so doing the opposite must be right.
We believe that we are the best country in the world . . . But not only does the United States have [a] special relationship to us, it is the world leader when it comes to freedom and democracy. We can never allow our affections for [Canada] to become the basis of resentment toward the United States. This realization is both the essence of our own self-interest and a moral imperative for any Canadian leader.
Is there another country like Canada? Not according to Mr. Chrétien, and I am now persuaded that he has made Canada truly unique. A country where high taxes and a low dollar are a perpetually winning platform. A one-party state where the most significant decisions are taken not by the political oligarchy but by unelected judges. A country where my dog gets prompter and better attention in a veterinary clinic than I do in a hospital, yet where it is considered treasonous to suggest that anyone might willingly pay for health care.
Canadians excel at satire. Nobody hates pretension, affectation, hypocrisy, and egotism more than Canadians. SCTV was leagues ahead of American imitators, and the best "American" satirists are disproportionately Canadian. Cats may look at kings. Canadians may look at presidents. Canadian comics spend their youth as laboratory scientists honing their skill in ego vivisection.
In any world menu, Canada must be considered the vichyssoise of nations — it's cold, half-French, and difficult to stir.
[I]f you ask a Canadian [what it means to be Canadian], he'll first talk about government healthcare — the US equivalent would be swearing allegiance to the DMV — but the second response will be about all the ways Canada is different from the US. The third response will be a self-deprecating chuckle about how unusual it is that Canada defines itself as a negative, although I think a case could be made that American identity has been defined at least partly in opposition to Europe and/or the Soviet Union.
You call that fishy-smelling bit of coastline Canada? Lord help us. I was in Canada before Newfoundland. We only let Newfoundland in as part of Canada in 1949 after they promised to accept English as their official language. Still haven't done it, near as I can tell.
[I]n the early fall of 2000, Pierre Trudeau died in the same city as the Rocket. Trudeau, however, was then taken to Ottawa to be given a state funeral, as befits one who was for so long the prime minister of our country, a position only slightly below that of captain of the Montreal Canadiens.
Party ideology, platforms, constitutions, promises, etc., are really not all that important in Canada. Whichever party is elected checks them all at Ottawa's city limits on its way to Parliament. Day-to-day crisis combined with external international financial and security challenges pretty well dictate what a government does while its in power. The idea of a political "vision" is a joke. The half-life of any vision is usually measured in days.
If Canada is underdeveloped, so is Brigitte Bardot.
Nothing is more characteristic of Canadians than the inclination to be moderate.
Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.
When they said Canada, I thought it would be up in the mountains somewhere.
[O]ne of Canada's greatest tragedies is that sober second thoughts so often prevail.
Richard J. Needham
Perhaps things have changed in the 12 or 13 years since I last ventured into Canada, but at that time I was assured by several residents of Metro Toronto that civilization extends no farther east than the western city line of Scarborough, no further west than Etobicoke, and that life-as-we-know-it is not possible west of Thunder Bay.
Is it possible that under that sheet of ice and snow there are two countries, each called "Canada", each unaware of the other's existance? That would explain a lot.
Liberal leaders tend to see themselves as natural heirs of the haughty attitude that once characterized the divine right of kings, even when their most recent Grand Fromage hailed from Shawinigan and spoke in tongues. They harbour the petulant assumption that they alone know what's good for Canadians, and that it is plain dumb to vote for any other party, except as occasional comic relief.
Say what you want about Canada, it's still the only country in the world that's ever managed to teach Frenchmen to play hockey.
Worry about the Americans and their friendly pressures is probably the strongest unifying Canadian force.
Lester B. Pearson
Many people, alas, seem to think they'll win a prize if they vote for the party that wins the election. Come to think of it, here in Atlantic Canada, that's probably true.
To agree to disagree, to harness diversity, to respect dissent; perhaps this is the real essence of Canada.
Robert L. Perry
I have to spend so much time explaining to Americans that I am not English and to Englishmen that I am not American that I have little time left to be Canadian. On second thought, I am a true cosmopolitan-unhappy anywhere.
Lawrence J. Peter
A Canadian is a fellow who has become a North American without becoming an American.
Arthur L. Phelps
When Columbus made his well-remembered voyage to the Caribbean, Canada had been known to Europeans for more than five hundred years.
A friend of mine mentions from time to time a theory he has about retail service and the economy: if you start getting really good service at retail outlets, chances are the economy is in trouble. Good service from retail means that good and competant people are losing jobs and are taking part-time work in retail. If retail service sucks, the economy is in good shape — all the good people are in good jobs, so things should be humming along just fine.
The only problem with this theory is that it would suggest that Canada has NEVER had an economic slowdown — retailers here almost always suck, even when the parent company is American.
For example, the "greeters" at a large US discount department store chain greet you pleasantly at the door. In the Canadian stores, you get "Are you going to buy anything today? No? Then get the @#$^ outta my store."
In the US, it's "Have It Your Way". In Canada, it's "You'll Take It How We Give It To You, And If That Means We Drop It On The Floor First And Use It To Clean Up Those Used Syringes Out In The Seating Area, Then So Be It."
In the US, it's "We Treat You Right". In Canada, it's "We Treat You Like Something We Found On The Bottom Of Our Shoes, And Lettuce And Tomatoes On That Burger Are A Buck-fifty Extra".
In the US, it's "You Deserve A Break Today"". In Canada, it's "You Don't Deserve Nuthin' And You're Gettin' Fries With That Whether You Want Them Or Not".
In the US, it's "You've Got Mail". In Canada, it's "You'd Have Mail If The Cable Monopoly Could Figure Out How To Turn On Their Freakin' Servers And Keep Them Running For More Than Ten Minutes A Day".
In the US, it's "Your Way Right Away". In Canada, it's "Our Way When We Get Around To It, Which Ain't Gonna Be Soon, So Stop Rollin' Your Eyes Like That, Dumbass".
In the US, it's "Always Fresh". In Canada, it's "Was Fresh When They Tried To Sell It Down In The States, And Then It Spent A Week On A Truck To Get Here, And Now We're Clearing Out All The Stuff That Was Banned Because Of All Those Pesticides And That Nasty Tampering Incident".
Just came back from a trip to Michigan, so I've got a whole whack of American change janglin' around in my pants. Whoo-eee, but it feels good to have some real currency down there for a change. None of them-there Canadian 48-cent loonies or toonies or pesodillas or impotentadas or whutever we're callin' them this week.
Canadians represent, as it were, the least militant North American minority group. The white, Protestant, heterosexual ghetto of the north.
"I'm world famous," Dr. Parks said, "all over Canada."
Canadians have grievously split personalities. And it all comes down to climate. But for a couple of lush valleys (the Okanagan, Annapolis), we struggle for six, seven, nearly eight months in this country with the nearly unbearable cold, one that seems never-ending. During a spring that suffers from bipolar disorder, we put winter clothes away, then take them out again — once, twice, often three times, as even the most seasoned among us are outwitted by capricious winter.And then, all of a sudden, it's high summer. The trees are lush and full, and our gardens immediate. Thank God our memories fail us, or we'd be committing mass hara-kiri every October.
Canadians can be ethnocentric, too, but as a group, we seem to prefer the "drive-by snubbing" approach.
About the only (the only) thing most Canadians can agree on is that we're NOT AMERICANS. Anything else is up for debate, but we're NOT AMERICANS, okay? We were too wimpy to get in on a good thing back in 1776, and we're bitchy and sore about it to this day. We're not as well-off, well-educated, or well-fed as our southern neighbours, and we have a currency that resembles Monopoly money to them. We have a combined Armed Forces (for the second-largest nation in the world with a population of 30+ million people) that barely registers on the NATO scale . . . just ahead of Lichtenstein and Iceland, but behind Portugal.
But, as so many Canadians will wail, we have SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!!! The one big thing that separates us from those filthy capitalistic money-grubbing Americans! So that everyone, regardless of income or ability to pay, can wait in line just as long as everyone else who isn't a federal cabinet minister (who get to fly to New York for their operations). True equality! Equal misery for all! The Canadian Way!
[Canadians are] too busy looking south with alarm. It's much easier to get worked up about what our American neighbours are getting up to than to actually do anything ourselves. More morally satisfying to get righteous and affronted than to roll up the metaphorical sleeves and get those pink[o] hands dirty.
We don't deal in rationality when we talk about our National Identity. That's 'cause you have to speak in metaphysical terms about a postulated entity . . .
Canada? Why would I want to leave America just to visit America, Jr.?
My theory is that if you make it in Canada, you can make it anywhere.
[Canada is] rich by nature, poor by policy.
Canadians and Americans are a lot more foreign to each other than they were back in 1927, when His Royal Highness and the Vice-President cut the ribbon [to open the Peace Bridge]. One of the most telling differences is not socialized medicine or gun control but the thickness of our respective skins. When Mr Hume calls Americans fascists, nobody in America cares because nobody notices. When Conan O’Brien's hand-puppet sidekick Triumph the Insult Comic Dog goes to Quebec's Winter Carnival and insults Quebecers, questions are raised in Parliament and the dog is denounced as "hateful" and "racist".
He's not a real dog, of course. He's a hand puppet. The sight of a G7 nation locked in mortal combat with a hand puppet is somewhat bewildering. Especially when the hand puppet's foray into Quebec is an all-expenses-paid trip funded by Canadian taxpayers. The Governments of Canada and Ontario gave Conan and the dog a million bucks to come to Toronto to boost tourism post-SARS. Say what you like about the Trojans but when they wheeled that big wooden horse inside the gates at least they hadn't wired the Greeks a cool million for it.
Ottawa's official position seems to be that it would like to bail out, but the timing is awkward: If they go too soon, it'll look as if they're just tagging along with the Americans; but if they wait too long the EU will have ankled and it'll look as if Canada's just tagging along with the Europeans. Our fearless Dominion's agonizing nicely distills the essence of these confabs: Whatever you do, don't make it look as if you agree with America or Europe.
The main philosophical objection to the one-party state, as it manifested itself in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc., is that it criminalizes dissent. Eventually, as those Presidents-for-Life discovered, it has a real downside, usually in the form of excitable guys with machetes overrunning the palace. But the Canadian one-party state is wilier: no-one will be storming the ramparts of Sussex Drive, because it doesn't explicitly criminalize dissent so much as make it socially unacceptable — not just on the cultural issues (immigration, abortion, the gun registry) but on pretty much everything else. If your view can't be accommodated somewhere on the spectrum from Paul Martin Liberals to Sheila Copps Liberals, you probably shouldn't bring it up in polite society. That's why so many CBC discussion panels between persons of "opposing views" tend to boil down to persons of opposing Liberal Party views — that's to say, between those who think Americans are "morons" and that Canada should have a strongly independent (i.e., UN-drafted) foreign policy and those who think Americans are "bastards" and will screw us over if we don't at least go through the motions of pretending to be supportive.
[T]here are all kinds of fellows running around with Canadian citizenship, Somali warlords who happen to change planes in Toronto and figure hey, it can't hurt, can it? Qutbi al-Mahdi, the Sudanese Cabinet minister who played such a key role in the development of that country's impressive state torture system, is a Canadian citizen. I'm sure he's had moments where he's been ashamed to be one of us. The APEC conference, maybe. "Ha! Pepper spray? Call that government repression? You wimps!" The way to look on Canadian citizenship, I try to explain, is like, say, a points card for an obscure supermarket you keep in the back of the wallet just in case Loblaws happens to be closed one day.
Unlike Britain but like North Korea, in Her Majesty's northern Dominion the public health system is such an article of faith that no private hospitals are permitted: Canada's private health care system is called "America".
[W]hen the Liberal Party invented "multiculturalism" as Canada's official state religion, one sort of assumed that they were cynical enough not to fall for it themselves — that left in a room with the New Zealand Prime Minister and the Syrian President they could still tell the difference. M. Chretien genuinely doesn't seem able to. As for standing up to the Islamic world's routinely loopy Jewish conspiracy theories, given current immigration trends in Canada, there is a certain compelling demographic logic in the Prime Minister's reluctance to take any position one way or the other.
Canada has a schizophrenic foreign policy because it's now a schizophrenic land: on the one hand, it's deeply embedded into the US economy, to the exclusion of the rest of the world; on the other hand, the country's raison d'etre, its official Multiculturalism ministry, its media, education system and immigration policies are all deeply invested in anti-Americanism as a state religion. The other day The Ottawa Citizen had a letter from a Vancouver lady objecting to any Canadian participation in continental missile defence on the grounds that an intercepted nuke could wind up scattering contaminated debris over the Canadian countryside. The logic of her position is that she'd rather that nuke continued on its way over the border and took out Dallas or St Louis. Say what you like, but that's consistent.
[S]ince the [1991 Gulf] war, our flabby Dominion's position has weakened further. Not to be alarmist but I'd say the U.S. is coming to regard Canada the way Australia regards Indonesia. Yes, it's geographically close, an important trading partner, a cheap vacation destination and a nominal ally, but it has to be pushed and chivvied into taking even the most perfunctory action against obvious enemies, and everyone knows that all kinds of dodgy characters have the run of the joint. Bali was a soft target for the terrorists because it exists in both worlds — a Western enclave in bandit country. Canada also exists in both worlds: we're the country that supports both the Princess Pats and Hezbollah.
Washington knows that now. The big story since September 11th is that they finally see us for what we are: foreigners.
A North American "confederation" is never going to happen. Not now, not in 50 years. Europeans, living on a continent of mostly failed nation states that rewrite their constitutions every generation as they lurch from Third Empire to Fifth Republic, have concluded understandably enough that supranational institutions are the way to go. Equally understandably, Americans have no interest in diluting either sovereignty or democratic accountability in transnational bodies. Canadians are free to fantasize about a North American Supreme Court with the likes of Madame L'Heureux-Dubé on it, just as I'm free to fantasize about being strapped to a rack while a whip-wielding Sheila Copps walks across my back in stilettos. But my fantasy's got more chance of coming true.
If you're tired of all those sneers about Canadians being a bunch of wussies who like to sit out the great conflicts of the age, the Khadr family provide bracing evidence that it's not so. Indeed, the Khadr cadre is Canada's most vigorous contribution to the war on terror. True, they're on the side of the terrorists, but that's one of the great benefits of multiculturalism — celebrating your distinctive cultural identity ensures that, even as our official armed forces rust away, Canada's likely to be represented somewhere among the warring parties.
Modern Trudeaupian Liberalism was created to buck 500 years of historical reality (Britain) and four thousand miles of geographical reality (America): one reason why it's the natural governing party is because it went to great lengths to re-invent the country in the image of itself. As some readers may recall, I once compared M. Trudeau's relationship to Canada to that of Liberace and the young lover he made have facial surgery to look more like him, so that he could experience the sensation of having sex with himself. That's why, as we saw in the weeks after September 11th, Jean Chretien — unlike Mr Blair or the Queen — couldn't bring himself to offer any genuine personal or symbolic sympathy for the Americans: after 30 years of Trudeaupia, he reflexively recoiled even from basic neighbourly decency.
One of the most tedious aspects of Canadian life is the way Liberal Party policies are always sold as "Canadian values": socialized health care, the gun registry, sitting out the war on terror, etc. Do you listen to CBC radio? Me neither. But, on obscure stretches of highway when nothing else comes in, I love their political discussions, in which a centre-left host moderates a panel comprising someone from the soft left, someone from the hard left and someone from the loony left, as if that's the only range of opinion acceptable in polite society. These folks genuinely believe in Trudeaupia.
Since we can't export the scenery, we'll import the tourists.
Cornelius Van Horne
Gentlemen, I give you Upper Canada; because I don't want it myself.
While small-c conservative parties have rattled the Canadian public's faith in big government since the 1980s, their achievements have been modest. Back when the PCs axed Katimavik, their rallying cry wasn't, "This is a stupid program that trains young people for life-long dependency on the state." It was, "Cut Katimavik today, so there can be more Katimaviks tomorrow." At the risk of provoking a hunger strike, we maintain that if city kids want to toke up in remote communities, they should use their own money.
John Weissenberger and George Koch
Capitalism is the best. It's free enterprise. Barter. Gimbels, if I get really rank with the clerk, "Well I don't like this", how can I resolve it? If it gets really ridiculous, I go, "Frig it, man, I walk." What can this guy do at Gimbels, even if he was the president of Gimbels? He can always eject me from that store, but I can always got to Macy's. He can't really hurt me. Communism is like one big phone company. Government control, man. And if I get too rank with that phone company, where can I go? I'll end up like a schmuck with a dixie cup on a thread.
Capitalism is about turning luxuries into necessities.
Put all of your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.
There is no doubt that we are creating a consumer-driven culture that promotes values and ethics that undermine both capitalism and democracy. In fact, I think you could argue that the kind of work ethic, postponement of gratification, and other attributes that are historically associated with capitalism are being undermined by consumer capitalism.
The two greatest enemies of free enterprise in the United States, in my opinion, have been, on the one hand, my fellow intellectuals and, on the other hand, the business corporations of this country. They are enemies for opposite reasons.
The worst aspect of industrial capitalism is that it protects the Unabomber from starvation.
It's one of those ideological Rubicons: live by the free market, die by the free market. I'd rather opt for efficiency, economies of scale, etc., because 99 times out of a hundred the result is a boon, in the long run, for the majority. But these nice economic models rarely factor the social costs, because they can't: there's no way to incorporate some societal intangibles into an economic equation. You can say that Wal-Mart provides a wider variety of goods at a lower cost to a greater number of people, thereby improving their standard of living, and you'd be right. And you could say that Wal-Mart's presence destroys the individual retailers in towns below, say, 25,000 in population, and you'd also be right: that's the destructive-constructive churn of capitalism. Fine.
But there's never any room in that macro analysis for the effect this has on a town's identity - when all the downtown retailers close, when the drug store shutters and the founder's name goes off the marquee, when the clothier's (and there's an archaic term) store fails, when the 5 & Dime dies, when downtown dies, then the town loses what made it different from the hamlet 20 miles down the road. In the end everyone just shambles into Wal-Mart, and in the end every town is just a collection of houses splayed around a dead brick heart of a vacant downtown.
Capital is dead labor that, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more the more labor that it sucks.
What we confront is not the failure of capitalism, but simply the failure of democracy. Capitalism has really been responsible for all the progress of the modern age. Better than any other system ever devised, it provides leisure for large numbers of superior men, and so fosters the arts and sciences. No other system ever heard of is so beneficial to invention. Its fundamental desire for gain may be far from glorious per se, but it at least furthers improvement in all the departments of life. We owe to it every innovation that makes life secure and comfortable.
The three branches of government . . . are not, in any sense, "branches" since that would imply that there is something they are all attached to besides self-aggrandizement and our pocketbooks.
Without the profit motive, few are inclined to work for long.
Capitalism is an art form, an Apollonian fabrication to rival nature. It is hypocritical for feminists and intellectuals to enjoy the pleasures and conveniences of capitalism while sneering at it . . . Everyone born into capitalism has incurred a debt to it. Give Caesar his due.
Capitalism, whatever its problems, remains the most efficient mechanism yet devised to bring the highest quality of life to the greatest number. Because I have studied the past, I know that, in America and under capitalism, I am the freest woman in history.
The availability of free, high-quality information, and a people's ability to discriminate between high- and low-quality data, are essential to economic development beyond the manufacturing level.
The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights. . .
The moral justification for capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that it's ruling principle is: Justice.
Historically, one of the most distinctive features of capitalist economies has been the practice of decentralizing authority over investments to substantial numbers of individuals who stand to make large personal gains if their decisions are right, who stand to lose heavily if their decisions are wrong, and who lack the economic or political power to prevent at least some others from proving them wrong. Indeed, this particular cluster of features constitutes an excellent candidate for the definition of capitalism.
Only the State obtains its revenue by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard
As it is the power of exchanging that gives occasion to the division of labour, so the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in other words, by the extent of the market.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.
Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.
Mercantilism is the system complained of by Adam Smith in his great work The Wealth of Nations, under which businessmen struggle, not to produce better goods at lower prices, which is the way of capitalism, but to control enough of the government to give them advantages over their competitors — and customers — in a market that is far from free.
L. Neil Smith
It is ordained that we [Afrikaners], insignificant as we are, should be amongst the first people to begin the struggle against the new world tyranny of capitalism.
The real culprits are those who created a system that makes it dangerous to work and safe to loaf . . .
No government knows any limits to its power except the endurance of the people.
Unbridled avarice is not in the least the equivalent of capitalism, still less of its "spirit." Capitalism may actually amount to the restraint, or at least the rational tempering, of this irrational impulse.
Get this through your heads, you socialist ninnies! There is not a big, limited pot of wealth that is filled with the Magic Sweat of Authentic Third World Laborers, that America uses its military to steal from when we run out of wealth here at home.
Whether it is sugar subsidies or "investments" in high-performance computing, the Clinton program represents the same logic: siphoning dollars from individuals and corporations and allocating them through a process that is terribly inefficient — a process that is responsive not to market requirements, but to bureaucratic empires and political payoffs.
Since we're talking about the death penalty here, let's stipulate two things: Those who support it are callous, bloodthirsty louts who would let a thousand innocents die to punish one hapless victim of a racist justice system, and those who oppose it are sob-sister bleeding hearts who wanted convicted killers to live in three-room suites with lobster for supper and satellite TV.
Well, this topic usually ends up like that; might as well cut to the chase.
Aaron McGruder cites me as a major influence, which is always flattering of course. He's a terrific talent and his graphics sing . . . but I wonder, sometimes, if he misses a delicate lesson from Bloom County . . . one that I learned after painful missteps with . . . uh, outspokenness. Let's just say that if a comic strip tree falls hard in the forest and no [one] hears it because they're wincing . . . does the Pope, then, you know, poop in the woods. Okay, the metaphor collapsed but you get my meaning . . .
Pity the poor modern comic page. Frames the size of thumbnails. It started as the first mass-market entertainment medium in a world that didn't yet know television, film, or even radio. Its comic heroes were America's first celebrities, known coast to coast. Now, it's just a page of inky blur that only a 10-year-old's eyes could focus upon. It's the buggy whips of this millennium: quaint and eclipsed, sad to say.
It's like doing a parody of the National Enquirer. Can't be done. We're over-saturated with commentary and absurdity, and we're numb because of it. Nothing shocks, so what's the fun? And irony, oh, the goddamned irony, that courses through the popular culture like a cancer. If nothing is serious anymore, then there's nothing to satirize. Look at George W. Bush. He knows the game. He knows he's a maroon, as Daffy Duck would say, and refuses to take himself seriously. He cut off our satirical balls. We're like a gaggle of eunuchs running around the palace, wishing we could hump the princess. The game's changed forever.
I spent as much time reading Bloom County on the toilet as anybody, but I gradually came to recognize the strip as an odious, barbless swirl of untethered political references and hypercommercial sentimentality, all strained through Garry Trudeau's lower intestine. Doonesbury for Dummies. The strip is so middle American, in the worst sense of the phrase, that reading it now is like choking to death on apple pie.
Okay, so we go from "Steamboat Willie" to "A Wild Hare" [. . .] and everything is going pretty good, and then POW, up pop Hanna and Barbera, twin Antichrists of the toon idiom. May they rot in limited-animation hell in poorly drawn flames with a badly synched laugh track, not that I am at all bitter or judgmental. By now you all know what a warm, sensitive teddy bear of a guy I am. But everyone associated with the post-cinema incarnation of "Tom and Jerry" should be hogtied and rendered into lard. And don't even get me started on the Japanese version, where Tom and Jerry were boxer-short-wearing mimes. WHAT WERE THE SHORTS FOR? HELLO? THEY HAD NO GENITALS! ARE WE REALLY THAT THREATENED BY A MOUSE'S ASS??
[. . .] First thing you know, cartoons are being made for TV, a little gibbering box people turn on to shut up the drooling narrow-foreheaded kids they never should have had in the first place. Originally, cartoons were made for the big screen and written for adults. The gags were sharp, you had your occasional smutty allusions [. . .] Right, right. Fred Flintstone. Can you think of a more pathetic excuse for a cartoon hero? He was fat. He had no pants. He was constantly getting pimp-slapped by his huge lesbian mother-in-law. His lips were the only thing that moved. And whenever he went for a drive, he drove by the SAME STINKING TREE AND PILE OF ROCKS LIKE A THOUSAND TIMES. I always kind of hoped he would be eaten alive by that idiot steam shovel dinosaur he rode at work and that it would then poop out a big Fred-shaped stool on Bill Hanna's doorstep during his Christmas party.
"One day . . . maybe Fred will win the fight . . . then that . . . cat will stay out for the night." I don't THINK so. Maybe one day STEVE will win the fight and everyone associated with limited animation will be hanged with piano wire and displayed publicly as part of a cheerful Chagall-type mobile at the entrance to Disney World.
Have you ever seen "Scooby-Doo"? Even when I was a kid, I knew it signaled the collapse of Western civilization. A bunch of morons roaming around in a puky green van, living out the same unfunny story over and over again, like Bill Murray in the Jorge Luis Borges version of Groundhog Day. "Sisyphus-Doo," that's what I would have called it. There's a scary place everyone is afraid to go to because of the ghost/monster/vampire/Republican/whatever that guards it. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, there's a treasure, and the monster is a big fake some dork put together to keep people away while he looks for it. Is this what you would do if you were trying to keep people away from your treasure? HEY, have you ever heard of a FENCE? I have a humidor full of Cubans in my bedroom; do you see me running around in a sheet? Sorry, folks, I may be from Kentucky, but I don't even have RELATIVES who wear sheets. I keep a Glock next to the bed. That's what mature people do.
In a 1988 interview, Bloom County cartoonist Berke Breathed bitterly described what he thought newspaper comic-strip syndicates really wanted: a sitcom strip drawn by a disaffected office worker whose work was simplistic enough to be legible no matter how small comics pages became. The following year, as if on cue, Scott Adams' comic strip Dilbert made its debut.
One of the paradoxes of films like Brother Bear is that the more earnestly they claim to respect animals the more pathetically they anthropomorphise them. Next to eco-Disney, Looney Tunes is profoundly respectful: Sylvester wants to eat Tweety, Wile E Coyote wants to eat Road Runner. To be sure, Sylvester dresses up as a bellhop to take Tweety’s cage down to the lobby, and Wile E Coyote orders elaborate contraptions from the Acme company, but that’s just a little humourous accessorizing of the core truth — that, for half a century, that puddy tat’s main interest in the bird has been to grab him and kill him.
By contrast, consider the moment when Kenai, having been transformed into a bear, meets a cuddly little cub, and they hook up together — as in Shrek, Ice Age and all the other animal-buddy road movies. In reality, if a male bear came across a motherless cub, he’d eat him.
Newspaper editors sometimes seem to resent that they have to run comics. Well, sometimes I resent being in their newspapers.
The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.
If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?
A dirty book is seldom dusty.
Press Censorship: Writer's clamp.
It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
There is more than one way to burn a book.
And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.
We unhesitatingly reject the suggestion that the available statistical information for England and Wales lends any support to the argument that pornography acts as a stimulus to the commission of sexual violence.
British Government Report
There is no systematic research evidence available which suggests a causal relationship between pornography and morality. . .There is no systematic research which suggests that increases in specific forms of deviant behaviour, reflected in crime trend statistics (e.g., rape) are causally related to pornography. . .There is no persuasive evidence that the viewing of pornography causes harm to the average adult. . .that exposure causes the average adult to harm others. . .that exposure causes the average adult to alter established sex practices.
Our program has not been designed to include collection of data on the use of pornography because the literature and our own clinical experience showed no link between the commission of child sexual abuse and sexually explicit material. While it has been clinically noted that some perpetrators read and/or view sexually explicit material, many others express their feelings that pornography is immoral.
Dr. Henry Giarretto
Censorship is the only form of Obscenity (wait, I forgot government tobacco subsidies . . .)
Image-blaming, which casts women as victims of words and pictures, is another manipulation of the powerless. Like female frailty, it identifies many things from which women must be guarded and lays claim to make protection.
Image-blaming, sexual and non-sexual, will not prevent rape or drug wars, nor will it fell sexism. It has no business being the basis for legislative or judicial remedies . . .
Censor: An expert at cutting remarks.
Lawrence J. Peter
A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.
Lawrence J. Peter
The greatest power to block criticism is, however, the legal force held by government. Unlike the Unabomber, legal authorities need not send bombs to random targets whose ideas they dislike; they can simply ban the expression of those ideas and enforce the ban with prison terms, a far more efficient approach. That is why government power is often the first tool stasists try to grab when they want to stop challengers — whether those challengers are disrupting traditional hairstyling, promoting dissident political views, or desegregating trains — and it is why dynamists are wary of laws that hinder competition.
Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.
George Bernard Shaw
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritative regime.
Justice Potter Stewart
Entropy: Left to themselves, things go from bad to worse.
All progress stems from change but all change is not necessarily progress.
The most effective way to deal with change is to help create it.
Preserve the old, but know the new.
Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.
Jacob M. Braudie
If you're not riding the wave of change . . . you'll find yourself beneath it.
Winston S. Churchill
The best cure for a sluggish mind is to disturb its routine.
William H. Danforth
Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.
You can't make significant change by force; the only way to make significant change is to make the thing you wish to change obsolete.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Never mistake motion for action.
For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that . . . they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap. The men who started the French Revolution were wholly without political experience. The same is true of the Bolsheviks, Nazis, and the revolutionaries in Asia. The experienced man of affairs is a latecomer. He enters the movement when it is already a going concern. It is perhaps the Englishman's political experience that keeps him shy of mass movements.
When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.
To change and to improve are two different things.
Changing Circumstances Theory: One absolutely certain thing about life is that, sooner or later, circumstances will change. Never plant your feet in cement.
Robert J. Ringer
If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
If anything ail a man so that he does not perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even . . . he forthwith sets about reforming — the world.
Henry David Thoreau
The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.
Alfred North Whitehead
If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
Character is not made in a crisis - it is only exhibited.
Hypocrisy is the Vaseline® of social intercourse.
The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.
When you try to make an impression, that is usually the impression you make.
Melancholy men, of all others, are the most witty.
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs jolted by every pebble in the road.
Henry Ward Beecher
Cynic (n): A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
Hypocrite (n): One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.
Dissemble (v): To put a clean shirt upon the character.
Machination (n): The method employed by one's opponents in baffling one's open and honorable efforts to do the right thing.
Blackguard (n): A man whose qualities, prepared for delivery like a box of berries in a market the fine ones on top have been opened on the wrong side. An inverted gentleman.
Oleaginous (adj): Oily, smooth, sleek. Disraeli once described the manner of Bishop Wilberforce as "unctuous, oleaginous, saponaceous." And the good prelate was ever afterward known as Soapy Sam. For every man there is something in the vocabulary that would stick to him like a second skin. His enemies have only to find it.
Reasonable (adj): Accessible to the infection of our own opinions. Hospitable to persuasion, dissuasion, and evasion.
Rumor (n): A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
The mind, like nature, abhors a vacuum: and if no absorbing interest has developed in childhood and adolescence, such an interest is soon manufactured from the materials to hand. Man is at least as much a problem-creating as a problem-solving animal. Better a crisis than the permanent boredom of meaninglessness.
Always listen to a man when he describes the faults of others. Ofttimes, most times, he's describing his own, revealing himself.
Some people as a result of adversity are sadder, wiser, kinder, more human. Most of us are better, though, when things go better.
I have a sister who, in order to win an argument over who gets to ride "shotgun," would bring up your illegitimate birth, the number of abortions you've had, the fact that your Dad committed suicide, your repeated molestation by a priest, your missing testicle, the fact that you wear diapers as a result of a car accident, or whatever would hurt and humiliate you the most, and you know, people like that are going to get a certain number of beatings no matter how nice the people they attack are.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream — and not make dreams your master; If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same: If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And — which is more — you'll be a Man, my son!
[P]osthumous respect may rest on [a] dark view of human nature — bleakness and cynicism, after all, are often viewed as the sign of a Serious Person Engaged with the Issues, and optimism and cheerfulness the sign of Panglossian delusions.
The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
Thomas Babbington Macaulay
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
Cynic (n): A man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.
In any combat between a rogue and a fool the sympathy of mankind is always with the rogue.
Knowing what goes on behind my placid exterior, I have a strong suspicion of what goes on behind yours.
Richard J. Needham
Strong people make as many and as ghastly mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit them, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong.
Richard J. Needham
A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's.
Jean Paul Richter
It is in trifles, and when he is off his guard, that a man best shows his character.
There are two kinds of failures: the man who will do nothing he is told, and the man who will do nothing else.
Judge a man not by his questions, rather by his answers.
Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire
From now on, I'm not doing anything I don't want to do! The world owes me happiness, fulfillment, and success . . . I'm just here to cash in.
I don't need to compromise my principles, because they don't have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway.
Cynic (n): A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible.
Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.
Curmudgeon (n): (1) archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. (2) modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner.
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
Aid seekers in England would queue automatically by needs, disabled war vets and nursing mothers first. Americans would bring lawn chairs and sleeping bags, camp out the night before, and sell their places to the highest bidders. Japanese would text-message one another, creating virtual formations, getting in line to get in line. Germans would await commands from a local official, such as the undersupervisor of the town clock. Even Italians know how to line up, albeit in an ebullient wedge. The happier parts of the world have capacities for self-organization so fundamental and obvious that they appear to be the pillars of civilization . . . But here — on the road to Ur, in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley . . . nothing was supporting the roof.
Chicago always struck me as the city New York used to be, disassembled, carted west and reassembled without instructions. Some things they got right; some they had to reinvent.
It helped that the box containing "smugness" was shipped by mistake to San Francisco.
When I die, I want to be buried in Chicago so I can still be active in politics.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D. NY)
Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.
Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.
The most valuable gift you can give your family is a good example.
Parents cannot be trusted to choose schools for their children. They have no teaching experience, no nursing qualifications, no counselling training. They are the worst possible people to bring up children.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.
As we started having children of our own, we began to see our parents in a new light, to realize that they were not, really, so different from us, and that only they could provide us with something very precious, something that had been missing from our lives: reliable baby-sitting.
One of the best things about small children is that they have no clue how time works. My 2-year-old daughter believes that everything that has ever happened, including her birth and the formation of the solar system, occurred "yesterday."
I have a friend named Helene who made excellent use of this phenomenon when her children were small. If they wanted to do something that, for whatever reason, they couldn't do, Helene, rather than argue, would tell them they could do it on "Tuesday." If her kids wanted to go swimming, and it was January, Helene would say: "We'll go swimming on Tuesday!" And they were satisfied, because they had a definite answer, even though it actually had no meaning. (Airport flight-information monitors are based on the same principle.)
Summer vacation season is almost here, and if you have kids, you know what that means! It's time to put them up for adoption.
No, sorry. I mean it's time to start planning your family summer vacation. This is your chance to escape "the daily grind" and spend quality time with your children, finding out what's new in their lives, what's on their minds, whether they have been arrested, etc. At night, after they fall asleep, you can check them for tattoos.
Orphan (n): A living person whom death has deprived of the power of filial ingratitude a privation appealing with a particular eloquence to all that is sympathetic in human nature. When young the orphan is commonly sent to an asylum, where by careful cultivation of its rudimentary sense of locality it is taught to know its place. It is then instructed in the arts of dependence and servitude and eventually turned loose to prey upon the world as a bootblack or scullery maid.
I believe the children are our future: nasty, brutish and short.
Children might or might not be a blessing, but to create them and then fail them was surely damnation.
Lois McMaster Bujold
My own experience is, the first one teaches you how to do this parent-kid thing, and then, just when you think you have it whipped, the next one comes along and *changes all the rules on you*. *Most* frustrating.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Despite official genuflections in the direction of diversity and tolerance, the sad fact is that the culture of the slums is monolithic and deeply intolerant. Any child who tries to resist the blandishments of that culture can count on no support or defense from teachers or any other adult, who now equate both freedom and democracy with the tyranny of the majority. Many of my intelligent patients from the slums recount how, in school, they expressed a desire to learn, only to suffer mockery, excommunication, and in some instances outright violence from their peers. One intelligent child of 15, who had taken an overdose as a suicidal gesture, said that she was subjected to constant teasing and abuse by her peers. "They say I'm stupid," she told me, "because I'm clever."
Never attribute to stupidity what can easily be explained by adolescence.
The persons hardest to convince they're at retirement age are children at bedtime.
[Babies as a] time sink? They are the original black holes! I barely brushed my teeth for the first 3 weeks after Kipper was born. When I read about the Martha Stewart moms whose houses are immaculately kept (while Baby naps, of course), who manage to wear clothes without baby territorial markings down the shoulder, and still care whether their husbands exist as anything but another person to hold the baby for a while, well, I wonder if they are homo sapiens.
I get really sick of feminists saying anyone who objects to public breast-feeding hates women. The point isn't how you feel about women. The point is how you feel about disgusting sucking sounds and the sight of pendulous, swollen, blue-veined breasts with wet, snotty, chapped nipples, WHILE YOU'RE EATING.
"It's natural." Sure, it's natural. So is bursting pimples on your penis. Do we have to watch that, too?
Remember your first sip of a Martini? I do. I was about four, and my dad and I were at a bar (story for another day), and he gave me a sip of his Martini, and I thought it was just about the most disgusting thing I had ever tasted, apart from the time a year or two earlier when I had decided to eat a handful of my mom's cigarette butts. Or the time I ate a nice helping of rat poison and had to be driven to the hospital. Child-proofing has progressed a lot since the sixties, when they pretty much let you poison yourself and counted on the primitive state of contraception to make up for the casualties.
Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.
Robert A. Heinlein
Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein
Anyone my age remembers the playground merry-go-round, which was quite possibly invented by someone who hated children. A round metal wheel with peculiar railings that seemed designed for a species of children with four tentacles. You'd spin until you fell off head first, slid off face first, or got off dizzy and staggered into the sandbox. It was like bar-closing training for grade-schoolers. Best of all, there were plenty of sharp metal edges on the bottom, and they were often rusty, as well. Tetanus? You're soaking in it!
As anyone with a young child knows, getting a toddler out the door can be like pushing a cat through a keyhole. Even if you're successful, you're left with one hell of a mess. This morning was the worst — one shoe was in the basement, the other upstairs under the bed; she celebrated her fresh diaper by filling it with Satan's Pamper Spackle. She wriggled around so much while getting dressed that I put everything on backwards. Since it was raining out, she insisted on finding her Hello Kitty umbrella, and if you want to know the definition of impossible, it's this: putting a child in a car seat while she's holding an open parasol.
Barbara writes: You've seen these new carts that are really combination kiddie cars and grocery carts.
Oh, yes. Lord, yes. In my day we did not have such things. You either rode in the front, or you walked alongside. There was a little leg-iron that Mom could clamp on your skinny little shinbone if you wandered too far. Those were the days! Manacled children, slumping mutely through the stores, their chains making a plaintive clank that seemed to mock the cheerful Muzak. I still have a ring on my leg from that thing.
Ever tried to get something done at a busy mall with a willful two-and-a-half year old? It's like trying to do a Rubik's cube in a room full of jittery jab-happy apes with hypodermic needles in their hands.
Growing up, we all knew that NoDak had about 10,000 Minuteman missiles, and hence would be a deep rectangular hole in the opening moments of round one. (And as we were queued up before the Pearly Gates, awaiting judgment, all the kids from the freshly nuked big cities would be laughing at us for our hairstyles and fashion choices.) You'd think that one of the compensations of living in the hinterland would be survival, but no. You wouldn't even have a chance to loot.
Eventually it was explained to us that this was not a justification for shoplifting.
I have started to videotape my daughter's few tantrums. First I try to bring her down from Mount Pitchafit — a bribe of Jell-O, a favorite book or video, the ridiculous sight of me dancing with the dog, money. Nothing works, of course; she goes board stiff — tots tossing a tantrum actually assume the density of a neutron star — and she kicks and quivers and sheds tears from eyes, nose and mouth. Eventually, the storm passes, but not before I have it all on tape. Someday I'll assemble a highlight reel and use it when she insists I'm mean because she can't have a pony in her room. Mean? If I were truly mean, child, I'd have sold this on the Internet as an all-natural contraceptive. Now go play with that lamb I bought you.
I hear a little cluck-cluck of disapproval: you allow your young child to watch television? Why don't you just teach her to smoke crack, too? I know, I know — the National Association of Frowning Scolds in White Lab Coats recommend that children should not watch TV before the age of 14, and even then it should be limited to seven seconds a day, watched through a pinhole punched in a small piece of cardboard. Sorry. I just can't do it. I'm with Toddler&tm; most of the day, and the judicious application of TV's healing rays buys me a moment of sanity here and there.
I made the mistake of saying we were going to the beach, and even though I retracted my comments immediately she seized on the word and began her plans. "We'll make sandcastles," she said. "All the kids will say 'your sandcastles are neato.'" She does this all the time, projecting what all the kids will say. All the kids will notice that her socks and shirt match. All the kids will notice that her barrette has a flower on it just like her shirt. All the kids will say her lunch box is cool. All the kids will applaud her stance on the gold standard. Peer approval — it's hard-wired.
Painful disinfectant: kids loathe it, moms trust it. See also iodine, mercurochrome. In our house we used lemon juice and bleach, with a poultice of live fire ants applied to suck out the poison. Then once a day you'd take off the bandage and rub Clorox into the wound. No infections in our house. Nodes on our vocal cords from screaming, yes, but no infections.
Parents know what I mean: You leave the room for six seconds, return and discover that the child has pushed a chair up to the counter, clambered up, knocked over a bottle of vegetable oil, stepped in it and is now attempting to climb down with an armload of steak knives. Your heart is in your throat. Of course, your heart has been in your throat since she first raised her head, and you were tempted to say Put it down! You could bump it on something! but now your heart is joined by your stomach. In fact, your entire digestive, circulatory and lymphatic systems are jammed into your throat, making it hard to speak. So you make a sound like someone gargling meatballs, and you lunge for the tot before she slips.
There's an instructive moment in your childhood when you feel the bottom start to slope away, when your toes go for solid footing and fail to find it. You learn what you need to do to get back. Life has a deep end; so should pools.
[. . .] to address an issue that new parents have yet to confront. It will freak you out. No one will be able to address your concerns. I speak, of course, of fluorescent green poop.
The first time I encountered the sight, I had the normal reaction: We'd best cut down on the plutonium, then. What could cause it? Peas? Vegetables, after all, react oddly with childhood digestive tracts. (Like corn. It's Nature's Tourist.) So we laid off the peas. The next day: We're talking a lawn in June after seven days of rain. Gentle investigation: Are you eating Play-Doh? No. Are you . . . snacking on the houseplants? No. Are you experiencing photosynthesis, honey? No!
So I called the pediatrician. You expect two answers: "Oh, that's normal," Or "I'm scrambling the medevac chopper now, go outside and wave a flare." I am happy to report that verdant remains are absolutely common, and no cause for alarm. In fact, I had the definite impression that I was Today's 17th Green Poop Caller.
Two-year olds have the soul of a 19th century European bureaucrat. Ritual, routine, capricious application of power, devotion to process. Also naps. Today, for example, I learned that I had to stand on the right side when we walked up the stairs, not the left, because standing on the left would RUIN EVERYTHING in some inscrutable way, and provoke tears and lamentations not heard since the plagues of Egypt.
When I was growing up, any birthday inevitably had a moment when you'd be cornered by a relative who'd take a small fold of your skin and give it a hard bright tweak: a pinch to grow on! Being small, you couldn't give them a punch-in-the-nuts-to-hunch-over on, so you stood there and took it.
The real danger of lying to kids is not that they'll find out you lied and stop trusting you; it's that they'll believe the lies and try to live by them.
Man's maturity: to have regained the seriousness he had as a child at play.
[M]ost of the babies I've had anything to do with have pretty much had their own programs, and my job was largely to be interruptible.
. . . the notion that children, as a group, are innocent of anything other than maybe the Reichstag Fire makes me roll on the floor, howling with derisive laughter.
[My] attitude toward those who idealize childhood "innocence" is to snarl "Innocent of what? The Reichstag Fire?" I loathe a lot of the emotional/mental baggage we still carry from Victorian days, and this is one of the main things I can't stand.
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs.
At the seriously advanced age of 26 or so, my wife has decided that the noise from her biological clock is becoming overwhelming. I dunno — I can't hear anything. Anyway, she wants kids. You know, those big gelatinous masses of stem cells that, if certain researchers had their way, would be confined to the laboratory. Which would be just fine with me, actually, but let's not go there.
As far as she could see, children mostly argued, shouted, ran around very fast, laughed loudly, picked their noses, got dirty and sulked. Any seen dancing and skipping and singing had probably been stung by a wasp.
Kids are mean. Kids are mean if you, say, have freckles, or slightly large teeth, or are partial to the color green, or deviate from the Aryan ideal in any way. Anything they can find. Hell, kids are mean about what rational people see as advantages, like large breasts or the ability to do math without having a Pokémon-level seizure.
The first thing a child should learn is how to endure. It is what he will have most need to know.
One of the very few things that my father told me about this situation is that once she's decided upon [having children], there is nothing you can do to persuade her otherwise. To paraphrase him, you could become a celibate monk, join the French Foreign Legion, or perform a radical self-orchidectomy, but it won't slow down the clockwork. Just, uh, relax to the inevitable.
Why did the children put beans in their ears when the one thing we told the children they must not do was put beans in their ears?
The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
Why do children want to grow up? Because they experience their lives as constrained by immaturity and perceive adulthood as a condition of greater freedom and opportunity. But what is there today, in America, that very poor and very rich adolescents want to do but cannot do? Not much: they can "do" drugs, "have" sex, "make" babies, and "get" money (from their parents, crime, or the State). For such adolescents, adulthood becomes synonymous with responsibility rather than liberty. Is it any surprise that they remain adolescents?
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.
Juvenile court judges now routinely send children deemed to be "ungovernable" or "in need of supervision" to psychiatrists. The child, reasonably enough, views the psychiatrist so imposed on him as his adversary rather than his ally. The psychiatrist who "sees" such a child insists on viewing himself as the protector of the child's best interests. The parents and juvenile court judges who initiate this process insist on viewing themselves as helping the child get the "treatment" he needs. If we wanted to hasten the destruction of children injured by parental neglect, it would be difficult to devise a more effective mechanism for doing so.
As a parent, perhaps the most important message you must convey to your daughter or son is: "Listen to your inner voice and trust it. Listen to and learn from others, but never let them undermine your confidence in your own judgment." Of course, you won't be able to do so unless you yourself believe it, and act accordingly.
Parenthood remains the greatest single preserve of the amateur.
What is the point of being a grown-up if you can't act childish?
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
People make a lot of fuss about my kids having such supposedly "strange names", but the fact is that no matter what first names I might have given them, it is the last name that is going to get them in trouble.
A strong China has historically tended to establish suzerainty over its neighbours: in fact, one special problem of dealing with China — Communism apart — is that it has had no experience in conducting foreign policy with equals. China has been either dominant or subjected.
It is unimaginable that the Chinese would kill such a goose [as Hong Kong's independent commerce]. Yet we wouldn't need the metaphor of golden eggs and geese if history wasn't full of dead geese.
People who disagree with one another on issues of taste or style tend to resort to that well-worn French phrase chaque un a son gout. Which, loosely translated, means "you have no taste".
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
Q. Why do Methodists disapprove of fornication? A. It might lead to dancing.
I have no objections to churches so long as they do not interfere with God's work.
Trinity (n): In the multiplex theism of certain Christian churches, three entirely distinct deities consistent with only one. The Trinity is one of the most sublime mysteries of our holy religion. In rejecting it because it is incomprehensible, Unitarians betray their inadequate sense of theological fundamentals. In religion, we believe only what we do not understand, except in the case of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts an incomprehensible one. In that case, we believe the former as part of the latter.
Reprobation (n): In theology, the state of a luckless mortal prenatally damned. The doctrine of reprobation was taught by Calvin, whose joy in it was somewhat marred by the sad sincerity of his conviction that although some are foredoomed to perdition, others are predestined to salvation.
Presbyterian (n): One who holds the conviction that the governing authorities of the church should be called Presbyters.
Saint (n): A dead sinner revised and edited.
Harmonists (n): A sect of Protestants, now extinct, who came from Europe in the beginning of the last century and were distinguished for the bitterness of their internal controversies and dissensions.
Predestination (n): The doctrine that all things occur according to programme. This doctrine should not be confused with that of foreordination, which means that all things are programmed, but does not affirm their occurrence, that being only an implication from other doctrines by which this is entailed. The difference is great enough to have deluged Christendom with ink, to say nothing of the gore. With the distinction of the two doctrines kept well in mind, and a reverent belief in both, one may hope to escape perdition if spared.
Primate (n): The head of a church, especially a state church supported by involuntary contributions. The Primate of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, an amiable old gentleman, who occupies Lambeth Palace when living and Westminster Abbey when dead. He is commonly dead.
Prelate (n): A church officer having a superior degree of holiness and a fat preferment. One of Heaven's aristocracy. A gentleman of God.
Christian (n): One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ insofaras they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
Convent (n): A place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the vice of idleness.
Evangelist (n): A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious sense) such as assure us of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbors.
Redemption (n): Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through the murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religion, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.
Rector (n): In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Curate and the Vicar being the other two.
Palace (n): A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great official. The residence of a high dignitary of the Christian Church is called a palace; that of the Founder of his religion was known as a field, or wayside. There is progress.
People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and seeing it practiced.
It is not that it has been tried in the balance and found wanting; it is that it has been found difficult and never been tried.
He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth will proceed by loving his own sect better than Christianity and end in loving himself better than all.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
As a Christian, I'm assured that I can do pretty much as I please, as long as I remember to ask forgiveness whenever I feel a chest pain or receive any other clues that I may be about to take the Big Dirt Nap. Heaven is just like earth. It's always easier to get forgiveness than permission.
The Eleventh Commandment: Don't get caught.
Robert A. Heinlein
I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.
The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma.
When my heart is cold and I cannot pray as I should I scourge myself with the thought of the impiety and ingratitude of my enemies, the Pope and his accomplices and vermin, and Zwingli, so that my heart swells with righteous indignation and I can say with warmth and vehemence: "Holy be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!" And the hotter I grow the more ardent do my prayers become.
Puritanism: The fear that someone, somewhere is happy.
Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.
The great difficulty about keeping the Ten Commandments is that no man can keep them and be a gentleman.
The Christian Church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails.
The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore.
A dull, dark, depressing day in Winter: the whole world looks like a Methodist church at Wednesday night prayer-meeting.
What I got in Sunday School . . . was simply a firm conviction that the Christian faith was full of palpable absurdities and the Christian God preposterous . . . The act of worship, as carried on by Christians, seems to me to be debasing rather than ennobling. It involves grovelling before a Being who, if He really exists, deserves to be denounced instead of respected.
The early Christians believed in the imminent end of the world basically because they were hard up, and suffering all sorts of pains and inconveniences. The fact that there were happy people in the world apparently never occurred to them. When they heard happiness mentioned they always put it down to sin.
Man's limitations are also visible in his gods. Yahveh seems to have had His hands full with the Devil from the start. His plans for Adam and Eve went to pot, and He failed again with Noah. His worst failure came when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to rescue man from sin. It would be hard to imagine any scheme falling further from success.
Christian Theology is not only opposed to the scientific spirit; it is opposed to every other form of rational thinking.
The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.
"Eschatological dualism" is fancy theologist-speak for the belief that history consists of a titanic struggle between God and the Devil, which will culminate at the end of time with a great sorting out — godly obedient people to Heaven, sinners to Hell. Eschatological dualism is the root of the "Kill them all, God will know his own" attitude that has always been rather more characteristic of both religions than "peace" or "love". Pat and Osama, brothers under the skin, are squarely in that grand old tradition.
Christianity, fortunately for all of us, has become quite decadent and weak these last 400 years or so — Robertson merely dreams of smiting the Devil's minions with Godly fire, rather than actually incinerating 3000 people on a fine autumn morning. But it may take another 400 before Christianity withers away sufficiently that my descendants need not fear being burned at the stake by a charismatic looney-tune like Robertson. Islam, 600 years younger, will probably remain deadly for rather longer.
Eric S. Raymond
Christianity, which purports to be the religion of love, is only sporadically anything of the kind. It is primarily a religion of slavery and submission. Christian individualism, when it exists at all, is legitimized only by obedience to God. In a Christian worldview there is always someone to be obeyed, whether visible cleric or invisible Nobodaddy. You must submit; the only argument is about to whom your obedience is owed, and what humans under what circumstances may transmit the orders of God. Without that sinew of obedience the entire world-view disintegrates.
Eric S. Raymond
I've taken some flak in the past for implying that Christianity is just as vile and violence-prone a religion as Islam. Pat Robertson has made this point for me before and doubtless will again. Because, like Osama bin Laden, he really believes. He pays attention to all the bits of the Bible and doctrine and history that most so-called "Christians" edit out — a maneuver that makes them better human beings, but worse Christians.
Eric S. Raymond
God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and then He gave Irving Berlin "Easter Parade" and "White Christmas". The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ — the divinity that's the very heart of the Jewish rejection of Christmas — and what does Irving Berlin brilliantly do? He de-Christs them both! Easter turns into a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow . . . He turns their religion into schlock. But nicely!
King James English is essentially the language that many Americans think Jesus spoke. "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"
Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.
George Bernard Shaw
[Schismatics], in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe.
[Heretics] in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself.
Will The Rapture be more like Night of the Living Dead, with freshly "arisen" Christians shambling and rotting, lusting for the flesh of the living?
Rev. Ian Stang
So let's see if we have this straight: The head of the Anglican Church is telling us that the wanton murder of thousands of innocent people [by Palestinian terrorists] is a sign of "serious moral goals," while the liberation of millions [of Iraqis] from one of the world's most vicious dictatorships is, as he has put it, "immoral and illegal."
Is this really what Christianity is all about?
Santas abound on television these days. Hundreds of Santas racing through a downtown core. Dozens of Santas knocking the stuffing out of each other in a wrestling ring. A scraggly department-store Santa wigging out at a child and mother, a clip from Billy Bob Thornton's new movie. I guess I shouldn't complain: All things considered, it's probably a good thing we have this obese, red-suited icon to exploit at Christmastime. If we didn't, just imagine how we'd have defiled His image by now. Don't get crucified by the competition! If you come on down, Jesus won't be the only one who saves!
All Christmases refer back to the Christmases of your early childhood. That's your baseline, your definition. Mine were warm and happy, which is a blessing and a curse — you love the season, but now you have an unreasonable standard. Everything falls short. It takes a long time to unlearn Christmas and reassemble it for your own — although having kids of your own accelerates the process, makes it easier. Forget your own unrealistic half-remembered expectations; let's implant the same in the next crop! And when your toddler hugs your leg and says Oh Daddee it's the best Christmas EVER you know you're back in the groove.
It's always good to see everyone at Christmas, but I can't stand the traveling, or the disruption of My Precious Way of Doing Everything. It's one of the few drawbacks in being a stick-in-the-mud anal retentive. (And the stick must be PERFECTLY PERPENDICULAR to the mud or I will just sit here twitching until I can't take it anymore and FIX THE STICK.) But I suspect that I'm not alone.
You may recall Hillary Clinton's claim that Christmas celebrates "the birth of a homeless child" (he was homeless only because his dad had to schlep halfway across the country to pay his taxes in the town of his birth, which sounds like the kind of cockamamie bureaucratic nightmare only Big Government Lefties would cook up).
Alien (n): An American citizen in his probationary state.
Plebeian (n): An ancient Roman who in the blood of his country stained nothing but his hands. Distinguished from the Patrician, who was a saturated solution.
Neighbor (n): One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how to make us disobedient.
Metropolis (n): A stronghold of provincialism.
Lock-and-Key (n): The distinguishing device of civilization and enlightenment.
Men are qualified for freedom in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.
Civilization is nothing else but the attempt to reduce force to being the last resort.
Jose Ortega y Gasset
The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "Loyalty" and "Duty". Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute — get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.
Robert A. Heinlein
It is the capacity for maintenance which is the best test for the vigor and stamina of a society. Any society can be galvanized for a while to build something, but the will and the skill to keep things in good repair day in, day out are fairly rare.
It is bad enough to persevere in barbarism; it is worse to relapse into it; but worst of all is consciously to seek it out.
The most civilized man, in the conventional sense, is simply that man who has been most successful in caging and harnessing his honest and natural instincts — that is, the man who has done most cruel violence to his own ego in the interest of the commonweal. The value of this commonweal is always overestimated. What is its purpose at bottom? Simply the greatest good to the greatest number — of petty rogues, ignoramuses and chicken-hearts.
One of the enduring problems with certain societies in the world — and this is certainly true of a lot of places in the Middle East — is that the capacity for self-governance and self-organizing just isn't there. It has to do with history. For many places east of the Suez, or west of it in the case of Egypt, there has been absolutely no tradition whatsoever of self-organizing organizations. No guilds, no Protestant churches, no forms of democracy, no feudalism. Because of the fractured nature of Europe, and also because of the Reformation, the guild movement, and certain other organizational and social things that happened, there is tremendous experience among European peoples with self-organizing principles. The people on the Mayflower hit the ground running; they had it all figured out on the boat who was going to run what. You leave people alone, and they automatically self-organize. Acrimoniously, perhaps, but they do.
There are a lot of societies in the world that just aren't like that. The Chinese are pretty good about this. But, for a lot of places in Africa and a lot of places in the Middle East, this is just alien. All authority always comes down from the top. And the idea of authority growing from the bottom just doesn't work.
Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof.
Very compelling is the evidence that our most serious problems are not brought about by the failures of our society, but by its successes.
Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork, but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.
Modern civilization is a product of the philosophy of laissez faire.
Ludwig von Mises
It's so easy to be happy with your classless life when everyone around you belongs to your class. It's so easy to say you hate deference when you get it any day you want.
What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it.
The phrase "We (I) (You) simply must . . ." designates something that need not be done. "That goes without saying" is a red warning. "Of course" means you had better check it yourself. These small-change cliches and others like them, when read correctly, are reliable channel markers.
Robert A. Heinlein
Everyone started to laugh, and then they noticed that Hillary's face was collapsing inward on itself until it turned into an actual black hole of feminine rage, with punitive tax audits arcing unpredictably at all who ventured near her event horizon.
Bill laughed at first, and then he got an load of the imploding ball of superheated estrogen plasma to his right, and certain parts of his own anatomy began imploding. He quickly decided, in terrified retrospect, that Imus's crack had been, in the final analysis, Not One Bit Funny.
Immediately, he cued up his patented expression of mock outrage. Of Bill's emotions, all of which are mock, this is the most convincing, perhaps because he has practiced it the most, and because it doesn't require him to bite his lower lip. Bill quickly realized that Imus twisting in the wind alone was better than Imus twisting and Bill going home with a sloshing, freshly reheated cauldron of hatred incarnate.
However, it says something unflattering about our era that prominent political figures — who used to write declarations of independence, preambles to constitutions, Gettysburg addresses, and such — now use the alphabet only to make primitive artifacts, like the letter-inscribed tablet that Charlemagne is said to have put under his pillow each night, in the hope he'd wake up literate. Conservatives, including most of the Founding Fathers, have always worried that the price of a democratic system would be a mediocre nation. But George Washington and William F. Buckley Jr. put together could not have foreseen, in their gloomiest moments, the rise of Clinton-style uber-mediocrity — with its soaring commonplaces, its pumped trifling, its platinum-grade triviality. The Alpha-dork husband, the super-twerp wife, and the hyper-wonk vice president — together with all their mega-weenie water carriers, such as vicious pit gerbil George Stephanopoulos and Eastern diamondback rattleworm Sidney Blumenthal — spent eight years trying to make America nothing to brag about.
She is married to a fellow who believes that politics is all about turning enemies in to friends. Her attitude, friends say, is that enemies are enemies for life and should be consigned to the outer darkness, then vaporized.
According to a new poll, 67% of men would love to have Hillary Clinton as a wife. Well, sure, look what you could get away with.
Good news: Hillary Clinton is coming to New York to be our senator. They're saying now that she bought a house in Westchester. . . . It must have been very traumatic emotionally, because buying a house — this is probably the first legal real estate deal she's been involved with.
[T]hat's why Hillary Clinton probably won't be president. It's not that she's not smart enough, or tough enough. But too many people just plain hate her guts. To many, her smiley, kindly book-tour persona is a Botox mask, a meek and mild cookie-baking Hillary who says "my goodness" and "gosh."
Plus she has baggage. Six-plus feet of steel-haired, sax-playing, intern-grabbing baggage. As she once remarked, buy one, get two — but now the equation works in the other direction. Does America want Bill Clinton back in the White House?
Of course Hillary Clinton isn't going to tell us everything about her relationship with President Bill; you'd be appalled if she did.
Nevertheless you cannot help wondering if her descriptions leave something out — when she says that his late-night admission of the affair left her gasping for breath, you think: Well, yes, if you're out of shape, thrashing someone within an inch of his life is going to leave you a little winded. It makes you wonder whether Bill installed an automatic pitching machine in the White House basement, rigged it to fling glass ashtrays, and spent an hour practicing his dodging maneuvers before breaking the news.
Bill and Hillary possess that rare blend of grade A Machiavellian caginess combined with the luck of a two-time Powerball winner.
I think for me, the sickest and scariest kind of rage is the Hillary Clinton kind of rage. You know, the perpetual permafrost smile she wears that's hiding a well of fury deeper than Barry White's voice during a bout of pneumonia.
What can you say about Hillary Clinton that hasn't already been muttered under somebody else's breath?
Hillary's gut political judgment is always the same: go for the jugular even when it's self-destructive.
Boring others is a form of aggression, and Hillary attacks her public with the weapon of brutal dullness.
Anyone who gets his or her political news primarily from the New York Times (which made the ethically challenged carpetbagger Hillary a senator) is a fool.
But [Hillary Clinton] can't even give a speech. She has no ability to interact with people in a spontaneous way.
The thong appears to be a major weapon in the swinger's fashion arsenal. This is not necessarily a good thing. Your taut-bodied individual may be able to pull it off (Har!), but when you see a portly middle-aged man who has more body hair than a musk ox AND (I swear) a tattoo of Elvis on his right butt cheek stroll past wearing essentially a No. 8 rubber band, you begin to think that maybe it's time Congress enacted strict Federal Thong Control.
Pantaloons (n): A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovided with hinges at the points of flexion. Supposed to have been invented by a humorist. Called "trousers" by the enlightened and "pants" by the unworthy.
Kilt (n): A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.
Presentable (adj): Hideously apparelled after the manner of the time and place. In Boorioboola-Gha, a man is presentable on occasions of ceremony if he have his abdomen painted a bright blue and wear a cow's tail; in New York he may, if it please him, omit the paint, but after sunset he must wear two tails made of the wool of a sheep and dyed black.
Apparently the fashion industry has decided it's a waste of fabric to make fashionable clothes for men my age because — and here I'm putting words into their mouths — it's like adding a sprig of parsley to road kill.
My biggest clothing horror involves work-out shorts. I've noticed at the gym that you can deduce the exact age of any man by measuring the length of his shorts. The teens wear gigantic ankle-length shorts. The twenty-somethings wear their shorts below the knee. As you escalate through the age groups, the shorts continue to get more economical. One guy at my gym is 90 and he wears shorts so tiny that when he uses a certain machine you can tell the temperature in a way too horrible to mention.
[T]here are days in which I don't feel a member of my ethnic group, and it's usually the day the J.Crew catalog arrives. One came today, and as usual it made me want to apply for membership in some other species where no one, and I mean no one, looks like a smug trust-fund old-money twentysomething walking the dog in intentionally wrinkled chinos. The whole catalog is a handbook for How to Be a Smirky White Person - one pale stick-thin coltish model after the other (each given at least one photo where they grin, bite their finger and look off to the left - which, for models, constitutes Acting) interspersed with hairy-legged fey male models pretending to be attracted to pale stick-thin coltish female models. Seventy pages of clay-coated dead trees to sell me boxer shorts in colors such as "Coral," "Opal," and "Mica."
I'm waiting for a bright yellow shirt called "Bile."
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the state always acts through the instrumentality of force. Both the services it renders us and those it makes us render in return are imposed upon us in the form of taxes.
The desire of several people to use the same resources for different ends is the essential problem that makes property institutions necessary. The simplest way to resolve such a conflict is physical force. If I can beat you up, I get to use the car. This method is very expensive, unless you like fighting and have plenty of medical insurance. It also makes it hard to plan for the future unless you're the current heavyweight champion, you never know when you will have access to a car. The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.
The state is not force alone. It depends upon the credulity of man quite as much as upon his docility. Its aim is not merely to make him obey, but also to make him want to obey.
It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.
Caffeine is a tricky thing. Too much, and you're dancing in your front yard naked. Too little, and your brain doesn't function at all. I had some trouble regulating it this morning, but I think I'm okay now, and the neighbors enjoyed the show. I just wish I had remembered to open my guitar case and put it on the lawn.
You know how unborn babies kick in their mothers' stomachs? My brain does that for caffeine.
[This café] is a local chain - at least it got its start here in Minnesota. I visit the Edina branch once a week, because it's convenient. I've never been impressed with their coffee - I don't know quite how to put this, but it has no floor. It's all walls. I like my coffee strong and stern, and [it] just doesn't deliver. It's a wedgie, not a chair, meaning it hits you in the same region but not with the effect you'd desire.
After several years in Africa, I concluded that the colonial enterprise had been fundamentally wrong and mistaken, even when, as was often the case in its final stages, it was benevolently intended. The good it did was ephemeral; the harm, lasting. The powerful can change the powerless, it is true; but not in any way they choose. The unpredictability of humans is the revenge of the powerless. What emerges politically from the colonial enterprise is often something worse, or at least more vicious because better equipped, than what existed before. Good intentions are certainly no guarantee of good results.
Perhaps the most baleful legacy of British and other colonials in Africa was the idea of the philosopher-king, to whose role colonial officials aspired, and which they often actually played, bequeathing it to their African successors. Many colonial officials made great sacrifices for the sake of their territories, to whose welfare they were devoted, and they attempted to govern them wisely, dispensing justice evenhandedly. But they left for the nationalists the instruments needed to erect the tyrannies and kleptocracies that marked post-independence Africa. They bequeathed a legacy of treating ordinary uneducated Africans as children, incapable of making decisions for themselves. No attitude is more grateful to the aspiring despot.
Unfortunately, there was a less laudable, indeed positively harmful, side to this effort [education in the colony]. The aim of education was, in almost every case, that at least one family member should escape what Marx contemptuously called the idiocy of rural life and get into government service, from which he would be in a position to extort from the only productive people in the country . . . namely, the peasants from whom he had sprung. The son in government service was social security, old-age pension, and secure income rolled into one. Farming, the country's indispensable economic base, was viewed as the occupation of dullards and failures, and so it was hardly surprising that the education of an ever larger number of government servants went hand in hand with an ever contracting economy. It also explains why there is no correlation between a country's number of college graduates at independence and its subsequent economic success.
Common sense is not so common.
Lack of sense is common.
Common sense is about as rare as truffles: you have to send out a bunch of pigs to find it.
Crusaders like to talk about "solutions" but life is actually one trade-off after another. The only real question is: What are you prepared to give up in order to get what you want?
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
If people listened to themselves more often, they would talk less.
The longer the letter, the less chance of its being read.
Speaking without thinking is like shooting without taking aim.
87 percent of the information stored in people's minds entered their body through their eyes. When your words conflict with your actions, your listener will believe the actions.
Don't worry about being clear; worry about being misunderstood. Ask yourself, "How can I send this message in such a way that I will not be misunderstood?"
Communication Skills are acquired more than they are in-born. You were born crying, not speaking. You learned how to speak by imitating others — a process that need never end.
The meaning people get from you comes less from what you say than from how you say it. In fact, your tone of voice and your body language (your nonverbal communication) account for over 90 percent of the meaning received.
The best assumption to make regarding the next message you send is that it will be misunderstood. This will cause you to communicate more thoughtfully, to look for feedback, and to examine yourself first whenever you don't get the desired results.
Communication is a complex, ongoing, dynamic, and changing process. It is not the simple exchange of words that most people think it is. There's more to go wrong than to go right. And it falls apart if you don't keep fixing it.
Whenever two people are in each other's presence, communication inevitably occurs. Even when you don't think you're sending messages, you are. They may not be the messages you want to send, but the other person is receiving them. You cannot not communicate.
If you say what you think, don't expect to hear only what you like.
Knowing when to keep your mouth shut is invariably more important than opening it at the right time.
The squeaking wheel doesn't always get the grease. Sometimes it gets replaced.
In Broken Images He is quick, thinking in clear images; I am slow, thinking in broken images. He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images; I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images, Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance; Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance. Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact, Questioning their relevance, I question the fact. When the fact fails him, he questions his senses; When the fact fails me, I approve my senses. He continues quick and dull in his clear images; I continue slow and sharp in my broken images. He in a new confusion of his understanding; I in a new understanding of my confusion.
I always try to make myself as widely understood as possible, and, if I fail, I consider it my own fault.
Communism is like vegetarianism in that it's actually not very healthy for most people but leftists continue to defend it because it seems like the thing to do.
The argument is never about Communism, it's about the reasons one might have for opposing it. The Fang'd and Hateful Shade of Reagan hangs over the conversation — in fact, now that I think of it, this is the adjunct to Godwin's Law. Just as the invocation of Hitler in a Usenet flamewar means the conversation has come to an end, the invocation of Reagan in defense of one's anti-communism means you've just lost the case, because you've revealed yourself as an idiot from a strange alternate universe where Reagan is not a punchline.
The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly, and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretenses.
Marx defined capitalism as ownership of the means of production. One man has the factory and another works in it. This is precisely the state of affairs in Russia. In this country the imaginative slave may at least hope, however vainly, to own a factory of his own some day; in Russia it is impossible. The theory, of course, is that the people in general own everything, but this involves a false definition of ownership. The title may be in them legally, but their bosses are perpetual lessees who exercise all their rights. To believe that Russia has got rid of capitalism takes a special kind of mind. It is the same kind of mind that believes that Jonah swallowed the whale.
[Communist theory says] Everyone knows that life ought to be fair and that God's a lousy guy for not making it happen. Everyone should get what everyone else gets. And, if everyone else gets broke, hungry, and dead, well fair's fair.
Communism was the notion that, if you took everything away from the people and made them go sit in Siberia, people would behave like perfect little angels. Communism was hell's own time out, Mom being Joseph Stalin. It fizzled when permissive parent Mikhail Gorbechev put a VCR and some Blue's Clues tapes in Yakutsk so the little gulagers wouldn't cry.
It is absurd to write a letter to the Politburo, because in order to rise that high, you must satisfy two conditions throughout your career: you must not believe in Communism, and you must always pretend that you do. If you do believe in it, sooner or later you will come into conflict over the interpretation of it, and you'll be out of the game. But the moment you admit you don't believe in it, you're also out of the game. A person who rises to such heights will be deaf to all appeals and reasoning.
Alone (adj): In bad company.
I know a great many more people than most men, and in wider and more diverse circles, yet my life is essentially one of isolation, and so is that of every other man. We not only have to die alone; we also, save for a few close associates, have to live alone.
Incompetence knows no barriers of time or place.
Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
To criticize the incompetent is easy; it's more difficult to criticize the rest.
Brute force: The last refuge of the incompetent.
Some men are discovered; others are found out.
Hurry (n): The dispatch of bunglers.
There is nothing more boring, more annoying, more maddening than being told to do something by someone who is incompetent.
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
Robert A. Heinlein
The work of the world, in all departments, is chiefly done by bunglers. Very few generals are fit to be trusted with the lives of their troops, very few medical men are expert at diagnosis and treatment, and very few pedagogues really know anything about the things they presume to teach. As for clergymen, metaphysicians, politicians, and other such frauds, it must be manifest that nearly all of them are completely incompetent. This incompetence, I suppose, is not to be held against mankind. Yahveh Himself set the example on the first six days.
The most steadily attractive of all human qualities is competence. One invariably admires a man who is good at his trade, whatever it must be — who understands its technic thoroughly, and surmounts its difficulties with ease, and gets substantial rewards for his labors, and is envied by his rivals. An in precisely the same way one admires a woman who, in a business-like and sure-handed way, has gone out and got herself a good husband, and persuaded him to be grateful for her condescension, and so made herself secure.
I simply can't imagine competence as anything save admirable, for it is very rare in this world, and especially in this great Republic, and those that have it in some measure, in any art or craft, from adultery to zoology, are the only human beings I can think of who it will be worth the oil it will take to fry them in hell.
In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties.
Lawrence J. Peter
We put up with being surpassed more easily than with being equalled.
Outdo (v.t.): To make an enemy.
Otherwise (adv): No better.
The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.
By the data to date, there is only one animal in the galaxy dangerous to man: man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.
Robert A. Heinlein
"How goes the rat-race, dear?" "The rats are winning."
In accordance with our principles of free enterprise and healthy competition, I'm going to ask you two to fight to the death for it.
Tortoise-and-Hare Theory: Your quickness out of the starting blocks makes for interesting conversation, but the payoff is based upon where you are when the race is over.
Robert J. Ringer
Zip-the-Lip Theory: If you've got a good thing going, shut up!
Robert J. Ringer
It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but that's the way to bet.
It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.
This terminal is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late terminal. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the bench, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an X-Terminal!
When it comes to computer security, paranoia is not enough.
Easter Egging: Replacing unrelated parts and hoping the malfunction goes away.
Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
Computers are first installed merely to do manual tasks more expensively.
The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical cord.
LART: Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool. Traditionally a 2x4 applied liberally to the head and body of a clueless computer user (aka luser) by an enraged MIS or IT technician.
Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology.
The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents.
Bit by bit computers are learning to program their users.
Alfred R. Fregly
[To Steve Jobs]: "Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox's house before I did and took the TV doesn't mean I can't go in later and take the stereo."
Kludge: an ill-assorted collection of poorly-matching parts, forming a distressing whole.
. . . one of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.
Computers help us to compute, but they do not assist us in thinking; what is desperately needed is an electronic device that will provide the mind with clarity and depth rather than with speed, with a summation of proper ends more than a tabulation of feasible means.
Sydney J. Harris
Never try to explain computers to a layman. It's easier to explain sex to a virgin. (Underneath, someone who had been programming a little too long had written: "Note, however, that virgins tend to know a lot about computers." (Anonymous))
Robert A. Heinlein
Spagetti Code: Programmed by an Italian.
I have pretty much lost my zeal for computing as a recreational activity. I enjoy coding and gaming but the computer and the OS are just tools to me now. For the most part I consider the computer and the OS (plus Apple and Microsoft) to be malevolent forces that I have to alternately bribe and fight through in order to accomplish what I want to do.
Major I.L. Holdridge
We haven't yet thought up all the things we can do with this technology.
Admiral Grace Hopper
Downtime: The period during which a system is error-free and immune from user input.
We now possess the power, tools, and the opportunity to create computerized chaos of a magnitude never before possible.
Had C. Northcote Parkinson been an information theorist rather than a history professor and social critic, his famous law ("Work expands. . .") could have come out a little differently. "Data expands," he might have written, "to fill the bandwidth of the media available to disseminate it."
Michael E. Kolowich
Some Silicon Valley high-tech companies are like the Soviet Union under Brezhnev — still working on the centralized heavy industry model. With little concern for the individual home consumer. In many ways, Silicon Valley reminds me of a digital Detroit.
I get to work, turn on the wheezy PC, hit X to exit Scandisk. That's the program that scurries over your hard drive checking for errors, because YOU, Mr. Stumblethumbs, just turned it off yesterday without letting Windows winch itself down from the attic of its house of cards. I do this every morning, because every day I just turn the computer off. Work's done? Push the button, Frank. I love doing this in the presence of people with a modicum of computer savvy; they freak. Some of them look like they want to throw themselves in front of your finger, slo-mo movie style: NOOOOOOOOO!
The more time I spend in "Photoshop" the more I am convinced that God is NOT in the details, no matter what the philosopher said. God is in the generalities. Details are the devil's domain.
The Dream — you can do anything with a computer. The Truth — you'll never have the time.
AI: What we don't know how to do yet.
Information Retrieval: One of those terms that laymen throw around as if it were a manhole cover.
Near as I can tell, complaining about not getting the latest version of an operating system is like complaining about not getting the latest version of influenza.
James D. Nicoll
A system admin's life is a sorry one. The only advantage he has over Emergency Room doctors is that malpractice suits are rare. On the other hand, ER doctors never have to deal with patients installing new versions of their own innards!
Corporate IT is currently plagued by a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder known as DUH, or Dementia Upgradia Habitua. It manifests itself through the irrational assumption that the only way a company can maintain a competitive edge in productivity is to upgrade to the latest and greatest hardware and software. Since hardware and software are continually changing (change is almost always considered to be progress, of course), DUH compels corporate IT to remain in a continual state of upgrade.
DUH may afflict anyone from the lowliest grunt to the most senior manager. Regardless of where it afflicts your organization, I have come to the sorry conclusion that DUH is almost always incurable. The philosophy "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" may make perfect sense to most people who hear it, but few IT departments are allowed to live by it even if they want to.
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history — with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
Personal computers won't be worth anything until they can sense pain.
The killer app of now? A PC that goes all Luka On The Second Floor when you lose data for the nth time and let your Ike Turner parts drive the spleen-bus.
There's nothing worse than finally losing your Zen, beating on your tormentor until you're bruised, and having it just sit there, doing nothing but costing you money.
I can train a panda, midget, or English person to do absolutely anything in about an hour with a simple hammer, but not the computer that I depend on? It's not right.
They could at least make an exterior that gets bruises rather than dents.
Jiggerypokery (n.): A long series of mouse clicks whereby a well-meaning Windows user reduces a functional system to a shambles by means of putative "enhancements" to the default settings. See also Meddler, Idiot.
USENET is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea — massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it.
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.
There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.
Andrew C. Taubman
A user needs the admin password like nitroglycerine needs a good shake.
Dummy Mode: The mode in which a user, overcome by technical terms, will believe, and/or do, anything he or she is told.
If you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, you probably have a CD writer on your desktop.
I've finally learned what 'upward compatible' means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes.
Dennie van Tassel
Machines should work; people should think.
Thomas J. Watson
SCSI is *not* magic. There are *fundamental technical reasons* why it is necessary to sacrifice a young goat to your SCSI chain now and then.
One of the hardest secrets for a man to keep is his opinion of himself.
Conceit is God's gift to little men.
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.
Egotist (n): A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant.
An egotist is a man who thinks that if he hadn't been born, people would have wondered why.
Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.
No confidence is so vast as that which is grounded in ignorance.
To beat the system, turn the handle the way it goes — only more so.
Philistine (n): One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always solemn.
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
Out-of-Step Theory: As a general rule, a person's chances for success will tend to increase the more he's out of step with the dictates of "conventional wisdom."
Robert J. Ringer
Society attacks early while the individual is helpless.
If there is anything a nonconformist hates more than a conformist, it is another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
Conscience: A small, still voice that makes minority reports.
Franklin P. Adams
The good people sleep much better at night than the bad people. Of course, the bad people enjoy the waking hours much more.
Never allow your conscience to prevent you from doing the right thing.
Pocket (n): The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience. In woman this organ is lacking; so she acts without motive, and her conscience, denied burial, remains ever alive, confessing the sins of others.
Philanthropist (n): A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone may be looking.
Enthusiasm for conservation can be fashioned into a nasty weapon for those who dislike business on general principles.
William F. Buckley
There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who "love nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which "man has spoiled it," which imply that man and his artifacts are not part of "nature" — but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers' purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by man (for the purposes of men), the "naturalist" reveals his hatred for his own race — i.e., his own self-hatred. In the case of naturalists, such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate. As for me, willy-nilly, I am a man and not a beaver, and H. Sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women — it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly "natural." Believe it or not, there were "naturalists" who opposed the first flight to old Earth's moon as being "unnatural" and a "despoiling of nature."
Robert A. Heinlein
I happen to be one of those people who thinks the aesthetics of a place are improved by putting a nice transmission line through it.
Not all conservative people are uneducated, but all uneducated people are conservative.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Sometimes the prudes are right. Sometimes too much is too much. For the sake of my daughter, I do worry about the amount of sensuality in the culture; a few years from now, I don't want to be standing in the grocery store and have to explain why Brad and Jennifer are tongue-wrestling on the cover of People.
Progress might have been all right once, but it's gone on too long.
The enemies of dynamism are forever arguing that we must destroy dynamic processes in order to save them. The open society, they assert, is its own greatest enemy and should therefore be closed. Dynamism, in this analysis, survives only as a parasite, sucking off the inherited virtue of stasist eras; over time, it depletes that virtue and is destined to wither and die.
[C]onservatism has got itself tangled up with impulses of a very different kind — specifically classical-liberal and libertarian ones. Many people who describe themselves as conservatives are in fact nothing of the kind — they are in bed with conservatism only out of a shared loathing of the Marxist/socialist left. The alliance depends on a sort of folie a deux — conservatives fooling themselves that free markets tend to freeze existing power relationships in place, and classical-liberals fooling themselves that freedom can be reconciled with the love of hierarchy and punishment wired into the conservative hindbrain.
Eric S. Raymond
Now and again some cute young suburban matron decides that it would be convenient to nurse her baby while she stands in line at Wal-Mart or the DMV, and it generates instantaneous hysteria in the broadcast and print media. It's at moments like this that we discover once again how far we haven't come from Plymouth Rock and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
L. Neil Smith
[T]he gun nuts, anti-abortionists, Wall Street types and Christian fundamentalists [. . .] make Republican gatherings look like the result of a dating agency run by sadists.
The radical invents the new ideas, and when he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Predicament (n): The wage of consistency.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Consistency is very important in my life, Rockney; thank you for always being an asshole."
A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.
Lawrence J. Peter
A consultant is someone you hire to borrow your watch to tell you the time.
Have you noticed that the longer you know people, the deafer you both get? My theory is that it's hard to listen to people you know, because they've already used up all of their interesting stories, and now they're just talking because they like it when noise comes out of their body.
If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.
Platitude: An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty
Richard J. Needham
I like talking about nothing. It's the only thing I know anything about.
I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word I am saying.
[. . .] A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start making my own beer. Because making beer is the most important thing a human being can do, apart from performing breast augmentations.
Okay, strike that. Breast augmentation sucks. You lie down on the table with perfectly useful small breasts, they shoot you full of gas, and you wake up with stiff, numb, asymmetrical Frankenboobs that, with time, get so hard that when you jog, they clack.
I never know what these writers want. Well, I do: a city where no one makes more than anyone else, the primary industries are Transgressive Theater and Paradigm-Challenging Music, and everyone shuffles from coffeehouse to cabaret in buses or small crappy cars, then goes to their day job handing out grants. Let's build a barter economy built around nose-ring parlors and howling goateed poetry-slam participants.
What they'll never say is that they need the people who didn't screw up their lives, because they pay all the taxes. So we'll let them stay. But they'd better shut up.
One of the overdue lessons of 9/11 is that we can't afford to sneer at physical courage any more. The willingness of New York firemen, Special Forces troops in Afghanistan, and the passengers of Flight 93 to put their lives on the line has given us most of the bright spots we've had in the war against terror. We are learning, once again, that all that stands between us and the night of barbarism is the willingness of men to both risk their lives and take the awful responsibility of using lethal force in our defense.
Eric S. Raymond
I don't think I'm any less of a man just because while getting dressed I had a black sock resting on my shoulder, forgot about it, bent over, and shrieked like a little girl when a black amorphous rat-like shape suddenly flew into my field of view.
Not at all.
I think I'm less of a man because a little pee escaped.
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call'd the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.' Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words — Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester — Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered — We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
This is the attribute which separates men from Gentlemen and women from Ladies: The courtesy they display for those who can be of no possible service to them.
William Lyon Phelps
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.
[C]rochet isn't knitting, folks. At least with knitting, I believe, you follow some sort of pattern. Knitting is proper. Knitting is satin opera gloves and crossing your ankles under the table. Knitting is sitting up straight, your hands working in unison and harmony, hair pulled back in a chignon, symmetrical ringlets cascading along the face. Knitting is ballet. Crochet is slouching with open legs. In a dirty, torn dress. Crochet is knitting's nasty little pole-smearing sister that puts out. Crochet is wild, tousled mane of hair plastered in strands to the side of your sweaty face and neck. Crochet is the orgy of knitting. There's no rules. There's no structure. There's just this random stick-through-hole, pull out, stick-through-hole, pull out . . . oh oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh oh oh. Over and over and over. You're sort of anywhere and everywhere and you just keep going and going and going, spinning and sliming and there's no end in sight until everything's been used and violated and you haven't an ounce of strength or a shred of dignity and an appendage shrivels and falls off. Or you get pole burn. Or something. Oh sure, you have a doily like Grandma used to make but then you're left with nothing except shame, regret, and the bitter taste of lubricant and a stranger in your mouth. Right? OK then.
Now that I think back, what kind of sick fuck suggests crochet to someone with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and short-term memory loss? First, there's always One. More. Row. To. Do. Secondly, through no fault of your own, you simply cannot remember if you just completed a row or not. Hence, never-ending cycle in the Seventh Circle of Crochet Hell.
People forget how fast you did a job, but remember how well you did it.
A bad workman quarrels with the man who calls him that.
The way to master any art is to make the first 1,000 mistakes as quickly as possible.
Leonardo da Vinci
When your works speak for themselves, don't interrupt.
Henry J. Kaiser
If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you'll abort it if you do. Be patient and you'll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait.
Robert A. Heinlein
Ransom (n): The purchase of that which neither belongs to the seller, nor can belong to the buyer. The most unprofitable of investments.
Homicide (n): The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another the classification is for the advantage of lawyers.
Kill (v.t.): To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.
Mercy (n): An attribute beloved of detected offenders.
Pardon (v): To remit a penalty and restore to a life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.
Pillory (n): A mechanical device for inflicting personal distinction prototype of the modern newspaper conducted by persons of austere virtues and blameless lives.
Hemp (n): A plant from whose fibrous bark is made an article of neckwear which is frequently put on after public speaking in the open air and prevents the wearer from taking cold.
According to liberals, crime is the result of poverty, and black poverty is the result of racism, as night and day are the result of the earth's rotation. No conscious human decision or thought intervenes between the forcible transportation from Africa to Jamaica of the poet's great-great-great-great-great-grandfather and the snatching of an old lady's purse in the back streets of my city. The latter is no more than the natural consequence of the former. Thus the concept of personal responsibility for one's actions vanishes; and thus a man can continue to commit the most dreadful acts secure in his self-righteousness.
I was just reading about the idiotic deal in California, where they're giving illegal aliens drivers' licenses. I find it highly amusing that they call these people "undocumented aliens."
It occurred to me that we should be just as kind to other criminals. For example, burglars are "temporary residents without papers," and rapists are "undocumented boyfriends."
Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing, "Blasphemy" is the most amazing — with "Obscenity" and "Indecent Exposure" battling it out for second and third place.
Robert A. Heinlein
The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor. Judging by the uplifters' statistics every inhabitant of a slum area should end in the death-house. Actually, the overwhelming majority grow up into respectable citizens, and some of them become citizens of genuine dignity and value.
Never steal anything so small that you'll have to go to an unpleasant city jail for it instead of a minimum-security federal tennis prison.
It's strange that men should take up crime when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest.
Lawrence J. Peter
One of the worst things that happened to America's crime problem was the spread of the "don't get involved" mindset, which suggested that crime was the police department's problem, not everyone else's. Why is it that people who are quick to believe that "it takes a village to raise a child" find it hard to believe that it takes a village — or at least a few bystanders willing to take a hand — to control crime?
We seem much more comfortable with propagating those values to future generations nonverbally, through a process of being steeped in media. Apparently this actually works to some degree, for police in many lands are now complaining that local arrestees are insisting on having their Miranda rights read to them, just like perps in American TV cop shows. When it's explained to them that they are in a different country, where those rights do not exist, they become outraged. Starsky and Hutch reruns, dubbed into diverse languages, may turn out, in the long run, to be a greater force for human rights than the Declaration of Independence.
Punishment is now unfashionable . . . because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.
People . . . have a passion for prohibiting all manner of human enterprises, even enterprises that are contractual and not harmful to third parties. For example, [in 1968], it was illegal to: 1) Provide overnight mail delivery service or cable television service. 2) Own gold bullion. 3) Advertise, if you were a doctor or a lawyer. 4) Operate a self-service gas station.
While all of these enterprises have "become legal" since then, today it is illegal to: 1) Buy or sell most of the drugs people want (which had been available legally for thousands of years, such as opium), or a hypodermic syringe and needle (without a physician's prescription). 2) Pay a person less than the "minimum wage". 3) Advertise a job specifying that the applicant needs to be attractive or young. 4) Ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
I came to the conclusion many years ago that almost all crime is due to the repressed desire for aesthetic expression.
To extraordinary circumstances we must apply extraordinary remedies.
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.
There are two basic types of literary criticism: one where the critic has discovered a cool new thing about a book and wants to share it with others, and one where the critic wants to show off how many big words he knows.
It's so much easier to be critical than correct.
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.
Admonition (n): Gentle reproof, as with a meat axe. Friendly warning.
Critic (n): One who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.
Perfection (n): An imaginary state or quality distinguished from the actual by an element known as excellence; an attribute of the critic.
Don't pay any attention to the critics. Don't even ignore them.
People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, "Why wasn't it done the other way?".
Oliver Wendell Holmes
To escape criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
To call the dialogue wooden is to insult the expressive potential of a tree stump. (review of Robert L. Forward's Martian Rainbow)
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Criticism: A big bite out of someone's back.
He is a horrid stylist; he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts; his politics have the sophistication of a preschool crayon drawing, and his self-confidence in his insights is matched only by his inability to see how fatuous his work often sounds.
I've never claimed not to have enough beams in my own eye to build a fair size house.
Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic.
In a perfect world, everybody would experience art without first having it explained: no program notes, no wall labels, no interviews with the author, and — above all — no reviews. You'd go simply because you were interested, because you made a habit of going to see new things. Then, after the immediate experience, you'd seek out further information to help you put that experience in perspective (or [. . .] simply for fun). I think it's hugely important to make a serious and sustained effort to come to new works of art this way. But in order to do so, especially when you're talking about Broadway shows, you've got to have (A) a lot of spare time and (B) a lot of spare money. Otherwise, it's essential to call your shots, if only to avoid bankruptcy, and good reviewers can help.
[Reviewing Stephen Spender's World Within World:] At one stage of his life Mr Spender took to painting and, he naively tells us, then learned the great lesson that "it is possible entirely to lack talent in an art where one believes oneself to have creative feeling." It is odd that this never occurred to him while he was writing, for to see him fumbling with our rich and delicate language is to experience all the horror of seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee.
Cryptocosmology: Sufficiently advanced communication is indistinguishable from noise — god is in the least significant bits.
A crude culture makes a coarse people, and private refinement cannot long survive public excess. There is a Gresham's law of culture as well as of money: the bad drives out the good, unless the good is defended.
Cultures produce curious strictures that seem bizarre and ridiculous to other societies. But the fewer taboos a society has, the more important they are, the more they are observed, and the more likely the society to be progressive and adaptive because it's not picking its way through a mine field every time it points a camera at the heavens or dissects a human body.
There's only one thing that every culture on the planet has in common: every culture has a hatred. Every culture holds some other group in contempt and would like to see them wiped from the face of the earth. That's something [everyone] can agree on — that someone else should be rounded up and shot.
Vituperation (n): Satire, as understood by dunces and all such as suffer from an impediment in their wit.
Where there's a will, there's a won't.
Whoever is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind.
Righteous indignation: Your own wrath as opposed to the shocking bad temper of others.
A grouch escapes so many little annoyances that it almost pays to be one.
Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
George Bernard Shaw
"The greatest thing by far," says Aristotle, "is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others." The human fear of freedom and love of dependence is perhaps nowhere displayed more tragically than in the one-sided application of this profound truth. Persons who create new metaphors and use them literally to enslave others — for example, Marx and Freud — are acclaimed as great liberators; whereas those who unravel the literalized metaphors of oppressors and thus liberate others — for example, Karl Kraus and Henry Mencken — are belittled as destructive cynics.
Cynicism is but idealism gone sour in the face of frustration.
Maybe there are more creationists-cum-literalists than we realize. After all, a huge extended family that begins with three males and one female must be fairly inbred by now. And we haven't had a good war lately to kill off the maroons, psychopaths and social misfits. And the flu pandemic isn't expected for another 15 years or so.
No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up.