Monday, February 20, 2017

Quotes for Presidents' Day

History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.--Thomas Jefferson

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.--Theodore Roosevelt

I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.--Woodrow Wilson

If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.--Calvin Coolidge

To reach a port, we must sail--sail, not tie at anchor--sail, not drift.--Franklin D. Roosevelt

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.--Harry Truman

Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.--John F. Kennedy

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.--William J. Clinton

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.--Clarence Darrow

Friday, August 5, 2016

A letter from Charles Fort

Charles Fort, born August 6, 1874, was a librarian of bizarre phenomenon in such books as The Book of the Damned and Wild Talents. He said of himself, "I am a collector of notes upon subjects that have diversity — such as deviations from concentricity in the lunar crater Copernicus, and a sudden appearance of purple Englishmen — stationary meteor-radiants, and a reported growth of hair on the bald head of a mummy — and 'Did the girl swallow the octopus?'"

And, concerning his research: "[Wise men] have tried to understand our state of being, by grasping at its stars, or its arts, or its economics. But, if there is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter where we begin, whether with stars, or laws of supply and demand, or frogs, or Napoleon Bonaparte. One measures a circle, beginning anywhere."

His books make fascinating reading, and while he can be flippant at times ("I think we're all bugs and mice, and are only different expressions of an all-inclusive cheese"), the letter below indicates he did take his work seriously. John found it and the envelope it came in glued to the inside of the back cover of a third printing (Feb. 1931) of The Book of the Damned he purchased some years ago at a used book store for $4.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

10 Inspiring quotes from William Makepeace Thackeray

When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole.

Bravery never goes out of fashion.

Follow your honest convictions and be strong.

To love and win is the best thing; to love and lose, the next best.

Dare and the world yields, or if it beats you sometimes, dare it again and you will succeed.

A good laugh is sunshine in the house.

Next to excellence is the appreciation of it.

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.

Do not be in a hurry to succeed. What would you have to live for afterwards? Better make the horizon your goal; it will always be ahead of you.

When you look at me, when you think of me, I am in paradise.

William Makepeace Thackeray
18 July 1811-24 Dec 1863

Monday, May 30, 2016

A dozen from Walt Whitman, born May 31, 1819

Keep your face always toward the sunshine--and shadows will fall behind you.

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

We were together. I forget the rest.

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.

Happiness, not in another place, but this place... not for another hour, but for this hour.

I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.

I exist as I am, that is enough.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

10 Inspiring Quotes

Here are 10 inspiring quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, born this day in 1803 (d. 1882):

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A wise man born May 18

Quotes from Nobel Prize-winning philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."
"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."
"Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know."
"The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible."
"We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things we don't like."
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
"The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."
"I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Hillary Dream

Local media always play on civic pride and act like Indiana is a major player in national politics (“Governor Doofus is on the short list!”) so it’s been fun to see our beloved state get national coverage, at least for a news cycle or two. We got a bump when Cruz announced Fiorina as his VP (and made the “basketball ring” gaffe that will probably cost him the primary here) while Trump appeared at a rally with Bobby Knight. Purdue students started lining up in the cold at 1:30 AM Wednesday for an appearance by Bernie at noon.

Bill’s been here, and Chelsea is coming tomorrow, but where’s Hillary? In my dream, that’s where.

I work for the US government in the Mideast. The entire office is abuzz because Hillary is touring the area. She’s met with OPEC people, sat on a camel, shopped at a bazaar, and done other touristy things (like she’s never been here before).

My boss Oscar (Richard Anderson, “Oscar Goldman” in “The Six Million Dollar Man”) slips quietly into his office after two-week’s leave. We’ve grown close over the few months I’ve been assigned here, so I go in and ask how was his trip home to the States. We’re joined by our colleague Gary (Gary Busey—I’m sorry it’s Gary Busey, I can’t help what my unconscious comes up with) and Oscar tells us the touching story of what will surely be his last visit with his 105-year-old father. (My dream Oscar is 80; actor Richard Anderson turns 90 this year.) He asked his dad what he wanted to do, and that’s how they spent the night in the Sonora desert under the stars, curled up in sleeping bags gazing at the night sky.

I feel privileged that Oscar told Gary and me the story because he’s not the sentimental type and will not likely repeat it. Oscar also shows us the pair of gold-and-pearl earrings his father gave him that had belonged to his mother. He was very moved by this gesture because he expected the jewelry to go to one of his sisters.

We’re sharing that moment when Hillary waltzes in. Somehow she knows Oscar has his mother’s earrings and asks to borrow them.

Oscar opens his mouth but, uncharacteristically, can’t find any words. I jump in and say, “NO!” and walk out. I leave Hillary yelling, “But I’ve got a book-signing tomorrow. I’ve got to have earrings!”

I return to my department of about twenty people and announce, “I said ‘No!’ to Hillary!” then add jokingly, “I’m being shot at dawn.” But nobody is laughing. They’re all in shock, murmuring to each other and not looking at me.

I return to my office and pick up my Meditation Box, a clear plastic box filled with clear plastic beads and tubes that fall into different shapes as you turn it. I’m trying to figure out how to turn some of them into a pair of earrings when Hillary comes in. I decide to meet my fate head-on and rise to greet her.

“Still friends?” I say.

She manages a weak smile and starts talking about her itinerary.

She’d never have been so nice if she’d lost her argument with Oscar, and I knew he’d loan her the jewelry for my sake if nothing else. I was right. She wore Oscar’s heirloom earrings the next day. Dammit.