Friday, August 31, 2007

Princess Diana died today – 10 years ago

Princess Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961 at Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England. She said, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." [Oh, yes!]... Ms. Diana died in 1997 in Paris, France from a car wreck.

Charles Baudelaire died today – 140 years ago

French writer Charles Baudelaire was born on April 9, 1821 in Paris, France. He said, “I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws." [Oh, the opera of it all.]... Mr. Baudelaire died in 1867 in Paris, France.

John Bunyan died today – 319 years ago

English writer John Bunyan was born on November 28, 1628 in Elstow, Bedfordshire, England. In case you forgot – or never even knew – he wrote “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. He said, “If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot." [Good analogy.]... Mr. Bunyan died in 1688 in Holborn, England.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Charles Bronson died today – 4 years ago

U.S. actor Charles Bronson was born on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania. He said, “I look like a quarry someone has dynamited." [When I think about it...]... Mr. Bronson died in 2003 in Los Angeles, California.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek died today – 284 years ago

Dutch biologist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born on October 24, 1632 in Delft, South Holland. He said, “In the year of 1657 I discovered very small living creatures in rain water." [They were thirsty?]... Mr. van Leeuwenhoek died in 1723 in Delft, South Holland.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ingrid Bergman died today – 25 years ago

Actress Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. She said, “A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." [And it feels good, too.]... Ms. Bergman died in 1982 in London, England.

Lowell Thomas died today – 26 years ago

U.S. writer and explorer Lowell Thomas was born on April 6, 1892 in Woodington, Ohio. He said, “The man who can speak acceptably is usually given credit for an ability out of all proportion to what he really possesses." [Turn on the TV.]... Mr. Thomas died in 1981 in Pawling, New York.

Brigham Young died today – 130 years ago

U.S. religious leader Brigham Young was born on June 1, 1801 in Whitingham, Vermont. He said, “It is wise for us to forget our troubles, there are always new ones to replace them." [Ain’t that the truth!]... Mr. Young died in 1877 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Austrian-U.S. writer Vicki Baum was born on January 24, 1888 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria). She said, “You don't get ulcers from what you eat. You get them from what's eating you." [Actually, it is now known that the primary cause of ulcers is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, but she didn’t know that.]... Ms. Baum died in 1960 in Hollywood, California.

U.S. religious leader Ralph W. Sockman was born on October 1, 1889. He said, “Let us not bankrupt our todays by paying interest on the regrets of yesterday and by borrowing in advance the troubles of tomorrow." [Sounds like good advice.]... Mr. Sockman died in 1970.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ruth Gordon died today – 22 years ago

U.S. actress Ruth Gordon was born on October 30, 1896 in Quincy, Massachusetts. She said, “So easy to fall into a rut, isn't it? Why should ruts be so comfortable and so unpopular?" [The grass is always greener... in the other rut.]... Ms. Gordon died in 1985 in Edgartown, Massachusetts.

U.S. movie director and producer John Huston was born on August 5, 1906 in Nevada, Missouri. He said, “I don't try to guess what a million people will like. It's hard enough to know what I like." [Amen. Amen.]... Mr. Huston died in 1987 in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Saint Augustine died today – 1,577 years ago

Philosopher Saint Augustine was born on November 13, 354 at Thagaste (now Suk Arras), in proconsular Numidia, North Africa. He said, “A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently." [Ditto the reverse.]... Mr. Augustine died in 430 at Hippo Regius (now Annaba or Bône), Algeria. Africa.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gracie Allen died today – 43 years ago

U.S. comedian and actress Gracie Allen was born on July 26, 1895 in San Francisco, California. See said,“This used to be a government of checks and balances. Now it's all checks and no balances." [Ain’t that the truth.]... Ms. Allen died in 1964 in Hollywood, California.

Canadian writer Thomas Chandler Haliburton was born on December 17, 1796 in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada. He said, “Contentment is, after all, simply refined indolence." [ Not all contentment is “indolence” (“laziness or inactivity”).]... Mr. Haliburton died in 1865 in Isleworth, London Borough of Hounslow, London, England.

U.S. writer Sam Levenson was born on December 28, 1911 in New York City, New York. He said, “It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite." [And which side of the equation is this one?]... Mr. Levenson died in 1980 in Neponsit, New York.

Greek writer Michael L. Dertouzos was born on November 5, 1936 in Athens, Greece. He said, “In comparison with the industrial age, the information era is at the steam engine stage. By the time information systems reach jet-plane status, we will focus on utility over fads, triple our productivity, use our computers as naturally and easily as we now use our cars..." [Could be.]... Mr. Dertouzos died in 2001 in Boston, Massachusetts.

U.S. humorist Bennett Cerf was born on May 25, 1898 in Manhattan, New York City, New York. He said, “A pat on the back, through only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results.” [Encouragement, he said.]... Mr. Cerf died in 1971 in Mount Kisco, New York.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Charles Lindbergh died today – 33 years ago

U.S. aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902 in Detroit, Michigan. He said, “Isn't it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?" [And what exactly would that be?]... Mr. Lindbergh died in 1974 in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii.

U.S. writer and psychologist William James was born on January 11, 1842 in New York City, New York. He said, “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." [Ain’t that the truth!]... Mr. James died in 1910 in New Hampshire.

U.S. actor Lon Chaney was born as Leonidas Frank Chaney on April 1, 1883 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He said, “My whole career has been devoted to keeping people from knowing me." [That’s acting!]... Mr. Chaney died in 1930 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson was born on November 3, 1879 at Gimli, Manitoba, Canada. He said, “What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public." [I don't think he liked advertising.]... Mr. Stefansson died in 1962 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

U.S. writer Irving Stone was born on July 14, 1903 in San Francisco, California. He said (on William Jennings Bryan), “His mind was like a soup dish, wide and shallow; it could hold a small amount of nearly anything, but the slightest jarring spilled the soup into somebody's lap." [I don't think that was a compliment.]... Mr. Stone died in 1989 in Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Truman Capote died today – 23 years ago

U.S. writer Truman Capote was born as Truman Streckfus Persons on September 30, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He said, “Fame is only good for one thing - they will cash your check in a small town." [Appreciate the small things.]... Mr. Capote died in 1984 in Los Angeles, California.

Alfred C. Kinsey died today – 51 years ago

U.S. researcher Alfred C. Kinsey was born on June 23, 1894 in Hoboken, New Jersey. He said, “Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum." [Kinda like a circle or a line?]... Mr. Kinsey died in 1956 in Bloomington, Indiana.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche died today – 107 years ago

German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 in Röcken bei Lützen, Prussian Saxony. He said, “Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?" [Oh, give it a try anyway.]... Mr. Nietzsche died in 1900 in Weimar, Germany.

David Hume died today – 231 years ago

Scottish philosopher David Hume was born on May 7 (April 26, Old Style), 1711 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He said, “Beauty is no quality in things themselves, it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty." [And that’s the truth.]... Mr. Hume died in 1776 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

English scientist Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791 in South London, England. He said, “The important thing is to know how to take all things quietly." [Huh?]... Mr. Faraday died in 1867 in Hampton Court, London, England.

Friday, August 24, 2007

There is no end to gimmickry, but there is a goal.

Lockheed Martin needs a grammar lesson, among other things.

Once again a company we rarely – perhaps never – think about, is advertising on TV. So what’s up? Is it to counteract bad publicity?

This time the company is Lockheed Martin. Its slogan on TV is “We never forget who we’re working for.” Well, it ain’t the English Grammar department, because Lockheed Martin needs to take a course there. The “who” should be “whom”. And then there’s that darn dangling participle. So, it should have been “We never forget FOR WHOM we’re working.”

And just who would that “WHOM” be?

Well, one is the executive branch – but we’re not sure if that includes Dick Cheney here or here or here. Lockheed Martin is/was making 23 VH-71 luxury helicopters. In 2005, they were supposed to cost about $6,100,000,000. (That's 6 Billion 100 Million dollars. That's $265,217,391 each. That's 265 Million 217 Thousand 391 dollars each. Lots of money.) But, you know how that goes. The new cost is projected to be 34% more. (Why am I not surprised?)

Another is the U.S. Coast Guard. Lockheed Martin was in a partnership with Northrop Grumman “to upgrade 110-foot legacy cutters, lengthen them to 123 feet, and extend their service lives [but that] has produced 8 cracking hulks that are now tied up in Baltimore, unable to return to service, and waiting for the scrap heap." (Source here. Also check out this story from an ex-worker at Lockheed Martin, his YouTube video here.)

Such a mess... So let’s rephrase that TV advertisement: “We never forget that we’re working for ourselves, so get over it.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross died today – 3 years ago

Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was born on July 8, 1926 in Zürich, Switzerland. She said, “It is difficult to accept death in this society because it is unfamiliar. In spite of the fact that it happens all the time, we never see it." [Sheltered from life.]... Ms. Kubler-Ross died in 2004 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

U.S. writer Kate Douglas Wiggin was born on September 28, 1856 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wrote “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”. She said, “It does make a difference what you call things.” [Oh, I suppose!]... Ms. Wiggin died in 1923 at Harrow, Middlesex, England.

U.S. industrialist Henry John Kaiser was born on May 9, 1882 in Sprout Brook, New York. He said, “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes." [I’ll try to remember that.]... Mr. Kaiser died in 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Revlon founder Charles Haskell Revson was born on October 11, 1906 in Boston, Massachusetts. He said, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope." [Yeap!]... Mr. Revson died in 1975 in New York City, New York.

German photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was born on December 6, 1898 in Dirschau (Tczew) in West Prussia, Imperial Germany. He said, “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter." [But oh, I love pictures!]... Mr. Eisenstaedt died in 1995 in Menemsha, Massachusetts.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oscar Hammerstein II died today – 47 years ago

U.S. lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City, New York. With Richard Rodgers as composer, he wrote “Oklahoma!”, “Carousel”, “South Pacific”, “The King and I”, “Me & Juliet”, “Pipe Dream”, “Flower Drum Song”, “The Sound of Music”, “State Fair”, and “Cinderella”... Whew! He said, “A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it, A song's not a song 'til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, Love isn't love 'til you give it away!" [In which Broadway musical was this?]... Mr. Hammerstein died in 1960 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Rudolph Valentino died today – 81 years ago

Italian-American actor Rudolph Valentino was born as Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Piero Filiberto Guglielmi on May 6, 1895 in Castellaneta, Italy. He said, “I am beginning to look more and more like my miserable imitators." [It happens.]... Mr. Valentino died in 1926 in New York City, New York.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kate Chopin died today – 103 years ago

U.S. writer Kate Chopin was born as Katherine O'Flaherty on February 8, 1850 in St. Louis, Missouri. She said, “He greatly valued his possessions, chiefly because they were his, and derived genuine pleasure from contemplating a painting, a statuette, a rare lace curtain - no matter what - after he had bought it and placed it among his household gods." [Oh, the worshipping.]... Ms. Chopin died in 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri.

British Prime Minister Robert Cecil was born as Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil on February 3, 1830 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. He said, “A wise man looks upon men as he does on horses; all their comparisons of title, wealth, and place, he consider but as harness." [Just something added to the basics.]... Mr. Cecil died in 1903 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England.

Polish-English mathematician Jacob Bronowski was born on January 18, 1908 in Łódź, Congress Poland, Russian Empire. He said, “Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime." [It depends on how that dissent is expressed.]... Mr. Bronowski died in 1974 in East Hampton, New York.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu died today – 245 years ago

English writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was born on May 26, 1689 in London, England. She said, “Nature has not placed us in an inferior rank to men, no more than the females of other animals, where we see no distinction of capacity, though I am persuaded if there was a commonwealth of rational horses... it would be an established maxim amongst them that a mare could not be taught to pace." [Yeap!]... Ms. Montagu died in 1762 in London, England.

U.S. educator and writer William Lyon Phelps was born on January 2, 1865 in New Haven, Connecticut. He said, “The teacher should make a concerted effort never to lose his temper in the presence of the class. If a man, he may take refuge in profane soliloquies. If a woman, she may follow the example of one sweet-faced tranquil girl who went out in the yard and gnawed a post." [Oh, my!]... Mr. Phelps died in 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Try this when they're dead.

12 Volt Battery Hack! You'll Be Surprised... - video powered by Metacafe

Fred Hoyle died today – 6 years ago

English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle was born on June 24, 1915 in Gilstead, Yorkshire, England. He said, “Things are the way they are because they were the way they were." [So I am what I was?]... Mr. Hoyle died in 2001 in Bournemouth, England.

Leon Trotsky died today – 67 years ago

Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was born as Lev Davidovich Bronstein on November 7 (October 26, Old Style), 1879 in Kherson, Russian Empire. He said, “The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves." [OK.]... Mr. Trotsky died in 1940 in Mexico City, Mexico.

British Methodist preacher William Booth was born on April 10, 1829 in Sneinton, Nottingham, England. He founded “The Salvation Army”. He said, “It is against stupidity in every shape and form that we have to wage our eternal battle. But how can we wonder at the want of sense on the part of those who have had no advantages, when we see such plentiful absence of that commodity on the part of those who have had all the advantages?” [It comes with the territory... and the lack thereof.]... Mr. Booth died in 1912 in Hadley Wood, London, England.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Public Funding of Federal Elections = Less Time

On today’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, several Democratic presidential candidates said that we needed public (read: taxpayer) funding of federal elections. Usually this is proposed to save money. So would we really want this? ... Oh, yeah. Here’s why:

According to the Cornell University Law School, a report for Congress said that at least $2.4 billion was spent on federal elections in 2000.

If there are 100,000,000 voters,

and if all of them are eligible to run for federal office,

then each one would be entitled to up to $24 ($2,400,000,000 / 100,000,000) worth of TV time.

Now that’s not much for a TV ad. But that’s good. We won’t see them on TV but for a few seconds. (Try to figure the cost of TV advertising time here.) If we all can’t get our messages through to the rest of us in that time, too bad.

What’s the next problem to solve?

Linus Pauling died today – 13 years ago

U.S. chemist Linus Pauling was born on February 28, 1901 in Portland, Oregon. He said, “Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organizations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them." [Wow!]... Mr. Pauling died in 1994 in Big Sur, California.

Groucho Marx died today – 30 years ago

U.S. comic and actor Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was born on October 2, 1890 in New York City, New York. He was a brother to Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Gummo. He said, “A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running." [Nowadays, probably a parked limousine.]... Mr. Marx died in 1977 in Los Angeles, California.

Blaise Pascal died today – 345 years ago

French mathematician Blaise Pascal was born on June 19, 1623 in Clermont-Ferrand, France. He said, “All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room." [So it’s from the lack of contentment? Hmmmm.]... Mr. Pascal died in 1662 in Paris, France.

Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca was born on June 5, 1898 in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, Spain. He said, “In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world." [I get it.]... Mr. Lorca died in 1936 in Granada.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

B. F. Skinner died today – 17 years ago

U.S. behaviorist B. F. Skinner was born as Burrhus Frederic "Fred" Skinner on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He said, “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." [Don’t tell that to the test takers… and makers.]... Mr. Skinner died in 1990 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

French writer Honoré de Balzac was born on May 20, 1799 in Tours, France. He said, “Behind every great fortune there is a crime." [Hmmmm.]... Mr. de Balzac died in 1850 in Paris, France.

U.S. federal judge Billings Learned Hand, usually known as Learned Hand, was born on January 27, 1872 in Albany, New York. He said, “In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy." [Absolutely! Without argument, how can truth be know?]... Mr. Hand died in 1961 in New York City, New York.

U.S. writer and playwright Clifford Odets was born on July 18, 1906 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said, “There are two kinds of marriages - where the husband quotes the wife and where the wife quotes the husband." [Don’t quote me on that.]... Mr. Odets died in 1963 in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. screenwriter Anita Loos was born as Corinne Anita Loos on April 26, 1888 in Mount Shasta, Sisson, California. She wrote the novel “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. She said, “The rarest of all things in American life is charm. We spend billions every year manufacturing fake charm that goes under the heading of public relations. Without it, America would be grim indeed." [Does that go for charm bracelets, too?]... Ms. Loos died in 1981 in New York City, New York.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Preparing You for Unreasonable Doubt

As many of you have, I've been following the events regarding the Utah mine disaster. At the start, the owner of the mine tried to deflect accountability for it by asserting that it was caused by an earthquake, although seismic monitors did not verify this. Now I hear how the media - specifically CNN, which I watch most - is using terminology associated with natural geologic activity, e.g., earthquakes and volcanoes.

Today I heard the phrase "seismic event". Now, what do you think of when you hear the word "seismic"? Well, I think of an earthquake or a volcano... I also heard the word "eruption". Now, what do you think of when you hear THAT word? Well, I think of a volcano again. So a reasonable "conclusion" is that a natural geologic process is involved here somewhere.

When this situation is finally resolved, either by finding the trapped miners or admitting that they cannot be found, there will be law suits for damages. If you were a potential juror, would you have reasonable doubt about the cause of the collapse after hearing such terms?

But are these reasonable doubts if no seismic monitors recorded such? Were not mining procedures - specifically "retreat mining" - to blame? How could they not be?

P.S. On a side note, yesterday I saw a video clip where the reporter said that water was "dripping" off the roof. Well, I've seen drips before and this wasn't dripping: it was pouring from the roof.

Pearl Bailey died today – 17 years ago

U.S. singer and actress Pearl Bailey was born on March 29, 1918 in Newport News, Virginia. She said, “What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork." [Amen. Amen!]... Ms. Bailey died in 1990 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ira Gershwin died today – 24 years ago

U.S. lyricist Ira Gershwin was born on December 6, 1896 in New York City, New York. He said, “A song without music is a lot like H2 without the O." [Wouldn’t that just be speaking?]... Mr. Gershwin died in 1983 Beverly Hills, California.

Vivian Vance died today – 28 years ago

U.S. actress Vivian Vance was born as Vivian Roberta Jones on July 26, 1909 in Cherryvale, Kansas. In case you didn’t know, she was famous for playing the “Ethel Mertz” character on “I Love Lucy”. She said, “When I die, there will be people who send flowers to Ethel Mertz." [No doubt.]... Ms. Vance died in 1979 in Belvedere, California.

U.S. actor Ed Gardner was born on June 29, 1901 in Astoria, New York. He said, “Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants." [Amen. Amen! Aaaaaamen!!]... Mr. Gardner died in 1963 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born on March 27, 1886 in Aachen, Germany. He said, “Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space." [You would expect the practitioner to think so highly of oneself.]... Mr. van der Rohe died in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis Presley died today – 30 years ago

U.S. singer Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He said, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.” [I didn’t know that he was so erudite.]... Mr. Presley died in 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee.

U.S. baseball player Babe Ruth was born as George Herman Ruth, Jr. on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He said, “I won't be happy until we have every boy in America between the ages of six and sixteen wearing a glove and swinging a bat.” [Oh, there are more goals than that.]... Mr. Ruth died in 1948 in New York City, New York.

U.S. writer Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia. She wrote “Gone With the Wind”. She said, “What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one." [Probably more.]... Ms. Mitchell died in 1949 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi was born as Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Austria-Hungary (now Lugoj, Romania). He said, “In making theories, always keep a window open so that you can throw one out if necessary.” [After all, they are just theories, right?]... Mr. Lugosi died in 1956 in Los Angeles, California.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

CNN’s Ali Velshi, Economist Not

Today Ali Velshi said, “You never want zero inflation.” And that would be because he has studied economics and has a degree in it?

Well, Ali Velshi may have studied economic subjects in his employment as a reporter and anchor. But his statement is not from his educational degree. According to his CNN biography and Wikipedia {quoted here and emphasis added}, “Ali Velshi earned a degree in religion from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.” So he’s probably just repeating what some others have said.

Now why would someone be FOR inflation? Well, for one thing, it benefits those who get the money first... Guess who that would be?

We would all be better off if our money would buy more, not less. So, I suggest that Ali Velshi keep quiet about things of which he knows little if nothing.

Will Rogers died today – 72 years ago

U.S. humorist Will Rogers was born as William Penn Adair Rogers on November 4, 1879 in Oologah, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. He said, “Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.” [Interesting. Very interesting.]... Mr. Rogers died in 1935 in Point Barrow, Alaska.

Austrian pianist and composer Artur Schnabel was born on April 17, 1882 in Kunzendorf, Silesia, (now Lipnik) Poland. He said, “Sunshine can burn you, food can poison you, words can condemn you, pictures can insult you; music cannot punish—only bless." [ He obviously didn’t hear some of the current stuff.]... Mr. Schnabel died in 1951 in Axenstein, Switzerland.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oscar Levant died today – 35 years ago

U.S. composer and pianist Oscar Levant was born on December 27, 1906 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He said, “A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.” [That way one ends up where one started.]... Mr. Levant died in 1972 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

German playwright Bertolt Brecht was born on February 10, 1898 in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany. He said, “From the cradle to the coffin, underwear comes first.” [First things first!]... Mr. Brecht died in 1956 in East Berlin, Germany.

English writer J. B. Priestly was born on September 13, 1894 in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, UK. He said, “Be yourself is about the worst advice you can give to some people.” [ Ain't that the truth!]... Mr. Priestly died in 1984 in Warwickshire, UK.

Bulgarian writer Elias Canetti was born on July 25, 1905 in Rustchuk, Bulgaria. He said, “Adults find pleasure in deceiving a child. They consider it necessary, but they also enjoy it. The children very quickly figure it out and then practice deception themselves.” [And that's how it spreads.]... Mr. Canetti died in 1994 in Zürich, Switzerland.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Julia Child died today – 3 years ago

U.S. cook [not your ordinary kind] and author Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912 in Pasadena, California. She said, “Many aspects of my method are based on my feeling and experience. For instance, I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it—and, more important, *I* like to give it." [Did anybody want to be a chicken?]... Ms. Child died in 2004 in Santa Barbara, California.

French painter Eugene Delacroix was born as Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix on April 26, 1798 in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, Île-de-France, France. He said, “One always has to spoil a picture a little bit, in order to finish it." [OK, you painters out there, do you agree?]... Mr. Delacroix died in 1863 in Paris, France.

English nurse Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy. She said, "I attribute my success to this—I never gave or took any excuse." [Amen!]... Ms. Nightingale died in 1910 in London, England.

U.S. writer Mary Austin was born on September 9, 1868 in Carlinville, Illinois. She said, “When a woman ceases to alter the fashion of her hair, you guess that she has passed the crisis of her experience." [Or she’s finally found something she likes.]... Ms. Austin died in 1934 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

English writer H. G. Wells was born as Herbert George Wells on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, Kent, England. He said, “A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.” [Ya’ think?]... Mr. Wells died in 1946 in London, England.

U.S. baseball player Mickey Mantle was born on October 20, 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. He said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." [Ain’t that the way it always is!]... Mr. Mantle died in 1995 in Dallas, Texas.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Let's Hear It For The Bees

Remember the concern about "Where Have All The Honeybees Gone" and then in "Never Mow Again"? Well, there may be more hope. According to an AlterNet article, they may have just needed a rest. Yeap, you heard right. They needed a rest. And you can't blame them. Toiling and toiling, just to have the fruits of their labor end up being taken away. That's enough frustration for any living thing.

The bees are supposed to rest during the winter and use that stored honey to survive. But instead they are trucked around the country to work, work, work. They are crowded together and fed high fructose corn syrup... High fructose corn syrup. Yuck... That's the stuff in nearly everything we consume.

So, with all that unnatural living, who can blame the bees for giving up? They just can't take it anymore.

Is the Washington Post Afraid of Something?

I learned today that the Washington Post has published an article about yesterday's Iowa Straw Poll. But they left out the candidate who got 5th place, Ron Paul... What happened? Was it a simple oversight? ... They did happen to mention the candidate who got 6th place, Tommy Thompson... Rudy Giuliani, who didn't even attend and came in 8th, was mentioned 19 times. Count them: NINE-TEEN times. What's with that? ... It's rhetorical, but we can propose theories.

Other online stories at Voice of America News and even the San Francisco Chronicle also omitted Ron Paul. The latter even mentioned Rudy Giuliani 10 times.

So... Oh, no! Is it a... dare I say it... a "conspiracy of silence?"

I've read before about a theory that the major media have already decided who our choices should be in November 2008. But please... not even reporting the whole story? I'm shocked. Just shocked that some facts would be omitted. It must be a first.

P.S. An interesting analysis of this poll can be found at The Liberty Papers.

Who's the Needle in the Iowa Straw Poll?

Yesterday, Saturday, August 11, 2007, was the Iowa Straw Poll for Republicans in Ames, Iowa. Why is it called a "straw" poll? Aren't they all really "straw" polls, easily blown away in the wind? ... And why Aimes, Iowa? What's so special about Aimes?

Well, Aimes is the home of the campus of Iowa State University... So what!

The poll was a Republican fundraiser... It makes more sense now.

Tickets cost $35... Got to restrict people somehow and make it favor the richer.

According to Wikipedia, this poll has been "criticized for heavily favoring better-funded candidates, because better-funded candidates are able to afford transportation costs to bus in more supporters and to reimburse those supporters the dinner ticket prices."... Ah-hah! Favoring the richer again!

Will this particular poll make much difference? ... Well, it does give the candidates something about which to crow. They just better hope that some wind doesn't blow all that straw away.

So, who's the needle? It was......

You'll have to wait and see.

Ian Fleming died today – 43 years ago

Scottish writer Ian Fleming was born on May 28, 1908 in Mayfair, London, England. He wrote the... yes, you know it... the James Bond novels. He said, “You can get far in North America with laconic grunts. "Huh," "hun," and "hi!" in their various modulations, together with "sure," "guess so," "that so?" and "nuts!" will meet almost any contingency.” [Think about it.]... Mr. Fleming died in 1964 in Canterbury, Kent, England.

U.S. writer, poet, and satirist James Russell Lowell was born on February 22, 1819 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He said, “A weed is no more than a flower in disguise, Which is seen through at once, if love give a man eyes.” [One person’s weed is another person’s flower – or something like that.]... Mr. Lowell died in 1891 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

U.S. composer John Cage was born as John Milton Cage Jr. on September 5, 1912 in Los Angeles, California. He said, “It is better to make a piece of music than to perform one, better to perform one than to listen to one, better to listen to one than to misuse it as a means of distraction, entertainment, or acquisition of ‘culture.'” [Then is it better to misuse it than not to use it at all?]... Mr. Cage died in 1992 in New York City, New York.

German writer and novelist Thomas Mann was born on June 6, 1875 in Lübeck, Germany. He said, “A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.” [Oh, please!]... Mr. Mann died in 1955 in Zürich, Switzerland.

U.S. actor Henry Fonda was born as Henry Jaynes Fonda on May 16, 1905 in Grand Island, Nebraska. He said, “I've been close to Bette Davis for thirty-eight years - and I have the cigarette burns to prove it.” [She was feisty.]... Mr. Fonda died in 1982 in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. actress Loretta Young was born on January 6, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She said, “If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect a few blisters." {2} [I guess I can settle for a few MILD ones.]... Ms. Young died in 2000 in Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Have you lost your marvels?

No, I didn't say "marbles." For a few moments, forget about all the endless wrangling about ideas and thoughts. Enjoy the natural world around us. Reflect on one of the marvels of the earth: the Southern Lights.


Jackson Pollock died today – 51 years ago

U.S. painter Jackson Pollock was born as Paul Jackson Pollock on January 28, 1912 in Cody, Wyoming. He said, “I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc.” [Yeah, just throw it out of the bucket... Or, as I once heard about how someone applied that someone’s makeup, “Just throw it up in the air and stand under it.”]... Mr. Pollock died in 1956 in Springs, New York.

U.S. businessman Andrew Carnegie was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. He said, “The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.” [And the early bird gets the worm.]... Mr. Carnegie died in 1919 in Lenox, Massachusetts.

U.S. writer Edith Wharton was born on January 24, 1862 in New York City, New York. She said, “An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences." [My mind’s still spinnnnnnng.]... Ms. Wharton died in 1937 in St.-Brice-sous-Forêt, France.

U.S. publisher Alfred A. Knopf was born on September 12, 1892 in New York City, New York. He said, “An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible.” [That may be true of many – or even most - of them, but not all, especially Murray N. Rothbard.]... Mr. Knopf died in 1984 in Purchase, New York.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I May Want To Try To Be President

Don't you think I should redo my "I May Want To Try To Be President" as presented here?

Perhaps using real, living, breathing, moving, nodding, snoozing people - instead of that 2-dimensional stick person - would be more effective. Some additional lyrics might be nice, too. Got any ideas? We've still got a loooooooong time to go until November 2008, so don't hurry.

P.S. I mainly did this to see how I could embed a video in this blog. But the other ideas aren't bad either.

Give Me Some of That Cheap Gas

I don’t know the original source for this (and even if the data is correct), but consider the following:

Compared with Gasoline......

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ........ $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ...... $ 9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ............ $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 ......... $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 ......... $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 ........ $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ......... $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ............. $2542.00 per gallon

Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .............. $84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz $1.49 .......... $21.19 per gallon!

$21.19 for WATER

And the buyers don't even know the source.

(Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)

Ever wonder why printers are so cheap?

So they have you hooked for the ink.

Someone calculated the cost of the ink at................

You won't believe it...................

But it is true........................

$5,200 a gal. (five thousand two hundred dollars)

So, the next time you're at the pump,

Be glad your car doesn't run on

Water, Scope, or Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil

Or God forbid, Printer Ink!!!!!

Just a little humor to help ease the pain of your next trip to the pump...


Adela Rogers St. Johns died today – 19 years ago

U.S. journalist, novelist, and screenwriter Adela Rogers St. Johns was born on May 20, 1894 in Los Angeles, California. She said, “God made man, and then said I can do better than that and made woman.” [Hmmmm.]... Ms. St. Johns died in 1988 in Arroyo Grande, California.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gregory Hines died today – 4 years ago

U.S. dancer Gregory Hines was born on February 14, 1946 in New York City, New York. He said, “I felt that I didn't want to be in show business anymore. I felt that I wanted to be a farmer. I was milking cows and shoveling terrible stuff and working all day. By the end of the day, all I wanted was my tap shoes - I thought, 'What am I doing? I better get back where I belong on the stage where we work at night and can sleep late!" [Sounds like a good exchange to me.]... Mr. Hines died in 2003 in Los Angeles, California.

Jerry Garcia died today – 12 years ago

U.S. guitarist and singer (“Grateful Dead”) Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 in San Francisco, California. He said, “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” [Amen!]... Mr. Garcia died in 1995 in Forest Knolls, California.

Sharon Tate died today – 38 years ago

U.S. actress Sharon Tate was born on January 24, 1943 in Dallas, Texas. She said, “Everything that's realistic has some sort of ugliness in it. Even a flower is ugly when it wilts, a bird when it seeks its prey, the ocean when it becomes violent.” [Often true... True for the viewer... True for the prey... True for the boaters.]... Ms. Tate was murdered in 1969 in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, California.

Hermann Hesse died today – 45 years ago

German writer Hermann Hesse was born on July 2, 1887 in Calw, Württemberg, Germany. He said, “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” [As Peter McWilliams said on page 19 in “Life 101”, “There must be a lesson in here someplace.”]... Mr. Hesse died in 1962 in Montagnola, Switzerland.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fay Wray died today – 3 years ago

U.S. actress Fay Wray was born as Vina Fay Wray on September 15, 1907 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. She said, “I used to resent 'King Kong,' but now I don't fight it anymore. I realize that it is a classic, and I am pleased to be associated with it. Why, only recently an entire issue of a French magazine was devoted to discussing the picture from its artistic, moral and even religious aspects.” [Oh, my! Imagine a religion based on King Kong.]... Ms. Wray died in 2004 in New York City, New York.

Maureen Elizabeth Reagan Revell was born on January 4, 1941 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman. She said, “I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there." [Well, that’s encouraging... not!]... Ms. Reagan Revell died in 2001 in Sacramento, California.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Oliver Hardy died today – 50 years ago

U.S. actor Oliver Hardy was born on January 18, 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. He said, “We never see ourselves as others see us.” [Whew! That’s good.]... Mr. Hardy died in 1957 in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Russian actor Konstantin Stanislavsky was born as Konstantin Sergeyevich Alexeyev on January 17, 1863 in Moscow, Russia Empire. He said, “Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors.” [Even if you only sigh... Yeah, right!]... Mr. Stanislavsky died in 1938 in Moscow, USSR.

Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta, India. He said, “The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.” [Works for me.]... Mr. Tagore died in 1941 in Calcutta, India.

English writer Brigid Brophy was born on June 12, 1929 in London, England. She said, “I refuse to consign the whole male sex to the nursery. I insist on believing that some men are my equals.” [Well, thanks a lot!]... Ms. Brophy died in 1995 in Louth, Lincolnshire, England.

U.S. television journalist Peter Jennings was born on July 29, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He said, “Often people are leaning in one direction or the other.” [Especially if you just give them a little push.]... Mr. Jennings died in 2005 in New York City, New York.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hiroshima, Japan - Is This True?

According to this site,

"Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A stark reminder that despite all the rhetoric about the threat of Iraq and Iran's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, one and only one nation has ever used nuclear weapons on a civilian population, and that nation is the United States of America. Despite propaganda about necessity and live[s] saved by use of the bomb, history records that Japan knew the war was lost and had already decided to surrender by the time the bomb was used. But Truman, having missed a chance to demonstrate the weapon on Germany, went ahead with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki primarily to demonstrate to the rest of the world, and the USSR in particular, that the USA had the political will to use such weapons."

Is this true?

Quest for Source of Member's Mark® CoEnzyme Q10

I was on a quest.

I’ve been consuming CoEnzyme Q10 (in this case, Member's Mark® Co Q10 50 mg-160 ct. for quite a while), since it is allegedly good for my heart. But after hearing about all of those tainted products from China ... from cat food (not that I eat any of that) to fish, I became concerned about what was in this particular supplement. The bottle states that it is laboratory tested, but it doesn’t state WHICH laboratory. So that’s when I began wondering if the product was from China.

I found the product on the internet site So on Friday, August 3, 2007, I emailed with the question “Who makes & tests Member’s Mark Co Q-10 Dietary Supplement?” As of now, I have not received a reply. Somehow, I doubt if I ever will, since they are probably more interested in selling me something, than in telling me what I need to know.

On Friday, August 3, 2007, I also filled in a Sam's Club on-line request for the name of the lab. On Monday, August 6, 2007, at 10:16AM, I received the following reply from


Thank you for contacting Sams Club. Leiner.


Sams Club Member Services

I googled “Leiner” and found Leiner Health Products. According to this site, it is headquartered in Carson, California and has U.S. locations in Garden Grove, California and in Valencia, California and in Wilson, North Carolina and in Fort Mill, South Carolina. This website states that the product is marketed to Sam’s Club under the brand name “Members Mark”, so I assume it is their product.

Now Sam’s Club says the product is

Assembled Country of Origin:

Components Country of Origin:

Since Leiner Health Products has four U.S. locations (plus its headquarters), I still don’t know which particular one is the laboratory. But I guess that I can be sure that the product is NOT from China. So I’m safe... I hope. I just wonder why the specific lab isn’t stated on the bottle’s label. I do hope that the “components country of origin” doesn’t change soon, since wikipedia states that “on March 10, 2003, Leiner entered into a business relationship with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, the third-largest drug company in India. Under the terms of the agreement, Dr. Reddy would provide generic medications and components, which would in return be packaged and marketed by Leiner.”

So I’ll just have to keep checking on the Sam’s Club website for the "components country of origin", since it’s not on the bottle... yet.

Urgent: Beware ... of Virus Scare

The following email text is circulating:

Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it! If you get an email along the lines of "Osama Bin Laden Captured" or "Osama Hanged" don't open the attachment. This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe, but mainly in the US and Israel.

Be considerate & send this warning to whomever you know.


You should be alert during the next days:

Do not open any message with an attached file called "Invitation" regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which "burns" the whole hard disc C of your computer.

If you receive a mail called "invitation", though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately. This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever.

This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.

This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.


Well, ...

1. Regarding "Osama Bin Laden Captured" or "Osama Hanged", states that it is “real, but outdated... [It is] easily detected and removed with updated virus protection software, and neither Osama message is circulating widely or poses much of a threat to PC users any more.”

2. Regarding “Invitation” and ”Olympic Torch” (from 2006), states that it is a HOAX and it was NOT reported on CNN.

We all need to be on our guard – with updated virus protection software – but let’s not be afraid of everything. Cheers!

Ben Jonson died today – 370 years ago

English writer Ben Jonson was born on June 11, 1572 in Westminster, London, England. He said, “Drink to me only with thine eyes, And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup And I'll not look for wine.” [As the Weavers sang in 1950, “Kisses sweeter than wine.”]... Mr. Jonson died in 1637 in Westminster, London, England.

Czech critic Eduard Hanslick was born on September 11, 1825 in Prague, Czech Republic. He said, “On the one hand it is said that the aim and object of music is to excite emotions, i.e., pleasurable emotions; on the other hand, the emotions are said to be the subject matter which musical works are intended to illustrate. Both propositions are alike in this, that one is as false as the other.” [Well, that just took all the joy out of music. He just analyzed things WAY too much!]... Mr. Hanslick died in 1904 in Baden, Austria.

U.S. Governor (23rd, California, 1911-1917) Hiram Johnson was born on September 2, 1866 in Sacramento, California. He said, “The first casualty of war is truth.” [The truth probably died a while before that.]... Mr. Johnson died in 1945 in Bethesda, Maryland.

U.S. television journalist Harry Reasoner was born on April 17, 1923 in Dakota City, Iowa. He said, “When 25 percent of the population believe the President should be impeached and 51 percent of the population believe in UFOs, you may or may not need a new President, but you definitely need a new population.” [Hmmmm.]... Mr. Reasoner died in 1991 in Westport, Connecticut.

U.S. harmonica player Larry Adler was born on February 10, 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland. He said, “Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, suck, blow." [OK!]... Mr. Adler died in 2001 in London, England.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Marilyn Monroe died today – 45 years ago

U.S. actress Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. She said, “Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” [And exactly what place in Hollywood was that?]... Ms. Monroe died in 1962 in Brentwood, California.

U.S. “Civil War” [What the heck was civil about it?] general Phil Sheridan was born on March 6, 1831 in Albany, New York. He said, “If I owned Hell and Texas I would rent out Texas and live in Hell.” [He must have visited during the wrong time of the year.]... Mr. Sheridan died in 1888 in Nonquitt, Massachusetts.

German philosopher Friedrich Engels was born on November 28, 1820 in Barmen, Prussia. He said, “The state is not abolished, it withers away.” [Could it be for lack of water?]... Mr. Engels died in 1895 in London, England.

Welsh actor Richard Burton was born as Richard Walter Jenkins Jr. on November 10, 1925 in Pontrhydyfen, Wales. He said, “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.” [I didn’t know he was so studious.]... Mr. Burton died in 1984 in Céligny, Switzerland.

English actor Sir Alec Guinness was born as Alec Guinness de Cuffe on April 2, 1914 in Marylebone, London, England. He said, “An actor is totally vulnerable. His total personality is exposed to critical judgment - his intellect, his bearing, his diction, his whole appearance. In short, his ego.” [Boooooring.]... Mr. Guinness died in 2000 in Midhurst, England.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Hans Christian Andersen died today – 132 years ago

Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. He said, “Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with short steps.” [That would be some fast walkin’.]... Mr. Andersen died in 1875 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

U.S. guitarist Eddie Condon was born on November 16, 1905 in Goodland, Indiana. He said, “As it enters the ear, does it come in like broken glass or does it come in like honey?” [Ewwww! Honey’s kinda sticky!]... Mr. Condon died in 1973 in New York City, New York.

Jeanne Louise Calment was born on February 21, 1875 in Arles, France. She said, “I've only got one wrinkle and I'm sitting on it." [Well, maybe we can get out that iron and smooth it out.]... Ms. Calment died in 1997 in Arles, France. She was 122 years and 164 days old. Wow!

U.S. actor Victor Mature was born on January 29, 1913 in Louisville, Kentucky. He said, “Hollywood is a place where the stars twinkle until they wrinkle.” [And sometimes WELL beyond that.]... Mr. Mature died in 1999 Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Lenny Bruce died today – 41 years ago

U.S. comedian Lenny Bruce was born as Leonard Alfred Schneider on October 13, 1925 on Long Island, New York. He said, “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” [Oh, my... Oh, my!]... Mr. Bruce died in 1966 in Los Angeles, California.

Norwegian-American sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen was born as Tosten Bunde Veblen on July 30, 1857 in Cato, Wisconsin. He wrote “The Theory of the Leisure Class”. He said, “All business sagacity reduces itself in the last analysis to judicious use of sabotage.” [Now that’s cynical.]... Mr. Veblen died in 1929 in Palo Alto, California.

Polish-Ukrainian writer Joseph Conrad was born as Teodor Józef Konrad Nałęcz-Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857 in Berdychiv, Russian Empire. He said, “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” [Sad. So sad.]... Mr. Conrad died in 1924 in Canterbury, England.

French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born on January 28, 1873 in Yonne, France. She wrote “Gigi”. She said, “A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.” [Then I should have been well prepared... somewhat.]... Ms. Colette died in 1954 in Paris, France.

U.S. writer Flannery O'Connor was born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. She said, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” [True. So true.]... Ms. O'Connor died in 1964 in Baldwin County, Georgia.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Enrico Caruso died today – 86 years ago

Italian singer Enrico Caruso was born on February 25, 1873 in Naples, Italy. He said, “Watermelon—it's a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face." [I’ll wash my face with water, thank you very much!]... Mr. Caruso died in 1921 in Naples, Italy.

U.S. educator Horace Mann was born on May 4, 1796 in Franklin, Massachusetts. He said, “Much that we call evil is really good in disguises; and we should not quarrel rashly with adversities not yet understood, nor overlook the mercies often bound up in them.” [Uh-huh!]... Mr. Mann died in 1859 in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He said, “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” [Uh-huh!]... Mr. Bell died in 1922 in Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia.

U.S. writer Paul Goodman was born on September 9, 1911 in New York City, New York. He said, “It rarely adds anything to say, 'In my opinion'—not even modesty. Naturally a sentence is only your opinion; and you are not the Pope." [In my opinion, I think that I believe that this is mostly a true statement... Yep!]... Mr. Goodman died in 1972.

U.S. actress Totie Fields was born as Sophie Feldman on May 7, 1930 in Hartford, Connecticut. She said, “I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is fourteen days.” [You’re just not doing it right.]... Ms. Fields died in 1978 in Los Angeles, California.

U.S. writer William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri. He said, “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.” [Are they spying on me again?]... Mr. Burroughs died in 1997 in Lawrence, Kansas.

French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup-en-Brie, France. He said, “Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.” [So artistically true... but I'll stick with my camera anyway.]... Mr. Cartier-Bresson died in 2004 in Céreste, France.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Read the Bills Act - Part 2

A while back I urged Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson to support the “Read the Bills Act.” This is how she responded:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Read the Bills Act. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

The Read the Bills Act is a legislative proposal created by the organization Downsize DC. This legislation would require all bills to be read aloud in Congress, read by all Congressmen before they are voted upon, and published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote. Congress would also be required to announce the date they will vote on the bill.

I assure you that in representing the people of Texas, I pay close attention to the legislative agenda and am always well informed about the issues being considered. Serving Texans well requires diligent scrutiny of the implications of each and every vote.

The legislative process in the Senate is complex and making additional requirements to read lengthy bills aloud on the Senate floor, or know the precise voting schedules in advance, could significantly hinder its ability to function practically or efficiently. Legislative texts and relevant information is available through the website The Senate legislative calendar is also available through the website Should the Read the Bills Act be introduced in the Senate, you may be certain I will keep your views in mind.

I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

This is what I wrote back on her site:

In an email you stated that "I pay close attention to the legislative agenda and am always well informed about the issues being considered." Does this mean that you PERSONALLY read EVERY word in EVERY bill?

Regardless of your reservations, I do hope that you help to pass the "Read the Bills Act." Its proposals will NOT "significantly hinder its [the Senate's] ability to function practically or efficiently." It will force it - the Senate - to do the RIGHT thing.

Let's see if Senator Hutchinson does the right thing.

Frances Farmer died today – 37 years ago

U.S. actress Frances Farmer was born as Frances Elena Farmer on September 19, 1913 in Seattle, Washington. She said, “If a person is treated like a patient, they are apt to act like one.” [Enough said.]... Ms. Farmer died in 1970 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

English writer Israel Zangwill was born on February 14, 1864 in London, England. He said, “The Past: Our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition.” [Yep.]... Mr. Zangwill died in 1926 in Midhurst, West Sussex, England.

U.S. writer Theodore Roethke was born on May 25, 1908 in Saginaw, Michigan. He said, “Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste. It's what everything else isn't." [Uh-huh.]... Mr. Roethke died in 1963 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

U.S. writer Paddy Chayefsky was born as Sidney Aaron Chayefsky on January 29, 1923 in the Bronx, New York City, New York. He said, “Television is democracy at its ugliest." [Hmmmmm.]... Mr. Chayefsky died in 1981 in New York City, New York.