There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our Constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.

— Rabbi Sherwin Wine

Date Added: Nov 25, 2003

Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

Date Added: Aug 15, 2008

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who rest assured are not dumb and are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV Spring Break on Primary Day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

— David Foster Wallace, Rolling Stone, April 13, 2000

Date Added: Oct 27, 2013

If failure is not an option, then neither is creativity. If failure is not an option, don’t waste time with trust. If failure is not an option, you’d better stay in beta forever. If failure is not an option, you can only keep doing what has worked in the past. If failure is not an option, you can act only on things you can measure. If failure is not an option, neither is experimentation. If failure is not an option, life lacks dimension.

If failure is not an option, success is not an option.

— Andy Rutledge, “Failure,” UnitVerse

Date Added: Oct 27, 2010

Food for Thought, Former QotITP, Movies

… [L]ove doesn’t make things nice. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess, we aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect, not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit.

— Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage), Moonstruck

Date Added: Jul 13, 2003

Programming is an exercise in overcoming how wrong you’ve been in the past. At first you’ll overcome the syntax errors, then you’ll overcome the structural errors, and then you’ll come to align your code with the standards of a greater community and you’ll feel safe and like you’ve made it. You haven’t – you’re still wrong because you’re always wrong. You are playing a game you cannot win. And let’s face it – if it was a game you could win you’d not be playing at all.

— Guy English, “I’ve Been Wrong Before,” Kicking Bear

Date Added: Oct 25, 2010

Computers, Friends, Former QotITP

What I need is a two-way pager and a cron job waiting to send my resignation …
“Do you want to quit today? [Y|n]”

— Salim Virji

Date Added: Jul 23, 1998

The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.

— Unknown

Date Added: Jul 11, 2003

Do you think it’s a coincidence that insurance companies ask people if they do the sorts of stuff we do?

— Mike Mengason (after a discussion of cavern diving and ice climbing)

It is a scientific fact that the human body cannot survive for more than 72 hours without water, however, for some of us anything more than 20 minutes is pushing it.

— An old Scubapro advertisement

After my first dive everything else became just another surface interval.

— Unknown

The Net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.

— John Gilmore

That was always the dream, wasn’t it? “I wish I knew then what I know now?” But when you got older, you found out that you now wasn’t you then. You then was a twerp. You then was what you had to be to start out on the rocky road of becoming you now, and one of those rocky patches was being a twerp.

A much better dream, one that’d ensure sounder sleep, was not to know now what you didn’t know then.

— Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

Date Added: Oct 5, 2003

There is a land shining with goodness where each man protects his brother’s dignity as his own, where war and want have ceased and all races live under the same law of love and honor.

It is a land bright with truth, where a man’s word is his pledge, and falsehood is banished, where children sleep safe in their mother’s arms and never know fear or pain. It is a land where kings extend their hands in justice rather than reach for the sword; where mercy, kindness, and compassion flow like deep water over the land, and men revere virtue, revere truth, revere beauty, above comfort, pleasure, or selfish gain. A land where peace reigns in the hearts of men, where faith blazes like a beacon from every hill, and love like a fire from every hearth, where the True God is worshiped and his ways acclaimed by all …

There is a golden realm of light, my son. And it is called the Kingdom of Summer.

— Stephen R. Lawhead, Merlin

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.

— Daniel Webster

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

Humor, San Francisco

Peet’s Coffee should be included in a SF Welcome Bag. Alongside a KQED sticker, a dog, and your newly uncontrollable sense of moral outrage.

— Merlin Mann

Date Added: Jan 28, 2008

Well, you could probably do my taxes with a regular expression, but the rest of us still need nested if’s

— Joe Wells

Life is what’s going on
While you’re busy making other plans.

— John Lennon

[W]e have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which “now” was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents’ have insufficient “now” to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volitile. […] We have only risk management. The spinning of a given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition.

— William Gibson, Pattern Recognition

Date Added: Dec 7, 2003

Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure?

Is there a better way to die?

— Charles Lindbergh

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

Erik’s Law of non-Euclidian Short Cuts
A successful trip between points A and B must include travel though all points C through Z.

— Mike Mengason

Aren’t you supposed to be straight — and celibate?
Father Dan:
Maybe you didn’t hear me. I’m a Cath-o-lic priest. Historically, that falls somewhere between chorus boy and florist.

— Steven Weber and Nathan Lane; Jeffery

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.

— Carl Sagan, Contact

I don’t have Tourrette’s Syndrome — it’s a fucking lifestyle choice!

— Ethan Miller

I don’t have an ego problem, I am an ego problem!

— Fiz (Faisal Jawdat)

No, you don’t understand. I remember the Seventies — clearly. They sucked! … The only good thing that came out of the Seventies was sex, and I was too young. And I’m pissed!

— Stork (Dave Zabowski)

New UI like having sex with brand-new partner, while blindfolded and wearing mittens and half-drunk so you can’t remember what goes where.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin) (on OS X)

Look at it this way: MSDOS is an overgrown program loader; the MacOS is an overgrown user interface. Neither is an operating system, but the second is better for running applications.

— Paul Placeway

Before he became a hermit, Zarathud was a young Priest, and took great delight in making fools of his opponents in front of his followers.

One day Zarathud took his students to a pleasant pasture and there he confronted The Sacred Chao while She was contentedly grazing.

“Tell me, you dumb beast,” demanded the Priest in his commanding voice, “why don’t you do something worthwhile? What is your Purpose in Life, anyway?”

Munching the tasty grass, The Sacred Chao replied “MU”. (The Chinese ideogram for NO-THING.)

Upon hearing this, absolutely nobody was enlightened.

Primarily because nobody understood Chinese.

— Camden Benares, Zen Without Zen Masters

Date Added: Jul 11, 2003

She later confessed to me that I was the only person, besides herself, who could make her really laugh. It was the best grade I ever got.

— Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys

Isn’t software just science fiction?

— Spence Murray

If there’s something cooler than RPN, it has to be sex.

— Tomy Tucker (on Reverse Polish Notation)

Do not seek death; death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.

— Dag Hammarskjold

If you don’t know what your program is supposed to do, you’d better not start writing it.

— Edsger Dijkstra

The price of reliability is simplicity, and for many engineers that is too high a price to pay.

— Unknown

Date Added: Aug 17, 2008

Memory never recaptures reality. Memory reconstructs. All reconstructions change the original, becoming external frames of reference that inevitably fall short.

— Frank Herbert, The Mentat Handbook

Date Added: Jul 13, 2003

… “fire” does not matter, “earth” and “air” and “water” do not matter. “I” do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words. The more words he remembers, the cleverer do his fellows esteem him. He looks upon the great transformations of the world, but he does not see them as they were seen when man looked upon reality for the first time. Their names come to his lips and he smiles as he tastes them, thinking he knows them in the naming.

— Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

It’s scotch — I don’t care how old it is, the bouquet is like gasoline … Oh my GOD! I take it all back!

— Leigh (presented with a 25 year old Macallan)

I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,” I’ll even Hara Kari if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun.

— Hawkeye (Alan Alda), M*A*S*H

I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

— E. M. Forster

As far as I am concerned, paranoia is nothing but heightened awareness.

— H. Jameel al Khafiz

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

— Hunter S. Thompson

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.

— P.J. O’Rourke

Date Added: Aug 15, 2010

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me us.

— Ogden Nash

Any content-based regulation of the Internet, no matter how benign the purpose, could burn the “global village” to roast the pig.

— U.S. District Court Justice Stewart Dalzell (in his ruling to grant a preliminary injunction against the CDA)

Date Added: Jun 14, 1996

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

— H.L. Mencken

Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be!

— Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

A Dream within a Dream

… All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

— Edgar Allen Poe

Wall diving [is] like a lorry trip past Harrod’s during rush hour, but with more fish.

British Diving Journal

Do you think Death could be a boat?
No, no, no … Death is … not. Death isn’t. The ultimate negative. Not-being. You can’t not be on a boat.
I’ve frequently not been on boats.
No, no, no … What you’ve been is not on boats.

— Tom Stoppard, “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead”

I believe that Perl was written by a Lisp programmer who felt that the parens were making the rest of the puctuation feel jealous.

— Allison Andrews

mmm … 802.11a
just thinking about going wireless
get a couch first.
damn you. I just don’t know you anymore. ;)
dude your couch sucks worse than your lan.
;-D rotfl
besides, 802.11a isn’t useful to me.

— Erik Ogan and Allison Andrews

It’s so sad when the only birthday greetings you get are from your mom, your wife, and the software you wrote …

— Jules Cisek

Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, but degenerated into a vice.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Humor, Sports

Football combines two of the worst things about American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.

— George Will

Virgil “Bud” Brigman:
Linds, I want you to stay away from that guy. I mean it.
Alan “Hippy” Carnes:
The guy is gone. Did you see his hands?
Lindsay Brigman:
What? He got the shakes?
Virgil “Bud” Brigman:
Look, he’s operating on his own. He’s cut off from his chain of command. He’s showing signs of pressure-induced psychosis, and he’s got a nuclear weapon. So, as a personal favour to me, will you try to put your tongue in neutral for a while?
Alan “Hippy” Carnes:
I got to tell you, I give this whole thing a sphincter-factor of about 9.5.

— Ed Harris, Todd Graff, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; The Abyss

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

You have to understand, he spells “anal–retentive” with an en-dash.

— Stork (Dave Zabowski)

Date Added: Feb 2, 2003

FWIW the Vegas hotel that flew your live lobster from Maine into a desert would appreciate your reusing your towel. For the environment.

— Merlin Mann

Date Added: Jul 22, 2008

I’m not here to judge, I’m just here to point and giggle.

— Hal Sparks, Talk Soup

Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I’m delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.

— Baron Munchausen (John Neville), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Humor, San Francisco

Living in SF has made me suspicious of insanely beautiful days. Feels like a magic trick.

— Merlin Mann

Date Added: Apr 12, 2008

Art is not a mirror held up to reality; it is a hammer used to shape it.

— Bertold Brecht

Waitaminit! Why are we following the Tarka??

— Mav (Chris Holly)

Any medium powerful enough to extend man’s reach is powerful enough to topple his world. To get the medium’s magic to work for one’s aims rather than against them is to attain literacy.

— Alan Kay, “Computer Software,” Scientific American

It’s like an 18-year-old college freshman who smokes a lot of pot, failed his only philosophy class, and is given a huge effects budget.

— Yojo (on The Matrix Reloaded)

Date Added: Nov 23, 2003

What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.

— Sigmund Freud

Adults are just obsolete chidren, and the hell with them.

— Dr. Seuss

You teach kids how to succeed when they successfully foil the educational system.

— Arlo Guthrie

Date Added: May 23, 2009

Hey, Chet, do we have any kind of policy about primary and secondary [on call personnel] going out together and getting drunk beyond all recognition?

— Primary on-call (me) to Chet Jack

Well, it looks like we will after tonight …

— Hugh Docherty (then secondary)

This is life’s sorrow:
That one can only be happy where two are
And that our hearts are drawn to stars that want us not.

— Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology

Having only coarse food to eat, plain water to drink, and a bent arm for a pillow, one can still find happiness therein. Riches and honor acquired by righteous means are to me as drifting clouds.

— Confucius

Date Added: Sep 24, 2003

I have trouble paying more than three digits for something that can’t be plugged into a wall.

— Sean Goller (on engagement rings, since recanted)

If Michael Bolton hated Otis Redding that much, why didn’t he just break into his house and murder his wife and kids?

— The anonymous author of the Otis Redding boxed set liner notes (on Bolton’s cover of “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”)

I don’t network for jobs, I network for meals …

— Salim M. Virji (on a “re-employment” seminar)

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

— Carl Jung

There’s nothing better than good sex. But bad sex? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than bad sex.

— Billy Joel

The Road Goes Ever On

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many Paths and errands meet
And wither then? I cannot say.

Still round the corner there may be
A new road or a secret gate.
And though I oft have passed them by,
A time will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

— J.R.R. Tolkein

A man who knows his road can occasionally jump off it, whereas a man who does not know his road can only be on it by accident.

— Eric Gill

Date Added: Dec 19, 2011

There is no CyberSpace, just a lot of people pretending.

— Samuel John Kass I (Am)

… the internet is a hairy reminder of how utterly mundane everyone’s weirdness really is …

— Salim Virji

Date Added: Apr 29, 2008

C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg.

— Bjarne Stroustrup

If C++ has taught me one thing, it’s this:
Just because the system is consistent doesn’t mean it’s not the work of Satan.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin)

If your sysadmin’s not being fascist, you’re paying him too much.

— Sam Greenfield

It’s a UNIX utility - it has to give you the means to shoot yourself in the foot. It’s to encourage natural selection …

— Seth LaForge (on one of the more asinine idiosyncracies of CVS)

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things.

— Doug Gwyn

Date Added: Dec 10, 2005

Zephyr is the perfect transport agent for stupid little shit …

— John Prevost

The meek shall inherit the earth. The rest of us are going to the stars.

— Robert Heinlein

“I [Darl McBride, President & CEO of SCO] am also disappointed that you have chosen litigation rather than [Roll over and die].”

Consider this a declaration that the Open Source Community does not negotiate with terrorists.

— Stephen Samuel, “Re:good faith discussions,” Slashdot (on McBride’s reaction to Red Hat seeking an injunction against SCO’s libelous smear campaign against Linux (emphasis his))

Date Added: Sep 24, 2003

We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.

— Lily Tomlin

Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

— Klaatu (Michael Rennie), The Day the Earth Stood Still

I don’t have enough tequila to pass out, just to fall over! this weekend is gonna suck!

— Adam Rixey

José … José is our Master … José decides who shall remember … and who shall forget.

— Mav (Chris Holly) (in the Toy Story “Claw people” voice)

Goodbye my brothers, I go to unconsciousness … a better place.

— H. Jameel al Khafiz (in a similar voice)

A tequila high sneaks up on you like a memory of the only person you have ever loved: a warm glow pierced by nausea.

— Kevin Berger, “The Agave Blues,” San Francisco

… Wait. Does tequila count as food?

— Corby Anderson

The temptation to push the degauss button continuously is hard to resist.

— Steve Gifford

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.

— Francis Bacon

It’s a trick. Get an axe.

— Ash (Bruce Campbell), Army of Darkness

I am Henry the Red, Duke of Shale, Lord of the Northlands and leader of its peoples.
Well hello Mr. Fancy-pants. I got news for you pal, you ain’t leadin’ but two things right now. Jack and shit … and Jack left town.

— Marcus Gilbert and Bruce Campbell; Army of Darkness

Bad Ash:
You’re the good Ash. And I’m the bad Ash.
Bad Ash: (dancing)
Little goody two shoes, Little goody two shoes … etc …
[Shotgun discharge]
Good Ash:
Good … bad … I’m the guy with the gun.

— Bruce Campbell and Bruce Campbell; Army of Darkness

I used to be a pacifist, then I started MUSHing.

— Alex Feely

The woman of my dreams knows how to break into systems.

— Doug Tygar

If you haven’t trashed your computer while doing something questionable, then you’re not a computer scientist – you’re just an arts grad who didn’t get laid.

— Dominic Connor, “CompSci Graduates More Skills,” The Register

Date Added: Oct 3, 2010

They were at the wrong place at the wrong time, naturally they became heroes.

— Unknown

Everything you say now sounds like it was ghost-written.

— Elvis Costello, “New Amsterdam,” Get Happy

Jeepers, he holds the world’s fate in his hands and he can’t drive a stick!

— Mike Nelson (MST3K)

if i kill my officemate, can one of you come to court and say I was in Baker or something at the time it happened?

— Len Lanphar

A “BAD TRIP”?!? You mean, we could smoke this and end up in Cleveland? This could be risky!

— Tom Servo (MST3K)

We are the Burgh! Yinz need assimilated!

— Chris Rapier

We are Borg. Resistence is futile. You will be assim — AWWWWWWWToken Ring!?!?!?

— Joshua Eli Schachter

I’ve never understood why it’s impolite to spell a deity’s name correctly. For most people it’s the other way around.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin)

it’s against my religion to drink to escape problems. i can only drink to cause problems.

— Geoff Spear

The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

that’s us — cryptopunks and cryptofreaks, road warriors on the information superhighway

— roo (Andrew Stellman)

I am the rumble strips of the information superhighway!

— Dmitri Schoeman

i am the ‘travel bingo’ of the information superhighway

— Chad McDaniel

I'm the state trooper of the information superhighway.
Pay me $40 or lose your accounts :-)

— Rob Earhart

— Faisal Jawdat

gdb … . is a god.

— Rob Earhart

If you mean it hurls thunderbolts at you for no reason, and then seduces your wife, then yeah, I guess.

— Zarf (Andy Plotkin)

“Imagine you’re falling off a cliff and all you’ve got is a rope to save yourself. At the top of the cliff there’s a CMU graduate and an MIT graduate. Which do you throw the rope to?”
“The MIT graduate.”
“The MIT graduate!!? Why?”
“I’m probably going fast enough to yank him off the cliff.”

— Steve Gifford

I guess she’ll stop acting weird now that i’m not a guy.

— Kerry Hagan

She’s a wonderful, wonderful person, and we’re looking forward to a happy and wonderful night — uh, life.

— Ted Kennedy (about his then fiancee, Victoria Reggie)

— Andrew B Stellman

Date Added: Nov 10, 1994

Ten years ago I was hacking MCI. Now they’re giving me free accounts. I must be getting old or something.

— Anonymous

It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.

— Voltaire

Motto of the Electrical Engineer:
Working computer hardware is a lot like an erect penis: it stays up as long as you don’t fuck with it.

— Unknown

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

— Mark Twain

“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before,” Bokonon tells us. “He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cat’s Cradle

One of the best things about X is being able to cut and paste between windows with as close to 0 effort as you can get without using telepathy.

— Jason M. Laughman

Any person who can’t find reverse gear in a Volkswagen.

— Rich Hall, Sniglets

Given recent events in Florida, the tourism board in Texas has developed a new advertising campaign based on the slogan “Ya’ll come to Texas, where we ain’t shot a tourist in a car since November 1963.”

— Unknown

Dear DEC:

Sending me the README from the patch is not going to fix my problem. It will only anger me. Much like waving a steak just out of reach of a hungry bear.

Yer buddy,

— Jim Zelenka

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.

— Matt Groening, Life in Hell

A hypothetical paradox: What would happen in a battle between an Enterprise security team, who always get killed soon after appearing, and a squad of Imperial Stormtroopers, who can’t hit the broad side of a planet?

— Tom Galloway

… Illusions are the most valuable and necessary of all things, and she who can create one is among the world’s greatest benefactors.

— Virginia Woolf, Orlando

All science is either physics or stamp collecting.

— Ernest Rutherford

Once Law was sitting on the bench
And Mercy knelt a-weeping.
“Clear out!” he cried, “disordered wench!
Nor come before me creeping.
Upon you knees if you appear,
’Tis plain you have no standing here.”

Then Justice came. His Honor cried:
“YOUR states? — Devil seize you!”
“Amica curiae,” she replied —
“Friend of the court, so please you.”
“Begone!” he shouted — “There’s the door —
I never saw your face before!”

— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

What can you say about a society that says God is dead and Elvis is alive?

— Irv Kupcinet

Those who believe in miracles when it comes to matters of the heart may believe that there is a perfect mate for each of us waiting to be discovered somewhere in the world. But if this is true, the far greater miracle is the frequency with which the Fates conspire to place this person within walking distance.

— Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, and Hillgard, Introduction to Psychology

hacker Instance who really gives a fuck about Tonya Harding
Date: 18:39:27 on Sun Feb 6

TV really needs killfiles …

— Geoff Spear

If God made us in his image, we have certainly returned the compliment.

— Voltaire

No plain fanfold paper could hold that fractal Puff —
He grew so fast no plotting pack could shrink him far enough.
Compiles and simulations grew so quickly tame
And swapped out all their data space when Puff pushed his stack frame.

Puff the fractal dragon was written in C,
And frolicked while processes switched in mainframe memory.
Puff the fractal dragon was written in C,
And frolicked while processes switched in mainframe memory.

Puff, he grew so quickly, while others moved like snails
And mini-Puffs would perch themselves on his gigantic tail.
All the student hackers loved that fractal Puff
But DCS did not like Puff, and finally said, “Enough!”


Puff used more resources than DCS could spare.
The operator killed Puff’s job — he didn’t seem to care.
A gloom fell on the hackers; it seemed to be the end,
But Puff trapped the exception, and grew from naught again!


— Unknown

If we insist on creating programs smart enough to make up for the deficiencies of lusers, we end up fighting with both lusers and programs.
This is not progress.



Into love and out again,
Thus I went and thus I go.
Spare your voice, and hold your pen:
Well and bitterly I know
All the songs were ever sung,
All the words were ever said;
Could it be, when I was young,
Someone dropped me on my head?

— Dorothy Parker

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot

A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.

— Alfred E. Wiggam

A non-vegetarian anti-abortionist is a contradiction in terms.

— Phyllis Schlafly

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who has never learned to walk.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

— John Kenneth Galbraith

It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

— Televangelist Marion “Pat” Robertson (speaking of the Equal Rights Amendment)

“As your elf touches the gold doorknob, 45,000 volts of electricity run through his body. Your elf is now charcoal. What does your wizard do?”

“He calls the Dungeon Master a jerk.”

— Bill Amend, “Fox Trot”

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Leland … Leland, the time has come for you to seek the path. Your soul has set you face to face with the clear light, and you are about to experience it in its reality, wherein all things are like the void and cloudless sky and the naked spotless intellect is like a transparent vacuum without circumference or center. Leland, in this moment, know yourself and abide in that state. Look to the light, Leland, find the light. Into the light, Leland, into the light. Into the light, Leland … into the light … Don’t be afraid.

— FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Twin Peaks

I regret to say that we of the F.B.I. are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.

— J. Edgar Hoover

Hier liegt ein Mann ganz obnegleich;
Im Leibe dick, an Suden reich.
Wir haben ihn in das Grab gesteckt,
Weil es uns dunkt er sei verreckt.

Here lies a man with sundry flaws
And numerous Sins upon his head;
We buried him today because
As far as we can tell, he’s dead.

— Peter Schickele, The Definitive Biography of PDQ Bach (PDQ Bach’s epitaph, as requested by his cousin Betty Sue Bach and written by the local doggerel catcher)

There is No God but Sendmail and SMTP is Its Prophet

— Alistair Young

There is a love which seeks to possess; there is a love which softens and enervates; there is a love which withdraws a man from the battle; there is a love which shuts its eyes to faults and to ways which end in ruin. But [real] love will always seek the highest good of others and will accept all the difficulties, problems and toil which that search involves.

— William Barclay

I would like to suggest that you not use speed, and here’s why: it is going to mess up your heart, mess up your liver, your kidneys, rot out your mind. In general this drug will make you just like your mother and father.

— Frank Zappa

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

— T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Ginsberg’s Theorem
  1. You can’t win.
  2. You can’t break even.
  3. You can’t even quit the game.
Freeman’s Commentary on Ginsberg’s theorem:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg’s Theorem. To wit:
  1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
  2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
  3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road …

— Stewart Brand, The Media Lab

There are three schools of magic.
One: State a tautology, then ring the changes on its corollaries; that’s philosophy.
Two: Record many facts. Try to find a pattern. Then make a wrong guess at the next fact; that’s science.
Three: Be aware that you live in a malevolent Universe controlled by Murphy’s Law, sometimes offset by Brewster’s Factor; that’s engineering.

— Robert A. Heinlein, The Number of the Beast

We the unwilling, led by the unknowing,
have been doing the impossible, for the ungrateful.
We have done so much with so little, for so long,
that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
And we do it for nothing!

— Robert Bonomi (seen in a “data processing center” in the mid ’60s)

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we’ve finished building it.

— Unknown

I’d prefer voice-activated controls, too; I just don’t think I can implement that in my attention span.

— Heath Hunnicutt

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under Communism, it’s just the opposite.

— John Kenneth Galbraith

Mythology, n.
The body of a primitive people’s beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.

— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

What is a magician but a practising theorist?

— Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness)

He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them, needs religion.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The religion that is afraid of science dishoners God and commits suicide.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is it just me, or does anyone else read “bible humpers” every time someone writes “bible thumpers?”

— Joel M. Snyder

Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

— Stanislaw Lem, Cyberiad

I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I learn.
In the doing is the understanding.

— Confucius

You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.

— Albert Camus

The dreamers are the ones who conceive of what could happen and the scientists are the ones who make it happen. The best of humanity are those who combine both traits.

— Peter David, Vendetta

Must … defy … laws … of … physics …

— The Tick

When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.

— Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or where it will end.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

He who marches joyfully in rank and file has already earned my contempt. A large brain has been wasted on this individual, since for him, a spinal cord would suffice.

— Albert Einstein

It has been said [by Antaole France], “it is not by amusing oneself that one learns,” and, in reply: “it is only by amusing oneself that one can learn.”

— Edward Kasner and James R. Newman

Nature abhors a hero. For one thing, he violates the law of conservation of energy. For another, how can it be the survival of the fittest when the fittest keeps putting himself in situations where he is most likely to be creamed?

— Solomon Short

Cobol has almost no fervent enthusiasts. As a programming tool, it has roughly the sex appeal of a wrench.

— Charles Petzold, “Programming Languages: Survivors and Wannabes,” The New York Times

When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they are, infinite.

— William Blake

In America, sex is an obsession; in other parts of the world it’s a fact.

— Marlene Dietrich

Profanity often lends itself to contentment not found even at prayer.

— Mark Twain

First Corollary of Taber’s Second Law:
Machines that piss people off get murdered.

— Pat Taber

It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.

— John Andrew Holmes

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t think we can stand to have it [Mars] sitting out there without dinking with it.

— Arden Albee (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on the Mars Observer mission)

Now, that brings up an interesting idea. I wonder if I could explain to a luser that we equipped all the computers with video cameras, and in order to log in your password must be accompanied by performing the YMCA dance.

— Gian-Paolo Musumeci

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

— Dom Helder Camara

Sure eating yogurt will improve your sex life. People know that if you’ll eat that stuff, you’ll eat anything.

— Unknown

Those who curse the universe, curse that which is deaf.
Those who shake their fists, shake them at blind stars.

— Michael Moorcock

Ever notice how they have to distinguish between Truth, Justice, and then the American Way?

— Richard Darwin

If the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.

— Terrence McKenna

Date Added: Dec 11, 2003

Opinions are like assholes — everyone’s got one, but nobody wants to look at the other guy’s.

— Hal Hickman

Smileys. Learn to use them. :-) <---that’s a smiley … look at it sideways.

— Dan “Yippee” Calle

Fuck you too, smileymonger!

— bbz (John Jantos)

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Damn, lotsa places in Pgh want AS/400 programmers.
Paying a lot, too.
Too bad I’d rather eat a live cow than work on a 400 again.

— Jim Zelenka

A man said to the Universe: “Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the Universe, “the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.”

— Stephen Crane

Ocean, n.
A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills.

— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments - there are consequences.

— Robert Ingersoll

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.

— John Ciardi

How many seconds are there in a year? If I tell you there are 3.155 x 10^7, you won’t even try to remember it. On the other hand, who could forget that, to within half a percent, pi seconds is a nanocentury.

— Tom Duff (Bell Labs)

Just as most issues are seldom black or white, so are most good solutions seldom black or white. Beware of the solution that requires one side to be totally the loser and the other side to be totally the winner. The reason there are two sides to begin with usually is because neither side has all the facts. Therefore, when the wise mediator effects a compromise, he is not acting from political motivation. Rather, he is acting from a deep sense of respect for the whole truth.

— Stephen R. Schwambach

Well, that was a piece of cake, eh K-9?

— The Doctor (Tom Baker), Doctor Who, “The Key to Time”

Piece of cake, Master? Radial slice of baked confection … coefficient of relevance to Key of Time: zero.

— K-9 (John Leeson), Doctor Who, “The Key to Time”

Leave the quotes to the expert.

— The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Doctor Who, “Time and the Rani”

A witty saying proves nothing.

— Voltaire

I hate quotations.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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This is my quote file. Things that I've found inspirational, profound, food for thought, but most of all, funny.

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