Some of Bdale's Favorite Quotations
These are things I've tripped over in my life, that I've chosen to pick up and carry with me...
"That which hinders your task is your task."
"Find the audience, be excellent, and you will be fine."
-- David Oyelowo
"Fast is relative to what you're driving."
-- Hurley Haywood
"I think, however, that there isn't any solution to this problem of education
other than to realize that the best teaching can be done only when there is
a direct individual relationship between a student and a good teacher---a
situation in which the student discusses the ideas, thinks about the things,
and talks about the things. It's impossible to learn very much by simply
sitting in a lecture, or even by simply doing problems that are assigned."
-- Richard Feynman, in his preface to the printed Lectures on Physics
"For every vision, there is an equal and opposite revision."
-- "Thal's Law", which I first heard quoted by Lyle Johnson
"Any problem on earth can be solved with the careful application of high
explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off."
-- from the movie Valkyrie
"I have the luxury of waiting on the sidelines to see how the contest
comes out. But someone has to make choices, take risks and
commit resources, or nothing new will ever be created."
-- Brian Hayes, writing about "The Memristor" in American Scientist
"Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence."
-- Will Henry
"Kids are more nimble than wise..."
-- Nancy Gibbs, in a Time opinion piece
"I just want you to be motivated by the magnitude of the opportunity."
-- Mark Hurd, in an HP internal meeting
"Love is an activity, not a feeling.
True love is the disciplined generosity we require of ourselves for the sake of another when we would rather be selfish."
-- the character Misha, in Stephen L. Carter's The Emperor of Ocean Park
"Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise,
risking more than others think is safe,
dreaming more than others think is practical,
and expecting more than others think is possible."
"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with
a mosquito in the room."
-- Anita Roddick
"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed."
-- Michael Pritchard
"What has violence ever accomplished?
What has it ever created?
No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet...
What we need is not division; what we need is not hatred, but love and compassion toward one another and a feeling of justice toward those who suffer within our community, whatever their color or faith. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world."
-- Robert F. Kennedy
"I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to
make it shorter."
-- Blaise Pascal
"I try to say what I think I mean."
-- Marilyn Hacker, in the poem Living in the Moment
"Super-geeks are cool."
-- Elizabeth Garbee, 24 October 2005
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something else is
more important than fear."
-- Ambrose Redmoon
"Let me just say that, if you ever have the choice of putting your words in
powerpoint or having them carved into 30-foot high marble, I'd say go for
-- Peter Norvig
"My hands are clean, but not because I wasn't prepared to bloody them."
-- Orson Scott Card, a realization by Han Tzu in Shadow of the Giant
"I hold up a peace sign, but I carry a gun."
-- Def Poet Common
"How can you make informed decisions ... ? The key seems to be to gather
experts who are knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, and
have them cooperatively discuss a series of questions designed to explore
the limits of technical feasibility.
They must strive to reach the best decision rather than to persuade each other."
-- Peter Norvig
"Recorded music is just a way to fill in gaps when you can't get real music."
-- Keith Packard
"Great leaders don't play by the existing rules."
-- Mark Hurd, in an HP internal meeting
"Doesn't he know who I think I am?"
-- Phil Collins
"Oh my god. The impossible has happened. My mother has forwarded to me a
joke that not only have I not seen before, but is actually sort of funny."
-- Eric Schwartz, on IRC
"Whenever I try to recall that long-ago first day at school only one memory
shines through: my father held my hand."
-- Marcelene Cox, American writer, from Ladies' Home Journal (1954).
"Why should self-indulgent nonsense -- whatever its professed political
orientation -- be lauded as the height of scholarly achievement?"
-- Alan D. Sokal, in A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt."
-- Bertrand Russell
"The difference between stupid and intelligent people — and this is true
whether or not they are well-educated — is that intelligent people can
handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory
situations — in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious
when things seem overly straightforward."
-- Neal Stephenson, from The Diamond Age
"People love to hear the brag of the local boy, because they want him to be
great, but the foreigner must deny that he has any outstanding virtue -- this
is what will endear him to the locals."
-- Orson Scott Card, a realization by a young Columbus in Pastwatch
"Happiness is not a life without pain, but rather a life in which the pain
is traded for a worthy price."
-- Orson Scott Card, a realization by an older Columbus in Pastwatch
"Some films are slices of life, mine are slices of cake."
-- Alfred Hitchcock
"Concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket."
-- Andrew Carnegie
"There are some things so serious you have to laugh at them."
-- Niels Henrik David Bohr
"Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it."
-- Old Chinese Proverb
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
-- Robert J. Hanlon
"Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice."
-- Mike Albaugh
"In any endeavour it is a fact that you have to succeed with the people who
are willing to participate."
-- Fitch R. Williams, in a rec.crafts.metalworking post about teachers
"we begin to stop / in order simply / to begin / again."
-- Maya Angelou, the end of her poem "Late October"
"Poetry dovetails contradictions."
-- Marilyn Hacker, in the poem Feeling and Form
"I'd remember everything we said, when I thought we were saying everything."
-- Marilyn Hacker, in the poem The Regent Park Sonnets
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's a really stupid
thing to want to do."
-- Elvis Costello, in an interview by Timothy White entitled "A Man out of Time Beats the Clock." Musician magazine No. 60 (October 1983), p. 52.
"No. Must. Not. Flame. Him."
-- Andreas Schuldei, trying to keep a debian-devel discussion civil...
"Every time you open your mouth in this thread, you amplify your ignorance."
-- Ben Armstrong
"When I was a young student, I thought grow-ups would come and make things
work. Now I realize that grown-ups are just kids with wrinkles."
-- Esther Dyson
"If everything were first-rate, what would we have to complain about?"
-- Doug McKenna
"We make things... and it's so much fun!"
-- Robert D. Garbee
"The only thing that happens if you wait, is that you get older."
-- Mario Andretti
"Some things are worth doing even if they aren't safe."
-- Eric Smith
"Beer should really taste like beer."
-- Nigel Croxon, about 80% of the way through a Cave Creek Chili Beer
"For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance."
-- Cartoon Law of Physics X
A free press is one where it's ok to state the conclusion you're led to by
-- Bill Moyers
"The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an
acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies;
who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of
his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself
humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter
wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements;
who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed
follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather
than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is
sacred and virtue safe."
-- John Walter Wayland
"If ever a World Government should come into existence, it had better be a
government designed to be run by crooks rather than a government designed to
be run by gentlemen. Gentlemen are too often in short supply."
-- Freeman J. Dyson, in his book Infinite in All Directions
"My job is to, like, think beyond the immediate."
-- George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., 21 April 2004
"Regardless of talent, the mark of a professional is the ability to
-- Elaine Richards
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and
he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
-- Terry Pratchett
"Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action."
-- Auric Goldfinger, in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Goldfinger
"Ultimately, I consider people to be more important than computers."
-- Theodore Ts'o, in a posting about Debian, Philosophy, and People
"Being awesome is exhausting."
-- Robert D. Garbee, 18 May 2013
"It takes more keystrokes to enter a windows license key than it takes
to do a complete Debian desktop install!"
-- Joey Hess
"A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming,
is not worth knowing."
"We now have a body of software accessible to everybody on earth so robust
and so profound in its possibilities, that we are a few man months away from
doing whatever it is that anybody wants to do with computers all the time."
-- Eben Moglen, from a speech given at Harvard Law School
"There are so many clever things that could be done."
"I have often thought that programmers who have
been taught about Big-O without also being taught about the
importance of constant factors, are like teenagers who have
been taught how to start a car and get it into gear, but
not how to get the condoms out of the glove-box before moving
into the back seat."
"Debian: everything looks broken until you realize it's just the only distro
--Dann Frazier, explaining something about Debian on IRC
"Looking at [the build excuses for a particular Debian package] shows
a dep-wait chain of despair(tm)"
--James Troup, on the debian-hppa mailing list
"I have a mouse, but don't have a mouse driver for MINIX and have never felt
the need to write one. Typing "rm x y z" is a lot faster than clicking
five times and then having to convince the system that you really, truly,
mean it and this is not a mistake and that you are consenting adult over 18
and that you completely understand the consequences and you still want to
-- Andrew S. Tanenbaum, in his personal FAQ
"You know, in ten years, "no-code" will probably mean a completely different
thing when applied to a radio amateur. If we're still here."
-- Margaret Leber K3XS
"From my experience, in Forth
I'm constantly struggling with the problems I need to solve, trying out
alternatives, prototyping extensions, laying out tests; while in C I'm just
struggling with the code, compiler and environment."
-- Marcel Hendrix
"Klingon function calls do not have 'parameters' -- they have
'arguments' -- and they always win them."
--Things Likely to be Overheard If You Hire a Klingon Programmer
"Don't confuse the random PC architecture with the way that real systems work."
"System administrators pray to Eris, afterwards, very softly, thanking
her for staying away..."
--Kees J Bot, in comp.os.minix, talking about preparing for an upgrade...
"If you gotta look at it like an investment, you picked the wrong car."
-- Stan Hanks
"Old enough to remember when sex was safe and race cars were dangerous."
-- Larry Reynolds
Things I've Said
"I need to redirect stdout to /dev/porcelain, be back in a minute."
"Unfortunately, that means the email I did have was mostly spam... and since it's really not clear to me that increasing my breast size would increase my confidence, I didn't bother reading most of it."
"The difference between Open Source and Free Software is that Free Software people know there's a difference, and Open Source people try to pretend there isn't."
Things Said About Me
"I was all set to get annoyed, and then I thought,
'No, that's what they pay Bdale for ...'"