Quartz Fortunes

"What's that thing?" "Well, it's a highly technical, sensitive instrument we use in computer repair. Being a layman, you probably can't grasp exactly what it does. We call it a two-by-four."
-- Jeff MacNelley, "Shoe"

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"

Here is the fact of the week, maybe even the fact of the month. According to probably reliable sources, the Coca-Cola people are experiencing severe marketing anxiety in China. The words "Coca-Cola" translate into Chinese as either (depending on the inflection) "wax-fattened mare" or "bite the wax tadpole". Bite the wax tadpole. There is a sort of rough justice, is there not? The trouble with this fact, as lovely as it is, is that it's hard to get a whole column out of it. I'd like to teach the world to bite a wax tadpole. Coke -- it's the real wax-fattened mare. Not bad, but broad satiric vistas do not open up.
-- John Carrol, San Francisco Chronicle

Hug O' War
I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
-- Shel Silverstein

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

"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, "Cat's Cradle"

"Every group has a couple of experts. And every group has at least one idiot. Thus are balance and harmony (and discord) maintained. It's sometimes hard to remember this in the bulk of the flamewars that all of the hassle and pain is generally caused by one or two highly-motivated, caustic twits."
-- Chuq Von Rospach, about Usenet

"I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time."
-- Nietzsche

"I couldn't remember when I had been so disappointed. Except perhaps the time I found out that M&Ms really *do* melt in your hand ..."
-- Peter Oakley

"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them."
-- Isaac Asimov

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use."
-- Galileo Galilei

"I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I drank what?"
-- Socrates

"I hate quotations."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I think the sky is blue because it's a shift from black through purple to blue, and it has to do with where the light is. You know, the farther we get into darkness, and there's a shifting of color of light into the blueness, and I think as you go farther and farther away from the reflected light we have from the sun or the light that's bouncing off this earth, uh, the darker it gets ... I think if you look at the color scale, you start at black, move it through purple, move it on out, it's the shifting of color. We mentioned before about the stars singing, and that's one of the effects of the shifting of colors."
-- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club

"I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me."
-- Hunter S. Thompson

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
-- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
-- H.L. Mencken

"Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem ..."
-- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

"OK, now let's look at four dimensions on the blackboard."
-- Dr. Joy

"Of course this is true for more general values of 5."
--Cambridge University Math Dept.

"One thing they don't tell you about doing experimental physics is that sometimes you must work under adverse conditions ... like a state of sheer terror."
-- W. K. Hartmann

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
-- Philip K. Dick

"The New York Times is read by the people who run the country. The Washington Post is read by the people who think they run the country. The National Enquirer is read by the people who think Elvis is alive and running the country ..."
-- Robert J Woodhead

"The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."
-- Dave Barry

"There are those who claim that magic is like the tide; that it swells and fades over the surface of the earth, collecting in concentrated pools here and there, almost disappearing from other spots, leaving them parched for wonder. There are also those who believe that if you stick your fingers up your nose and blow, it will increase your intelligence."
-- The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VII

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

186,282 miles per second: It isn't just a good idea, it's the law!

A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a "Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
-- Mahatma Ghandi

A copy of the universe is not what is required of art; one of the damned things is ample.
-- Rebecca West

A fool must now and then be right by chance.

A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
-- G. B. Shaw

A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
-- Adlai Stevenson

A long memory is the most subversive idea in America.

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.
-- George Wald

A pig is a jolly companion,
Boar, sow, barrow, or gilt --
A pig is a pal, who'll boost your morale,
Though mountains may topple and tilt.
When they've blackballed, bamboozled, and burned you,
When they've turned on you, Tory and Whig,
Though you may be thrown over by Tabby and Rover,
You'll never go wrong with a pig, a pig,
You'll never go wrong with a pig!
-- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

A reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals ... Now did the Lord say, "First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."
-- Monty Python, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

A sine curve goes off to infinity or at least the end of the blackboard
-- Prof. Steiner

Acid absorbs 47 times it's weight in excess Reality.

After [Benjamin] Franklin came a herd of Electrical Pioneers whose names have become part of our electrical terminology: Myron Volt, Mary Louise Amp, James Watt, Bob Transformer, etc. These pioneers conducted many important electrical experiments. For example, in 1780 Luigi Galvani discovered (this is the truth) that when he attached two different kinds of metal to the leg of a frog, an electrical current developed and the frog's leg kicked, even though it was no longer attached to the frog, which was dead anyway. Galvani's discovery led to enormous advances in the field of amphibian medicine. Today, skilled veterinary surgeons can take a frog that has been seriously injured or killed, implant pieces of metal in its muscles, and watch it hop back into the pond just like a normal frog, except for the fact that it sinks like a stone.
-- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
-- E. Rutherford

All theoretical chemistry is really physics; and all theoretical chemists know it.
-- Richard P. Feynman

Although we modern persons tend to take our electric lights, radios, mixers, etc., for granted, hundreds of years ago people did not have any of these things, which is just as well because there was no place to plug them in. Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin's brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as "A penny saved is a penny earned." Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office.
-- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.
-- James Michener, "Space"

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not make messes in the house.
-- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
-- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
-- Albert Einstein

As you know, birds do not have sexual organs because they would interfere with flight. [In fact, this was the big breakthrough for the Wright Brothers. They were watching birds one day, trying to figure out how to get their crude machine to fly, when suddenly it dawned on Wilbur. "Orville," he said, "all we have to do is remove the sexual organs!" You should have seen their original design.] As a result, birds are very, very difficult to arouse sexually. You almost never see an aroused bird. So when they want to reproduce, birds fly up and stand on telephone lines, where they monitor telephone conversations with their feet. When they find a conversation in which people are talking dirty, they grip the line very tightly until they are both highly aroused, at which point the female gets pregnant.
-- Dave Barry, "Sex and the Single Amoeba: What Every Teen Should Know"

Bizarreness is the essence of the exotic

Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable term. Velocity, for example, will be expressed in furlongs per fortnight.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance between the above views and those of my employer, my terminal, or the view out my window are purely coincidental. Any resemblance between the above and my own views is non-deterministic. The question of the existence of views in the absence of anyone to hold them is left as an exercise for the reader. The question of the existence of the reader is left as an exercise for the second god coefficient. (A discussion of non-orthogonal, non-integral polytheism is beyond the scope of this article.)

Disco is to music what Etch-A-Sketch is to art.

Do not believe in miracles -- rely on them.

Do you think God gets stoned? I think so...look at the Platypus.
-- Robin Williams

Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together ...
-- Carl Zwanzig

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.

Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
-- R. Buckminster Fuller

Excessive login or logout messages are a sure sign of senility.

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea ...
-- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
-- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity.
-- Robert Firth

Flugg's Law: When you need to knock on wood is when you realize that the world is composed of vinyl, naugahyde and aluminum.

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
-- Elbert Hubbard

Go climb a gravity well!

God doesn't play dice.
-- Albert Einstein

God is real, unless declared integer.

God runs electromagnetics by wave theory on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Devil runs them by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
-- William Bragg

Grandpa Charnock's Law: You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

Hartley's Second Law: Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.

He had that rare weird electricity about him
-- that extremely wild and heavy presence that you only see in a person who has abandoned all hope of ever behaving "normally."
-- Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing '72"

I 'grok' people...I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts...because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting.
-- Valentine Michael Smith ("The Man from Mars") in Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land"

I don't want to alarm anybody, but there is an excellent chance that the Earth will be destroyed in the next several days. Congress is thinking about eliminating a federal program under which scientists broadcast signals to alien beings. This would be a large mistake. Alien beings have nuclear blaster death cannons. You cannot cut off their federal programs as if they were merely poor people ...

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
-- Poul Anderson

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. - Frank Herbert, "Dune", 1965

I must warn you that anything you say will be ignored.
-- Monty Python

I wish i had taken Latin in high school so I could better communicate with the people of Latin America. - James Danforth Quayle.

If God had meant there to be more than 2 factors of production, He would have made it easier for us to draw three-dimensional diagrams. - Robert Solow

If little else, the brain is an educational toy.
-- Tom Robbins

Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.
-- Jules de Gaultier

Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves? - Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil", 1885 - 1886

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
-- H. L. Mencken

Maybe this world is another planet's Hell. - Aldous Huxley

Men were real men, women were real women, and small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Spirits were brave, men boldly split infinitives that no man had split before. Thus was the Empire forged.
-- "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Douglas Adams

More than any time in history, mankind now faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
-- Woody Allen

Normal is just a vicious standard society has set to inhibit the creativity of ones self.
-- Holzinger

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced. - John Keats, Correspondence, 1819

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.
-- Charlie Brown

Probably the question asked most often is: Do one-celled animals have orgasms? The answer is yes, they have orgasms almost constantly, which is why they don't mind living in pools of warm slime.
-- Dave Barry, "Sex and the Single Amoeba: What Every Teen Should Know"

Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity.
-- Alvy Ray Smith

Remember: Silly is a state of Mind, Stupid is a way of Life.
-- Dave Butler

Sanity is the trademark of a weak mind.
-- Mark Harrold

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
-- Bertrand Russell

Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them.
-- Joseph Heller, "Catch-22"

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's just peanuts to space.
-- "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
-- Aldous Huxley

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
-- H. L. Mencken

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
-- Bohr

The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change.
-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers

The programmer's national anthem is 'AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH'. - WEINBERG

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
-- Harlan Ellison

There are really not many jobs that actually require a penis or a vagina, and all other occupations should be open to everyone.
-- Gloria Steinem

There is a theory that states: "If anyone finds out what the universe is for it will disappear and be replaced by something more bazaarly inexplicable." There is another theory that states: "This has already happened ...."
-- Douglas Adams, "Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy"

There is no great genius without some touch of madness. - Seneca, "On Tranquility of the Mind"

There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.
-- Dr. Who

This planet has -- or rather had -- a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
-- Douglas Adams

Time is an illusion; lunchtime, doubly so.
-- Ford Prefect

To generalize is to be an idiot.
-- William Blake

Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?
-- Ronald Reagan

 [kristin buxton]  [quotes