My favourite quotes

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. — Ecclesiastes, 1:9-10

You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man's knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower; until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholely what he must do... — Ursula K. Le Guin A Wizard of Earthsea

If you can't do what you want, do what you can. — Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously. — Peter Ustinov

And it is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one. — Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule. — Gandalf in The Return of the King

War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love that which they defend: the city of the Men of Numenor. — Faramir in The Two Towers

I must study politics and war so that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy... in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, and music. — John Adams

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in, unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. — Theodore Roosevelt

This is the world we live in, and these are the hands we're given. Use them and let start trying to make this a place worth living in. — Genesis, Land of Confusion

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. — Chuang Tzu

Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Dr. Barry Gehm's corollary to Clarke's law: Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. 'I'll learn 'em to steal my house!' he cried. 'I'll learn 'em, I'll learn 'em!' 'Don't say "learn 'em," Toad,' said the Rat, greatly shocked. 'It's not good English.' 'What are you always nagging at Toad for?' inquired the Badger, rather peevishly. 'What's the matter with his English? It's the same what I use myself, and if it's good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!' 'I'm very sorry,' said the Rat humbly. 'Only I think it ought to be "teach 'em," not "learn 'em."' 'But we don't want to teach 'em,' replied the Badger. 'We want to learn 'em—learn 'em, learn 'em! And what's more, we're going to do it, too!' — Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. — H. L. Mencken

Knowledge does not corrupt, unless it is arrogant; but then it is not true knowledge. — Eli Wiesel

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion. Rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science. — Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. — Albert Einstein

What do people mean when they say: I am not afraid of God because I know He is good? Have they never been to a dentist? — Clive Staples Lewis

When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the desire to be very grown up. — Clive Staples Lewis

It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done. — Samuel Johnson, (in Boswell's 'Life', 1770)

It is a wise man who knows his limitations. — Marko Ramius in Tom Clancy's Hunt for the 'Red October'

Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has. — Descartes

Decency of means is the aim of aims. — Stefan Themerson, Aim of Aims

As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy. — Christopher Dawson

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future, and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future, or others will do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for another, because if we don't, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places. Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings… even for people like us. — Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5

It did not matter, after all. He was only one man. One man's fate is not important. If it is not, what is? He could not endure those remembered words. — Ursula K. Le Guin, Rocannon's World

A great rabbi stands teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultry, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death. (There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine, a Speaker for the Dead, has told me of two other rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I'm going to tell you.) The rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him, the mob forbears, and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. Is there anyone here, he says to them, who has not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband? They murmur and say, We all know the desire. But, Rabbi, none of us has acted on it. The rabbi says, Then kneel down and give thanks that God made you strong. He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, Tell the lord magistrate who saved his mistress. Then he'll know I'm his loyal servant. So the woman lives, because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder. Another rabbi, another city. He goes to her and stops the mob, as in the other story, and says, Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone. The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. Someday, they think, I may be like this woman, and I'll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her the way I wish to be treated. As they open their hands and let the stones fall to the ground, the rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman's head, and throws it straight down with all his might. It crushes her skull and dashes her brains onto the cobblestones. Nor am I without sin, he says to the people. But if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead, and our city with it. So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance. The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis, and when they veer too far, they die. Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him. San Angelo, Letters to an Incipient Heretic, trans. Amai a Tudomundo Para Que Deus Vos Ame Cristao 103:72:54:2 — Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. — Robert A. Heinlein

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. — Albert Einstein

The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are genuine. — Abraham Lincoln

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off. — anonymous

God bless the King, I mean the Faith's Defender; God bless – no harm in blessing – the Pretender; But who Pretender is, or who is King, God bless us all – that's quite another thing. — John Byrom

What do you despise? By this are you truly known. — Frank Herbert, Dune

Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exist only a difference of degree. — Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse Dune

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife – chopping off what's incomplete and saying: Now, it's complete because it's ended here. — Frank Herbert, Dune

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In protocol design, perfection has been reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — RFC 1925, based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. — Albert Einstein

The objective of all dedicated employees should be to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon. However, When you are up to your ass in alligators it is difficult to remind yourself your initial objective was to drain the swamp.

A system admin's life is a sorry one. The only advantage he has over Emergency Room doctors is that malpractice suits are rare. On the other hand, ER doctors never have to deal with patients installing new versions of their own innards! — Michael O'Brien

A programmer is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of being able to turn out, after innumerable punching, an infinite series of incomprehensive answers calculated with micrometric precisions from vague assumptions based on debatable figures taken from inconclusive documents and carried out on instruments of problematical accuracy by persons of dubious reliability and questionable mentality for the avowed purpose of annoying and confounding a hopelessly defenseless department that was unfortunate enough to ask for the information in the first place. — IEEE Grid newsmagazine

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. — Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. — Emerson

The only reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do more. — Jonas Salk

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. — Mark Twain

Growing older is mandatory, growing up is strictly optional.

What is scratch and why can everything be made from it?

Let your workings remain a mystery, just show people the results. — Lao Tzu, world's first LAN support person

A bus station is where buses stop. A train station is trains stop. On my desk is a work station... — Jon Wätt e<>

Now about Lankhmar. She's been invaded, her walls breached everywhere and desperate fighting is going on in the streets, by a fierce host which out-numbers Lankhamar's inhabitants by fifty to one and equipped with all modern weapons. Yet you can save the city. How? demanded Fafhrd. Ningauble shrugged. You're a hero. You should know. — Fritz Leiber, The Swords of Lankhmar

Another month ends: * All targets met * All systems running * All customers happy * All staff eager and enthusiastic * All pigs fed and ready to fly ............. — Lech J. Janczewski <>

We are using an excellent security package here. It's very effective, easy to manage, has been completely trouble-free, and provides very good value for the money. The tech support has been outstanding. Our security policy forbids disclosure of its identity, but I recommend it highly nonetheless. — Bruce Toback <btoback@OPTC.COM>

Paul Evans' Laws on System Administration: #1 If users are made to understand that the system administrator's job is to make the computers run, and not to make users happy, they can, in fact, be made happy most of the time. — <>

Never try to explain computers to a layman. It's easier to explain sex to a virgin. — Robert A. Heinlein

I have gone to get myself. If I return before I get back, hold me here because it is important I see myself when I get back before I get confused. — Michael Sauers <>

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. — George Bernard Shaw

Don't believe in miracles, don't rely on them. Make them happen. — Yumi Kazeya (Night Runners)

Professionals built the Titanic, amateurs built the ark.

The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future. — Frank Herbert, Dune

Inventions reached their limit long ago, and I see no hope for further development. — Julius Frontinus, 1st century AD

There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. — Oscar Wilde

You must run as fast as to can, just to stay in the same place. If you want to get anywhere, you must run twice as fast! — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats. — Howard Aiken

The Roman Rule: The one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the one who is doing it.

Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends. — Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

A certain conqueror said to Nasrudin: Mulla, all the great rulers of the past had honorific titles with the name of God in them: there was, for instance, God-Gifted, God-Accepted, God-Sent, and so on. How about such a name for me? God Forbid. said Nasrudin.

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. — James Bovard

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. — Benjamin Franklin

Government should be like the oil in an engine: A very thin lubricating layer narrowly separating freely moving parts so that they slide past one another smoothly without grinding. If the lubricant itself creates friction or begins to eat into any of the parts, then it has become corrosive and should be replaced. — Jeffry R. Fisher

You should never hand someone a gun unless you are sure where they will point it. — Commander Jeffrey Sinclair in Babylon 5

I pay my taxes that helped purchase the Space Shuttle. Why aren't I allowed to fly the shuttle whenever I like? Why can't I run naked through the White House which is supported with my tax dollars? — Matthew Black <>

There are only two organizations that I know of that send armed men in dark suits and sunglasses to take money they haven't earned: the mafia and the government.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. — H. L. Mencken

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. — Salvor Hardin in Isaac Asimov's Foundation

When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. — Frank Herbert

A boss says Go. — A leader says Let's go. — <>

First Job of Government: Protect people from government. Second Job of Government: Protect people from each other. It must *never* be the job of government to protect people from themselves.

Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders. — Frank Herbert

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. — Robert Anson Heinlein

The best way to keep one's word is not to give it. — Napoleon Bonaparte

That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong. — William J.H. Boetcker

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. — Martin Niemoeller, German Lutheran Pastor (1892-1984)

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. — Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. — Thomas Jefferson

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become victims of the darkness. — Justice William O. Douglas

So, people who reject God, usually end up creating Society as a god in their own image. They demand that people sacrifice themselves for the good of society, the race, the ethnic group, the church, the tribe, the nation, or the community. — Norman Dubeski

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 do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. — Lyndon Johnson

No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. — Judge Gideon J. Tucker

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. — James Madison

Freedom isn't free.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. — A. H. Weiler

However brave and resourceful they may be, Americans cannot teach democracy to the world until they restore their own. — William Greider

Mind you, I consider myself to be a kind of libertarian… in the Adam Smith sense that competition is clearly a wellspring of creative solutions -- not the more recent sense in which "libertarian" means adoration of feudal oligarchy, because it's "private." — David Brin

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. — John Kenneth Galbraith

I react pragmatically. Where the market works, I'm for that. Where the government is necessary, I'm for that. I'm deeply suspicious of somebody who says, "I'm in favor of privatization," or, "I'm deeply in favor of public ownership." I'm in favor of whatever works in the particular case. — John Kenneth Galbraith

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. — Carl Sagan

He that knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him. He that knows not, and knows that he knows not is a pupil. Teach him. He that knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him. He that knows, and knows that he knows is a teacher. Follow him. — Arabic proverb

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking. — Alexander Alan Milne

¿Por qué no te callas? — King Juan Carlos I of Spain

The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck is probably the day they start making vacuum cleaners. — Ernst Jan Plugge

The steady state of disks is full. — Ken Thompson

If cars evolved at the same rate as computers have, they'd cost a quarter, run for a year on a half-gallon of gas, and explode once a day.

Windows 95: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. — Ken Olsen, President, DEC, 1977 Does this mean my CPU, monitor & keyboard or my VCR, stereo, answering machine, microwave ... — Jeff Dingbaum <>

What do you think will be the biggest problem in computing in the 90s? There are only 17,000 three-letter-acronyms. — Paul Boutin

Who is General Failure, and why is he reading my drive? — Ron Dippold

When in doubt, use brute force. — Ken Thompson

Press any key to continue, or any other key to quit.

Atilla The Hun's Maxim: If you're going to rape, pillage and burn, be sure to do things in that order. — P. J. Plauger, Programming On Purpose

Only one thing, is impossible for god: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. — Mark Twain

echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln256%Pln256/snlbx]sb3135071790101768542287578439snlbxq' | dc

Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life. — Andrew Brown, The Independent

USENET: post to exotic, distant machines. meet exciting, unusual people. And flame them. —

Usenet is not a right. — Gene Spafford

Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea — massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it. — Gene Spafford, 1992

It can be shown that for any nutty theory, beyond-the-fringe political view or strange religion there exists a proponent on the Net. The proof is left as an exercise for your kill-file.

Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million typewriters, and Usenet is NOTHING like Shakespeare. — Blair Houghton

I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called brightness, but it doesn't work. — Gallagher

So here's a question for you. How old did you say you were? Alice made a short calculation, and said, Seven years and six months. Wrong! Humpty Dumpty exclaimed triumphantly. You never said a word like it. I thought you meant How old are you? Alice explained. If I'd meant that, I'd have said it, said Humpty Dumpty. — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. The question is, said Alice, whether you can make words mean different things. The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, which is to be master — that's all. — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

I cannot live without books. — Thomas Jefferson

I quote others only to better express my own self. — Montaigne

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) — Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody had said it before him. — Mark Twain