Tag: 2018 September Quote of the Day

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We had a full harvest of September Quote of the Day posts, with many making the Main Feed. The leaves are turning, but you can still share your favorite quote on the October Sign-Up Sheet and Schedule. Even if daylight is getting shorter, we make it easy to “Start a Conversation” by including tips for […]

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Quote of the Day: Science and Engineering


“In science, if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
In engineering, if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
Of course, you seldom, if ever, see either pure state.” — Richard Hamming, 1991

When I started my undergraduate education, my major was in Chemistry and I wanted to be a research chemist. After taking organic chemistry, I changed my major to Computer Science, my second favorite subject in High School. In graduate school, I took mostly Electrical Engineering courses, researching Digital Signal Processing for radio communications. In the mid-1970s, Richard Hamming visited our lab. A lab member went bananas over his visit, saying “Do you realize the significance? Hamming codes, Hamming window,” ending with, “He’s an [expletive] genius.” But when you look at his entire life, you’ll see his wisdom surpasses his outstanding creativity.

Quote of the Day: “The Cat Is on the Mat”


Every once in a while, I’ll pick a date for one of these “Quote of the Day” posts because it resonates with me. It’s a special date for me, or it’s the anniversary of something, or the memorial of something, or a famous date in history, or something else I want to write about. But more often than not, I pick a date at random, and then back into a subject, either as one strikes me, or by noodling around on the web until I find something interesting. I like that. I like finding something to write about that I otherwise wouldn’t, and then having to take a stab at it.

So, here we are on September 23. And Wikipedia has bailed me out again: Today is the 218th birthday of one William Holmes McGuffey, probably the most illustrious and best-known citizen of the small hamlet of Claysville, just a few miles down the road from Chez She, out here in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania.

There’s not much to Claysville these days: Blink too hard while you’re driving through it, and you’ll miss it altogether. There’s even less than there was thirty-three years ago when we moved out here, and the entrance and exits to the town were delineated by the offices of Dr. Little (Dentist) on the one end, and of Dr. Large (Family Practitioner), a few blocks away, on the other. I never met Dr. Little. Dr. Fred Large was a wonderful old gentleman who, it was discovered when the hospital I worked for bought his practice after his retirement, often accepted payment in the form of chickens, honey, and bacon. Transferring his accounts into our unforgiving and automated system was a frustrating, and sometimes riotous, labor of love.

Quote of the Day: Evelyn Waugh on Randolph Churchill


Winston Churchill was neglected by his parents. He made the opposite mistake with his only son, Randolph, and spoiled him. After hearing that doctors had removed a benign tumor from Randolph, Evelyn Waugh noted in his diary:

“A typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it.” (March 1964)

Quote of the Day: The Once and Future Hero


HG's WORLD: September 11, 2001 in The Rearview Mirror of Time.Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

Rick Rescorla sang this old Welsh song, and others, as he directed the orderly evacuation of 2,687 Morgan Stanley employees from the South Tower of the World Trade Center. They walked down in an orderly manner, as he had made them rehearse regularly. This last photograph of the old warrior leader was taken by one of the employees, whose life he saved on September 11, 2001.

If you have not read his story before, please start with the 2002 New Yorker article. The Washington Post article “A Tower of Strength,” written a month after the attack, is also excellent. You would not recognize him from this grainy photograph, puffy from cancer treatment, but the photograph on the original cover of We Were Soldiers Once, and Young has a young Lieutenant Rescorla in the heat of battle, bayonet fixed.

Quote of the Day: The Girl on Your Back


Once upon a time, two Buddhist monks, one young and one old, traveled from their temple in the mountains down to the nearest little town in the foothills of the Himalayas, to beg for alms. As they entered the peaceful valley with rice fields all around, they came to a wide river, by the side of which a beautiful young girl stood and wept.

The young monk’s mouth fell open, and he turned his back and covered his eyes, so as not to gaze upon a forbidden sight. But the older monk approached the girl and asked her what was wrong. “Oh, Sir Monk, she said, the river is too strong for me and I am afraid to cross it.” The old monk said, “Don’t worry, my dear. Climb up on my back, and I will carry you across.”

So she did. And he did.

Quote of the Day: Half-Full, Half-Empty, or Not a Glass at All?


“The Optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, the Pessimist fears it is true.”

I first saw this quote in a book of quotes in high school, attributed to J. Robert Oppenheimer. As I had written my high school paper on the nuclear bomb test at Trinity Site, and I revered explosive devices, this was a natural choice for my yearbook quote. It played into my natural cynicism as a teenager – the world was broken, and everyone was an idiot. (The level of cynicism displayed by most people in my high school had would make Fake John Galt blush)

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I’ll be honest. I’m tired of all the division. I’m tired of the disunity. I’m tired of people who manufacture reasons to fight. I want us all to be able to see a world that consists of only two kinds of people. Not black and white, not Republican and Democrat, not gay and straight, not […]

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The Quote of the Day is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. You don’t have to be intelligent, pithy, or eloquent yourself. You can share a written passage that you find interesting, or even something from a favorite movie. You can present the naked quote, or add your thoughts on how […]

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