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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost,
I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down
the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes.  A more sententious, holding-
forth old bore who expected every hero-worshiping adenoidal little twerp
of a student-poet to hang on to his every word I never saw.
                -- James Dickey
James Joyce -- an essentially private man who wished his total
indifference to public notice to be universally recognized.
                -- Tom Stoppard
James McNeill Whistler's (painter of "Whistler's Mother")
failure in his West Point chemistry examination once provoked him to
remark in later life, "If silicon had been a gas, I should have been a
major general."
Live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse.
                -- James Dean
'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky!
                -- Robert James Marshall (Jimi) Hendrix
She was good at playing abstract confusion in the same way a midget is
good at being short.
                -- Clive James, on Marilyn Monroe
Year  Name                                James Bond        Book
----  --------------------------------        --------------        ----
50's  James Bond TV Series                Barry Nelson
1962  Dr. No                                Sean Connery        1958
1963  From Russia With Love                Sean Connery        1957
1964  Goldfinger                        Sean Connery        1959
1965  Thunderball                        Sean Connery        1961
1967* Casino Royale                        David Niven        1954
1967  You Only Live Twice                Sean Connery        1964
1969  On Her Majesty's Secret Service        George Lazenby        1963
1971  Diamonds Are Forever                Sean Connery        1956
1973  Live And Let Die                        Roger Moore        1955
1974  The Man With The Golden Gun        Roger Moore        1965
1977  The Spy Who Loved Me                Roger Moore        1962 (novelette)
1979  Moonraker                                Roger Moore        1955
1981  For Your Eyes Only                Roger Moore        1960 (novelette)
1983  Octopussy                                Roger Moore        1965
1983* Never Say Never Again                Sean Connery
1985  A View To A Kill                        Roger Moore        1960 (novelette)
1987  The Living Daylights                Timothy Dalton        1965 (novelette)
        * -- Not a Broccoli production.
If you are a police dog, where's your badge?
                -- Question James Thurber used to drive his German Shepherd
        The Priest's grey nimbus in a niche where he dressed discreetly.
I will not sleep here tonight. Home also I cannot go.
        A voice, sweetened and sustained, called to him from the sea.
Turning the curve he waved his hand.  A sleek brown head, a seal's, far
out on the water, round.  Usurper.
                -- James Joyce, "Ulysses"
Well, anyway, I was reading this James Bond book, and right away I realized
that like most books, it had too many words.  The plot was the same one that
all James Bond books have: An evil person tries to blow up the world, but
James Bond kills him and his henchmen and makes love to several attractive
women.  There, that's it: 24 words.  But the guy who wrote the book took
*thousands* of words to say it.
        Or consider "The Brothers Karamazov", by the famous Russian alcoholic
Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  It's about these two brothers who kill their father.
Or maybe only one of them kills the father.  It's impossible to tell because
what they mostly do is talk for nearly a thousand pages.  If all Russians talk
as much as the Karamazovs did, I don't see how they found time to become a
major world power.
        I'm told that Dostoyevsky wrote "The Brothers Karamazov" to raise
the question of whether there is a God.  So why didn't he just come right
out and say: "Is there a God? It sure beats the heck out of me."
        Other famous works could easily have been summarized in a few words:

* "Moby Dick" -- Don't mess around with large whales because they symbolize
  nature and will kill you.
* "A Tale of Two Cities" -- French people are crazy.
                -- Dave Barry
"What's this?  Trix?  Aunt!  Trix?  You?  You're after the prize!  What
is it?"  He picked up the box and studied the back.  "A glow-in-the-dark
squid!  Have you got it out of there yet?"  He tilted the box, angling the
little colored balls of cereal so as to see the bottom, and nearly spilling
them onto the table top.  "Here it is!"  He hauled out a little cream-colored,
glitter-sprinkled squid, three-inches long and made out of rubbery plastic.
                -- James P. Blaylock, "The Last Coin"
        A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the
program on which he was working.  "I will be finished tomorrow," the programmer
promptly replied.
        "I think you are being unrealistic," said the manager. "Truthfully,
how long will it take?"
        The programmer thought for a moment.  "I have some features that I wish
to add.  This will take at least two weeks," he finally said.
        "Even that is too much to expect," insisted the manager, "I will be
satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete."
        The programmer agreed to this.
        Several years later, the manager retired.  On the way to his
retirement lunch, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal.
He had been programming all night.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager was about to be fired, but a programmer who worked for him
invented a new program that became popular and sold well.  As a result, the
manager retained his job.
        The manager tried to give the programmer a bonus, but the programmer
refused it, saying, "I wrote the program because I though it was an interesting
concept, and thus I expect no reward."
        The manager, upon hearing this, remarked, "This programmer, though he
holds a position of small esteem, understands well the proper duty of an
employee.  Lets promote him to the exalted position of management consultant!"
        But when told this, the programmer once more refused, saying, "I exist
so that I can program.  If I were promoted, I would do nothing but waste
everyone's time.  Can I go now?  I have a program that I'm working on."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your
work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave
at five in the afternoon."  At this, all of them became angry and several
resigned on the spot.
        So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own
working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule."  The
programmers, now satisfied, began to come in a noon and work to the wee
hours of the morning.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements
document for a new application.  The manager asked the master: "How long will
it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?"
        "It will take one year," said the master promptly.
        "But we need this system immediately or even sooner!  How long will it
take it I assign ten programmers to it?"
        The master programmer frowned.  "In that case, it will take two years."
        "And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?"
        The master programmer shrugged.  "Then the design will never be
completed," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day.  The master
noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game.  "Excuse me",
he said, "may I examine it?"
        The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master.
"I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium,
and Hard", said the master.  "Yet every such device has another level of play,
where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the
        "Pray, great master," implored the novice, "how does one find this
mysterious setting?"
        The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it under foot.
And suddenly the novice was enlightened.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A master was explaining the nature of Tao to one of his novices.
"The Tao is embodied in all software -- regardless of how insignificant,"
said the master.
        "Is Tao in a hand-held calculator?" asked the novice.
        "It is," came the reply.
        "Is the Tao in a video game?" continued the novice.
        "It is even in a video game," said the master.
        "And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?"
        The master coughed and shifted his position slightly.  "The lesson
is over for today," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the Master: "Here is a programmer that never designs,
documents, or tests his programs.  Yet all who know him consider him one of
the best programmers in the world.  Why is this?"
        The Master replies: "That programmer has mastered the Tao.  He has
gone beyond the need for design; he does not become angry when the system
crashes, but accepts the universe without concern.  He has gone beyond the
need for documentation; he no longer cares if anyone else sees his code.  He
has gone beyond the need for testing; each of his programs are perfect within
themselves, serene and elegant, their purpose self-evident.  Truly, he has
entered the mystery of the Tao."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "I have a program that sometimes runs and
sometimes aborts.  I have followed the rules of programming, yet I am totally
baffled. What is the reason for this?"
        The master replied: "You are confused because you do not understand
the Tao.  Only a fool expects rational behavior from his fellow humans.  Why
do you expect it from a machine that humans have constructed?  Computers
simulate determinism; only the Tao is perfect.
        The rules of programming are transitory; only the Tao is eternal.
Therefore you must contemplate the Tao before you receive enlightenment."
        "But how will I know when I have received enlightenment?" asked the
        "Your program will then run correctly," replied the master.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "I perceive that one computer company is
much larger than all others.  It towers above its competition like a giant
among dwarfs.  Any one of its divisions could comprise an entire business.
Why is this so?"
        The master replied, "Why do you ask such foolish questions?  That
company is large because it is so large.  If it only made hardware, nobody
would buy it.  If it only maintained systems, people would treat it like a
servant.  But because it combines all of these things, people think it one
of the gods!  By not seeking to strive, it conquers without effort."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice asked the master: "In the east there is a great tree-structure
that men call 'Corporate Headquarters'.  It is bloated out of shape with
vice-presidents and accountants.  It issues a multitude of memos, each saying
'Go, Hence!' or 'Go, Hither!' and nobody knows what is meant.  Every year new
names are put onto the branches, but all to no avail.  How can such an
unnatural entity exist?"
        The master replies: "You perceive this immense structure and are
disturbed that it has no rational purpose.  Can you not take amusement from
its endless gyrations?  Do you not enjoy the untroubled ease of programming
beneath its sheltering branches?  Why are you bothered by its uselessness?"
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A novice programmer was once assigned to code a simple financial
        The novice worked furiously for many days, but when his master
reviewed his program, he discovered that it contained a screen editor, a set
of generalized graphics routines, and artificial intelligence interface,
but not the slightest mention of anything financial.
        When the master asked about this, the novice became indignant.
"Don't be so impatient," he said, "I'll put the financial stuff in eventually."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a
strings of pearls.  The spirit and intent of the program should be retained
throughout.  There should be neither too little nor too much, neither needless
loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming
        A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'.  What is this
law?  It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the
way that astonishes him least.
        A program, no matter how complex, should act as a single unit.  The
program should be directed by the logic within rather than by outward
        If the program fails in these requirements, it will be in a state of
disorder and confusion.  The only way to correct this is to rewrite the
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        A programmer from a very large computer company went to a software
conference and then returned to report to his manager, saying: "What sort
of programmers work for other companies?  They behaved badly and were
unconcerned with appearances. Their hair was long and unkempt and their
clothes were wrinkled and old. They crashed out hospitality suites and they
made rude noises during my presentation."
        The manager said: "I should have never sent you to the conference.
Those programmers live beyond the physical world.  They consider life absurd,
an accidental coincidence.  They come and go without knowing limitations.
Without a care, they live only for their programs.  Why should they bother
with social conventions?"
        "They are alive within the Tao."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
A well-used door needs no oil on its hinges.
A swift-flowing steam does not grow stagnant.
Neither sound nor thoughts can travel through a vacuum.
Software rots if not used.

These are great mysteries.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Does a good farmer neglect a crop he has planted?
Does a good teacher overlook even the most humble student?
Does a good father allow a single child to starve?
Does a good programmer refuse to maintain his code?
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Grand Master Turing once dreamed that he was a machine.  When he awoke
he exclaimed:
        "I don't know whether I am Turing dreaming that I am a machine,
        or a machine dreaming that I am Turing!"
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        Hardware met Software on the road to Changtse.  Software said: "You
are the Yin and I am the Yang.  If we travel together we will become famous
and earn vast sums of money."  And so the pair set forth together, thinking
to conquer the world.
        Presently, they met Firmware, who was dressed in tattered rags, and
hobbled along propped on a thorny stick.  Firmware said to them: "The Tao
lies beyond Yin and Yang.  It is silent and still as a pool of water.  It does
not seek fame, therefore nobody knows its presence.  It does not seeks fortune,
for it is complete within itself.  It exists beyond space and time."
        Software and Hardware, ashamed, returned to their homes.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        If the Tao is great, then the operating system is great.  If the
operating system is great, then the compiler is great.  If the compiler
is great, then the application is great.  If the application is great, then
the user is pleased and there is harmony in the world.
        The Tao gave birth to machine language.  Machine language gave birth
to the assembler.
        The assembler gave birth to the compiler.  Now there are ten thousand
        Each language has its purpose, however humble.  Each language
expresses the Yin and Yang of software.  Each language has its place within
the Tao.
        But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on
... the overriding problem of war and peace.
                -- James Slagle
        In the beginning was the Tao.  The Tao gave birth to Space and Time.
Therefore, Space and Time are the Yin and Yang of programming.

        Programmers that do not comprehend the Tao are always running out of
time and space for their programs.  Programmers that comprehend the Tao always
have enough time and space to accomplish their goals.
        How could it be otherwise?
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        In the east there is a shark which is larger than all other fish.  It
changes into a bird whose winds are like clouds filling the sky.  When this
bird moves across the land, it brings a message from Corporate Headquarters.
This message it drops into the midst of the programmers, like a seagull
making its mark upon the beach.  Then the bird mounts on the wind and, with
the blue sky at its back, returns home.
        The novice programmer stares in wonder at the bird, for he understands
it not.  The average programmer dreads the coming of the bird, for he fears
its message.  The master programmer continues to work at his terminal, for he
does not know that the bird has come and gone.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        Price Wang's programmer was coding software.  His fingers danced upon
the keyboard.  The program compiled without an error message, and the program
ran like a gentle wind.
        Excellent!" the Price exclaimed, "Your technique is faultless!"
        "Technique?" said the programmer, turning from his terminal, "What I
follow is the Tao -- beyond all technique.  When I first began to program I
would see before me the whole program in one mass.  After three years I no
longer saw this mass.  Instead, I used subroutines.  But now I see nothing.
My whole being exists in a formless void.  My senses are idle.  My spirit,
free to work without a plan, follows its own instinct.  In short, my program
writes itself.  True, sometimes there are difficult problems.  I see them
coming, I slow down, I watch silently.  Then I change a single line of code
and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke.  I then compile the
program.  I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being.  I close my
eyes for a moment and then log off."
        Price Wang said, "Would that all of my programmers were as wise!"
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        Something mysterious is formed, born in the silent void.  Waiting
alone and unmoving, it is at once still and yet in constant motion.  It is
the source of all programs.  I do not know its name, so I will call it the
Tao of Programming.
        If the Tao is great, then the operating system is great.  If the
operating system is great, then the compiler is great.  If the compiler is
greater, then the applications is great.  The user is pleased and there is
harmony in the world.
        The Tao of Programming flows far away and returns on the wind of
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        The Magician of the Ivory Tower brought his latest invention for the
master programmer to examine.  The magician wheeled a large black box into the
master's office while the master waited in silence.
        "This is an integrated, distributed, general-purpose workstation,"
began the magician, "ergonomically designed with a proprietary operating
system, sixth generation languages, and multiple state of the art user
interfaces.  It took my assistants several hundred man years to construct.
Is it not amazing?"
        The master raised his eyebrows slightly. "It is indeed amazing," he
        "Corporate Headquarters has commanded," continued the magician, "that
everyone use this workstation as a platform for new programs.  Do you agree
to this?"
        "Certainly," replied the master, "I will have it transported to the
data center immediately!"  And the magician returned to his tower, well
        Several days later, a novice wandered into the office of the master
programmer and said, "I cannot find the listing for my new program.  Do
you know where it might be?"
        "Yes," replied the master, "the listings are stacked on the platform
in the data center."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        The master programmer moves from program to program without fear.  No
change in management can harm him.  He will not be fired, even if the project
is canceled. Why is this?  He is filled with the Tao.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
The net is like a vast sea of lutefisk with tiny dinosaur brains embedded
in it here and there. Any given spoonful will likely have an IQ of 1, but
occasional spoonfuls may have an IQ more than six times that!
        -- James 'Kibo' Parry
The personal computer market is about the same size as the total potato chip
market.  Next year it will be about half the size of the pet food market and
is fast approaching the total worldwide sales of pantyhose"
                -- James Finke, Commodore Int'l Ltd., 1982
        The programmers of old were mysterious and profound.  We cannot fathom
their thoughts, so all we do is describe their appearance.
        Aware, like a fox crossing the water.  Alert, like a general on the
battlefield.  Kind, like a hostess greeting her guests. Simple, like uncarved
blocks of wood.  Opaque, like black pools in darkened caves.
        Who can tell the secrets of their hearts and minds?
        The answer exists only in the Tao.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        The wise programmer is told about the Tao and follows it.  The average
programmer is told about the Tao and searches for it.  The foolish programmer
is told about the Tao and laughs at it.  If it were not for laughter, there
would be no Tao.
        The highest sounds are the hardest to hear.  Going forward is a way to
retreat.  Greater talent shows itself late in life.  Even a perfect program
still has bugs.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There once was a man who went to a computer trade show.  Each day as
he entered, the man told the guard at the door:
        "I am a great thief, renowned for my feats of shoplifting.  Be
forewarned, for this trade show shall not escape unplundered."
        This speech disturbed the guard greatly, because there were millions
of dollars of computer equipment inside, so he watched the man carefully.
But the man merely wandered from booth to booth, humming quietly to himself.
        When the man left, the guard took him aside and searched his clothes,
but nothing was to be found.
        On the next day of the trade show, the man returned and chided the
guard saying: "I escaped with a vast booty yesterday, but today will be even
better."  So the guard watched him ever more closely, but to no avail.
        On the final day of the trade show, the guard could restrain his
curiosity no longer. "Sir Thief," he said, "I am so perplexed, I cannot live
in peace.  Please enlighten me.  What is it that you are stealing?"
        The man smiled.  "I am stealing ideas," he said.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There once was a master programmer who wrote unstructured programs.
A novice programmer, seeking to imitate him, also began to write unstructured
programs.  When the novice asked the master to evaluate his progress, the
master criticized him for writing unstructured programs, saying: "What is
appropriate for the master is not appropriate for the novice.  You must
understand the Tao before transcending structure."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There was once a programmer who was attached to the court of the
warlord of Wu.  The warlord asked the programmer: "Which is easier to design:
an accounting package or an operating system?"
        "An operating system," replied the programmer.
        The warlord uttered an exclamation of disbelief.  "Surely an
accounting package is trivial next to the complexity of an operating
system," he said.
        "Not so," said the programmer, "when designing an accounting package,
the programmer operates as a mediator between people having different ideas:
how it must operate, how its reports must appear, and how it must conform to
the tax laws.  By contrast, an operating system is not limited my outside
appearances.  When designing an operating system, the programmer seeks the
simplest harmony between machine and ideas.  This is why an operating system
is easier to design."
        The warlord of Wu nodded and smiled.  "That is all good and well, but
which is easier to debug?"
        The programmer made no reply.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        There was once a programmer who worked upon microprocessors.  "Look at
how well off I am here," he said to a mainframe programmer who came to visit,
"I have my own operating system and file storage device.  I do not have to
share my resources with anyone.  The software is self-consistent and
easy-to-use.  Why do you not quit your present job and join me here?"
        The mainframe programmer then began to describe his system to his
friend, saying: "The mainframe sits like an ancient sage meditating in the
midst of the data center.  Its disk drives lie end-to-end like a great ocean
of machinery.  The software is a multi-faceted as a diamond and as convoluted
as a primeval jungle.  The programs, each unique, move through the system
like a swift-flowing river.  That is why I am happy where I am."
        The microcomputer programmer, upon hearing this, fell silent.  But the
two programmers remained friends until the end of their days.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "A well-written program is its own heaven; a poorly-written program
is its own hell."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "Let the programmers be many and the managers few -- then all will
        be productive."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to
        be maintained."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "Time for you to leave."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "When you have learned to snatch the error code from
        the trap frame, it will be time for you to leave."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "Without the wind, the grass does not move.  Without software,
        hardware is useless."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Thus spake the master programmer:
        "You can demonstrate a program for a corporate executive, but you
        can't make him computer literate."
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
        When managers hold endless meetings, the programmers write games.
When accountants talk of quarterly profits, the development budget is about
to be cut.  When senior scientists talk blue sky, the clouds are about to
roll in.
        Truly, this is not the Tao of Programming.
        When managers make commitments, game programs are ignored.  When
accountants make long-range plans, harmony and order are about to be restored.
When senior scientists address the problems at hand, the problems will soon
be solved.
        Truly, this is the Tao of Programming.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
Why are programmers non-productive?
Because their time is wasted in meetings.

Why are programmers rebellious?
Because the management interferes too much.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one?
Because they are burnt out.

Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
                -- "The Last Coin", James P. Blaylock
When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn't find
anyone.  Eventually I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains,
two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge.  Never in the
history of war have so few been led by so many.
- General James Gavin
Don't tell me how hard you work.  Tell me how much you get done.
-- James J. Ling
Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy
based on excellence of performance.  -- James Bryant Conant
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate
knowledge of its ugly side.  -- James Baldwin
To date, the firm conclusions of Project Blue Book are:
   1. no unidentified flying object reported, investigated and evaluated
      by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our
      national security;
   2. there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air
      Force that sightings categorized as UNIDENTIFIED represent
      technological developments or principles beyond the range of
      present-day scientific knowledge; and
   3. there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized
      as UNIDENTIFIED are extraterrestrial vehicles.
- the summary of Project Blue Book, an Air Force study of UFOs from 1950
  to 1965, as quoted by James Randi in Flim-Flam!
Wish and hope succeed in discerning signs of paranormality where reason and
careful scientific procedure fail.
- James E. Alcock, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging
their prejudices."
-- William James
"We don't have to protect the environment -- the Second Coming is at hand."
-- James Watt
"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!"
-- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_
The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm than I think it
should have done.  Calculate that one rebellion in 13 states in the course
of 11 years, is but one for each state in a century and a half.  No country
should be so long without one.
-- Thomas Jefferson in letter to James Madison, 20 December 1787
Astrology is the sheerest hokum.  This pseudoscience has been around since
the day of the Chaldeans and Babylonians.  It is as phony as numerology,
phrenology, palmistry, alchemy, the reading of tea leaves, and the practice
of divination by the entrails of a goat.  No serious person will buy the
notion that our lives are influenced individually by the movement of
distant planets.  This is the sawdust blarney of the carnival midway.
-- James J. Kilpatrick, Universal Press Syndicate
My own life has been spent chronicling the rise and fall of human systems,
and I am convinced that we are terribly vulnerable.  ...  We should be
reluctant to turn back upon the frontier of this epoch. Space is indifferent
to what we do; it has no feeling, no design, no interest in whether or not
we grapple with it. But we cannot be indifferent to space, because the grand,
slow march of intelligence has brought us, in our generation, to a point
from which we can explore and understand and utilize it. To turn back now
would be to deny our history, our capabilities.
                -- James A. Michener
The Least Successful Executions
        History has furnished us with two executioners worthy of attention.
The first performed in Sydney in Australia.  In 1803 three attempts were
made to hang a Mr. Joseph Samuels.  On the first two of these the rope
snapped, while on the third Mr. Samuels just hung there peacefully until he
and everyone else got bored.  Since he had proved unsusceptible to capital
punishment, he was reprieved.
        The most important British executioner was Mr. James Berry who
tried three times in 1885 to hang Mr. John Lee at Exeter Jail, but on each
occasion failed to get the trap door open.
        In recognition of this achievement, the Home Secretary commuted
Lee's sentence to "life" imprisonment.  He was released in 1917, emigrated
to America and lived until 1933.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
There is perhaps in every thing of any consequence, secret history, which
it would be amusing to know, could we have it authentically communicated.
                -- James Boswell
When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn't find
anyone.  Eventually I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains,
two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge.  Never in the
history of war have so few been led by so many.
                -- General James Gavin
I do not patronize poor, ill educated, or disenfranchised people by
exempting them from the same critical examination I feel free to
direct toward the rest of society, however much I might champion the
same minority or disadvantaged group in the forums of that society.
                -- James Moffitt
aphorism, n.:
        A concise, clever statement.
afterism, n.:
        A concise, clever statement you don't think of until too late.
                -- James Alexander Thom
It was one of those perfect summer days -- the sun was shining, a breeze
was blowing, the birds were singing, and the lawn mower was broken ...
                --- James Dent
Progress was all right.  Only it went on too long.
                -- James Thurber
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely
rearranging their prejudices.
                -- William James
It has been said [by Anatole 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
Never have so many understood so little about so much.
                -- James Burke
The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest
about it.
                -- James Agate, British film and drama critic
All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to
Gaussian noise.
                -- James Martin
An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because
people refuse to see it.
                -- James Michener, "Space"
Mathematicians often resort to something called Hilbert space, which is
described as being n-dimensional.  Like modern sex, any number can play.
                -- Dr. Thor Wald, "Beep/The Quincunx of Time", by James Blish
"Multiply in your head" (ordered the compassionate Dr. Adams) "365,365,365,
365,365,365 by 365,365,365,365,365,365".  He [ten-year-old Truman Henry
Safford] flew around the room like a top, pulled his pantaloons over the
tops of his boots, bit his hands, rolled his eyes in their sockets, sometimes
smiling and talking, and then seeming to be in an agony, until, in not more
than one minute, said he, 133,491,850,208,566,925,016,658,299,941,583,225!"
An electronic computer might do the job a little faster but it wouldn't be
as much fun to watch.
                -- James R. Newman, "The World of Mathematics"
        "Reintegration complete," ZORAC advised.  "We're back in the
universe again..."  An unusually long pause followed, "...but I don't
know which part.  We seem to have changed our position in space."  A
spherical display in the middle of the floor illuminated to show the
starfield surrounding the ship.
        "Several large, artificial constructions are approaching us,"
ZORAC announced after a short pause.  "The designs are not familiar, but
they are obviously the products of intelligence.  Implications: we have
been intercepted deliberately by a means unknown, for a purpose unknown,
and transferred to a place unknown by a form of intelligence unknown.
Apart from the unknowns, everything is obvious."
                -- James P. Hogan, "Giants Star"
The solution of problems is the most characteristic and peculiar sort
of voluntary thinking.
                -- William James
A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart that looks at her watch.
                -- James Beard
Life is like an onion: you peel off layer after layer and then you find
there is nothing in it.
                -- James Huneker
Seeing is deceiving.  It's eating that's believing.
                -- James Thurber
A man of genius makes no mistakes.
His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
                -- James Joyce, "Ulysses"
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"  The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay not so,"
Replied the angel.  Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."
The angel wrote, and vanished.  The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo!  Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
                -- James Henry Leigh Hunt, "Abou Ben Adhem"
Come, muse, let us sing of rats!
                -- From a poem by James Grainger, 1721-1767
I lay my head on the railroad tracks,
Waitin' for the double E.
The railroad don't run no more.
Poor poor pitiful me.                        [chorus]
        Poor poor pitiful me, poor poor pitiful me.
        These young girls won't let me be,
        Lord have mercy on me!
        Woe is me!

Well, I met a girl, West Hollywood,
Well, I ain't naming names.
But she really worked me over good,
She was just like Jesse James.
She really worked me over good,
She was a credit to her gender.
She put me through some changes, boy,
Sort of like a Waring blender.                [chorus]

I met a girl at the Rainbow Bar,
She asked me if I'd beat her.
She took me back to the Hyatt House,
I don't want to talk about it.                [chorus]
                -- Warren Zevon, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me"
Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone,
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you,
I went out this morning and I wrote down this song,
Just can't remember who to send it to...

Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain,
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end,
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I'd see you again.
Thought I'd see you one more time again.
                -- James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has bought us.
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
                -- James Weldon Johnson
The net of law is spread so wide,
No sinner from its sweep may hide.
Its meshes are so fine and strong,
They take in every child of wrong.
O wondrous web of mystery!
Big fish alone escape from thee!
                -- James Jeffrey Roche
                The Worst Lines of Verse
For a start, we can rule out James Grainger's promising line:
        "Come, muse, let us sing of rats."
Grainger (1721-67) did not have the courage of his convictions and deleted
these words on discovering that his listeners dissolved into spontaneous
laughter the instant they were read out.
        No such reluctance afflicted Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-70) who was
inspired by the subject of war.
        "Flash! flash! bang! bang! and we blazed away,
        And the grey roof reddened and rang;
        Flash! flash! and I felt his bullet flay
        The tip of my ear.  Flash! bang!"
By contrast, Cheshire cheese provoked John Armstrong (1709-79):
        "... that which Cestria sends, tenacious paste of solid milk..."
While John Bidlake was guided by a compassion for vegetables:
        "The sluggard carrot sleeps his day in bed,
        The crippled pea alone that cannot stand."
George Crabbe (1754-1832) wrote:
        "And I was ask'd and authorized to go
        To seek the firm of Clutterbuck and Co."
William Balmford explored the possibilities of religious verse:
        "So 'tis with Christians, Nature being weak
        While in this world, are liable to leak."
And William Wordsworth showed that he could do it if he really tried when
describing a pond:
        "I've measured it from side to side;
        Tis three feet long and two feet wide."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
Space: the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life
and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.
                -- Captain James T. Kirk
A large spider in an old house built a beautiful web in which to catch flies.
Every time a fly landed on the web and was entangled in it the spider devoured
him, so that when another fly came along he would think the web was a safe and
quiet place in which to rest.  One day a fairly intelligent fly buzzed around
above the web so long without lighting that the spider appeared and said,
"Come on down."  But the fly was too clever for him and said, "I never light
where I don't see other flies and I don't see any other flies in your house."
So he flew away until he came to a place where there were a great many other
flies.  He was about to settle down among them when a bee buzzed up and said,
"Hold it, stupid, that's flypaper.  All those flies are trapped."  "Don't be
silly," said the fly, "they're dancing."  So he settled down and became stuck
to the flypaper with all the other flies.

Moral:  There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.
                -- James Thurber, "The Fairly Intelligent Fly"
New Crime Identified: "Tech Rage"

HARRISBURG, IL -- The police department in this Illinois town has coined a
new term for a growing trend in crime: "tech rage". Tech rage shares many
similarities with another modern crime, "road rage", but instead of
affecting drivers, tech rage is experienced by disgruntled computer users.

The first documented case of tech rage involves a Microsoft salesman, Bob
Glutzfield, who convinced the local TV station to "upgrade" its computer
systems from Macintosh to Wintel.  While the migration seemed successful at
first, the Blue Screen became more prevalent during the following months.

Then, in January, the entire computer system crashed in the middle of the
weather forecast during the 10 o'clock evening news. Viewers could plainly
see the Blue Screen of Death showing in the monitors behind James Roland,
the chief meteorologist. The instability of Windows 98 stretched Roland's
patience until he snapped last week and succumbed to tech rage.

Roland tracked down the Microsoft salesman and followed him one evening to
his apartment.  The weatherman yelled at the bewildered Microserf, "You
[expletive]! Because of you, I'm the [expletive] laughing stock of Southern
Illinois!" and then proceeded to beat him up.  Roland is currently out on
bond pending trial next month.
A man of genius makes no mistakes.
His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
                -- James Joyce, "Ulysses"
Be careful what you set your heart on -- for it will surely be yours.
                -- James Baldwin, "Nobody Knows My Name"
Blessed are they that have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded
to say it.
                -- James Russell Lowell
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at
different speeds.  A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
                -- Clive James
"I don't understand," said the scientist, "why you lemmings all rush down
to the sea and drown yourselves."

"How curious," said the lemming. "The one thing I don't understand is why
you human beings don't."
                -- James Thurber
I have made mistakes but I have never made the mistake of claiming
that I have never made one.
                -- James Gordon Bennett
Let the meek inherit the earth -- they have it coming to them.
                -- James Thurber
Well, I'm disenchanted too.  We're all disenchanted.
                -- James Thurber
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: that you are dreadfully like
other people.
                -- James Russell Lowell, "My Study Windows"
If a man slept by day, he had little time to work.  That was a
satisfying notion to Escargot.
                -- "The Stone Giant", James P. Blaylock
He liked fishing a little too much, and he believed that work was
something a man did when he had to.  He had always been able to get
along well enough without it, especially for the last couple of
                -- "The Stone Giant", James P. Blaylock
"Innovation, innovate, and the concept of doing what everyone else did 20
years ago are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Other
buzzwords, euphemisms, and blatant lies are trademarks of their respective

        - James Simmons
James Simmons wrote:
> Crap can work. Given enough thrust pigs will fly, but it's not necessary a
> good idea.                                 [ Alexander Viro on linux-kernel ]

Watch the attributions.

With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.
However, this is not necessarily a good idea.
It is hard to be sure where they are going to land,
and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.
        From RFC1925, R Callon, 1996.

        - Al Viro on linux-kernel
* james would be more impressed if netgod's magic powers could stop the
  splits in the first place...
* netgod notes debian developers are notoriously hard to impress
<james> abuse me.  I'm so lame I sent a bug report to
<Knghtbrd> xtifr - beware of james when he's off his medication  =>
* wichert_ imagines master without a MTA
<james> wichert: ehm?  that might hinder peformance of the BTS :p
<rain_work> note on a dorm fridge ... "To the person who ate the contents
            of the container labeled 'James' - warning, it was my biology
<james> but, then I used an Atari, I was more likely to win the lottery in
        ten countries simultaneously than get accelerated X
* joeyh wonders why everyone wants to know how tall he is
<james> joeyh: it helps the sniper
<james> any gnome freaks around?
<Knghtbrd> not me, I'm just a freak
Caveats: it's GNOME, be afraid, be very afraid of the Depends line
        -- James Troup
<jt> should a bug be marked critical if it only affects one arch?
<james-workaway> jt: rc for that arch maybe, but those kind of arch
                 specific bugs are rare...
<jt> not when it's caused by a bug in gcc
<doogie> jt: get gcc removed from that arch. :)
Every man who has reached even his intellectual teens begins to suspect
that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers
and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths of the
essential death in which its subject's roots are plunged.  The natural
inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued
forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters.
                -- Henry James Sr., writing to his sons Henry and William
It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live
at all.  And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result
is the only thing that makes the result come true.
                -- William James
Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around us in awareness.
                -- James Thurber
Yet creeds mean very little, Coth answered the dark god, still speaking
almost gently.  The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
                -- James Cabell, "The Silver Stallion"
> What does ELF stand for (in respect to Linux?)
ELF is the first rock group that Ronnie James Dio performed with back in
the early 1970's.  In constrast, a.out is a misspelling         of the French word
for the month of August.  What the two have in common is beyond me, but
Linux users seem to use the two words together.
        -- seen on c.o.l.misc
Do people like check the Debian website every 5 minutes to check it hasn't morphed into another one?
Not that I'm one to talk, but some people seriously need to get a life
        -- james on #Debian
* james would be more impressed if netgod's magic powers could stop the splits in the first place...
* netgod notes debian developers are notoriously hard to impress
        -- Seen on #Debian
<james> abuse me.  I'm so lame I sent a bug report to debian-devel-changes
        -- Seen on #Debian
baz bat bamus batis bant.
        -- James Troup
You will not censor me through bug terrorism.
        -- James Troup
<james> Are we going to make an emacs out of apt?
        APT - Debian in a program.  It even does your laundry
        -- Seen on #Debian
Charles Briscoe-Smith <>:
  After all, the gzip package is called `gzip', not `libz-bin'...

James Troup <>:
  Uh, probably because the gzip binary doesn't come from the
  non-existent libz package or the existent zlib package.
        -- debian-bugs-dist
Credit ... is the only enduring testimonial to man's confidence in man.
                -- James Blish
Don't tell me how hard you work.  Tell me how much you get done.
                -- James J. Ling
Let me assure you that to us here at First National, you're not just a
number.  Youre two numbers, a dash, three more numbers, another dash and
another number.
                -- James Estes
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate
knowledge of its ugly side.
                -- James Baldwin
Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity.  They seem
more afraid of life than death.
                -- James F. Byrnes
When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder.
                -- James H. Boren
Love is what you've been through with somebody.
                -- James Thurber
I got the bill for my surgery.  Now I know what those doctors were
wearing masks for.
                -- James Boren
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2021
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