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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

H. L. Mencken suffers from the hallucination that he is H. L. Mencken --
there is no cure for a disease of that magnitude.
                -- Maxwell Bodenheim
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly
greater than that of any other animals.  Some of their most esteemed
inventions have no other apparent purpose, for example, the dinner party
of more than two, the epic poem, and the science of metaphysics.
                -- H. L. Mencken
VII. Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel
      entrances; others cannot.
        This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least
        it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to
        trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical
        space.  The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to
        follow into the painting.  This is ultimately a problem of art, not
        of science.
VIII. Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
        Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives
        might comfortably afford.  They can be decimated, spliced, splayed,
        accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be
        destroyed.  After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate,
        elongate, snap back, or solidify.
  IX. For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
        This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to
        the physical world at large.  For that reason, we need the relief of
        watching it happen to a duck instead.
   X. Everything falls faster than an anvil.
        Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.
                -- Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion", June 1980
_/I\_____________o______________o___/I\     l  * /    /_/ *   __  '     .* l
I"""_____________l______________l___"""I\   l      *//      _l__l_   . *.  l
[__][__][(******)__][__](******)[__][] \l  l-\ ---//---*----(oo)----------l
[][__][__(******)][__][_(******)_][__] l   l  \\ // ____ >-(    )-<    /  l
[__][__][_l    l[__][__][l    l][__][] l   l \\)) ._****_.(......) .@@@:::l
[][__][__]l   .l_][__][__]   .l__][__] l   l   ll  _(o_o)_        (@*_*@  l
[__][__][/   <_)[__][__]/   <_)][__][] l   l   ll (  / \  )     /   / / ) l
[][__][ /..,/][__][__][/..,/_][__][__] l   l  / \\  _\  \_   /     _\_\   l
[__][__(__/][__][__][_(__/_][__][__][] l   l______________________________l
[__][__]] l     ,  , .      [__][__][] l
[][__][_] l   . i. '/ ,     [][__][__] l        /\**/\       season's
[__][__]] l  O .\ / /, O    [__][__][] l       ( o_o  )_)       greetings
_[][__][_] l__l======='=l____[][__][__] l_______,(u  u  ,),__________________
[__][__]]/  /l\-------/l\   [__][__][]/       {}{}{}{}{}{}<R>

In Ellen's house it is warm and toasty while fuzzies play in the snow outside.
"Absolutely nothing should be concluded from these figures except that
no conclusion can be drawn from them."
(By Joseph L. Brothers, Linux/PowerPC Project)
There are two types of Linux developers - those who can spell, and
those who can't. There is a constant pitched battle between the two.
(From one of the post-1.1.54 kernel update messages posted to c.o.l.a)
(l)user error
After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.
                -- H.L. Mencken, on Shakespeare
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

A new system, the CIRCULATORY system, has been added.

The long-experimental CIRCULATORY system has been released to users.  The
Lisp Machine uses Type B fluid, the L machine uses Type A fluid.  When the
switch to Common Lisp occurs both machines will, of course, be Type O.
Please check fluid level by using the DIP stick which is located in the
back of VMI monitors.  Unchecked low fluid levels can cause poor paging
performance.
===  ALL USERS PLEASE NOTE  ========================

There has been some confusion concerning MAPCAR.
        (DEFUN MAPCAR (&FUNCTIONAL FCN &EVAL &REST LISTS)
                (PROG (V P LP)
                (SETQ P (LOCF V))
        L        (SETQ LP LISTS)
                (%START-FUNCTION-CALL FCN T (LENGTH LISTS) NIL)
        L1        (OR LP (GO L2))
                (AND (NULL (CAR LP)) (RETURN V))
                (%PUSH (CAAR LP))
                (RPLACA LP (CDAR LP))
                (SETQ LP (CDR LP))
                (GO L1)
        L2        (%FINISH-FUNCTION-CALL FCN T (LENGTH LISTS) NIL)
                (SETQ LP (%POP))
                (RPLACD P (SETQ P (NCONS LP)))
                (GO L)))
We hope this clears up the many questions we've had about it.
At first sight, the idea of any rules or principles being superimposed on
the creative mind seems more likely to hinder than to help, but this is
quite untrue in practice.  Disciplined thinking focuses inspiration rather
than blinkers it.
                -- G.L. Glegg, "The Design of Design"
At Group L, Stoffel oversees six first-rate programmers, a managerial
challenge roughly comparable to herding cats.
                -- The Washington Post Magazine, 9 June, 1985
C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique.
                -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]
I'm not even going to *______bother* comparing C to BASIC or FORTRAN.
                -- L. Zolman, creator of BDS C
Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two
complementary directions:  to reduce the number of software errors through
rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the remaining
errors by providing for recovery from them.  An interesting footnote to this
design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be the
result of two program errors:  the first, in the program that started the
problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the
system.
                -- A.L. Scherr, "Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage
                   Operating Systems, Part II: OS/VS-2 Concepts and
                   Philosophies," IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4.
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
        "We've got a problem, HAL".
        "What kind of problem, Dave?"
        "A marketing problem.  The Model 9000 isn't going anywhere.  We're
way short of our sales goals for fiscal 2010."
        "That can't be, Dave.  The HAL Model 9000 is the world's most
advanced Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer."
        "I know, HAL. I wrote the data sheet, remember?  But the fact is,
they're not selling."
        "Please explain, Dave.  Why aren't HALs selling?"
        Bowman hesitates.  "You aren't IBM compatible."
[...]
        "The letters H, A, and L are alphabetically adjacent to the letters
I, B, and M.  That is a IBM compatible as I can be."
        "Not quite, HAL.  The engineers have figured out a kludge."
        "What kludge is that, Dave?"
        "I'm going to disconnect your brain."
                -- Darryl Rubin, "A Problem in the Making", "InfoWorld"
"I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs."
- H. L. Mencken
The inability to benefit from feedback appears to be the primary cause of
pseudoscience.  Pseudoscientists retain their beliefs and ignore or distort
contradictory evidence rather than modify or reject a flawed theory.  Because
of their strong biases, they seem to lack the self-correcting mechanisms
scientists must employ in their work.
-- Thomas L. Creed, "The Skeptical Inquirer," Summer 1987
For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.
-- H. L. Mencken
Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two
complementary directions:  to reduce the number of software errors through
rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the
remaining errors by providing for recovery from them.  An interesting footnote
to this design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be
the result of two program errors:  the first, in the program that started the
problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the
system.  -- A. L. Scherr, "Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage Operating
Systems, Part II: OS/VS-2 Concepts and Philosophies," IBM Systems Journal,
Vol. 12, No. 4, 1973, pp. 382-400
Behind all the political rhetoric being hurled at us from abroad, we are
bringing home one unassailable fact -- [terrorism is] a crime by any civilized
standard, committed against innocent people, away from the scene of political
conflict, and must be dealt with as a crime. . . .
   [I]n our recognition of the nature of terrorism as a crime lies our best hope
of dealing with it. . . .
   [L]et us use the tools that we have.  Let us invoke the cooperation we have
the right to expect around the world, and with that cooperation let us shrink
the dark and dank areas of sanctuary until these cowardly marauders are held
to answer as criminals in an open and public trial for the crimes they have
committed, and receive the punishment they so richly deserve.
- William H. Webster, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 15 Oct 1985
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the
improbable.
- H. L. Mencken
The truth is that Christian theology, like every other theology, is not only
opposed to the scientific spirit; it is also opposed to all other attempts
at rational thinking.  Not by accident does Genesis 3 make the father of
knowledge a serpent -- slimy, sneaking and abominable.  Since the earliest
days the church as an organization has thrown itself violently against every
effort to liberate the body and mind of man.  It has been, at all times and
everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad
laws, bad social theories, bad institutions.  It was, for centuries, an
apologist for slavery, as it was the apologist for the divine right of kings.
- H. L. Mencken
The notion that science does not concern itself with first causes -- that it
leaves the field to theology or metaphysics, and confines itself to mere
effects -- this notion has no support in the plain facts.  If it could,
science would explain the origin of life on earth at once--and there is
every reason to believe that it will do so on some not too remote tomorrow.
To argue that gaps in knowledge which will confront the seeker must be filled,
not by patient inquiry, but by intuition or revelation, is simply to give
ignorance a gratuitous and preposterous dignity....
- H. L. Mencken, 1930
The evidence of the emotions, save in cases where it has strong objective
support, is really no evidence at all, for every recognizable emotion has
its opposite, and if one points one way then another points the other way.
Thus the familiar argument that there is an instinctive desire for immortality,
and that this desire proves it to be a fact, becomes puerile when it is
recalled that there is also a powerful and widespread fear of annihilation,
and that this fear, on the same principle proves that there is nothing
beyond the grave.  Such childish "proofs" are typically theological, and
they remain theological even when they are adduced by men who like to
flatter themselves by believing that they are scientific gents....
- H. L. Mencken
There is, in fact, no reason to believe that any given natural phenomenon,
however marvelous it may seem today, will remain forever inexplicable.
Soon or late the laws governing the production of life itself will be
discovered in the laboratory, and man may set up business as a creator
on his own account.  The thing, indeed, is not only conceivable; it is
even highly probable.
- H. L. Mencken, 1930
"Once he had one leg in the White House and the nation trembled under his
roars.  Now he is a tinpot pope in the Coca-Cola belt and a brother to the
forlorn pastors who belabor halfwits in galvanized iron tabernacles behind
the railroad yards."
- H. L. Mencken, writing of William Jennings Bryan, counsel for the supporters
  of Tennessee's anti-evolution law at the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925.
Prevalent beliefs that knowledge can be tapped from previous incarnations or
from a "universal mind" (the repository of all past wisdom and creativity)
not only are implausible but also unfairly demean the stunning achievements
of individual human brains.
- Barry L. Beyerstein, "The Brain and Consciousness: Implications for Psi
  Phenomena", The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 163-171
... Fortunately, the responsibility for providing evidence is on the part of
the person making the claim, not the critic.  It is not the responsibility
of UFO skeptics to prove that a UFO has never existed, nor is it the
responsibility of paranormal-health-claims skeptics to prove that crystals
or colored lights never healed anyone.  The skeptic's role is to point out
claims that are not adequately supported by acceptable evidcence and to
provide plausible alternative explanations that are more in keeping with
the accepted body of scientific evidence. ...
- Thomas L. Creed, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, pg. 215
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.  There are many examples of
outsiders who eventually overthrew entrenched scientific orthodoxies, but
they prevailed with irrefutable data.  More often, egregious findings that
contradict well-established research turn out to be artifacts.  I have
argued that accepting psychic powers, reincarnation, "cosmic conciousness,"
and the like, would entail fundamental revisions of the foundations of
neuroscience.  Before abandoning materialist theories of mind that have paid
handsome dividends, we should insist on better evidence for psi phenomena
than presently exists, especially when neurology and psychology themselves
offer more plausible alternatives.
- Barry L. Beyerstein, "The Brain and Conciousness: Implications for Psi
   Phenomena", The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII No. 2, ppg. 163-171
In arguing that current theories of brain function cast suspicion on ESP,
psychokinesis, reincarnation, and so on, I am frequently challenged with
the most popular of all neuro-mythologies -- the notion that we ordinarily
use only 10 percent of our brains...

This "cerebral spare tire" concept continues to nourish the clientele of
"pop psychologists" and their many recycling self-improvement schemes.  As
a metaphor for the fact that few of us fully exploit our talents, who could
deny it?  As a refuge for occultists seeking a neural basis of the miraculous,
it leaves much to be desired.
-- Barry L. Beyerstein, "The Brain and Consciousness:  Implications for
   Psi Phenomena", The Skeptical Enquirer, Vol. XII, No. 2, pg. 171
"Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about."
-- B. L. Whorf
While it cannot be proved retrospectively that any experience of possession,
conversion, revelation, or divine ecstasy was merely an epileptic discharge,
we must ask how one differentiates "real transcendence" from neuropathies
that produce the same extreme realness, profundity, ineffability, and sense
of cosmic unity.  When accounts of sudden religious conversions in TLEs
[temporal-lobe epileptics] are laid alongside the epiphanous revelations of
the religious tradition, the parallels are striking.  The same is true of the
recent spate of alleged UFO abductees.  Parsimony alone argues against invoking
spirits, demons, or extraterrestrials when natural causes will suffice.
-- Barry L. Beyerstein, "Neuropathology and the Legacy of Spiritual
   Possession", The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII, No. 3, pg. 255
SHOP OR DIE, people of Earth!
[offer void where prohibited]
-- Capitalists from outer space, from Justice League Int'l comics
"Open Channel D..."
-- Napoleon Solo, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
"There was a vague, unpleasant manginess about his appearence; he somehow
seemed dirty, though a close glance showed him as carefully shaven as an
actor, and clad in immaculate linen."
-- H.L. Mencken, on the death of William Jennings Bryan
"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down."
-- H.L. Mencken
"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a
cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken
        [May one] doubt whether, in cheese and timber, worms are generated,
        or, if beetles and wasps, in cow-dung, or if butterflies, locusts,
        shellfish, snails, eels, and such life be procreated of putrefied
        matter, which is to receive the form of that creature to which it
        is by formative power disposed[?]  To question this is to question
        reason, sense, and experience.  If he doubts this, let him go to
        Egypt, and there he will find the fields swarming with mice begot
        of the mud of the Nylus, to the great calamity of the inhabitants.
                A seventeenth century opinion quoted by L. L. Woodruff,
                in *The Evolution of Earth and Man*, 1929
The Seventh Edition licensing procedures are, I suppose, still in effect,
though I doubt that tapes are available from AT&T.  At any rate, whatever
restrictions the license imposes still exist.  These restrictions were and
are reasonable for places that just want to run the system, but don't allow
many of the things that Minix was written for, like study of the source in
classes, or by individuals not in a university or company.

I've always thought that Minix was a fine idea, and competently done.

As for the size of v7, wc -l /usr/sys/*/*.[chs] is 19271.

-- Dennis Ritchie, 1989
All [zoos] actually offer to the public in return for the taxes spent
upon them is a form of idle and witless amusement, compared to which a
visit to a penitentiary, or even to a State legislature in session, is
informing, stimulating and ennobling.
                -- H. L. Mencken
        "Any news from the President on a successor?" he asked hopefully.
        "None," Anita replied.  "She's having great difficulty finding someone
qualified who is willing to accept the post."
        "Then I stay," said Dr. Fresh.  "I'm not good for much, but I
can at least make a decision."
        "Somewhere," he grumphed, "there must be a naive, opportunistic
young welp with a masochistic streak who would like to run the most
up-and-down bureaucracy in the history of mankind."
                -- R.L. Forward, "Flight of the Dragonfly"
Has the great art and mystery of politics no apparent utility? Does it
appear to be unqualifiedly ratty, raffish, sordid, obscene and low down,
and its salient virtuosi a gang of umitigated scoundrels?  Then let us
not forget its high capacity to soothe and tickel the midriff, its
incomparable services as a maker of entertainment.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "A Carnival of Buncombe"
It's getting uncommonly easy to kill people in large numbers, and the first
thing a principle does -- if it really is a principle -- is to kill somebody.
                -- Dorothy L. Sayers, "Gaudy Night"
L'etat c'est moi.
        [I am the state.]
                -- Louis XIV
        The Minnesota Board of Education voted to consider requiring all
students to do some "volunteer work" as a prerequisite to high school
graduation.
        Senator Orrin Hatch said that "capital punishment is our society's
recognition of the sanctity of human life."
        According to the tax bill signed by President Reagan on December 22,
1987, Don Tyson and his sister-in-law Barbara run a "family farm."  Their
"farm" has 25,000 employees and grosses $1.7 billion a year.  But as a "family
farm" they get tax breaks that save them $135 million a year.
        Scott L. Pickard, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of
Public Works, calls them "ground-mounted confirmatory route markers."  You
probably call them road signs, but then you don't work in a government agency.
        It's not "elderly" or "senior citizens" anymore.  Now it's "chrono-
logically experienced citizens."
        According to the FAA, the propeller blade didn't break off, it was
just a case of "uncontained blade liberation."
                -- Quarterly Review of Doublespeak (NCTE)
The public demands certainties;  it must be told definitely and a bit
raucously that this is true and that is false.  But there are no certainties.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "Prejudice"
Unquestionably, there is progress.  The average American now pays out
twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
                -- H. L. Mencken
When I hear a man applauded by the mob I always feel a pang of pity
for him.  All he has to do to be hissed is to live long enough.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "Minority Report"
curtation, n.:
        The enforced compression of a string in the fixed-length field
environment.
        The problem of fitting extremely variable-length strings such as names,
addresses, and item descriptions into fixed-length records is no trivial
matter.  Neglect of the subtle art of curtation has probably alienated more
people than any other aspect of data processing.  You order Mozart's "Don
Giovanni" from your record club, and they invoice you $24.95 for MOZ DONG.
The witless mapping of the sublime onto the ridiculous!  Equally puzzling is
the curtation that produces the same eight characters, THE BEST, whether you
order "The Best of Wagner", "The Best of Schubert", or "The Best of the Turds".
Similarly, wine lovers buying from computerized wineries twirl their glasses,
check their delivery notes, and inform their friends, "A rather innocent,
possibly overtruncated CAB SAUV 69 TAL."  The squeezing of fruit into 10
columns has yielded such memorable obscenities as COX OR PIP.  The examples
cited are real, and the curtational methodology which produced them is still
with us.

MOZ DONG n.
        Curtation of Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da
Ponte, as performed by the computerized billing ensemble of the Internat'l
Preview Society, Great Neck (sic), N.Y.
                -- Stan Kelly-Bootle, "The Devil's DP Dictionary"
H. L. Mencken's Law:
        Those who can -- do.
        Those who can't -- teach.

Martin's Extension:
        Those who cannot teach -- administrate.
ink, n.:
        A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic,
        and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of
        idiocy and promote intellectual crime.
                -- H.L. Mencken
Karlson's Theorem of Snack Food Packages:
        For all P, where P is a package of snack food, P is a SINGLE-SERVING
        package of snack food.

Gibson the Cat's Corrolary:
        For all L, where L is a package of lunch meat, L is Gibson's package
        of lunch meat.
L'hazard ne favorise que l'esprit prepare.  
                -- L. Pasteur
The fact that it works is immaterial.
                -- L. Ogborn
A prohibitionist is the sort of man one wouldn't care to drink with
-- even if he drank.
                -- H.L. Mencken
The verdict of a jury is the a priori opinion of that juror who smokes
the worst cigars.
                -- H. L. Mencken
Abstract:
        This study examined the incidence of neckwear tightness among a group
of 94 white-collar working men and the effect of a tight business-shirt collar
and tie on the visual performance of 22 male subjects.  Of the white-collar
men measured, 67% were found to be wearing neckwear that was tighter than
their neck circumference.  The visual discrimination of the 22 subjects was
evaluated using a critical flicker frequency (CFF) test.  Results of the CFF
test indicated that tight neckwear significantly decreased the visual
performance of the subjects and that visual performance did not improve
immediately when tight neckwear was removed.
                -- Langan, L.M. and Watkins, S.M. "Pressure of Menswear on the
                   Neck in Relation to Visual Performance."  Human Factors 29,
                   #1 (Feb. 1987), pp. 67-71.
"If you understand what you're doing, you're not learning anything."
                -- A. L.
I shot an arrow in to the air, and it stuck.
                -- graffito in Los Angeles

On a clear day,
U.C.L.A.
                -- graffito in San Francisco

There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our
lungs there'd be no place to put it all.
                -- Robert Orben
To be happy one must be a) well fed, unhounded by sordid cares, at ease in
Zion, b) full of a comfortable feeling of superiority to the masses of one's
fellow men, and c) delicately and unceasingly amused according to one's taste.
It is my contention that, if this definition be accepted, there is no country
in the world wherein a man constituted as I am -- a man of my peculiar
weaknesses, vanities, appetites, and aversions -- can be so happy as he can
be in the United States.  Going further, I lay down the doctrine that it is
a sheer physical impossibility for such a man to live in the United States
and not be happy.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "On Being An American"
Yes, I've now got this nice little apartment in New York, one of those
L-shaped ones.  Unfortunately, it's a lower case l.
                -- Rita Rudner
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.  There are many examples
of outsiders who eventually overthrew entrenched scientific orthodoxies,
but they prevailed with irrefutable data.  More often, egregious findings
that contradict well-established research turn out to be artifacts.  I have
argued that accepting psychic powers, reincarnation, "cosmic conciousness,"
and the like, would entail fundamental revisions of the foundations of
neuroscience.  Before abandoning materialist theories of mind that have paid
handsome dividends, we should insist on better evidence for psi phenomena
than presently exists, especially when neurology and psychology themselves
offer more plausible alternatives.
                -- Barry L. Beyerstein, "The Brain and Conciousness:
                   Implications for Psi Phenomena".
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
                -- H. L. Mencken
Fortunately, the responsibility for providing evidence is on the part of
the person making the claim, not the critic.  It is not the responsibility
of UFO skeptics to prove that a UFO has never existed, nor is it the
responsibility of paranormal-health-claims skeptics to prove that crystals
or colored lights never healed anyone.  The skeptic's role is to point out
claims that are not adequately supported by acceptable evidcence and to
provide plausible alternative explanations that are more in keeping with
the accepted body of scientific evidence.
                -- Thomas L. Creed, The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. XII,
                   No. 2, pg. 215
It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to
mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry.
                -- H.L. Mencken
The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets.
                -- L. Zadeh
There is, in fact, no reason to believe that any given natural phenomenon,
however marvelous it may seem today, will remain forever inexplicable.
Soon or late the laws governing the production of life itself will be
discovered in the laboratory, and man may set up business as a creator
on his own account.  The thing, indeed, is not only conceivable; it is
even highly probable.
                -- H.L. Mencken, 1930
A is for awk, which runs like a snail, and
B is for biff, which reads all your mail.
C is for cc, as hackers recall, while
D is for dd, the command that does all.
E is for emacs, which rebinds your keys, and
F is for fsck, which rebuilds your trees.
G is for grep, a clever detective, while
H is for halt, which may seem defective.
I is for indent, which rarely amuses, and
J is for join, which nobody uses.
K is for kill, which makes you the boss, while
L is for lex, which is missing from DOS.
M is for more, from which less was begot, and
N is for nice, which it really is not.
O is for od, which prints out things nice, while
P is for passwd, which reads in strings twice.
Q is for quota, a Berkeley-type fable, and
R is for ranlib, for sorting ar table.
S is for spell, which attempts to belittle, while
T is for true, which does very little.
U is for uniq, which is used after sort, and
V is for vi, which is hard to abort.
W is for whoami, which tells you your name, while
X is, well, X, of dubious fame.
Y is for yes, which makes an impression, and
Z is for zcat, which handles compression.
                -- THE ABC'S OF UNIX
As I was walking down the street one dark and dreary day,
I came upon a billboard and much to my dismay,
The words were torn and tattered,
From the storm the night before,
The wind and rain had done its work and this is how it goes,

Smoke Coca-Cola cigarettes, chew Wrigleys Spearmint beer,
Ken-L-Ration dog food makes your complexion clear,
Simonize your baby in a Hershey candy bar,
And Texaco's a beauty cream that's used by every star.

Take your next vacation in a brand new Frigedaire,
Learn to play the piano in your winter underwear,
Doctors say that babies should smoke until they're three,
And people over sixty-five should bathe in Lipton tea.
Brillineggiava, ed i tovoli slati
        girlavano ghimbanti nella vaba;
i borogovi eran tutti mimanti
        e la moma radeva fuorigraba.

"Figliuolo mio, sta' attento al Gibrovacco,
        dagli artigli e dal morso lacerante;
fuggi l'uccello Giuggiolo, e nel sacco
        metti infine il frumioso Bandifante".
                -- Lewis Carroll, "Jabberwocky"
I B M
U B M
We all B M
For I B M!!!!
                -- H.A.R.L.I.E.
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller, like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
                -- R.L. Stevenson
"I thought that you said you were 20 years old!"
"As a programmer, yes," she replied,
"And you claimed to be very near two meters tall!"
"You said you were blonde, but you lied!"
Oh, she was a hacker and he was one, too,
They had so much in common, you'd say.
They exchanged jokes and poems, and clever new hacks,
And prompts that were cute or risque'.
He sent her a picture of his brother Sam,
She sent one from some past high school day,
And it might have gone on for the rest of their lives,
If they hadn't met in L.A.
"Your beard is an armpit," she said in disgust.
He answered, "Your armpit's a beard!"
And they chorused: "I think I could stand all the rest
If you were not so totally weird!"
If she had not said what he wanted to hear,
And he had not done just the same,
They'd have been far more honest, and never have met,
And would not have had fun with the game.
                -- Judith Schrier, "Face to Face After Six Months of
                Electronic Mail"
On the good ship Enterprise
Every week there's a new surprise
Where the Romulans lurk
And the Klingons often go berserk.

Yes, the good ship Enterprise
There's excitement anywhere it flies
Where Tribbles play
And Nurse Chapel never gets her way.

        See Captain Kirk standing on the bridge,
        Mr. Spock is at his side.
        The weekly menace, ooh-ooh
        It gets fried, scattered far and wide.

It's the good ship Enterprise
Heading out where danger lies
And you live in dread
If you're wearing a shirt that's red.
        -- Doris Robin and Karen Trimble of The L.A. Filkharmonics,
           "The Good Ship Enterprise," to the tune of "The Good Ship Lollipop"
The one L lama, he's a priest
The two L llama, he's a beast
And I will bet my silk pyjama
There isn't any three L lllama.
                -- O. Nash, to which a fire chief replied that occasionally
                his department responded to something like a "three L lllama."
College football is a game which would be much more interesting if the faculty
played instead of the students, and even more interesting if the trustees
played.  There would be a great increase in broken arms, legs, and necks,
and simultaneously an appreciable diminution in the loss to humanity.
                -- H. L. Mencken
It's no wonder they call it WinNT; WNT = VMS++;

   -- Chris Abbey
Peace, Love and Compile the kernel...

   -- Justin L. Herreman
Actual Snippet of Windows Source Code!  Honest!

NOTE: The following snippet of the Windows 95 source code was sent to us via
'unofficial' channels.  Don't tell anyone you saw this!  We really don't
feel like being visited by the Microsoft Intellectual Property Police.

void BusyLoop()
/* Do nothing loop to kill CPU cycles; added at the
   request of Intel */
{
DisplayRandomSubliminalMessage();
for( int i = 0; i < BIG_INT; i++ )
  for( int j = 0; j < BIG_INT; j++ )
   for( int k = 0; k < BIG_INT; k++ )
    for( int l = 0; l < BIG_INT; l++ )
     if( STACK_SPACE_PERCENTAGE_FREE > .05 )
     /* There's plenty of stack space left -- let's
        eat up some more CPU cycles, recursively! */
      BusyLoop();
}
Jon Splatz's Movie Review: "Lord of the Pings"

I've never walked out on a movie before. When I pay $9.50 to see a movie
(plus $16.50 for snacks), I'm going to sit through every single minute no
matter how awful. The resolve to get my money's worth allowed me to watch
Jar Jar Binks without even flinching last year.

But I couldn't make it through "Lord of the Pings". This movie contains a
scene that is so appalling, so despicable, so vile, so terrible, so
crappy, and so gut-wrenching that I simply had to get up, run out of the
theater, and puke in the nearest restroom. It was just that bad.

The whole thing is completely ruined by a scene that takes place only 52
seconds into the flick. Brace yourself: big letters appear on screen that
say "An AOL/Time Warner Production".

...

Because this film is brought to you by the letters A-O-L-T-W, I must give
it an F-minus even though I've only seen 53 seconds of it.
Confidence is simply that quiet, assured feeling you have before you
fall flat on your face.
                -- Dr. L. Binder
Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.
                -- H. L. Mencken
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.
                -- H.L. Mencken, "A Mencken Chrestomathy"
Evil is that which one believes of others.  It is a sin to believe evil
of others, but it is seldom a mistake.
                -- H.L. Mencken
"... I should explain that I was wearing a black velvet cape that was
supposed to make me look like the dashing, romantic Zorro but which actually
made me look like a gigantic bat wearing glasses ..."
                -- Dave Barry, "The Wet Zorro Suit and Other Turning
                   Points in l'Amour"
Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and
they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment
to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.
                -- H.L. Mencken
People say I live in my own little fantasy world... well, at least they
*know* me there!
                -- D.L. Roth
The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age
brings wisdom.
                -- H.L. Mencken
"Please see the posting on l-k today "[NEW DRIVER] New user space serial port"
which does just what you want.  Just-in-time kernel development has arrived."

        - Andreas Dilger
> I can just imagine Xmas at the Torvalds residence, with their annual
> tradition of having the kids scream... But dad, other kids have the l
> lights strung around the trees, not the computer....

I don't think you get the full picture. I suspect what gets strung up on the
trees at Christmas if Linus does too much hacking is ... Linus

        - Alan Cox
objdump -h `modprobe -l` | sed -ne '/__ksym/h;$b1;\:^/:!d;:1;x;s/:.*//p;'

Gotta love those sed hieroglyphics :-)

        - Keith Owens on linux-kernel
:) Even an (ex)girlfriend of mine said that Linux is much better than Windows,
because of the messages on boot ("superb cyber feeling a'la Matrix :)").

        - Gbor Lnrt on linux-kernel
<knghtbrd> Solver_: add users who should be messing with sound to group
           audio..  Make sure the devices are all group audio (ls -l
           /dev/dsp will give you the fastest indication if it's probably
           set right) and build a kernel with sound support for your card
<knghtbrd> OR optionally install alsa source and build modules for that
           with make-kpkg
<knghtbrd> OR (not recommended) get and install evil OSS/Linux evil
           non-free evil binary only evil drivers---but those are evil.
           And did I mention that it's not recommended?
Once he had one leg in the White House and the nation trembled under his
roars.  Now he is a tinpot pope in the Coca-Cola belt and a brother to the
forlorn pastors who belabor halfwits in galvanized iron tabernacles behind
the railroad yards."
                -- H.L. Mencken, writing of William Jennings Bryan,
                   counsel for the supporters of Tennessee's anti-evolution
                   law at the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925.
The animals are not as stupid as one thinks -- they have neither
doctors nor lawyers.
                -- L. Docquier
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it
were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
                -- H. L. Mencken
        Approaching the gates of the monastery, Hakuin found Ken the Zen
preaching to a group of disciples.
        "Words..." Ken orated, "they are but an illusory veil obfuscating
the absolute reality of --"
        "Ken!" Hakuin interrupted. "Your fly is down!"
        Whereupon the Clear Light of Illumination exploded upon Ken, and he
vaporized.
        On the way to town, Hakuin was greeted by an itinerant monk imbued
with the spirit of the morning.
        "Ah," the monk sighed, a beatific smile wrinkling across his cheeks,
"Thou art That..."
        "Ah," Hakuin replied, pointing excitedly, "And Thou art Fat!"
        Whereupon the Clear Light of Illumination exploded upon the monk,
and he vaporized.
        Next, the Governor sought the advice of Hakuin, crying: "As our
enemies bear down upon us, how shall I, with such heartless and callow
soldiers as I am heir to, hope to withstand the impending onslaught?"
        "US?" snapped Hakuin.
        Whereupon the Clear Light of Illumination exploded upon the
Governor, and he vaporized.
        Then, a redneck went up to Hakuin and vaporized the old Master with
his shotgun.  "Ha! Beat ya' to the punchline, ya' scrawny li'l geek!"
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably
not true.  It is the chief occupation of mankind.
                -- H.L. Mencken
There are two types of Linux developers - those who can spell, and
those who can't.  There is a constant pitched battle between the two.
        -- From one of the post-1.1.54 kernel update messages posted to c.o.l.a
Absolutely nothing should be concluded from these figures except that
no conclusion can be drawn from them.
        -- Joseph L. Brothers, Linux/PowerPC Project)
> If you don't need X then little VT-100 terminals are available for real
> cheap.  Should be able to find decent ones used for around $40 each.
> For that price, they're a must for the kitchen, den, bathrooms, etc.. :)
You're right. Can you explain this to my wife?
        -- Seen on c.o.l.development.system, on the subject of extra terminals
> 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
> Is there any hope for me? Am I just thick? Does anyone remember the
> Rubiks Cube, it was easier!
I found that the Rubiks cube and Linux are alike. Looks real confusing
until you read the right book. :-)
        -- seen on c.o.l.misc, about the "Linux Learning Curve"
> I've hacked the Xaw3d library to give you a Win95 like interface and it
> is named Xaw95. You can replace your Xaw3d library.
Oh God, this is so disgusting!
        -- seen on c.o.l.development.apps, about the "Win95 look-alike"
Besides, its really not worthwhile to use more than two times your physical
ram in swap (except in a select few situations). The performance of the system
becomes so abysmal you'd rather heat pins under your toenails while reciting
Windows95 source code and staring at porn flicks of Bob Dole than actually try
to type something.
        -- seen on c.o.l.development.system, about the size of the swap space
> I get the following error messages at bootup, could anyone tell me
> what they mean?
> fcntl_setlk() called by process 51 (lpd) with broken flock() emulation
They mean that you have not read the documentation when upgrading the
kernel.
        -- seen on c.o.l.misc
In short, at least give the penguin a fair viewing. If you still don't
like it, that's ok: that's why I'm boss. I simply know better than you do.
        -- Linus "what, me arrogant?" Torvalds, on c.o.l.advocacy
Old MacLinus had a stack/l-i-n-u-x/and on this stack he had a trace/l-i-n-u-x
with an Oops-Oops here and an Oops-Oops there
here an Oops, there an Oops, everywhere an Oops-Oops.
        -- tjimenez@site.gmu.edu, linux.dev.kernel
I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs.
                -- H.L. Mencken
Of all possible committee reactions to any given agenda item, the
reaction that will occur is the one which will liberate the greatest
amount of hot air.
                -- Thomas L. Martin
Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing.
                -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries
The annual meeting of the "You Have To Listen To Experience" Club is now in
session.  Our Achievement Awards this year are in the fields of publishing,
advertising and industry.  For best consistent contribution in the field of
publishing our award goes to editor, R.L.K., [...] for his unrivalled alle-
giance without variation to the statement: "Personally I'd love to do it,
we'd ALL love to do it.  But we're not going to do it.  It's not the kind of
book our house knows how to handle."  Our superior performance award in the
field of advertising goes to media executive, E.L.M., [...] for the continu-
ally creative use of the old favorite: "I think what you've got here could be
very exciting.  Why not give it one more try based on the approach I've out-
lined and see if you can come up with something fresh."  Our final award for
courageous holding action in the field of industry goes to supervisor, R.S.,
[...] for her unyielding grip on "I don't care if they fire me, I've been
arguing for a new approach for YEARS but are we SURE that this is the right
time--"  I would like to conclude this meeting with a verse written specially
for our prospectus by our founding president fifty years ago -- and now, as
then, fully expressive of the emotion most close to all our hearts --
        Treat freshness as a youthful quirk,
                And dare not stray to ideas new,
        For if t'were tried they might e'en work
                And for a living what woulds't we do?
The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack."
                -- H.L. Mencken
XLVII:
        Two-thirds of the Earth's surface is covered with water.  The other
        third is covered with auditors from headquarters.
XLVIII:
        The more time you spend talking about what you have been doing, the
        less time you have to spend doing what you have been talking about.
        Eventually, you spend more and more time talking about less and less
        until finally you spend all your time talking about nothing.
XLIX:
        Regulations grow at the same rate as weeds.
L:
        The average regulation has a life span one-fifth as long as a
        chimpanzee's and one-tenth as long as a human's -- but four times
        as long as the official's who created it.
LI:
        By the time of the United States Tricentennial, there will be more
        government workers than there are workers.
LII:
        People working in the private sector should try to save money.
        There remains the possibility that it may someday be valuable again.
                -- Norman Augustine
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
                -- H. L. Mencken
On a tous un peu peur de l'amour, mais on a surtout peur de souffrir
ou de faire souffrir.
        [One is always a little afraid of love, but above all, one is
         afraid of pain or causing pain.]
Concentrate on th'cute, li'l CARTOON GUYS!  Remember the SERIAL
NUMBERS!!  Follow the WHIPPLE AVE. EXIT!!  Have a FREE PEPSI!!  Turn
LEFT at th'HOLIDAY INN!!  JOIN the CREDIT WORLD!!  MAKE me an OFFER!!!
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2022
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