Most people are other people

For love of history.  A massive quote dump from some of the books I have been reading lately.  Hope someone else will enjoy them or, even better, enjoy the books!

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

“The ago old platonic fallacy equates knowledge with virtue.”

“The intellectual disciplines of distinction, definition, and dialectic that had once been the glory of men like Augustine were now unobtainable by readers of the dark ages.  A man no longer subordinated one thought to another with mathematical precision.  Instead he apprehended similarities, imbalances; types and paradigms; parallels and symbols.  It was a world, not of thoughts, but of images.”
“To be Irish is to know, that in the end, the world will break your heart.”
“The Irish are the only people who can not be helped by psychoanalysis.”
–attributed to Sigmund Freud

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II by Edward Gibbon

“When a public quarrel is envenomed by private injuries, a blow that isn’t mortal or decisive can be productive only of a short truce which allows the unsuccessful compeditent to sharpen  his arms for a new encounter.”

“…but experience has proved the distinction of active and passive courage.  The fanatic who endures without a groan the torture of the rack or the state would tremble and fly before the face of an armed enemy.”

The Reformation (The Story of Civilization, volume 6) by Will Durant

“Your emphasis on faith as against works was ruinous and led to a religions who’s coldness of heart concealed behind the piety of it’s phrases.

For a hundred years charity almost died in the centers of your victory.

You destroyed nearly all the schools we had established, and you weakened to the verge of death the universities that the Church had created and developed.

Your own leaders admit that your disruption of the faith led to a dangerous deterioration of morals both in Germany and England.

You let loose a chaos of individualism in morals, philosophy, industry, and government.

You took all the joy and beauty out of religion and filled it with demonology and terror.

You condemned the masses of mankind to damnation as ‘reprobates,’ and consoled an insolent few with the pride of ‘election’ and salvation.

You stifled the growth of art, and wherever you triumphed classical studies withered.

You expropriated Church property to give it to the state and the rich, but you left the poor poorer than before, and added contempt to misery.

You condoned usury and capitalism but deprived the workers of restful holidays a merciful church had given them.

You rejected the papacy only to exalt the state.

You gave to selfish princes the right to determine the religion of their subjects and to use religions as a sanction for their wars.

You divided nation against nation, and many a nation and city against itself.

You wrecked the international moral checks on national powers, and created a chaos of warring national states.

You denied the authority of a church founded on your own admission by the son of God but you sanctioned absolute monarchy and exulted the divine right of kings.

Unwittingly you destroyed the power of the word which is the only alternative to the power of money or the sword.

You claimed the right of private judgment, but you denied it to others as soon as you could…

Meanwhile see what your private judgment has lead too. Every man becomes a pope, and judges the doctrines of religion before he is old enough to comprehend the functions of religion in society and morals and the need of the people for a religious faith.

A kind of dis-integrative mania, unhindered by any integrative authority, throws your followers into such absurd and violent disputes that men begin to doubt all religion, and Christianity itself would be dissolved and men would be left spiritually naked in the face of death were it not that the Church stands firm amid all the fluctuations of opinion and argument…

The world is supported by four things. The learning of the wise. The Valor of the Brave. The Justice of the Great. The prayers of the good.
A supreme and unchangeable faith is a deadly enemy to the human mind.”

“Men would try again to capture the spirit of Erasmus, and the Renaissance, and renew the long slow labor of enlightenment.

“Wherever Protestantism Advanced scholarship declined.”

“For men are, by nature, unequal and can be induced to share their goods and fortunes only by a vital and common danger.”

“The communism that was set up was a war economy as, perhaps, all strict communism must be.”

“Internal liberty varies with external security and communism breaks with the tension of peace.”

“A nation is born stoic, and dies epicurean”

“Liberalism is a luxury of security and peace.”

“Science gives man ever greater powers but less significance. It gives him better tools with less purposes.  It  is silent on origins, values, and ultimate aims. It gives life and history no meaning or worth that is not canceled by time and death.”

”Children were now luxuries which only the poor could afford.”

“No great nation is ever conquered until it has destroyed itself.”

“The class war had turned democracy into a contest in legislative looting.”

“…eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.”

“For barbarism is always around civilization, amid it and beneath it, ready to engulf it by arms, or mass migration, or unchecked fertility”

“Man will sacrifice anything but appetite for health.”

“Wisdom seems always a reincarnation, or echo, since it remains the same through a thousand varieties and generations of error.”

“When the myth dies, only force is free.”

“Time is the greatest vandal of them all.”

“Energy directed at a unifying will is almost the definition of genius.”

KDE vs. Gnome

Great post originally from but as the site is no longer up I am re-posting it with full credit to its original author.  This “summary” was a surprisingly accurate feel for the overall development process of the two major Linux  Desktop interfaces.   Specifically this was the overall feeling during the KDE 2.x – 3.5 & Gnome 0.0 – wheneverubuntueffectivelytookovertheproject.x time frame.  While these generalizations no longer hold true, they sure make for some entertaining reading to those of us who remember the those days.


A big room somewhere in Europe with lots of chrome and glass and a great big whiteboard in the front with lots of tiny, neat writing on it. There are about 50 desks, each with headphones and pristine workstations, also with a lot of chrome and glass. The faint sound of classical music permeates the room, accompanying the clicky-click of 50 programmers typing or quietly talking in one of the appropriately assigned meeting areas. (Which of course consist of elegant contemporary white pine coffee tables surrounded by contemporary white pine and fine leather meeting chairs.) Coffee, tea, mineral water and fruit juices are available in the break area.

At the end of the day, *everyone* checks in their code and the project leader does a “make” just to make sure it all compiles cleanly, but it’s mostly only done from tradition anymore since it always compiles cleanly and works flawlessly. When all milestones have been met, and everything has been QA’d, (usually within a day or two of the roadmap that was written up 18 months previous) a new KDE release is packaged up and released to the mirror sites with the appropriate 24-hour delay for distribution before being announced.

KDE developers are generally between the ages of 16 and 25, like art made of lines and squares and the colors white and black. When/if they finally stop taking government subsidies and get around to getting “real jobs,” most of their salary will be taken in taxes so the socialist government can subsidize the care and feeding of the next generation of KDE developers, just like it did for them. A high percentage of KDE developers, during their mandatory 5 years of government military service, crack from their years of cultural dullness and flee Europe to become terrorists for the sheer joy to be found in killing random strangers for no discernible reason.


An abandoned warehouse in San Francisco, kitted up as for a rave, electronica playing at 15db louder than “my ears are bleeding and I’m developing an aneurism” volumes and the windows all painted over black so that the strobe and spotlights and lasers can be seen better. Computers, mainly made of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs, are scattered around on whatever furniture is available, which also consists of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs. There’s no break area, but you may be able to bum a beer (or more likely something harder) off of one of the developers hanging around, and they will probably be too jacked up on X, coke, acid, heroin, ether or all of the above to notice that you’ve taken anything.

Development strategies are generally determined by whatever light show happens to be going on at the moment, when one of the developers will leap up and scream “I WANT IT TO LOOK JUST LIKE THAT” and then straight-arm his laptop against the wall in an hallucinogenic frenzy before vomiting copiously, passing out and falling face-down in the middle of the dance floor. There’s no whiteboard, so developers diagram things out in the puddles of spilt beer, urine and vomit on the floor.

At the end of the day – whenever that is since an equal number of programmers will be passed out at any given time – or really whenever someone happens to think of it (which is rarely), someone might type “make” on some machine somewhere, with mixed results. Generally nothing happens, so he/she shrugs his/her shoulders and wanders off to look for someone who might have more pink/black-striped pills. Once in a great while, generally in the unpleasant time between the come-down from the last thing they took and before whatever it was they took just now comes on fully, someone will tar up a bunch of random files and post it on a website someplace it as the next GNOME release, usually with a reference to some kind of monkey.

GNOME developers rarely live past 25 and prefer “alternative” art – generally stuff made of feces that’s “too edgy” for most people to “understand” or “like.” Core GNOME developers are heavy Ketamine users. The bodies of GNOME developers can often be found in dumpsters or floating face-down in any sufficiently large body of water.

Copyright 2002, Derek Glidden.

Players win games, teams win championships

Some thoughts & quotes from John Maxwell’s “Equipping 101”

The most expensive employee isn’t the highest paid one, but the least productive one.

Attitude is:
-The advance man of our true selves.
-Our best friend or our worst enemy.
-Is more honest and more consistent that our words.
-Is the thing that draws people to us or repels them from us.
-Is the librarian of our past.
-Is the speaker of our present.
-Is the prophet of our future.

People become like their models. Who are our leaders models?

Finding good leaders is like mining for gold, you have to dig out 2 tons worth of dirt to find it but once found pays for all of the work.

You can tell a persons character by his/her relationships.

Finding talent in a business is no different than finding talent for a professional sports team. You have to recruit, scout, and draft the best you can find. Eventually, you will have to pay for that talent or risk loosing it; so stop investing in players that don’t grow.

Leaders attract potential leaders!

An organization’s Growth potential is directly related to its personnel potential.

As a potential leader you are either an asset to an organization or a liability to it.

This Too Shall Pass

The following are some of my favorite excepts from O.G. Mandio’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World.”  They are broken down by scroll number the quote comes from.  It is a short book that is really more of a “guide for living” than a “guide for selling”.

Scroll Number I:

“Time teaches all things to him who lives forever but I have not the luxury of eternity.”

“Failure is man’s inability to reach his goals in life, whatever they may be.”

“…the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits… I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Scroll Number II:

“I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me!  I will love the failures for they can teach me.  I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine.  I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many.  I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share.  I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.  I will great this day with love in my heart.”

Scroll Number III:

“So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist.  For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win.”

Scroll Number IV:

“I am nature’s greatest miracle.  Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make… I will begin now to accent my differences; hide my similarities.”

Scroll Number V:

” I will live this day as if it is my last… I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterdays defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad.”

” I will avoid with fury the killers of time.  procrastination I will destroy with action; doubt I will bury under faith; fear I will dismember with confidence.”

“Henceforth I know that to court idleness is to steal food, clothing, and warmth from those I love. “

” This day I will make the best day of my life.  This day I will drink every minute to its full.  I will savor its taste and give thanks.  I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value.  I will labor harder than ever before and push my muscles until they cry for relief, and then I will continue.”

Scroll Number VI:

“Today I will be master of my emotions… Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.”

“If I feel all-powerful I will try to stop the wind. If I attain great wealth I will remember one unfed mouth. If I become overly proud I will remember a moment of weakness.  If I feel my skill is unmatched I will look at the stars.”

Scroll Number VII:

“I will laugh at the world.  No living creature can laugh except man.”

” For all worldly things shall indeed pass.  When I am heavy with heartache I shall console myself that this too shall pass; when I am puffed with success I shall warn myself that this too shall pass. “

“Never will I allow myself to become so important, so wise, so dignified, so powerful, that I forget how to laugh at myself and my world.”

Scroll Number VIII:

“Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold… To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant; to surpass my own deeds is all.”

“I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low.  I will do the work that a failure will not do.  I will always let my reach exceed my grasp.”

Scroll Number IX:

“…dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible.  All are of no value unless they are followed by action.  I will act now.”

“Never has there been a map, however carefully executed to detail and scale, which carried its owner over even one inch of ground.”

“I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow for I know that tomorrow never comes.  Let me act now even though my actions may not bring happiness or success for it is better to act and fail than not act and flounder.”

“I will act now… When I awake I will say (these words) and leap from my cot while the failure sleeps yet another hour.”

“Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy.  I am not lazy.”

“This is the time.  This is the place.  I am the man.  I will act now.”

Scroll Number X:

“Guide me, God.”

The book itself has got me thinking about writing down the outline for my own personal philosophy.  I am not talking about a religious creed or a statement of beliefs but a guide to define the philosophy of life I would like to follow.  In ancient Greece, and to a lesser extent in later Roman cultures, it was common for the upper classes to adopt a philosophy of life.  In fact parents sent their sons to schools of philosophy, like Stoicism and Asceticism, partly to acquire such a philosophy.

Little, Nameless, Unremembered Acts

Yesterday, during the last of my two snow days from the blizzard of 2011, I was giving my wife a hard time about her Twilight vampire affinity when my daughter spoke up.

Emily said, “Edward is weird Daddy. He never smiles.”

I replied, “No kidding Em.  I mean, would you really want to marry someone who didn’t smile?”

Her answer was, “No! I want to marry someone like you.”

It was the greatest compliment I have ever received.  I hope she does better than me, and that I become more like how she sees me.

To have thrust upon them

Got a couple great quotes from Drive, by Daniel H. Pink:

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible.  Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

“Rewards, we’ve seen, can limit the breadth of our thinking… They can focus our sights on only what’s immediately before us rather than what’s off in the distance.”

Some of My Favorite Rules

The website 1001 rules for my unborn son got me thinking about some of the rules I have for my life. Thought I would put down my own and list some of my favorite from 1001.

  • –There is always time for a lemonade stand.
  • –Perfect at least one recipe, steak doesn’t count.
  • –Obstacles are ways of demonstrating our dedication.
  • –Don’t complain, just work harder.
  • –Take the new guy out to lunch.
  • –Never swing at the first pitch.
  • –Carry a pocket knife.
  • –Learn from criticism.
  • –X never, ever, ever makes the spot.
  • #394: Try to lose the adverbs. Seriously.
  • # 325: When excusing yourself from the table, you need not give a reason.
  • # 270: Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.
  • # 238: Read before bed every night.
  • # 231: Keep your passport current.
  • # 230: Become an expert in something.
  • # 206: Never turn down a girl’s invitation to dance.
  • # 201: Order the local specialty.
  • # 189: Learn to drive a stick shift.
  • # 77: Never side against your brother in a fight.
  • # 76: Memorize the Bill of Rights and your favorite poem.
  • # 28: Keep your eye on the ball and follow through. In sports and in life.
  • #9: Stand up for the little guy
  • #5: Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
  • #3: When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.

Never Forget Today

Human pain does not let go of its grip at one point in time. Rather, it works its way out of our consciousness over time. There is a season of sadness. A season of anger. A season of tranquility. A season of hope.

–Robert Veninga

I was on my way to work when I heard about the first plane.  I remember thinking it was probably an accident, like the plane impact on the Empire State building.  I passed by Tinker Air Force Base on the way; it was guarded but nothing too crazy.  The second  plan crashed into the second building and I remember thinking that we would be going to war with someone.  I called my wife and told her not to leave home.  Being a state employee they told us to go home ourselves.  Passed by Tinker again… there was a tank, several 50mm Brownings, and lots of concrete barricades.  I almost enlisted right there but they wouldn’t let any non-military traffic into the base (my wife didn’t find out about that till a couple years later… she was not happy.)

I got home, hugged my wife and daughter, and cried…