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Things have been a little quiet around here lately, so I propose to open discussions around pithy quotes. Here is one that seems to be the father of spin. Think about this, because it is from the 18th century by a great American statesman.


I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradictions to the sentiments of

others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbade myself the use

of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion,

such as "certainly", "undoubtedly", etc. I adopted instead of them "I

conceive", "I apprehend", or "I imagine" a thing to be so or so; or "so it

appears to me at present".

When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the

pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing him immediately some

absurdity in his proposition. In answering I began by observing that in

certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present

case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc.

I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I

engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my

opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction. I had

less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily

prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I

happened to be in the right.

-- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


  Edited by A Nonny Moose  

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Perhaps I should give that a try. I'm a person who greatly enjoys being "right," though not as much as I once did. I used to love correcting people (even teachers, which in retrospect was probably rather cheeky) and I had a pretty good track record of being right. But...for what?

Those who cannot bear being wrong are missing countless learning opportunities. And with truth being as ambiguous (and often laced with opinion, depending on its source) as it is, I only find it necessary to make corrections when I notice a blatant factual error.

I tend to be more timid than outgoing, which tends to make me more open to others' assertions.

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  • Original Poster
  • Listening is more than the art of keeping your mouth closed. An open mind is also an asset.

    Now how about this one:

    "Walk softly, but carry a big stick."

    Theodore Rooseveldt

    Many Americans seem to have forgotten the first part.

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  • Don't think so, but I could stand corrected. It was from memory, and 'walk' goes better with 'carry' than 'talk'.

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    think we are both wrong

    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far"

    I like this one though.

    "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

    "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", May 7, 1918


      Edited by Easy Bakes  

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  • Good old Teddy. Plain speaking, and lots of it.

    A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.

    -- B. Franklin

    I think he was speaking of the Romans, but "si monumentum requiris, circumspice". Ozymandias.

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  • The dirty work at political conventions is almost always done in the grim

    hours between midnight and dawn. Hangmen and politicians work best when

    the human spirit is at its lowest ebb.

    -- Russell Baker

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    Reading that last one made me feel bad for not watching any DNC/RNC coverage. School is back in session, so I have my attention focused elsewhere.

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  • Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them

    seemed to come from Texas.

    -- Ian Fleming, "Casino Royale"

    Comments?

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    "the two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity."

    Harlan Ellison.

    Carefull quoting Mr Ellison he never shied away from the curse words.

    great writer though.

    think it might be time to remake "A boy and his dog."

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  • His honour rooted in dishonour stood,

    And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.

    -- Alfred Lord Tennyson

    I think Tennyson was speaking of politicians.

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    The wisest men follow their own direction

    Euripides

    220px-Euripides_Pio-Clementino_Inv302.jpg

    A reference to anarchism, a society based on responsibility and not on fear?

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  • As I recall, Euripides was a very good playwright. However, anarchy has problems when you have a collective one.


    A wise person makes his own decisions, a weak one obeys public opinion.

    -- Chinese proverb


    Just came across this one:

    TV is chewing gum for the eyes.

    -- Frank Lloyd Wright


      Edited by A Nonny Moose  

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  • I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.

    -- Isaac Asimov

    'T'would appear the good doctor was really on side.

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    Being the whippersnapper that I am, I can't imagine what a lack of computers would be like. It's certainly interesting to see how much they've changed things even within my short lifetime. I remember back in first grade when my elementary school received a bunch of money for technological improvements from the district office and they installed a computer lab full of Compaq Presarios (brand new at the time). A handful of the younger teachers got those brightly colored iMac G3 desktops. Now, 10 years later, my high school has like 6 computer labs full of brand new computers, wifi hotspots in each wing, and just about every assignment requires the use of a computer.

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    ^You're lucky. Our school seems to be taking a step backwards when it comes to technology. The district is in the process of replacing all computer labs with netbook carts for each classroom. It is really difficult to do work on the screens because they are so small. The computers we do have in the computer lab and library are about 7 years old. They still run Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003.

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  • Well, Jack, does it matter? Do they do the job? Sure they do. Who cares if they are not blowing tax money by upgrading to the latest and greatest?

    When I was in grade I computers existed only in the great secret labs of the WW II effort at places like Bletchley Park and the Chicago Stadium Reactor Site (Manhattan Project). The public know exactly nothing about them.

    The first commercial computer I ever saw was a Univac I. All tubes and steel tapes.

    Want to indulge in a little horror scenario? Imagine the world without electricity.

    There was a SF short story in Analog magazine several years back by an author whose name escapes me. It was called "The Waveries" and was about a civilization of energy beings that lived on radiation, especially radio waves. They "ate" any amount of radiated energy, including transmitted electricity. After they arrived, the Earth's civilization was reduced to horse and buggy, water and steam power. Fun, huh?

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    Having finished reading the story, I feel like the author made a grave mistake with the waveries. If the waveries absorb nuclear energy, then they would also absorb the energy of all matter. The waveries would destroy anything that they came in contact with, and they would likely do it instantly.

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  • Having finished reading the story, I feel like the author made a grave mistake with the waveries. If the waveries absorb nuclear energy, then they would also absorb the energy of all matter. The waveries would destroy anything that they came in contact with, and they would likely do it instantly.

    The beauty of speculative fiction is that you can overlook items like that.


    An idealist is one who helps the other fellow to make a profit.

    -- Henry Ford

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    Yeah, but a mistake like that takes a story about the arrival of a threat to the existing way of life and the subsequent efforts to adapt to a new normal and turns it into a "I wish we were living in the old days because they were so much nicer than today" story.

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  • Well, a fool and his future are soon ...


    A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to

    judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased

    -- he hates all creative people equally.

    -- Robert Heinlein

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  • The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whiskey.

    By diligent effort, I learned to like it.

    -- Winston Churchill

    Actually, the great man often drank a pint of brandy and two quarts of champaign in any given day. In the ante-room of the House one day, he encountered Lady Astor who said "Winston, you are drunk". To which he replied, "Madam, you are ugly and tomorrow I shall be sober."

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