Monday, June 30, 2008

"When we were at the airport waiting for the plane to Chicago, I noticed that Feynman didn't have an overcoat. I said to him, 'Dick, where's your overcoat?' He said, 'I'm not bringing one.' And I said, 'Dick, it's February. We're going to Chicago and you're not taking an overcoat?' This is supposed to be the smartest man in the world."

-- David Goodstein, "The Uncreative Scientist: Feynman's Other Lost Lecture," Caltech News, Volume 31 No. 4., 1997.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

[On seeing a large Proactiv vending machine in the mall]
"Finally we're in the future! Now if only a robot would serve me my Fuddrucker's hamburger, I could die happy."
-- Maribeth sees growing support for her view that retail outlets should be replaced by vending machines

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scott Simon: I hope you don't mind me asking. There is a shadow of suicide in your family line, between your grandfather, your father, your niece Margo. You read all kinds of speculation as to a genetic basis, chemical basis, a genetic basis that gets aggravated by chemicals... mostly meaning alcohol. Is it depression? Is it circumstance? I just wonder if you have any thoughts on that you wouldn't mind sharing.

Patrick Hemingway: I'm not really competent to say. I will say this though. There's a tendency in the public to want to endow all geniuses with some sort of madness. I think it must be envy on their part.

-- Weekend Edition, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

"If you like a little flexibility with constitutional rights, we've got a [Law and Order: Special Victims Unit] marathon for you!"
-- USA Network

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"And if I had a daughter, I'd dress her up in green,
I'd send her up to Boulder to coach the football team,
But if I had a son, sir, I'll tell you what he'd do,
He'd yell "To hell with Boulder," like his daddy used to do."
-- The Mining Engineer, fight song of the Colorado School of Mines

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"There's an old saying about annual reports that says they're best read backward, starting with the footnotes. If you approach Michael Murphy's Every Investor's Guide to High-Tech Stocks and Mutual Funds in the same fashion, starting with the acknowledgments chapter, you'll find out that Murphy "took a triple dose [of LSD]" and subsequently robbed a bank in the mid-1960s."
-- Pat Dorsey

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"A different version of Medb's relationship with Fergus is found in the obscure poem Conailla Medb míchuru ('Medb has entered evil contracts') by Luccreth moccu Chiara (c. 600); it asserts that Medb wrongly seduced Fergus into turning against Ulster 'because he preferred the buttocks of a woman to his own people.'"

-- Wikipedia article on Medb

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Ugaritic polytheism is expressed as a monism through the concepts of the divine council or assembly and in the divine family. The two structures are essentially understood as a single entity with four levels: the chief god and his wife (El and Asherah); the seventy divine children (including Baal, Astarte, Anat, probably Resheph as well as the sun-goddess Shapshu and the moon-god Yerak) evidently characterized as the stars of El; the head helper of the divine household, Kothar wa-Hasis; and the servants of the divine household, who include what the Bible understands to be "angels" (in other words, messenger-gods).

"This four-tiered model of the divine family and council apparently went through a number of changes in early Israel. In the earliest stage, it would appear that Yahweh was one of these seventy children, each of whom was the patron deity of the seventy nations. This idea appears behind the Dead Sea Scrolls reading and the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 32:8-9. In this passage, El is the head of the divine family, and each member of the divine family receives a nation of his own: Israel is the portion of Yahweh. The Masoretic Text, evidently uncomfortable with the polytheism expressed in the phrase "according to the number of the divine sons," altered the reading to "according to the number of the children of Israel" (also thought to be seventy)."

-- From a review of The Origins of Biblical Monotheism by Mark R. Smith

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"I don't think that Harold and Kumar Go To Krispy Kreme would have been a very good movie."
-- Maribeth

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Most disturbing of all, jewelry and personal effects belonging to Elvis Presley were missing from the sturdy auction house safe. There was no evidence of forced entry. The safe was never left open and only six top managers of the auction house had the combination to open it. Each manager was a trusted, tenured employee.

"As the art detective listened to this scenario, he had a feeling of déjà vu. He had previously handled the theft of an expensive Argy-Rousseau vase at the same business. The vase disappeared from a locked display case. The director said only a handful of employees had keys. The investigation revealed that a large number of personnel possessed authorized or unauthorized keys to the cabinet.

"After interviewing the many workers that make a busy auction house function – from warehouse workers to executives – the detective learned of a fatal flaw common to many businesses. The procedures adopted by the organization to protect its assets were often circumvented for the sake of expediency – often with a tacit nod from supervisors.

"Although it was true that only six top managers had the combination to the safe, none of these managers could remember the combination. As a result, the combination was written on a piece of paper and kept in an unlocked drawer of a desk near the safe. Whenever a worker needed to remove an object from the safe to have it photographed or catalogued, the worker witnessed a recurring ritual – a manager would remove the paper with the combination from the desk and use it to open the safe and then return the paper to the unlocked drawer."
-- LAPD Art Theft Detail

Friday, June 20, 2008

"One of the artworks hanging on the wall of this room was a painting by Swedish impressionist artist Anders Zorn (1860-1920) entitled I Fria Luften. For almost three months, Elizabeth felt a vague subliminal uneasiness about the painting that she just couldn't put her finger on. Finally, she did put her finger on it - on the canvas itself, and suddenly realized she was touching a photograph rather than the oil painting that was supposed to be in the elaborate gilt frame."
--- LAPD Art Theft Detail