Quotes 2000

Abraham Abulafia, Path Of Names
James Burke, The Knowledge Web

"How come this old shit is always that same color?"

"There are two theories. One is that it was to help people in the workplace be more comfortable with radically new technologies that would eventually result in the mutation or extinction of the workplace. Hence the almost universal choice, by the manufacturers, of a shade of plastic most often encountered in downscale condoms."

"Yeah? What's two?"

"That the people who were designing the stuff were unconsciously terrified of their own product, and in order not to scare themselves, kept it looking as unexciting as possible."
William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties

"You can't drown your sorrows. They know how to swim."
Rita Mae Brown, Outfoxed

"God doesn't punish us for love. Only people do that."
Rita Mae Brown, Outfoxed

"...we are each responsible for our own lives. That's it. No passing the buck. If Helen Keller, blind and deaf, could make something out of her life, I don't want to hear this shit about being a victim."
Rita Mae Brown, Outfoxed

"If love were logical, you would be one hundred percent correct but love isn't logical. If it were, no one in their right mind would marry."
Rita Mae Brown, Outfoxed

"Some are born weird, some achieve it, others have weirdness thrust upon them."
Dick Francis, To The Hilt

"So you don't think ... that the wages of sin is death?"

"... The wages of sin nowadays are a few years of full board and lodging at the country's expense with a chance to study for a degree, followed by tender loving care from ex-prisoners' aid societies."

"What about the victims?"

"The wages of a victim are to be blamed if at all possible for a crime committed against her -- I regret it's often a her -- and seldom to be offered compensation, let alone free board and lodging and a university education. The wages of a victim are poverty, oblivion and a lonely grave."
Dick Francis, To The Hilt

"I had set myself an unattainable ideal. Such human skill as I could summon wasn't enough for the job. I felt the suicidal despair of all who longed to do what they couldn't, what only a few in each century could -- whether blessed or cursed in spirit. No achievement was ever finite. There was no absolute summit. No peak of Everest to plant a flag on. Success was someone else's opinion."
Dick Francis, To The Hilt

"There needs to be a special kind of feeling that allows the family to carry on. I'm not talking about love in the usual sense of the word; I mean, it's something without form -- a situation, say, or environment that has a power to keep things under control, you know, the way they should be. It's not something that thrives off others, because it's something that gives. Unless everyone in the home is willing to contribute to the atmosphere, then it's useless -- the home becomes a den of starving wolves."
Banana Yoshimoto, Amrita

"You can think of your television as your very best friend, but really it's no different than a blank wall. The reason is simple. If a robber was to enter the house and kill you, the TV would just go on playing. Something to that effect."
Banana Yoshimoto, Amrita

"See, with every new thing you try, you'll hear people making different suggestions, and it's wrong to believe in what they say, unless it's coming from inside. Most of the critical people in this world are those who haven't had to put up with the bad, so all they do is just sit back on the side and point their fingers at what you do wrong. You've got to develop a sense that tells you who you are, and who to take advice from. If you don't find that sense it may be the difference between life and death."
Banana Yoshimoto, Amrita

For the longest time I thought dear was a term of affection, until I began to notice the circumstances in which he used it. 'That restaurant is fine, dear," when we had to wait an hour for a table. "Next street, I think, dear," when I hadn't noticed the sign that said ONE WAY.

Dear means idiot.
Sharyn McCrumb, Paying The Piper

"Why do some intelligent men like unintellectual women? Is it restful for their egos, or just an answer to the servant problem?"
Sharyn McCrumb, Paying The Piper

"He thought teamwork was a peculiar form of stupidity, merely sharing the incompetence so that no one could be blamed when things went wrong."
Sharyn McCrumb, Paying The Piper

"Commercial OSes have to adopt the same official stance toward errors as Communist countries had toward poverty. For doctrinal reasons it was not possible to admit that poverty was a serious problem in Communist countries, because the whole point of Communism was to eradicate poverty. Likewise, commercial OS companies such as Apple and Microsoft can't go around admitting that their software has bugs and that it crashes all the time, any more than Disney can issue press releases stating that Mickey Mouse is an actor in a suit."
Neal Stephenson, In The Beginning... Was The Command Line

"Successful leaders are pragmatic. Almost every choice they make is between bad options; the wisest of them, like Lincoln, pick out the least worst, consistently. And that's about all you can ask of them."
Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter, The Light Of Other Days

"What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?"
Bertolt Brecht
David Schiller, The Little Zen Companion

"Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking."
David Schiller, The Little Zen Companion

"One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak."
G. K. Chesterton
David Schiller, The Little Zen Companion

"The silly question is the first intimation of some totally new development."
Alfred North Whitehead
David Schiller, The Little Zen Companion

"The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self."
Albert Einstein
David Schiller, The Little Zen Companion

"Any man who doesn't fantasize about having a vagina is lacking ambition."
Rufus Griscom
Fiona Giles, Editor, Chick For A Day

...perhaps ... God Himself is limited by the same laws that govern the movements of electrons and protons, stars and spaceships. And that may be the cause of all our troubles.

He's coming just as quickly as He can, but there's nothing that even He can do about the maddening 186,000 miles a second.

It's anybody's guess whether He'll get here in time.
Arthur C. Clarke, Greetings! Carbon-Based Bipeds

"No work of art is ever finished; it is only abandoned."
Scott Meredith
Arthur C. Clarke, Greetings! Carbon-Based Bipeds

"...real innovations come only through individuals, not organizations. But you need organizations -- often colossal ones -- to develop them."

[further] ... large organizations not only can't make major innovations, but shouldn't attempt to.
Arthur C. Clarke, Greetings! Carbon-Based Bipeds

I have encountered a few Creationists and they were usually nice, intelligent people, so I have never been able to decide whether they were really crazy or only pretending to be mad. If I were a religious person, I would consider Creationism nothing less than blasphemy. Do its adherents imagine that God is a cosmic hoaxer, who has created the whole vast fossil record for the sole purpose of fooling mankind?

A Creator who, right back at the beginning of time, laid the foundations for the entire future is far more awe-inspiring and deserving of worship than a clumsy tinkerer who constantly modifies billions of his creations and throws away whole species because of defective engineering.
Arthur C. Clarke, Greetings! Carbon-Based Bipeds

"It all comes down to one thing: whether we are building a burger or a company," he says. "lf we are building a burger, we take every customer that comes along and cash the checks as quickly as we can. But if we're building a company, we say no to any company that distracts us from the long-term mission."
Marc Andreessen
David Sheff, "Crank It Up", Wired Magazine, August 2000, Issue 8.08

...there's another lesson from Netscape that keeps Andreessen and Horowitz up at night: trying to get around the Law of Crappy People. "lt scares the shit out of me," says Andreessen. "The law applies to every company that gets big," says Horowitz, "especially companies that get big fast, so we're a prime candidate.

"All you have to do is hire one person who isn't very good," Horowitz continues. "The Law of Crappy People kicks in because the worst employee at any level becomes the de facto standard for that level. Your executives sit around the table. Some EVP wants to promote one of his or her directors to vice president. Or maybe they want to bring in someone new. Someone at the table says, 'That person isn't good enough,' to which the first person responds, 'Hey, you've got Joe Schmo, who is a bonehead. This guy is better than Joe.' So the guy who hired or promoted Joe Schmo shuts up." Andreessen says, "You will inevitably make a mistake. The minute you do, the quality degrades. A people hire B people, and B people hire C people. So the bad people breed like rabbits - they hire more people like themselves or worse."
Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz
David Sheff, "Crank It Up", Wired Magazine, August 2000, Issue 8.08

"An environment in which you are breathing down each other's necks is incredibly exciting," Andreessen says. "You don't want to lose the energy of all those people creating and complaining. At Netscape, after all the whining about doubling up in cubicles, being packed together, we moved into the fancy, spacious buildings on the Netscape campus. Everybody had big cubes, and it was all spread out and everybody had things exactly the way they wanted. The buzz was gone, the energy was gone. The lesson: Pack them in to the point where they're just about to riot."
Marc Andreessen
David Sheff, "Crank It Up", Wired Magazine, August 2000, Issue 8.08

After getting back on the freeway, Andreessen pilots the Yukon to Loudcloud's new headquarters, a scaffolded, three-story, green-and-cream building that he calls "the Taj." Though he seems proud of its sprayed stucco exterior and jade-colored tiles, the building makes him nervous. "You're doing great and then you make the key mistake: You build a monument to yourself," he says. "We did it at Netscape. The Edifice complex worries me because it has marked the beginning of the end for many companies. I worry that employees will see this building and think, "Man, we've made it. You've never made it."
Marc Andreessen
David Sheff, "Crank It Up", Wired Magazine, August 2000, Issue 8.08

"The purpose of most computer languages is to lengthen your résumé by a word and comma."
Larry Wall
Steve Siberman, "Scripting on the Lido Deck", Wired Magazine, October 2000, Issue 8.10

"The venture capital community in the last few years has gotten very greedy in wanting very rapid returns. When the VC is looking at his watch, and his return is not coming, the vision starts to change. CEOs change, everything changes. And the reality is, build something innovative that solves a difficult problem and you will have something. Most of the long-term successful companies were built on those terms. Certainly Apple. Sun is another example. And in some ways, Motorola has survived because they are willing to make mistakes. I loved Iridium for one reason: It was a massive risk. It's easy for people to say they were idiots down the line. But you know what? They took the business risk, and fine, they got their clock cleaned, but they had the vision to take a leadership position and launch those satellites. Most companies don't have the courage."
Philippe Kahn
Bob Parks, "The Big Picture", Wired Magazine, October 2000, Issue 8.10

"Respect my office."
Scribbled on torn paper and taped with electrical tape to the inside safety glass of a New York taxi cab.

"This is a pleasant surprise... That of course is the advantage of being a pessimist; a pessimist gets nothing but pleasant surprises, an optimist nothing but unpleasant."
Rex Stout, Fer-De-Lance

"The more you put in a brain, the more it will hold -- if you have one."
Rex Stout, Might As Well Be Dead

"I love my work and want to start again."
Jack the Ripper; from a letter dated September 25, 1888
Sharyn McCrumb, Missing Susan

"She took a long look at her interrogator. The woman was a personification of a Cheerleader: shoulder-length blonde hair, trim figure, and a perky beauty-pageant smile. Just the sort of person that Elizabeth wished the Japanese would hunt, instead of whales."
Sharyn McCrumb, Missing Susan

"You've got a sense of humour... That's Good. A loser needs that. Winner's don't need to be witty. They've won. Humour's a loser's saving grace."
Michael Dibdin, Thanksgiving

'A corporate trainer. One of those guys who goes into Boeing or wherever and teaches them how to "enhance creativity" and "grow diversity", or maybe spot nutcases who might flip out on the job and shoot someone or sexually harass their co-workers. The point being that when the case goes to court, the company can say, "Hey, we did everything we could! We provided training for all our people."'

"You sound pretty cynical. Don't you think that stuff sometimes works?"

"Sure it works. It works the way the KGB worked. You can scare most people into pretending to go along with almost any bullshit you want. But you haven't changed them. People come the way they come. All that crap does is turn then into liars."
Michael Dibdin, Thanksgiving