"Every generation has the obligation to free men's minds for a look at new worlds ... to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation." -- Ellison S. Onizuka (b. 1946-06-24, d. 1986-01-28), Challenger Astronaut
"If we are to send people, it must be for a very good reason - and with a realistic understanding that almost certainly we will lose lives. Astronauts and Cosmonauts have always understood this. Nevertheless, there has been and will be no shortage of volunteers." -- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-03-20:
"Selecting your foie gras is much easier if it has already been removed from its original owner." -- Elisabeth Luard, in her book The Old World Kitchen.(submitted to the mailing lit by Mike Krawchuk)
[Happy birthday to a friend who tells Facebook a different birthday. Shh! ;-) ]
"M. Jules Verne said it could not be done. I have done it. He told me when he met me at Amiens [France] that if the tour weas made of the world in seventy-nine days he would applaud with both hands. It has been made in seventy-two days, and M. Verne may now applaud and two hands will not do; he must use four. [...]
"At many junctures since my departure I have been compelled to face what looked like failure. Did I ever give up hope of success? No, not exactly. Never having failed, I could not picture what failure meant, but I did tell the officers of the Oceanic, when success seemed very, very hazy, owing to the unexpectedly stormy weather, that I would rather go to New York successful and dead than alive and behind time."
-- Nellie Bly (pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, b. 1864-05-05, d. 1922-01-27), 1890-01-26, the day after completing her around-the-world trip in 72 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 11 seconds (arriving in New Jersey at 15:51 on 1890-01-25).
"You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1929-01-15, d. 1968-04-04), Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963-04-16
And we still hear people complaining about protests but not about the things the protests are about. *grrr*
[After being chided for hubris...] "Hah! Please. Find me a more universally rewarded quality than hubris. Go on, I'll wait. The word is just ancient Greek for 'uppity,' as far as I'm concerned. Hubris isn't something that destroys you, it's something you are punished for. By the gods! Well, I've never met a god, just powerful human beings with a lot to gain by keeping people scared. So fuck hubris! Punch the sun, baby!" -- Lisa Bradley, in Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan (drawn by Molly Ostertag), late December 2014
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), describing the sort of thing Voltaire could have agreed with ... in a line ever since mistakenly attributed to Voltaire himself
- Though these words are regularly attributed to Voltaire, they were first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), as a summation of Voltaire's beliefs on freedom of thought and expression.
- Another possible source for the quote was proposed by Norbert Guterman, editor of "A Book of French Quotations," who noted a letter to M. le Riche (6 February 1770) in which Voltaire is quoted as saying: "Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write" ("Monsieur l'abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire"). This remark, however, does not appear in the letter.
[In light of the "Je suis Charlie" sentiment standing up for freedom of speech, the "Je ne suis pas Charlie" response from people who find Charlie Hebdo's content distasteful and bigoted, and the folks explaining that a lot of what looks racist in the published cartoons is actually mocking bigots (I'm stepping back from that and saying, "I do not know enough yet so I'll shut up and keep reading"), this seemed as good a time as any for the famous not-Voltaire quotation.]
[And just in case she's reading this, happy birthday to my cousin Maria in Cyprus, and also to John Tangent!]
"Far too many people who quote King had no sympathy or commitment to his cause, either in 1963 or 1968. Far too many people, including too many leaders in business, religious life, government and in neighborhoods, quote Dr. King's 1963 words as if they were his last about racial justice." -- Rev. Hon. Wendell Griffen, quoted in "'I Have a Dream' Sermon Established Martin Luther King as Prophet" by Bob Allen, 2008-08-28
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1929-01-15, d. 1968-04-04)
"My brother was Muslim and he was killed by people who pretend to be Muslims. They are terrorists, that's it." -- Malek Merabet, brother of police officer Ahmed Merabet who was killed during the atack on the Charlie Hebdo office 2015-01-07. Quoted in this BBC report from 2015-01-10
"Leelah Alcorn's parents, had they been the parents of a cisgender child, would be condemned as monsters by everyone outside the bubble of those who share their religious beliefs. As a trans child, Leelah's death somehow manages to give her parents better coverage. We've come to a place where even religion isn't a foolproof shield against driving a gay child to suicide. With a trans child, the shield is stronger. It's a shield that needs to be destroyed." -- St. Ridley Santos, 2015-01-03, reacting (I think) to folks who argue that we should not criticise Alcorn's parents since, after all, they are grieving having just lost a child (whose identity they are still erasing AFAIK)
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-04-02:
"It doesn't much matter whether people care or don't care. What matters is that people change the world." -- Elizabeth Kolbert, in her book "The Sixth Extinction."
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
"There are all kinds of myths and taboos linked to our bodily fluids. Blood, for instance, plays a big role in religions. It can stand for vitality, purgation, forgiveness and healing. Blood can be warm or cold. It was also one of the 'four humours' of the Greeks, the others being black and yellow bile, and the subject here -- phlegm.
"Of course tears play a heavy role in literature, film and art, and they have a palliative effect and can easily infect a sympathetic audience.
"But snot is never praised by artists or priests.
"It's simply gross."
-- from "Where does all the snot come from?", by Nina Kristiansen (translated by Glenn Ostling), 2012
[Note that despite the last line of the quoted section, other parts of the article explain why snot is biologically important for us.]
(I have been unlucky enough to get two different flus this season, despite having gotten the vaccine months earlier (main strain mutated after the vaccine was made, and strains they didn't expect to be big started going around, so not the most effective year for flu vaccines). So: a quotation about snot, which I currently have more than my share of.)