A government of, by, and for the people

A government of, by, and for the people requires that people talk to people, that we can agree to disagree but do so in civility. If we let the politicians and those who report dictate our discourse, then our course will be dictated.

Donna Brazile

We all have triggers

I’m an actor who believes we all have triggers to any stage of emotion. It’s not always easy to find but it’s still there.

Hugh Jackman

Under the law, I can only conclude

However, this court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and the laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules—a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.

U.S. District Judge Hon. Colleen McMahon

Rather like “Orwellian”

Rather like “Orwellian”, the term “Kafkaesque” has come to be used, often enough by those who have not read a word of Kafka, to describe what are perceived as typically or even uniquely modern traumas: existential alienation, isolation and insecurity, the labyrinth of state bureaucracy, the corrupt or whimsical abuse of totalitarian power, the impenetrable tangle of legal systems, the knock on the door in the middle of the night….

John R. Williams

I want to set the record straight

“I want to set the record straight.”

“The record’s never straight, you idiot! Haven’t you ever read 1984? They rewrite the record anytime it doesn’t suit them. You’re spinning your wheels and exposing your bare fanny for nothing.”

David Eddings, The Losers

Be ruthless about protecting writing days

Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance.

J.K. Rowling

I am a believer in regular work

I am a believer in regular work, and never wait for an inspiration. Temperamentally, I am not only careless and irregular, but melancholy; still I have fought both down. The discipline I had as a sailor had a full effect on me. Perhaps my old sea days are also responsible for the regularity and limitations of my life. Five and a half hours [of sleep] is the precise average I allow myself, and no circumstance has yet arisen in my life that can keep me awake when the time comes to ‘turn in.’

Jack London

I am firm

I am firm. I may sometimes appear impatient at nothing at all, and all that; but this everybody who has had a chance to know me well have noticed: things come my way even though they take years; No one sways me, save in little things of the moment; I am not stubborn but I swing to my purpose as steadily as the needle to the pole; delay, evade, oppose, secretly or openly, it’s all immaterial, the thing comes my way.

Jack London


People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

Zig Ziglar

Getting out of the hospital

Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You’re not out of it until the computer says you’re out of it.

Erma Bombeck


Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you’re in.

Richard Jeni​​

My friends

My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem. But they don’t really know me.

Garry Shandling

In the end

In the end there doesn’t have to be anyone who understands you. There just has to be someone who wants to.

Robert Brault


Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

My mother

My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said, “just wait.”

Judy Tenuta

The Last Minute

If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Rita Mae Brown

I’m not offended

I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde.

Dolly Parton

The way I see it

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton

The cleverest of all

The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

How like a winter

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet #97

Glen had a disability

Glen had a disability more disfiguring than a burn and more terrifying than cancer. Glen had been born on the day after Christmas. “My parents just combine my birthday with Christmas, that’s all,” he explained. But we knew this was a lie. Glen’s parents just wrapped a couple of his Christmas presents in birthday-themed wrapping paper, stuck some candles in a supermarket cake, and had a dinner of Christmas leftovers.

Augusten Burroughs

Here’s one of the things I learned that morning

Here’s one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning. It’s like that old riddle about a tree falling in a forest, and whether it makes a sound if there’s no one around to hear it.

You keep drawing a line farther and farther away, crossing it every time. That’s how people end up stepping off the edge of the earth. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to bust out of orbit, to spin out to a place where no one can touch you. To lose yourself–to get lost.

Or maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe some of you already know.

To those people, I can only say: I’m sorry.

Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall

My humanity

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Desmond Tutu

It is inaccurate to say

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

H. L. Mencken

Accurate Observation

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

George Bernard Shaw


Storm late at night, heavy rain, a thunderous racket, the windows shaking. I heard my name called. A woman’s voice in hell pleading with me to join her.

Leonard Michaels

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.

First paragraph of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Laurence Sterne (1759–1767)

A green hunting cap

A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs. In the shadow under the green visor of the cap Ignatius J. Reilly’s supercilious blue and yellow eyes looked down upon the other people waiting under the clock at the D.H. Holmes department store, studying the crowd of people for signs of bad taste in dress. Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offenses against taste and decency. Possession of anything new or expensive only reflected a person’s lack of theology and geometry; it could even cast doubts upon one’s soul.

First paragraph of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher

Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father. It had been said so often that John, without ever thinking about it, had come to believe it himself. Not until the morning of his 14th birthday did he really begin to think about it, and by then it was already too late.

First paragraph of Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

When the red light blinked

When the red light blinked on the bedside telephone, a sophisticated recording device was automatically activated in the Paris apartment near the Pompidou Center in the lively Fourth Arrondissement. The light had been wired in by an Israeli communications technician who had flown from Tel Aviv to install the recorder, intended to allay any suspicions neighbors would have about the phone ringing at ungodly hours. The technician was one of the yahalomin, a member of a Mossad unit that dealt with secure communications in the safe houses of Israel’s secret intelligence agency.

First paragraph of From Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad by Gordon Thomas

I can be changed

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

Maya Angelou

The prose

The prose as such has to be singing the song the story is telling.

Leonard Michaels

My barn

My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide

Murphy’s Law and Its Offspring

  • Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.
  • Murphy’s Corollary: Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • Murphy’s Second Corollary: It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
  • Murphy’s Constant: Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.
  • Quantized Revision of Murphy’s Law: Everything goes wrong all at once.
  • O’Toole’s Commentary: Murphy was an optimist.

While working on his computer earlier today, PG was reminded of Murphy’s Law when he was almost ready to allow a disk drive cleaning program to remove a great many files on a hard drive that the program decided were “unnecessary, redundant, outdated” or otherwise no longer needed.

Suffice to say, in more than one earlier life, PG has acquiesced to such a request only to discover that almost all of the files the drive cleaning program removed were no longer needed on PG’s computer. Discovering exactly which of the 100,000 deleted files were needed after all has never been the best use of PG’s time.

PG’s Supplement to Murphy’s Law:

It is always cheaper to buy a bigger hard drive than it is to figure out which files that the drive cleaning program just deleted turned out to be necessary after all.

PG is blessed with some very intelligent heirs. Should they wish to organize/clean up/sanitize/correct/detoxify/etc. PG’s hard drives after he departs this world, they will be welcome to do so.

For the time being, PG has has three terabytes of internal storage and 16 terabytes of external storage up and running on the master computer at Casa PG and just discovered a nicely-priced external 18 terabyte hard drive on Amazon, so he is unlikely to be forced to tidy up any bits and bytes soon.

And, given the possibility of local disasters, so far, online storage space located somewhere on the internet beyond the spacious grounds of Casa PG appears to be even more extensive.

The Delete button on PG’s keyboard will never gather dust, but the scope of its domain will remain limited to characters, words, the odd paragraph and an occasional draft version of a finished document saved in at least two other places.

A pen

A pen is to me as a beak is to a hen.

J.R.R. Tolkien


Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha.

Robert Brault