Favorite Quotes

Higher ed can exacerbate psychological problems, and sometimes even cause them.

Essay by Alicia Andrzejewski in The Chronicle of Higher Education  August 23

Fabricated data in research about honesty. You can't make this stuff up. Or, can you?

Two behavioral scientists who study honesty accused of using falsified data : Planet Money : NPR

Diederik Stapels


Francesca Gino


Daniel Ariely


A ‘Stunning’ Level of Student Disconnection

Professors are reporting record numbers of students checked out, stressed out, and unsure of their future.

Many students still show signs of disconnection and hopelessness. One professor called this “militant apathy.” But when students are told that a college degree is the only thing that can help them move up the economic ladder, it’s easy for the campus experience to feel transactional. And given the rising cost of nearly everything, including tuition, students may also fear the steep price tag that comes with failing.


Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, faculty members are desperate for relief. Teaching is more difficult than ever, students are disengaged, many are struggling with mental-health concerns, and the global crises just keep coming.


In France, people in show business, musicians, actors, technicians are considered like any other employee. When they have a gig, they get a salary and the employer, the Concert Hall, the Festival, has to pay charges to the government. Like any other employee, musicians are entitled to paid leave, unemployment allowances, health insurance and retirement. They need to declare a minimum of 43 performances a year to benefit from these rights. Every day they don’t work, they get unemployment allowances. It’s a good help, but it’s not always easy to find 43 gigs a year. As the charges equal the salary, it doubles the amount paid by the employer. Moreover, the minimum rate is 100€ per artist, so the employer will have to pay at least 200€ per musician. Therefore, it’s very difficult to find venues that can afford it, it’s really too expensive for small clubs, and there is no other legal way to earn a living as an artist. I’m now a happy retired musician, who no longer needs to line up gigs and can now play only when and where I wish.

Jean-Marie Redon, https://banjonews.com/2018-08/jean-marie_redon.html

"If academe is a pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie, she realized that she no longer wanted to win."

“Right now,” he said, “the measure of our worth as teachers is how many warm bodies we have in our classes. I did not expect that I’d have to come up with ridiculous course titles and sensationalize subject matter and beg and plead with students to take my courses.”

“my students’ perpetual lack of interest felt like a rebuke to everything that mattered to me.”

“I didn’t go into it for the money,” Smith said, “but my salary is embarrassing. I’m in my 50s, and I make what some of my students will make their first year out of college.

 Quotations from "Even Tenure-Line Professors are Quitting. Link

In Ayer’s vision, the ancient conception of philosophy as the painstaking and lifelong task of contemplating our purpose and place in the world, and of seeking to live in accord with those discoveries, was replaced by a modern technique. The philosopher’s task was to regiment statements into a symbolic language, the constituents of which corresponded to possible experiences, before handing them over to scientists to be tested by observation. With this method in hand, a whole generation of young philosophers was excited to discover that they could brush aside any hesitating talk of the metaphysical by roundly and loudly declaring, “I don’t understand.” “What comes next?,” a friend asked Ayer soon after the publication of Language, Truth and Logic. “There’s no next,” replied Ayer. “Philosophy has come to an end. Finished.”

The “Why?” that is the mark of the metaphysical animal emerges of necessity in this context, the context of human life in which we are confronted with a reality that defies our capacity to understand it. The snowdrop hangs its head. Why? So asked a 6-year-old Iris Murdoch in 1925.

Metaphysical Animals. By Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman

APRIL 8, 2022. https://www.chronicle.com/article/metaphysical-animals?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_4045502_nl_Academe-Today_date_20220411&cid=at&source=ams&sourceid=&cid2=gen_login_refresh

Nihil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum.

There is nothing so absurd that it has not been said by some philosopher.

Cicero, De Divinatione 2.58

And yet, no clearer example of a deepity will you find than the assertion that math is an instinct.


Academic life, at least as I’ve experienced it, still rests on a fantasy that the faculty are wealthy gentleman-scholars who would enjoy sipping sherry and smoking a pipe at 7 p.m. with other gentleman-scholars while the womenfolk raise their sons and heirs or something.

Jill Lepore, Harvard history professor.

The Data Is In — Trigger Warnings Don’t Work. By Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder


Nur kleine Geister halten Ordnung.  Genies überblicken das Chaos.

ascribed to Nietzsche

"Oublie ton passé, qu'il soit simple ou composé; participe à ton Présent pour que ton Futur soit Plus que Parfait."

source unknown

Rebecca Atkinson (2015) blogs that: “Cripple, deaf-mute and lame all fell out of favor a long time ago and are now considered insults. By the 1980s and 90s “handicapped” was gradually replaced with “disabled” as a new way of thinking about disability emerged – called the social model. Attitudes change and as a consequence so does language”. With the shift to people first language it has now become “people with disabilities” as opposed to “disabled people”.


Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d

In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,

And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall 1835.

“Aus der Kriegsschule des Lebens.  Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker”  

    • (Friedrich Nietsche, Götzen-Dämmerung, 1888)

When my generation stepped out and were making themselves known, we drew a distinct line between ourselves and what sounded to us like Vegas or in any way ‘lounge-y’. It’s like folk music was okay and Celtic music was okay, but Sinatra was not. We were unkind and unaccepting of that music. We distanced ourselves from it.  And, in fact, it’s so fabulous.  

James Taylor. https://www.guitarworld.com

Les dieux eux-mêmes meurent,

Mais les vers souverains


Plus forts que les airains.

Sculpte, lime, cisèle;

Que ton rêve flottant

Se scelle

Dans le bloc résistant!

Théophile Gauthier

(9) Secondamente, però che la vertù dee muovere le cose sempre al migliore. Ché così come sarebbe biasimevole operazione fare una zappa d'una bella spada o fare uno nappo d'una bella chitarra, così è biasimevole muovere la cosa d'un luogo dove sia utile e portarla in parte dove sia meno utile.

Dante,   Convivio (I, viii, 9

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 29 when she went to Sweden for a legal research project. And it was there, in 1962, that the future Supreme Court justice discovered a world that challenged every assumption she had about women in the workplace.  Not only did she see a female judge presiding over a trial, but the judge was seven months pregnant. In Swedish law school classrooms, at least 25 percent of the students she saw were women.  Ginsburg, who last week died at 87 and is being mourned this week at the Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol, wasn’t able to find a job after graduating near the top of her law school class. There had been just nine women in a law class of 500, and the dean asked each of them to justify taking the spot of a man.


“Second, teachers who influenced or encouraged me in my growing-up years. At Cornell University, my professor of European literature, Vladimir Nabokov, changed the way I read and the way I write. Words could paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.” 

(Ruth Bader Ginsburg about her English class at Cornell, quoted in the NYT)

Tout passe. — L’art robusteSeul a l’éternité.Le busteSurvit à la cité.Et la médaille austèreQue trouve un laboureurSous terreRévèle un empereur.     

— Théophile Gautier, Émaux et camées (1852)

L’uomo con la coscienza pulita ha probabilmente una scarsa memoria.  (Italian proverb.  The man who has a clear conscience probably has bad memory.)

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.    

Agora que estoy despacio / cantar quiero en mi bandurria / lo que el más grave instrumento / cantara, / mas no me ayuda.    Góngora

"Le talent, ça n'existe pas. Le talent c'est d'avoir envie de faire quelque chose."  Jacques Brel

"There are two kinds of men in this world. Those with a crush on Linda Ronstadt and those who never heard of her." - Willie Nelson

Sutor, ne ultra crepidam    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutor,_ne_ultra_crepidam

MANSPLAINING: Traduit en français par mecsplication ou pénisplication, le terme "mansplaining" est un néologisme formé des mots "man", pour homme, et "explaining", qui explique. Il désigne une situation dans laquelle un homme donne des explications, voire fait la leçon à une femme, sur un ton paternaliste ou condescendant, sur un sujet qui concerne pourtant directement cette dernière. Voire qu'elle maîtrise mieux que lui.  Le terme est apparu en 2008 après la publication d'un article de l'écrivaine Rebecca Solnit dans le Los Angeles Times, intitulé Ces hommes qui m'expliquent la vie. La romancière y racontait une anecdote particulièrement explicite. Elle relatait une conversation qu'elle avait eue avec un homme: ce dernier monologuait longuement au sujet d'un livre sans lui laisser la possibilité de répondre alors qu'elle en était elle-même l'auteure. Le mot a été ajouté en 2018 au célèbre Oxford English Dictionary.  https://www.bfmtv.com/societe/charge-emotionnelle-mansplaining-manterrupting-le-nouveau-lexique-pour-denoncer-le-machisme-1869633.html

“Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.”

That's a thought that ought to be at the top of Robert O'Brien's mind as he assumes the role of Trump's national security adviser -- with the tremulous optimism of the new bride joining Henry VIII at the altar.

Bret L. Stephens, NYT Sept 19, 2019 , "The Trump Doctrine, Revealed. "

By all indications, Mussolini believed that the war would be short.  As he reportedly said to General Pietro Badoglio: "I only need a few thousand dead, so that I can sit at the peace conference as a man who has fought.

Quoted in Celenza, Jazz Italian Style p. 154

"Christian philosophy … the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Joseph Priestley, https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/letter-to-priestley/

Dennett used "deepity" for a statement that is apparently profound, but is actually trivial on one level and meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has two (or more) meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound and would be important if true, but is actually false or meaningless. Examples are "Que sera sera!", "Beauty is only skin deep!", "The power of intention can transform your life."


Music speaks what cannot be expressed

Soothes the mind and gives it rest

Heals the heart and makes it whole

Flows from heaven to the soul. 


A nineteenth-century manual for teaching grammar to French children suggests that teachers should try and teach the rules without mentioning to their pupils that they are learning ‘past participle agreement’, since the very idea fills them with dread.


All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life.


Overall, bilingual patients developed dementia 4.5 years later than the monolingual ones. A significant difference in age at onset was found across Alzheimer disease dementia as well as fronto-temporal dementia and vascular dementia, and was also observed in illiterate patients. There was no additional benefit to speaking more than 2 languages. The bilingual effect on age at dementia onset was shown independently of other potential confounding factors such as education, sex, occupation, and urban vs rural dwelling of subjects.


… nonnative English speakers who had been immersed in English in their late 20s made only slightly fewer grammatical mistakes than native speakers in preschool.


Every now and then there is someone who takes the rent money to the dog tracks and wins.  That doesn't mean you should take the money to the dog track.

(source? heard on a Hidden Brain podcast)

Charles Mingus was on a tour of the deep south in the 60's. As I recall the story, a concert was scheduled in a church when a bomb threat was called in. Everyone evacuated. Except Mingus. Who loudly proclaimed that he refused to leave. And if a bomb went off, he continued, he would die playing Sophisticated Lady by Duke Ellington. To honor him, and in solidarity with the efforts to rescue our democracy from the thugocracy masquerading as the GOP, I'm opening my set at the Roxy with Sophisticated Lady.

    Michael Garin, shared on Facebook by Rebecca Christie

We spend an awful lot of time in our lives trying to get good ratings.  The teachers are being rated.  The students are being rated. The schools are being rated.  The principals are being rated.  But that's not what life is about.  I think music was invented to serve a purpose, whether it's to take you to a specific state of mind or to create a sense of communal wellbeing.  

I think music in some ways is the science of the soul. It's the science of the inner life.  So teaching music is not to say this is what it is and that's it, but it's more … you activate all your senses to activate all your imagination with the result of having mental acuity, creativity and a form of expression that is very precise.

There's no greater magic than seeing young people getting turned on by an idea and starting to grapple with things and to feel that kind of energy, see the light in their eyes, and to see someone becoming the opposite of apathetic, the opposite of being paralyzed, the opposite of feeling powerless to do anything but to be actively engaged in living, participating, that's the most exciting thing.

Yoyo Ma (video on facebook)

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

Warren Buffett

Colleges are creating a "generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes"

Attorney General Sessions, quoted  here in https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Are-Creating-a/243997?cid=wb&utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en&elqTrackId=31ff6581b9ee4772a2654ddb7ec82f4c&elq=49b039f45dbd484f8e28c0fe66977b20&elqaid=19906&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=9236

Get a bicycle.  You will not regret it if you live. 

Mark Twain

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date

Shakespeare, Sonnet 18.

Sports is to war as pornography is to sex. 

Jonathan Haidt, https://youtu.be/8SOQduoLgRw (6:52)

Once you engage the psychology of teams, it shuts down open-minded thinking.

Jonathan Haidt, https://youtu.be/8SOQduoLgRw  (3:19)

When I see a young pupil, my first question is: "Can you live without music. If you can live without music, thank the Lord and goodbye."    Because it's only if it is unavoidable that you must do music. 

Nadia Boulanger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfNltHN8uis 0:50

Going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion. 

Norman Schwarzkopf.

The Nazis idolized many aspects of American society: the cult of sport, Hollywood production values, the mythology of the frontier. From boyhood on, Hitler devoured the Westerns of the popular German novelist Karl May. In 1928, Hitler remarked, approvingly, that white settlers in America had “gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand.” When he spoke of Lebensraum, the German drive for “living space” in Eastern Europe, he often had America in mind.


Karl May (pronounced “my”) is an adventure writer from the late nineteenth century whom most Americans have never heard of but whose stories of the American West are to this day better known to Germans than the works of Thomas Mann. His books have sold more than a hundred million copies. Though May never visited the American West, he told everyone that he had, and he wore a necklace of bear teeth, as if in proof. All his life, he was a confabulator, even when it was of no benefit to him.


(I read all of those stories as a child)

Guitares et mandolines

Ont des sons qui font aimer.

Tout en croquant des pralines

Pépa se laisse charmer

Quand, jetant dièses, bécarres,

Mandolines et guitares

Vibrent pour la désarmer.

Les amants suivant le phare

Mandoline avec guitare

Accompagnent de leur bruit

(Guitare avec mandoline)

De la beauté dans la nuit.

Et Juana montre, féline,

Sa bouche et son oeil qui luit.

Camille Saint-Saëns, En Espagne (1890)

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

  Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Aesopus on political correctness.

A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his side a countryman passed them and said, "You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?" So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way.

But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."

So the man ordered his boy to get off and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other, "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."

Well, the man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.

The men said, "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours -- you and your hulking son?"

The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle, the donkey fell over the bridge, and his forefeet being tied together, he was drowned.

Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.

Source: Joseph Jacobs, The Fables of Æsop (London: Macmillan and Company, 1902), no. 63, pp. 149-51.

"La disinformazione - spiega il Papa nell'intervista - è probabilmente il danno più grande che può fare un mezzo, perché orienta l'opinione in una direzione, tralasciando l'altra parte della verità". Invece, prosegue Bergoglio, i media devono "essere molto limpidi, molto trasparenti, e non cadere nella malattia della coprofilia, che è voler sempre comunicare lo scandalo, comunicare le cose brutte, anche se siano verità. E siccome la gente ha la tendenza alla malattia della coprofagia, si può fare molto danno".


But as I learned from the Pirahãs, our expectations, our culture, and our experiences can render even perceptions of the environment nearly incommensurable cross-culturally. They say, “I’m going.” But frequently they use an expression that, though surprising at first, has come to be one of my favorite ways of saying good night: “Don’t sleep, there are snakes.” The Pirahãs say this for two reasons. First, they believe that by sleeping less they can “harden themselves,” a value they all share. Second, they know that danger is all around them in the jungle and that sleeping soundly can leave one defenseless from attack by any of the numerous predators around the village. The Pirahãs laugh and talk a good part of the night. They don’t sleep much at one time. Rarely have I heard the village completely quiet at night or noticed someone sleeping for several hours straight. I have learned so much from the Pirahãs over the years. But this is perhaps my favorite lesson. Sure, life is hard and there is plenty of danger. And it might make us lose some sleep from time to time. But enjoy it. Life goes on.

Daniel L. Everett, "Don't sleep, There are Snakes, Life and Language i the Amazonian Jungle. (preface)

Belgica "est omnis divisa in partes tres" (ut de maiore regione dixit Caesar), quarum unam incolunt Flandri (Flandriam, ubi Batavice loquuntur), aliam Vallones (Regionem Vallonicam, ubi Francogallice), tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Bruxellois, nostra 'Bruxellenses' appellantur (in qua regione maior incolarum pars sermone Francogallico utitur, quae tamen regio de iure bilinguis habetur). In orientalibus regni summi partibus exstat regio administrativa cuius incolae sermone Theodisco utuntur.


Als je dit in je jonge jaren hebt moeten van buiten leren, heb je nu een glimlach op je gezicht.

93% of prison inmates are male, 7 % are female.


Io ritengo che fra la scuola spietata, classista, elitaria, che precedeva il Sessantotto e, all’estremo opposto, la scuola della promozione assicurata di oggi possa esserci un “giusto mezzo” che non un collegio dei docenti, ma un concreto consiglio di classe possa di volta in volta, alunno per alunno, caso per caso, individuare.

Ed io ritengo che, promuovendo degli ignoranti, persino degli analfabeti (e ignoranti e analfabeti decisi a restare tali), si faccia, sul lungo periodo, un danno sia a chi viene promosso pur essendo ignorante (a meno che, ripeto, non sappia a chi rivolgersi per trovare un lavoro una volta ottenuto il diploma regalato), sia a tutta la società italiana, progressivamente popolata, di anno in anno, da ignoranti patentati.

Francesco Manetti, www.orizzontescuola.it


"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."


The headwinds-tailwinds asymmetry

GILOVICH: The idea should be familiar to anyone who cycles or runs for exercise. Sometimes you’re running or cycling into the wind, and it’s not pleasant. You’re aware of it the whole time. It’s retarding your progress and you can’t wait until the course changes so that you get the wind at your back. And when that happens you’re grateful for about a minute. And very quickly, you no longer notice the wind at your back that’s helping push you along. And what’s true when it comes to running or cycling is true of life generally.


Middle-aged, non-college-going white Americans also make up the core voting block that propelled Donald J. Trump to the White House. Mr. Trump won 67 percent of white voters without a college degree.  How are all of these factors connected? Or are they? One Pennsylvania State University sociologist found this bottom line: Mr. Trump, her research shows, performed particularly well in counties with the highest mortality rates from alcohol, drugs, and suicide.


La vie de l'homme oscille comme une pendule entre la douleur et l'ennui 


… les croisements spermatiques dont cette malheureuse Belgique a été la victime plus violée que la Lucrèce antique  

(Félicien Rops)

'O tenente mm'ha 'ncucciàto

cu ll'uocchie 'e chianto e cu 'a chitarra 'mmano,

e mm' ha ditto accussì: «Napulitano,

ccà nun hê 'a fá 'o tenóre, hê 'a fá 'o surdàte!»

Ll'aggio ditto accussì: «Signor tenente,

mannàteme 'm prigione, nun fa niente!

Pienzo a 'o paese mio ca sta luntano,

e so' napulitano, e si nun canto i' moro!»

(the lieutenant said to me: Neapolitan, you can't be a tenor no more, you have to be a soldier. I told him: Lieutenant, send me to prison, that's ok. I'll think about my country far away, and I'm Neapolitan, and if I don't sing, I die.)

From the song "Surdate" by Libero Bovio (1910)

omnes autem invicem humilitatem insinuate quia Deus superbis resistit humilibus autem dat gratiam

sobrii estote vigilate quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret

St. Peter, First Epistle chapter 5

You ask me what I mean 

by saying I have lost my tongue. 

I ask you, what would you do 

if you had two tongues in your mouth, 

and lost the first one, the mother tongue, 

and could not really know the other, 

the foreign tongue. 

You could not use them both together 

even if you thought that way.

And if you lived in a place you had to 

speak a foreign tongue, 

your mother tongue would rot, 

rot and die in your mouth 

until you had to “spit it out.” 

I thought I spit it out 

but overnight while I dream, 

(munay hutoo kay aakhee jeebh aakhee bhasha)

(may thoonky nakhi chay)

(parantoo rattray svupnama mari bhasha pachi aavay chay) 

(foolnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh) 

(modhama kheelay chay) 

(fullnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh) 

(modham pakay chay) 

it grows back, a stump of a shoot 

grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins, 

it ties the other tongue in knots, 

the bud opens, the bud opens in my mouth, 

it pushes the other tongue aside. 

Every time I think I’ve forgotten, 

I think I’ve lost the mother tongue, 

it blossoms out of my mouth. 

Sujata Bhatt

When you grow up in France, none of the heroes you learn about are entrepreneurs.  When someone gets rich in France, people immediately ask, 'What did he do to make this money?  He must be a nasty person.'

Brigitte Granville, quoted in NYT 12/11/17

Honey, I have no residual cognitive deficiency.

A ninety-something mother of a friend, at the hospital recovering from a stroke; 

a young nurse asked her if she knew what day of the week it was.

The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world.

Max Born

C'est en faisant n'importe quoi qu'on devient n'importe qui.

Rémi Gaillard

If you want to make god laugh, tell him your plans.


   "Presidential campaigns are won with big, simple, directional promises that rarely align well with the complexity confronted in the Oval Office. So presidents do the best they can to stretch the fabric of incomplete outcomes to cover as much bare backside as possible and move on."

Michael O. Leavitt, Republican former governor of Utah 

and secretary of health and human services and adviser to Trump, 

quoted in NYT Oct 14 2017

One of the great history teachers in those days was a University of Chicago professor named Karl Weintraub. He poured his soul into transforming his students’ lives, but, even then, he sometimes wondered if they were really listening. … 

Teaching Western Civ, Weintraub wrote, “seems to confront me all too often with moments when I feel like screaming suddenly: ‘Oh, God, my dear student, why CANNOT you see that this matter is a real, real matter, often a matter of the very being, for the person, for the historical men and women you are looking at — or are supposed to be looking at!’  “I hear these answers and statements that sound like mere words, mere verbal formulations to me, but that do not have the sense of pain or joy or accomplishment or worry about them that they ought to have if they were TRULY informed by the live problems and situations of the human beings back there for whom these matters were real. The way these disembodied words come forth can make me cry, and the failure of the speaker to probe for the open wounds and such behind the text makes me increasingly furious.

From "the Humanist Vocation" by David Brooks http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/opinion/brooks-the-humanist-vocation.html

Even Cheverus High School in Portland, the last Jesuit school in northern New England, is dropping its Latin program next fall. It will not offer Latin to incoming freshmen and current students will finish out their Latin studies online.


God gave man a penis and a brain, but not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.

Source unknown

Judy Collins studied classical piano with Antonia Brico, making her public debut at age 13, performing Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos. Brico took a dim view, both then and later, of Collins' developing interest in folk music, which led her to the difficult decision to discontinue her piano lessons. Years later, after she became known internationally, she invited Brico to one of her concerts in Denver. When they met after the performance, Brico took both of Collins' hands in hers, looked wistfully at her fingers and said, "Little Judy—you really could have gone places."


Dunning and Kruger set out to test these hypotheses on Cornell undergraduates in psychology courses. In a series of studies, they examined student self-assessment of logical reasoning skills, grammatical skills, and humor. After being shown their test scores, the students were asked to estimate their own rank in the class. The competent group estimated their rank accurately, while the incompetent group overestimated theirs. In other words, students who were about to get Ds and Fs thought they had turned in B-or-better work. 


In un'intervista comparsa nella rivista Prometeo nel 1911, Frontini bollò la musica contemporanea con il termine di "confusionismo", stigmatizzando la produzione musicale dell'epoca, basata sui gusti del pubblico, sulla pubblicità e sull'abbandono della "grande arte italiana" per "affarismo".


During the October crisis, Sorenson writes, JFK dispatched former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to show the CIA's surveillance photos of the Cuban missiles to French President Charles de Gaulle. I don't need to see pictures of the weapons of mass destruction, de Gaulle replied: "The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."


If it's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well.

Donald Olding Hebb

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien

As to be hated needs but to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Alexander Pope

Academics are people who’ve spent their lives battling to be No. 1. They’ve gotten the top grades, the scholarships, the honors, and the awards. Along the way most have also become confident public speakers, but some can be insufferable. At social gatherings they gather in knots and take turns lecturing each other. Often — even when discussing the weather — they’ll count off the points on their fingers: "First, there’s the humidity." They listen reluctantly, impatiently, pawing the ground.


"It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world."

~ Nelson Mandela

Solamen miseris socios habuisse malorum  

(Spinoza, Ethica, 4, 7. A et passim)

 (I've seen it attributed to Terentius, Heautontimoroumenos)

Colleges have long been engaged in an odd deal with students and their parents. Paying for a college education — or taking on a huge amount of debt to finance an education — is a transaction in which most of the buyers and most of the sellers have fundamentally different understandings of the product.

Think about it this way: Suppose I start a print newspaper tomorrow. I might think I’m selling excellent journalism, while my “readers” are actually using my product to line their birdcages. It might work out fine for a while. But the imbalance in this transaction would make it difficult to talk in general terms about improving the product or whether the product is worth what I’m charging. I might think I should improve my grammar and hire more reporters. My customers might want me to make the paper thicker.

In the college transaction, most parents think they’re buying their kids a credential, a better job and a ticket, economically speaking at least, to the American dream. Most college professors and administrators (the good ones, anyway) see their role as producing liberally educated, well-rounded individuals with an appreciation for certain kinds of knowledge. If they get a job after graduation, well, that’s nice, too.

The students, for the most part, are not quite sure where they fit into this bargain. Some will get caught up in what they learn and decide to go on to further education. But most will see college as an opportunity to have fun and then come out the other end of the pipeline with the stamp of approval they need to make a decent salary after graduation.

Naomi Schaefer Riley


Plato was no friend of democracy (as pandering classics professors routinely fail to tell us in their TV series on Greek democracy), not least because it killed his hero Socrates. He saw it as a system that gradually

expanded freedom and equality to the point where authority imploded and its ensuing disorders allow a demagogue to seize power, promising to “take back control” or “get our country back”.

Michael White in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/blog/2016/aug/25/resentful-americans-turn-blind-eye-donald-trump

"After Trump went after the 'Mexican' judge from northern Indiana then (House Speaker) Paul Ryan endorsed him, I decided that in fact this was not my party anymore," (George) Will said on "Fox News Sunday."

Trump attacked Will on Twitter over his decision to leave the GOP Sunday morning, writing: "George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party. He's made many bad calls."

Will responded on "Fox News Sunday," saying: "He has an advantage on me, because he can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters and I can't."


Eén van de intelligentste mensen die ik ooit heb ontmoet was Pater Emile de Strycker s.j. professor aan de Antwerpse Universiteit. Hij was als classicus en specialist van vroeg-christelijke teksten volkomen op de hoogte van de moeilijkheden die een gelovige ondervindt wanneer hij als wetenschapsmens de Bijbel bestudeert. Toen ik hem in een periode van twijfel vroeg voor mij de historiciteit van de evangeliën aan te tonen, antwoordde hij - wel wetend wat dit voor mij zou betekenen, maar ten volle eerlijk - dat hij dat niet kon. We hebben dan een lang gesprek gehad over de existentiële motieven die hem ertoe gebracht hadden zijn geloof trouw te blijven. Toen heb ik ingezien dat voor sommige mensen die existentiële behoefte zo sterk is dat ze bereid zijn er een deel van hun rationeel inzicht voor tussen haakjes te zetten. Ik respecteer dat en ik zal de Strycker altijd dankbaar blijven om zijn eerlijkheid in een voor mij kritieke periode.

Etienne Vermeersch, http://www.etiennevermeersch.be/artikels/godsdienst-religie/kort-vertoog-over-de-god-van-het-christendom

On s'engage, et puis on voit.

Napoléon Bonaparte (quoted by Lenin)

“It’s tough to know how much philosophical instruction anybody can absorb at age 20, before most of life has happened, but seeds can be planted.”                                                                                                                                                                         David Brooks


A friend living in the UK, expressing her shock at the Brexit vote.

Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.

David Brooks

Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!

Wolfgang Pauli (Theoretical physicist)

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their own ineptitude and evaluate their own ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: highly skilled individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.


One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

Bertrand Russell

Coiled Gibberish in a Thicket of Prose

Following is an excerpt from "Transgressing the Boundaries," a parody by Prof. Alan D. Sokal of New York University that was published in the journal Social Text as a serious article.

"Here my aim is to carry these deep analyses one step further, by taking account of recent developments in quantum gravity: the emerging branch of physics in which Heisenberg's quantum mechanics and Einstein's general relativity are at once synthesized and superseded. In quantum gravity, as we shall see, the space-time manifold ceases to exist as an objective physical reality; geometry becomes relational and contextual; and the foundational conceptual categories of prior science -- among them, existence itself -- become problematized and relativized. This conceptual revolution, I will argue, has profound implications for the content of a future postmodern and liberatory science."


"When people type their notes they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can," Mueller tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them."


It was about five years ago that Paul Thagard, a professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo, started noticing a “wall” of screens in his lectures. When he installed a graduate student at the back of the classroom to spy on his plugged-in students, he learned that 85 per cent of them were using their computers for something unrelated to class.

The study found that these students scored significantly worse on a pop quiz about a given lesson’s content than students whose laptops were closed – a finding consistent with troves of research showing that “multitasking” is virtually impossible for most people.

In The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard, their cleverly titled 2014 paper on the subject, Pam Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote that even when students use computers only for note-taking, they retain less information than students who take notes by hand.


In their new book, The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy – fittingly, with a snail on the cover – Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber apply the principles of the “slow” movement to academia. Proudly proclaiming themselves “slow professors,” the authors offer insights on how to manage teaching, research and collegiality in an era when more professors feel “beleaguered, managed, frantic, stressed and demoralized” as they juggle the increasingly complex expectations of students, the administration, colleagues – and themselves. “Distractedness and fragmentation characterize contemporary academic life,” they write. Today’s professors, they argue, need to slow down, devote more time to “doing nothing,” and enjoy more pleasure in their research and teaching. It’s time, they say, “to take back the intellectual life of the university.”


I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave.

Michael Bublé to Laura Pausini

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.    …  Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.


Many years ago, Mike Adams, a biologist at Eastern Connecticut State University, studied the problem and proved that there’s definitely a correlation between grandparent deaths and exams. After collecting data for 20 years, Adams concluded that a student’s grandmother was far more likely to die before midterms than at any other time of the year. More specifically, his research showed that grandmothers are 10 times more likely to die before a midterm, and 19 times more likely to die before a final exam. Grannies of students who weren’t doing well in their classes were at even higher risk of meeting their maker: Students who were failing a class were 50 times as likely as others to lose a grandmother.


"The only thing that this 10-string monstrosity accomplishes is to transform the guitar from a voluptuous femme into a matronly hausfrau." (quoted in: 'Narciso Yepes' [Obituary] The Times [London (UK)] 19 May 1997: 23.)

In an interview with People magazine, she (jazz guitarist Emily Remner) once said of herself: "I may look like a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey, but inside I’m a 50-year-old, heavyset black man with a big thumb, like Wes Montgomery." ~People Mag. 1982~

The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;

The motions of his spirit are dull as night

And his affections dark as Erebus:

Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Quando Laplace presentò il suo Trattato di meccanica celeste a Napoleone Bonaparte, l’imperatore osservò: «Signor Laplace, mi hanno detto che in quest’opera sull’Universo il Creatore non è citato neppure una volta». «Sire, non ho bisogno di questa ipotesi», fu la risposta di Laplace. Entrambi erano di parola pronta. «È una bella ipotesi, che spiega molte cose», ribatté Napoleone. E Laplace: «Certo, spiega tutto. Ma non permette di predire niente».

Piero Baianucci in La Stampa 03/09/2010

"Ordnung braucht nur der Dumme, das Genie beherrscht das Chaos." 

Albert Einstein (?)

variant: Der Kluge hält Ordnung, das Genie beherrscht das Chaos!

Der Kleingeist hält Ordnung, das Genie überblickt das Chaos!

That I - the only thing that really put it into perspective for me was after my first blues book came out, "The Country Blues," I was at a party with the Folkways office and there was Langston Hughes. And Langston was telling me how much he liked the book, and I said, Langston, thank you, but you could tell me so much more about the blues than I'll ever know. And Langston looked at me and said tell me something about Schubert that I don't know. And I realized at that point that this is simply something to learn about and that it didn't matter what color or what your background was. If you set out to learn it and you were open, you could learn. And so this has been my final justification for continuing to absorb myself in it. Absolutely, there may be nuances I miss, but after all these years there a lot of nuances that I get, and I'll settle for that.

Samuel Charters in an interview with Terry Gross


The gospels are written in a language that Jesus did not speak.

J.S. Spong

Last weekend was far from the first Palin appearance that has raised eyebrows among her onetime fans. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2013, she said of her husband, Todd: “He’s got the rifle. I got the rack.”


If a nation expects to be ignorant and free …, it expects what never was and never will be.

Attributed to Thomas Jefferson (but he probably never said it with those words)

C'est en voyant un moustique se poser sur ses testicules qu'on réalise qu'on ne peut pas régler tous les problèmes par la violence.

Proverbe Chinois (?)  put on facebook by Willy Denzey

Une fourmi sur le sol, tu l'écrases; Une fourmi sur ton bras, tu la pousses doucement.

proverbe belge

As the actress said to the bishop:  you couldn't have come at a better time.


“I quote others only in order the better to express myself.” 

Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Les jeux sont faits.

Les faits sont jeux.

Les feux sont jets.

les feux songeaient.

Carlo Cappellaro

"Telling someone to follow their passion -- from an entrepreneur's point of view -- is disastrous," says Cal Newport, Georgetown University professor and author of So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search For Work You Love. "That advice has probably resulted in more failed businesses than all the recessions combined... because that's not how the vast majority of people end up owning successful businesses.”

“The myth of the virtuoso is also a problem," Newport says. "In the majority of cases people think of someone who became a virtuoso as having had unusual talent when they were very young."

Instead, most highly skilled people were exposed to something in a way that made it interesting. Take musicians. Something (a song, an instrument, a teacher, etc) initially inspired them. They started learning and then benefited from what Newport describes as a feedback effect.

"If you practice hard, soon you might find you're the best in your group of students," he says. "That's great feedback and it motivates you to keep practicing. Then you're one of the best in a larger group and that's motivating too. Practice and achievement is a gradual, self-reinforcing process."


Dear Colleagues,

                As I have looked out my window in the past two days, I have beheld a sunny quad with masses of students in shorts and flip-flops and even one professor hoping to communicate knowledge while holding class on the lawn, so I guess we can finally believe that spring is here. 

Father James Miracki, Dean, in an email to the Loyola faculty

The Jesuits have a famous maxim: "Give me a child for the first seven years, and you may do what you like with him afterwards." Lenin later went one better and reckoned if he had the child for eight years, they would be a Bolshevik forever.


God is dead.

Friedrich Nietzsche

God is dad. 

Sigmund Freud.

- Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep time.

- They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it

- Make the drummer sound good.

- Don't play the piano part.  I'm playing that.  Don't listen to me, I'm supposed to be accompanying you!

- What should we wear tonight?  Sharp as possible!

- You've got it! If you don't want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case: you got it!

Thelonious Monk

Famous guitarist Julian Bream began his career playing a harp guitar, and not just any guitar, this was a Selmer-Maccaferri. A picture exists showing your Julian, at around 13 years of age, playing his harp guitar. The picture was taken during a visit to Banjo, Mandolin & Guitar Magazine when Julian was just about to be 'discovered' and appeared on the magazine's cover in June 1947. Julian's first teacher, Dr Boris Perrot, had owned a Russian harp guitar and advocated the use of these extra strings, in fact Julian's father enjoyed the sound so much he helped build the guitar into the logo of the Philharmonic Society of Guitarists, so he was very willing to look for suitable instrument for his talented son. His choice was a nine-stringed harp guitar said to have been played by Maccaferri himself. Despite this, when Julian Bream gave his first concerts, he used a conventional, six stringed guitar, so what happened?

Apparently it is all down to one man, Wilfred Appleby, a member of the Philharmonic Society of Guitarists who was partially responsible for the launch of Bream's career. Unlike Bream senior he was not enamored of the harp guitar, in fact he described it as a 'freak instrument'. Appleby wrote that 'no music requiring extra strings is really representative guitar music' and demanded that Julian use a conventional guitar for his debut.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4406024

Segovia was ever adamantly against extra strings.


Egidius waer bestu bleven                                                        Egidius, where are you?

Mi lanct na di gheselle mijn                                                        I long for you, my friend.

Du coors die doot du liets mi tleven                                            You chose death, you left me life.

Dat was gheselscap goet ende fijn                                    Ours was companionship good and fine.

Het sceen teen moeste ghestorven sijn                            It seems we ought to have died together.

from a Flemish manuscript of around 1400.

In memoriam Kristina Dekelver 1957-2013, my friend of 38 years.

Nobody saw it coming.

The lottery is like a tax on the mathematically challenged.    

Oscar Wilde

Des idées réclamant le fameux sacrifice

Les sectes de tout poil en offrent des séquelles

Et la question se pose aux victimes novices

Mourir pour des idées, c'est bien beau mais lesquelles ?

Et comme toutes sont entre elles ressemblantes

Quand il les voit venir, avec leur gros drapeau

Le sage, en hésitant, tourne autour du tombeau

Mourrons pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente

D'accord, mais de mort lente


What works?  More than four decades of education reforms didn't make me a better teacher and haven't made T.C. Williams a better school.  Rather, the quick fixes promulgated by headline-seeking politicians, school administrators and self-styled education gurus have in some cases done more harm than good.   

I found that the most helpful professional-development experiences involved fellow English teachers sharing what worked in their classrooms -- always with the caveat:  "This works for me; it may not work for you."  Being with people who loved doing what I did and exchanging ideas without any professional jealousy was always reinvigorating.  

A passion for communicating one's subject matter to the next generation isn't among the 74 items on Alexandria's Curriculum Implementation Walkthrough Data Collections list, which Sherman, who left Alexandria schools last month, used to evaluate faculty.  But it's what all great teachers have in abundance.  And it's what will keep them going when the next wave of reforms comes rolling through.

 "Four decades of failed school reform"  Washington Post B3,  Sunday, September 29 2013

by Patrick Welsh (retired in June after 43 years teaching English at T.C. Williams High School) 

The typical Fleming generated 28,900 euros ($37,900) in economic output in 2010, 18 percent above the European Union average, according to the latest EU data. Per capita production in the French-speaking region was 21,500 euros, 12 percent below the EU average.


Disce aut discede (learn or go away)

An inscription above the entrance to the Shepton Mallet school in England, found by my friend Nick Blanton.  

It seems to have been common at English schools.

"I hate the sight of pen, ink, and paper... I do not believe that I was born for such a lot. I have aimed higher than this"

Henri Wadsworth Longfellow, Harvard professor, poet and translator.

The best writers, especially war correspondents, are moralists.  I think of Richard Harding Davis' picture of the German army marching into Brussels and burning Louvain in 1914: he had witnessed wars where both sides followed some rules, but, "At Louvain it was war upon the defenseless, war upon churches, colleges, shops of milliners and lacemakers; war brought to the bedside and fireside; against women harvesting in the fields, against children in wooden shoes at play in the streets."

What would he say today about drones?  Your papers are due tomorrow in the first minute of class.

Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.

Aut amat mulier, aut odit, nil tertium.  (a woman either loves or hates, there's no other (third) possibility.)


God did it, so there's no evolution.  Evolution did it, so there's no god.  Nil tertium????

I can explain it to you, but I can't comprehend it for you.

   Ed Koch, late major of NY

And that's where this book runs the risk of trampling over sacred ground.  The Holocaust, of course, is largely a story of mass deaths.  The events memorialized in "Isaac's Army" were freakish aberrations.  Only an abnormality can produce a happy ending in a Holocaust tale.  The triumph of the human spirit is trumpeted on every page, but the larger, darker truth of the Holocaust can end up being trivialized amid the desperate wish to affirm life.  

Thane Rosenbaum reviewing "Isaac's Army" in the Washington Post, Jan 6 2013, B5

It is so easy to get a lot of noise out of an accordion that it is very difficult to get music out of one. In the hands of an unfeeling person or a show-off, it can be a pain to listen to. But in the hands of a sensitive person with taste and restraint -- and also with a good deal of strength and power in arms and shoulders -- perhaps it can be just as beautiful as any instrument. Listen to the accordions accompanying the Piatnitsky chorus on Russian folksongs, or the Louisiana cajun accordion ("windjammers" they called them -- Leadbelly could play one).

 Pete Seeger in his Johnny Appleseed, Jr. column in the February-March 1963 issue of Sing Out! magazine

Art is a lie that enables us to see the truth.

Pablo Picasso

Everything here is designed to focus your ear on Ostroushko’s bright, crisp, precise playing. And, that’s the only knock with this three-and-a-half hour set. There’s an inherent sameness to the mando’s narrow ring that makes these songs best in short takes. But, there isn’t a cut here that won’t make you marvel at Ostroushko’s touch.

An online review of Peter Ostroushko's latest album (and a warning for mandolin players)

Henri Ford

The Latin Vulgate

erit enim tempus cum sanam doctrinam non sustinebunt sed ad sua desideria coacervabunt sibi magistros prurientes auribus

New International Version

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

The Message

You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food - catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

“Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – 

attributed to Albert Einstein

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. ... I get most joy in life out of music.”


Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Mensen willen bemind worden.  Bij gebrek daaraan willen ze gerespecteerd worden.  Bij gebrek daaraan, willen ze gevreesd worden.  Bij gebrek daaraan willen ze verafschuwd worden.  Bij gebrek daaraan kan je beter doodgaan.

Herman van Veen

Seuls 4% des Belges se disent encore catholiques pratiquants

Une enquête du Crisp révélait ainsi qu’en 1977, 84% des Flamands, 74,9% des Wallons et 46,9% des Bruxellois se mariaient encore à l'église. Trente ans plus tard, ils ne sont respectivement plus que 28%, 28,4% et 7,2%, soit une moyenne de 21% pour l’ensemble du pays.

link to source

Another commonly held notion, that studying is how learning occurs and testing is an afterthought, was upended by Henry L. "Roddy" Roediger III, a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, who has studied what is known as the "testing effect."    

In an experiment, he broke students into three different groups: One studied a list of words eight consecutive times without taking any tests; the second studied the list six times and was tested twice. The last studied the words four times and took four tests. Two days later, they were asked to recall as many words as they could. Those who took four tests recalled words at up to twice the rate of those who only studied.   

"Taking a test on something is a very effective way to learn about it," Mr. Roediger said.



Sign held by a protester at the World Economic Forum in Davos (cited in Time Magazine Feb13 2012 p 21)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.      Mark Twain

Craigslist Ad: 

"We are a new casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD's. No pay will be involved.This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More Jazz, Rock, & smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP."

A Musician's Reply: 

"Happy New Year! I am a musician with a big house looking for a restauranteur to come to my house to promote his/her restaurant by making dinner for me and my friends. No pay will be involved. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get a positive response. More fine dining & exotic meals and mixed Ethnic Fusion cuisine. Are you interested to promote your restaurant? Please reply back ASAP."

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

Laurie Anderson

Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that despite the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak foreign languages.     

Dave Barry

I've said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts, but I never noticed.

B. B. King

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

Americans eventually always do the right thing, after exhausting all other possibilities.

Winston Churchill, quoted on NPR

As a child, (folk singer Judy) Collins studied classical pianowith Antonia Brico, making her public debut at age 13, performing Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos. Dr. Brico took a dim view, both then and later, of Collins's developing interest in folk music, which led her to the difficult decision to discontinue her piano lessons. Years later, when Collins had become internationally known through her music, she invited Dr. Brico to one of her concerts in Denver. When they met after the performance, Brico took both of Judy's hands in hers, looked wistfully at her fingers and said, "Little Judy—you really could have gone places." 

Wikipedia s.v. Judy Collins

"...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

The butcher feeds the turkey.  The turkey thinks it's permanent.  Who am I, the butcher or the turkey?

(quoted in This American Life?)

“Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling,

And I would still be on my feet,

Oh I would still be on my feet.”

From the song "a case of you" by Joni Mitchell, Blue album.

Chet Atkins to the bass player in his band:  "did anybody ever tell you you're the greatest bass player in the world?"

Bass Player: "Why, no Chet, that's mighty nice of you to say that.

Chet:  "Ever wonder why nobody ever told you that…?"

(heard on Prairy Home Companion)

When the American composer George Gershwin met Ravel, he asked the French composer if he would take him on as a student.  Ravel responded: "Why should you be second-rate Ravel when you can be a first-rate Gershwin?"

"Theorrhoea-poisoned Groves of Hackademe"

Raymond Tallis

 "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." 

Steve Jobs.

Segovia was selective and only performed works with which he identified personally. He was known to reject atonal works, or works which he considered too radical, even if they were dedicated to him; e.g. he rejected Frank Martin's Quatre pièces brèves, Darius Milhaud's Segoviana, etc


When a man makes up his mind without evidence, no evidence disproving his opinion will change his mind-

Robert Heinlein

"Musik ist die Vermittelung des geistigen Lebens zum sinnlichen."

Bettina von Arnim, in a letter to Goethe, wrote that Beethoven had said this.

"(In Mussolini's opinion).. Neapolitans were feckless and undisciplined, and

nothing could be done to amend their failings, which were primordial: in 1936

Mussolini suggested one day organizing a "March on Naples" so he could "sweep

away guitars, mandolins and violins, folk-singers, etc."

-Mussolini, RJB Bosworth (p273)

The truth about the bombing of Barcelona is that Mussolini gave the orders, Franco knew nothing … Mussolini claimed to be pleased that the Italians managed to horrify by their aggression instead of giving pleasure as mandolin players.

Quoted from the diaries of Galleazzo Ciano (Mussolini's son-in-law) 

in the documentary "Fascism in colour"

L’italiano tradizionale doveva sostituire l’affetto per la mamma e la famiglia, con la dedizione appassionata al Duce e alla Patria; il mandolino (una vera ossessione di Mussolini, che nel 1935 vietò ai giornali di pubblicare fotografie di soldati italiani al fronte, mentre erano impegnati a suonare chitarre o mandolini), col moschetto; gli ideali cristiani di bontà e di amore per il prossimo, con la durezza e, là dove necessaria, la spietatezza. 


By 1938 Mussolini was declaring war on “those fools [in Italy] and abroad who prefer the carefree, disordered, amusing, mandolin-playing Italy of the past and not the organised, strong, taciturn and powerful [Italy] of the fascist era”.

On perhaps no other issue was Mussolini so consistent: violence, inflicted by and upon his people, would transform the Italians from a bunch of undisciplined, chattering "mandolin players" into fearsome, conquering warriors."

Michael Erbner, Ordinary Violence in Mussolini's Italy

Please forgive this intrusion on this pleasant August afternoon.

(our new deparmtent head in an email. The fall looks better already.)

Lomax's description of southern Italian singing is widely cited: "A voice as pinched and strangulated and high-pitched as any in Europe. The singing expression is one of true agony, the throat is distended and flushed with strain, the brow knotted with a painful expression."[4]


Eye have a spelling chequer,

It came with my Pea Sea.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am write oar wrong

It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,

Your shore real glad two no.

Its vary polished in its weigh.

My chequer tolled me sew.

Jo Fearnley

Italy was not unified politically until the 19th century. The drive towards unification led to efforts to create a sense of Italian identity, famously described by the Italian statesman Massimo d’Azeglio: "We have created Italy; now we have to create Italians."[6] Abroad, Italian culture and society are often stereotyped, associating all Italian music with certain styles. For example, some years ago the Mayor of Venice banned gondoliers from singing Neapolitan songs for the tourists, most of whom requested "‘O sole mio" and other songs typical only of Naples but widely regarded abroad as characteristic of all Italian music.[7]


Quando Laplace presentò il suo Trattato di meccanica celeste a Napoleone Bonaparte, l’imperatore osservò: «Signor Laplace, mi hanno detto che in quest’opera sull’Universo il Creatore non è citato neppure una volta». «Sire, non ho bisogno di questa ipotesi», fu la risposta di Laplace. Entrambi erano di parola pronta. «È una bella ipotesi, che spiega molte cose», ribatté Napoleone. E Laplace: «Certo, spiega tutto. Ma non permette di predire niente».

Piero Baianucci in La Stampa 03/09/2010

L'art de la citation est l'art de ceux qui ne savent pas réfléchir par eux- mêmes" (quotations are for people who have no thoughts of their own)



Quid enim molestiae tristitiaeque ingerant prudentibus fratribus temerarii praesumptores, satis dici non potest, cum si quando de prava et falsa opinatione sua reprehendi, et convinci coeperint ab eis qui nostrorum Librorum auctoritate non tenentur, ad defendendum id quod levissima temeritate et apertissima falsitate dixerunt, eosdem Libros sanctos, unde id probent, proferre conantur, vel etiam memoriter, quae ad testimonium valere arbitrantur, multa inde verba pronuntiant, non intellegentes neque quae loquuntur, neque de quibus affirmant.

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

-Frank Zappa

Augustinus --De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim (trans. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers).

Non omnes qui habent citharam sunt citharoedi   (Not all those who have a guitar are guitarists)

Marcus Terentius Varro Reatinus (116-27BC)

Colleges have long been engaged in an odd deal with students and their parents. Paying for a college education — or taking on a huge amount of debt to finance an education — is a transaction in which most of the buyers and most of the sellers have fundamentally different understandings of the product.

Think about it this way: Suppose I start a print newspaper tomorrow. I might think I’m selling excellent journalism, while my “readers” are actually using my product to line their birdcages. It might work out fine for a while. But the imbalance in this transaction would make it difficult to talk in general terms about improving the product or whether the product is worth what I’m charging. I might think I should improve my grammar and hire more reporters. My customers might want me to make the paper thicker.

In the college transaction, most parents think they’re buying their kids a credential, a better job and a ticket, economically speaking at least, to the American dream. Most college professors and administrators (the good ones, anyway) see their role as producing liberally educated, well-rounded individuals with an appreciation for certain kinds of knowledge. If they get a job after graduation, well, that’s nice, too.

The students, for the most part, are not quite sure where they fit into this bargain. Some will get caught up in what they learn and decide to go on to further education. But most will see college as an opportunity to have fun and then come out the other end of the pipeline with the stamp of approval they need to make a decent salary after graduation.

What is a college education really worth? By Naomi Schaefer Riley

Washington Post June 3 2011  B3

Music washes away the dust of every day life.


"Without deviation, progress is not possible."

Peut-être dans le domaine de la religion, comme dans celui de l'amour, est-il inévitable de recourir à des termes vagues: tout y est vrai, pourvu qu'on y croie." 

J. Cabanis

Gertrude Stein described the essence of agnosticism well: "There ain't no answer. There ain't going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

Quoted by Vincent Bugliosi

Hillel the Elder, a sage who lived in the first century BCE, was known for having said that "a shy man cannot learn, nor can the impatient man teach" 

(Mishna Avot 2:6)

Judgment Day is the most rescheduled event of all times.

Alexandra Petri, Washington Post May 14, 2011, p. A13 (A conversation with Cicadas)

Gary Younge in the Guardian, Monday 14 June 2010

L’art de diriger consiste à savoir abandonner la baguette pour ne pas gêner l’orchestre.

Herbert von Karajan

If a student is successful, he usually ascribes that to his own hard work.  If a student doesn't learn anything, he usually blames his incompetent teacher.    

(an Indian lady I met today at a party; she says it's a Chinese proverb)

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

-- H L Mencken, Minority Report (1956), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Insulting Quotations

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.

Frank A. Clark

Each generation produces its squad of "moderns" with peashooters to attack Gibraltar.

Channing Pollock

The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing". "But," says man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don't. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Oh, that was easy," says man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing. Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys. But this did not stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme for his best selling book, Well That About Wraps It Up for God.

From Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Better to remain silent and appear to be a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

   Abraham Lincoln

As I watched the Harris video, I tried to imagine myself giving a similar talk, and it was obvious to me that if I even raised the issues where I’m disagreeing I’d get bogged down making subtle distinctions that might confuse the audience. You can be more forthright and straightforward and rhetorically effective if you have a simple story to tell. But alas, none of that entails that any simple story is more than an approximation.

Russell Blackford

‘The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.’

Thomas Jefferson, deist and the third president of the USA, in a letter to John Adams.

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” 

Steven Hawking, director of research at Cambridge’s Centre of Theoretical Cosmology

A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.


Beware the man of one book.

Thomas Aquinas

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art. – 

Tom Stoppard  (author of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead )

When conversing with young and gay women, do not discourse of metaphysics, but chat about the latest fashion, the new opera or play, the last concert or novel, &c.  With single ladies past twenty-five, speak of literary matters, music, &c., and silently complement them by a proper deference to their opinions.  With married ladies, inquire about the health of their children, speak of their grace and beauty, &c.

True Politeness. A hand-book for Gentlemen, by an American Gentleman.  (New York 1847) 24

 : We must believe in free will — we have no choice.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

"National languages are . . . almost always semi-artificial constructs and occasionally . . . virtually invented," writes Eric Hobsbawm in Nations and Nationalism. "They are the opposite of what nationalist mythology supposes them to be, namely the primordial foundations of national culture and the matrices of the national mind. They are usually attempts to devise a standardised idiom out of a multiplicity of actually spoken idioms, which are thereafter downgraded to dialects." 

Gary Younge in the Guardian, Monday 14 June 2010 

"Hobsbawm estimates that only 2.5% of Italians spoke the national language at the time of unification. "We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians," said Massimo d'Azeglio at the first meeting of the newly united Italy's infant parliament in 1861".

"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."


"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." 

Often attributed to Francis of Assisi

"A few months ago I was told that the Johns Hopkins University had given me a degree. I naturally supposed this constituted me a Member of the Faculty, and so I started in to help as I could there. I told them I believed they were perfectly competent to run a college as far as the higher branches of education are concerned, but what they needed was a little help here and there from a practical commercial man. I said the public is sensitive to little things, and they wouldn't have full confidence in a college that didn't know how to spell the name John."

Mark Twain

"Und willst du nicht mein Bruder sein, so schlag' ich dir den Schädel ein." (If you refuse to be my brother, I'll crack your skull).

German saying

"I think I'd been playing guitar twenty years before I figured out I couldn't tune very well. Of course, by that time I was too rich to quit. 

Chet Atkins 


A witty saying proves nothing.


A Haiku about hair:  

Hair blows in the wind 

After years there is still wind 

Sadly no more hair. 

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy 

(who recently became the first European President!) 

"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse."

Charles V

"De Pompeiano saepe est eiecta theatro 

Quae duxit silvas detinuitque feras."


"A man may be a fool and not know it, but not if he is married."

H. L. Mencken

"Iets kan zowel goed, slecht of geen van beide zijn. Muziek is bijvoorbeeld goed voor iemand in een melancholische bui, slecht voor degene die rouwt en de dove maakt het niks uit." 

(Something can be goo, bad, or neither.  Music for instance is good for someone in a melancoly mood, bad for someone who mourns, and for the deaf person it makes no difference.)

Ethica deel IV Baruch Spinoza

Aan de Belgen 

Ik ook ik ben een Belg en mag tot Belgen spreéken. 

'K mag d'eer van't Vaderland op't geén haer vreémd is vreéken, 

Myn Citer stemmen op een vaderlandschen toon, 

En wapens zoeken voór een onverdienden hoón. 

Ik zing de vrye tael die d'oude Belgen spraken. 

Wie zou myn iver voór die dierbre kunnen laeken? 

Ik zoóg ze uyt moeders borst, 'k lasze op myns broeders graf, 

Myn Vader sprak ze toen hy my zyn zegen gaf. 

Aux Belges. 

Je suis Belge, il m'est permis de parler à des Belges; Il m'est permis de venger mon Pays de tout ce qui est contraire à son honneur. Ma Lyre peut rendre des sons patriotiques et ma Muse chercher des armes contre un outrage non mérité. Je chanterai librement la langue que les anciens Belges se vantaient de parler. S'il y avait quelqu'un qui pût blâmer le zèle que je mets à sa cause, - Je lui répondrais: cette langue, je l'ai sucée avec le lait de ma mère, je l'ai lue sur le tombeau d'un frère, elle était dans la bouche de mon père lorsqu'il me bénissait! 

Het was ook in die tael dat Wodans harpenaeren 

Den krygszang hooren deên, 

J.F. Willems, Aen de Belgen. Aux Belges. J.S. Schoesetters, Antwerpen 1818

"If they act too hip you know they can't play sh.." 

Miles Davis

"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature." 

George Bernard Shaw

"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."


"Everyone complains of his memory, and nobody complains of his judgment." 

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"Metaphors are much more tenacious than facts." 

Paul de Man

"Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée : car chacun pense en être si bien pourvu, que ceux même qui sont les plus difficiles à contenter en toute autre chose, n'ont point coutume d'en désirer plus qu'ils en ont." 

René Descartes

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." 

Albert Einstein

"The baths were mostly tiled showers, with an endless variety of spouting mechanisms, but with one definitely non-Laodicean characteristic in common, a propensity, while in use, to turn instantly beastly hot or blindingly cold upon you, depending on whether your neighbor turned on his cold or his hot to deprive you of a necessary complement in the shower you had so carefully blended." 

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita 1955

" 'Tis the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries & for that reason to like best what they understand least." 

Isaac Newton

"Go to graduate school, write a conventional dissertation, get a tenure-track job, publish in academic journals and in university presses, give papers at professional conferences to small groups of fellow specialists, and comply with all the requirements of deference, conformity, and hoop-jumping that narrow the road to tenure while also narrowing the travelers on that road. Then, once tenured, you can take up the applied work that appealed to you in the first place." 

"You can achieve anything you set your mind to." - American proverb

"Non omnia possumus omnes." (Everyone cannot do everything.) - Latin proverb

"Tout ce qui branle ne tombe pas." 


ἡμεῖς δ’, οἷά τε φύλλα φύει πολυάνθεμος ὥρη

ἔαρος, ὅτ’ αἶψ’ αὐγῇς αὔξεται ἠελίου,

τοῖς ἴκελοι πήχυιον ἐπὶ χρόνον ἄνθεσιν ἥβης

τερπόμεθα, πρὸς θεῶν εἰδότες οὔτε κακόν

οὔτ’ ἀγαθόν· Κῆρες δὲ παρεστήκασι μέλαιναι,

ἡ μὲν ἔχουσα τέλος γήραος ἀργαλέου,

ἡ δ’ ἑτέρη θανάτοιο· μίνυνθα δὲ γίγνεται ἥβης

καρπός, ὅσον τ’ ἐπὶ γῆν κίδναται ἠέλιος.

αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν δὴ τοῦτο τέλος παραμείψεται ὥρης,

αὐτίκα δὴ τεθνάναι βέλτιον ἢ βίοτος·

πολλὰ γὰρ ἐν θυμῷ κακὰ γίγνεται· ἄλλοτε οἶκος

τρυχοῦται, πενίης δ’ ἔργ’ ὀδυνηρὰ πέλει·

ἄλλος δ’ αὖ παίδων ἐπιδεύεται, ὧν τε μάλιστα

ἱμείρων κατὰ γῆς ἔρχεται εἰς Ἀΐδην·

ἄλλος νοῦσον ἔχει θυμοφθόρον· οὐδέ τίς ἐστιν

ἀνθρώπων ᾧ Ζεὺς μὴ κακὰ πολλὰ διδοῖ.