Monday, December 19, 2011

Quotes of the day

Ludwig van Beethoven, widely considered one of the greatest composers in history, died on this day in 1827. Beethoven moved to Vienna from Germany in his early twenties where he became a virtuoso pianist, before beginning to lose his hearing. Some attributed his loss of hearing to his habit of lowering his head into ice-cold water in order to stay awake and continue practicing, though today this theory is dismissed. Despite the composers failed hearing, Beethoven remained committed to the creation of his art. He stayed sane, and even warded off thoughts of suicide, through devotion to virtue and to becoming accepted as an artist amongst the other musical craftsman of his day. It is widely believed that in the age of television and consumer distractions, another Ludwig van Beethoven will not develop.--Don Miller
Smart lad to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.--A.E. Housman
I try not to lose too many yards on sacks. When you realize that you don’t run very well, you try to get the ball out of your hands as fast as you can. Because when the ball’s in my hands, nothing good is happening. But other players have different strengths.--Tom Brady

"Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!' Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else — to the nearby villages — so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'"--Mark 1:35-38

In other words, sooner or later, everyone gets tired of his own hype.--Charles P. Pierce

I can't begin to tell you the impact [Tebow]'s had on my daughter [Kelly Faughnan, who has a brain tumor]. She's very positive, and she tries so hard, but she's had a struggle. Tim Tebow has built her self-confidence up so much -- taught her to believe in herself -- that when I see people criticize him, I'm just dumbfounded. I don't get it. It's almost incomprehensible to me. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to see an athlete use his position and platform to do good for people.--Kelly's dad

Mrs. Thatcher was the first and only woman ever to have led a major British political party, and remains so to this day. She was the first woman prime minister in the English-speaking world and the longest-serving British prime minister of either sex since universal suffrage.
Even in 2011, only one important Western country—Germany—is led by a woman. Whatever the sterling qualities of Chancellor Angela Merkel, one must judge it highly unlikely that she will be the subject of a major feature film 20 years after she retires. Mrs. Thatcher was, in effect, the one and only woman. That unique status still fascinates.
And this Lady was first called "Iron" not by her admirers but by her enemies. After becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, Mrs. Thatcher opened a new, controversial front in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. She questioned the then fashionable idea of "detente." Soviet communism, she argued, should not be accommodated. It should be overcome—by repairing the defensive military strength of the NATO alliance and by holding out to the subjugated peoples of the Soviet bloc the promise of Western liberty.
Not many people in the West agreed with her at the time, except one Ronald Reagan, and he was just an ex-governor of California with a dream of running for president.
After Mrs. Thatcher had made a couple of stirring speeches on this theme, the Soviet Red Army newspaper Red Star christened her "The Iron Lady." In doing so, it intended to make a satirical comparison with Otto von Bismarck, the 19th-century "Iron Chancellor" of Germany and to paint her as rigid and harsh.
And since 2010, as the debt problem gradually mutated from individuals to banks to entire countries, one of Margaret Thatcher's loneliest battles—her effort in the late 1980s to stop the integration of the European Community (subsequently given the grander title of the European Union)—has begun belatedly to win respect.
Indeed, it was Mrs. Thatcher herself, a couple of years after she left office, who identified the problem with European construction. It was, she said, "infused with the spirit of yesterday's future." It made the "central intellectual mistake" of assuming that "the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy." As she concluded, "The day of the artificially constructed megastate is gone."
There is precious little sign that today's European leaders want to listen to what Mrs. Thatcher said. The manic building of a continental megastate continues apace. But Margaret Thatcher's legacy will never be one of elite consensus. As the Western world sinks deeper into obfuscation, it is her habit of tackling the hard bit of every question that continues to look good and to seem more relevant than ever.--Charles Moore

In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy.--Professor José Angel Santana, who gave Franco a 'D' and then was fired

[Homeless couple Scott and Whitney] have the spending power of a couple earning nearly $50,000 each year, without the burden of having to work. They wake up around 9 a.m. each day, an hour when most New Yorkers are at their desks after a long commute over the subways. In short, this is not a sad story about an impoverished duo. It’s the romantic story of a couple who have figured out that they can live quite well without jobs or a home.--John Carney

Wilpon asked Selig to strike the provision requiring him to enable and assist David Einhorn in his pursuit of majority ownership, if Wilpon couldn’t repay him. The idea would be that Selig would play the bad cop. When Major League Baseball put the kibosh on Einhorn, Wilpon would have plausible deniability, and could throw up his hands and say, ‘What can I do? This is how MLB works.'--Howard Megdal

Our union members and staff have participated in many OWS actions, and we have endorsed OWS’ important message that corporate greed and economic inequality are wrong. So we were disappointed to learn that last week people associated with Occupy Wall Street disrupted the set of an episode of Law & Order: SVU, written and produced by members of the WGAE, and crewed by other entertainment industry union members. The demonstrators’ actions were as misguided and inappropriate as the City of New York’s response – revoking Law & Order’s permit for the shoot and directing the dismantling of its set. Presumably the protesters and police did not set out to achieve a common end but together they prevented the scene from being filmed and the story from being told. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, whether it is the OWS demonstrators’ right to peacefully assemble and protest without fear of retribution or Law & Order’s ability to film in the streets of New York and tell its stories without fear of vandalism from protesters or overreaction by the police.--The Writers Guild of America

Even before the protesters were displaced on Nov. 15, Trinity gave many of them hot chocolate, blankets and a place to rest at a space owned by the church. But when the Occupy movement expressed an interest in setting up an organizing camp on vacant Trinity property at Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, the church said no. The Occupy Wall Street forces then directed their skills at the church: They took their arguments to the streets. In familiar fashion, police officers converged on the area, standing around the perimeter. A flier distributed by protesters summed up their mood: “While the event may include a reoccupation, the event itself is a broader celebration and expansion of Occupy Wall Street,” it said. It also advised people to bring backpacks, warm clothes and sleeping bags. About 3 p.m., several hundred people began to slowly march along the blocks around the park. They went about five blocks north, then circled back. They were carrying homemade wooden ladders, draped with yellow banners. At Grand Street, the protesters made a move: They threw a ladder fashioned into a portable staircase against a chain-link fence separating the sidewalk from the church’s property. Many people went over the fence that way. Others lifted the fence from the bottom, allowing protesters to squeeze into the space.--AL BAKER and COLIN MOYNIHAN

[If you want to benefit from the seven fat years] you must suffer the seven lean years too, even the catastrophically lean ones. We need free markets, but we need them to be principled.--Emanuel Derman

And now nobody remembers from where Christmas comes
All the festivals and cultures and praise for the sun
Or the charity or giving, how it spread through the land
Then was rightly taken up by our Lord, the Son of Man
Now it’s all about the Benjamins, Bentleys, and bling
And how much in revenues each store can bring.--J.G.C. Wise
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