- To hell with the pig... I'm going to Switzerland.

Brian's Quotes in Cyberspace

On Motivation
On Planning
On Causality
On Fear & Prejudice
On Determination
On Reason
On Pigs, Swiss
On Pigs, Singing
On Pigs, Political
On Management
On Employment
On Journalism
On Success
On Youth
On Restraint
Mac Users, on PCs
On MS Windows
On Stability
On Experimentation
On Luck, Life
On Luck, Faith
On Values, Changes
Einstein, on Physics
McCartney, on Life
Lennon, on Life
Quayle, on Loss
Disney, on Fun
On Drivers, Boston
On Reviews, Harsh
On Language
On Semantics
On Meaning
On Society, Thought
On Communication
On Fiction, Bad
On Goats
On Joy
On Honesty
On Sadness
On Passion

"Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too... A whole system of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor any number of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed..."

— W. H. Murray

"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram, once recorded, will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."

— Daniel Burnham

"Misfortunes occur only when a man is false... Events, circumstances, etc., have their origin in ourselves. They spring from seeds which we have sown."

— Henry David Thoreau

"Quick to judge, quick to anger,
Slow to understand.
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand..."

— Neil Peart, "Witch Hunt"

"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight on the seas and oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!"

— Winston Churchill, 4/6/1940

"Those who will not reason, are bigots,
those who cannot, are fools,
and those who dare not, are slaves."

— Lord Byron (1788-1824)

"Oh well, that reminds me about this canary that I once
saw eating dollar signs under a triangularly shaped ocean
about 20 sugar cubes west of a green see-saw. You never
know what's going to happen when you see that... things
can really become carroted all of a sudden, and then
phwoosh, there you are staring into the gaping earlobe of
some terrestrial demon, like a pig. Do you realize how
screwed up that is? I mean you're sitting on your head,
scratching your pet zebra, and all of a sudden you've got
these damn headlights coming down on top of you like a
river of blood and then all you can think is:
'To hell with the pig, I'm going to Switzerland!' "

— me, 10/13/98

"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

— Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

"Public Media should not contain explicit or
implied descriptions of sex acts. Our Society
should be purged of the perverts who provide the
media with pornographic material while pretending
it has some redeeming social value under the public's
"right to know". Pornography is pornography,
regardless of the source."

— Kenneth Starr, 1987, interview with
Dianne Sawyer-60 minutes

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

— F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

Whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty by close application thereto, it is worse execute by two persons and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.

— George Washington, 1732-1799

"The best job I can think of is venture're expected to fail 90 percent of the time....a hamster with Alzheimer's could make those kind of numbers. It's good work if you can get it."

— Scott Adams

A help wanted ad for a photo journalist asked the rhetorical question:

"If you found yourself in a situation where you could either save a drowning man, or you could take a Pulitzer prize winning photograph of him drowning, what shutter speed and setting would you use?"

— Paul Harvey

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who
keeps learning stays young. The greatest
thing in life is to keep your mind young."

— Henry Ford

"The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting."

— T.H. White

"DOS Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq, Tandy, and millions of others are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans, on the other hand, may note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form."

— New York Times, November 26, 1991

Windows 9x: n. 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

— Excerpt from answer in the Cygwin Project FAQ for Release B20.1 regarding limits of support for Windows 9x.

"Stable software is defined as 'Any software whose bugs are too complex to be easily reproduced.' "

— Brian Ziman, 30 August 1999

Velilind's Laws of Experimentation:
(1) If reproducibility may be a problem, conduct the test only once.
(2) If a straight line fit is required, obtain only two data points.

— fortune

"You just better start sniffin' your own rank subjugation, Jack, 'cause it's just you against your tattered libido, the bank, and the mortician, forever, man, and it wouldn't be luck if you could get out of life alive..."

— Guns 'n' Roses, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"

"I believe no such thing, my good friend. Not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense. However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck whether you believe in it or not."

— Professor Niels Bohr, on being questioned about the
horseshoe nailed to his office wall.

The primary difference between the 1950's and the 1980's is that in the 80's, a man walks into a drugstore and states loudly, "I'd like some condoms," and then, leaning over the counter, whispers, "and some cigarettes."

— fortune

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

— Albert Einstein

"Since the first wild Beatles years I've come to terms with the fact that the world is a crazy place."

— Paul McCartney

"Life is what happens while you are making other plans."

— John Lennon

"What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is."

— Dan Quayle

"One of our mottos is 'Fear minus death equals fun.'"

— Eric Haseltine, senior vice president of Walt Disney
Imagineering Research and Development.

I suppose some of the variation between Boston drivers and the rest of the country is due to the progressive Massachusetts Driver Education Manual which I happen to have in my top desk drawer. Some of the Tips for Better Driving are worth considering, to wit:


"Directional signals are generally not used except during vehicle inspection; however, a left-turn signal is appropriate when making a U-turn on a divided highway."


"When paying tolls, remember that it is necessary to release the quarter a full 3 seconds before passing the basket if you are traveling more than 60 MPH."


"When traveling on a one-way street, stay to the right, so as not to interfere with oncoming traffic."

— Dave Barry

"Contains not nearly enough obscenity, nudity, shooting or blood to distract from the utter absence of anything remotely approaching humor."

— Michael O'Sullivan, from The Washington Post
Movie Review of "Screwed", 28 May 2000

"Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it's said like bed, not bead —
For goodness' sake don't call it 'deed'!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)."

— Origin uncertain.
Quoted by Steven Pinker in "The Language Instinct"

"We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if only words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves."

— John Locke

A girl and a boy bump into each other...
surely an accident.

A girl and a boy bump and her handkerchief drops...
surely another accident.

But when a girl gives a boy a dead squid...
that had to mean something.

— S. Morganstern, "The Silent Gondoliers"

"All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume."

— Noam Chomsky

"What women and psychologists call 'dropping your armor',
we call baring your neck."

— fortune

The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant, the second half still balmy and quite pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.

— Winning Sentence, 1986 Bulwer-Lytton
Bad Fiction Contest.

"But I think one cannot have a deep,

meaningful relationship with a goat,
because I would say, 'Help me with my webpage.'
And you would say, 'BAHHHH.'
Or I would say, 'Do you think I'm going to hell?'
And you would say, 'BAHHHH.' "

— Tracie L. Palm, 9/11/98

"The only joy that can compare
to the joy your loved ones bring,
Is the joy you find
when you bring your loved ones joy."

— me, 7/6/98

"This above all, to thine own self be true,
and it must follow, as the day the night,
thou canst not then be false to any man..."

— William Shakespeare, Hamlet

" 'The best thing for being sad,' replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, 'is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.' "

— T.H. White, "The Once and Future King"

"I love you. And not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. And it's not because you're unattainable. I love you. Very simple, very truly. You're the epitome of every attribute and quality I've ever looked for in another person. I know you think of me as just a friend, and that crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you'd ever consider. But I had to say it. I can't take it anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't look into your eyes without feeling that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. I know this will probably queer our friendship - no pun intended - but I had to say it, because I've never felt this before, and I like who I am because of it. And if bringing it to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But I couldn't allow another day to go by without getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And I'll accept that. But I know some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there is a moment of hesitation, that means you feel something too. All I ask is that you not dismiss that - at least for ten seconds - and try to dwell in it. Alyssa, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who's ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it's there between you and me. You can't deny that. And even if we never speak again after tonight, please know that I'm forever changed because of who you are and what you've meant to me, which - while I do appreciate it - I'd never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of."

— From "Chasing Amy", I believe it to be one of the most
truly profound things ever said.

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