Monday, 31 January 2011

Painting By Numbers

If a theory is a palette,
then its canvas is not a blank slate.

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Yet such is oft the course of deeds
that move the wheels of the world:
small hands do them because they must,
while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
 — JRR Tolkien The Lord Of The Rings

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Power Of Positive Thinking

Urbicide Anagram


Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of 
whatsoever is grave and constant in human suffering 
and unites it with the human sufferer.
 — James Joyce 'A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man'

Simultaneity Anagram

Monday, 24 January 2011


Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying.
 — Charles C. Finn 'Please Hear What I Am Not Saying'

You Are Here

And Vice Versa

I am a part of all that I have met.
 — Alfred Tennyson 'Ulysses'

The Devil Made Me Do It


And he said: Hey! 
Are you talking to me? 
Or are you just practising 
For one of those performances of yours?
 — Laurie Anderson 'Language Is A Virus'

Sunday, 23 January 2011


yeah it's broken, 
the wheel's still turning
it's turning slowly in the sky

we go out searching, 

we go out climbing
we give everything a try

everybody needs some beauty
some reassurance, 


you can tell so much about a place 

by the way they treat their own
the way they treat their own deserters


thinking this way 

 — David Bridie 'The Deserters'

Saturday, 22 January 2011

For Awhile

I choose the rooms that I live in with care,
the windows are small and the walls almost bare,
there's only one bed and there's only one prayer;
I listen all night for your step on the stair.

But I know from your eyes
and I know from your smile
that tonight will be fine,
will be fine, will be fine, will be fine
for a while.

— Leonard Cohen 'Tonight Will Be Fine'

Friday, 21 January 2011

Motion In The Ocean

Far From Perfect

No we never met before
I'm very happy to say
Far from perfect strangers
I'd like to keep it that way

I'm not your psychoanalyst
I'd rather talk to mice
You're so easy to resist
I don't want to be nice

 — John Cooper Clarke 'I Don't Want To Be Nice'

Give And Take

Pi Eta

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hi Brasil

Brazil, also known as Hy-Brazil or several other variants, is a phantom island which features in many Irish myths. It was said to be cloaked in mist, except for one day each seven years, when it became visible but still could not be reached. It probably has similar roots to St. Brendan's Island.  Old Irish:
í: island;
bres: beauty, worth; great, mighty

Hy-Brasil is also spelled Hy-Breasal, Hy-Brazil, Hy-Breasil, Brazir and related variations. It may be the reason that the South American country, Brazil, was so named. The central image on the Brazilian flag, a circle with a channel across the center, is the symbol for Hy-Brasil on early maps.

The Scales Fell From My Eyes

He says: I've wasted my life on our stupid legend
 — Laurie Anderson 'The Dream Before'

Persuasion Anagram

Endorphin Anagram

Thinking Inside The Agora

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Monday, 17 January 2011

Stones Caught In The Very Act Of Gathering Moss

People Are People

No more heroes any more
No more heroes any more

 — The Stranglers 'No More Heroes'

Two Maple Leaves Resting On The Way To Spawn

The Law Of Conservation Of Mass

We cannot conceive of matter being formed of nothing,
since things require a seed to start from...
Therefore there is not anything which returns to nothing,
but all things return dissolved into their elements.
 — Lucretius 'De Rerum Natura'

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
 — William Shakespeare 'The Tempest'

Where Is David Attenborough Hiding?

Sunday, 16 January 2011


An elected oligarchy fronting for an unelected plutocracy.


Just The Best We Have

Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge.
It's just the best we have.
In this respect, as in many others, it's like democracy.
— Carl Sagan 'The Demon-Haunted World'

Eternal Dilemma Of Exispencilism

Said Hamlet to Ophelia:
'I'll draw a sketch of thee.
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?'
— Spike Milligan 'A Silly Poem'

Say Woof To Drugs

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Chasing Shadows

The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
— William Shakespeare 'Hamlet'

The Husband Of Necessity

Doubt is the father of invention.
— Ambrose Bierce


A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.
— David Hume

One Certainty Principle

It is certainly true that principles cannot be more securely founded than on experience and consciously clear thinking.
— Albert Einstein


If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you.
— Don Marquis

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
— William James

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.
— Ambrose Bierce


Education, n, That which discloses to the wise, and disguises from the foolish, their lack of understanding.
— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

Education is what’s left when you’ve forgotten everything you ever learned.
— Alan Bennett ‘Forty Years On’

'A' Levels are credentials, qualifications, the footings of your CV, your Cheat's Visa …
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

I count exams, even for Oxford and Cambridge, as the enemy of education.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

The chief enemy of culture, in any school, is always the headmaster.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
— Oscar Wilde

Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
— Ambrose Bierce

Faith Is Inversely Proportional To Knowledge

Researchers polled nearly 3,500 Americans and asked them 32 basic questions about world religions, their texts, main figures, and tenets. Most respondents got about half the questions wrong.

For example, 45 percent of Catholics polled did not know that the Catholic church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are said to actually and literally become the body and blood of Christ. About as many Americans did not know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist.

In fact the poll found that atheists and agnostics knew more about religion than religious people. Among religious groups, Jews and Mormons scored highest.

Sociologists have long known that religious people are no more honest or trustworthy than the non-religious, and the new poll suggests that atheists and other non-believers are actually better informed about the religious world than the faithful themselves.

Imagination & Responsibility

To be an atheist you have to have ten thousand times more imagination than if you are a religious fundamentalist. You must take the responsibility to acquire information, digest and use it to understand what you can.
— Peter Greenaway

With Respect …

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.
— HL Mencken

The Selfishness Of Faith

Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.
— Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Vanishing Dollar

Three guys go to a restaurant and the bill ends up being $30.
They each pay $10.
The waiter takes the money to the cashier
who says that it should have been $25 instead of $30.
The waiter takes $5 back to the three guys
and gives them each $1 and keeps $2 for himself.
They have each now paid $10 minus $1 = $9.
3 x 9 = 27
+ 2 (that the waiter kept) = $29.
But they paid $30.
Where is the missing dollar?


Useful Latin Phrases

Salvé! (Hello!)
Nómen mihí est Quinctílió. (My name is Quinctilius.)
Quid nómen tibí est? (What is your name?)
Ut valés? (How are you?)
Valeó, et tú? (I'm well, and you?)
Aegrótó. (I'm ill.)
Ubí latrína est? (Where is the toilet?)

Ubí habitás? (Where do you live?)
Habitó Rómae. (I live in Rome.)
Liceatne mihí numerum telephonicum tuum habére? (May I have your phone number?)
Labóró capite. (I have a headache.)
Nunc est mihí domum féstínandum. (Now I have to go home.)
Valé! (Good bye!)


It is the theory which decides what we can observe.
— Albert Einstein

You see what your knowledge tells you you're seeing.
— James Burke 'The Day The Universe Changed: The Way We Are'

Concepts Vs The External World

Physical concepts are the free creations of the human mind and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.
— Albert Einstein 'The Evolution of Physics'

One More World Lost …

It is not only species of animal that die out, but whole species of feeling. And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know, but pity yourself for what it did.
— John Fowles 'The Magus'

Creating Images

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as poetry. The poet, too, is not so nearly concerned with describing facts, but creating images.
— Niels Bohr to Werner Heisenberg

Peripheral Vision

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over.
Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the centre.
— Kurt Vonnegut

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.
— Albert Camus

Widely Held Beliefs

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
— Bertrand Russell

Observing Relations

Physics is not events, but observations; relativity is the understanding of the world, not as events, but as relations.
— Jacob Bronowski 'The Ascent Of Man'

Inverse Proportions

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
— Albert Einstein

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Climate Change Septics

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?
— Groucho Marx

Sour Great Apes

Pomo Sapiens

We don't understand
he must be clever
— Peter Hammill 'The Jargon King'

Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.
— Albert Camus

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Pre-emptive Strike

An apple a day keeps 3 doctors away for 8 hours.


The early worm is eaten by a bird.

An Age Of Surfaces

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing.
If you can fake that, you've got it made.
— Groucho Marx

A Remedy Of Errors

Politics is the art of looking for trouble,
finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly
and applying the wrong remedies.
— Groucho Marx

The Opposite Of Espionage

Create all the happiness you are able to create;
remove all the misery you are able to remove.
— Jeremy Bentham

Climate Change

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.
— Juvenal

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Fancy Tickling

knismesis — light tickling
gargalesis — heavy tickling
gargalesthesia — the sensation caused by tickling

The Smell Of Rain On Dry Ground


hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian —
pertaining to extremely long words




Every religion is true one way or another.
It is true when understood metaphorically.
But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors,
interpreting them as facts,
then you are in trouble.
— Joseph Campbell

God is a metaphor
for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought.
— Joseph Campbell

Sole Parent

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
— Æschylus

Friday, 7 January 2011

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Bright Idea


In 1987, the number of shopping centres in the US surpassed the number of high schools.

Dwindling education budgets have seen advertising introduced into classrooms, exposing 7 million students — a third of them teenagers — to two minutes of commercials every morning on Channel One. The advertisers pay for computers, video monitors and other electronic stuff the government can't afford. Not surprising then that consumerism is ingrained from an early age in a headspace where education should be permitted to prevail.

— Doug Anderson

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit


Cleverness is not wisdom.
— Euripides

The Self-Made Man

No man was ever wise by chance.
— Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Rehears All

If you've heard this story before, don't stop me,
because I'd like to hear it again.
— Groucho Marx


By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and
third by experience, which is the bitterest.
— Confucius

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Trouble Over Bridged Water

When The Night Is Cold

Double Bind

The only thing that binds me to the turning world below
and to all the people and noise and sounds and shouts.
This tightrope made of sound.
This long thin line made of my own blood.
— Laurie Anderson 'Tightrope'