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Movie Quotes – Day 354

Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe… I was petrified. — The Wizard of Oz

There’s no shame in admitting you’re afraid.  Bad things happen, and worse things are always possible.  The shame comes from turning tail and running away, or worse, cowering.  If you’re threatened and your only response is to roll over and expose your soft underbelly, you deserve whatever happens to you.


  • DaddyBear is not allowed to describe technology problems in scatological terms.
  • DaddyBear is not allowed to update his résumé to describe his current job as “Senior Fire Watcher”.
  • Dear OnlineBigBoxVendor- It’s Christmas.  Slapping a shipping label on a box, which has a picture of my present to the family on it, then having somebody drop it on my porch is not cool.
  • Today was the last day of school for the kids before Christmas.  It’s the day we send in gifts to the teachers, just to let them know that we appreciate them spending a few hours a day with our hellions.
  • My market research shows that it takes 15 people to click on the link to my on-sale book to get one person to buy it.
    • To those of you who have left a review, thank you very much.
  • I’m actually quite impressed with the method we’ve used to keep our Christmas tree from falling over.  It involves lumber, bolts, firewood, and water.
    • I have fence staples, duct tape, and 550 cord on standby.  I’m going to keep that mother up, so help me.
  • This morning, after taking Boo to school, I lay down on the couch to get a little more sleep.  I queued up the Bastogne episode of “Band of Brothers” to watch while I dropped off.  That was quickly vetoed by Irish Woman, who told me to watch something more “happy.”  I followed her instructions and watched a documentary about a Viking mass grave that was found in England.
  • Girlie Bear asked me if she could borrow my copy of “Brave New World” to reread over Christmas.  In this case, I was the one telling someone else to do something a little more “happy”.  Instead, she’s rereading “Monster Hunter International.”

Book Review – Wisdom from my Internet

Michael Z. Williamson, author of the Freehold science fiction series and artisan of many sharp, pointy things, has aggregated his one-line snippets of jokes, life advice, and all-around good ideas into “Wisdom from my Internet.”  If you read his blog, The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse, or follow Williamson on FaceBook, a lot of this material will seem familiar, but it’s great to have it all in one place.

Wisdom is very similar in content and structure to George Carlin’s “Napalm and Silly Putty,*” and that’s a good thing.  Williamson has a dry, sarcastic wit that rarely fails to kick over my giggle box, and reading Wisdom last night while trying to not wake up the Irish Woman was difficult.

Wisdom is a book written by an adult, for adults, so I won’t be sharing this one with Girlie Bear.  Williamson isn’t afraid of any subject, and if there aren’t at least a few times where you say “Now wait a damn minute” as you’re reading it, you need to get out more.  No group, subject, or joke is out-of-bounds, so you will take a punch or two while you laugh at seeing them dished out.

This was a quick read, but an enjoyable one.  It’s definitely worth the cost of admission.

*This was my companion on the flights to and from Ireland during our honeymoon.  The look on the Aer Lingus flight attendant when she saw the title was priceless.

Everything Must Go!

Well, actually, I only have this one thing, but it’s a pretty good thing.  And it must go! Somewhere.  Preferably on your e-reader.

So, in order to make this easier on everyone,  “Tales of the Minivandians” is on sale now through the 26th.  Yes, for the low, low price of $1.99, you can get a good e-book to wile away those boring, empty days just before Christmas.  Hey, it’s not like you have anything else to do.  Download the book, get yourself a little holiday cheer on the rocks, and settle in for a few hours of buckles being swashed, tales being told, and axes being swung.

Movie Quotes – Day 353

Strong survival instinct. I admire that in a woman. — Pitch Black

We have to have strong women, because strong women raise strong children.  Our future, no matter how much fathers and dads try, rests squarely on the shoulders of mothers. A woman who does not believe that she needs to fight for her own life will raise children with the same failing.  We need to raise our daughters to value themselves, for no-one else will.

Today’s Earworm

This one goes out to Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures, who need to grow a pair.

Language alert on this one.

Movie Quotes – Day 352

Gentlemen of the court, there are times that I’m ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion. — Paths of Glory

Ethics are difficult things to have.  They demand that you stand up for what is right, not what is easy.  An ethical person will feel shame at the failings of others, because they know that things can be better.  Holding true to your personal code of conduct will expose you to ridicule and even hatred at times.  The temptation to relax your standards is strong, but the cost of doing so is your reputation and self-respect.

Movie Quotes – Day 351

Hey, I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. But now… now I’m washing lettuce. Soon I’ll be on fries; then the grill. In a year or two, I’ll make assistant manager, and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in. — Coming To America

Hard work pays off.  There is never shame in honest labor.  The pay may suck, the conditions may be worse, but working hard will improve life.   You only stay at the bottom if you refuse to find a way to climb.

Movie Quotes – Day 350

I didn’t start shooting at anyone that didn’t start shooting at me first. — Magnum Force

As we take on the responsibility to protect ourselves, we must take care to not go looking for trouble.  We are not soldiers, nor are we police.  We are ordinary citizens taking care of ourselves and those close to us, no more.  We should not seek out danger, nor should we seek revenge.

Insults and Refutations

I got another email from the White House today, and I thought I’d share.  As always, my thoughts are in italics.


A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the U.K. Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. How nice for you.  The closest I ever got was a pub a few blocks away.  Of course, I was in the UK for more than a junket, so I guess we’re even.

During a tour of the residence, we were shown a painting of an elegantly dressed woman. “Of course, you know Lady Lovelace,” we were told.  I’ll bet half of you thought she was a porn star, didn’t you?

Imagine our surprise to learn that we were staring at a portrait of the woman who is considered to be the world’s first programmer. Our group had never heard of her. Wait, seriously?  You’re the “U.S. Chief Technology Officer” and you didn’t know who Ada Lovelace was?  Never heard of the Ada programming language?   Seriously, you’re older than I am, and I know that.  What exactly did you learn at MIT, anyway?

Ada Lovelace’s experience remains all too familiar: So many of the breakthrough contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continue to go untold, too often fading into obscurity.  Like I said, if you’ve been in technology long enough to remember Y2K, then you have no excuse not knowing who Lady Lovelace was.  If you do know and aren’t passing it on without a government program, then shame on you.

Join us in doing something to change that: Listen to women from across the Obama administration share the untold stories of women who’ve inspired us.  I’ll pass, thanks. Want to pass on stories to inspire people?  Try leaving your ivory tower and go teach at a disadvantaged school.  And no, Chautauqua and MIT aren’t disadvantaged schools.  Pass on what you’ve learned, and learn what happens beyond the Beltway or Silicon Valley.

Then add an untold history of your own, and make a commitment to share these stories in any way you can to help inspire more young women and men to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Here’s my inspiration:  A lot of people, who were willing to learn, keep learning, and learn how to apply what they’ve learned, have gone on to make a lot of money in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics.  Some of them even found it interesting.  If that doesn’t inspire you, then maybe women’s studies really is for you.

Women were central in the early teams building the foundation of modern programming. They unveiled the structure of DNA. Their work inspired new environmental movements and led to the discovery of new genes. It’s past time to write their stories permanently into history, so they can stand side by side with the extraordinary men like them who have used their technical and innovation skills to bring needed solutions and discoveries to our world.  Can’t disagree with you here.  Lots of women have worked their butts off for hundreds of years, and yeah, it sucks that many of them didn’t get credit for their work.  But, hey, guess what?  If you work your butt off now, not only will you probably get credit for your ideas, assuming you didn’t sign an “All your ideas are belong to us” agreement with your employer, you’ll not only get credit, but there’s a good chance you’ll make some money too!  Again, if that doesn’t inspire you, might I suggest a career in Lifeguard Sciences?

And here’s what’s worth noting: Telling and sharing these stories will actively help create more of them in the future.  So will saying “People with usable skills tend to be able to feed themselves.”

Research shows us that a key part of inspiring more young people to pursue careers in science and technology is simply sharing the stories of role models like them in these fields who have had a significant impact on our world.  Again, probably true.  My role model was Eric the Red, a man so contentious he got thrown out of not one, but two Viking cultures.  If you’re that big of an asshat, you’re my guy.  He’s been a great inspiration during my two decades or so of working with and on technology.

Stories like that of Rosalind Franklin, whose research was essential for revealing the structure of DNA. There’s Katherine Johnson, who calculated key flight trajectories during the Space Race. The ENIAC team — six young women “Computers” who were the first digital programmers in America. Or Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who first developed computer languages and a compiler to translate them into machine code.  I’m more inspired by the army of male and female programmers, administrators, and technicians who have kept the wheels on the Information Revolution for the past 40 years or so while the chosen people, like you, could have “great ideas” and make oodles of money convincing other people your brain droppings are worth paying for.

Seriously, though, I can see where you’re going.  For whatever reason, girls and women are kind of thin on the ground in STEM education and jobs.  But we’ve been pushing ‘equality’ in girls’ education for nigh-onto 40 years, and we’re still working on this.  What we need to do is encourage young people of both sexes to learn as much as they can about as many things as they can, then work toward a degree that they can enjoy and will provide gainful employment.  Making ” Studies” degrees easily available and convincing students that someone will pay them because they’re bright and creative is probably part of the problem. 

In other words, telling young ladies about Ada Lovelace or the other women who have excelled in science or engineering is probably only going to work on a few of your targets.  Let’s try something that’s worked before:  being truthful in how good a STEM degree and job can be for them.

You just might inspire the next Ada Lovelace. Or the next Carly Fiorina, or Meg Whitman, or the other women who have become CEO’s of major companies, both in and out of the STEM fields.



Megan Smith
U.S. Chief Technology Officer
The White House


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