April 19, 2018

“The wages of sin”

  

Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna
THE BIBLICAL QUOTE:

“For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
       Saint Paul (c. 5 A.D - 64 A.D.)             
       One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus and key founder of the Christian Church
       The King James Bible version of Romans 6:23 
       Romans is the sixth book of the Bible. It’s one of the “Pauline epistles” (or letters), written by Paul around 55 A.D. His Epistles, sent to members of early Christian churches, were incorporated into the New Testament and became foundational texts for the Christian religion. In Chapter 6 of Romans, Paul discusses a fundamental part of his vision for the Christian faith: the belief that sinners can be forgiven, redeemed and go to heaven if they accept Jesus and become faithful Christians.      
       Verse 23 is the origin of the cautionary saying “the wages of sin is death,” which is sometimes used literally. Indeed, there are many risky “sins” that increase your odds of dying. But most Biblical scholars say that in Romans 6:23 Paul was not talking about the literal death of the body. He was suggesting that the spirit, or soul, of unrepentant sinners would be “dead,” and they would not go to Heaven. However, Paul explained, there is hope for sinners. If they stop sinning and accept Jesus Christ as their savior, they will be rewarded with the “gift” of eternal life in Heaven, where — according to legend — Saint Paul is stationed at the “the Pearly Gates” to admit the worthy and send the unworthy to Hell.           

Sin tax cartoon
TAX PRINCIPLE #1:

“It is somewhat ironic that the first tax revenues that were imposed were those on the consumption of whiskey, which sparked the Whiskey Rebellion. But this rebellion was put down and provided legislators the opportunity to impose taxes and collect on them. It also established the custom of taxing 'sin' and enshrining the adage ‘The wages of sin is a tax.’”
       Richard McGowan
       Associate Professor at Boston College
       In his 1994 book State Lotteries and Legalized Gambling: Painless Revenue or Painful Mirage. (Cartoon by J.D. Crowe.)

<<enter caption here>> at The Ice House Comedy Club on July 12, 2012 in Pasadena, California.
TAX PRINCIPLE #2:

“The wages of sin are death, but after taxes are taken out, it’s just kind of a tired feeling.”
       Paula Poundstone
       American comedienne and author             
       One of my favorite jokes from her stand-up comedy routines

Jonathan Davis
THE UNPRINCIPLED INVESTORS’ PRINCIPLE:

“The wages of sin is outperformance for investors...investors often do well by investing in companies operating in ‘sin industries’ and countries where corruption is most developed. Doing bad, in other words, can often mean doing good for investor returns.”
       Jonathan Davis
       British author, editor and journalist specializing in finance
       In an article in the Financial Times, February 22, 2015. Davis suggests that “sin industries” may now not only include tobacco, alcohol, and gambling but, arguably, scandal-ridden banks.

ZANE AND THE HURRICANE
GRAMMY’S OBSERVATION:

“The wages of sin is when people do unta you what ya did unta them.”
       Rodman Philbrick
       American writer of novels for adults and children             
       A bit of folk wisdom spoken to the character Zane Dupree by his grandmother, in the novel Zane and the Hurricane (2014)
       The book is about Zane’s recollections of Hurricane Katrina. His grandma’s comment relates to a local drug dealer, though it certainly has wider application. Kane recalls:
       “Dylan Toomey...was killed by one of the underage kids who worked for him selling drugs. It's awful and all, but Grammy said it best when she heard the news. She said, ‘The wages of sin is when people do unta you what ya did unta them.’ Amen to that. To be honest there’s a lot I don’t understand about what happened after the storm, and why some people were so good and full of love and others so mean and hateful.

Deranged 1974 movie
MA’S WARNING:

“Remember, Ezra, the wages of sin are syphilis, gonorrhea and death.”             
       Ma Cobb (played by actress Cosette Lee), in the cult horror movie Deranged (1974).
       Ma Cobb is a religious fanatic who teaches her son Ezra to fear and hate women. Ezra overcomes his fear, but not his hate, becoming a serial killer who prefers female victims. But he loves Ma and after she’s dead and buried, he digs her up and brings her corpse home to keep him company. It’s a nice, family-oriented horror flick. (NOT!)

Portrait_of_Carolyn_Wells
THE ERRANT HUSBAND “MAXIOM”:

“The wages of sin is alimony.”
       Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)
       American writer and poet.             
       A line from her book of verse, Folly for the Wise (1904)             
       It comes from a section called “Maxioms,” which includes a litany of humorous twists on old sayings, including:
             “Reward is its own virtue.
              The wages of sin is alimony.
              A penny saved spoils the broth.
              Of two evils, choose the prettier.
             Nonsense makes the heart grow fonder.
             A word to the wise is a dangerous thing.”

Ron Jeffries
THE ERRANT CODE CURSE:

“The wages of sin is debugging.”
       Ron Jeffries
       American software developer and writer
       A saying Jeffries coined that is widely quoted by and well known to computer coding geeks

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April 2, 2018

Can a leopard change his spots?

Jeremiah the Biblical Prophet

THE FAMOUS RHETORICAL QUESTION FROM THE BIBLE:

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”
      
Jeremiah, 13:23
       This question is posed by the gloomy
prophet Jeremiah in the book of the Bible named for and allegedly written by him. It comes from one of his many long rants (which gave rise to the term jeremiad). In this particular rant, he was warning the people of Judah (Jerusalem) that God was going to destroy them for becoming idolaters and sinners and “scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.”               
       Jeremiah’s question seems rhetorical on the surface. It’s the source of the proverbial sayings used to imply that people, animals or things cannot change or overcome their basic character or characteristics. One common idiomatic formula is a query based on, but shorter than, Jeremiah’s: “Can a leopard change his spots?” The other popular formulation is an affirmative statement, like “A leopard can’t change its spots.”   
       Jeremiah included an ambiguous twist to his famous question. The full quotation from Chapter 13, Verse 23 is: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”               
       Some Christian commentators have interpreted this verse to mean that hard-core sinners cannot become good people and will not be saved by God; they are doomed to be punished. But others have suggested that, while it may be difficult for a long-standing sinner to change and be saved, Jeremiah was saying it’s not impossible; those who strive hard to embrace the teachings of the Bible and become good can be saved by the grace of God.
       Of course, Jeremiah’s famous quote was recorded in a Biblical text written around 700 B.C. Modern events and science have provided some new information. For example,
Michael Jackson proved that with the help of certain chemical treatments a black man can indeed change his skin color. And, as noted in the book Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods?: Answers to Rhetorical Questions (2011), scientists who study evolution have determined that, in fact, the patterns of spots on some subspecies of leopards have changed over time. 

James C. Hunter-8x6

THE ‘YOU COULD LOOK IT UP’ COUNTERQUOTE:

“I find many people have deep-seated beliefs that people really cannot change all that much, if at all. Our culture even has clichés to support this lie like ‘A leopard can't change its spots’...If you do not believe that people can really change, I suggest you go to your local library and check out a few of the thousands of books you will find there about how people have changed their lives for good and become something quite different from what they once were.”
       James C. Hunter

       American author and inspirational speaker
      
From Chapter 7 of his book The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle (2004)

Al Gore angry

AL GORE'S “STUPID QUOTE”:

“A zebra does not change its spots.”
       Attributed to Al Gore
       American politician and environmental activist
       This purported “quote” by Gore shows up in thousands of posts on the internet and various books, such as the popular book The Stupidest Things Ever Said by Politicians (1999), edited by Ross and Kathryn Petras (who provide no source). In many posts it is claimed to be something Gore said while attacking George W. Bush's environmental record in 1992. In a discussion thread on Snopes.com, one person claims it was in the Congressional Record and another cites a 1995 column by Jerry Gladman in the Toronto Sun. I searched various newspaper archives and the Congressional Record and could not find it, except as a quote that is simply attributed to Gore. I've concluded that he probably didn't actually say it. After someone claimed he did and it was included in the popular Stupidest Things book, it took on a life of its own, as faux quotes often do. Gore may have said some stupid things, but I’m skeptical that the zebra “quote” is one of them.

Ben Carson talking

BEN CARSON’S STUPID QUOTE(S):

“For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said, ‘I’m Afghani today’...Can a leopard change its spots? No.”  
       Ben Carson  
       American neurosurgeon-turned-Republican politician    
       From comments he made to reporters in July 2016, explaining why he thinks being transgender doesn’t make sense and apparently doesn’t accept the reality of modern transgender surgery. Some observers think Carson’s notoriously harsh views on transgender and homosexual people and his comment about the leopard are stupid. And, Ben knows about being stupid. As he explained in 2015, “people are not as stupid as [the media] think they are. Many of them are stupid, OK. But I'm talking about overall.” On that much, most of us might agree with him, though opinions vary on about which people are among the “many.” 


Sen_John_W_Daniel-8x6

THE ‘GOD BLESS AMERICA’S BIGOTED INDIAN POLICY’ QUOTE:

“You may change the leopard’s spots, but you will never change the different qualities of races which God has created…The Indian of one hundred and twenty-five years ago is the Indian of to-day—ameliorated, to a certain extent civilized, and yet the wisdom of our forefathers, when, in the Constitution, they set them apart as one people, separate and distinct from the great dominant race which had come to take this land and inhabit it, is indicated in what we are still doing and must forever do with them so long as they maintain their tribal relations and so long as they are Indians.”  
      
John Daniel (1842-1910) 
       Virginia lawyer, author and politician  
       In a February 1899 address to Congress while serving as U.S. Senator for Virginia. Quoted in the book
Shadowing the White Man's Burden: U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line (2010) by Gretchen Murphy.

William Shakespeare-8x6[1]

THE SHAKESPEAREAN REPARTEE QUOTE:

King Richard: “Rage must be withstood...lions make leopards tame.”
Thomas Mowbray: “Yea, but not change his spots.”
      
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
       English playwright and poet 
       Lines
from Act 1, Scene 1 of his play Richard II

        LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem-8x6

THE LMFAO PAR-TEE! LYRICS:

“1-2-3 to the 4
I’m dancin’ with as many super freaks as possible
You can’t change the spots on a leopard
In the club, the homies call me redfoo hefner.” 
       LMFAO 
       American electropop music duo  
       Lyrics from the song
“What Happens At The Party,” on their Party Rock album (2009) 
       Sorry, folks. I only have a dim understanding of WTF these LMFAO lyrics mean. You’ll have to figure them out for yourself.

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March 8, 2018

“From my cold, dead hands”

  
Charlton Heston, Cold Dead Hands speech-8x6
CHARLTON HESTON’S (IN)FAMOUS QUOTATION:

“From my cold, dead hands.”
       Charlton Heston
(1924-2008)
       American actor, ‘60s civil rights activist, President of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003
       This is Heston’s famed catchphrase about gun rights, intended to mean that he and other gun owners would literally fight to the death to prevent the government from taking away their guns. It’s based on previous slogans used by gun rights groups as early as the mid-1970s. For example, an NRA bumper sticker Heston was well aware of said “I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands.” However, Heston’s is the most famous (and infamous) use of “From my cold, dead hands.”              
       He first spoke the phrase in a notable public forum on April 29, 1989, at the NRA’s annual convention in St. Louis. Three months before that, on January 17, 1989, an unemployed welder named Patrick Edward Purdy, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed five school children and wounded 32 others on the playground at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. This shocking and, at the time, still rare example of a mass school shooting generated a media firestorm and led to calls for state and federal action to ban assault weapons.
        In his remarks at the 1989 NRA convention, Heston argued that proposals for such bans were sparked by “media bias” against guns and would be unworkable, unacceptable infringements on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. After making his speech, Heston was presented with a silver-and-gold plated replica of a flintlock rifle. Smiling happily, he held up the gun and said: “I have only one more comment to make: From my cold, dead hands.”
       Heston later used the words in other speeches at NRA events, usually as a closing line. One particularly high profile use was in the speech he gave at the NRA’s May 20, 2000 annual convention, which came during the 2000 presidential campaign and garnered considerable media attention. In that speech, Heston criticized Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore for his support of stronger gun control laws. At the end, holding the flintlock he was given in 1989, he said: “As we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’”             
      The saying has continued to be a favorite slogan of gun rights advocates and a target of mockery by gun control advocates. It has also spawned numerous take-offs and variations involving things other than guns, as shown by the examples below.

John Oliver NRA Nutella segment
JOHN OLIVER’S NUTELLA ANALOGY:

“The NRA: a group that feels about guns the way the rest of us feel about Nutella. A little is good, more is better, and you can tell me it’s bad for me all you like, but you will pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
       John Oliver

       Host of the HBO’s TV show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
       In a segment about the NRA and the NRA TV channel first aired on March 4, 2018

Charles Arthur, The Guardian
A PRESCIENT 2010 PREDICTION ABOUT IPADS:

“It all adds up to one conclusion: the iPad is a success…So for those saying you'll never buy one, and that they’ll prise your laptop from your cold, dead hands — quite possibly. But lots of people around you will have iPads.”
        Charles Arthur

        Technology editor at The Guardian newspaper in London
        In a post on The Guardian Technology Blog on April 6, 2010

Proma Khosla, writer
THE GAME OF THRONES FAN VERSION:

“A study from the investment company Acorns has found that a surprisingly high percentage of Americans would skip the final Game of Thrones season in exchange for $1,000...As for us, you can pry Westeros away from our cold, dead hands.”
       Proma Khosla

       American entertainment reporter
       In an article posted on Mashable.com on February 27, 2018

Steve Yacht Excel quote
THE EXCEL FAN VERSION:

“You can have my excel, after you ripped it from my cold, dead hands.”
       Steven Yacht

       American Certified Public Accountant
       In a November 2017 Twitter comment responding to a Wall Street Journal article in which Adobe Inc.’s finance chief Mark Garrett suggested that accountants should stop using Microsoft Corp.’s Excel spreadsheet software because it “hasn’t kept up with the demands of contemporary corporate finance units”

Fat foods-8x6
THE FRIED FOOD FAN VERSION:

“They’ll get my onion rings when they pry them from my cold, dead (possibly from a massive coronary) hands!”
       James Poniewozik

       American journalist and television critic
       In an article in the April 5, 2010 issue of Time magazine about the views of people who eat way too much fried food

K.E. Bevier, writer
THE PARANOIDS VS. POLLYANNAS PARADIGM:

“The Supreme Court needs to consider the lethality of modern weapons in any new restrictions, but Congress must give it something to work with. The slaughter continues, not because of the Second Amendment, but because Congress has split us into two camps: the first with paranoid visions of cold, dead hands wrapped around AR-15s, the second with childish dreams of a Pollyannaish utopia with no guns, perfect mental health and no explosives.”
       K.E. Bevier

       American writer
       In a letter to the Editor of the South Carolina newspaper The State, published on March 07, 2018

Comedy Central gun investment-8x6
THE GUNS VS. ROTH IRAS INVESTMENT OPTION:

“Laugh it up, gun control candy-asses. While your portfolio sinks deeper into the abyss, our savings plan is robust. Buying automatic weapons now will put our kids through college later. And unlike your pussified Roth IRA, when the jackbooted thugs kick in the doors to loot our weaponry...Let’s just say it won't be our cold dead hands opening next month’s depressing investment report.”
       Patrick Sauer

       American freelance writer and humorist             
       In a comment on a now apparently deleted video on the TheDailyTube.com, which was a repost of Josh Gad’s June 2, 2009 segment on the Daily Show  about the fact that fears President Obama might ban assault weapons was driving up the price of such guns, making them a “good investment”

THE ONION, snarky Charlton Heston obit
THE ONION’S SNARKY HESTON OBIT:

“Charlton Heston’s Gun Taken From His Cold, Dead Hands.”
       The Onion

       The darkly humorous satirical news site             
       Headline above a photo of Heston holding a rifle at an NRA convention, posted on The Onion website on April 7, 2008, two days after his death

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February 23, 2018

“Never underestimate the power of a woman.”


THE FAMOUS LADIES HOME JOURNAL SLOGAN:

“Never underestimate the power of a woman!” 
       A saying popularized by the Ladies Home Journal through its use as an slogan for the magazine and the headline of a recurring cartoon feature
       The Ladies Home Journal was first published in 1883 and has been in print ever since. The editors launched “Never underestimate the power of a woman”
as a promotional slogan in the March 1941 issue, which featured a painting of a ballerina on the cover.
       The editors didn’t use the term “power” exactly as it might be used today. It wasn’t meant to suggest that women have the power to be equal to men in all ways. It was used to mean that women are smarter than men in many ways and have a superior sense of morality. Thus, they have the power to point men “to the right decisions.”
       After being launched, the slogan was used for years in each issue as the headline of a cartoon feature. The cartoons demonstrated the power of women to set examples for men and guide them in the right direction.
       Interestingly, the March 1941 issue also had a full-page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes inside, showing that tobacco companies and their pre-Mad Men era ad agencies were at least eager to give women an equal right to smoke.


V.I. WARSHAWSKI’S VERSION:

“Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate a woman.”
       Kathleen Turner
       American actress
       A quip she makes as the title character of the 1991 movie
V.I. Warshawski (based on the series of detective novels written by Sara Paretsky)


AN OPTIMIST’S INSPIRING QUOTE

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
      
Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) 
       American athlete who overcame leg damage from childhood polio and went on to
became an Olympic gold medalist
       This quote by Rudolph is
widely cited, though usually without any specific source or date. In his great book Neverisms, quote maven Dr. Mardy Grothe says it was a remark she made shortly after the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, during which she became the first American to win three track-and-field gold medals.

A PESSIMIST’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
       Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
       American author best known for his science fiction stories and novels
       A quip from his time travel novel Time Enough for Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973)


THE FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) UPDATE:

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” 
       Brendan Bradley
       American actor     
       One of the 100 rules about life of his character Brad in the movie Friends (With Benefits) (2009)               


THE TRUE BELIEVERS AXIOM:

“Never underestimate the power of the human mind to believe what it wants to believe, no matter the conflicting evidence.”  
       A quote attributed to the fictional character Caedmon Erb in the sci-fi novel Dune: House Harkonnen (2001), written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
       (The image at left is the logo of The Flat Earth Society
.)


THE TESLA CAR RENTAL VARIATION:

“Never underestimate the human urge to look like a big-time operator, at least to the valet parking guy.”
       Jim Motavalli
       American journalist, speaker and book author
       In a post on the Mother Nature Network site about Hertz’s recent addition of pricey Tesla electric cars to its rental fleets in certain cities, to appeal to wealthy customers — and wannabe poseurs.

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February 13, 2018

“The definition of insanity...”

Albert Einstein - false insanity quote QCcom



THE FAMOUS EINSTEIN QUOTE HE DIDN’T SAY:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
       Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
       German-born theoretical physicist
       A saying that is commonly – and wrongly – attributed to Einstein
       As noted by quotation scholars like Fred Shapiro (in the Yale Book of Quotations), Garson O’Toole (on his Quote Investigator site), and Barry Popik (on his Big Apple language site), there’s no evidence that Einstein ever wrote or said any such thing. It’s a misattribution.              
       The line has also been wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin and George Bernard Shaw
       The current evidence suggests that the saying is of anonymous origin and was originally popularized through its use in narcotics and alcohol addiction pamphlets and literature in the early 1980s. During that decade it was used and further popularized by several famous writers and celebrities, such as author Rita Mae Brown (in her 1983 book Sudden Death) and EST guru Werner Erhard (who used a version of it in a 1986 interview).             
       By the 1990s, it was being credited it to Einstein. Since then, the erroneous attribution to Einstein is the one most often repeated in books and online posts. It’s quite popular in graphic memes posted on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 
       The use and reuse of false and misattributed quotes is frustrating and annoying to nerds like me who care about the accuracy of information about quotations. To me, the definition of inanity is reposting the same false, misattributed quotes over and over again in social media.

Ryan-Holiday-Head-Shot-Web



THE PASSION PARADOX:

“How can someone be busy and not accomplish anything? Well, that’s the passion paradox. If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then passion is a form of mental retardation...The critical work that you want to do will require your deliberation and consideration. Not passion.”
      
Ryan Holiday
       American author, marketer, and media strategist
       In a 2017 article on Salon.com arguing that many people who follow the popular advice to find and pursue “your passion” often end up failing, because their “passion” is really just “self-absorption at the expense of reality.”

Josh Jonas



THE PASSIONATE PRACTICE PRINCIPLE:

“Quantity itself is a quality, and it is a quality that is the missing ingredient in so many of the things that we want and that matter to us. Ted Williams was known to spend countless hours every day working to perfect his swing. A brilliant guitarist I know played scales every night in his room growing up until his fingers bled; I’m sure we all have many other examples. These guys were doing something repetitively expecting a different result; they were expecting to get better...Because doing something over and over is not the definition of insanity. It’s the description of pursuing mastery.”
      
Josh Jonas
       Associate Director at The Village Institute for Psychotherapy in Manhattan
       In a post on his “Life Lessons” website

Jill Stark



THE DRUG WAR PARADOX:

“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, Australia’s war on drugs is madness in its purest form. ‘Just say no’ has been an abject failure. The law enforcement approach has not deterred users, nor has it made communities safer. It has only put lives at risk.”
       Jill Stark
       Australian author, journalist and human rights activist             
       An observation in her 2017 opinion piece on the Australian news and culture site SBS.com that seems to apply equally well to the “Drug War” in the U.S.

Harry Hurt III



THE DEFINITION CONUNDRUM:

“One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. But what do you call it if you do the same thing over and over, and keep achieving different results? Is that sanity? And what do you call it when cancer kills a close friend and that hits you a whole lot harder than the fact that tens of thousands of people you don't know were killed in wars? Is that tough luck? Or just more of the same old life and death?”
      
Harry Hurt III
       American author and journalist              
       Lines from the opening paragraph of his interesting thought piece “Is Anybody Necessary? Dr. Ying and the Four Noble Truths,” in the New York Times, January 14, 2006

Bradley Tusk



THE SOCIAL MEDIA CONUNDRUM:

“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then it’s clear we need a different approach to how we govern, how we make decisions, and how we evaluate the world. Even though the world, on the whole, offers people far more rights and resources than ever before, when every bad thing that happens anywhere is put in front of all of us every minute of the day, it’s hard to feel anything but insecure. When our leaders only react rather than set an agenda and follow through on it (including negotiating and compromising), things only get worse.”
       Bradley Tusk
       American businessman, political strategist, and writer
       Commenting on how the constant barrage of negative social media posts on sites like Twitter and Facebook hurts the American public and our country’s political process in his column on Observer.com

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