Quotes for 2010

Every year I collect quotes in the “Favorite Quotations” section of my Facebook profile. I feel that every year has a theme, which make the quotes of that year somewhat reflective of who I am and what I learned. For me, these quotes — these snipets of ideas — serve to inspire, and remind, and educate:

“… when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Author Unknown

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough” – Mario Andretti

“Whatever makes you nervous” – Michael Jordan in response to what he bets when he plays golf

“Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium.” – The Palatine of Posen

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them; disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones – we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple

“When I became a man I put away childish things including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – CS Lewis

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

“I would hope that everyone in every profession would take the time to ask themselves on a regular basis one question: Do I tolerate mediocrity? And if the answer to that question is yes, then the next question obviously is: Why? For if we are to have integrity we must answer that question well and not tolerate excuses or half measures. We must lead our lives in an exemplary fashion, offering ourselves a constant, persistent challenge to excel.” – Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

Quotes of 2009, Part 2

As I do every year about this time, I’m clearing out the “Favorite Quotations” section from my Facebook profile to make way for the new quotes I will undoubtedly amass in 2010. Here are the second set of quotes from 2009:

“Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” – Mark Twain

“The good thing about being young is that we are not experienced enough to know we cannot possibly do the things we are doing.” – Gene Brown

“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” – Caterina Fake (http://www.caterina.net/archive/001196.html)

“The best way to graduate from beginner is to get in way over your head. Nothing makes you better faster.” – Jason Fried, 37Signals.com (http://37signals.com/svn/posts/1940-the-best-way-to-graduate-from-beginner-is)

“Life is too short not to have an EVIL PLAN. Life is too short not to do something that matters. Life is too short to sleepwalk through it, hoping, dreaming, but never quite waking up. Life is too short not to become the person you were born to be.” – Hugh MacLeod, http://gapingvoid.com/2009/09/22/life-is-too-short-not-to-have-an-evil-plan/

“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold. Oh, I’ll accommodate them, I’ll rummage around for something to feed them, for a ‘vegetarian plate’, if called on to do so. Fourteen dollars for a few slices of grilled eggplant and zucchini suits my food cost fine.” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

Quotes of 2009, Part 1

I’m usually able to amass my entire collection of yearly quotes on my Facebook page in one go; However, this year I have seem to run out of space, so I’m having to clear it out early. Thus, you can enjoy my yearly quotes a bit early1. Also try to notice a theme; it’s subtle, but I think there is one (although it’s not present in every quote).

“Women. Can’t live with them…..they will not go out with me.” – Vork/Herman Holden, The Guild S2E102

“Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.” – Scott Adams

“But let’s remember who made that rule: Goliath. And let’s remember why Goliath made that rule: when the world has to play on Goliath’s terms, Goliath wins.” – Malcom Gladwell, How David Beats Goliath (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all)

“Attempt such great things for God that without His help, they are destined to fail.” – E.M. Bounds

“I work extremely hard doing what I love, mainly to ensure that I don’t have to work extremely hard doing what I hate.” – Hugh MacLeod, GapingVoid.com (http://twitter.com/gapingvoid/statuses/1521887425)

“Ideas are Almost Worthless. What you should be focusing on instead is Execution and Perseverance. A mediocre idea with fantastic execution and staying power is going to be an awesome success. A fantastic idea with a guy who cant hold a single thought in his head for five minutes and thinks of another great idea is not going to be anything.” – David Heinemeier Hansson

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friends.” –
Henry David Thoreau

“…honesty doesn’t have to look good.” – Becca Arrowsmith, http://beccarrow.blogspot.com/2009/02/back-from-break.html

“The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.” – Randy Nelson, Dean of Pixar University

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G. K. Chesterton

“I think my biggest problem is that I ask for competence in the people around me.” – Bill Wadman, http://www.ontakingpictures.com/2009/01/frustration.html

“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” – Barack Obama

“Don’t undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” – Edwin Land, Inventor of Instant Photography

“Talking to girls is lame. It makes my stomach hurt…because I can’t fart.” – Jacob


  1. Enjoy them early on my blog at least. They’re always available on my Facebook page. 

  2. Season 2, Episode 10 

Quotes of 2008

As I do every year about this time, I’m clearing out the “Favorite Quotations” section from my Facebook profile to make way for the new quotes I will undoubtedly amass in 2009. I think there are some really great quotes in here, so enjoy:

“The question isn’t: who’s going to let me, it’s: who’s going to stop me.” -Ayn Rand

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Dr. Benjamin Spock

“Vi veri veniversum vivus vici” – a German gentleman named Dr. John Faust

“When you have a difference of philosophy with your boss, he owns the philosophy and you own the difference.” – Former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne on being fired

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” – General George Patton

“…discernment is about the intersection of three things. Discover what brings you joy. Discover what you’re good at. Discover what the world needs. The intersection of those three things at any given moment is your calling.” – Jeff Staples paraphrasing his professor

“I see you’ve got a vibrator there… that reminds me of a story of something that happened in church the other week!” – Jeff Staples

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” -Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

“Remember when math used to have numbers?” – Trevor, commenting on the lack of numbers (none actually) on one of the examples on the board in Feedback Control Systems

“Some days you wake up and immediately start to worry. Nothing in particular is wrong it’s just the suspicion that forces are aligning quietly and there will be trouble.” – Jenny Holzer

“Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.” – Walter Chrysler

“The Love of God is not a mere theory or an abstract thought. The Love of God is an event…it’s not a theory, it’s an event. Love Happens.”
-Earl Palmer

“…in a free country, people are supposed to make their own decisions. You can’t legislate virtue.” -Dr. Ron Paul

Constantly Searching

During high school graduation, I gave a speech. I remember having a fun time writing it. I wanted it to be my own special moment of profoundness. Whether or not I accomplished that is not for me to decide.

Let’s take a short walk almost four years back in my life:
<a href='https://andrewferguson.net/2008/01/22/constantly-searching/youtube_1jpg/' rel='attachment wp-att-2244' title='youtube_1.JPG'><img src='https://www.andrewferguson.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2008/01/youtube_1.JPG' alt='youtube_1.JPG' /></a>

I pulled quotes from a couple of sources which had been influential in my life, namely Shakespeare and Star Trek.

Quoting Shakespeare is nothing new for anyone. In fact, Star Trek takes from Shakespeare on a fairly regular basis and there’s some considerable similarities between Klingons and Roman Shakespeare1.

However, I did not use Shakespeare solely because of its Star Trek connection.

I had a hard time with Shakespeare in high school, and for me, quoting it was sort of a way for me to say: “I hate how complex you [the works of Shakespeare] are, but I still respect and admire you.”

I suppose that I could have also quoted Wordsworth, Blake, or Coleridge. But I didn’t.

I watched the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Sunday and was reminded of one of the Star Trek quotes I included in the speech:
<a href='https://andrewferguson.net/2008/01/22/constantly-searching/youtube_2jpg/' rel='attachment wp-att-2243' title='youtube_2.JPG'><img src='https://www.andrewferguson.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2008/01/youtube_2.JPG' alt='youtube_2.JPG' /></a>

It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

I never actually attributed this quote to Star Trek in my speech, which is probably one of my biggest regrets of the entire thing. I think my reasoning at the time was to try and reduce any negative impact that mentioning Star Trek would have on my speech.

For example, let’s say that I quoted this:

As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.

By itself, these come off as great words. Now let’s say that I told you C.S. Lewis wrote them. Now they’re even better words! Profound statement and respectable author makes a great quote.

Now let me postulate that Adolf Hitler was whom I quoted2. My guess is that would not go over so well.

Not that I would/should ever equate Star Trek and Hitler, but I think my point is made.

Back to the Star Trek quote though. I really like it, especially the first sentence: “It is the unknown that defines our existence.”

I like it because it is a statement of purpose and one that I can agree with. I exist because there are unknowns.

The statement of purpose then leads to a statement of mission: “We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day. And we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge.”

We are explorers. We explore. We explore the human element and we explore physical element. And as we explore, we find answers to the aforementioned unknowns. But we also find more knowns.

To me, that’s exciting.

There really is no other point to this except to share that thought and rectify my failed attribution.

By the way, that quote was from Adolf Hitler.


  1. You Haven’t Read Klingon Until You’ve Read It In It’s Native Klingon by Andrew Ferguson, 10/11/2003 

  2. I think this fulfills Godwin’s Law for this discussion 

Quotes of 2007

It’s that time again. I’m clearing out my quotes section on Facebook to make way for the new ones I’m sure to amass in 2008.

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” – William Shakespeare; Hamlet Act V, scene ii

“The greatest risk in life is life – it has 100% chance of causing death.” – Unknown

“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.” – John Newton

“There is nothing left to do but get drunk.” – Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States

“I have guidelines for my personal cell phone use while operating a vehicle. The guidelines say I can call back an awesome girl while monitoring the horizon for things that do not fit under the car.” – Matt Matteson, http://dlzip.com/wordpress/2007/11/06/come-play/

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison

“Oh, then it inverts! Isn’t that cute!” – Ryan
“Look, Ryan’s making cute circuits!” – Amanda

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” – Douglas Adams, Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Theresa

“The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – Alan Mulally

“Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.” – Robert A. Heinlein

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.” – Verbal, “The Usual Suspects”

“It’s Not A Decision. It’s an IQ Test”. – VC Josh Kopelman on MySpace v. Facebook

“Mysteries require judgments and the assessment of uncertainty.” – Malcom Gladwell

“It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.” – Nathaniel Borenstein

“Dear God,”
“Yes, my child?”
“I would like to file a bug report”
-XKCD (http://xkcd.com/c258.html)

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai

“…brick by brick like a Lego shit-house…” – Michael Hood, blatherWatch

“Ah, the things we could do if we didn’t have to waste time sleeping and eating… What an annoyance!” – Brian Layman, TheCodeCave.com