Doris May Tayler was born at Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran) on this day in 1919. The family moved to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1925 to grow maize (sweet corn). She went to the Dominican Convent High School at Salisbury (now Harare) through age 14, then worked as a nursemaid and telephone operator before her first marriage.

She was involved in leftist politics, her opposition to apartheid and nuclear arms led to her being banned from both Rhodesia and South Africa. Leaving her second husband (Lessing), she decamped for London and the start of her writing career in 1949. She wrote seventeen novels, a five-volume science fiction series, four books about cats, and quite a bit more. She has received all of the European awards for writing, including the 1007 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It is terrible to destroy a person’s picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.

There is only one real sin and that is to persuade oneself that the second best is anything but second best.

All one’s life as a young woman one is on show, a focus of attention, people notice you. You set yourself up to be noticed and admired. And then, not expecting it, you become middle-aged and anonymous. No one notices you. You achieve a wonderful freedom. It’s a positive thing. You can move about unnoticed and invisible.

Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.

As you get older, you don’t get wiser. You get irritable.

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On getting oniondated

I just heard someone in the next office (speakerphone) say, “Well, that’ll put a nutshell on it.”

Heh.  Okay, not oniondated or Type-O’d but perhaps a mixed metaphor?

I think that guy is skating on thin eggs.

Quotes of the day

A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.

Adding highway lanes to deal with traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity.

It has not been for nothing that the word has remained man’s principal toy and tool: without the meanings and values it sustains, all man’s other tools would be worthless.

The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind.

Without fullness of experience, length of days is nothing. When fullness of life has been achieved, shortness of days is nothing. That is perhaps why the young have usually so little fear of death; they live by intensities that the elderly have forgotten.

[I think about that last one a lot, when I think about the passion I used to have for nearly everything I do.  Now … not so much.  I miss it. I don’t know if it’s old age and pain or depression or some dastardly combination of both that steals the joie de vivre.  Also, I probably spelled that last bit wrong and I don’t care.]

A man of courage never needs weapons, but he may need bail.

All from Lewis Mumford, 1895 – 1990

This is from Van’s Quotes of the Day, to wit:

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Something new to worry about

Malware Aimed at Social Networks May Steal Your Reality
PC World (10/13/10) Darlene Storm

Researchers at Ben Gurion University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Deutsche Telekom Laboratories collaborated on “Stealing Reality,” a paper that predicts a new generation of malware based on social-networking data.

The researchers say the malware will target and extract information about relationships and record patterns of behavior in real-world social networks, a technique that will be more dangerous and harder to detect than traditional malware. A malware behavioral pattern attack can harvest a victim’s “rich identity” profile, which could be more valuable than the demographic information such as gender and age, according to the researchers.

“A Stealing Reality type of malware attack, which is targeted at learning the social communication patterns, could ‘piggyback’ on the user-generated messages, or imitate their natural patterns, thus not drawing attention to itself while still achieving its target goals,” the researchers write.

Such attacks could be particularly problematic because “the victim of a ‘behavioral pattern’ theft cannot easily change his or her behavior and life patterns.”


From Desmond Tutu:

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Nice, eh?

We are moved, but the house is still rather a nightmare.  I can’t get caught up.  But I will, sometime.  Hopefully before Christmas.  We’ve had to have a plumber 3 times, and today I had to call an electrician.  And two microwaves have gone kaput in 6 weeks.  Good lord! Power is out now, waiting for a ring back from said electrician.  Didn’t want the place to burn down while we’re at work.   The place is likely booby-trapped, from the ANGRY man who lost it prior to the contractor’s flip that we bought.  That’s according to the neighbors.  And, BTW, Hallelujah!  We have great neighbors as far as I can tell.  Not too noisy, all have dogs that are well taken care of. I’m not sure the neighbors on the left are doing their bit for spaying and neutering their cats, though.  Seem to be a couple of toms and a pregnant female that hang around there.  Bleah.  That again.

Mr. Long came back, he is happy to be the only garage cat, I think.  Very lovey. But we’re going to get one of those electric doors with the collar to match so he can get in but the toms can’t.  I’m tired of tomcat pee in the garage.  He probably is, too.   I miss seeing Gazette, but Mr. Long seems to have forgotten about her.