drdoug's Journal

Dr Doug - A Wide Halo Of Ease And Leisure
It should be obvious, but for the avoidance of any doubt, this is a personal blog/journal and is nothing to do with my employers. (Who, incidentally, rock.) Even my imaginatively-titled work-related blog is unofficial.

Linking: I'm delighted if you want to link to anything I've written (except friends-locked/restricted/private posts). But please don't link my real name to it. (This helps keep the distinction between my personal stuff and my work stuff.) So, for instance, posting it on Twitter or Facebook would be fine, but linking my Twitter or Facebook accounts as you do so would not. Just linking to the post (rather than cut-and-pasting it) is plenty enough attribution. Thanks!


This LiveJournal is now a secondary account - I've moved to Dreamwidth, where I'm doug.dreamwidth.org. I'm crossposting everything, so you won't miss anything here on LJ for now, but if you want to join the dreamy Dreamwidth posse, you know where to go. (Email me for an invite code if you need one.)


"They [...] said ... I had to see ... Doug. Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug."

That was a very different Doug. We were all young and foolish once. Am I the Doug you're looking for? It's hard to say, but if he looks like my userpics, then yes. If the Doug you're looking for owes you large sums of money or is needed to help police with their inquiries, then no.

All That Is The Case

I agree with dear old J.B.S. Haldane: "Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." And it is endlessly fascinating because of it. Or at least, I find it so. People and human endeavour particularly, but the natural world too. Although I don't share the Creator's inordinate fondness for beetles.


Usenet News has been described as "the textual version of 50 people standing in a room, where some of them are talking to one another, some are screaming, some are staring at the walls and drooling and none of them are paying the slightest attention to what any of the others is saying."

LiveJournal is like that, except that it isn't so much a series of separate rooms as a series of freakshow booths spilling out on to each other, with endless crowds of people hustling, jostling, arguing, spitting, hitting each other and (above all) ogling.

And of course this is why I can't leave it alone.

Slogans to live by

[a.k.a. my abridged electronic commonplace book, the .plan for the NoughtiesTenties]

"I'm a man!" "Well nobody's perfect" - Some Like It Hot

"AH GOO THE SEF" - Graffiti on a wall in York

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan

"It won't be hypothetical if and when it occurs." - Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

"If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research, would it?" - Einstein, allegedly.

"Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent." - John Maynard Keynes

"Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Omnes!" - me doing a terribly pretentious Open Society/Web 2.0 riff on Juvenal

"I drul in the webtv's box." - some random WebTV victim in the mid-90s doing no better

"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell

"Do not confuse the cylinder-shaped bomb with the rectangular food bags." - US Radio to Afghanis in October 2001

"While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State." - Lenin

"A prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting." - George Orwell on me

"Never wrestle a pig, for you both get covered in shit and the pig enjoys it." - unattributable

"Human nature is reasonable but not saintly. People are fit to run their own lives, but nobody is fit to be boss over anybody else." - Donald Rooum

"Aliens from space have stolen my brain!" - minusbat

"I wanna be ... a three minute hero!" - The Selecter

"Freedom's just a new deodorant, the money's spent and you've been had" - The Beat

"Do not overlook the sizeable liberal element, who often are supportively indifferent to disparate lifestyles around them." - Cambridge Univ LBG "Purple Book"

"Anyway, who really cares whether I'm gay or straight? Do they really think they've got a chance of shagging me?" - George Michael

"The really efficient labourer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure." - Henry David Thoreau

"Only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists." - Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness

"It was the freshest move I've ever seen - like he was floating on air." - Benjamin Pew

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin (apocryphally).

"It's also true that those who would give up privacy for security are likely to end up with neither." - Bruce Schneier

"We don't know what the problem is, and we don't know how long we're going to be here." - A train manager sums up the human condition (coincidentally the condition of the delayed 12.32 to Euston)

"Everybody wants prosthetic foreheads on their real heads." - They Might Be Giants (Hard though it may be to believe, my own is, I hasten to add, entirely natural.)

"a load of breezy people who go around saying yaka-wow" - The Right Hon Prof The Baroness Greenfield CBE, on me and my online chums

"Let us understand, once and for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combating it." - T. H. Huxley

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin, probably just as apocryphally as the liberty/safety thing but less contestedly.

"If we expand the pie for the common interest, the pie will be larger and more delicious." - Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Sino-American relations in the Wikileaks diplomatic cables. Mmm, expanded pie.

"If you're the smartest person in the room, go look for a room with smarter people in it." - kevinpet at Hacker News

"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." - H. L. Mencken making a more profound point than the surface sexism and general casual misanthropy might lead you to believe

"A smell of petroleum pervades throughout." - The secret of the universe, as inspired by laughing-gas, via William James and Betrand Russell.

"We are as gods and might as well get good at it" - Stewart Brand, 1968

"We are as gods and HAVE to get good at it" - Stewart Brand, 2009

"Beneath the elaborately constructed veneer of the bumbling buffoon, there may well be a bumbling buffoon. That is the nightmare we all have to live with." - Boris Johnson
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