"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthdays Today

Charles de Montesquieu, the French philosopher and political theorist, was born today in 1689.   Montesquieu's writings were widely read by the Founding Fathers, and he is generally credited with creating the theoretical underpinnings of our system of divided government restrained by checks and balances, most particularly in his The Spirit of the Laws. 

Montesquieu once said, "I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve."  I couldn't agree more; whenever I find myself blue, it is almost always because I haven't found time to immerse myself in a good book.


Today is also the birthday of the great Cary Grant, born in 1904.   Here is about the funniest line I've ever seen in a movie, from Bringing Up Baby, and it was a complete ad lib by Grant:

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