An updated version of our prior look at famous opinions:
"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances."
-Dr. Lee DeForest, "Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television."
"The Atomic bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."
-Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
-Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers ."
-Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and
talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing
is a fad that won’t last out the year."
-The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what is it good for?"
-Engineer at the Advanced ComputingSystems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
-Bill Gates, 1981
"This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no
value to us,"
-Western Union internal memo, 1876
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
-David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible,"
Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper
proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found
Federal Express Corp.)
"I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper,"
-Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."
"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research
reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies
like you make,"
-Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
"We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,"
-Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"
-Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment.
The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this,"
-Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy,"
-Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
-Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value,"
-Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, France.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented,"
-Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.
"The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take
all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat
generated by the number of vacuum tubes required."
-Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University
"I don’t know what use any one could find for a machine that would
make copies of documents. It certainly couldn’t be a feasible business
-the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.
"Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
-Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon,"
-Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
And last but not least…
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
Another guest musical director for FNJ this week: Eddie Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street on Artie Shaw. Take it away, Eddie:
Artie Shaw was cool. Not Elvis cool or Sinatra cool, but a darker, more subdued cool.
What Shaw did was make things look easy. Check out this clip and notice how, even after six decades, his music hasn’t aged a bit. It’s still fresh and smooth. It’s just…cool. (You gotta love Shaw’s reply to the compliments: “Yeah, yeah. Glass of water.” Pure cool.)
Artie Shaw was the very last of the big bandleaders. He died a year ago at age 94 and fifty years after his last performance. He wound up outliving all the greats—Goodman, Herman, Miller. Those names may loom larger today, but back then, Shaw’s star was the brightest. He was making $60,000 a week—not bad for the Depression. With America poised to enter World War II, Time magazine reported that Germans’ vision of America was “skyscrapers, Clark Gable and Artie Shaw.”
Fascists, apparently, have issues with tall buildings.
When Shaw hired Billie Holiday, he became the first white bandleader to hire a full-time black singer. But Shaw detested the limelight. In fact, Shaw hated the words “jazz” and “swing.” No, he considered himself a musician. He hated the audience. He hated the singers. He hated the dancers. He hated other bandleaders (“Benny Goodman played clarinet. I played music.”)
By 1951, Shaw walked away from music altogether and became—what else?—a dairy farmer. Crazy, maybe, but cool in its own way. Duke Ellington told him, “Man, you got more guts than any of us.”
So what did Shaw like? Women. Lots and lots of them. He was married eight times. He nabbed Betty Grable which would have pleased most men. Not Shaw. While they were engaged, he ran off with Lana Turner. (Whoa, Duke was right!) Shaw had an affair with Rita Hayworth. He dumped Judy Garland. He married Ava Gardner before Sinatra. How in earth did he have time enough time for music?
Ah, the music. Brilliant. Here’s an example: In 1938, Shaw took an obscure and forgotten Cole Porter song and made it a jazz classic. Have a listen to “Begin the Beguine.”
If you’re keeping score, that’s a Jewish bandleader playing Negro music written by a homosexual.
Exceedingly trivial trivia: “Begin the Beguine” has been performed a gazillion times since. In the movie, The Rocketeer, it’s performed by Melora Hardin, who’s better known as Jan in The Office. (Told you it was trivial.)
If you’ve never heard of Shaw and want to get your feet wet, I’d recommend: The Very Best of Artie Shaw
That pretty much has it all. Personally, I love “Star Dust” and “Deep Purple.” Wonderful stuff.
BR adds: Thanks Eddy — nicely done. There is a terrific recording of Shaw over at NPR: Performance by Shaw of Shaw’s 1940 Concerto for Clarinet
videos after the jump . .
The Payroll numbers are out, and they are not particularly pretty:
88,000 new jobs were created in April, according to BLS. This is the weakest job gain since November ’04. Cumulative revisions for prior months were to the downside by 26,000.
As expected, losses were in Manufacturing (19k), Retail (26k) and Construction (11k). The weakness in Construction has been very uted, implying that the full impact of the housing slow down has yet to be fully realized.
Biggest gains were had in Services (116k), Education and Health (53k), Gov’t (25k) Professional (24k) and Leisure/Hospitality (22k).
Temporary help jobs fell for a 3rd month (January was flat) making 4 consecutive months of no gains. Temp help tends to lead employment gains, and this weakness can be read as a future forecastor of employment.
We don’t pay close attention to the Household survey, (the self reported number is very volatile) but the drop of -468k was an eyebrow raiser.
To put this into some context, of those 317k new jobs hypothesized by BLS, 49k of those supposed jobs are in construction. Now what are the odds of that?
While Wall Street celebrates the upcoming recession, let me remind you that this economy requires about 150k new monthly jobs to merely keeep up with population growth.