"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling
Huge blog entry to follow soonish. Oh and by the way: Today is September 21st, 2004. Neal Stephenson's The System Of The World, third volume in the epic work of sheer authorial genius known as The Baroque Cycle.
Rick Kleffel of The Agony Column (one of my favorite sites devoted to books) says Stephenson's achievement is on the order of Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings or William Gibson's Neuromancer. You can read what he has to say here.
Get thee to a bookstore!