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Quotes of the week of February 5, 2006 - "Let's think this through..."


Blaise Pascal has some thoughts (see Penseés (Thoughts), 1660) - 


Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.


I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room.


Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.


Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.




Evil is obvious only in retrospect. - Gloria Steinem Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983)


The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness. - Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes (1911)


Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter. - Oliver Goldsmith


Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty. - Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (1947)


No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency. - Theodore Roosevelt, "The Strenuous Life" (1900)


Without the aid of prejudice and custom I should not be able to find my way across the room. - William Hazlitt


A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case. - Finley Peter Dunne


Fanaticism is . . . overcompensation for doubt. - Robertson Davies


The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion. - Denis Diderot


In the fevered state of our country, no good can ever result from any attempt to set one of these fiery zealots to rights, either in fact or principle. They are determined as to the facts they will believe, and the opinions on which they will act. Get by them, therefore, as you would by an angry bull; it is not for a man of sense to dispute the road with such an animal. - Thomas Jefferson


The worst of madmen is a saint run mad. - Alexander Pope


Being unable to reason is not a positive character trait outside religion. - Dewey Henize


Reason is a very light rider, and easily shook off. - Jonathan Swift


The more you reason the less you create. - Raymond Chandler


There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad humanity must assume the aspect of Hell. - Edgar Allan Poe


It has always surprised me how little attention philosophers have paid to humor, since it is a more significant process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perceptions, but the humor process is involved in changing them. - Edward de Bono (Francis Charles Publius, a Maltese psychologist and writer, whose field is "creative thinking" - and may be one of the only famous Maltese writers)

Quotes for the week of January 29, 2006 - Lighten Up


Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn't. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Horace Walpole


Humor is the most engaging cowardice. - Robert Frost


Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humor in the woman. - Oscar Wilde


Well, the telling of jokes is an art of its own, and it always rises from some emotional threat. The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful. - Kurt Vonnegut  


Kids like my act because I'm wearing nose glasses. Adults like my act because there's a guy who thinks putting on nose glasses is funny. - Steve Martin   


In the end, everything is a gag. - Charlie Chaplin  


Anyone without a sense of humor is at the mercy of everyone else. - William Rotsler


Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. - George Bernard Shaw


I have a fine sense of the ridiculous, but no sense of humor. - Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (act I)


Sometimes when reading Goethe I have the paralyzing suspicion that he is trying to be funny. - Thomas Carlyle


A rich man's joke is always funny. - Thomas Edward Brown


He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news. - Anthony Burgess


Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis. - Jack Handey



Quotes for the week of January 22, 1006 - The Law


I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, two men are called a Law Firm, and three or more are called a Congress. - John Adams


Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. - Louis D. Brandeis, from his dissent in the case Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928)


I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against an whole people. - Edmund Burke, Speech on the Conciliation of America


The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced. - Frank Zappa


The aim of law is the maximum gratification of the nervous system of man. - Learned Hand


If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process. - Felix Frankfurter


This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power. - Gerry Spence


I told him it was law logic - an artificial system of human reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else. - John Quincy Adams to John Marshall


It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King Jr.


No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority. - Joseph Addison


The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be. - Raymond Chandler


Law is born from despair of human nature. - Jose Ortega y Gasset


Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins. - John Locke


If you think that you can think about a thing, inextricably attached to something else, without thinking of the thing it is attached to, then you have a legal mind. - Henry C. Blinn 


A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful. - Primo Levi


Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little. – Samuel Johnson, Letter to Dr. Taylor


You can hire logic, in the shape of a lawyer, to prove anything that you want to prove. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table


There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets. -

Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby


The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it. - Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera


Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law. - Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveler



Quotes for the week of January 15, 2006 - "Just the facts, ma'am..."


Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. - John Adams (1735-1826), 'Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,' December 1770


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. - Aldous Huxley


Count Hermann Keyserling once said truly that the greatest American superstition was belief in facts. - John Gunther


He is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts. - Richard Brinsley Sheridan


Facts are stupid things. - Ronald Reagan


It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year. - Truman Capote


It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true. -  Gore Vidal


For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by things that seem than by those that are. - Nicolo Machiavelli   


The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get. - Bertrand Russell


A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation. - H.H. Munro 


If two things don’t fit, but you believe both of them, thinking that somewhere, hidden, there must be a third thing that connects them, that’s credulity. - Umberto Eco, Foucalt's Pendulum


Religion hinges upon faith, politics hinges upon who can tell the most convincing lies or maybe just shout the loudest, but science hinges upon whether its conclusions resemble what actually happens. - Ian Stewart


Faith: not wanting to know what is true. - Friedrich Nietzsche


If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying’. And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did." - Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts


If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out? - Will Rogers




Bonus - 


I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better. - A. J. Liebling


Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. - C. G. Jung

Quotes for the week of January 8, 2006 - Is that true?                      


We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love - first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage. - Albert Camus


He who uses trickery should at least make use of his judgment to learn that he can scarcely hide treacherous conduct for very long among clever men who are determined to find him out, although they may pretend to be deceived in order to disguise their knowledge of his deceitfulness. -  Magdeleine Sable


It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. - Noel Coward


We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us. - Samuel Johnson


The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth. - Adrienne Rich 


The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off. - Gloria Steinem


Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth. - Jean-Paul Sartre


Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


We have art in order not to die of the truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche


Postmodernists believe that truth is myth, and myth, truth. This equation has its roots in pop psychology. The same people also believe that emotions are a form of reality. There used to be another name for this state of mind. It used to be called psychosis. - Brad Holland


The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. - William Blake, from "Notes on Reynolds's Discourses" (1908)


It is unfortunate, considering that enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to speak the truth. - Arthur James Balfour 


Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. - Andre Gide


The art of life is to show your hand. There is no diplomacy like candor. You may lose by it now and then, but it will be a loss well gained if you do. Nothing is so boring as having to keep up a deception. -  Edward Verrall Lucas


I was about to tell him he was wrong to dwell on it, because it really didn't matter. But he cut me off and urged me one last time, drawing himself up to his full height and asking me if I believed in God. I said no. He sat down indignantly. He said it was impossible; all men believed in God, even those who turn their backs on him. That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless. 'Do you want my life to be meaningless?' he shouted. As far as I could see, it didn't have anything to do with me, and I told him so. But from across the table he had already thrust the crucifix in my face and was screaming irrationally, 'I am a Christian. I ask Him to forgive you for sins. How can you not believe that He suffered for you?' I was struck by how sincere he seemed, but I had had enough. It was getting hotter and hotter. As always, whenever I want to get rid of someone I'm not really listening to, I made it appear as if I agreed. To my surprise, he acted triumphant. 'You see, you see!' he said. 'You do believe, don't you, and you're going to place your trust in Him, aren't you?' Obviously, I again said no. He fell back in his chair.  - Albert Camus, The Stranger



Quotes for the week of January 1, 2006 - We Have a New Year


I confess, I do not believe in time. - Vladimir Nabokov


Time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked. - Noel Coward, Blithe Spirit


So little time and so little to do. - Oscar Levant


The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive. - John Sladek


The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet. - William Gibson


A wise God shrouds the future in obscure darkness. [Prudens futuri temporis exitum Caliginosa nocte premit deus.] - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Carmina (III, 29, 29)


The future is like heaven. Everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now. -James Baldwin


I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that's my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again... the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul. - J. G. Ballard


I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it. - Ray Bradbury


Predicting the future is easy. It's trying to figure out what's going on now that's hard. - Fritz R. S. Dressler


It is the business of the future to be dangerous. - Alfred Whitehead


FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true, and our happiness is assured. - Ambrose Bierce


When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there's always madness. Madness is the emergency exit. - Alan Moore


We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like. - Alfred Hitchcock


Time misspent in youth is sometimes all the freedom one ever has. - Anita Brookner 


Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them. - Charles Lamb


The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time. - George Bernard Shaw


Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time. - George Patton


It takes a lot of time to be a genius; you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing. -Gertrude Stein 


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx



Quotes for the week of December 25, 2005 - Christmas and More


I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  - Charles Dickens


Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home.  - Carol Nelson


We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time. - Art Buchwald


There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. - Erma Bombeck


Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. - William Ralph Inge


It's never safe to be nostalgic about something until you're absolutely certain there's no chance of its coming back. - Bill Vaughn


Nostalgia's the most commercial commodity there is today; I believe it's true all over the world. - Stan Kenton


I prefer the mystic clouds of nostalgia to the real thing, to be honest. - Robert Wyatt


If you go flying back through time, and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact. - Jack Handey


Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Louis Hector Berlioz


The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. - Henry Kissinger


There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go. -  Tennessee Williams


Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing. - Oscar Wilde


I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth. - Umberto Eco


I felt like poisoning a monk. - Umberto Eco, on why he wrote the novel "The Name of the Rose"

Quotes for the week of December 18, 2005 - On Politicians


Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important. - Eugene McCarthy (died December 10, 2005 at the age of 89)


My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference. - Harry S. Truman


Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. - John Quinton


Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be. - Marshall McLuhan


I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician. - Charlie Chaplin


In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people. - Groucho Marx


Politicians have the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterward to explain why it didn't happen. - Winston Churchill


One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one. - Henry Miller


Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. - George Orwell


My deepest feeling about politicians is that they are dangerous lunatics to be avoided when possible and carefully humored; people, above all, to whom one must never tell the truth. - W. H. Auden


When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we'd been saying they were. - John F. Kennedy


It's a sad and stupid thing to have to proclaim yourself a revolutionary just to be a decent man. - David Harris


What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary? - Marion Barry


Beguiled by George W. Bush's easy smile and casual indifference to the details, we are on the brink of electing him to office. This isn't choosing a president, it's casting the lead in a sitcom about the presidency. - Roger Ebert


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed [and hence clamorous to be led to safety] by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H. L. Mencken


An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. - T. S. Eliot


It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny. - James Fenimore Cooper


The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. - Georges Bernanos


Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote. - William L. Shirer

Quotes for the week of December 11, 2005 - Russell Mania


Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) this week, the "British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic, best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy."



Russell discovered the paradox that bears his name in 1901, while working on his Principles of Mathematics (1903). The paradox arises in connection with the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set, if it exists, will be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself. The paradox is significant since, using classical logic, all sentences are entailed by a contradiction. Russell's discovery thus prompted a large amount of work in logic, set theory, and the philosophy and foundations of mathematics.


Be that as it may, the man could turn a phrase. 

  • A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
  • All movements go too far.
  • Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  • Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.
  • Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.
  • I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.
  • I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
  • If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
  • In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
  • In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.
  • It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
  • It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.
  • Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.
  • Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
  • Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
  • Passive acceptance of the teacher's wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favour of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes man to seek and to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position.
  • Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.
  • Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.
  • So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
  • The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
  • The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
  • The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.
  • The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.  

Of course it isn't.




Quotes for the week of December 4, 2005 - On Language and Thought


If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur. - Doug Larson


Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to? - Clarence Darrow


I am the King of Rome, and above grammar.  [Ego sum rex Romanus, et supra grammaticam.] – Sigismund at the 1414 Council of Constance to a prelate who objected to his grammar (not George Bush)


If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found the time to conquer the world. - Heinrich Heine


Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about. - Benjamin Lee Whorf


Mechanical difficulties with language are the outcome of internal difficulties with thought. - Elizabeth Bowen


English - Who needs that? I'm never going to England! - Homer Simpson


If the King's English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. - Texan Governor "Ma" Ferguson


That woman speaks 19 languages and can't say "no" in any of them. - Dorothy Parker


Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. - Robert Benchley


It's strange because I can't speak English well, but I am stirred by hearing it - Jack Benny, George Bums, Lucille Ball. - Alain Resnais


Morals and manners will rise or decline with our attention to grammar.To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse - German. - Jason Chamberlain, inaugural address at University of Vermont, 1811 


You taught me language, and my profit on't Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you For learning me your language! – Shakespeare, The Tempest (Caliban at I, ii)


The English language is rather like a monster accordion, stretchable at the whim of the editor, compressible ad lib. - Robert Burchfield


Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons. - Aldous Huxley


How can I tell what I think till I see what I say? - E. M. Forster


Look wise; say nothing and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought. - William Osler


For I am a bear of very little brain and long words bother me. - Ludwig Wittgenstein



Quotes for the week of November 27, 2005 - Who Do You Trust?


The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action. - Frank Herbert


Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. - Alfred Adler:


Trust everybody, but cut the cards. - Finley Peter Dunne


To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. - George MacDonald


We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. - John F. Kennedy


Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. – Thomas Jefferson


"Love all, trust a few / Do wrong to none … " - William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well


I have great faith in fools - my friends call it self-confidence. - Edgar Allan Poe quotes


You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink. -  Terry Pratchett


Distrust all those who love you extremely upon a very slight acquaintance and without any visible reason. - Lord Chesterfield quotes


I don't really trust a sane person. - Lyle Alzado


Many people say that government is necessary because some men cannot be trusted to look after themselves, but anarchists say that government is harmful because no men can be trusted to look after anyone else.  - Nicolas Walter, About Anarchism


Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence.  Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. - William E. Gladstone


Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country - and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians.  - Charles Krauthammer


I've never known a musician who regretted being one. Whatever deceptions life may have in store for you, music itself is not going to let you down. - Virgil Thomson

Quotes for the week of November 20, 2005 - Anger and Resolution

Beware the fury of a patient man. - John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (Part I, l. 1005)


They are borne along by the violence of their rage, and think it is a waste of time to ask who are guilty. [Trahit ipse furoris Impetus, et visum est lenti quaesisse nocentum.]  - Lucanus (Marcus Annaeus Lucan), Pharsalia (II, 109)


Fear not the anger of the wise to raise; Those best can fear reproof who merit praise.  - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism (l. 582)


Anger is an expensive luxury in which only men of a certain income can indulge. - George William Curtis


When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. So we were often angry at each other. - Charles De Gaulle.


Anger at lies lasts forever.  Anger at truth can't last. - Greg Evans


Keep cool; anger is not an argument. - Daniel Webster


It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. - Jonathan Swift


He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it. - Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"


Kurt Vonnegut:  


Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.


One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us. - "Cold Turkey", In These Times, May 10, 2004


Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Quotes for the week of November 13, 2005 - Government and Reality


Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.  - H. L. Mencken


I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it. - Garrison Keillor


After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. - Fred Thompson, speech before the Commonwealth Club of California


It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that. - G. H. Hardy


The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet. - William Gibson


I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there. - Herb Caen


The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. - Ursula K. LeGuin


There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge. - Bertrand Russell


Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. - H. L. Mencken


There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.  - George Carlin

Quotes for the week of November 6, 2005 - Return to Cynics Corner


The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. - George Bernard Shaw


But the greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness - each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked - each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity. - Herbert Butterfield


In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. - Mark Twain


I believe that the moment is near when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality. - Salvador Dali


It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid. - George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"


Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. - Bill Watterson (the cartoonist, "Calvin and Hobbes")


In every American there is an air of incorrigible innocence, which seems to conceal a diabolical cunning. - A. E. Housman


It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them! - Friedrich Nietzsche


The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge. - Daniel J Boorstin


The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair. - H. L. Mencken


The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? - Pablo Casals


There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California. - Edward Abbey

Quotes for the week of October 30, 2005 - The Scooter Conspiracy


"A conspiracy is nothing but a secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit in public" - Mark Twain


"The de facto censorship which leaves so many Americans functionally illiterate about the history of US foreign affairs may be all the more effective because it is not official, heavy-handed or conspiratorial, but woven artlessly into the fabric of education and media. No conspiracy is needed." - William Blum


"The popularity of conspiracy theories is explained by people's desire to believe that there is - some group of folks who know what they're doing" - Damon Knight 


"More things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy." - Jeff Greenfield


"The search for conspiracy only increases the elements of morbidity and paranoia and fantasy in this country. It romanticizes crimes that are terrible because of their lack of purpose. It obscures our necessary understanding, all of us, that in this life there is often tragedy without reason." – Anthony Lewis


"The biggest conspiracy has always been the fact that there is no conspiracy. Nobody's out to get you. Nobody gives a shit whether you live or die. There, you feel better now?"  - Dennis Miller


"A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood." - William Shenstone


"It is hard to tell if a man is telling the truth when you know you would lie if you were in his place." - H. L. Mencken


"The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff." - Ambrose Bierce


"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."  - Winston Churchill


"Truth is mighty and will prevail.  There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so." - Mark Twain


"Reality is bad enough.  Why should I tell the truth?" - Patrick Sky


"It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar." - Jerome K. Jerome


"If you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to anybody." - Leroy ''Satchel'' Paige


"When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty." - Norm Crosby


"I deserve respect for the things I did not do." - Dan Quayle

Quotes for the week of October 23, 2005 - The Judith Miller Journalism Collection


On journalists: "They consume a considerable quantity of our paper manufacture, employ our artisans in printing, and find business for great numbers of indigent persons." - Joseph Addison, the "Spectator," no. 367


"Ask how to live? Write, write, write, anything; the world's a fine believing world, write news." - Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Wit Without Money (Act II)


"Journalists should not be so distant that all they can hear are shouts, nor so close that they become more conspirators than critics." - Walter Lippman


"A free press is one that prints a dictator's speech but doesn't have to." - Laurence J. Peter


"Remember, son, many a good story has been ruined by over-verification." - James Gordon Bennett


"Numerous politicians have seized absolute power and muzzled the press. Never in history has the press seized absolute power and muzzled the politicians." - Karl Otto von Schonhausen Bismarck


"The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands." - Oscar Wilde


"Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock." - Ben Hecht


"If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people." - Daniel Moynihan


"The idea that media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that's about tenth or eleventh on their list." - Abbie Hoffman


"On behalf of the newspaper industry I wish to announce some changes we're making to serve you better.  When I say 'serve you better,'' I mean 'increase our profits.'  We newspapers are very big on profits these days.  We're a business, just like any other business, except that we employ English majors." - Dave Barry


"Journalism - an ability to meet the challenge of filling the space." - Rebecca West


"The American mind, unlike the English, is not formed by books, but, as Carl Sandburg once said to me, by newspapers and the Bible."  -Van Wyck Brooks


"Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's St. Matthew's Passion on a ukulele: The instrument is too crude for the work, for the audience and for the performer." - Ben Bagdikian



"The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it." - Alexander Cockburn


And where is our Edward R, Murrow these days?  "It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper." - Rod Serling



Quotes for the week of October 16, 2005 - Chaos and Madness


I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me. I know some people are terrified of the bomb. But then some people are terrified to be seen carrying a modern screen magazine. Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most. - Bob Dylan


Chaos in the midst of chaos isn't funny, but chaos in the midst of order is. - Steve Martin


Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds. - George Santayana


Chaos and Order are not enemies, only opposites. - Richard Garriott


What we imagine is order is merely the prevailing form of chaos. - Kerry Thornley


Chaos is the score upon which reality is written. - Henry Miller


I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos - especially activity that seems to have no meaning.  It seems to me to be the road toward freedom.  Rather than starting inside, I start outside and reach the mental through the physical. - Jim Morrison


Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively. - Voltaire


The extreme limit of wisdom, that's what the public calls madness. - Jean Cocteau


The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes. - Andre Gide


Pain is real when you get other people to believe in it. If no one believes in it but you, your pain is madness or hysteria.  - Naomi Wolf


The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad. - Salvador Dali


When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain


I have cultivated my hysteria with delight and terror. Now I suffer continually from vertigo, and today, 23rd of January 1862, I have received a singular warning, I have felt the wind of the wing of madness pass over me. - Charles Baudelaire


We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us! - George Bernard Shaw


I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. - Hunter S. Thompson

Quotes for the week of October 9, 2001 - William Bennett Edition


William Bennett here (September 28) –


But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could - if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.


Desmond Tutu –


"Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity."


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."


"I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period.  The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, 'Now is that political or social?'  He said, 'I feed you.'"


Others –


At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being. - Friedrich Otto Hertz


I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don't want, to buy things they don't need, to impress people they dislike. - Emile Henry Gauvreau


Prejudices are what fools use for reason. - Voltaire


The very ink in which history is written is merely fluid prejudice. - Mark Twain


Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety. - Ben Hecht


It is not the simple statement of facts that ushers in freedom; it is the constant repetition of them that has this liberating effect. Tolerance is the result not of enlightenment, but of boredom. - Quentin Crisp


If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon. - George Aiken


I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices.  All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse. - Mark Twain


O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand.  - William Penn


I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.  - Booker T. Washington


I don't like spinach, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked it I'd eat it, and I just hate it. - Clarence Darrow




Quotes for the week of October 2, 2005 - Character, Honesty, and Motive (and all that)


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Blaise Pascal


I have often depended on the blindness of strangers. - Adrienne E. Gusoff


I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown. - Woody Allen


Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up. - Wilson Mizner


Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense. - Steve Landesberg


People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty. - Richard J. Needham


No such thing as a man willing to be honest - that would be like a blind man willing to see.  - F. Scott Fitzgerald


Well, I tell you, if I have been wrong in my agnosticism, when I die I'll walk up to God in a manly way and say, Sir, I made an honest mistake. - H. L. Mencken


Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. - F. M. Hubbard


In the choice between changing one's mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof. - John Kenneth Galbraith


"To revenge reasonable incredulity by refusing evidence, is a degree of insolence with which the world is not yet acquainted; and stubborn audacity is the last refuge of guilt." – Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland



Quotes for the week of September 25, 2005 - Power


It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. - David Brin


Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. - Frederick Douglass


We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom. - Stephen Vincent Benét


I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be. - Thomas Jefferson


You see what power is - holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them! - Amy Tan


An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens. ­- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813


Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. - George Orwell quotes


Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart. - Eric Hoffer quotes


All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power. - Ashleigh Brilliant


Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. - Margaret Thatcher


Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self-interest backed by force. - George Bernard Shaw


Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. - George Orwell


Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power. - Bertrand Russell


Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power. - Bertrand Russell



Quotes for the week of September 18, 2005 - Taking the Bitter with the Sour


These came across the Just Above Sunset transom late in the week -


With Epcot Center the Disney Corporation has accomplished something I didn't think possible in today's world. They have created a land of make-believe that's worse than regular life. - PJ O'Rourke


I've been trying for some time to develop a lifestyle that doesn't require my presence. - Gary Trudeau


I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn't like it. - Samuel Goldwyn


At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies. - PG Wodehouse


A few more from Samuel Goldwyn:


  • I don't think anyone should write their autobiography until after they're dead.
  • I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.
  • I never put on a pair of shoes until I've worn them at least five years.
  • I read part of it all the way through.
  • If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.
  • Let's have some new clichés.
  • Spare no expense to save money on this one.
  • Television has raised writing to a new low.
  • When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.
  • You've got to take the bitter with the sour.


A few more from P. G. Wodehouse: 

  • If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
  • The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.
  • It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.
  • A man's subconscious self is not the ideal companion. It lurks for the greater part of his life in some dark den of its own, hidden away, and emerges only to taunt and deride and increase the misery of a miserable hour.
Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints which a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.

Quotes for the week of September 11, 2005 - Competence and Responsibility and all that -


If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation. - Vaclav Havel


Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.  - Napoleon Bonaparte


A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops. – General John J. Pershing


The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare. - Daniel P. Moynihan


Incompetents invariably make trouble for people other than themselves. - Larry McMurtry in Lonesome Dove


Often the desire to appear competent impedes our ability to become competent, because we more anxious to display our knowledge than to learn what we do not know. - Magdeleine Sable (c. 1599-1678) from Maxims and Various Thoughts (Maximes et pensées diverses) 1678


In times like these men should utter nothing for which they would not be willingly responsible through time and in eternity. - Abraham Lincoln


Responsibility: A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor.  In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star. - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911


Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else. - Ivern Ball


A person I knew used to divide human beings into three categories: Those who prefer having nothing to hide rather than being obliged to lie, those who prefer lying to having nothing to hide, and finally those who like both lying and the hidden. - Albert Camus




Quotes of the week of September 4, 2005 - Tangentially Related to Events In New Orleans


Lyndon B. Johnson: The American city should be a collection of communities where every member has a right to belong. It should be a place where every man feels safe on his streets and in the house of his friends. It should be a place where each individual's dignity and self-respect is strengthened by the respect and affection of his neighbors. It should be a place where each of us can find the satisfaction and warmth which comes from being a member of the community of man. This is what man sought at the dawn of civilization. It is what we seek today.


Thomas Aquinas: I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it.


Thomas Jefferson: The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.


John Gardner: The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.


Adlai Stevenson: It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.


Peter F. Drucker: Leaders shouldn't attach moral significance to their ideas: Do that, and you can't compromise.


Rabindranath Tagore: Power takes as ingratitude the writhing of its victims.


Groucho Marx: I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.



Quotes for the week of Sunday, August 28, 2005 - On Photography


A photograph is neither taken nor seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos. - Henri Cartier-Bresson


I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do - that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse. - Diane Arbus


I love the medium of photography, for with its unique realism it gives me the power to go beyond conventional ways of seeing and understanding and say, "This is real, too."  -  Wynn Bullock


The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. - Dorthea Lange


Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs. - Ansel Adams


No place is boring if you've had a good night's sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. - Robert Adams, Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques, May 1995


While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.  - Dorothea Lange


I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don't find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges. - William Albert Allard, "The Photographic Essay"


I hate cameras.  They are so much more sure than I am about everything.  - John Steinbeck


All photographs are accurate.  None of them is the truth. - Richard Avedon


Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.   - Henri Cartier-Bresson

If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera.  - Lewis Hine


A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know. -  Diane Arbus


They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum. - Tallulah Bankhead


Actually, I'm not all that interested in the subject of photography.  Once the picture is in the box, I'm not all that interested in what happens next.  Hunters, after all, aren't cooks. - Henri Cartier-Bresson



Quotes for the week of Sunday, August 21, 2005 - Dissent


Florynce Kennedy: You've got to rattle your cage door. You've got to let them know that you're in there, and that you want out. Make noise. Cause trouble. You may not win right away, but you'll sure have a lot more fun.


Harry S Truman: Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.


J. William Fulbright: In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.


William O. Douglas: Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.


Charles Evans Hughes: Dissents are appeals to the brooding spirit of the law, to the intelligence of another day.


Will Durant: Continue to express your dissent and your needs, but remember to remain civilized, for you will sorely miss civilization if it is scarified in the turbulence of change.


Learned Hand: In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy.


John Lindsay: There are men - now in power in this country - who do not respect dissent, who cannot cope with turmoil, and who believe that the people of America are ready to support repression as long as it is done with a quiet voice and a business suit.


Justice Louis D. Brandeis: The constitutional right of free speech has been declared to be the same in peace and war. In peace, too, men may differ widely as to what loyalty to our country demands, and an intolerant majority, swayed by passion or by fear, may be prone in the future, as it has been in the past, to stamp as disloyal opinions with which it disagrees.


James Russell Lowell: Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of opinion.  


H. L. Mencken: I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.  


H. L. Mencken: The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society.  


Georg Christoph Lichtenberg: One's first step in wisdom is to question everything - and one's last is to come to terms with everything.



Quotes of the week of August 14, 2004 - Yes, the theme this week is tolerance -


Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd. - Bertrand Russell


It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others' religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty. - Mohandas K. Gandhi


I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird. - Paul McCartney


Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival. - Rene Dubos


In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools. - Doris Lessing


As no roads are so rough as those that have just been mended, so no sinners are so intolerant as those that have just turned saints. - Charles Caleb Colton


No human trait deserves less tolerance in everyday life, and gets less, than intolerance. - Giacomo Leopardi


It is easy to be tolerant of the principles of other people if you have none of your own. - Herbert Samuel


Broad-minded is just another way of saying a fellow's too lazy to form an opinion. - Will Rogers


We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. - Karl Popper


Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic. - Dan Rather


To err is human; to forgive, infrequent. - Franklin P. Adams


We are all born mad. Some remain so. - Samuel Beckett


Optimism: The doctrine that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. ... It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious. - Ambrose Bierce


It is well for people who think to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean. For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while. - Luther Burbank


H. L. Mencken:


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.                  


I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.


All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.


Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.


I believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it's a limit that's very seldom mentioned. It's the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don't think there are any other conditions to free speech. I've got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven't got a right to press it on anybody else. ... Nobody's got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.


Prejudice rarely survives experience. - Eve Zibart

Quotes for the week of August 7, 2005 – On Flying (see A Ride in the Goodyear Blimp)


"The most beautiful dream that has haunted the heart of man since Icarus is today reality." - Louis Bleriot


"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky." - Amelia Earhart


"More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination." - Wilbur Wright


"Lovers of air travel find it exhilarating to hang poised between the illusion of immortality and the fact of death." - Alexander Chase, 'Perspectives,' 1966


"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things…" - Antoine de St-Exupéry


"What can you conceive more silly and extravagant than to suppose a man racking his brains, and studying night and day how to fly?" - William Law, 'A Serious Call to a Devout and Holly Life XI,' 1728


"The airplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth." - Antoine de St-Exupéry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939


"Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle." - Igor Sikorsky


"Travelers are always discoverers, especially those who travel by air. There are no signposts in the air to show a man has passed that way before. There are no channels marked. The flier breaks each second into new uncharted seas." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 'North to the Orient,' 1935


"The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." - Douglas Adams


"If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day." - J. A. Wheeler

Quotes for the week of July 31, 2005 – Truth and the Root of All Evil


Søren Kierkegaard: Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.


Mark Twain: Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so.


Bill Cosby: A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need the advice.


Edward Abbey: There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.


Salvador Dali: I believe that the moment is near when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality.


John Cage: I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.




Abraham Joshua Heschel: When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.

Quotes for the week of July 24, 2005 – Originality and Such


It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.

-  Isaac Asimov


First we kill all the subversives; then, their collaborators; later, those who sympathize with them; afterward, those who remain indifferent; and finally, the undecided.

-  General Iberico Saint Jean


The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

-  Salvador Dali


Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met.

-  Fran Lebowitz


What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.

-  Dean Inge


What a good thing Adam had - when he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.

-  Mark Twain


What the world calls originality is only an unaccustomed method of tickling it.

-  George Bernard Shaw


Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory is too good.

-  Friedrich Nietzsche


Obscurity and competence: That is the life that is worth living.

-  Mark Twain


Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of the organized life.

-  H. G. Wells


Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.

-  Douglas Adams


A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

-  Herm Albright


The future is much like the present, only longer.

-  Don Quisenberry


The future will be better tomorrow.

-  Dan Quayle

Quotes for the week of July 17, 2005 – The Press and Politics


"A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad." 

"Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty."

- Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death


"La liberté de la presse ne s'use que quand on ne s'en sert pas." (The freedom of the press is never used up or worn out - except when you don't use it.)

The motto of Le Canard Enchainé   http://www.lecanardenchaine.fr/


"Limiting the freedom of news 'just a little bit' is in the same category with the classic example 'a little bit pregnant'."  Robert Anson Heinlein, A Rabble in Arms


"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." - Claude Adrien Helvétius


"It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper." - Jerry Seinfeld


"In order to enjoy the inestimable benefits that the liberty of the press ensures, it is necessary to submit to the inevitable evils that it creates."  - Alexis de Tocqueville


"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is."  - Mahatma Gandhi


"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies."  - Groucho Marx


"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." - Bertrand de Jouvenel


"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."  - C. S. Lewis


"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."  - Plato


"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you" - Pericles



Quotes for the week of July 10, 2005 - London Calling


"For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else." - Sir Winston Churchill, speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet, London, November 9, 1954


"Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." - Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School


Voltaire on the British – "They are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent."


"You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." - Samuel Johnson


"The marvelous maturity of London! I would rather be dead in this town than preening my feathers in heaven." - Nicholas Monsarrat


"I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining." - Groucho Marx


"When it's three o'clock in New York, it's still 1938 in London." - Bette Midler


"This melancholy London - I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through its streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air." - William Butler Yeats


"Ten minutes later we were both in a cab, and rattling through the silent streets on our way to Charing Cross Station. The first faint winter's dawn was beginning to appear, and we could dimly see the occasional figure of an early workman as he passed us…"  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventure of Abbey Grange


"If you lived in London, where the whole system is one of false good-fellowship, and you may know a man for twenty years without finding out that he hates you like poison, you would soon have your eyes opened. There we do unkind things in a kind way: we say bitter things in a sweet voice: we always give our friends chloroform when we tear them to pieces." - George Bernard Shaw, You Never Can Tell


"It is difficult to speak adequately, or justly, of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent." - Henry James


"There is one thing about Englishmen, they won't fix anything till it's just about totally ruined. You couldn't get the English to fix anything at the start. No! They like to sit and watch it grow worse. Then, when it just looks like the whole thing has gone up Salt Creek, why, the English jump in and rescue it." - Will Rogers


"The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm." - Alexander Woolcott


"The earth is a place on which England is found." - G.K. Chesterton

Quotes for the week of July 3, 2005 – The Fourth of July


That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. - John Burroughs, Journal, referring to the Fourth of July


If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. - Thomas Paine


Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. - Judge Learned Hand


A politician will do anything to keep his job - even become a patriot.  - William Randolph Hearst


Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else.  - Winston Churchill


Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.  - Sinclair Lewis


I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.  - Woodrow Wilson


Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson


Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America - that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. - Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again


I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. - James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son


There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America. - Bill Clinton


America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.  - John Updike

Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered.  I myself would say that it had merely been detected.  - Oscar Wilde




Quotes for the week of June 26, 2005 – Cynics Corner


"We experience moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic." - Cullen Hightower


"For every problem, there is a solution which is simple, neat, and wrong."  - H. L. Mencken


"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." - Howard Aiken


"The only thing I can really trust is my own self-indulgence." - Justin Bond


"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it." - Abbie Hoffman


"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Cousin Woodman


"Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper." - Quentin Crisp


"There's a fine line between genius and insanity.  I have erased this line." - Oscar Levant


"I loathe people who keep dogs.  They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves." - August Strindberg


"If you think this is weird, just look at yourselves." - Charles Mingus


"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." - John F. Kennedy


"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." - Carl Sagan


"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw


"Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt. Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves." - Robert Anton Wilson


"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side." - Molly Ivins


"In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug and we shall want to live more musically." - Vincent van Gogh

Quotes for the week of June 19, 2005 – regarding Michael Jackson in Santa Maria and Tom Cruise on the Eiffel Tower


"There are persons who, when they cease to shock us, cease to interest us." - Francis H. Bradley


"The charm of fame is so great that we like every object to which it is attached, even death."  - Blaise Pascal


"I have Dalinian thought: the one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous." - Salvador Dali


"It stirs up envy, fame does.  People feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you - and it won't hurt your feelings - like it's happening to your clothing."  - Marilyn Monroe


"Fame is like a shaved pig with a greased tail, and it is only after it has slipped through the hands of some thousands, that some fellow, by mere chance, holds on to it!" - Davy Crockett


"Fame: an embalmer trembling with stage fright." - H. L. Mencken


"Fame is proof that people are gullible." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being 'somebody,' to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his over-animation. One can either see or be seen." - John Updike


"You're always a little disappointing in person because you can't be the edited essence of yourself." - Mel Brooks


"Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality."  - Oscar Wilde


"I count him lost, who is lost to shame." - [Latin: Nam ego illum periisse duco, cui quidem periit pudor.]  - Plautus (Titus Maccius Plautus) Bacchides (III, 3, 80)


"Mistakes, scandals, and failures no longer signal catastrophe. The crucial thing is that they be made credible, and that the public be made aware of the efforts being expended in that direction. The marketing immunity of governments is similar to that of the major brands of washing powder." – Jean Baudrillard


"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you." - Rita Mae Brown

Quotes for the week of June 12, 2005    William Butler Yeats – born June 13, 1865 –


Yeats – from Bob Patterson


"A statesman is an easy man

He tells his lies by rote;

A journalist makes up his lies

And takes you by the throat

So stay and home and drink your beer

And let the neighbors vote."


"I have certainly known more men destroyed by the desire to have a wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots."


"It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is."


"You know what the Englishman’s idea of compromise is?  He says, Some people say there is a God.  Some people say there is no God.  The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements."


"Accursed who brings to light of day

The writings I have cast away."


"Much did I rage when young

Being by the world oppressed

But now with flattering tongue

It speeds the parting guest."


"Irish poets, learn your trade,

Sing whatever is well made."


"If a poet interprets a poem of his own he limits its suggestibility."


Yeats - from the editor -


"An intellectual hatred is the worst."


"Why should we honor those that die upon the field of battle?  A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself."


"I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood - sex and the dead."


"Life is a long preparation for something that never happens."


And on the general topic -


"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness." - Christopher Morley


"A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." - Salman Rushdie


"I've written some poetry I don't understand myself." - Carl Sandburg


Quotes for the Week of June 5, 2005 – June 

On the subject of summer starting -

Summer, as my friend Coleridge waggishly writes, has set in with its usual severity. – Charles Lamb


A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. - James Dent


The summer night is like a perfection of thought. - Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)


In summer, the song sings itself. - William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)


It was a soft, reposeful summer landscape, as lovely as a dream, and as lonesome as Sunday. - Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 

On the D-Day anniversary this week -

You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.  Your task will not be an easy one.  Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened.  He will fight savagely....  The free men of the world are marching together to victory.  I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle.  We will accept nothing less than full victory.  Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. - General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving the D-Day order on June 6, 1944


There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again.  You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.  No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton! - General George S. Patton, Jr  (from the speech delivered to his troops on June 5, 1944)  [Compare to this from Henry V of course.]


In the absence of orders, go find something and kill it. - Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 - 14 October 1944) German Field Marshal and commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps in World War II.


From Bob Patterson -


"In War there is no second prize for the runner up." - Omar N. Bradley


"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite." – Winston Churchill


"This landing is part of the concerted United Nations plan for the liberation of Europe, made in conjunction with our great Russian allies…." - Dwight David Eisenhower


"Le France ne peut étre la France sans la grandeur."  (France can not be France without greatness.) - Charles de Gaulle


"I’m convinced that the infantry is the group in the army which gives more and gets less than anybody else.  I draw pictures for and about the dogfaces because I know what their life is like and I understand their gripes.  They don’t get fancy pay, they know their food is the worst in the army because you can’t whip up lemon pies or even hot soup at the front, and they know how much of the burden they bear." -  Bill Maulden (Up Front, Page5)


"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.  It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gain the victory." - George S. Patton

Quotes for the week of May 29, 2005 – What do to, what to do…

Il faut secouer la vie; autrement elle nous ronge. –Stendhal (roughly "One must shake up life; otherwise it will eat into us.")

Au lieu de raturer sur un passé que l'on ne peut abolir, essayez de construire un présent dont vous serez ensuite fier. -André Maurois  (roughly "Instead of scratching out a past that cannot be abolished, try to construct a present that you will one day be proud of.")


There are two great rules of life, the one general and the other particular.  The first is that everyone can, in the end, get what he wants if he only tries.  This is the general rule.  The particular rule is that every individual is more or less an exception to the general rule. — Samuel Butler (1835-1902)


When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep. - Ursula K. LeGuin


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  Then quit.  There's no sense being a damn fool about it. - W.C. Fields


I realized either I was crazy or the world was crazy; and I picked on the world.  And of course I was right. - Jack Kerouac


You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there. - Yogi Berra




Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. - Martin Luther King Jr.


It's not denial.  I'm just very selective about the reality I accept. - Calvin Trillan


My specialty is detached malevolence. - Alice Longworth Roosevelt


My aim is to agitate and disturb people.  I'm not selling bread, I'm selling yeast. - Miguel de Unamuno




The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me.  They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.  Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them.  Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing.  The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B.  In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods. – H. L. Mencken


"It's always best on these occasions to do what the mob do." "But suppose there are two mobs?" suggested Mr. Snodgrass. "Shout with the largest," replied Mr. Pickwick. - Charles Dickens, 'Pickwick Papers'

Quotes for the week of May 22, 2005 – Armageddon?


Our columnist Bob Patterson suggested the topic, but this is a tough one.  He provided these.


"The planet’s survival has become so uncertain that any effort, any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble." - Elias Canetti


"Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal."  - Albert Einstein


"Civilized men arrived in the Pacific, armed with alcohol, syphilis, trousers, and the Bible."  - Havelock Ellis


"I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker." - Adolph Hitler


"We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord."  - Theodore Roosevelt


Your editor found these...

Don't wait for the last judgment - it takes place every day.  - Albert Camus


He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife. - Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy


The Book of Revelation has all the authority, in these theological uplands, of military orders in time of war. The people turn to it for light upon all their problems, spiritual and secular.  - H. L. Mencken, "Yearning Mountaineers' Souls Need Reconversion Nightly, Mencken Finds" (coverage of the Scopes Trial) The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 13, 1925 (posted in Positive Atheism's Historical section)


What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? Answer: he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell. - H. L. Mencken, Not Church


When I die, I shall be content to vanish into nothingness....  No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it.  - H. L. Mencken


It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.  - Bertrand Russell, from "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish" in the collection, Unpopular Essays


You'll be riding along in an automobile. You'll be the driver perhaps. You're a Christian. There'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds you and the other born-again believers in that automobile will be instantly caught away - you will disappear, leaving behind only your clothes and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find the car suddenly somewhere crashes.... Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur on ... every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the drivers wheel. - Jerry Falwell, in his pamphlet, "Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Christ," quoted from Ronnie Dugger, "Does Reagan Expect a Nuclear Armageddon?" in Washington Post Outlook (April 8, 1984)


Johannes Stöffler (1452-1531) – a professor at Tübingen University: The world will end by a giant flood on February 20th 1524.

Quotes for the week of May 15, 2005 - Noir quotes!


See this week’s Book Wrangler, on noir – "...a slap in the mouth or a slug from a .45."


These are from Bob Patterson:


"The main question raised by the thriller is not what kind of world we live in, or what reality is like, but what it has done to us." – Ralph Harper


"If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and …  if they had been any better, I should not have come." - Raymond Chandler


"You may smoke, too.  I can still enjoy the smell of it.  Nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy." – General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) in The Big Sleep


"I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor." - Raymond Chandler


"We don’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy.  We believed your $200….  You paid us more than if you’d been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right." - Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) The Maltese Falcon


"'Better and better!' the fat man exclaimed. 'I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously unless you keep in practice.'" - Daschiell Hammett


"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar." - Mickey Spillane


"If you think I have any qualms about killing this kid, you couldn’t be more wrong.  The thing about killing him, or your, or her, or him is that I wouldn’t be getting paid for it – and I don’t like giving anything away for free." - Johnny Baron (Frank Sinatra) Suddenly


"You can’t just go around killing people whenever the notion strikes you.  It’s not feasible." - Marty Waterman (Elisha Cook Jr.) Born to Kill


"I began at the beginning and told her the whole story of Jacob and his ‘little men,’ the phone call in the middle of night, the impostor I found at Centre Street, my accident in the subway and my awakening, late in May, in the psychopathic ward of the hospital."  - John Franklin Bardin, The Deadly Percheron


For more?  Explore this.




Quotes for the week of May 8, 2005 – Mothers Day 

From Bob Patterson - 

"A boy’s best friend is his mother." - Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in Psycho


"When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them." - Rodney Dangerfield


"Clearly, society has a tremendous stake in insisting on a woman’s natural fitness for the career of mother: the alternatives are all too

expensive." - Ann Oakley


"Men resent women because women bear kids, and seem to have this magic link with immortality that men lack.  But they should stay home for a day with a kid; they’d change their minds." - Tuesday Weld


"Motherhood is the strangest thing, it can be like being one’s own Trojan horse."  - Rebecca West 

From the editor –

Take motherhood: nobody ever thought of putting it on a moral pedestal until some brash feminists pointed out, about a century ago, that the pay is lousy and the career ladder nonexistent. - Barbara Ehrenreich

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. - George Washington


I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life. - Abraham Lincoln


The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.  - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Young women especially have something invested in being nice people, and it's only when you have children that you realize you're not a nice person at all, but generally a selfish bully. - Fay Weldon


Lord Illingworth: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.

Mrs. Allonby: No man does. That is his.

- Oscar Wilde “A Woman of No Importance”


The only mothers it is safe to forget on Mother's Day are the good ones. - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Quotes for the week of May 1, 2005 - May Day Quotes


the day set aside by the Second Socialist International in 1889 to commemorate Labor and still celebrated around the world. 

From Bob Patterson - 

"All down History, nine-tenths of mankind have been grinding the corn for the remaining one-tenth, been paid with the husks – and bidden to thank God they had the husks."  - David Lloyd George


"The working class is for a Lenin what ore is for a metal worker." - Maxim Gorky


"I like work: it fascinates me.  I can sit and look at it for hours.  I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart."  - Jerome K. Jerome


"It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?"  - Ronald Reagan


"It is impossible to build a socialist paradise as an oasis amid the inferno of world capitalism."  - Leon Trotsky


"You have undertaken to cheat me.  I won’t sue you, for the law is too slow.  I’ll ruin you."  - Cornelius Vanderbilt 

From the editor - 

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson


Work and pray, live on hay.  You'll get pie in the sky when you die.  - Joe Hill


There comes a time when the operation of the machine is so odious that you cannot even passively participate. You’ve got to place your body on the gears, the levers, all the apparatus. You’ve got to indicate to those who own it, and those who run it, that unless you are free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.  – Mario Savio


If you don't like your job you don't strike.  You just go in every day and do it really half-assed.  That's the American way.  - Homer Simpson


If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.Kurt Vonnegut


It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I just beat people up.  - Muhammad Ali


Dancing is a sweat job. - Fred Astaire (1899-1987 - and was he really born as Frederick Austerlitz?) from Recalled on his death 22 June 1987


Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job. – George Bernard Shaw


I have never liked working. To me a job is an invasion of privacy. - Danny McGoorty (Irish pool player)


Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar. - Drew Carey


One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.  - Bertrand Russell 

Traditional - 

The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds.  For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.  - Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, 1485


Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.  -  Dorothy Parker




Quotes for the week of April 24, 2005 –


These all point back to an item this week – April 24, 2005 - The End of Outrage?


Intellectual despair results in neither weakness nor dreams, but in violence. It is only a matter of knowing how to give vent to one's rage; whether one only wants to wander like madmen around prisons, or whether one wants to overturn them. - Georges Bataille


Quarrel? Nonsense; we have not quarreled. If one is not to get into a rage sometimes, what is the good of being friends? - George Eliot


Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him. - Louis L'Amour


Depression is rage spread thin.  - George Santayana


In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams


You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. - Aldous Huxley


Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. - Lucanus (Marcus Annaeus Lucan), Pharsalia (II, 109)


I have always been on the side of the heretics against those who burned them because the heretics so often turned out to be right...  Dead, but right. - Edward R. Murrow


Whenever people say "we mustn't be sentimental," you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, "we must be realistic," they mean they are going to make money out of it. -  Brigit Brophy.


Anger and humor are like the left and right arm. They complement each other. Anger empowers the poor to declare their uncompromising opposition to oppression, and humor prevents them from being consumed by their fury. - James H. Cone


It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information. – Oscar Wilde



Quotes for the week of April 17, 2005 – Done, for this year: Taxes 

From Bon Patterson - 

"The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the Federal government but doesn’t have to take a civil-service examination."  - Ronald Reagan


"We don’t pay taxes.  Only the little people pay taxes."  - Leona Helmsley


"The power to tax involves the power to destroy."  - John Marshall


"We’re a trillion dollars in debt.  Who do we owe this money to, someone named Vinnie?"  - Robin Williams


"In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other."  - Voltaire 

From the editor - 

Income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.  - Will Rogers


The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax. - Albert Einstein


I think of lotteries as a tax on the mathematically challenged. - Roger Jones


Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss. - Robert A. Heinlein


I wouldn't mind paying taxes - if I knew they were going to a friendly country. - Dick Gregory


The expenses of government, having for their object the interest of all, should be borne by everyone, and the more a man enjoys the advantages of society, the more he ought to hold himself honored in contributing to those expenses.  - Anne Robert Jacques Turgot


Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.  - Benjamin Franklin, from Letter to Jean Baptiste Leroy, 13 Novmber 1789


Death and taxes may be inevitable, but they shouldn't be related.  - J.C. Watts, Jr.


I like to pay taxes.  With them I buy civilization. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I shall never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes. - Mark Twain


Of all debts, men are least willing to pay their taxes; what a satire this is on government. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


I have trouble reconciling my net income with my gross habits. - Errol Flynn

Quotes for the week of April 10, 2005, as the war continues, or the occupation, or whatever it is…


From Bob Patterson –


"How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing."  - Neville Chamberlain


"A government needs one hundred soldiers for every guerrilla it faces." - Fulgencio Batista


"I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."  - Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  October 30, 1940


"The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."  - General Douglas MacArthur


"We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." - Lyndon Baines Johnson


From the editor –


Nuclear war would really set back cable.    Ted Turner


The inevitableness, the idealism, and the blessing of war, as an indispensable and stimulating law of development, must be repeatedly emphasized. - Friedrich von Bernhardi - Source: Germany and the next War (ch. I)


Where is it written in the Constitution that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly or wickedness of government may engage it?  - Daniel Webster


If war should sweep our commerce from the seas, another generation will restore it. If war exhausts our treasury, future industry will replenish it. If war desiccate and lay waste our fields, under new cultivation they will grow green again and ripen to future harvest. If the walls of yonder Capitol should fall and its decorations be covered by the dust of battle, all these can be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of a demolished government; who shall dwell in the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty; who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites sovereignty with state's rights, individual security with prosperity? - Daniel Webster

The final war will be between Pavlov's dog and Schrödinger’s Cat. -  Robert Anton Wilson


We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight or if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, "You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms." - Elayne Boosler

I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they killed there would be no more war.  -  Abbie Hoffman


The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. - David Friedman


The cannon thunders... limbs fly in all directions... one can hear the groans of victims and the howling of those performing the sacrifice... it's Humanity in search of happiness. - Charles Baudelaire


To say that war is madness is like saying that sex is madness: true enough, from the standpoint of a stateless eunuch, but merely a provocative epigram for those who must make their arrangements in the world as given. - John Updike


"There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes.  - James Morrow

Quotes for the week of April 3, 2005 – Appropriate to events….


Our columnist Bob Patterson considers these -


"Now cracks a noble heart.  Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." - William Shakespeare, Hamlet - V, ii, 373


"To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth." – Voltaire


"The world is the mirror of myself dying." - Henry Miller


"Of all escape mechanisms, death is the most efficient." - Henry Louis Mencken


"Then, last week, as it must to all men, death came to Charles Foster Kane." - From Citizen Kane


"When my little boy, Dimitri, died, everybody was crying.  Me?  I got up, and I danced.  They said ‘Zorba is mad.’  But it was the dancing –only the dancing – that stopped the pain." - Anthony Quinn playing Zorba


Your editor considers these -


Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. - Isaac Asimov


Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Of the two, taxes happen annually. - Joel Fox


I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. - Clarence Darrow


I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. - Mark Twain


The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you. – Woody Allen


Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.  - Groucho Marx


When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened. - Sir Winston Churchill


The idea is to die young as late as possible. - Ashley Montagu


I'm not afraid of death.  It's the stake one puts up in order to play the game of life. - Jean Giraudoux, Amphitryon, 1929


Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.  - W. Somerset Maugham


Never knock on Death's door: ring the bell and run away!  Death really hates that! - Matt Frewer, as Dr. Mike Stratford in "Doctor, Doctor"



Quotes for the week of March 27, 2005 – Paris and the French


In America only the successful writer is important, in France all writers are important, in England no writer is important, and in Australia you have to explain what a writer is. - Geoffrey Cottrell


The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older—intelligence and good manners. - F. Scott Fitzgerald


I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely. - Josephine Baker


To err is human. To loaf is Parisian. - Victor Hugo


Quarrels in France strengthen a love affair, in America they end it. - The Paris Diary of Ned Rorem


The Frenchman, by nature, is sensuous and sensitive. He has intelligence, which makes him tired of life sooner than other kinds of men. He is not athletic: he sees the futility of the pursuit of fame; the climate at times depresses him. - Anais Nin


In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language. - Mark Twain


The French are true romantics. They feel the only difference between a man of forty and one of seventy is thirty years of experience. - Maurice Chevalier


In Paris, you learn wit, in London you learn to crush your social rivals, and in Florence you learn poise. - Virgil Thomson


And from Just Above Sunset columnist Bob Patterson -


"Is Paris burning?"  - Adolph Hitler


"In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator." - Jean Cocteau


"There is but one Paris and however hard living may be here, and if it became worse and harder even – the French air clears up the brain and does good – a world of good."  - Vincent Van Gogh


"France is the only country where the money falls apart and you can’t tear the toilet paper." Billy Wilder


"Lady Hunstanton: Indeed? And when bad Americans die, where do they go to?
Lord Illinguworth: Oh, they go to America."

-          A Woman of No Importance, act 1 by Oscar Wilde (as quoted in Bartlette’s 16th edition).


"That’s hot." - Paris Hilton

Quotes for the week of March 20, 2005 – On Lawyers and the Law


A lawyer's dream of heaven: every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers. - Samuel Butler


A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. - Robert Frost


No brilliance is required in law, just common sense and relatively clean fingernails. - John Mortimer


It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing, and to talk by the hour.  - Thomas Jefferson


Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


From the movie Caddyshack - Judge Smails: I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber.  Didn't want to do it.  I felt I owed it to them.


From the movie Pretty Woman (1990) –

Vivian: That would make you a... lawyer.
Edward: What makes you think I'm a lawyer?
Vivian: You've got that sharp, useless look about you.


Erik Ambler, Send No More Roses (1977) - What use is an honest lawyer when what you need is a dishonest one?


An incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for months or years. A competent lawyer can delay one even longer. - Evelle Younger


In the university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools. - Doris Lessing


As your attorney, it is my duty to inform you that it is not important that you understand what I'm doing or why you're paying me so much money. What's important is that you continue to do so. - Hunter S. Thompson's Samoan Attorney


I can't do literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant. - Mark Twain


It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King Jr.


I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law. - David Dinkins



And from Bob Patterson – The World’s Laziest Journalist –


"And do as adversaries do in law
Strive Mightily, but eat and drink as friends."

- Shakespeare  The Taming of the Shrew  1, ii, 281


"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than  hundred men with guns."  - Mario Puzzo


"If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers." - Charles Dickens


"The trouble with law is lawyers."  - Clarence Darrow


"If a man dies and leaves his estate in an uncertain condition, the lawyers become his heirs."  - Edgar Watson Howe




Quotes for the week of March 13, 2005 (Shakespeare and Company) -


Level One – Light


Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.  - George Carlin


In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. - Ellen DeGeneres


May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.  - George Carlin


Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do. - Jean-Paul Sartre


The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you. - Bette Midler


The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.  - Humphrey Bogart


Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room. - Winston Churchill


Level Two – Heavier (via Bob Patterson)


"Beggars mounted run their horses to death." - King Henry the Sixth Part III act 1, scene 4, line 127


"Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels."  - King Richard IV, i, 139


"O, how full of briars is this working-day world." - As You Like It  I , iii, 12


"They laugh that win."  - Othello IV, i, 123


"Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill"  - King Lear IV, vi, 187


"Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."  - Sonnet 94, line 14


"Words pay no debts." - The Phoenix and the Turtle, III, ii, 56


Level Three – Heavier Still


Tut! I have done a thousand dreadful things as willingly as one would kill a fly.Titus Andronicus: Act I, Scene V.


O! it is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.Measure for Measure: Act II, Scene II.  


The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. - The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.


Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens. - As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 1.


Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy. - Timon of Athens (First Senator at III, v)



Quotes for the week of March 6, 2005 – Food, Glorious Food!


Bob Patterson sends these -


"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."  - George Bernard Shaw


"Food is a weapon."  - Maxim Litvinov


"If you’re going to America, bring your own food."  - Fran Lebowitz


"A gourmet can tell from the flavor whether a woodcock’s leg is the one on which the bird is accustomed to roost."  - Lucius Beebe


"Three million frogs’ legs are served in Paris – daily.  Nobody knows what became of the rest of the frogs."  - Fred Allen


From the editor -


I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. - Woody Allen


If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. - James Michener


This recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate two eggs, but it doesn't say how far to separate them. - Gracie Allen


When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. - Elaine Boosler


Watermelon - it's a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.  - Enrico Caruso


Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. - W.C. Fields


You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six. - Yogi Berra


Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. - Alice May Brock


Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist. - G. K. Chesterton


Orson Welles (1915-1985) –


Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.


My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.


There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. - Mahatma Gandhi

Quotes for the week of February 27, 2005  - Oscar Weekend


Bob Patterson -


"Thanks!"  Gary Cooper reportedly gave the shortest Oscar acceptance speech ever.  The Just Above Sunset factcheck squad is still working on that claim.


"The principle benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis."  - Marlon Brando


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"  - W. C.



"Disney, of course, has the best casting.  If he doesn’t like an actor, he just tears him up." - Alfred Hitchcock


"I don’t say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could."  - Orson Wells


The Editor –


I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great. - Ray Charles


The splendors that belong unto the fame of earth are but a wind, that in the same direction lasts not long. [Non e il mondam romore alro che un fiato Di vento, che vien quinci et or vien quindi, E muta nome, perche muta lato.] - Dante ("Dante Alighieri") Purgatorio (XI, 100)


What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little. - Leszczynski Stanislaus


A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know. - Henry Louis Mencken


Fame is only good for one thing - they will cash your check in a small town. - Truman Capote

It's too bad I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few people like that. - Alan Alda


Fame is proof that people are gullible. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


A sign of celebrity is often that their name is worth more than their services. - Daniel J. Boorstin


In the construction of Immortal Fame you need first of all a cosmic shamelessness. - Umberto Eco "Travels in Hyperreality" (1975)


People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius. – Jerry Lewis


To people who want to be rich and famous, I'd say, "Get rich first and see if that doesn't cover it." – Bill Murray



Quotes for the week of February 21, 2005 –


The topic is words.


Jargon allows us to camouflage intellectual poverty with verbal extravagance. - David Pratt


For I am a bear of very little brain and long words bother me. - Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne)


We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them. - Abigail Adams in a letter to John Adams, 1774


When ideas fail, words come in very handy. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Many wise words are spoken in jest, but they don't compare with the number of stupid words spoken in earnest. - Sam Levenson


No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.  - Henry B. Adams


Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. - Robert Frost


People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say. - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


English is the perfect language for preachers because it allows you to talk until you think of what to say. - Garrison Keillor


The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech. - George Bernard Shaw


There is no such thing as conversation.  It is an illusion.  There are intersecting monologues, that is all. - Rebecca West


Women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself-like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks. -Jean Kerr


If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.  - Earl Wilson


Never miss a good chance to shut up. – Will Rogers


Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. - Dr Samuel Johnson


It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. - Robert Benchley

I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in my pockets. When I have enough, I have a book. - John Lennon


There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. - Maya Angelou

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - William Somerset Maugham


Write as if you are dying. - Annie Dillard


When you say words a lot they don't mean anything.  Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway, and we just think they do. - Neil Gaiman, Brief Lives


Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing. - Robert Benchley




Some of the above applied – from Bob Patterson, The World’s Laziest Journalist


"I have just received the following telegram from my generous Daddy.  It says:  ‘Dear Jack:  don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.’" - John F. Kennedy


"I’m not a lovable man." - Richard Nixon


"If you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all." - Ronald Reagan


"I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever.  I don’t care what the facts are."  - George H. W. Bush


"This is an impressive crowd.  The haves and the have-mores.  Some call you the elite.  I call you my base."  - George W. Bush



Quotes of the week of February 13, 2005 – the week that includes Valentine’s Day -


Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions. - Woody Allen


The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing - and then marry him. - Cher


I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known. - Walt Disney


Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.  - Woody Allen


Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock. - John Barrymore


If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning. - Aristotle Onassis


Give me chastity and continence, but not yet. - Saint Augustine (354-430)


And from Bob Patterson, The World’s Laziet Journalist


"On one issue at least, men and women agree – they both distrust women."  - H. L. Menken


"I never loved another person the way I loved myself." - Mae West


"My wife and I were happy for twenty years.  Then we met."  - Rodney Dangerfield


"I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it."  - Marilyn Monroe


"It was the men I deceived the most that I loved the most."  - Marguerite Duras



Quotes of the week not related to Valentine’s Day –


"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."  - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."  - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)


"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."  - Voltaire (1694-1778)


"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."  - Umberto Eco


"The nice thing about being a celebrity is that if you bore people they think it's their fault."  - Henry Kissinger


"What do you take me for, an idiot?"  - General Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), when a journalist asked him if he was happy


"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid." - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


"I would have made a good Pope." - Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)


"When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite."  - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it."  - Groucho Marx (1895-1977)


"The covers of this book are too far apart."  - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)



Quotes for the week of February 6, 2005 (Super Bowl Sunday) -


Sports do not build character... they reveal it.  - John Wooden


Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.  - George Orwell


I don't know anything that builds the will to win better than competitive sports.  - Richard M. Nixon


Sports is the toy department of human life. - Howard Cosell


Nobody in football should be called a genius.  A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.  -Joe Theismann


You teach me baseball and I'll teach you relativity….  No, we must not.  You will learn about relativity faster than I learn baseball.  - Albert Einstein


Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many players on the field? - Jim Boulton


If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?  - Vince Lombardi


Men forget everything; women remember everything. That's why men need instant replays in sports. They've already forgotten what happened.  - Rita Rudner


If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base.  - Dave Barry


To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography and the dancers hit each other.  - Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts


A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz.  - Humphrey Bogart



From Bob Patterson – The World’s Laziest Journalist –


Leo Durocher is in Bartlett’s for his book titled: Nice Guys Finish Last


Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel said: "Most people my age are dead."


Bartlett’s notes that what Vince Lombardi actually said was: "Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is."


Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra has multiple entries in Bartlett’s including: "You can observe a lot by watching."


Grantland Rice wrote:  "All wars are planned by old men / In council rooms apart."




Quotes for the week of January 30, 2005 –


Apropos of nothing -


The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error. - Bertold Brecht


Leadership -


Adlai Stevenson: It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.


Dwight D. Eisenhower: You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.


Lao Tzu: A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him...  But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, "We did it ourselves."


Everett Dirksen: I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.


John F. Kennedy: Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.


Tom Peters: If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.


Tony Blair: The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.


Talleyrand (Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-Périgord): I am more afraid of an army of one hundred sheep led by a lion than an army of one hundred lions led by a sheep.


There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders. - Ralph Bunche


Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.  - Jesse Jackson


When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.  Very often, that person is crazy.  - Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"


Asking "who ought to be the boss" is like asking "who ought to be the tenor in the quartet?" Obviously, the man who can sing tenor. - Henry Ford


Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny. - Kin Hubbard


Perhaps the most central characteristic of authentic leadership is the relinquishing of the impulse to dominate others. - David Cooper (Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry)



Quotes for the week of January 16, 2005 -


Bob Patterson asks the question.  How about quotes from "Sunset Boulevard"?


Here are the ones he remembers - some of his favorite quotes from the movie “Sunset Boulevard” (1950 - directed by Bill Wilder) - found in The Movie Quote Book edited by Harry Haun –


"I am big.  It’s the pictures that got small."  - Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson)


"We didn’t need dialogue.  We had faces.  There just aren’t any faces like that anymore." - Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson)


"It's lonely here so she got herself a companion.  Very simple set-up.  Older woman who's well-to-do and a younger man who's not doing too well.  Can you figure it out yourself?"  - Joe Gillis (William Holden)


"There’s nothing else – just us – and the cameras – and those wonderful people out there in the dark.  All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup."  - Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson)


"Poor devil – still waving proudly to a parade which had long since passed her by."  - Joe Gillis  (William Holden)


"You know, a dozen press agents working overtime can do terrible things to the human spirit."  - Cecil B. DeMille, playing himself.


"Thirty million fans have given her the brush.  Isn’t that enough?"  - Cecil B. DeMille, playing himself


Your editor found some more on film in various places – as the Just Above Sunset World Headquarters are in the middle of Hollywood one block north of Sunset.


Jean-Luc Godard:

  • Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.
  • A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order

Samuel Goldwyn: Give me a couple of years, and I'll make that actress an overnight success.


Alfred Hitchcock: The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

Will Rogers: The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud yourself.

Andy Warhol: It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see.

Billy Wilder:  Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award.

Katharine Hepburn: The average Hollywood film star's ambition is to be admired by an American, courted by an Italian, married to an Englishman and have a French boyfriend.

Raymond Chandler: The motion picture is like a picture of a lady in a half-piece bathing suit. If she wore a few more clothes, you might be intrigued. If she wore no clothes at all, you might be shocked. But the way it is, you are occupied with noticing that her knees are too bony and that her toenails are too large. The modern film tries too hard to be real. Its techniques of illusion are so perfect that it requires no contribution from the audience but a mouthful of popcorn.

George Lucas, in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: Emotionally involving the audience is easy. Anybody can do it blindfolded: get a little kitten and have some guy wring its neck.

Quotes for the week of January 16, 2005 -


Familiar things happen, and mankind does not bother about them. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
- Alfred North Whitehead


The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
- H. L. Mencken


Please don't lie to me, unless you're absolutely sure I'll never find out the truth.
- Ashleigh Brilliant


A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.
- Saki


That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation.
- Alexander Haig


The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.

- Friedrich Nietzsche


All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it.  I myself deny it.

- H. L. Mencken


I’m not smart enough to lie.

- Ronald Reagan


Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?'

Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'

- Charles M. Schultz


A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt dangerous.
Alfred Adler


When whole races and peoples conspire to propagate gigantic mute lies in the interest of tyrannies and shams, why should we care anything about the trifling lies told by individuals?
Mark Twain

Quotes for the week of January 9, 2005 -


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. - Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus


I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to. - Elvis Presley (1935-1977)



From Bob Patterson:


"The English may not like music; but they absolutely love the noise it makes."  - Sir Thomas Beecham


"The musicians I use are great.  They are all rock musicians, except they don’t play too loud.  They play like they are getting paid."  - George Burns


"Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope."  - Mick Jagger


"I considered preaching, but preachers don’t make a lot and they have to work hard."   - Willie Nelson


"Wagner’s music is better than it sounds."  - Mark Twain



From the Editor:


Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable. - Samuel Johnson

There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between. - S
ir Thomas Beecham


Extraordinary how potent cheap music is… - Noel Coward


Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.  - Oscar Wilde  

  • Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music. - Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
  • An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. - Dan Rather

Music hath the charm to soothe a savage beast, but I'd try a revolver first. - Josh Billings


All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.  - Frank Zappa


Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best. - Frank Zappa



Quotes for the week of January 2, 2005 –


The two ends of our nation -


It's a scientific fact. For every year a person lives in Hollywood, they lose two points of their IQ.
Truman Capote


New York...when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you.
David Letterman


Football season ends this month….


Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings.
George Will


On moral certainty…


I would never die for my beliefs, because I might be wrong.
Bertrand Russell


Never misunderestimate our leader…


The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they're going to be when you kill them.
William Clayton


What we really need to know about the world and how to deal with it….


Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" till you can find a rock.
Wynn Catlin


A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Caskie Stinnett (Out of the Red, 1960)


To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.
Will Durant


What school teaches us…


Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper.
Robert Frost


Faith-based leadership that scorns realists….


A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
Friedrich Nietzsche


When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
Dave Barry


Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
Bertrand Russell


The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty. A person who claims to know the mind or will of God is pathological.

- The Rev. Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral


The reality-based folks?


Sure, we were young. We were arrogant. We were ridiculous. There were excesses. We were brash. We were foolish. We had factional fights. But we were right.

- Abbie Hoffman


Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.

- Steven Wright


There ain't no answer.  There ain't going to be any answer.  There never has been an answer.  That's the answer.

- Gertrude Stein


Since we cannot hope for order, let us withdraw with style from chaos.

- Lord Malquist in “Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon” by Tom Stoppard


Still reading?


The internet is the trailer park for the soul.
Marilyn Manson

Quotes for the week of December 19, 2004 –



Bob Patterson’s contributions –


"When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often.  But if a man bites a dog, that is news."  - John B. Bogart


"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus … "  - Francis Pharcellus Church


"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty."  - Edward R. Murrow


"Nothing written for pay is worth printing.  ONLY what has been written AGAINST the market."  - Ezra Pound


"In October 1974, I started investigating the government’s intelligence agencies; by February 1976, they were back investigating me."  - Daniel Schorr


"SO WHAT?"  - The New York Daily News headline when the first man landed on the moon.



From the editor –


"We are not trusted. We are not believed. We are considered arrogant and unresponsive (actually, we're defensive). Some journalism school will have to come up with all the reasons for this, but one of them has to be the frequent inability of the press to talk to its readers in plain English. We sometimes don't know how to say either that we were wrong or that we have doubts about what we wrote." — Richard Cohen, on media shortcomings in misreporting the Jessica Lynch story; On Not Admitting Our Mistakes, in the Washington Post, May 23, 2003; Page A25.

"The difference between burlesque and the newspapers is that the former never pretended to be performing a public service by exposure." - I.F. Stone, 1952


"People everywhere confuse what they read in the newspapers with news." - A. J. Liebling, 1956.


“A free press is one that prints a dictator's speech but doesn't have to.” - Laurence J. Peter


“Why should freedom of speech and freedom of press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized? It would not allow opposition by lethal weapons. Ideas are much more fatal things than guns. Why should any man be allowed to buy a printing press and disseminate pernicious opinions calculated to embarrass the government?” - V.I. Lenin, quoted in “Political Power and the Press'' (W.W. Norton, 1972), by William J. Small, former CBS Washington Bureau manager


“Never believe in mirrors or newspapers.” - Tom Stoppard, The Hotel in Amsterdam (1968)


“Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's St. Matthew's Passion on a ukulele: The instrument is too crude for the work, for the audience and for the performer.”  - Ben Bagdikian, Esquire, March 1967

Quotes for the week of December 12, 2004 –


Adlai E. Stevenson: What do I believe? As an American I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man.  These are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us.  Such beliefs are easy to express.  But part of me too is my relation to all life, my religion.  And this is not so easy to talk about.  Religious experience is highly intimate and, for me, ready words are not at hand.


From a speech, Libertyville, Illinois, May 21, 1954


Alfred Korzybski: There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.


Philip K. Dick: Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.


Thomas Jefferson: Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.


From Bob Patterson –


"A year ago none of us could see victory.  There wasn’t a prayer.  Now we can see it clearly – like the light at the end of a tunnel." - Lieutenant General Henri-Eugene Navarre as quoted in Time magazine September 28, 1953


"Faith may be defined briefly as the illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."  - H. L. Menken


"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."  - Napoleon Bonaparte (is the fact checker absolutely sure that George Carlin didn’t write that line for "shorty?")


"Faith is believing what you know ain’t so."  - Mark Twain


"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."  - Frank Lloyd Wright


From the editor –


Il faut feuilleter tous les livres et n'en lire qu'un ou deux.
You must leaf through many books and only read one or two.

-Jules Renard



Quotes for the week of December 5, 2004 –


Bob Patterson sends these along to supplement his Book Wrangler column about Hollywood.


"I’ve been asked if I ever get the DT’s.  I don’t know; it’s hard to tell where Hollywood ends and the DT’s begin."  - W.C. Fields


"Hollywood held this double lure for me, tremendous sums of money for work that required no more effort than a game of pinochle."  - Ben Hecth


"In Hollywood if a guy’s wife looks like a new woman – she probably is."  - Dean Martin.


"A dreary industrial town controlled by hoodlums of enormous wealth, the ethical sense of a pack of jackals, and taste so degraded that it befouled everything it touched."  - S.J. Perelman


"In Hollywood success is relative.  The closer the relative, the greater the success."  - Arthur Treacher



And from your editor -


The most famous one –


Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you'll find the real tinsel underneath.
- Oscar Levant


And these –


Hollywood is where they shoot too many pictures and not enough actors.
Walter Winchell


Ever since they found out that Lassie was a boy, the public has believed the worst about Hollywood.
- Groucho Marx


Hollywood is like Picasso's bathroom.

- Candice Bergen


Hollywood is like being nowhere and talking to nobody about nothing.

- Michelangelo Antonioni

You can't find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.

- Carrie Fisher


In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can't read; if they could read their stuff, they'd stop writing.

- Will Rogers

It's a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there. 

- Will Rogers


I just want to tell y'all not to worry - them people in New York and Hollywood are not going to change me none.

- Elvis Presley


I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.

- Andy Warhol


The violet hush of twilight was descending over Los Angeles as my hostess, Violet Hush, and I left its suburbs headed towards Hollywood. In the distance a glow of huge piles of burning motion-picture scripts lit up the sky. The crisp tang of frying writers and directors whetted my appetite. How good it was to be alive, I thought, inhaling deep lungfuls of carbon monoxide.

- S.J. Perelman


There is a theory that almost anything that's fun is going to be ruined sooner or later by people from California. They tend to bring seriousness to subjects that don't deserve it, and they tend to get very good at things that weren't very important in the first place.

- Calvin Trillin

Quotes for the week of November 28, 2004 …


Thanksgiving Quotes from Bob Patterson -


EDMUND BURKE - "The whole business of the poor is to administer to the idleness of the rich; and that of the rich, in return, is to find the best methods of confirming the slavery and increasing the burdens of the poor."


ALBERT CAMUS - "It is a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money."


OLIVER GOLDSMITH - "Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law."


COLLIS P. HUNTINGTON - "Whatever is not nailed down is mine.  Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down."


PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY - "Wealth is a power usurped by the few to compel the many to labor for their benefit."



From your editor –


Cynicism, as a state of mind, produces more accurate observations about the universe that practically any other.

- Michael Wikoff


Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.

- Aldous Huxley


From the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization.

- Friedrich Engels           


There is no calamity greater that lavish desires.  There is no greater guilt than discontentment.  And there is no greater disaster than greed.          

- Lao Tzu


Quotes for the week of November 21, 2004 –


The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, edited by Robert Andrews had many good entries about the subject of photography.  Bob Patterson, whose column this week concerns photography and photographers, selected these:


"A photograph is a secret about a secret.  The more it tells you the less you know."  - Diane Arbus


"A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there – even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity."  - Robert Dosneau


"The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera."  - Dorthea Lange


"Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child."  - Norman Mailer


"Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject."  - Eliot Porter



And your editor came across these, on general matters:


"Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble."  - Samuel Johnson, The Rambler (July 2, 1751)


"Terror takes all forms, but the worst form is compassion. When you love someone and feel compassion for him as well, you can be driven to do the most brutal things." - Isaac Bashevis Singer, Shadows on the Hudson

Quotes of the week of November 14, 2004 –


In relation to this week’s automotive column from Bob Patterson, Bob adds some quotes –


In a 1934 letter to Henry Ford, Clyde Barrow wrote: "The Ford has got ever [sic] other car out there skinned and even if my business hasen't [sic] been strictly legal it don't hurt eny thing [sic] to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8."


"You have a wonderful car. Been driving one for three weeks. It's a treat to drive one.  Your slogan should be, Drive a Ford and watch the other cars fall behind you. I can make any other car take a Ford's dust."  - From a letter to Henry Ford that was allegedly written by John Dillinger.


Source here.

"History is more or less bunk."  - Henry Ford


"Don’t complain.  Don’t explain."  - Henry Ford II

"When I first started racing, you didn’t dare bring your wife or girlfriend to the race, because half the people were drunk and the rest were fighting."  - Richard Petty


"Don’t steal the hubcaps. Steal the car."  - Frank Sinatra


"Driving a race car is like dancing with a chain saw."  - Cale Yarborough


And from the editor -


There is one advantage to having nothing; it never needs repair.
Frank A. Clark


The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.

-  Herbert Marcuse



Quotes of the week of November 7, 2004 –


Post Election…


But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for.


- Paulo Coelho (the Brazilian novelist)


The defeats and victories of the fellows at the top aren't always defeats and victories for the fellows at the bottom.


- Bertolt Brecht (that German poet and playwright, 1898-1956)



OPPORTUNITY, n. A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.


PRESENT, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.


- Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) The Devil's Dictionary


He was obeyed, yet he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it!  


- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness



Quotes for the week of October 31, 2004 –


Faith and belief and all that…


An ideologue - one who thinks ideologically - can’t lose. He can’t lose because his answer, his interpretation and his attitude have been determined in advance of the particular experience or observation. They are derived from the ideology, and not subject to the facts.
- James Burnham, Suicide Of The West (1964)


But of all Nonsense, Religious Nonsense is the most nonsensical; so enough, & more than enough of it - Only, by the bye, will you, or can you tell me, my dear Cunningham, why a religioso turn of mind has always a tendency to narrow and illiberalise the heart?
- Robert Burns, letter to Alexander Cunningham, 10th September 1792


A functioning police state needs no police.
- William S. Burroughs: Dr. Benway in Naked Lunch (1959)


Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
- Susan Ertz, Anger in the Sky (1943)


I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice....  I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity.
- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms


Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life - except religion....  Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our "godly gift" of reason when we cross their mental thresholds?

... Atheism strikes me as morally superior, as well as intellectually superior, to religion. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong. Does this leave us shorn of hope? Not a bit of it. Atheism, and the related conviction that we have just one life to live, is the only sure way to regard all our fellow creatures as brothers and sisters.

... Even the compromise of agnosticism is better than faith. It minimizes the totalitarian temptation, the witless worship of the absolute and the surrender of reason.

- Christopher Hitchens, "The Lord and the Intellectuals," Harper's July 1982, p. 60


The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.
- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951


The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.
- George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion, Preface (1916)


I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.

- Isaac Asimov, in "Free Inquiry", Spring 1982, vol.2 no.2, p. 9

Quotes for the week of October 24, 2004 -


What is art?  Bob Patterson goes here.


"Art is meant to disturb."  - George Braque


"Art is dangerous.  It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it."  - Anthony Burgess


"Art is not a pastime but a priesthood."  - Jean Cocteau


"Art is the terms of an armistice signed with fate."  - Bernard DeVoto


"Art is the most frenzied orgy man is capable of."  - Jean Dubuffet


"Art is significant deformity."  - Roger Fry


"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."  - Paul Gauguin


"Art is not a thing, it is a way."  - Elbert Hubbard


"Art is long and time is fleeting."  - Henry W. Longfellow


But Ars Longa Vita Brevis is a popular Latin quote literally meaning, "art is long, life is brief" - and was widely used by Roman writers and orators, including Horace and Seneca (who used it in De Brevitate Vitae).  It is generally attributed to Hippocrates (460–370 B.C.) the Greek physician, speaking of medical practice: "Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult."  My MD friends know that one.


Remember this from Chaucer?  "The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne, Th'assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge, The dredful joye..." - from "The Parliament of Fowls" (1382)


And there’s that old saying one hears in graduate school – Life is short and Proust is long.


Longfellow was cribbing.    - AP


"Art is anti-destiny."  Andre Malraux


L'art est un anti-destin.

André Malraux, Les Voix du silence, quatrième partie, La monnaie de l'absolu, VII  - AP


"Art is indeed not the bread but the wine of life."  - Jean Paul Richter


Bob was busy.


And here are two French ones I like -

Le sens de l'ironie est une forte garantie de liberté.

Maurice Barrès, Sous l'oeil des Barbares, 1888

Roughly: A sense of irony is a strong guarantee of liberty.


Il faut vivre comme on pense, sans quoi l'on finira par penser comme on a vécu.

Paul Bourget, Le Démon de midi

Roughly: You have to live the way you think, otherwise you'll end up thinking the way you lived.



Quotes for the week of October 17th, 2004 -


Albert Einstein:

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

Otto Von Bismarck:

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.


H. L. Mencken:

It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.


John W. Gardner:

Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all.


Freda Adler:

Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit.


H. L. Mencken:

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.


W. Somerset Maugham:

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.




Quotes from Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan – see The World’s Laziest Journalist last week – October 10, 2004 - Have we got a deal for you? – for more on her.


A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.


Success has killed more men than bullets.


Fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong.   [ … but there are various attributions - a Cole Porter musical of this name was made into a film of the same name in 1931, directed by Lloyd Bacon, but the Porter songs were omitted from the film, although Bela Lugosi played a stage magician in the thing … ]


Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principle.  The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.


A guy who would cheat on his wife would cheat at cards.

Quotes for the week of October 10, 2004 –


Regarding the late Robert “Bobby” Kennedy -


"Bobby often quoted Aeschylus by heart.  One of his favorite passages, for obvious reasons, was this: 'He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.'  He remembered the quote again on April 4, 1968, when he spoke extemporaneously to African American audience upon hearing the news that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been killed." (from the PBS web site.)


And speaking of Greeks…


Heraclitus –


Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.


Even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe.



Diogenes of Sinope -


Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?




"In a word, [Greeks] are by nature incapable of either living a quiet life themselves or of allowing anyone else to do so."
    - Envoys from Corinith, quoted by Thucydides

Quotes for the week of October 3, 2004


A mixed bag –


If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
-Amores Perros


If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
-Dorothy Parker


I have always wanted to be somebody. I guess I should have been more specific.
-Lily Tomlin


I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.

- John Cleese


Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for stars.

- Fred Allen


Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.

- Gore Vidal


One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Conquest of Happiness (1930)

Quotes for the week of September 26, 2004


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) lived out here in Los Angeles for a time, so let’s quote him.  You recall his Brave New World (1932) and that pacifist novel Eyeless in Gaza (1936).  The essays?  Try Music at Night (1931) and Ends and Means (1937).  In 1937, at the top of his game, Huxley left Europe to live in California, working for a time as a screenwriter here in Hollywood for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Twentieth-Century Fox.  He sometimes wrote in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, who also somehow ended up out here.  You might remember Huxley’s account of his first mescaline experience, The Doors of Perception from 1954.  Jim Morrison, as a young UCLA English major and would-be poet, many years later named his group “The Doors” due to that Huxley book.  Huxley died here in 1963.


Ah, California!


Three Huxley goodies – have some bearing on our current events:


A country which proposes to make use of modern war as an instrument of policy must possess a highly centralized, all-powerful executive, hence the absurdity of talking about the defense of democracy by force of arms. A democracy which makes or effectively prepares for modern scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic.


To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.


One of the great attractions of patriotism - it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.


The Huxley screenplays –


  • Madame Curie. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1938 (released 1943, Huxley's contribution was uncredited) 
  • Pride and Prejudice. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1940 - Directed by Robert Z. Leonard
  • Jane Eyre 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox
  • A Woman's Vengeance 1947 Universal-International
  • Alice in Wonderland 1951 RKO (Huxley's contribution was uncredited)

See Aldous Huxley: A Bibliography. 1965-1973
BULLETIN OF BIBLIOGRAPHY April-June, 1974. Vol. 31, No. 2, pages 67-70.
By Dennis Douglas Davis, Ph.D.: Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan



And Bob Patterson wants you to work on your Latin -


Cogito Ergo Doleo

I think therefore I am depressed

- attribution


Nunc est bibendum

Now it is time to drink

- attribution


Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur

That man is wise who talks little

- attribution


Fermat's Last Theorem

Cubem autem in duos cubos, aut quadratoquadratum in duos quadratoquadratos, et generaliter nullam in infinitum ultra quadratum potestatem in duos eiusdem nominis fas est dividere.

It is impossible for a cube to be written as a sum of two cubes or a fourth power to be written as the sum of two fourth powers or, in general, for any number which is a power greater than the second to be written as a sum of two like powers.


Cuius rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet.

I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.

- attribution


Amicule, deliciae, num is sum qui mentiar tibi?

Baby, sweetheart, would I lie to you?

- attribution



Quotes for the week of September 19, 2004


Lane Kirkland, the labor leader, on work: If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.


Garrison Keillor on how to deal with life: I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.


Carl Sagan on judging who is worth your attention: But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.


James Russell Lowell, being prescient about our times now: He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, and not progress, the highest lesson of statecraft.


Mark Twain seems here to be advising George Bush to try a new approach: Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.


Stanley Milgram, also being prescient about our times now: The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.


Mark Twain on what matters: Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.


Edward Abbey, the playwright, on the place where I’ve lived for well over twenty years: There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.


Dave Barry giving voting tips: The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club.


William Gladstone, the long-dead British politician, on the same: Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear.



Bob Patterson gets pointed with his choices…


"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."  - Mao Zedong


"An armed society is a polite society."  - Robert Heinlein


"Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you." - Herman Goering


"You can get a lot further with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone."  - Al Capone


"We can do without butter, but, despite all our love of peace, not without arms.  One cannot shoot with butter but with guns."  - Joseph Goebbels.


"There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed, for example, that we all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter." - Bat Masterson


"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything."  - Wyatt Earp

Quotes for the week of September 12, 2004


… from Bob Patterson – related to current events…


Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.” 

  -Otto von Bismark


Civilized man arrived in the Pacific, armed with alcohol, syphilis, trousers, and the Bible.” 

  - Havelock Ellis


If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”

  - Ronald Reagan


No one has ever succeeded in keeping nations at war except by lies.” 

  - Salvador De Madariaga


No man lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.” 

  - Friedrich Netzsche, Beyond Good and Evil


Too much Truth

is uncouth

  - Franklin P. Adams



From the editor -


Paul Valéry (1871-1945)

His full name?  Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry


This would be French poet, essayist, and critic, the fellow who stopped writing verse for twenty years to do science.  He sort of fits in with the 19th-century Symbolists.   But T.S. Eliot decided Valéry was too analytical – like some scientist who works in a laboratory "weighing out or testing the drugs of which is compounded some medicine with an impressive name."


We see here that Valéry was born in Cette (now Sète), the son of a Corsican customs officer, Barthelmy Valéry, and Fanny Grassi, who was the daughter of the Genoese Italian consul and descended from Venetian nobility.  So he wasn’t true-blue French, even if Sète is on the French coast, down in Languedoc-Roussillon.  He did get a law degree from the University of Montpellier just up the way.  And after he moved to Paris he was on of the regulars at Stéphane Mallarmé's literary 'Tuesday evenings' - and Mallarmé's favorite disciple.  Valéry was also a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe – and translated Poe into French.  So let’s call him French.


And he churned out verse.  But in 1892 it seems he experienced the "revolution of the mind" during a dark and stormy night in Genoa.  He stopped writing poetry.  All that stuff was vanity.  Science was the ticket.  Odd things happen on dark and stormy nights.


Edgar Degas called him M. Teste (Mr. Head) – and said he was an intellectual monster, whose “whole existence is given up to the examination of his own intellectual process.”  A geek?


But this Corsican hit the big time.  Valéry was elected to the Académie Française in 1925, upon the death Anatole France.  But then he ticked everyone off again.  Instead of composing an 'éloge' about France he scandalized everyone by criticizing the dead guy - saying that Anatole France had been far too occupied with politics, and the fellow had, in fact, finally declared himself a Communist.  Valéry was not a political sort and scoffed at all that.  And the dead guy had been too old-fashioned too.  Geez.  And you thought the French were charming.  Maybe it’s a Corsican thing.  Remember Napoleon.


Paul Valéry died in Paris on July 20, 1945.


Cool things he once said? 

  • God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.  
  • The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.  
  • Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
  •  Love is being stupid together.

One suspects he was a difficult man.


Quotes for the week of September 5, 2004


What one doesn't realize in ordinary mental health is that daily life is a show.  You have to put on a right costume, to improvise right speeches, to do right actions, and all this isn't automatic, it takes concentration and work and a simply amazing degree of control.


-          Herman Wouk


On the stage... masks are assumed with some regard to procedure; in everyday life, the participants act their parts without consideration either for suitability of scene or for the words spoken by the rest of the cast: the result is a general tendency for things to be brought to the level of farce even when the theme is serious enough.


-          Anthony Powell, from A Dance to the Music of Time: Hearing Secret Harmonies


Look to the bottom of his vast design,
Wherein man's wisdom, power, and glory join:
The good he acts, the ill he does endure,

'Tis all from fear, to make himself secure.
Merely for safety, after fame we thirst,
For all me would be cowards if they durst.

- John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) … from A Satyre against Reason and Mankind (and as everyone knows this poem was to some extent based on Boileau's eighth satire, and is indebted to Hobbes, Montaigne, and the tradition of le libertinage generally.  Yeah, yeah.)  





click here for larger image
... some of mine

Is it not both great vanitie and uncleanness, that at the table, a place of respect, of cleanlinesse, of modestie, men should not be ashamed, to sit tossing of Tobacco pipes, and puffing of the smoke of Tobacco one to another, making the filthie smoke and stinke thereof, to exhale athwart the dishes and infect the air, when, very often, men that abhorre it are at their repast? Surely Smoke becomes a kitchen far better than a Dining chamber, and yet it makes a kitchen also oftentimes in the inward parts of men, soiling and infecting them, with an unctuous and oily kind of Soote, as hath bene found in some great Tobacco takers, that after death were opened.


Have you not reason then to be ashamed and to forbear this filthy novelty, so basely grounded, so foolishly received and so grossly mistaken in the right use thereof. In your abuse thereof sinning against God harming yourselves both in person and goods, and raking also thereby the marks and notes of vanity upon you by the custom thereof making yourselves to be wondered at by all foreign civil nations and by all strangers that come among you to be scorned and held in contemp; a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. 

- James VI of Scotland, later James I of England (1566-1625)
… from A Counter-Blaste to Tobacco, o
riginally published in 1604, then reprinted in the Workes of King James in 1616



Quotes for the week of August 29, 2004


Back when I was a teacher a few of my students rather liked Samuel Butler’s “The Way of All Flesh’” – and these sorts of observations might be why.


I know it is fashionable to say that young people must find out things for themselves, and so they probably would if they had fair play to the extent of not having obstacles put in their way.  But they seldom have fair play; as a general rule they met with foul play, and foul play from those who live by selling them stones made into a great variety of shapes and signs so as to form a tolerable imitation of bread.


A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities, as well as those of other people, will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those that are worth committing.


And these from Aldous Huxley’s “Time Must Have a Stop” – a book I never told anyone to read –


Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.


Hopeless passions are part of a liberal education.  That’s the way adolescents learn how to sublimate sex.


And I keep coming back to William Blake (1757-1827) and these from “The Proverbs of Heaven and Hell” (1797) – which occur to me prior to the street actions that may or may not be launched this coming week in Manhattan -


As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.


The fox condemns the trap, not himself.


Prudence is a rich ugly old maid, courted by incapacity.


The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.


Better murder an infant in its cradle than nurse an unacted desire.


The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.




Bob Patterson thinks of war and sends these along…


It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.  - General Douglas MacArthur


North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States.  Only Americans can do that.  - Richard Nixon


We should go in and win – or else get out.  - Russell Long


The American soldier is here to build as well as kill.  - General William Westmoreland.


Wars have never hurt anybody except the people who die.  - Salvador Dali


Yippies, Hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, lions and tigers alike – I would swap the whole damn zoo for the kind of young Americans I saw in Vietnam.  - Spiro T. Agnew



Quotes for the week of August 22, 2004


From my collection:


Robert Frost being stern – and not making jokes… 

  • Humor is the most engaging form of cowardice.”
  • We shall be judged finally by the delicacy of our feeling of when to stop short.” 

Hemingway on writing… 

  • In order to be a great writer a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector.”
  • I have tried writing the best I can; sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” 

Political items found here. 


Ambrose Bierce: Conservative: a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.


John Kenneth Galbraith: The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.


Leo C. Rosten: A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.


William Gladstone: Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear.


Religion items found here.


Bertrand Russell: In conclusion, there is a marvelous anecdote from the occasion of Russell's ninetieth birthday that best serves to summarize his attitude toward God and religion. A London lady sat next to him at this party, and over the soup she suggested to him that he was not only the world's most famous atheist but, by this time, very probably the world's oldest atheist. "What will you do, Bertie, if it turns out you're wrong?" she asked. "I mean, what if -- uh -- when the time comes, you should meet Him? What will you say?" Russell was delighted with the question. His bright, birdlike eyes grew even brighter as he contemplated this possible future dialogue, and then he pointed a finger upward and cried, "Why, I should say, 'God, you gave us insufficient evidence.'"

-          Al Seckel, in Preface to Bertrand Russell on God and Religion


Henny Youngman: I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up . . . they have no holidays.



Cat items found here.


ALBERT SCHWEITZER: There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.


COLETTE: Time spent with cats is never wasted.


JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH: Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.


P.G. WODEHOUSE: The trouble with cats is that they've got no tact.


P.J. O'ROURKE: It's easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America's favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it.


ROBERT A. HEINLEIN: Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.


WINSTON CHURCHILL: I like pigs.  Dogs look up to us.  Cats look down on us.  Pigs treat us as equals.



And Bob Patterson on the rich…


Yes! Ready money is Aladdin’s lamp. 

-          Lord Byron in Don Juan


It isn’t necessary to be rich and famous to be happy.  It’s only necessary to be rich.

-          Alan Alda


There is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it. 

-          Marcus Tullius


Money doesn’t always bring happiness.  People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars. 

-          Hobart Brown


Money won’t buy happiness, but it will pay the salaries of a large research staff to study the problem. 

-          Bill Vaughan


Let us be happy and live within our means, even if we have to borrer [sic] the money to do it with. 

-          Charles Farrar Brown AKA Artemus Ward


I had to be a millionaire.  If I couldn’t do it without being crooked, then I’d have to be crooked.

-          John Lennon



Quotes for the week of August 15, 2004


I see little evidence in this world of the so-called goodness of God.  On the contrary, it seems to me that, on the strength of His daily acts, He must be set down a most stupid, cruel and villainous fellow.  I can say this with clear conscience, for He has treated me well – in fact, with great politeness.  But I can’t help thinking of his barbaric torture of most of the rest of humanity.  I simply can’t imagine revering the God of war and politics, theology and cancer.”

-          H.L. Mencken


To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is a merciful provision in nature whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil days, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions.” 

-          Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) from Hydriotaphia. Urn-Burial (1658)


The universe is not only stranger than we suppose, it is stranger than we can suppose.”

-          J.B.S. Haldane


If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”

-          Isaac Asimov



Quotes for the week of August 8, 2004 -



Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on.”

-          Robert Frost


What does it matter whether there is good or evil?  When his highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he worry whether the mice on board are comfortable or not?”

-          Voltaire, Candide


To be happy is not the purpose of our existence, but to deserve happiness.”

-          Immanuel Fichte (that odd German philosopher, 1745-1833)


Positiveness is the most absurd folly.  If you are right, it lessens your victory; if in the wrong, it add shame to your defeat.”

-          from Laurence Sterne's Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.  The nine volumes of this novel appeared between 1759 and 1767 – so this is not about George Bush


And two from Samuel Johnson again (being mellow here) …


Whatever the motive of an insult it is always best to overlook it; for folly scarcely can deserve resentment, and malice is punished by neglect.”


It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”



And a few that are a bit lighter …


Gossip is the opiate of the depressed.”

-          Erica Jong


Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.”

-          Quentin Crisp


Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock.”

-          John Barrymore


And on politicians - The Sage of Baltimore speaks…


"He is a man who has lied and dissembled, and a man who has crawled.  He knows the taste of boot-polish. He has suffered kicks in the tonneau of his pantaloons.  He has taken orders from his superiors in knavery and he has wooed and flattered his inferiors in sense.  His public life is an endless series of evasions and false pretenses.  He is willing to embrace any issue, however idiotic, that will get him votes, and he is willing to sacrifice any principle, however sound, that will lose them for him.  I do not describe the democratic politician at his inordinate worst; I describe him as he is encountered in the full sunshine of normalcy.  He may be, on the one hand, a cross-roads idler striving to get into the State Legislature by grace of the local mortgage-sharks and evangelical clergy, or he may be, on the other, the President of the United States.  It is almost an axiom that no man may make a career in politics in the Republic without stooping to such ignobility: it is as necessary as a loud voice."


- H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy




And Bob Patterson continues the war theme from last week's issue…


It is magnificent, but is not war.”  - Pierre Jean Fançois Joseph Bosquet


Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”  - Sir Winston Churchill


As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination.  When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.”  - Oscar Wide.


War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading.”  - Thomas Hardy


Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man’s spirit than when we win his heart.”  - Eric Hoffer


Ein Reich

Ein Volk

Ein Fuehrer



Quotes for the week of August 1, 2004 -

In the mid-1770’s Samuel Johnson’s mother died, and Johnson was devastated.  And he has been reading Voltaire’s Candide - and there was this flood of “oriental tales” taking the reading public by storm.  As a diversion he tried writing one of his own and we get Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (April, 1759) – and it is somber.  In it the court philosopher Imlac shows the young prince around the world of the near east.  Imlac is full of words about life – and, oddly enough, sounds a lot like Samuel Johnson on a really down day.  But the man could turn a phrase.


For though I exclude idleness and pleasure, I will never bar my doors against charity.  To man is permitted the contemplations of the skies, but the practice of virtue is commanded.”    Chapter XL


Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” – Chapter XLI


Ignorance, when it is voluntary, is criminal; and he may be properly be charged with evil who refused to learn how to prevent it.” - Chapter XXX


Well, Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia is an acquired taste.  Moral aphorisms about good and evil – and about knowing as much as you can about everything - are out of fashion.


But as Isaac Babel once said – “No iron can pierce the heart with the force of a period put just at the right place.”






Bob Patterson has been thinking about war and sends these along -


War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.”

-          Desiderius Erasmus


During war we imprison the rights of man.” 

-          David Lloyd George


We don’t declare war any more; we declare national defense.” 

-          Eugene McCarthy


Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders, that is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in every country.”

-          Herman Goering as quoted by Paul Krassner in 50 Reasons Not To Vote For Bush (by Robert Sterling.)


The combat man isn’t the same clean-cut lad because you don’t fight a kraut by Marquis of Queensbury rules.  You shoot him in the back, you blow him apart with mines, you kill or maim him the quickest and most effective way you can with the least danger to yourself.  He does the same to you.” 

-          Bill Mauldin Up Front, page 14.




But your editor thinks on these -


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”


-          John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)


Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.  The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” 


And this – “One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'.”

Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Second World War (1948)


The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.”


-          Solomon Short



Quotes for the week of July 24, 2004


Bob Patterson’s Quotes from Oscar Levant -


An epigram is only a wisecrack that’s played at Carnegie Hall.”  - Oscar Levant as quoted in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations edited by Robert Andrews


After Oscar Levant met Harpo Marx’s fiancée, he said: Harpo, she’s a lovely person.  She deserves a good husband.  Marry her before she finds one.” - as quoted in Friendly Advice compiled and edited by Jon Winokur


About Phyllis Diller, Oscar Levant said:  I treasure every moment that I do not see her.” - as quoted in The Guinness Book of Poisonous Quotes compiled by Colin Jatman.


I don’t drink; I don’t like it – it makes me feel good.”  Oscar Levant as quoted in The Portable Curmudgeon compiled and edited by Jon Winokur.


In some situations I was difficult, in odd moments impossible, in rare moments, loathsome, but at my best unapproachably great.”   Oscar Levant as quoted in True Confessions compiled and edited by Jon Winokur.



The Editor’s Usual Odd Quotes from his Teaching Days –


I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.  We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves.  Like being banished to the forests far from everyone, like a suicide.  A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

-          Franz Kafka, Letters


We owe to the Middle Ages the two worst inventions of humanity – romantic love and gunpowder.”

-          André Maurois (1885-1967)


Quotes for the week of July 18, 2004...

Bob Patterson’s Handy Quotes via Links... 

Just Above Sunset online magazine is interactive so maybe we should provide some quote links.


The most famous source for quotes may be Bartleby

Didn’t Gertrude Stein once say:  “A quote is a quote is a quote is a quote?”


What are your picks for the best Horror Movie Quotes / Lines … ?


Do you want a daily Zen quote (and see their archives)?


More Zen quotes (with dozens of quotes links)...


Bushisms from Slate magazine ...


This site claims to have the 100 funniest bumper stickers but they do have many links on the right-hand side.



And your editor’s quotes for the week – found the old-fashioned way….


It must not be supposed that the officials in charge of education desire the young to become educated.  On the contrary, their problem is to impart information without imparting intelligence.  Without a literate population a modern state is impossible.  But people who think for themselves are awkward to manage and cause administrative difficulties.”

-          Bertrand Russell


We may commonly observe, in the actions of this world, that Fortune, to apprise us of her power in all things, and because she takes a pleasure in confounding our presumption, being unable to make a blockhead wise, makes him successful, to spite the virtuous.”

-          Montaigne (1553-1592), The Art of Conversing (1580)


Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

-          Albert Jay Nock


Lying has a kind of respect and reverence with it.  We pay the person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.”

-          Samuel Butler


There is nothing more likely to drive a man mad than being unable to get rid of the distinction between right and wrong, and an obstinate, constitutional preference of the truth to the agreeable.”

-          William Hazlitt,  “On Swift” (1818)


"In a closed society where everyone is guilty, the only crime is getting caught.  In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity."

"Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death in huge cars."


- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Quotes for the week of July 11, 2004


Bob Paterson adds these- from Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

The Charles Scribner’s and Sons paperback edition (which he purchased in 1965 for $2.95!)


Others are as cynical as night club proprietors.”  Page 59 (written about 10 years before Casablanca was filmed)


Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.”  Page 91


Memory, of course, is not true.”  Page 100


No one can say, on seeing a fighting bull in the corrals, whether that bull will be brave in the ring although, usually, the quieter the bull is, the less nervous he seems, the calmer he is, the more chance that he will turn out brave.”  Page 124


The great thing is to last and get your work done and see and hear and learn and understand; and write when there is something that you know; and not before; and not too damned much after.”  Page 278




From the Just Above Sunset Editor - on writing:


Consider this from Jonathan Swift, "A Tale of a Tub" (1710) - "There are certain common privileges of a writer, the benefit whereof, I hope, there will be no reason to doubt; particularly, that where I am not understood, it shall be concluded, that something very useful and profound is couched underneath...."


Fundamental accuracy of statement in the one sole morality of writing.” 

- Erza Pound – major figure in American poetry, left his faculty position at Wabash College in Indiana (well, he was fired) to become a literary star in post WWI Paris and all that, friend and editor of T.S. Eliot, convicted of broadcasting propaganda for Mussolini in WWII …


What I have written is the truth as I saw it, but the truth as I saw it, of course, doesn’t have much to do with the truth.”

- Lillian Hellman


Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.”

- Jean Kerr (on the fuel of many writers)


Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

G.K. Chesterton


But Chesterton should note this from the Hospitality Guild - Rarer Cheeses -


One of the most appealing English cheeses is Ticklemore, an aged goat's cheese made by cheesemaker Robin Congdon in South Devon.  The snow-white flesh of the cheese gives off a fresh, grassy aroma.  While its texture is dry, it melts in the mouth, with the tangy, lemony flavors of a fresh chevre, as well as complexity and depth from its three-month aging.  Murray's Cheese in New York City, one of the few American retailers of Ticklemore, recommends pairing it with a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc such as Vouvray.  No other accompaniment would be necessary, save for maybe a few green grapes or slices of a sharp, crisp apple.


Poetic and erotic!


Seriously, this from Aldous Huxley:


Misplaced seriousness – the source of some of our most fatal errors.  One should be serious… only about what deserves to be taken seriously.  And, on the strictly human level, there is nothing that deserves to be taken seriously except the suffering men inflict upon themselves by their crimes and follies.  But, in the last analysis, most of these crimes and follies arise from taking too seriously things which to do not deserve it.


Like cheese?


Quotes for the week of July 4, 2004 ...



    Found on the net, so be wary – these may be all wrong….


America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.

- John Updike (1932 - ) from Problems and Other Stories


I would rather have a nod from an American, than a snuffbox from an emperor.

- Lord Byron 1788-1824


The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity.  The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner.  But they do have friendliness.  Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.

- Raymond Chandler 1888-1959


I have no further use for America.  I wouldn't go back there if Jesus Christ was President.

- Charlie Chaplin 1889-1977


There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals.  The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.

- Gilbert K. Chesterton 1874-1936


The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself.

- John Ciardi 1916-1986


The business of America is business and the chief ideal of the American people is idealism.

- Calvin Coolidge 1872-1933


America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move.  She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still.

- e.e. cummings 1894-1962


If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world?

- Richard M. Nixon 1913-1994


It is impossible for a stranger traveling through the United States to tell from the appearance of the people or the country whether he is in Toledo, Ohio, or Portland, Oregon.  Ninety million Americans cut their hair in the same way, eat each morning exactly the same breakfast, tie up the small girls curls with precisely the same kind of ribbon fashioned into bows exactly alike; and in every way all try to look and act as much like all the others as they can.

- Lord Northcliffe


The trouble with America is that there are far too many wide-open spaces surrounded by teeth.

- Charles Luckman


The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.

- Frank Zappa (1940-1993)


In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is.  That is what makes America what it is.

- Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), The Geographical History of America (1936)


The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.

- King Edward VIII (1894-1972)


America is a country that doesn't know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.

- Laurence J. Peter (1919-1988)


It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.

- Mark Twain (1835-1910)


Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered.  I myself would say that it had merely been detected.

- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891


America is a mistake, a giant mistake.

- Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)





There is nothing so minute, or inconsiderable, that I would not rather know it than not.

- Samuel Johnson


A rich man without charity is a rogue, and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool.

- Henry Fielding


If you begin by saying ‘Thou shalt not lie,’ there is no longer any possibility of political action.

- Jean-Paul Sartre


Learning passes for wisdom among those who want both.

- Sir William Temple





Bob Patterson has been thumbing through a classic -

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s

His edition?  The Scribner Classic from Collier Books - Macmillan Publishing Company’s paperback edition.


On the contrary, they were merely casual events in a crowded summer, and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.”  Page 56


After that I lived like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe – Paris, Venice, Rome – collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big fame, painting a little, things for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that happened to me long ago.”  Page 66


A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement:  ‘There are only the pursued, the pursing, the busy, and the tired.’”  Page 81


The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.”  Page 86


Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.”  Page 89


For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination:  they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.”  Page 100


So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”  Page 137


What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?”  Page 150


Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead,” he suggested.”  Page 173

Week of June 27, 2004 …

The meager satisfaction that man can extract from reality leaves him starving.”

-         Sigmund Freud


To be trusted in a greater compliment than to be loved.”

-         James MacDonald


Southern California, especially, has come to symbolize good weather and bad habits, and Los Angeles seems to be a city without a civilization, one whose principle industry is an unimaginative nervousness.”

-         Anatole Broyard in the New York Times, April 29, 1981



From Bob Patterson -quotes from the Modern Library hardback edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage.


Men seek, but one thing in life – their pleasure.”  Page 258


“ ... if you want to be a gentleman you must give up being an artist.” Page 300


Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.”  Page 305


He thought the best thing he had gained in Paris was a complete liberty of spirit, and he felt himself at last absolutely free.”  Page 317


There was neither good nor bad there.  The were just facts.  It was life.”  Page 501


The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.”  Page 654

Week of June 20, 2004 …

From the archives, regarding political events this week:


A great man… what is he?  He rather lies than tells the truth; it requires more spirit and will.  There is a solitude within him that is inaccessible to praise or blame, his own justice that is beyond appeal.”


-          Frederick Nietzsche, The Will to Power


I have seen people behave badly with great morality and I see every day that integrity has no need of rules.”


-          Albert Camus, The Absurd Man


Don’t be too clever or we’ll scratch your goodies out… or we’ll blow your sillies off.”


-          Yoko Ono, Catman

Quotes from the Penguin Books paperback edition of Travels with Charley- In Search of America by John Steinbeck (contributed by Bob Patterson)


He talked to informed people, officials, ambassadors; he read reports, even the fine print and figures, while I in my slipshod manner roved about with actors, gypsies, vagabonds.  Joe (Alsop) and I flew home to America in the same plane, and on the way he told me about Prague, and his Prague had no relation to the city I had seen and heard.” … Page 77


I stayed as much as possible on secondary road where there was much to see and hear and smell, and avoided the great wide traffic slashes which promote the self by fostering daydreams.”  … Page 95


I have no desire to latch onto a monster symbol of fate and prove my manhood in titanic piscine war.”  … Page 113  (Take that, Mr. Hemingway!)


One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward.”  … Page 161


Every evening is Pamplona in lower New York.”  … Page 274



Week of June 13, 2004 …


Two dead Englishmen here:


Alexander Pope – “A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”


Samuel Butler – “If a man is not a good, sound, honest, capable lair there is no truth in him.”


Samuel Butler – “I don’t mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.”



Bob Patterson, given that the world is as it is these days, is rereading 1984 – and sends along these quotes he finds in his New American Library paperback edition of George Orwell’s famous novel.


You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words.”  - Page 46


In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense.  There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.” - Page 54


It’s always one bloody war after another, and one knows the news is all lies anyway.”  - Page 128


On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which extended even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and when they are committed by one’s own side and not by the enemy, meritorious.” - Page 153


Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance.”  - Page 169


He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Brother.”  - Page 245

Week of June 6, 2004 ...

The disparity between romance and reality, the world of the beautiful people and the workaday world, gives rise to an ironic detachment that dulls pain but also cripples the will to change social conditions, to make even modest improvements in work and play, and to restore dignity to everyday life.

     - Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism


Obstinacy and heat in sticking to one’s opinions is the surest proof of stupidity.

     - Michel Eyguem de Montaigne (1533-1592)


No man’s opinions can be worth holding unless he knows how to deny them easily and gracefully upon occasion in the cause of charity.

     - Samuel Butler (1835-1902)


In fact, what we call stupidity, though not an enlivening quality in common society, is nature’s favorite resource for preserving steadiness of conduct and consistency of opinion.

     - Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)


Fight someone every day, but never fight unimportant people.

    - Alexandre Dumas


Doing good on even the tiniest scale requires more intelligence than most people possess.  They ought to be content with keeping out of mischief; it’s easier and doesn’t have such frightful results as trying to do good in the wrong way.  Twiddling the thumbs and having good manners are much more helpful, in most cases, than rushing about with good intentions and doing things.

     -  Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).


A flippant, frivolous man may ridicule others, may controvert them, may scorn them; but he who as any respect for himself seems to have renounced the right of thinking meanly of others.

    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)


Optimism and pessimism, as cosmic philosophies, show the same naïve humanism.  The great world, so far as we can know it from the philosophy of nature, is neither good nor bad, and is not concerned to make us either happy or unhappy.  All such philosophies spring from self-importance and are best corrected by a little astronomy.

    - Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)



Week of May 30, 2004 ...
From Bob Patterson -

L’univerers est vrai pour nous tous et dissemblable pour chacun.” (The universe is true for all of us and different for each of us.)

   - Marcel Proust, Aphorisms and Epigrams from Remembrance of Things Past, Edited and translated by Justin O’Brien.


“I am tired of my expedition into the dim, dull abyss of facts.” 

   - Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist


“It will never be possible to get a completely accurate and unbiased account of the Barcelona fighting, because the necessary records do not exits.” 

   - George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia


“Major Major had lied, and it was good.  He was not really surprised that it was good, for he had observed that people who did lie were, on the whole, more resourceful and successful than people who did not lie.” 

   - Joseph Heller, Catch-22


“The comic sensibility wants the world to be perfect, but when it looks around, it finds greed, corruption, lunacy.  The result is an angry and depressed artist.” 

   - Robert McKee, Story


“I am finding it more and more difficult to suppress my personal convictions.” 

- Edward R. Murrow as quoted by A. M. Sperber in Murrow: His Life and Times




EDITOR"S NOTE: I’m now going to dig up some of my favorite quotes - a decade of teaching where I opened each class with the quote for the day left me well supplied.


“The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.  To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something.  Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”

… Walker Percy, The Last Gentleman


“Zealous men are ever displaying to you the strength of their belief, while judicious men are shewing [sic] you the grounds of it.”

  … William Shenstone


“Doubt is not a very agreeable state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

  … Voltaire


And one I came across this week -


"The really damned not only like Hell, they feel loyal to it."

 ... Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution


Week of May 23, 2004...


Courtesy of Bob Patterson this week...


“For a time I would feel I belonged still to a world of straight-forward facts; but the feeling would not last long.” 


    Joseph Conrad  Heart of Darkness 


“Beautiful sins, like beautiful things, are the privilege of the rich.” 


    Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray


“What we think we discover in a moment of special insight is what we have been inventing for years.” 


     Jean Paul Sartre Saint Genet


“Thus the Wahhabis know only two mortal sins: having a god other than the Wahhabi god and smoking (which they call ‘the infamous way of drinking’)”


     Friedrich Nietzsche The Gay Science  Book 1 Section 43


“There is a theatrical expression, ‘flop sweat,’ which is used to describe the clammy perspiration an actor notices on hands, neck, and brows as a first night performance begins to go wrong.” 


     Walter Kerr The Decline of Pleasure





Week of May 2, 2004...


"She liked to think of herself as a straightforward person. 'People always know where they are with me,' she would say rather smugly; it never occurred to her that people might not always want to know such things."