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Quotes of the day: Philip Stanhope

Published Sunday, September 21, 2014 @ 8:55 PM EDT
Sep 21 2014

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield PC KG (September 22, 1694 - March 24, 1773) was a British statesman and man of letters. He was born in London and was known as Lord Stanhope until his father's death in 1726. After being educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he went on the Grand Tour of the continent. The death of Queen Anne and the accession of King George I opened up a career for him and brought him back to England. According to some authorities, Chesterfield was selfish, calculating and contemptuous; he was not naturally generous, and he practised dissimulation until it became part of his nature. In spite of his brilliant talents and of the admirable training he received, his life, on the whole, cannot be pronounced a success. As a politician and statesman, Chesterfield's fame rests on his short but brilliant administration of Ireland. As an author he was a clever essayist and epigrammatist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A proper secrecy is the only mystery of able men; mystery is the only secrecy of weak and cunning ones.

Abject flattery and indiscriminate assentation degrade, as much as indiscriminate contradiction and noisy debate disgust. But a modest assertion of one's own opinion, and a complaisant acquiescence in other people's, preserve dignity.

Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least.

An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.

Do as you would be done by, is the surest method of pleasing.

I really know nothing more criminal, more mean, and more ridiculous than lying. It is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later.

I recommend to you, in my last, an innocent piece of art: that of flattering people behind their backs, in presence of those who, to make their own court, much more than for your sake, will not fail to repeat, and even amplify, the praise to the party concerned. This is of all flattery the most pleasing, and consequently the most effectual.

I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves.

I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it to you.

Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds.

In short, let it be your maxim through life, to know all you can know, yourself; and never to trust implicitly to the informations of others.

It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in. One yawns, one procrastinates, one can do it when one will, and therfore one seldom does it at all.

Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh.

Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.

Let this be one invariable rule of your conduct- never to show the least symptom of resentment, which you cannot, to a certain degree, gratify; but always to smile, where you cannot strike.

Little minds mistake little objects for great ones, and lavish away upon the former that time and attention which only the latter deserve. To such mistakes we owe the numerous and frivolous tribe of insect- mongers, shell-mongers, and pursuers and driers of butterflies, etc. The strong mind distinguishes, not only between the useful and the useless, but likewise between the useful and the curious.

Marriage is the cure of love, and friendship the cure of marriage.

Never seem wiser, nor more learned, than the people you are with. Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it; merely to show that you have one.

People will no more advance their civility to a bear, than their money to a bankrupt.

Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in a mixed company.

Speak of the moderns without contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry.

Take the tone of the company you are in.

The chapter of knowledge is a very short, but the chapter of accidents is a very long one.

The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect and with ease.

The herd of mankind can hardly be said to think; their notions are almost all adoptive; and, in general, I believe it is better that it should be so; as such common prejudices contribute more to order and quiet, than their own separate reasonings would do, uncultivated and unimproved as they are.

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.

The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one's self to be acquainted with it.

The young leading the young, is like the blind leading the blind; 'they will both fall into the ditch.'

There are some occasions in which a man must tell half his secret, in order to conceal the rest; but there is seldom one in which a man should tell all. Great skill is necessary to know how far to go, and where to stop.

There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.

We must not suppose that, because a man is a rational animal, he will, therefore, always act rationally; or, because he has such or such a predominant passion, that he will act invariably and consequentially in pursuit of it. No, we are complicated machines; and though we have one main spring that gives motion to the whole, we have an infinity of little wheels, which, in their turns, retard, precipitate, and sometime stop that motion.

Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.

Women who are either indisputably beautiful, or indisputably ugly, are best flattered upon the score of their understandings; but those who are in a state of mediocrity are best flattered upon their beauty, or at least their graces; for every woman who is not absolutely ugly thinks herself handsome.

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Quotes of the day: Chuck Jones

Published Saturday, September 20, 2014 @ 9:11 PM EDT
Sep 20 2014

Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio. He directed many classic animated cartoon shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Pepé Le Pew, Porky Pig and a slew of other Warner characters. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door- he's the person who opens a door funny.

A lion's work hours are only when he's hungry; once he's satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together.

Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.

Anyone can negatively criticize- it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires.

Censorship, I believe, is the most dangerous enemy to all human communication, and piety of intention is probably the most dangerous, the most virulent and the most self-satisfying.

Comedy is unusual people in real situations; farce is real people in unusual situations.

Eschew the ordinary, disdain the commonplace. If you have a single-minded need for something, let it be the unusual, the esoteric, the bizarre, the unexpected.

Human beings will line up for miles to buy a bucket of catastrophes, but don't try selling sunshine and light- you'll go broke.

If you make a fool of yourself in front of a cat, he will sneer at you, if you are sober; he will leave the room if you are drunk. If you make a fool of yourself in front a dog, he will make a fool of himself, too.

Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about.

Painting does what we cannot do— it brings a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional plane.

The name 'Chuck Jones', according to my uncle, limited my choice of profession to second baseman or cartoonist.

The older I get, the more individuality I find in animals and the less I find in humans. Early experiences convinced me that animals can and do have quite distinct personalities.

The only thing an adult can give a child is time.

The road is better than the end.

The rules are simple. Take your work, but never yourself, seriously. Pour in the love and whatever skill you have, and it will come out.

The whole essence of good drawing- and of good thinking, perhaps- is to work a subject down to the simplest form possible and still have it believable for what it is meant to be.

There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is the willingness to think.

We must not confuse distortion with innovation; distortion is useless change, art is beneficial change.

When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins.

You do not 'suffer' if you decide 'that's the way it is' rather than 'why is it this way?'


(September 21 is also the birthday of H.G. Wells)

Categories: Chuck Jones, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Sophia Loren

Published Friday, September 19, 2014 @ 7:36 PM EDT
Sep 19 2014

Sophia Loren born Sofia Villani Scicolone (b. September 20, 1934) is an international film star and Italy's most renowned and honored actress. She began her career at age 14 after entering a beauty pageant in 1949. Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons, Loren appeared in several bit parts and minor roles until the late 1950s when Loren's five-picture contract with Paramount launched her international career. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.

As you grow older, marry, and have children of you own, you learn and forget. I do not forget easily, but I do forgive.

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.

Being beautiful can never hurt, but you have to have more. You have to sparkle, you have to be fun, you have to make your brain work if you have one.

Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.

Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.

Hate is unfulfilled love.

I firmly believe we can make our own miracles if we believe strongly enough in ourselves and our mission on earth.

I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.

If you haven't cried, your eyes cannot be beautiful.

It is a great advantage for a system of philosophy to be substantially true.

It's a mistake to think that once you're done with school you need never learn anything new.

It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.

Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful.

Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you've got, and 50 percent what people think you've got.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.

You have to be born a sex symbol. You don't become one. If you're born with it, you'll have it even when you're 100 years old.


(September 20 is also the birthday of Upton Sinclair )

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sophia Loren

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Quotes of the day: Mike Royko

Published Thursday, September 18, 2014 @ 8:48 PM EDT
Sep 18 2014

Michael "Mike" Royko (September 19, 1932 – April 29, 1997) was a Chicago newspaper columnist, winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Over his 30-year career, he wrote over 7,500 daily columns for the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A Pessimist sees the glass as half empty; A Cub Fan wonders when it's gonna spill.

Anyone who gives a surgeon six thousand dollars for 'breast augmentation' should give some thought to investing a little more on brain augmentation.

Contrary to popular belief, it's much wiser to take money from the poor than the rich.

Forty years ago, we were on the tail of the Front Page era. There was a different point of view. Reporters and editors were more forgiving of public people. They didn't think they had to stick someone in jail to make a career.

God tipped the country and all the fruits and nuts rolled west.

Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.

I don't think jogging is healthy, especially morning jogging. If morning joggers knew how tempting they looked to morning motorists, they would stay home and do sit-ups.

I never went to a John Wayne movie to find a philosophy to live by or to absorb a profound message. I went for the simple pleasure of spending a couple of hours seeing the bad guys lose.

It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an 'information highway,' but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies.

It's harder to be a Liberal than a Conservative because it is easier to give someone the finger than a helping hand.

No self-respecting fish would want to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper.

Show me somebody who is always smiling, always cheerful, always optimistic, and I will show you somebody who hasn't the faintest idea what the heck is really going on.

Show me the worst school districts in Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and I'll show you parents that shouldn't be raising a Chia Pet, much less a child.

So if you visit Chicago, enjoy the many great courses, the Midwestern friendliness, and the cities other amenities. But if a stranger with a goofy swing wants to play for more than loose change, take a pass. It's a long walk back to your hotel in bare feet.

The subject of criminal rehabilitation was debated recently in City Hall. It's an appropriate place for this kind of discussion because the city has always employed so many ex-cons and future cons.

Categories: Mike Royko, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Chris Hedges

Published Wednesday, September 17, 2014 @ 10:55 PM EDT
Sep 17 2014

Christopher Lynn "Chris" Hedges (born September 18, 1956) is an American journalist specializing in American politics and society. Hedges is also known as the best-selling author of several books including War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002)— a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction— Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009), Death of the Liberal Class (2010) and his most recent New York Times best seller, written with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, and fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.

A society without the means to detect lies and theft soon squanders its liberty and freedom.

It is one of the great ironies of corporate control that the corporate state needs the abilities of intellectuals to maintain power, yet outside of this role it refuses to permit intellectuals to think or function independently.

The belief that rational and quantifiable disciplines such as science can be used to perfect human society is no less absurd than a belief in magic, angels, and divine intervention.

The danger is not Islam or Christianity or any other religion. It is the human heart- the capacity we all have for evil. All human institutions with a lust for power give their utopian visions divine sanction.

The fact that alienated people can be counted on to vent their spleen in ineffectual directions- by fighting among themselves- relieves the government of the need to deal fundamentally with the conditions which cause their frustrations.

The failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for the next installment.

The moral certitude of the state in wartime is a kind of fundamentalism. And this dangerous messianic brand of religion, one where self-doubt is minimal, has come increasingly to color the modern world of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

The moral nihilism of celebrity culture is played out on reality television shows, most of which encourage a dark voyeurism into other people's humiliation, pain, weakness, and betrayal.

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.

The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.

The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.

There are always people willing to commit unspeakable human atrocity in exchange for a little power and privilege.

This magical thinking, this idea that human and personal progress is somehow inevitable, leads to political passivity. ... It has turned whole nations, such as the United States, into self-consuming machines of death.

Unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.

Violence is a disease, a disease that corrupts all who use it regardless of the cause.

War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians.

We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money. They throw poor people out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars for profit, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power.

We make our heroes out of clay.

We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.

We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers.

Patriotism, often a thinly veiled form of collective self-worship, celebrates our goodness, our ideals, our mercy and bemoans the perfidiousness of those who hate us.

Categories: Chris Hedges, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: François de La Rochefoucauld

Published Sunday, September 14, 2014 @ 8:16 PM EDT
Sep 14 2014

François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac (September 15, 1613 – March 17, 1680) was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. His is a clear-eyed, worldly view of human conduct that indulges in neither condemnation nor sentimentality. Born in Paris on the Rue des Petits Champs, at a time when the royal court was oscillating between aiding the nobility and threatening it, he was considered an exemplar of the accomplished 17th-century nobleman. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


"This is no time to be getting all steamed up about La Rochefoucauld. It's only a question of minutes before I'm going to be pretty darned good and sick of La Rochefoucauld, once and for all. La Rochefoucauld this and La Rochefoucauld that. Yes, well, let me tell you that if nobody had ever learned to quote, very few people would be in love with La Rochefoucauld. I bet you I don't know ten souls who read him without a middleman."
-Dorothy Parker, in her short story The Little Hours


A man may be ungrateful but is less chargeable with ingratitude than his benefactor.

A man will often believe himself a leader when he is led; while with his mind he endeavours to reach one goal, his heart insensibly drags him toward another.

Absence extinguishes the minor passions and increases the great ones, as the wind blows out a candle and fans a fire.

As we age, we become more foolish and wiser.

Everyone complains about his memory, and no one complains about his judgment.

Everyone speaks well of his heart; no one dares speak well of his mind.

Few know how to be old.

Few women's merit lasts as long as their beauty.

Fortunate people seldom mend their ways, for when good luck crowns their misdeeds with success they think it is because they are right.

Friendship is only a reciprocal conciliation of interests, and an exchange of good offices; it is a species of commerce out of which self-love always expects to gain something.

Hardly any man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.

How can we expect others to keep our secrets if we cannot keep them ourselves?

Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.

If we had no faults, we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.

If we judge love by the majority of its results, it resembles hatred more than friendship.

If we resist our passions, it is more through their weakness than our strength.

In all professions we affect a part and an appearance to seem what we wish to be. Thus the world is merely composed of actors.

In friendship and in love, one is often happier because of what one does not know than what one knows.

In jealousy there is more of self-love than love.

In love, the first healed is the best healed.

In the adversity of our best friends we often find something that is not exactly displeasing.

In the human heart there is a perpetual generation of passions, such that the ruin of one is almost always the foundation of another.

In their first passion, women love their lovers; in all the others, they love love.

It is a great folly to wish to be wise alone.

It is a kind of happiness to know how unhappy we must be.

It is better to set one's mind to bearing the misfortunes that are happening than to think of those that may happen.

It is difficult to define love. In the soul it is a passion to rule; in the mind it is sympathy; and in the body it is only a hidden and tactful desire to possess what we love after many mysteries.

It is easier to be wise for others than for oneself.

It is easier to know man in general than to know one man.

It is easier to seem worthy of positions one does not have than of those one does.

It is harder to hide the feelings we have than to feign the ones we do not have.

It is impossible to fall back in love with what one has stopped being in love with.

It is less dangerous to treat most men badly than to treat them too well.

It is more difficult to avoid being ruled than to rule others.

It is more disgraceful to distrust than to be deceived by our friends.

It is not a pain to give to ingrates, but it is an intolerable one to be obliged to a dishonest man.

It is only those who are firm who can be genuinely kind.

It is useless to be young without being beautiful, or beautiful without being young.

Jealousy is always born with love but does not always die with it.

Jealousy lives upon suspicion; and it turns into a fury or ends as soon as it passes from suspicion to certainty.

Lovers never get tired of each other, because they are always talking about themselves.

Luck must be dealt with like health: enjoy it when it is good, be patient when it is bad.

Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.

Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.

Most people judge men only by success or by fortune.

Neither love nor fire can subsist without perpetual motion; both cease to live so soon as they cease to hope, or to fear.

Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily.

Nobody deserves to be praised for goodness unless he is strong enough to be bad, for any other goodness is usually merely inertia or lack of will-power.

Nothing is given so profusely as advice.

Nothing prevents us being natural so much as the desire to appear so.

Of all violent passions, the least unbecoming to a woman is love.

Old men delight in giving good advice as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer provide bad examples.

One is never so happy or so unhappy as one fancies.

One must listen if one wishes to be listened to.

One must not just have great qualities, but also economize them.

Only great men have great faults.

Our repentance is not so much sorrow for the ill we have done as a fear of the ill that may befall us.

Our virtues are most frequently but vices in disguise.

Philosophy triumphs easily over past and future evils; but present evils triumph over it.

Preserving your health by too strict a diet is a tedious illness.

Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.

Self-interest speaks all sorts of tongues and plays all sorts of characters, even that of disinterestedness.

Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers.

Silence is the surest resolve for him who distrusts himself.

Sincerity is an openness of heart; we find it in very few people; what we usually see is only an artful dissimulation to win the confidence of others.

Some condemnations praise; some praise damns.

Some people's faults are becoming to them; others are disgraced by their own good traits.

Sometimes it is pleasant for a husband to have a jealous wife: he always hears what he loves being talked about.

Sometimes one must be base in order not to be tricked by a clever man.

The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than actual brilliancy.

The defects and faults in the mind are like wounds in the body. After all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind.

The desire to appear clever often prevents one from being so.

The evil that we do does not attract to us so much persecution and hatred as our good qualities.

The gratitude of most men is but a secret desire to receive even greater benefits.

The greatest fault of a penetrating wit is to go beyond the mark.

The happiness and misery of men depend no less on temper than fortune.

The intention of cheating no one lays us open to being cheated ourselves.

The love of justice is simply in the majority of men the fear of suffering injustice.

The mind is always the dupe of the heart.

The passions are the only advocates which always persuade. They are a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion will be more persuasive than the most eloquent without.

The pleasure of love is in loving; we are happier in the passion we feel than in what we inspire.

The reason that there are so few good conversationalists is that most people are thinking about what they are going to say and not about what the others are saying.

The refusal of praise is only the wish to be praised twice.

The stamp of great minds is to suggest much in few words, so, contrariwise, little minds have the gift of talking a great deal and saying nothing.

The truest way to be deceived is to think oneself more knowing than others.

The vivacity which increases with old age is not so far removed from folly.

There are few honest women who are not tired of what they do.

There are few people who are more often wrong than those who cannot suffer being wrong.

There are foolish people who recognize their foolishness and use it skillfully.

There are good marriages, but no delicious ones.

There are many predicaments in life that one must be a bit crazy to escape from.

There are very few people who are not ashamed to be loved when they no longer do.

There is a certain dignity of manner independent of fortune, a certain distinctive air which seems to mark us out for great things. It is a value we set upon ourselves without realizing it, and by means of this quality we claim other men’s deference as our due. This does more to set us above them than birth, honors, and merit itself.

There is great skill in knowing how to conceal one's skill.

There is merit without attainment, but no attainment without some merit.

There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand different versions.

Those who apply themselves too much to little things often become incapable of great ones.

Those who have had great passions are happy all their lives and would be unhappy to have been cured of them.

Those who know their minds do not know their hearts.

To succeed in the world we do everything we can to appear successful already.

Too great a hurry to be discharged of an obligation is a kind of ingratitude.

True love is like the appearance of ghosts: everyone talks about it but few have seen it.

Usually we only praise to be praised.

We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.

We always like those who admire us; we do not always like those whom we admire.

We are eager to believe that others are flawed because we are eager to believe in what we wish for.

We confess to little faults only to persuade ourselves we have no great ones.

We hardly find any persons of good sense save those who agree with us.

We may bestow advice, but we cannot inspire the conduct.

We may find women who have never indulged in an intrigue, but it is rare to find those who have intrigued but once.

We need greater virtues to sustain good than evil fortune.

We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

We pardon to the extent that we love.

We promise according to our hopes; we fulfill according to our fears.

We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.

We try to make virtues out of the faults we have no wish to correct.

We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.

What grace is to the body, good sense is to the mind.

What makes the vanity of others insufferable to us is that it wounds our own.

What often prevents us from abandoning ourselves to one vice is that we have several.

When not prompted by vanity, we say little.

Who lives without folly is not as wise as he thinks.


(September 15 is also the birthday of Agatha Christie and Robert Benchley.)

Categories: François de La Rochefoucauld, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Isadora Duncan

Published Saturday, September 13, 2014 @ 8:37 PM EDT
Sep 13 2014

Angela Isadora Duncan (May 27, 1877 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer. Born in California, she lived in Western Europe and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50. She performed to acclaim throughout Europe after being exiled from the United States for her pro-Soviet sympathies. Duncan's fondness for flowing scarves contributed to her death in an automobile accident in Nice, France, when she was a passenger in an Amilcar. Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, breaking her neck. In 1987, she was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

Any woman or man who would write the truth of their lives would write a great work. But no one has dared to write the truth of their lives.

Art is not necessary at all. All that is necessary to make this world a better place to live in is to love- to love as Christ loved, as Buddha loved.

Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an individual.

For I was never able to understand, then or later on, why, if one wanted to do a thing, one should not do it. For I have never waited to do as I wished. This has frequently brought me to disaster and calamity, but at least I have the satisfaction of getting my own way.

I do not teach children, I give them joy.

I hope that schools have changed since I was a little girl. My memory of the teaching of the public schools is that it showed the brutal incomprehension of children.

If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.

Most human beings today waste some 25 to 30 years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them.

Movements are as eloquent as words.

People don't live nowadays: they get about ten percent out of life.

Perhaps he was a bit different from other people, but what really sympathetic person is not a little mad?

So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.

So that ends my first experience with matrimony, which I always thought a highly overrated performance.

The finest inheritance you can give to a child is to allow it to make its own way, completely on its own feet.

The first essential in writing about anything is that the writer should have no experience of the matter.

Virtuous people are simply those who have not been tempted sufficiently, because they live in a vegetative state, or because their purposes are so concentrated in one direction that they have not had the leisure to glance around them.

We may not all break the Ten Commandments, but we are certainly all capable of it. Within us lurks the breaker of all laws, ready to spring out at the first real opportunity.

What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print.

With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood.

You were once wild here. Don't let them tame you.

Categories: Isadora Duncan, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Published Friday, September 12, 2014 @ 8:05 PM EDT
Sep 12 2014

Baroness Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (September 13, 1830 – March 12, 1916) was an Austrian writer. Noted for her excellent psychological novels, she is regarded as one of the most important German-language writers of the latter portion of the 19th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A defeat borne with pride is also a victory.

A poor, charitable person can sometimes feel rich, a miserly Croesus never.

An aphorism is the last link in a long chain of thought.

An apparent contradiction of a natural law is only the rarely occurring proof of another natural law.

An understanding of beauty and enthusiasm for it are one and the same.

Be patient with the belligerence of the stupid. It is not easy to comprehend that one does not comprehend.

Be the first to say something obvious and achieve immortality.

Believe flatterers and you're lost; believe your enemies- and you despair.

Blessed is trust, for it blesses both those who have it to give and those who receive it.

Chance is necessity hidden behind a veil.

Consider well before you immerse yourself in solitude whether your own company will be good for you.

Do not consider yourself deprived because your dreams were not fulfilled; the truly deprived have never dreamed.

Enthusiasm does not always speak for those who arouse it, but always for those who experience it.

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.

Happy slaves are the bitterest enemies of freedom.

Hate only injustice and not those who commit it.

However much you paid for a beautiful illusion, you got a bargain.

If there is a faith which can move mountains, then it is a faith in one’s own strength.

If you walk down a well-trodden path long enough, you eventually end up alone.

Imaginary evils are incurable.

In misfortune we usually regain the peace that we were robbed of through fear of that very misfortune.

In youth we learn; in age we understand.

Indifference and contempt will always be able to take on an aura of intellectual superiority over sympathy and love for others.

Indifference of every kind is reprehensible, even indifference towards one's self.

It is a characteristic of the great that they demand far less of other people than of themselves.

It is difficult to see the person who admires us as stupid.

It is not those who argue who are to be feared but those who evade argument.

It is unfortunate that a good talent and a good man seldom come together.

Like body and soul theory and practice are one, and like body and soul they are for the most part at loggerheads.

Misanthropy is a suit of armor lined with thorns.

No one is so keen to gather ever newer impressions as those who do not know how to process the old ones.

None are so inconsiderate as those who demand nothing of life other than their own personal comfort.

Nothing is less promising than precociousness; the young thistle looks much more like a future tree than the young oak.

Nothing is so often and so irrevocably missed as the opportunity which crops up daily.

Nothing makes us more cowardly and unconscionable than the desire to be loved by everyone.

Nowadays people are born to find fault. When they look at Achilles, they see only his heel.

Old age either transfigures or stultifies.

One has to do good in order for it to exist in the world.

One of the main goals of self-education is to eradicate that vanity in us without which we would never have been educated.

One should be selfish enough to be selfless up to a certain point.

Only those few people who practice it believe in goodness.

People who chase after ever greater wealth without taking the time to enjoy it are like hungry people who are forever cooking but never sit down to eat.

People who read only the classics are sure to remain up-to-date.

Prejudice supports thrones, ignorance altars.

Public opinion is the whore among opinions.

Rational beings despise nothing so much as that magnanimity that they themselves feel incapable of.

Silly people say stupid things, clever people do them.

Spoiled children... already get to know in early years the sufferings of the tyrant.

Spurned pity can turn into cruelty just as spurned love turns into hate.

That bad manners are so prevalent in the world is the fault of good manners.

The greatest leveler is politeness; it removes all class distinctions.

The insignificant labor, the great create.

The intellect and the heart are on good terms with one another. One often represents the other so perfectly, that it is hard to determine which of the two was at work.

The moral code which was good enough for our fathers is not good enough for our children.

The scale we measure things by is the measure of our own mind.

The simplest and commonest truth seems new and miraculous the very moment we first experience it in ourselves.

The vain and weak see a judge in everyone; the proud and strong know no judge other than themselves.

The world belongs to those who possess it, and is scorned by those to whom it should belong.

The world would be in better shape if people would take the same pains in the practice of the simplest moral laws as they exert in intellectualizing over the most subtle moral questions.

There are a host of bad habits and inconsiderate acts which mean nothing in themselves but which are terrible as indicators of the true composition of a soul.

There are intellects that shine and there are those that sparkle. The former illuminate matters, the latter obscure them.

There are very few honest friends- the demand is not particularly great.

Those who trusted at the wrong time and place will in turn mistrust at the wrong time and place.

To accept reason is impossible if you don’t already possess it.

Two very different virtues can attack one another long and viciously. But the time will come when they recognize that they are sisters.

Vanity rejects all healthy nourishment and lives exclusively on the poison of flattery.

Wags are beggars in the realm of the intellect; they live on alms tossed to them by fortune- on flashes of wit.

We are so vain that we value the opinion even of those whose opinions we find worthless.

We don't believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.

We should always forgive. We should forgive the repentant for their sake, the unrepentant for our sake.

When your absolutely only choice is between an untruth and rudeness, then choose rudeness; if, however, your choice is between an untruth and cruelty, then choose untruth.

Whoever prefers the material comforts of life over intellectual wealth is like the owner of a palace who moves into the servants' quarters and leaves the sumptuous rooms empty.

Whoever shows both charm and pleasure in explaining to people things that they already know soon gets a reputation as an intelligent individual.

Wishes which cannot be fulfilled are said to be 'pious.' It is assumed, apparently, that only profane wishes are fulfilled.

You can sink so fast that you think you're flying.

Categories: Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: D.H. Lawrence

Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 @ 7:35 PM EDT
Sep 10 2014

D.H. Lawrence (September 11, 1885 - March 2, 1930) is best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, which was banned in the United States until 1959, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. (Click here for full biography.com article)


America is neither free nor brave, but a land of tight, iron- clanking little wills, everybody trying to put it over everybody else, and a land of men absolutely devoid of the real courage of trust, trust in life's sacred spontaneity. They can't trust life until they can control it.

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.

But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.

Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere, and when we get there it is nowhere, for there is nowhere to get to.

Creation destroys as it goes, throws down one tree for the rise of another. But ideal mankind would abolish death, multiply itself million upon million, rear up city upon city, save every parasite alive, until the accumulation of mere existence is swollen to a horror.

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.

Every man has a mob self and an individual self, in varying proportions.

God is only a great imaginative experience.

I like to write when I feel spiteful; it's like having a good sneeze.

I never saw a wild thing
Sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

I shall be glad when you have strangled the invincible respectability that dogs your steps.

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.

It's bad taste to be wise all the time, like being at a perpetual funeral.

Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.

Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.

Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.

Money poisons you when you've got it, and starves you when you haven't.

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

The dead don't die. They look on and help.

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.

The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure.

There is no such thing as liberty. You only change one sort of domination for another. All we can do is to choose our master.

There's always the hyena of morality at the garden gate, and the real wolf at the end of the street.

They say geniuses mostly have great mothers. They mostly have sad fates.

To the Puritan all things are impure, as somebody says.

Tragedy is like strong acid- it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.

Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, but women are my favorite vessels of wrath.

We have to hate our immediate predecessors to get free from their authority.

What is pornography to one man may be the laughter of genius to another.

When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere.


(September 11 is also the birthday of Kevin G. Barkes.)

Categories: D.H. Lawrence, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Cyril Connolly

Published Tuesday, September 09, 2014 @ 8:08 PM EDT
Sep 09 2014

Cyril Vernon Connolly (September 10, 1903 - November 26, 1974) was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon (1940–49) and wrote Enemies of Promise (1938), which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of fiction that he had aspired to be in his youth. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A mistake which is commonly made about neurotics is to suppose that they are interesting. It is not interesting to be always unhappy, engrossed with oneself, malignant or ungrateful, and never quite in touch with reality. Neurotics are heartless.

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.

Destroy him as you will, the bourgeois always bounces up- execute him, expropriate him, starve him out en masse, and he reappears in your children.

Everything is a dangerous drug to me except reality, which is unendurable.

Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate; a child who fears noises becomes the man who hates them.

Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signaling to be let out.

In the sex-war, thoughtlessness is the weapon of the male, vindictiveness of the female.

It is after creation, in the elation of success, or the gloom of failure, that love becomes essential.

Life is a maze in which we take the wrong turn before we have learned to walk.

Like water, we are truest to our nature in repose.

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once, and they require separate techniques.

Longevity is the revenge of talent upon genius.

My recipe for marital happiness is whenever you can, read at meals.

No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning.

No education is worth having that does not teach the lesson of concentration on a task, however unattractive. These lessons, if not learnt early, will be learnt, if at all, with pain and grief in later life.

Peace ... is a morbid condition, due to a surplus of civilians, which war seeks to remedy.

The dread of loneliness is greater than the fear of bondage, so we get married.

The friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other's dignity to the point of not really wanting anything from him

(The generation gap) is the one war in which everyone changes sides.

The man who is master of his passions is Reason's slave.

The river of truth is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between them, the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the mainstream.

The true index of a man's character is the health of his wife.

There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbors will say.

There is no hate without fear. Hate is crystallized fear, fear's dividend, fear objectivized. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear will be lurking

There is no jury like a woman searching for a new lover.

Vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of charm.

Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first call promising.


Categories: Cyril Connolly, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Cardinal Richelieu

Published Monday, September 08, 2014 @ 8:00 PM EDT
Sep 08 2014

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac (September 9, 1585 – December 4, 1642) was a French clergyman, noble and statesman. Consecrated as a bishop in 1607, he later entered politics, becoming a Secretary of State in 1616. Richelieu soon rose in both the Catholic Church and the French government, becoming a Cardinal in 1622, and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. He remained in office until his death in 1642; he was succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin, whose career he had fostered. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Carry on any enterprise as if all future success depended on it.

Deception is the knowledge of kings.

Harshness towards individuals who flout the laws and commands of state is for the public good; no greater crime against the public interest is possible than to show leniency to those who violate it.

I have never had any (enemies), other than those of the state.

If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.

Never write a letter and never destroy one.

Not the least of the qualities that go into the making of a great ruler is the ability of letting others serve him.

Nothing is as dangerous for the state as those who would govern kingdoms with maxims found in books.

Nothing so upholds the laws as the punishment of persons whose rank is as great as their crime.

Reason must be the universal rule and guide; all things must be done according to reason without allowing oneself to be swayed by emotion.

Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.

War is one of the scourges with which it has pleased God to afflict men.

We may employ artifice to deceive a rival, anything against our enemies.


(September 9 is also the birthday of Leo Tolstoy and Paul Goodman.)

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Quotes of the day: Bernie Sanders

Published Sunday, September 07, 2014 @ 8:00 PM EDT
Sep 07 2014

(Photo by Blair Kelly and Tylor Bohlman, truthdig.com)

Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (b. September 8, 1941) is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from Vermont. Before serving in the Senate, he represented Vermont's at-large congressional district in the United States House of Representatives and served as mayor of Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy. Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments, but because he does not belong to a formal political party, he appears as an independent on the ballot. He was also the only independent member of the House during most of his service and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little.

CEOs of large corporations earn 400 times what their workers make. That is not what America is supposed to be about.

How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people?

I fear very much that for the first time in the modern history of our country the next generation will have a lower standard of living than their parents, and that would be a real tragedy.

If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.

If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about. We have a moral obligation to support them.

Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.

Let us wage a moral and political war against war itself, so that we can cut military spending and use that money for human needs.

Planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war. So is taking care of the men and women who use those weapons and fight our battles.

Right now, billionaires pay in to the Social Security trust fund the same amount of money as someone making $110,000 a year. And if we lift that cap to $250,000... Social Security will be solvent for the next 75 years.

The American people want to know that when they borrow a book from the library or buy a book, the government won't be looking over their shoulder. Everybody wants to fight terrorism, but we have to do it in away that protects American freedom.

The fact of the matter is that while tens of millions of American families are struggling to put bread on the table and are often one paycheck away from economic devastation, the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good.

The Republicans are against every piece of legislation that would benefit working Americans. Why do they oppose raising the minimum wage, pay equity for women, ending our disastrous unfettered free trade policies and expanding Social Security? Government is supposed to represent all Americans, not just the billionaire class.

The rich people apparently are leaving America. They're giving up their citizenship. These great lovers of America who made their money in this country- when you ask them to pay their fair share of taxes, they're running abroad. We have 19-year-old kids who died in Iraq and Afghanistan defending this country. They went abroad. Not to escape taxes. They're working class kids who died in wars and now billionaires want to run abroad to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. What patriotism! What love of country!

The U.S. constitution is an extraordinary document. In my view, it should not be amended often.

The votes elected officials make should be based on the best interests of the American people, not the fear of retribution when shadowy groups spend millions of dollars on negative advertisements.

There are 492 billionaires living in this country and 16 million kids living in poverty.

They talk about class warfare- the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years. It's a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working class of this country.

Two-thirds of the directors at the New York Fed are hand-picked by the same bankers that the Fed is in charge of regulating.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln's wonderful remarks at Gettysburg in which he describes America as a country 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' Well, with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision we are rapidly becoming a nation of the very rich, by the very rich, for the very rich. And that is a horrendous tragedy. This is not the America that men and women throughout our history fought and died to defend.

We have billions to spend on a war but no money to take care of the very pressing needs of the American people.

What the American people want to see in their president is somebody who not necessarily can win every fight, but they want to see him stand up and fight for what he believes, take his case to the American people.

What Wall Street and credit card companies are doing is really not much different from what gangsters and loan sharks do who make predatory loans. While the bankers wear three-piece suits and don't break the knee caps of those who can't pay back, they still are destroying people's lives.

When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win.

When you pay at Wal-Mart starvation wages and you don't provide benefits, who picks up the difference? The answer is that many of the workers in Wal-Mart end up getting Medicaid; they get food stamps; they get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers of this country- while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in the country. If that is not obscene, I don't know what is.

You have given the wealthiest portion of the population a tax break, and now you are coming before the American people and saying, we don't have enough money to protect the sick and the old.

You know, I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street. In truth that's not the case. The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.


September 8 is also the birthday of Sid Caesar and Thomas Szasz.

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Quotes of the day: Edith Sitwell

Published Saturday, September 06, 2014 @ 7:25 PM EDT
Sep 06 2014

Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell DBE (September 7, 1887 - December 9, 1964) was a British poet and critic and the eldest of the three literary Sitwells. Like her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell, Edith reacted badly to her eccentric, unloving parents, and lived for much of her life with her governess. She never married, but became passionately attached to the homosexual Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew, and her home was always open to London's poetic circle, to whom she was unfailingly generous and helpful. Sitwell published poetry continuously from 1913, some of it abstract and set to music. With her dramatic style and exotic costumes, she was sometimes labelled a poseur, but her work was also praised for its solid technique and painstaking craftsmanship. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great many people now reading and writing would be better employed keeping rabbits.

Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.

Good taste is the worst vice ever invented.

Hot water is my native element. I was in it as a baby, and I have never seemed to get out of it ever since.

I am an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish.

I am one of those unhappy persons who inspire bores to the greatest flights of art.

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.

I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty... But I am too busy thinking about myself.

I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent.

I wouldn't dream of following a fashion... how could one be a different person every three months?

It is a part of the poet's work to show each man what he sees but does not know he sees.

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

People are usually made Dames for virtues I do not possess.

The aim of flattery is to soothe and encourage us by assuring us of the truth of an opinion we have already formed about ourselves.

The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.

The trouble with most Englishwomen is that they will dress as if they had been a mouse in a previous incarnation... they do not want to attract attention.

Vulgarity is, in reality, nothing but a modern, chic, pert descendant of the goddess Dullness.

When we think of cruelty, we must try to remember the stupidity, the envy, the frustration from which it has arisen.

Why not be one's self? That is the whole secret of a successful appearance. If one is a greyhound, why try to look like a Pekinese?


((September 7 is also the birthday of Taylor Caldwell.)

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Quotes of the day: Jane Addams

Published Friday, September 05, 2014 @ 8:07 PM EDT
Sep 05 2014

Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn the US to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.

America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.

Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.

Hospitality still survives among foreigners, although it is buried under false pride among the poorest Americans.

I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.

If the underdog were always right, one might quite easily try to defend him. The trouble is that very often he is but obscurely right, sometimes only partially right, and often quite wrong; but perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and pig-headed and utterly reprehensible as he is represented to be by those who add the possession of prejudices to the other almost insuperable difficulties of understanding him.

In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.

Life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole...

National events determine our ideals, as much as our ideals determine national events.

Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.

Of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.

Private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.

Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.

Social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty.

That which may have sounded like righteous teaching when it was remote and wordy, will be challenged afresh when it is obliged to simulate life itself.

The common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of access because of the economic position of him who would approach it.

The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of one's self.

The excellent becomes the permanent.

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.

We have learned to say that the good must be extended to all of society before it can be held secure by any one person or class; but we have not yet learned to add to that statement, that unless all (people) and all classes contribute to a good, we cannot even be sure that it is worth having.

What after all, has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not faith in new possibilities, and courage to advocate them.

With all the efforts made by modern society to nurture and educate the young, how stupid it is to permit the mothers of young children to spend themselves in the coarser work of the world!


(September 6 is also the birthday of Jeff Foxworthy.)

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Quotes of the day: John Cage

Published Thursday, September 04, 2014 @ 7:25 PM EDT
Sep 04 2014

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All great art is a form of complaint.

An error is simply a failure to adjust immediately from a preconception to an actuality.

As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.

College: two hundred people reading the same book. An obvious mistake. Two hundred people can read two hundred books.

Combine nursing homes with nursery schools. Bring very old and very young together: they interest one another.

Everything we do is music.

Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction.

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

I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I need it.

In the dark, all cats are black.

It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.

It's useless to play lullabies for those who cannot sleep.

Sleep's what we need. It produces an emptiness in us into which sooner or later energies flow.

So somebody has talent? So what? Dime a dozen.

Syntax, like government, can only be obeyed. It is therefore of no use except when you have something particular to command such as: Go buy me a bunch of carrots.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.

The grand thing about the human mind is that it can turn its own tables and see meaninglessness as ultimate meaning.

The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accordance with nature, in her manner of operation.

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.

We need not destroy the past. It is gone.


(September 5 is also the birthday of Bob Newhart.)

Categories: John Cage, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Richard Wright

Published Wednesday, September 03, 2014 @ 8:14 PM EDT
Sep 03 2014

Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4, 1908 – November 28, 1960) was a communist African-American author of sometimes controversial novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction. Much of his literature concerns racial themes, especially those involving the plight of African Americans during the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Some believe his work helped change race relations in the United States in the mid-20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All literature is protest.

At the heart of all political movements the concept of the basic inequality of man was enthroned and practiced, and the skill of politicians consisted in how cleverly they hid this elementary truth and gained votes by pretending the contrary.

Every man, it seems, interprets the world in the light of his habits and desires.

If a man confessed anything on his death bed, it was the truth; for no man could stare death in the face and lie.

Love grows from stable relationships, shared experience, loyalty, devotion, trust.

Men are inventing ideas every day to justify for themselves and others their actions and needs.

Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.

Pity can purge us of hostility and arouse feelings of identification with the characters, but it can also be a consoling reassurance which leads us to believe that we have understood, and that, in pitying, we have even done something to right a wrong.

The world of most men is given to them by their culture.

Their constant outward-looking, their mania for radios, cars, and a thousand other trinkets made them dream and fix their eyes upon the trash of life, made it impossible for them to learn a language which could have taught them to speak of what was in their or others' hearts. The words of their souls were the syllables of popular songs.

There are times when life's ends are so raveled that reason and sense cry out that we stop and gather them together again before we can proceed.

They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged. And they do not know why; they are powerless pawns in a blind play of social forces.

Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed... It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality.

Wherever I found religion in my life I found strife, the attempt of one individual or group to rule another in the name of God. The naked will to power seemed always to walk in the wake of a hymn.


(September 4 is also the birthday of Ivan Illich and Paul Harvey.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Richard Wright

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Quotes of the day: Sarah Orne Jewett

Published Tuesday, September 02, 2014 @ 8:14 PM EDT
Sep 02 2014

Sarah Orne Jewett (September 3, 1849 - June 24, 1909) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet, best known for her local color works set along or near the southern seacoast of Maine. Jewett is recognized as important practitioner of American literary regionalism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Find your quiet center of life and write from that to the world.

God would not give us the same talent if what were right for men were wrong for women.

I'd rather be my honest self
Than any made-up daisy.

In the life of each of us, I said to myself, there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness.

It does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance who knows what you know. I see so many new folks nowadays who seem to have neither past nor future. Conversation has got to have some root in the past, or else you have got to explain every remark you make, and it wears a person out.

It is the people who can do nothing who find nothing to do, and the secret to happiness in this world is not only to be useful, but to be forever elevating one's uses.

It seems to me like stealing, for men and women to live in the world and do nothing to make it better.

It was mortifying to find how strong the habit of idle speech may become in one’s self. One need not always be saying something in this noisy world.

Love isn't blind; it's only love that sees.

So we die before our own eyes; so we see some chapters of our lives come to their natural end.

Tact is after all a kind of mind-reading.

The growth of true friendship may be a lifelong affair.

The process of falling in love at first sight is as final as it is swift in such a case, but the growth of true friendship may be a lifelong affair.

The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself put down rightly on paper- whether little or great, it belongs to Literature.

There are plenty of people dragging themselves miserably through the world, because they are clogged and fettered with work for which they have no fitness.

What has made this nation great? Not its heroes but its households.

You never get over being a child, long as you have a mother to go to.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sarah Orne Jewett

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Quotes of the day: Alan Dershowitz

Published Sunday, August 31, 2014 @ 10:06 PM EDT
Aug 31 2014

Alan Morton Dershowitz (born September 1, 1938) is an American lawyer, jurist, author, and political commentator. He is a prominent scholar on United States constitutional law and criminal law. He spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history. He held the Felix Frankfurter professorship there from 1993 until his retirement in December 2013. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good lawyer knows how to shut up when he's won his case.

All law is about injustice.

Asymmetrical warfare is a euphemism for terrorism, just like collateral damage is a euphemism for killing innocent civilians.

Being offended by freedom of speech should never be regarded as a justification for violence.

Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

Censorship laws are blunt instruments, not sharp scalpels. Once enacted, they are easily misapplied to merely unpopular or only marginally dangerous speech.

Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent.

Good character consists of recognizing the selfishness that inheres in each of us and trying to balance it against the altruism to which we should all aspire. It is a difficult balance to strike, but no definition of goodness can be complete without it.

Hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you're moral, saying your moral is not the same as acting morally.

I don't think the law exists to arrive at the truth. If it did, we wouldn't have exclusionary rules, we wouldn't have presumptions of innocence, we wouldn't have proof beyond reasonable doubt. There's an enormous difference between the role of truth in law and the role of truth in science. In law, truth is one among many goals.

I tell my students, if you ever become comfortable with your role as criminal defense lawyer, it's time to quit. It should be a constant source of discomfort, because you're dealing with incredible moral ambiguity, and you've been cast into a role which is not enviable.

I think that lawyers are terrible at admitting that they're wrong. And not just admitting it; also realizing it. Most lawyers are very successful, and they think that because they're making money and people think well of them, they must be doing everything right.

I think we're seeing privacy diminish, not by laws... but by young people who don't seem to value their privacy.

I'm worried about privacy because of the young people who don't give a damn about their privacy, who are prepared to put their entire private lives online. They put stuff on Facebook that 15 years from now will prevent them from getting the jobs they want. They don't understand that they are mortgaging their future for a quick laugh from a friend.

In the real world in which we live, you always have to choose between evils. And in choosing between evils, you have to have moral criteria for how to make those choices.

In today's distorted world of 'human rights,' truth takes a back seat to ideology, and false claims- especially those that 'support' radical ideologies- persist even after they have been exposed.

Individuals have the right to pick and choose which expressions to condemn, which to praise and which to say nothing about. Governments, however, must remain neutral as to the content of expression. And governments must protect the rights of all to express even the most despicable of views.

Intimidated people always say they are not intimidated; that's the nature of intimidation.

Judges are the weakest link in our system of justice, and they are also the most protected.

Laws are important precisely because in a democracy they reflect the attitudes and aspirations of those they govern.

Many insane people and seriously mentally ill people seem very reasonable.

Scientists search for truth. Philosophers search for morality. A criminal trial searches for only one result: proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sometimes the public has to be reminded that the word criminal in criminal lawyer- like the word baby in baby doctor- is a description not of the professional, but rather of the clientele.

The court of last resort is no longer the Supreme Court. It's 'Nightline.'

The law is agnostic about truth.It's very skeptical of ultimate truth. That's why freedom of speech permits lies to be told.

The threat or fear of violence should not become an excuse or justification for restricting freedom of speech.

The worst mistake you can make is underrating your enemy. Assuming that they're evil- I think it's a terrible thing to do.

We don't have an Official Secrets Act in the United States, as other countries do. Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.

When you discriminate against anyone, you discriminate against everyone. It's a display of terrible intolerance.


(September 1 is also the birthday of Ann Richards.)

Categories: Alan Dershowitz, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Warren Buffett

Published Friday, August 29, 2014 @ 11:17 AM EDT
Aug 29 2014

Warren Edward Buffett (b. August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book.

A public opinion poll is no substitute for thought.

Beware of geeks bearing formulas.

Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.

Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don't expect it from cheap people.

I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.

I prefer liquor store robbers with hungry kids to companies that locate offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.

I wouldn't mind going to jail if I had three cellmates who played bridge.

I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty.

If a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.

If past history was all that is needed to play the game, the richest people would be librarians.

If you're in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.

It has been far safer to steal large sums with a pen than small sums with a gun.

It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

It's never paid to bet against America. We come through things, but its not always a smooth ride.

It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it's a little like saving sex for your old age.

It's only when the tide goes out that your learn who's been swimming naked.

It's very hard to write regulations that will keep people from acting foolishly, particularly when acting foolishly has proven very profitable over the preceding few years.

Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.

Putting people into homes, though a desirable goal, shouldn't be our country's primary objective. Keeping them in their homes should be the ambition.

Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing.

Rule Number 1: Never lose money. Rule Number 2: Never forget rule Number 1.

Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

The only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good.

There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.

Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.

Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

We believe that according the name "investors" to institutions that trade actively is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a "romantic."

We never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow's obligations. When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night's sleep for the chance of extra profits.

When a country needs more income, they should get it from the people that have it.

When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.

You don't need 20 decisions to get very rich. Four or five will probably do it over time.

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Warren Buffett

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Quotes of the day: Charles F. Kettering

Published Thursday, August 28, 2014 @ 4:02 PM EDT
Aug 28 2014

Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 24 or November 25, 1958) was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents.[1] He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A person must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere.

A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple. Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true.

A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.

Bankers regard research as most dangerous a thing that makes banking hazardous due to the rapid changes it brings about in industry.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.

Great steps in human progress are made by things that don't work the way philosophy thought they should. If things always worked the way they should, you could write the history of the world from now on. But they don't, and it is those deviations from the normal that make human progress.

If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.

In America we can say what we think, and even if we can't think, we can say it anyhow.

Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.

My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.

No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.

People are very open-minded about new things- as long as they're exactly like the old ones.

People see the wrongness in an idea much quicker that the rightness.

Problems are the price of progress. Don't bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.

The difference between intelligence and education is this: intelligence will make you a good living.

The key to economic prosperity is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.

The only difference between a problem and a solution is that people understand the solution.

The whole fun of living is trying to make something better.

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.

There is a great difference between knowing a thing and understanding it.

We have been measuring too much in terms of the dollar. What we should do is think in terms of useful materials— things that will be of value to us in our daily life.

We think we are smart because we have been flying for about sixty years. Birds and bees and butterflies have been flying for hundreds of thousands of years.

Why is the human skull as dense as it is? Nowadays we can send a message around the world in one-seventh of a second, but it takes years to drive an idea through a quarter-inch of human skull.

You are always too late with a development if you are so slow that people demand it before you yourself recognize it.

You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.


August 29 is also the birthday of John Locke and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Categories: Charles F. Kettering, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Published Tuesday, August 26, 2014 @ 8:55 PM EDT
Aug 26 2014

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, and a major figure in German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.

Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.

It is because the method of physics does not satisfy the comprehension that we have to go on further.

It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import or value.

Life has a value only when it has something valuable as its object.

Reading the morning newspaper is the realist's morning prayer.

The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.

The force of mind is only as great as its expression; its depth only as deep as its power to expand and lose itself.

The heart is everywhere, and each part of the organism is only the specialized force of the heart itself.

The History of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of Freedom...

The true is the whole.

To be aware of limitations is already to be beyond them.

To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational whether in life or in science.

We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.

What experience and history teach is this- that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

What is reasonable is real; that which is real is reasonable.


(August 27 is also the birthday of Lyndon B. Johnson.)

Categories: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: William James

Published Monday, August 25, 2014 @ 8:08 PM EDT
Aug 25 2014

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the "Father of American psychology." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A difference which makes no difference is no difference at all.

All our scientific and philosophic ideals are altars to unknown gods.

As a rule we disbelieve all facts and theories for which we have no use.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

Democracy is still upon its trial. The civic genius of our people is its only bulwark.

Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly.

Instinct leads, intelligence does but follow.

It is an odd circumstance that neither the old nor the new, by itself, is interesting; the absolutely old is insipid; the absolutely new makes no appeal at all. The old in the new is what claims the attention,- the old with a slightly new turn.

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being.

No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdain- under all misleading wrappings it pounces unerringly upon the human core.

Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. Not through mere perversity do men run after it.

Take the happiest man, the one most envied by the world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is one of failure. Either his ideals in the line of his achievements are pitched far higher than the achievements themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be found wanting.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

The deadliest enemies of nations are not their foreign foes; they always dwell within their borders

The essence of genius is knowing what to overlook.

The gods we stand by are the gods we need and can use, the gods whose demands on us are reinforcements of our demands on ourselves and on one another

The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.

The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch- goddess SUCCESS. That- with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success- is our national disease.

The most any one can do is to confess as candidly as he can the grounds for the faith that is in him, and leave his example to work on others as it may.

There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see.

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.

There is only one thing that a philosopher can be relied on to do, and that is, to contradict other philosophers.

Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.

Truth is what works.

We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar.

Whenever two people meet there are really six people present There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.

Wherever you are it is your own friends who make your world.

(August 25 is also the birthday of Ben Bradlee.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William James

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Quotes of the day: Martin Amis

Published Sunday, August 24, 2014 @ 10:46 PM EDT
Aug 24 2014

(The Telegraph photo by Clara Molden)

Martin Louis Amis (b August 25, 1949) is an English novelist. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date (shortlisted in 1991 for Time's Arrow and longlisted in 2003 for Yellow Dog). Amis served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester until 2011. The Times named him in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Being inoffensive, and being offended, are now the twin addictions of the culture.

Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.

Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.

I think it's the whole impulse to judge and censor and euphemize, that is the enemy.

In my experience of fights and fighting, it is invariably the aggressor who keeps getting everything wrong.

It now seems that pornography is the leading sex educator in the Western world.

It used to be said that by a certain age a man had the face that he deserved. Nowadays, he has the face he can afford.

Just as a Philistine does not on the whole devote his life to his art, so a misogynist does not devote his inner life to women

Laughter always forgives.

Life is chaos. It has none of the symmetries and patterning of the novel.

Money doesn’t mind if we say it’s evil, it goes from strength to strength. It’s a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy.

On any longer view, man is only fitfully committed to the rational- to thinking, seeing, learning, knowing. Believing is what he's really proud of.

People don't change or improve much, but they do evolve. It is very slow.

Remember the axiom: the danger of terrorism lies not in what it inflicts but in what it provokes.

Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.

Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason.

The true manipulator never has a reputation for manipulating.

There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse

Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.

What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And we can't get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons. The intransigence, it seems, is a function of the weapons themselves.

What we eventually run up against are the forces of humourlessness, and let me assure you that the humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny, they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

(August 25 is also the birthday of Leonard Bernstein.)

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Quotes of the day: Paulo Coelho

Published Saturday, August 23, 2014 @ 10:42 PM EDT
Aug 23 2014

Paulo Coelho was born on August 24, 1947, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a rebellious teenager and his parents committed him to an asylum three times. When Coelho was 38 years old, he had a spiritual awakening in Spain and wrote about it in his first book, The Pilgrimage. It was his second book, The Alchemist, which made him famous. He's sold 35 million copies and now writes about one book every two years. (Click here for full biography.com article)


Accumulating love brings luck, accumulating hatred brings calamity.

At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie.

At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.

Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern than merely contains.

Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.

Finding something important in life does not mean that you must give up everything else.

Go in search of your Gift. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It's all a question of how I view my life.

If I had to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: don't be intimidated by other people's opinions

If I must fall, may it be from a high place.

If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it. Now.

If you rely only on experience, you'll simply keep applying old solutions to new problems.

It isn't expectations that carry us forward, it is our desire to go on.

It isn't what you did in the past that will affect the present. It's what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.

It's always easy to blame others. You can spend your entire life blaming the world, but your successes or failures are entirely your own responsibility. You can try to stop time, but it's a complete waste of energy.

Laugh at your worries and insecurities. View your anxieties with humor.

Life is a dream from which we wake only when we meet death.

Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.

Lovers need to know how to lose themselves and then how to find themselves again.

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.

Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.

Past and future exist only in our memory. The present moment, though, is outside of time, it's Eternity.

Seek to live. Remembrance is for the old.

Stop being who you were and become who you are.

The first indication that we are killing our dreams is lack of time.
The second indication that our dreams are dead is certainty.
The third indication that our dreams are dead is peace

The gods throw the dice, and they don't ask whether we want to be in the game or not.

The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us. And to save us.

The only way to make the right decision is to find out which is the wrong decision, to examing that other path without fear, and only then to decide.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

There are moments in life when we need to trust to blind intuition.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Time neither moves nor is stationary. Time changes.

To live is to experience things, not sit around pondering the meaning of life.

Understand what is going on inside you and you will understand what is going on inside everyone else.

What can't be cured must be endured.

What hurts us is what heals us.

When I knocked, the door opened. When I looked, I found.

When there is no turning back, then we should concern ourselves only with the best way of going forward.

When we postpone the harvest, the fruit rots, but when we postpone our problems, they keep on growing.

When you cease doubting, you have stopped moving forward.

When you want something, the whole Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.

You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness.

You are what you believe yourself to be.

You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.

You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you.

(August 24 is also the birthday of Max Beerbohm and Theodore Parker.)

Categories: Paulo Coelho, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Dorothy Parker

Published Thursday, August 21, 2014 @ 10:11 PM EDT
Aug 21 2014

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.

Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.

After the United States entered the Second World War, Parker and Alexander Woollcott collaborated to produce an anthology of her work as part of a series published by Viking Press for servicemen stationed overseas. With an introduction by Somerset Maugham the volume compiled over two dozen of Parker's short stories along with selected poems from Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, and Death and Taxes. It was released in the United States in 1944 under the title The Portable Dorothy Parker. Parker's is one of only three of the Portable series (the other two being William Shakespeare and The Bible) to remain continuously in print.

Parker died on June 7, 1967, of a heart attack at the age of 73. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Following King's death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP. Her executor, Lillian Hellman, bitterly but unsuccessfully contested this disposition. Her ashes remained unclaimed in various places, including her attorney Paul O'Dwyer's filing cabinet, for approximately 17 years.

In 1988, the NAACP claimed Parker's remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside their Baltimore headquarters. The plaque reads,

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, 'Excuse my dust'. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people. Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 28, 1988.

In 2014, Parker was elected to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

(Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A girl's best friend is her mutter.

Age before beauty... and pearls before swine.

All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn't sit in the same room with me.

As only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you'll live through the night.

Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.

Better be left by twenty dears
Than lie in a love-less bed;
Better a loaf that's wet with tears,
Than cold, unsalted bread.

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship.

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)

Ducking for apples- change one letter and it's the story of my life.

Every love is the love before
In a duller dress.

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

Excuse my dust. (Proposed epitaph for herself)

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I'd have been better without:
love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.

Her golden rule is plain enough-
Just get them young and treat them rough.

Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.

I hate almost all rich people, but I think I'd be darling at it.

I hate women. They get on my nerves.

I hate writing, I love having written.

I know that there are things that never have been funny, and never will be. And I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon.

I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.

I should have stayed at home for dinner. I could have had something on a tray. The head of John the Baptist, or something.

I'd like to have money. And I'd like to be a good writer. But if that's too adorable, I'd rather have money.

I'm never going to accomplish anything; that's perfectly clear to me. I'm never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don't do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more.

If I didn't care for fun and such,
I'd probably amount to much.
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

If I don't drive around the park,
I'm pretty sure to make my mark.
If I'm in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again.
If I abstain from fun and such,
I'll probably amount to much;
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

If I had any decency, I'd be dead. Most of my friends are.
(at age 70)

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy.

If you wear a short enough skirt, the party will come to you.

It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.
(Upon entering the hospital for an abortion.)

It's a small apartment, I've barely enough room to lay a hat and a few friends.

It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes.

Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses.

Money cannot buy health, but I'd settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.

Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Oh, seek my love, your newer way;
I'll not be left in sorrow.
So long as I have yesterday,
Go take your damned tomorrow!

One more drink and I'd have been under the host.

People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;
God, for a man that solicits insurance!

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Salary is no object: I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.

Scratch a lover, and find a foe.

She looks like something that would eat its young.

She wore a low but futile decolletage.

Some men tear your heart in two,
Some men flirt and flatter,
Some men never look at you,
And that clears up the matter.

Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.

That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them.

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of their tires.

The only 'ism' Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.

The place was filled with people who looked as if they had been scraped out of drains.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'check enclosed.'

Their pooled emotions wouldn't fill a teaspoon.

There are those who, in their pride and their innocence, dedicate their careers to writing humorous pieces. Poor dears, the world is stacked against them from the start, for everybody in it has the right to look at their work and say, 'I don't think that's funny.'

There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.

They sicken of the calm, who know the storm.

This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.

Three highballs, and I think I'm St. Francis of Assisi.

Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.

'Union' is spelled with five letters. It is not a four-letter word.

What fresh hell can this be?

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

You can't teach an old dogma new tricks.

(August 22 is also the birthday of Ray Bradbury.)

Categories: Dorothy Parker, Quotes of the day

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