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Quotes of the day: Arthur Conan Doyle

Published Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 10:06 PM EDT
May 21 2015

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a Scottish writer and physician, most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularising the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.

Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.

Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.

For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.

From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other.

I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children.

I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner.

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.

Of all ghosts the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Some facts should be suppressed, or, at least, a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them.

The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless.

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.

We can't command our love, but we can our actions.

Where there is no imagination there is no horror.

Categories: Arthur Conan Doyle, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Kenneth Clark

Published Wednesday, May 20, 2015 @ 2:31 PM EDT
May 20 2015

Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark OM CH KCB FBA (July 13 1903 – May 21, 1983) was a British author, museum director, broadcaster, and one of the best-known art historians and aestheticians of his generation, writing a series of books that appealed to a wide public while remaining a serious scholar. In 1969, he achieved international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series Civilisation, which pioneered television documentary series combining expert personalized narration with lavish photography on location. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lot of people you think you know you don't know until you find out you don't know then it may be too late to know.

A margin of wealth is helpful to civilization, but for some mysterious reason great wealth is destructive.

All great civilizations, in their early stages, are based on success in war.

Bright-minded young people think poorly of existing institutions and want to abolish them. Well, one doesn't need to be young to dislike institutions. But the dreary fact remains that, even in the darkest ages, it was institutions that made society work, and if civilization is to survive society must somehow be made to work.

Changes in the structure of society are not brought about solely by massive engines of doctrine.

Children who are treated as if they are uneducable almost invariably become uneducable.

Heroes do not easily tolerate the company of other heroes.

However complex and solid it seems, civilization is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed.

I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history.

I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves.

In time of war all countries behave equally badly, because the power of action is handed over to stupid and obstinate men.

It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilization. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.

Lives devoted to Beauty seldom end well.

No nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even if it be only the faintest shadow- and if it does not do so it is bad art and false morals.

One musn't overrate the culture of what used to be called 'top people' before the wars. They had charming manners, but they were as ignorant as swans.

Only the bad artists of the nineteenth century were frightened by the invention of photography; the good ones all welcomed it and used it.

Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of western man. It could not have been foreseen by any logical process.

People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilization. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of Alexandria, they are bored by civilization; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater.

Sweeping, confident articles on the future seem to me, intellectually, the most disreputable of all forms of public utterance.

The first flash of insight which persuades human beings to change their basic assumptions is usually contained in a few phrases.

The great achievement of the Catholic Church lay in harmonizing, civilizing the deepest impulses of ordinary, ignorant people.

The great artist takes what he needs.

We are so much accustomed to the humanitarian outlook that we forget how little it counted in earlier ages of civilization.


(May 21 is also the birthday of Alexander Pope and Al Franken)

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Quotes of the day: Stephen Jay Gould

Published Tuesday, May 19, 2015 @ 3:18 PM EDT
May 19 2015

Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the later years of his life, Gould also taught biology and evolution at New York University. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man does not attain the status of Galileo merely because he is persecuted; he must also be right.

Asian Homo erectus died without issue and does not enter our immediate ancestry (for we evolved from African populations); Neanderthal people were collateral cousins, perhaps already living in Europe while we emerged in Africa... In other words, we are an improbable and fragile entity, fortunately successful after precarious beginnings as a small population in Africa, not the predictable end result of a global tendency. We are a thing, an item of history, not an embodiment of general principles.

Biological determinism is, in its essence, a theory of limits. It takes the current status of groups as a measure of where they should and must be ... We inhabit a world of human differences and predilections, but the extrapolation of these facts to theories of rigid limits is ideology.

Creation science has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and because good teachers understand why it is false. What could be more destructive of that most fragile yet most precious commodity in our entire intellectual heritage- good teaching- than a bill forcing our honorable teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to undermine any general understanding of science as an enterprise?.

Evolution has encountered no intellectual trouble; no new arguments have been offered. Creationism is a home-grown phenomenon of American sociocultural history- a splinter movement... who believe that every word in the Bible must be literally true, whatever such a claim might mean.

Evolution is an inference from thousands of independent sources, the only conceptual structure that can make unified sense of all this disparate information.

Facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome.

History employs evolution to structure biological events in time.

Honorable errors do not count as failures in science, but as seeds for progress in the quintessential activity of correction.

Humans arose, rather, as a fortuitous and contingent outcome of thousands of linked events, any one of which could have occurred differently and sent history on an alternative pathway that would not have led to consciousness.

I am not, personally, a believer or a religious man in any sense of institutional commitment or practice. But I have a great respect for religion, and the subject has always fascinated me, beyond almost all others (with a few exceptions, like evolution and paleontology).

If new species arise very rapidly in small, peripherally isolated local populations, then the great expectation of insensibly graded fossil sequences is a chimera. A new species does not evolve in the area of its ancestors; it does not arise from the slow transformation of all its forbears.

If one small and odd lineage of fishes had not evolved fins capable of bearing weight on land (though evolved for different reasons in lakes and seas,) terrestrial vertebrates would never have arisen. If a large extraterrestrial object- the ultimate random bolt from the blue- had not triggered the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals would still be small creatures, confined to the nooks and crannies of a dinosaur's world, and incapable of evolving the larger size that brains big enough for self-consciousness require. If a small and tenuous population of protohumans had not survived a hundred slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and potential extinction) on the savannas of Africa, then Homo sapiens would never have emerged to spread throughout the globe. We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity, not the expected results of evolutionary principles that yearn to produce a creature capable of understanding the mode of its own necessary construction.

In science 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

In the great debates of early-nineteenth century geology, catastrophists followed the stereotypical method of objective science- empirical literalism. They believed what they saw, interpolated nothing, and read the record of the rocks directly.

It has become, in my view, a bit too trendy to regard the acceptance of death as something tantamount to intrinsic dignity. Of course I agree with the preacher of Ecclesiastes that there is a time to love and a time to die- and when my skein runs out I hope to face the end calmly and in my own way. For most situations, however, I prefer the more martial view that death is the ultimate enemy- and I find nothing reproachable in those who rage mightily against the dying of the light.

Life is a copiously branching bush, continually pruned by the grim reaper of extinction, not a ladder of predictable progress.

Natural selection is a theory of local adaptation to changing environments. It proposes no perfecting principles, no guarantee of general improvement.

No Geologist worth anything is permanently bound to a desk or laboratory, but the charming notion that true science can only be based on unbiased observation of nature in the raw is mythology. Creative work, in geology and anywhere else, is interaction and synthesis: half-baked ideas from a bar room, rocks in the field, chains of thought from lonely walks, numbers squeezed from rocks in a laboratory, numbers from a calculator riveted to a desk, fancy equipment usually malfunctioning on expensive ships, cheap equipment in the human cranium, arguments before a road cut.

Run the tape again, and let the tiny twig of Homo sapiens expire in Africa. Other hominids may have stood on the threshold of what we know as human possibilities, but many sensible scenarios would never generate our level of mentality. Run the tape again, and this time Neanderthal perishes in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia (as they did in our world). The sole surviving human stock, Homo erectus in Africa, stumbles along for a while, even prospers, but does not speciate and therefore remains stable. A mutated virus then wipes Homo erectus out, or a change in climate reconverts Africa into inhospitable forest. One little twig on the mammalian branch, a lineage with interesting possibilities that were never realized, joins the vast majority of species in extinction. So what? Most possibilities are never realized, and who will ever know the difference? Arguments of this form lead me to the conclusion that biology's most profound insight into human nature, status, and potential lies in the simple phrase, the embodiment of contingency: Homo sapiens is an entity, not a tendency.

Science simply cannot adjudicate the issue of God's possible superintendence of nature.

Some beliefs may be subject to such instant, brutal and unambiguous rejection. For example: no left-coiling periwinkle has ever been found among millions of snails examined. If I happen to find one during my walk on Nobska beach tomorrow morning, a century of well nurtured negative evidence will collapse in an instant.

Surely the mitochondrion that first entered another cell was not thinking about the future benefits of cooperation and integration; it was merely trying to make its own living in a tough Darwinian world.

The equation of evolution with progress represents our strongest cultural impediment to a proper understanding of this greatest biological revolution in the history of human thought.

The median isn't the message.

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best- and therefore never scrutinize or question.

The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.

The only universal attribute of scientific statements resides in their potential fallibility. If a claim cannot be disproven, it does not belong to the enterprise of science.

Theory and fact are equally strong and utterly interdependent; one has no meaning without the other. We need theory to organize and interpret facts, even to know what we can or might observe. And we need facts to validate theories and give them substance.

We are the accidental result of an unplanned process... the fragile result of an enormous concatenation of improbabilities, not the predictable product of any definite process.

Without a commitment to science and rationality in its proper domain, there can be no solution to the problems that engulf us. Still, the Yahoos never rest.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Stephen Jay Gould

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Quotes of the day: Pete Townshend

Published Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 7:26 PM EDT
May 18 2015

Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend (b. May 19, 1945) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group the Who. His career with the Who spans 50 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential groups of the 1960s and 1970s. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All good art cannot help but confront denial on its way to truth.

Can't pretend that growin' older never hurts.

Do you realize why is it I'm so driven to operate within the Establishment? It's vengeance. 'Hope I die before I get old' is something I still have to live with, but not for the reason many people think. I have to be very, very vigilant not to become one of those people I despised.

Enjoy life. And be careful what you pray for- remember, you will get it all.

Even modern English people are imperious, superior, ridden by class. All of the hypocrisy and the difficulties that are endemic in being British also make it an incredibly fertile place culturally. A brilliant place to live. Sad but true.

For the first time, a whole generation had the economic & educational opportunity to turn their backs on the dead end factory jobs of their parents, who, traumatized by two world wars, had responded by creating a safety blanket of conformity.

I am growing old of course, but I am still in the early stages of disintegration, and regarded as just about cool enough by some fashionable young people to be permitted to think aloud.

I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal proponents deaf.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed meeting fans face to face. They're less scary when they aren't going nuts at a Who show. But then, so am I.

If you don't want anyone to know anything about you, don't write anything.

Life's a bitch and so am I.

Like so many addicts, I'd thought that if I could only sort out my life, I could then sort out my drinking. It was a revelation to see that it would be simpler the other way around

Love is like a longing, and energy. It's like magnetism, it's like gravity. And at its highest it's about spiritual salvation.

Nothing else in nature behaves so consistently and rigidly as a human being in pursuit of hell.

Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them.

Rock won't eliminate your problems but it will let you sort of dance all over them.

Since so much of this music bubbled up urgently from my subconsious mind, I'm left to interpret it much like anyone else.

Stars are attributed with intelligence they don't have, beauty they haven't worked for, loyaly and love they are incapable of reciprocating, and strength they do not possess.

The music we play has to be tomorrow's, the things we say have to be today, and the reason for bothering is yesterday.

The secret to being a successful hellraiser, it seemed, was to stop raising hell before hell razed you.

There's no easy way to be free.

We didn't need light & shade, irony or humor. An iconic Daltrey bellow could convey an extrodinary range of human emotion; withering sadness, self pity, loneliness, abandonment, spiritual desperation, the loss of childhood, as well as the more obvious rage & frustration, joy & triumph.


(May 19 is also the birthday of Nancy Astor, Malcolm X, Edward de Bono, Norah Ephron, and Gary Kildall)

Categories: Pete Townshend, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Home

Published Sunday, May 17, 2015 @ 7:33 PM EDT
May 17 2015

A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.
-Margaret Fuller

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.
-George Moore

A man would rather come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than to a neatly made bed and an angry woman.
-Marlene Dietrich

A man's home may seem to be his castle on the outside; inside is more often his nursery.
-Clare Boothe Luce

A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one's life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself.
-Louis L'Amour

All the average human being asks is something he can call a home; a family that is fed and warm; and now and then a little happiness; once in a long while an extravagance.
-Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones)

Although the sun shine, leave not thy cloak at home.
-George Herbert

Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.
-Phyllis Diller

America is the only country in the world where you can suffer culture shock without leaving home.
-Florence King

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
-Twyla Tharp

As the world gets dumber and dumber, I feel more and more at home.
-Peter McWilliams

At home I am a nice guy; but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far.
-Muhammad Ali

Basically, I believe the world is a jungle, and if it's not a bit of a jungle in the home, a child cannot possibly be fit to enter the outside world.
-Bette Davis

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

Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home.
-Francis Bacon

Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who'll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong house.
-George Burns

Education, like neurosis, begins at home.
-Milton R. Sapirstein

Half of all home accidents happen in the kitchen, and the family has to eat them.
-Sam Ewing

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now.
-Edward Abbey

Home is heaven and orgies are vile, but you need an orgy once in a while.
-Ogden Nash

Home is not where you live but where they understand you.
-Christian Morganstern

Home is the place we love best and grumble the most.
-Billy Sunday

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
-Robert Frost

Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there.
-Alexsandr Hemon

Home is where you hang your @.

Home is where you hang your head.
-Groucho Marx

Home was quite a place when people stayed there.
-E.B. White

Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.
-Bill Cosby

I feel most at home in the United States, not because it is intrinsically a more interesting country, but because no one really belongs there any more than I do. We are all there together in its wholly excellent vacuum.
-Wyndham Lewis

I must go home periodically to renew my sense of horror.
-Carson McCullers

I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.
-Robert Orben

I would have gone home to my mother, but I'm not that crazy about my mother.

If charity begins at home, I bet I know in which room.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

If I'm not in bed by eleven, I go home.
-Henny Youngman

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

Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?
-Emile Cioran

Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes, but nothing happens.
-Robin Hecht

It was the policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow.
-Washington Irving

It's true you can't go home again, although evidently your relatives can come to your home as often as they want.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

Justice was born outside the home and a long way from it; and it has never been adopted there.
-Walter Cronkite

Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman.
-Pearl S. Buck

Marrying a man is like buying something you've been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn't always go with everything else in the house.
-Jean Kerr

Of all the home remedies, a good wife is the best.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

One of television's great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.
-Alfred Hitchcock

Owning your own home is America's unique recipe for avoiding revolution and promoting pseudo-equality at the same time. To keep citizens puttering in their yards instead of sputtering on the barricades, the government has gladly deprived itself of billions in tax revenues by letting home 'owners' deduct mortgage interest payments.
-Florence King

Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home.
-David Frost

The average man's expectations of a home are minimal: warmth, food, clean shirts, not too many questions asked, and sex when necessary.
-Irma Kurtz

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

The ideal home: big enough for you to hear the children, but not very well.
-Mignon McLaughlin

The outside world doesn't have a lot to offer. You have to make your own heaven in your own home.
-Bette Midler

The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.
-Louisa May Alcott

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.

The voices in my head told me to stay home and clean my guns.

The worst feeling in the world is the homesickness that comes over a man occasionally when he is at home.
-E.W. Howe

The worst thing about work in the house or home is that whatever you do it is destroyed, laid waste or eaten within twenty-four hours.
-Lady Hasluck

There's no need for a piece of sculpture in a home that has a cat.
-Wesley Bates

To feel at home, stay at home.
-Clifton Fadiman

We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes...
-Madeleine L'Engle

We live in an age when pizza gets to your home before the police.
-Jeff Marder

When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood.
-Sam Ewing

Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

You show me a woman who hasn't fantasized getting in a car and leaving home and I'll show you a woman who doesn't drive.
-Susan Sussman


(Also born on May 18: Bertrand Russell and Tina Fey.)

Categories: Home, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: The Rich

Published Saturday, May 16, 2015 @ 9:56 PM EDT
May 16 2015

(Rich Uncle Pennybags)

A conservative is someone who demands a square deal for the rich.
-David Frost

Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.
-G.K. Chesterton

Anyone whose needs are small seems threatening to the rich, because he's always ready to escape their control.
-Nicolas Chamfort

By and large the poor have the same impulses as the rich, with only less opportunity or skill to implement them.
-Will Durant

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
-Adam Smith

Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money.
-George Carlin

Counterpart to the knee-jerk liberal is the new knee-pad conservative, always groveling before the rich and powerful.
-Edward Abbey

Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is poverty. What is matter with the rich is uselessness.
-George Bernard Shaw

Each class preaches the importance of those virtues it need not exercise. The rich harp on the value of thrift, the idle grow eloquent over the dignity of labour.
-Oscar Wilde

For wealth's now given to none but to the rich.

Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich, something for nothing.
-George Bernard Shaw

He is the richest who is content with the least.

He was gifted with the sly, sharp instinct for self-preservation that passes for wisdom among the rich.
-Evelyn Waugh

History will judge societies and governments- and their institutions- not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.
-Cesar Chavez

I believe that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
-William Henry Harrison

I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation so much as the mystery of the social order. It introduces into the thought of heaven an idea of equalization, which saves the rich from being massacred by the poor.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

I sometimes think that rich men belong to another nationality entirely, no matter what their actual nationality happens to be. The nationality of the rich.
-William Saroyan

If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.
-Susan B. Anthony

If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.
-Warren Buffett

In bad times, the rich usually get richer.
-Stuart Wilde

It is easier to ask of the poor than of the rich.
-Anton Chekhov

It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.
-Charles Caleb Colton

It's a crazy society now. It's the richest society ever and yet people are overworked. There's more unemployment, more crime, more confusion, more broken marriages. This is a breakdown. Every culture breaks down. Every society breaks down, whether it's Rome, Spain, the British Empire. The people in charge probably didn't get it until they had their heads chopped off.
-Jerry Brown

It's a game. We (tax lawyers) teach the rich how to play it so they can stay rich- and the IRS keeps changing the rules so we can keep getting rich teaching them.
-John Grisham

Let me smile with the wise, and feed with the rich.
-Samuel Johnson

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor. -Sholem Aleichem

Like all the rich he could not bring himself to believe that the poor (look at their houses, look at their clothes!) could really suffer. Like all the cultivated he believed that only the widely read could be said to know that they were unhappy.
-Thornton Wilder

Many speak the truth when they say that they despise riches, but they mean the riches possessed by others.
-Charles Caleb Colton

My visions of the future are always pretty much standard issue. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer... and there are flying cars.
-Joss Whedon

Of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Of course there's a different law for the rich and poor; Otherwise who would go into business?
-E. Ralph Stewart

Planning ahead is a measure of class. The rich and even the middle class plan for future generations, but the poor can plan ahead only a few weeks or days.
-Gloria Steinem

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
-Oscar Ameringer

Poor people have more fun than rich people, they say; and I notice it's the rich people who keep saying it.
-Jack Paar

So many people spend their lives chasing money and end up as the richest men in the cemetery. I don't want to be like that.
-H. Ross Perot

Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.
-Peter Ustinov

The bonus is really one of the great give-aways in business enterprise. It is the annual salve applied to the conscience of the rich and the wounds of the poor.
-E.B. White

The difference between rich and poor is not that the rich sin is more than the poor, that the rich find it easier to call sin a virtue.
-Henri Nouwen

The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
-Jawaharlal Nehru

The observances of the church concerning feasts and fasts are tolerably well-kept, since the rich keep the feasts and the poor keep the fasts.
-Sydney Smith

The petty economies of the rich are just as amazing as the silly extravagances of the poor.
-William Feather

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
-G.K. Chesterton

The poor have the same basic pleasures as the rich, and the rich will always resent it.
-Mignon McLaughlin

The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country.
-John Adams

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.
-Andrew Carnegie

The rich are indeed rather possessed by their money than possessors.
-Robert Burton

The rich are the scum of the earth in every county.
-G.K. Chesterton

The rich man... is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.
-Henry David Thoreau

The rich really are like you and me. They just don't do as much jail time.
-John L. Smith

The rich rob the poor and the poor rob one another.
-Sojourner Truth

The rich swell up with pride, the poor from hunger.
-Sholem Aleichem

The rich, like well brought up children, are meant to be seen, not heard.
-Lewis H. Lapham

The richer a society, the more impossible it becomes to do worthwhile things without immediate pay-off.
-E.F. Schumacher

The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.
-Edward Dowling

There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches but the wrong comes when the riches possess men.
-Rev. Billy Graham

There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.
-Will Rogers

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

There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do any business from there.
-Colonel Harlan Sanders

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...
-Walt Whitman

To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and keep absolutely sober.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

'Tough love' is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else.
-Noam Chomsky

We have two American flags always; one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it, it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it, it means danger, revolution, anarchy.
-Henry Miller

Wealth often takes away chances from men as well as poverty. There is none to tell the rich to go on striving, for a rich man makes the law that hallows and hollows his own life.
-Sean O'Casey

What we have in this country is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.
-Gore Vidal

What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest.
-Andy Warhol

When people ask, 'Why should the rich pay a larger percent of their income than middle-income people?' My answer is not an answer most people get: It's because their power developed from laws that enriched them.
-Ralph Nader

When the rich make war it's the poor that die.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.
-John Ruskin


(May 17 is also the birthday of Alan Kay and Craig Ferguson)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic, The Rich

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Quotes of the day: Studs Terkel

Published Friday, May 15, 2015 @ 4:36 PM EDT
May 15 2015

Louis "Studs" Terkel (May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008) was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for "The Good War", and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Chicago is not the most corrupt American city, it's the most theatrically corrupt, more colorful in its shadiness.

Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.

I hope for peace and sanity- it's the same thing.

I hope that memory is valued- that we do not lose memory.

I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.

I want a language that speaks the truth.

I want people to talk to one another no matter what their difference of opinion might be.

I was born in the year the Titanic sank. The Titanic went down, and I came up. That tells you a little about the fairness of life.

I was walking downstairs carrying a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Don't try that after ninety.

I'm celebrated for celebrating the uncelebrated.

I'm not an optimist. I'm hopeful.

I've always felt, in all my books, that there's a deep decency in the American people and a native intelligence- providing they have the facts, providing they have the information.

If solace is any sort of succor to someone, that is sufficient. I believe in the faith of people, whatever faith they may have.

In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor.

More and more we are into communications; and less and less into communication.

Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirits.

Nonetheless, do I have respect for people who believe in the hereafter? Of course I do. I might add, perhaps even a touch of envy too, because of the solace.

Take it easy, but take it.

The key issue is jobs. You can't get away from it: jobs. Having a buck or two in your pocket and feeling like somebody.

The people who delight in the failure of the sixties are the people who delight in the failure of dreams.

The poor are so busy trying to survive from one day to the next, they haven't the time or energy to keep score.

The whole program of unemployment insurance, Social Security, was a confession of the failure of our whole social order. And confession of failure of Christian principles: that man, in fact, did not look after his brother.

The worst day-to-day operators of businesses are bankers.

We have two Governments in Washington: one run by the elected people- which is a minor part- and one run by the moneyed interests, which control everything.

What I remember most of those times is that poverty creates desperation, and desperation creates violence.

When you become part of something, in some way you count. It could be a march; it could be a rally, even a brief one. You're part of something, and you suddenly realize you count. To count is very important.

Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.

You happen to be talking to an agnostic. You know what an agnostic is? A cowardly atheist.

You know, 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?' It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Studs Terkel

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Quotes of the day: Madeleine Albright

Published Thursday, May 14, 2015 @ 1:47 PM EDT
May 14 2015

Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová; b. May 15, 1937) is a Czechoslovakian-born American politician and diplomat. She is the first woman to have become the United States Secretary of State. She was nominated by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997. Albright currently serves as a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She holds a PhD from Columbia University and numerous honorary degrees. In May 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama. Secretary Albright also serves as a director on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Albright is fluent in English, French, Russian, and Czech; she speaks and reads Polish and Serbo-Croatian as well. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lot of people think international relations is like a game of chess. But it's not a game of chess, where people sit quietly, thinking out their strategy, taking their time between moves. It's more like a game of billiards, with a bunch of balls clustered together.

Armageddon is not a foreign policy.

Hate, emotionalism, and frustration are not policies.

I hope I'm wrong, but I am afraid that Iraq is going to turn out to be the greatest disaster in American foreign policy- worse than Vietnam, not in the number who died, but in terms of its unintended consequences and its reverberation throughout the region.

I think that we all know what evil is. We have a sense of what's evil, and certainly killing innocent people is evil. We're less sure about what is good. There's sort of good, good enough, could be better- but absolute good is a little harder to define.

I think the administration has really undermined America's power and reputation and that Iraq may go down in history as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy, which means that I think it's worse than Vietnam in its unintended consequences and for our reputation.

I think women are really good at making friends and not good at networking. Men are good at networking and not necessarily making friends. That's a gross generalization, but I think it holds in many ways.

I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.

I'm for democracy, but imposing democracy is an oxymoron. People have to choose democracy, and it has to come up from below.

I'm not a person who thinks the world would be entirely different if it was run by women. If you think that, you've forgotten what high school was like.

Our nation's memory is long and our reach is far.

There is a significant moral difference between a person who commits a violent crime and a person who tries to cross a border illegally in order to put food on the family table. Such migrants may violate our laws against illicit entry, but if that's all they do then they are trespassers, not criminals. They deserve to have their dignity respected.

There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.

There seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.

We live in an image society. Speeches are not what anybody cares about; what they care about is the picture.

We will not be intimidated or pushed off the world stage by people who do not like what we stand for, and that is, freedom, democracy and the fight against disease, poverty and terrorism.

What really troubles me is that democracy is getting a bad name because it is identified with imposition and occupation.

What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?

When a politician starts preaching, I tend to react the same way as when a preacher starts talking politics. I become very, very wary.

When asked what she considered the greatest mistake of the George W. Bush administration, interview with Deborah Solomon, New York Times (April 23, 2006)

When we're trying to solve difficult national issues its sometimes necessary to talk to adversaries as well as friends. Historians have a word for this: diplomacy.

While democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile.


(May 15 is also the birthday of Clifton Fadiman and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu)

Categories: Madeleine Albright, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Emma Goldman

Published Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 1:59 PM EDT
May 13 2015

Emma Goldman (June 15, 1869 - May 14, 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Ask for work. If they don't give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.

Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.

Civilization has been a continuous struggle of the individual or of groups of individuals against the State and even against "society," that is, against the majority subdued and hypnotized by the State and State worship.

Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.

Crime is naught but misdirected energy. So long as every institution of today, economic, political, social, and moral, conspires to misdirect human energy into wrong channels; so long as most people are out of place doing the things they hate to do, living a life they loathe to live, crime will be inevitable, and all the laws on the statutes can only increase, but never do away with, crime.

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labelled Utopian.

Every effort for progress, for enlightenment, for science, for religious, political, and economic liberty, emanates from the minority, and not from the mass.

Every society has the criminals it deserves.

Everywhere and always, since its very inception, Christianity has turned the earth into a vale of tears; always it has made of life a weak, diseased thing, always it has instilled fear in man, turning him into a dual being, whose life energies are spent in the struggle between body and soul. In decrying the body as something evil, the flesh as the tempter to everything that is sinful, man has mutilated his being in the vain attempt to keep his soul pure, while his body rotted away from the injuries and tortures inflicted upon it.

I do not believe in God, because I believe in man. Whatever his mistakes, man has for thousands of years past been working to undo the botched job your God has made.

I feel sure that the police are helping us more than I could do in ten years. They are making more anarchists than the most prominent people connected with the anarchist cause could make in ten years. If they will only continue I shall be very grateful; they will save me lots of work

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.

If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

It is characteristic of theistic 'tolerance' that no one really cares what the people believe in, just so they believe or pretend to believe.

Let us not overlook vital things, because of the bulk of trifles confronting us.

No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time.

No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution -

Patriotism ... is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.

Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name!

Revolution is but thought carried into action.

Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.

The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.

The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society.

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause...

The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought.

The most violent element in society is ignorance.

The people are asleep; they remain indifferent. They forge their own chains and do the bidding of their masters to crucify their Christs.

The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.

The right to vote, or equal civil rights, may be good demands, but true emancipation begins neither at the polls nor in courts. It begins in woman's soul.

The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy.

There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another. This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration.

There is no hope even that woman, with her right to vote, will ever purify politics.

When we can't dream any longer we die.


(May 14 is also the birthday of George Lucas.)

Categories: Emma Goldman, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Sholem Aleichem

Published Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 3:09 PM EDT
May 12 2015

Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem (March 2, 1859 – May 13, 1916), was a leading Yiddish author and playwright. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A bachelor is a man who comes to work each morning from a different direction.

A real pleasure is a pleasure that one enjoys by one's self, without a companion, and without a single argument.

Gossip is nature's telephone.

If somebody tells you you have ears like a donkey, pay no attention. But if two people tell you, buy yourself a saddle.

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.

No matter how bad things get you got to go on living, even if it kills you.

No one knows whom the shoe pinches- no one.

Nothing begets friendship so readily as trouble.

The rich swell up with pride, the poor from hunger.

The worm in the radish doesn't think there is anything sweeter.

There are people who have never been taught anything, and know everything, have never been anywhere, and understand everything, have never given a moment's thought to anything, and comprehend everything. 'Blessed hands' is the name bestowed on these fortunate beings. The world envies, honours and respects them.

There's no pleasing everyone. It's hopeless to even try, and the more you play the peacemaker, the less peaceful things become.

They say that children become men, and men become children. Many generations have grown up, become men, and gone hence.

This is an ugly and mean world, and only to spite it we mustn't weep. If you want to know, this is the constant source of my good spirit, of my humor. Not to cry, out of spite, only to laugh out of spite, only to laugh.

When the heart is full it runs out of the eyes.

When you die, others who think they know you, will concoct things about you... Better pick up a pen and write it yourself, for you know yourself best.


(May 13 is also the birthday of Roger Zelazny and Stephen Colbert.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sholem Aleichem

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Quotes of the day: Florence Nightingale

Published Monday, May 11, 2015 @ 11:00 PM EDT
May 11 2015

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC (May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910) was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized the tending to wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion. Remember he is face to face with his enemy all the time.

Asceticism is the trifling of an enthusiast with his power, a puerile coquetting with his selfishness or his vanity, in the absence of any sufficiently great object to employ the first or overcome the last.

For the sick it is important to have the best.

For what is Mysticism? Is it not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within'? Heaven is neither a place nor a time.

I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.

I attribute my success to this- I never gave or took any excuse.

I can stand out the war with any man.

I did not think of going to give myself a position, but for the sake of common humanity.

I stand at the altar of the murdered men, and, while I live, I fight their cause.

I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.

It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm.

Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?

Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it.

Mankind must make heaven before we can 'go to heaven' (as the phrase is), in this world as in any other.

No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this- 'devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.

Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.

To be 'in charge' is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that every one else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures. It is neither to do everything yourself nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed.

To understand God's thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose.

Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.

What cruel mistakes are sometimes made by benevolent men and women in matters of business about which they can know nothing and think they know a great deal.

Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have 'no time in the day to themselves.'

Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone.


(May 12 ia also the birthday of iddu Krishnamurti, Yogi Berra, George Carlin.)

Categories: Florence Nightingale, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Irving Berlin

Published Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 8:11 PM EDT
May 10 2015

Irving Berlin (born Israel Isidore Beilin, May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was a Russian-born Jewish-American composer and lyricist. Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history, his music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook. He published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", in 1907, receiving 37 cents for the publishing rights, and had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. Composer George Gershwin called him "the greatest songwriter that has ever lived," and composer Jerome Kern concluded that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music- he is American music." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


After you get what you want you don't want it.

Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life.

I got lost but look what I found.

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

Music is so important. It changes thinking, it influences everybody, whether they know it or not. Music knows no boundary lines.

Never hate a song that's sold a half million copies.

Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.

Talent is only a starting point.

The mob is always right.

The reason American composers have done nothing highly significant is because they won't write American music.

The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being a success.

The world would not be in such a snarl,
Had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl.

There is an element of truth in every idea that lasts long enough to be called corny.

There's no business like show business.



(May 11 is also the birthday of Salvador Dali.)

Categories: Irving Berlin, Music, Quotes of the day, YouTube

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Quotes of the day: Mothers

Published Saturday, May 09, 2015 @ 12:30 PM EDT
May 09 2015

A boy's best friend is his mother.
-Robert Bloch

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of conqueror, that confidence of success that often induces real success.
-Sigmund Freud

A man's mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.
-Walter Bagehot

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
-Washington Irving

A mother who is not everything for her children: a friend, a teacher, a confidant, a source of joy and founded pride, inducement and soothing, reconciliator, judge and forgiver, that mother obviously chose the wrong job.
-Joseph Goebbels

A mother, who is really a mother, is never free.
-Honoré de Balzac

A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.
-Peter De Vries

Almost everyone who has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother.
-Henrik Ibsen

An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.

Anything that makes your mother cry is fun.
-P.J. O'Rourke

Behind every man who achieves success,
Stands a mother, a wife and the IRS.
-Ethel Jacobson

Being a king, emperor, or president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother.
-Billy Sunday

Being a mother is a noble status, right? So why does it change when you put 'unwed' or 'welfare' in front of it?
-Florynce Kennedy

Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Consult a real expert: call your mother.

Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well. It means that everybody should have a job, if he's willing to work, and an education, and the right to bring up his children without fear of the future. And it means that the old shall be provided for, without shame to themselves or to their families. It means do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It also means the prayers of the pilgrim fathers in the wilderness, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and the dreams of an immigrant mother for her children. And that's what I believe in.
-Dalton Trumbo

Doing your taxes is a great way to be reminded that you are unsuccessful, unmarried and childless without having to talk to your mother.
-Bryan Donaldson

Don't get me wrong. Being a mom is no picnic. Raising the kids is the mother's responsibility. It's a thankless, solitary job, like sheriff or Pope.
-Stephen Colbert

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Don't worry about what your mother thinks of your language.
-Elmore Leonard

Every father says the same thing: 'Where's your mother?'
-Bill Cosby

Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see.
-Pope Paul VI

Every time I find a girl who can cook like my mother, she looks like my father.
-Tony Randall

Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.
-W. Somerset Maugham

I don't always enjoy being a mother. At those times my husband and I hop up somewhere in the wine country, eat, drink, make mad love and pretend we were born sterile and raised poodles.
-Dorothy DeBolt

I doubt if a charging elephant, or a rhino, is as determined, or hard to check, as a socially ambitious mother.
-Will Rogers

I have always admired the Esquimaux. One fine day a delicious meal is cooked for dear old mother, and then she goes walking away over the ice, and doesn't come back.
-Agatha Christie

I have always detested any departure from reality, an attitude which I relate to my mother's poor mental health.
-Jean Piaget

I would have gone home to my mother, but I'm not that crazy about my mother.

If you ever become a mother, can I have one of the puppies?
-Charles Pierce

It is only when parental feelings are ineffective or too ambivalent or when the mother's emotions are temporarily engaged elsewhere that children feel lost.
-Anna Freud

Life was a lot simpler when what we honored was father and mother rather than all major credit cards.
-Robert Orben

Mary was an unwed teenage mother.

Most American children suffer too much mother and too little father.
-Gloria Steinem

Mother is a verb, not a noun.
-Shonda Rhimes

Mother told me a couple of years ago, 'Sweetheart, settle down and marry a rich man.' I said, 'Mom, I am a rich man.'

Mothering has been the richest experience of my life, but I am still opposed to Mother's Day. It perpetuates the dangerous idea that all parents are somehow superior to non-parents.
-Anne Lamott

My grandmother gave me five dollars and said, 'Don't tell your mother.' I told her, 'It's going to cost you more than that.'
-Steven Wright

My mother didn't try to stab my father until I was six.
-Alan Alda

My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son of a bitch.
-Jack Nicholson

My mother said, 'You won't amount to anything because you procrastinate.' I said, 'Just wait.'
-Judy Tenuta

My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.
-Nora Ephron

My mother was an ex-nun, and my father was a Franciscan brother, so I grew up believing in Jesus the way anyone would believe in Mom's first husband.
-John Fugelsang

My mother's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
-Buddy Hackett

My mother's obsession with the good scissors always scared me a bit. It implied that somewhere in the house there lurked: the evil scissors.
-Tony Martin

Never trust a journalist unless she's your mother.
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

No man is responsible for his father. That is entirely his mother's affair.
-Margaret Turnbull

No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother's Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture's bad people and behavior.
-Anne Lamott

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.
-Margaret Sanger

One of the great logical puzzles is how a woman is always like her mother but never like her sister.
-Robert Brault

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.
-Dan Quayle

Sometimes you need a B-2 bomber and sometimes you need your mother.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
-Honoré de Balzac

The key to living a moral life is this: Do nothing in private that you would be ashamed to discuss openly with your mother.
-J.P. Morgan

The love of a mother is never exhausted; it never changes, it never tires. A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands: but a mother's love endures through all; in good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world's condemnation, a mother still loves on, and still hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways, and repent; still she remembers the infant smiles that once filled her bosom with rapture, the merry laugh, the joyful shout of his childhood, the opening promise of his youth; and she can never be brought to think him all unworthy.
-Washington Irving

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
-Theodore Hesburgh

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
-Calvin Trillin

The mother- poor invaded soul- finds even the bathroom door no bar to hammering little hands.
-Charlotte Perkins Gilman

There are only two things a child will share willingly- communicable diseases and his mother's age.
-Dr. Benjamin Spock

There is no slave out of heaven like a loving woman; and, of all loving women, there is no such slave as a mother.
-Henry Ward Beecher

There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.
-Billy Sunday

There's a lot more to being a woman than being a mother, but there's a hell of a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect.
-Roseanne Barr

There's no way to repay a mother's love, or lack of it.
-Mignon McLaughlin

Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since.
-Abigail Adams

What are we at the park for except to win? I'd trip my mother. I'd help her up, brush her off, tell her I'm sorry. But mother don't make it to third.
-Leo Durocher

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.
-James Joyce

When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It's not enough, but it helps.
-Dick Gregory

Wise children always choose a mother who was a shocking flirt in her maiden days, and so had several offers before she accepted their fortunate papa.
-J.M. Barrie

Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.
-Alice Walker

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

You're not famous until my mother has heard of you.
-Jay Leno

Your accent should betray neither your mother's birthplace nor your father's income.

Your mother knows how to push your buttons because she installed them.

Categories: Mothers, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Henry J. Kaiser

Published Friday, May 08, 2015 @ 4:28 PM EDT
May 08 2015

Henry John Kaiser (May 9, 1882 – August 24, 1967) was an American industrialist who became known as the father of modern American shipbuilding. He established the Kaiser Shipyards, which built Liberty ships during World War II, after which he formed Kaiser Aluminum and Kaiser Steel. Kaiser organized Kaiser Permanente health care for his workers and their families. He led Kaiser-Frazer followed by Kaiser Motors, automobile companies known for the safety of their designs. Kaiser was involved in large construction projects such as civic centers and dams, and invested in real estate. With his acquired wealth, he initiated the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, non- partisan, charitable organization. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Having an aim is the key to achieving your best.

I always have to dream up there against the stars. If I don't dream I will make it, I won't even get close.

I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am.

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition - in having put forth the best within you.

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.

You can't sit on the lid of progress. If you do, you will be blown to pieces.


(May 9 is also the birthday of Billy Joel and J.M. Barrie.)

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Quotes of the day: Edmund Wilson

Published Thursday, May 07, 2015 @ 5:45 PM EDT
May 07 2015

Edmund Wilson (May 8, 1895 – June 12, 1972) was an American writer, literary and social critic, and man of letters. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All Hollywood corrupts; and absolute Hollywood corrupts absolutely.

At 60 the sexual preoccupation, when it hits you, seems sometimes sharper, as if it were an elderly malady, like gout.

Education, the last hope of the liberal in all periods.

He believes, but he does not believe: the impossibility of believing is the impossibility which he accepts most reluctantly, but still it is there with the other impossibilities of this world which is too full of weeping for a child to understand.

I have learned to read the papers calmly and not to hate the fools I read about.

If I could only remember that the days were, not bricks to be laid row on row, to be built into a solid house, where one might dwell in safety and peace, but only food for the fires of the heart.

It may be that there is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income.

Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.

No two persons ever read the same book.

Real genius of moral insight is a motor which will start any engine.

She was one of those women whose features are not perfect and who in their moments of dimness may not seem even pretty, but who, excited by the blood or the spirit, become almost supernaturally beautiful.

The cruelest thing that has happened to Lincoln since being shot by Booth was to have fallen into the hands of Carl Sandburg.

The experience of mankind on the earth is always changing as man develops and has to deal with new combinations of elements; and the writer who is to be anything more than an echo of his predecessors must always find expression for something which has never yet been expressed, must master a new set of phenomena... With each such victory of the human intellect, whether in history, in philosophy or in poetry, we experience a deep satisfaction: we have been cured of some ache of disorder, relieved of some oppressive burden of uncomprehended events.

The human imagination has already come to conceive the possibility of recreating human society.

The product of the scientific imagination is a new vision of relations- like that of artistic imagination.

While the romantic individualist deludes himself with unrealizable fantasies, in the attempt to evade bourgeois society, and only succeeds in destroying himself, he lets humanity fall a victim to the industrial-commercial processes, which, unimpeded by his dreaming, go on with their deadly work.


(May 8 is also the birthday of Harry S. Truman and Fulton J. Sheen.)

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Quotes of the day: Joseph Joubert

Published Wednesday, May 06, 2015 @ 2:40 PM EDT
May 06 2015

Joseph Joubert (May 7, 1754 – May 4,1824) was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées (Thoughts), which was published posthumously. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.

A thought is a thing as real as a cannonball.

A work is perfectly finished only when nothing can be added to it and nothing taken away.

All luxury corrupts either the morals or the taste.

All reflection is art.

All things that are easy to say have already been perfectly said.

An oratorical style often has the same drawbacks as those operas in which the music prevents you from hearing the words. Here the words prevent you from seeing the thoughts.

Animals love the people who talk to them.

Are you listening to the ones who keep quiet?

Ask the young. They know everything.

Because they know all the words, they think they know all the truths.

Close your eyes and you will see.

Do not choose for your wife any woman you would not choose for a friend if she were a man.

Everything we can measure seems small.

Fear feeds the imagination.

For in spite of ourselves we respect those whom we see respected.

From the center we should perceive the circle.

Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.

Genius is the aptitude for seeing invisible things, for stirring intangible things, for painting things that have no features.

Genuine good sayings surprise the author as much as the listeners.

Good impulses are naught, unless they become good actions.

He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.

He who has no poetry in himself will find poetry in nothing.

I have too much brain for my head. It cannot play comfortably in its box.

In order to know men, something must be chanced. Who risks himself of nothing knows nothing.

In political institutions, almost everything we call an abuse was once a remedy.

In the same way crimes have increased laws, errors have increased explanations.

It is better to be concerned with being than with nothingness. Dream therefore of what you still have rather than what you have lost.

It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.

It is easy to understand God as long as you don't try to explain him.

It is impossible for me to say something foolish without being aware of it.

It is impossible to love the same person twice.

It is not facts, but rumors that cause emotions among the people. What is believed creates everything.

Let anger pass, make a place for it; do not impede its progress; do not disturb its development, give it the time it needs to die out, open a wide path for it.

Little people have few passions, they hardly have anything but needs.

Madness is an illness of the brain, not of the mind.

Misery is almost always the result of thinking.

My soul lives in a place where the passions have passed by and where I have known them all.

Never cut what you can untie.

One must be an illusionary rather than a visionary.

One ruins the mind with too much writing. One rusts it by not writing at all.

Reason does not reason. It goes straight to the fact or the consequence.

Retreat often into your sphere, rest yourself in your center, plunge yourself into your element: good advice, which must be remembered.

Speak for the ear and write for the memory.

Speak more softly to be better heard by a deaf public.

The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.

The direction of the mind is more important than its progress.

The great inconvenience of new books is that they prevent us from reading the old ones.

The imagination is the eye of the soul.

The mind can only create errors. Truths are not created, they exist; one can only see them, disentangle them, discover them, and expose them.

The poet must not cross an interval with a step when he can cross it with a leap.

The punishment of those who have loved women too much is to love them forever.

The truth. They make it consist of nothing they cannot prove. The greatest happiness they find in it is being able to put forth incontestable assertions. This is what they like, and they consider it a sign of prestige, a prerogative, a power, a dignity, etc., a liberation from error.

There must be several voices together in one voice for it to be beautiful. And several meanings in one word for it to be beautiful.

Those who have judgment use it as much as in judging stones as in judging men.

Those who never back down love themselves more than they love the truth.

To be capable of respect is, in these days, almost as rare as to be worthy of it.

To descend into ourselves, we must first lift ourselves up.

To judge things of taste, we must give ourselves time to taste them.

To see the world means judging the judges.

To teach is to learn twice over.

We are afraid of having and showing a small mind and we are not afraid of having and showing a small heart.

We can sprain our minds as well as our bodies.

We use up in the passions the stuff that was given us for happiness.

What good is modesty? It makes us seem more beautiful when we are beautiful, and less ugly when we are ugly.

What will you think of pleasures when you no longer enjoy them?

When I had the strength, I did not have the patience. I have the patience today and I no longer have the power.

When I see young people such as those of our day, I think that Heaven wishes to destroy the world.

When men are imbeciles, the one who is mad dominates the others.

When you go in search of honey you must expect to be stung by bees.

Wisdom is the strength of the weak.

Words, like eyeglasses, blur everything that they do not make clear.

Writing is closer to thinking than to speaking.


(May 7 is also the birthday of Angela Carter and David Hume.)

Categories: Joseph Joubert, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Karl Marx

Published Monday, May 04, 2015 @ 11:02 AM EDT
May 04 2015

Karl Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labor and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894).

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—the collective understanding of which is known as Marxism—hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed laboring class that provides the labor for production. States, Marx believed, were run on behalf of the ruling class and in their interest while representing it as the common interest of all; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat would eventuate in the working class' conquest of political power and eventually establish a classless society, communism, a society governed by a free association of producers. Marx actively fought for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio- economic change. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included).

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

Hegel has remarked somewhere that history repeats itself. He forgot, however, to mention: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

History is not like some individual person, which uses men to achieve its ends. History is nothing but the actions of men in pursuit of their ends.

Ideas do not exist separately from language.

If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.

In every stock-jobbing swindle everyone knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.

It is clear that the arm of criticism cannot replace the criticism of arms. Material force can only be overthrown by material force, but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses.

Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make- believe that there are no monsters.

Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

Private property has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital... Thus all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by... the sense of having.

Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Something that is merely negative creates nothing.

The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.

The Irish famine of 1846 killed more than one million people, but it killed poor devils only. To the wealth of the country it did not the slightest damage.

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

To be radical is to grasp things by the root. But for man the root is man himself.

What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.


(May 5 is also the birthday of Søren Kierkegaard and Christopher Morley.)

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Henry Huxley

Published Sunday, May 03, 2015 @ 10:31 AM EDT
May 03 2015

Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS FLS (May 4, 1825 – June 29, 1895) was an English biologist (comparative anatomist), known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man's worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes.

Act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done by hesitation.

All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.

For every man the world is as fresh as it was at the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them.

God give me the strength to face a fact though it slay me.

History records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain.

History warns us, however, that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions...

I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything.

I can assure you that there is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life. You learn that which is of inestimable importance- that there are a great many people in the world who are just as clever as you are. You learn to put your trust, by and by, in an economy and frugality of the exercise of your powers, both moral and intellectual; and you very soon find out, if you have not found it out before, that patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.

I cannot say that I am in the slightest degree impressed by your bigness, or your material resources, as such. Size is not grandeur, and territory does not make a nation. The great issue, about which hangs true sublimity, and the terror of overhanging fate, is what are you going to do with all these things?

I do not advocate burning your ship to get rid of the cockroaches.

I neither deny nor affirm the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing in it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it.

I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man and afraid to face the truth.

If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?

Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.

It is better for a man to go wrong in freedom than right in chains.

It is better to have a millstone tied round the neck and be thrown into the sea than to share the enterprises of those to whom the world has turned, and will turn, because they minister to its weaknesses and cover up the awful realities which it shudders to look at.

It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.

Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once.

Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.

Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds you stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends upon what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat-flour from peascod, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data.

My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.

Not far from the invention of fire... we must rank the invention of doubt.

Orthodoxy is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget; and though, at present, bewildered and afraid to move, it is as willing as ever to insist that the first chapter of Genesis contains the beginning and the end of sound science...

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.

So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic.' It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the 'gnostic' of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. To my great satisfaction the term took.

Social progress means a checking of the cosmic process at every step and the substitution for it of another, which may be called the ethical process; the end of which is not the survival of those who may happen to be the fittest, in respect of the whole of the conditions which obtain, but of those who are ethically the best.

The chess board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance.

The course of the past has impressed us with the firm conviction that no good ever comes of falsehood, and we feel warranted in refusing even to experiment in that direction.

The doctrine that all men are, in any sense, or have been, at any time, free and equal, is an utterly baseless fiction.

The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying; to give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge.

The great end of life is not knowledge but action.

The great tragedy of Science- the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.

The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.

The man who is all morality and intellect, although he may be good and even great, is, after all, only half a man.

The mediaeval university looked backwards: it professed to be a storehouse of old knowledge... The modern university looks forward: it is a factory of new knowledge.

The method of scientific investigation is nothing but the expression of the necessary mode of working of the human mind.

The only freedom I care about is the freedom to do right; the freedom to do wrong I am ready to part with on the cheapest terms to any one who will take it of me.

The only good that I can see in the demonstration of the truth of 'Spiritualism' is to furnish an additional argument against suicide. Better live a crossing-sweeper than die and be made to talk twaddle by a 'medium' hired at a guinea a séance.

The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind, is wisdom.

The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is, to my mind, a very dangerous adage. If knowledge is real and genuine, I do not believe that it is other than a very valuable possession, however infinitesimal its quantity may be. Indeed, if a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?

There are men to whom the satisfaction of throwing down a triumphant fallacy is as great as that which attends the discovery of a new truth.

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea- side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.

When Ecclesiasticism declares that we ought to believe this, that, and the other, and are very wicked if we don't, it is impossible for us to give any answer but this: We have not the slightest objection to believe anything you like, if you will give us good grounds for belief; but, if you cannot, we must respectfully refuse, even if that refusal should wreck morality and insure our own damnation several times over.


(May 4 is also the birthday of Horace Mann.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Henry Huxley

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Quotes of the day: James Brown

Published Saturday, May 02, 2015 @ 3:40 PM EDT
May 02 2015

James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer. One of the founding fathers of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as "The Godfather of Soul." In a career that spanned six decades, Brown influenced the development of several music genres. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got those two things he's got it all.

Help yourself, so you can help someone else.

I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know.

I would warn against anyone marrying a person with more than a ten- year age difference. It almost never works. It is difficult to find things to talk about, to use similar reference points, and to operate at the same speed of life. Another problem is that both sides usually don't want the same things at the same time.

It doesn't matter how you travel it, it's the same road. It doesn't get any easier when you get bigger, it gets harder. And it will kill you if you let it."

My expectations of other people, I double them on myself.

Sometimes you struggle so hard to feed your family one way, you forget to feed them the other way, with spiritual nourishment. Everybody needs that.

The hardest thing about being James Brown is I have to live. I don't have no down time.

The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.

The real answer to race problems in this country is education. Not burning and killing. Be ready. Be qualified. Own something. Be somebody. That's Black Power.

This is an issue (having children) couples have to be straight on and agree on before they walk down that aisle; otherwise there is no way their marriage will survive.

To make it in life, you and your wife need to be in the same business. That has been my problem all along. My wives didn't know what I was doing. I would come back home from the road to a stranger. That's no good.

When I'm on stage, I'm trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don't go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it.

You can't teach others if you are living the same way.



(May 3 is also the birthday of Niccolò Machiavelli, Golda Meir, and Pete Seeger.)

Categories: James Brown, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: A.M. Rosenthal

Published Friday, May 01, 2015 @ 3:09 PM EDT
May 01 2015

Abraham Michael "A.M." Rosenthal (May 2, 1922 – May 10, 2006), born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, was a New York Times executive editor (1977–88) and columnist (1987–1999) and New York Daily News columnist (1999–2004). He joined the New York Times in 1943 and remained there for 56 years, to 1999. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for international reporting. As an editor at the newspaper, Rosenthal oversaw the coverage of a number of major news stories including the Vietnam war, the Pentagon Papers, and the Watergate scandal. Together with Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, he was the first westerner to visit a Soviet GULAG camp in 1988. His son, Andrew Rosenthal, is the editorial page editor of the New York Times. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Be fanatics. When it comes to being and doing and dreaming the best, be maniacs.

He kept the paper straight. (Epitaph)

I'll steal an idea from anybody if it's not nailed down.

If you don't have a sensation of apprehension when you set out to find a story and a swagger when you sit down to write it, you are in the wrong business.

It has been our policy not to use obscenities in the paper. It's a harmless little eccentricity of ours.

It was an interesting experience being metropolitan editor of the Times, in precisely the same way as being simmered in a saucepan for a few years is terribly interesting.

OK, the rule is, you can (make love to) an elephant if you want to, but if you do you can't cover the circus. ('The Rosenthal Rule')

When something important is going on, silence is a lie.


(May 2 is also the birthday of Benjamin Spock and Jerome K. Jerome.)

Categories: A.M. Rosenthal, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Joseph Heller

Published Thursday, April 30, 2015 @ 11:24 AM EDT
Apr 30 2015

Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 – December 12, 1999) was an American satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. The title of one of his works, Catch-22, entered the English lexicon to refer to a vicious circle wherein an absurd, no-win choice, particularly in situations in which the desired outcome of the choice is an impossibility, and regardless of choice, a same negative outcome is a certainty. Although he is remembered primarily for Catch-22, his other works center on the lives of various members of the middle class and remain examples of modern satire. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man's head is his castle.

But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.

Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery or simple bad luck.

Everybody is as unstable as water.

For war there is always enough. It's peace that's expensive.

Forever goes quick.

Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.

He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.

He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.

How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation?

I wouldn't want to live without strong misgivings.

If the chance ever comes to you to fall in love, grab it, every time. You might always live to regret it, but you won't find anything to beat it, and you won't know if it will come to you once more.

Insanity is contagious.

It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

Mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.

Peace on earth would mean the end of civilization as we know it.

Rise above principlel and do what's right.

Success and failure are both difficult to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.

The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.

The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.

The last thing any sensible human being should want is immortality. As it is, life lasts too long for most of us.

The promises of maniacs, like those of women, are not safely relied upon.

The truth is whatever people will believe is the truth. Don't you know history?

There is wisdom in madness and strong probability of truth in all accusations, for people are complete and everybody is capable of everything.

Well, he died. You don't get any older than that.

When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.

Whether God is dead or not hardly matters, for we would use him no differently anyway.

You know, that might be the answer- to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail.


(May 1 is also the birthday of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones and Pixie, the small, insane dog-like creature who now complicates our existence.)

Categories: Joseph Heller, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Expectations, great and otherwise

Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 3:33 PM EDT
Apr 29 2015

Almost all change is evolutionary, not revolutionary... expectations always travel at higher speeds.
-John Naisbitt

Expectations are resentments under construction.
-Anne Lamott

Good things come to those with no expectations.
-David X. Cohen

Happiness equals reality minus expectations.
-Tom Magliozzi

Honorable beginnings should serve to awaken curiosity, not to heighten people's expectations. We are much better off when reality surpasses our expectations, and something turns out better than we thought it would.
-Baltasar Gracián

How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal!
-Abigail Adams

If I answer questions every time you ask one, expectations would be high. And as you know, I like to keep expectations low.
-George W. Bush

Increase success by lowering expectations.
-Larry Kersten, PhD

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

One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected.
-George W. Bush

Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.
-Earl Nightingale

People are not here to meet your expectations.
-Leo Buscaglia

Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.
-Sam Walton

Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing.
-Robert Orben

The average man's expectations of a home are minimal: warmth, food, clean shirts, not too many questions asked, and sex when necessary.
-Irma Kurtz

The secret to true happiness is a combination of low expectations and insensitivity.
-Olivia Goldsmith

There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.
-Jodi Picoult

Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.
-Edward de Bono

We tend to live up to our expectations.
-Earl Nightingale

Welcome to the U.S. Capitol: Watch for falling expectations.
-Wiley Miller

Categories: Expectations, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: William Randolph Hearst

Published Tuesday, April 28, 2015 @ 4:29 PM EDT
Apr 28 2015

William Randolph Hearst (April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American newspaper publisher who built the nation's largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World that led to the creation of yellow journalism— sensationalized stories of dubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906, and for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1910. Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and was famously blamed for pushing public opinion with his yellow journalism type of reporting leading the United States into a war with Spain in 1898. His life story was the main inspiration for the development of the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane. His mansion, Hearst Castle, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California in 1957, and is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for public tours. Hearst formally named the estate La Cuesta Encantada ("The Enchanted Hill"), though he typically referred to it simply as "the ranch." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


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

All work and no play may make Jim a dull boy, but no work and all play makes Jim all kinds of a jackass.

Any man who has the brains to think and the nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country is considered a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster.

Don't be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it.

If you make a product good enough, even though you live in the depths of the forest, the public will make a path to your door, says the philosopher. But if you want the public in sufficient numbers, you better construct a highway. Advertising is that highway.

It is a good thing that women are so easily manipulated. Otherwise, most of us wouldn't be here.

Money is appropriate, and one size fits all.

News is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising.

Putting out a newspaper without promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark- well-intentioned, but ineffective.

The coming of the motion picture was as important as that of the printing press.

The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong.

Try to be conspicuously accurate in everything, pictures as well as text. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more interesting.

We hold that no person or set of persons can properly establish a standard of expression for others.

We hold that the greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong, that in the exercise thereof people have an inviolable right to express their unbridled thoughts on all topics and personalities, being liable only for the use of that right.

We must be alarmingly enterprising, and we must be startlingly original, and do new and striking things which constitute a revolution.

Whatever begins to be tranquil is gobbled up by something not tranquil.

When free discussion is denied, hardening of the arteries of democracy has set in, free institutions are but a lifeless form, and the death of the republic is at hand.

You can crush a man with journalism.

You must keep your mind on the objective, not on the obstacle.


(April 29 is also the birthday of Rod McKuen.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Randolph Hearst

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Quotes of the day: Harper Lee

Published Monday, April 27, 2015 @ 4:32 PM EDT
Apr 27 2015

Nelle Harper Lee (b. April 28, 1926) is an American novelist widely known for her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird which deals with the racism she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Though Lee only published this single book for half a century, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Lee has received numerous honorary degrees, and declined to speak on each occasion. Lee assisted close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.

As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don't think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, 'I'm probably no better than you, but I'm certainly your equal.'

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it, hotheadedness isn't.

But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honourable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal.

Every mob in every little Southern town is always made up of people you know- doesn't say much for them, does it?

Folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.

Havin' a gun around's an invitation to somebody to shoot you.

I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year.

I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you.

Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere.

Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.

Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.

Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street.

People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

She was born in the Objective case.

She's an old lady and she's ill. You just hold your head high and be a gentleman. Whatever she says to you, it's your job not to let her make you mad.

Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who- who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.

The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.

The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets-

There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us.

There's just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say hidy to 'em. Even then, they ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em.

Things are always better in the morning.

Things are never as bad as they seem.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, an evasion simply muddles 'em.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.


(April 28 is also the birthday of Jay Leno and Terry Pratchett.)

Categories: Harper Lee, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Herbert Spencer

Published Sunday, April 26, 2015 @ 7:00 PM EDT
Apr 26 2015

Herbert Spencer (April 27, 1820 – December 8, 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era. Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies. He was an enthusiastic exponent of evolution and even wrote about evolution before Darwin did. As a polymath, he contributed to a wide range of subjects, including ethics, religion, anthropology, economics, political theory, philosophy, literature, biology, sociology, and psychology. During his lifetime he achieved tremendous authority, mainly in English-speaking academia. The only other English philosopher to have achieved anything like such widespread popularity was Bertrand Russell, and that was in the 20th century. Spencer was the single most famous European intellectual in the closing decades of the nineteenth century but his influence declined sharply after 1900. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions.

Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, may truly be called the efflorescence of civilised life.

Education has for its object the formation of character. To curb restive propensities, to awaken dormant sentiments, to strengthen the perceptions, and cultivate the tastes, to encourage this feeling and repress that, so as finally to develop the child into a man of well proportioned and harmonious nature- this is alike the aim of parent and teacher.

Equity knows no difference of sex. In its vocabulary the word man must be understood in a generic, and not in a specific sense.

Every cause produces more than one effect.

Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.

Every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberties by every other man.

Every pleasure raises the tide of life; every pain lowers the tide of life.

Evolution is definable as a change from an incoherent homogeneity to a coherent heterogeneity, accompanying the dissipation of motion and integration of matter.

How often misused words generate misleading thoughts!

If a single cell, under appropriate conditions, becomes a man in the space of a few years, there can surely be no difficulty in understanding how, under appropriate conditions, a cell may, in the course of untold millions of years, give origin to the human race.

Like the majority of men who are born to a given belief they demand the most rigorous proof of any adverse belief but assume that their own needs none.

Limiting the liberty of each by the like liberty of all, excludes a wide range of improper actions, but does not exclude certain other improper ones.

Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries, or distinctions of race.

Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts- as the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare.

No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.

Old forms of government finally grow so oppressive, that they must be thrown off even at the risk of reigns of terror.

Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.

People... become so preoccupied with the means by which an end is achieved, as eventually to mistake it for the end.

Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity.

Surely if a single cell may, when subjected to certain influences, become a man in the space of twenty years; there is nothing absurd in the hypothesis that under certain other influences, a cell may, in the course of millions of years, give origin to the human race.

The blindness of those who think it absurd to suppose that complex organic forms may have arisen by successive modifications out of simple ones becomes astonishing when we remember that complex organic forms are daily being thus produced. A tree differs from a seed immeasurably in every respect... Yet is the one changed in the course of a few years into the other: changed so gradually, that at no moment can it be said- Now the seed ceases to be, and the tree exists.

The essential trait in the moral consciousness, is the control of some feeling or feelings by some other feeling or feelings.

The fact disclosed by a survey of the past that majorities have usually been wrong, must not blind us to the complementary fact that majorities have usually not been entirely wrong.

The primary use of knowledge is for such guidance of conduct under all circumstances as shall make living complete. All other uses of knowledge are secondary.

The Republican form of government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature- a type nowhere at present existing.

The saying that beauty is but skin deep is but a skin-deep saying.

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.

Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all.

Time: That which man is always trying to kill, but which ends in killing him.

Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious.

We have to deal with man as a product of evolution, with society as a product of evolution, and with moral phenomena as products of evolution.

We too often forget that not only is there 'a soul of goodness in things evil,' but very generally also, a soul of truth in things erroneous.

When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don't care if they are shot themselves.

With a higher moral nature will come a restriction on the multiplication of the inferior.


(April 27 is also the birthday of Ulysses S. Grant.)

Categories: Herbert Spencer, Quotes of the day

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