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Quotes of the day: Thor Heyerdahl

Published Friday, April 17, 2015 @ 4:39 PM EDT
Apr 17 2015

Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914 – April 18, 2002) was a Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer with a background in zoology, botany, and geography. He became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between separate cultures. This was linked to a diffusionist model of cultural development. Heyerdahl subsequently made other voyages designed to demonstrate the possibility of contact between widely separated ancient people. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A civilized nation can have no enemies, and one cannot draw a line across a map, a line that doesn't even exist in nature and say that the ugly enemy lives on the one side, and good friends live on the other.

Any political picture can be changed to suit the needs of the powers that be.

Borders I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.

But if we begin thinking about the world being over 100 million years old, then it's absolutely by chance that you and I are sitting here alive today, while all the others are dead or have never been born.

Circumstances cause us to act the way we do. We should always bear this in mind before judging the actions of others.

Civilization grew in the beginning from the minute that we had communication- particularly communication by sea that enabled people to get inspiration and ideas from each other and to exchange basic raw materials.

For every minute, the future is becoming the past.

I also believe that when one dies, one may wake up to the reality that proves that time does not exist.

I don't believe in war as a solution to any kind of conflict, nor do I believe in heroism on the battlefield because I have never seen any.

I have never been able to grasp the meaning of time. I don't believe it exists. I've felt this again and again, when alone and out in nature. On such occasions, time does not exist. Nor does the future exist.

I was in uniform for four years, and I know that heroism doesn't occur from taking orders, but rather from people who through their own willpower and strength are willing to sacrifice their lives for an idea.

In fighting nature, man can win every battle except the last. If he should win that too, he will perish, like an embryo cutting its own umbilical cord.

In my experience, it is rarer to find a really happy person in a circle of millionaires than among vagabonds.

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch.

It is progress when a centuries-old oak is cut down to give space for a road sign.

It is progress when weapons are improved to kill more people at a longer range.

Man invents the most inhuman armaments to assault others so like himself that uniforms are needed to distinguish between friend and foe.

Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.

One learns more from listening than speaking. And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls.

Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity.

The Kon-Tiki expedition opened my eyes to what the ocean really is. It is a conveyor and not an isolator. The ocean has been man's highway from the days he built the first buoyant ships, long before he tamed the horse, invented wheels, and cut roads through the virgin jungles.

The most important thing we can learn from the past is that no earlier civilization has survived.

Those who have experienced the most, have suffered so much that they have ceased to hate. Hate is more for those with a slightly guilty conscience, and who by chewing on old hate in times of peace wish to demonstrate how great they were during the war.

We have always been taught that navigation is the result of civilization, but modern archeology has demonstrated very clearly that this is not so.

We must wake up to the insane reality of our time. We are all irresponsible, unless we demand from the responsible decision makers that modern armaments must no longer be made available to people whose former battle axes and swords our ancestors condemned.


(April 18 is also the birthday of Clarence Darrow and Conan O'Brien.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thor Heyerdahl

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Quotes of the day: Thornton Wilder

Published Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 6:12 PM EDT
Apr 16 2015

Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth- and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.

I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts.

I am not interested in the ephemeral- such subjects as the adulteries of dentists. I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the millions.

I hold that we cannot be said to be aware of our minds save under responsibility.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.

I not only bow to the inevitable, I am fortified by it.

I think that it can be assumed that no adults are ever really 'shocked'- that being shocked is always a pose.

I would love to be the poet laureate of Coney Island.

I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for- whether it's a field, or a home, or a country.

If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.

Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse.

In love's service, only the wounded soldier can serve.

It is only dogs that never bite their masters.

It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

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.

Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.

Love is an energy which exists of itself. It is its own value.

Love, though it expends itself in generosity and thoughtfulness, though it gives birth to visions and to great poetry, remains among the sharpest expressions of self-interest. Not until it has passed through a long servitude, through its own self-hatred, through mockery, through great doubts, can it take its place among the loyalties.

Man is not an end but a beginning. We are at the beginning of the second week. We are children of the eighth day.

Many who have spent a lifetime can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.

Marriage is a bribe to make a housekeeper think she's a householder.

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it is on your plate.

Nature reserves the right to inflict upon her children the most terrifying jests.

Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners- your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards- who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.

Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.

Nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modestly around it. Then you'll have the miser who's no liar; and the drunkard who's the benefactor of the whole city.

People are meant to go through life two by two. 'Tain't natural to be lonesome.

Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.

The comic spirit is given to us in order that we may analyze, weigh, and clarify things in us which nettle us, or which we are outgrowing, or trying to reshape.

The difference between a little money and no money at all is enormous...and the difference between a little money and an enormous amount of money is very slight.

The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.

The planting of trees is the least self-centered of all that we do. It is a purer act of faith than the procreation of children.

The public for which masterpieces are intended is not of this earth.

The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.

There is no drunkenness equal to that of remembering whispered words in the night.'

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Those who are silent, self-effacing and attentive become the recipients of confidences.

When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery... He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift... There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.

Wherever you come near the human race there's layers and layers of nonsense.

Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want.


(April 17 is also the birthday of Isak Dinesen.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thornton Wilder

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Quotes of the day: Anatole France

Published Wednesday, April 15, 2015 @ 4:23 PM EDT
Apr 15 2015

Anatole France (born François-Anatole Thibault, April 16 1844 – October 12, 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance.

A tale without love is like beef without mustard: insipid.

A woman without breasts is like a bed without pillows.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

All the historical books which contain no lies are extremely tedious.

America, where thanks to Congress, there are forty million laws to enforce the Ten Commandments.

Christianity has done a great deal for love by making it a sin.

He who undertakes to guide men must never lose sight of the fact that they are malicious monkeys.... The folly of the revolution was in aiming to establish virtue on the earth. When you want to make men good and wise, free, moderate, generous, you are led inevitably to the desire of killing them all.

I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.

I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the wisdom of indifference.

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

If it were absolutely necessary to choose, I would rather be guilty of an immoral act than of a cruel one.

Ignorance and error are necessary to life, like bread and water.

In art as in love, instinct is enough.

In every well governed state, wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing.

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue.

Intelligent women always marry fools.

Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.

It is by acts, and not by ideas that people live.

It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.

It is in the ability to deceive oneself that one shows the greatest talent.

It is only the poor who pay cash, and that not from virtue, but because they are refused credit.

It is well for the heart to be naive and for the mind not to be.

Lovers who love truly do not write down their happiness.

Man is a rational animal. He can think up a reason for anything he wants to believe.

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil.

Of all the ways of defining man, the worst is the one which makes him out to be a rational animal.

Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women's clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.

People who have no weaknesses are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.

That man is prudent who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future.

The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will be endless.

The finest words in the world are only vain sounds, if you cannot comprehend them.

The gods conform scrupulously to the sentiments of their worshippers: they have reasons for so doing.

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

Time deals gently only with those who take it gently.

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.

We reproach people for talking about themselves but it is the subject they treat best.

When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.

You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.


(April 16 is also the birthday of Charlie Chaplin.)

Categories: Anatole France, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Leonardo da Vinci

Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 @ 3:59 PM EDT
Apr 14 2015

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination". According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not.

A well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.

Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness.

Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!

Every action needs to be prompted by a motive.

Experience does not err. Only your judgments err by expecting from her what is not in her power.

He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.

He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.

He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.

He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.

How many emperors and how many princes have lived and died and no record of them remains, and they only sought to gain dominions and riches in order that their fame might be ever-lasting.

Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.

I have wasted my hours.

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.

Intellectual passion drives out sensuality.

Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather become frozen: even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.

It is better to imitate ancient than modern work.

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

Just as courage imperils life, fear protects it.

Just as food eaten without appetite is a tedious nourishment, so does study without zeal damage the memory by not assimilating what it absorbs.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Learning never exhausts the mind.

Life well spent is long.

Man and the animals are merely a passage and channel for food, a tomb for other animals, a haven for the dead, giving life by the death of others, a coffer full of corruption.

Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.

Men of genius sometimes accomplish most when they work the least, for they are thinking out inventions and forming in their minds the perfect idea that they subsequently express with their hands.

Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws, she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity.

Nature never breaks her own laws.

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.

Our life is made by the death of others.

People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

People talk to people who perceive nothing, who have open eyes and see nothing; they shall talk to them and receive no answer; they shall adore those who have ears and hear nothing; they shall burn lamps for those who do not see.

Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.

The natural desire of good men is knowledge.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.

The one who relies on authority during a discussion does not use his mind but his memory.

The poet ranks far below the painter in the representation of visible things, and far below the musician in that of invisible things.

The senses are of the earth, the reason stands apart from them in contemplation.

The smallest feline is a masterpiece.

The truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects.

There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.

Time abides long enough for those who make use of it.

To such an extent does nature delight and abound in variety that among her trees there is not one plant to be found which is exactly like another; and not only among the plants, but among the boughs, the leaves and the fruits, you will not find one which is exactly similar to another.

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.

Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.

Who sows virtue reaps honor.

Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?

You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.

You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.


(April 15 is also the birthday of Bruce Sterling and Thomas Szasz.)

Categories: Leonardo da Vinci, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: James Branch Cabell

Published Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 5:38 PM EDT
Apr 13 2015

James Branch Cabell (April 14, 1879 - May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H.L. Mencken, Edmund Wilson, and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his works were most popular. For Cabell, veracity was "the one unpardonable sin, not merely against art, but against human welfare." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.

Everything in life is miraculous. It rests within the power of each of us to awaken from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness.

Good and evil keep very exact accounts... and the face of every man is their ledger.

I ask of literature precisely those things of which I feel the lack in my own life.

It is only by preserving faith in human dreams that we may, after all, perhaps some day make them come true.

No lady is ever a gentleman.

No person of quality ever remembers social restrictions save when considering how most piquantly to break them.

Nobody can live longer in peace than his neighbor chooses.

Our sole concern with the long dead is aesthetic.

Patriotism is the religion of hell.

People marry for a variety of reasons and with varying results. But to marry for love is to invite inevitable tragedy.

People must have both their dreams and their dinners in this world, and when we go out of it we must take what we find. That is all.

People never want to be told anything they do not believe already.

Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is.

Tell the rabble my name is Cabell.

The only way of rendering life endurable is to drink as much wine as one can come by.

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

The touch of time does more than the club of Hercules.

There are many of our so-called captains on industry who, if the truth were told, and a shorter and uglier word were not unpermissible, are little better than malefactors of great wealth.

There is no gift more great than love.

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.

While it is well enough to leave footprints on the sands of time, it is even more important to make sure they point in a commendable direction.

Why is the King of Hearts the only one that hasn't a moustache?


(April 14 is also the birthday of Arnold J. Toynbee and Richard Jeni.)

Categories: James Branch Cabell, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Eudora Welty

Published Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 4:30 PM EDT
Apr 12 2015

Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 - July 23, 2001) was an American author of short stories and novels about the American South. Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards including the Order of the South. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. Her house in Jackson, Mississippi has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum.

The name of the email program Eudora, developed by Steve Dorner in 1990, was inspired by Welty's story "Why I Live at the P.O." Welty was reportedly "pleased and amused" by the tribute. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.

All experience is an enrichment rather than an impoverishment.

Art is never the voice of a country, it is an even more precious thing, the voice of the individual, doing its best to speak, not comfort of any sort, but truth.

Beauty is not a means, not a way of furthering a thing in the world. It is a result; it belongs to ordering, to form, to aftereffect.

Don't give anybody up... or leave anybody out... There's room for everything, and time for everybody, if you take your day the way it comes along and try not to be much later than you can help.

Greater than scene is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.

Human life is fiction's only theme.

If you haven't surprised yourself, you haven't written.

In the end, it takes phenomenal neatness of housekeeping to put it through the heads of men that they are swine.

Is there any sleeping person you can be entirely sure you have not misjudged?

it doesn t matter if it takes a long time getting there; the point is to have a destination.

It is our inward journey that leads us through time- forward or back, seldom in a straight line, most often spiraling. Each of us is moving, changing, with respect to others. As we discover, we remember; remembering, we discover; and most intensely do we experience this when our separate journeys converge. Our living experience at those meeting points is one of the charged dramatic fields of fiction.

It's always taken a lot out of me, being smart.

Never think you've seen the last of anything.

One place understood helps us understand all places better.

People are mostly layers of violence and tenderness wrapped like bulbs, and it is difficult to say what makes them onions or hyacinths.

People give pain, are callous and insensitive, empty and cruel... but place heals the hurt, soothes the outrage, fills the terrible vacuum that these human beings make.

The difficulty that accompanies you is less like the dark than a trusted lantern to see your way by.

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.

The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.

The fantasies of dying could be no stranger than the fantasies of living. Survival is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all.

There is absolutely everything in great fiction but a clear answer.

We are the breakers of our own hearts.

When somebody, no matter who, gives everything, it makes people feel ashamed for him.

Write about what you don't know about what you know.


(April 13 is also the birthday of Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Beckett.)

Categories: Eudora Welty, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: David Letterman

Published Saturday, April 11, 2015 @ 6:59 PM EDT
Apr 11 2015

David Michael Letterman (b. April 12, 1947) is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer, and actor. He hosts the late night television talk show Late Show with David Letterman, broadcast on CBS. Letterman has been a fixture on late night television since the 1982 debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC. In 1996, David Letterman was ranked #45 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. In 2013, Letterman surpassed friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in TV history, at 31 years. On April 3, 2014, Letterman announced he would retire in 2015. He will host the Late Show for the last time on May 20, 2015. CBS announced that Stephen Colbert will take his place. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.

Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.

I have found that the only thing that does bring you happiness is doing something good for somebody who is incapable of doing it for themselves.

I saw a robin redbreast in Central Park today, but it turned out to be a sparrow with an exit wound.

I'm a magical being. Take off your bra.
(From Top Ten Elven Pickup Lines)

If it wasn't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsover.

Ivory Soap: 99.44 percent pure, .56 percent deadly radon gas.

New York now leads the world's great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn't make a sudden move.

New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you.

Next in importance to having a good aim is to recognize when to pull the trigger.

People say New Yorkers can't get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and the radio; the other guy took the engine.

The flight to Mars is six months; eight, if you leave from Newark.

The next time, for God's sake, let's at least do a background check before we make someone President.

The Post Office is raising the price of postage. Hey, ammo's expensive.

The worst tempered people I have ever met were those who knew that they were wrong.

There is no off position on the genius switch.

There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting.

There's only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And, I believe- because I've done a little of this myself- pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.

Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.

Two creative spirits in a relationship, I don't think that's the best way to go.

When you go to the mind reader, do you get half price?

Wherever we've travelled in this great land of ours, we've found that people everywhere are about 90% water.

You look into his eyes, and you get the feeling someone else is driving.


(April 12 is also the birthday of Tom Clancy.)

Categories: David Letterman, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Charles Evans Hughes

Published Friday, April 10, 2015 @ 4:11 PM EDT
Apr 10 2015

Charles Evans Hughes Sr. (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was an American statesman, lawyer and Republican politician from New York. He served as the 36th Governor of New York (1907–1910), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1910–1916), United States Secretary of State (1921–1925), a judge on the Court of International Justice (1928–1930), and the 11th Chief Justice of the United States (1930–1941). He was the Republican candidate in the 1916 U.S. Presidential election, losing narrowly to incumbent President Woodrow Wilson. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.

At the constitutional level where we work, ninety percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections.

Freedom of expression gives the essential democratic oppurtunity, but self-restraint is the essential civic discipline.

Great powers agreeing among themselves may indeed hold small powers in check. But who will hold great powers in check when great powers disagree?

I think that it is a fallacy to suppose that helpful cooperation in the future will be assured by the attempted compulsion of an inflexible rule.

No greater mistake can be made than to think that our institutions are fixed or may not be changed for the worse.

Our institutions were not devised to bring about uniformity of opinion; if they had we might well abandon hope.

Publicity is a great purifier because it sets in action the forces of public opinion, and in this country public opinion controls the courses of the nation.

The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets... the press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.

The most ominous spirit of our times, as it seems to me, is the indication of the growth of an intolerent spirit.

The pathway of peace is the longest and most beset with obstacles the human race has to tread; the goal may be distant, but we must press on.

The peril of this Nation is not in any foreign foe! We, the people, are its power, its peril, and its hope!

The power of administrative bodies to make finding of fact which may be treated as conclusive, if there is evidence both ways, is a power of enormous consequence. An unscrupulous administrator might be tempted to say 'Let me find the facts for the people of my country, and I care little who lays down the general principles.'

There is no path to peace except as the will of peoples may open to it. The way of peace is through agreement, not through force.

Time has shown how illusory are alliances of great powers so far as the maintenance of peace is concerned. In considering the use of international force to secure peace, we are again brought to the fundamental necessity of common accord.

We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and of our property under the Constitution.

We may gain something in our quest for peace if we recognize at once that war is not an abnormality. In the truest sense, it is not the mere play of brute force. It is the expression of the insistent human will, inflexible in its purpose.

We still proclam the old ideals of liberty but we cannot voice them without anxiety in our hearts. The question is no longer one of establishing democratic institutions but of preserving them.

When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

While democracy must have its organizations and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty.


(April 11 is also the birthday of Ellen Goodman.)

Categories: Charles Evans Hughes, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Anne Lamott

Published Thursday, April 09, 2015 @ 3:59 PM EDT
Apr 09 2015

Anne Lamott (b. April 10, 1954) is an American novelist and non-fiction writer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


'No' is a complete sentence.

A good marriage is where both people feel like they're getting the better end of the deal.

Expectations are resentments under construction.

Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.

I spent my whole life helping my mother carry around her psychic trunks like a bitter bellhop. So a great load was lifted when she died, and my life was much easier.

I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.

I was raised by my parents to believe that you had a moral obligation to try and help save the world.

I wish I had thrown out the bathroom scale at age 16. Weighing yourself every morning is like waking up and asking Dick Cheney to validate your sense of inner worth.

I'm here to be me, which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped.

If the present is really all we have, then the present lasts forever.

It's better to be kind than to be right.

It's so awful, attacking your child. It's the worse thing I know, to shout loudly at this 50 lb. being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It's like bitch-slapping E.T.

Joy is the best makeup.

Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.

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.

My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.

Never compare your insides to everyone else's outsides.

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.

One hundred years from now? All new people.

Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting.

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.

Some people won't go the extra mile, and then on their birthday, when no one makes a fuss, they feel neglected and bitter.

The difference between you and God is that God doesn't think He's you.

The reason I never give up hope is because everything is so basically hopeless.

The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.

You can either practice being right or practice being kind.

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.


(April 10 is also the birthday of Evelyn Waugh.)

Categories: Anne Lamott, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Charles Baudelaire

Published Wednesday, April 08, 2015 @ 3:15 PM EDT
Apr 08 2015

Charles Pierre Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 - August 31, 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle.

Above all else, it is residence in the teeming cities, it is the crossroads of numberless relations that gives birth to this obsessional ideal.

Alas, the vices of man, as horrifying as they are presumed to be, contain proof (if only in their infinite expansiveness!) of his bent for the infinite.

All beauties, like all possible phenomena, have something of the eternal and something of the ephemeral— of the absolute and the particular.

Always be a poet, even in prose.

Everything that gives pleasure has its reason. To scorn the mobs of those who go astray is not the means to bring them around.

Everything, alas, is an abyss, - actions, desires, dreams, Words!

Evil happens without effort, naturally, inevitably; good is always the product of skill.

For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.

Genius is only childhood recovered at will, childhood now gifted to express itself with the faculties of manhood and with the analytic mind that allows him to give order to the heap of unwittingly hoarded material.

God is the only being who need not even exist in order to reign.

I am unable to understand how a man of honor can take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

If, by some misfortune, we understood each other, we would never agree.

Imagination is the queen of truth, and possibility is one of the regions of truth. She is positively akin to infinity.

It is at once by way of poetry and through poetry, as with music, that the soul glimpses splendors from beyond the tomb

It is by universal misunderstanding that we agree with each other.

It is imagination that has taught man the moral sense of color, of contour, of sound and of scent. It created, in the beginning of the world, analogy and metaphor. It disassembles creation, and with materials gathered and arranged by rules whose origin is only to be found in the very depths of the soul, it creates a new world, it produces the sensation of the new. As it has created the world (this can be said, I believe, even in the religious sense), it is just that it should govern it.

It is necessary to work, if not from inclination, at least from despair. As it turns out, work is less boring than amusing oneself.

Modernity is the transitory, fugitive, contingent, is but one half of art, of which the other half is the eternal and immutable.

One can only forget about time by making use of it.

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing.

Perhaps it would be sweet to be, in turn, both victim and executioner.

Progress, that great heresy of degenerates.

The act of love strongly resembles torture or surgery.

The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.

The loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.

The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes.

The soul is a thing so impalpable, so often useless and sometimes so embarrassing that I suffered, upon losing it, a little less emotion than if I had mislaid, while out on a stroll, my calling-card.

There is in a word, in a verb, something sacred which forbids us from using it recklessly. To handle a language cunningly is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

There is no sweeter pleasure than to surprise a man by giving him more than he hopes for.

This life is a hospital where each patient is possessed by the desire to change his bed.

To be a serviceable man has always seemed to me something quite repulsive.

To be wicked is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that you are; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil from stupidity.

To do one's duty every day and trust in God for tomorrow.

Unable to do away with love, the Church found a way to decontaminate it by creating marriage.

We have psychologized like the insane, who aggravate their madness in struggling to understand it.

What good is it to accomplish projects, when the project itself is enjoyment enough?

What is intoxicating about bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of offensiveness.

What matters an eternity of damnation to someone who has found in one second the infinity of joy?

Whatever is created by the spirit is more alive than matter.

Which one of us has not dreamed, on ambitious days, of the miracle of a poetic prose: musical, without rhythm or rhyme; adaptable enough and discordant enough to conform to the lyrical movements of the soul, the waves of revery, the jolts of consciousness?


(April 9 is also the birthday of Tom Lehrer and Sam Harris.)

Categories: Charles Baudelaire, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Emil Cioran

Published Tuesday, April 07, 2015 @ 4:11 PM EDT
Apr 07 2015

Emil M. Cioran (April 8, 1911 – June 20, 1995) was a Romanian-born writer known for his essays on philosophy and culture and his emphasis on despair, emptiness and death. This guy makes Marvin the Paranoid Android seem like Pharrell Williams. (Click here for his obituary in the New York Times.)


A distant enemy is always preferable to one at the gate.

Beware of euphemisms! They aggravate the horror they are supposed to disguise.

Chaos is rejecting all you have learned. Chaos is being yourself.

Consciousness is nature's nightmare.

Ennui is the echo in us of time tearing itself apart.

Fear is the antidote to boredom: the remedy must be stronger than the disease.

For you who no longer possess it, freedom is everything, for us who do, it is merely an illusion.

He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama.

I am displeased with everything. If they made me God, I would immediately resign.

I dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws.

If there is anyone who owes everything to Bach, it is God.

Intelligence flourishes only in the ages when belief withers.

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

It's not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.

Losing love is so rich a philosophical ordeal that it makes a hairdresser into a rival of Socrates.

Music is everything. God himself is nothing more than an acoustic hallucination.

Nothing is worse than the coarseness and meanness we perpetrate out of timidity.

One hardly saves a world without ruling it.

One of the greatest delusions of the average man is to forget that life is death's prisoner.

Reality is a creation of our excesses.

Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.

Society is not a disease, it is a disaster. What a stupid miracle that one can live in it.

Tell me how you want to die, and I'll tell you who you are.

The Creation was the first act of sabotage.

The ideal being? An angel ravaged by humor.

There are questions which, once approached, either isolate you or kill you outright.

There is no means of proving it is preferable to be than not to be.

To hope is to contradict the future.

Utopia is a mixture of childish rationalism and secularized angelism.

Categories: Emil Cioran, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Jerry Brown

Published Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 6:34 PM EDT
Apr 06 2015

Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown Jr. (b. April 7, 1938) is an American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party who has served as the 39th Governor of California since 2011, having previously served as California's 34th Governor from 1975 to 1983. Both before and after his original two terms as Governor, Brown served in numerous state, local and party positions and he has three times run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Automation and technology would be a great boon if it were creative, if there were more leisure, more opportunity to engage in raising a family, providing guidance to the young, all the stuff we say we need. America will work if we're all in it together. It'll work when there's a shared sense of destiny. It can be done!

I like computers. I like the Internet. It's a tool that can be used. But don't be misled into thinking that these technologies are anything other than aspects of a degenerate economic system.

In some cases, managers and employees have secured pensions beyond their original base salary. It is wrong, the people doing it know it's wrong, and we have to put an end to it.

Inaction may be the biggest form of action.

It looks to me to be obvious that the whole world cannot eat an American diet.

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.

Jobs for every American is doomed to failure because of modern automation and production. We ought to recognize it and create an income-maintenance system so every single American has the dignity and the wherewithal for shelter, basic food, and medical care. I'm talking about welfare for all. Without it, you're going to have warfare for all.

Multinational corporations do control. They control the politicians. They control the media. They control the pattern of consumption, entertainment, thinking. They're destroying the planet and laying the foundation for violent outbursts and racial division.

Pension reform can be hard to talk about. In the long run, reform now means fewer demands for layoffs and less draconian measures in the future. It's in the best interest of all Californians to fix this system now.

Prisons don't rehabilitate, they don't punish, they don't protect, so what the hell do they do?

Several unions have agreed to larger employee contributions for their members. Taxpayers are living with cuts and making sacrifices to deal with the reality of California's budget crisis, state workers are going to have to do the same.

The conventional viewpoint says we need a jobs program and we need to cut welfare. Just the opposite! We need more welfare and fewer jobs.

The government is becoming the family of last resort.

The reason that everybody likes planning is that nobody has to do anything.

Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases.

We have to be realistic about what the state can afford, and put an end to abuses of the system that cost millions.

We have to deal with where we are. We have to create cooperatives, we have to create intentional communities, we have to work for local cooperation where we are.

We have to restore power to the family, to the neighborhood, and the community with a non-market principle, a principle of equality, of charity, of let's-take-care-of-one-another. That's the creative challenge.

When the farmer can sell directly to the consumer, it is a more active process. There's more contact. The consumer can know, who am I buying this from? What's their name? Do they have a face? Is the food they are selling coming out of Mexico with pesticides?

Where there is a sufficient social movement of self-reliant communities, there can be political change. There must be political change.


(April 7 is also the birthday of Williams Wordsworth.)

Categories: Jerry Brown, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Nicolas Chamfort

Published Sunday, April 05, 2015 @ 7:03 PM EDT
Apr 05 2015

Sébastien-Roch Nicolas, also known as Chamfort (April 6, 1741 – April 13, 1794), was a French writer, best known for his witty epigrams and aphorisms. He was secretary to Louis XVI's sister, and of the Jacobin club. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good number of works owe their success to the mediocrity of their authors' ideas, which match the mediocrity of those of the general public.

A man is not necessarily intelligent because he has plenty of ideas, any more than he is a good general because he has plenty of soldiers.

A philosopher told me that, having examined the civil and political order of societies, he now studied nothing except the savages in the books of explorers, and children in everyday life.

A witty woman once told me something which may well be the genuine secret of her sex: that in choosing a lover each one of her kind takes more account of how other women regard him than of how she regards him herself.

After a certain age, any new friends we make in our attempt to replace the ones we've lost are like glass eyes, false teeth and wooden legs.

An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough- edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living.

And so I leave this world, where the heart must either break or turn to lead. (Suicide note)

Anyone who relies too heavily on reason to achieve happiness, who analyses it, who, so to speak, quibbles over his enjoyment and can accept only refined pleasures, ends up not having any at all. He's like a man who wants to get rid of all the lumps in his mattress and eventually ends up sleeping on bare boards.

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

Both the court and the general public give a conventional value to men and things, and then are surprised to find themselves deceived by it. This is as if arithmeticians should give a variable an arbitrary value to the figures in a sum, and then, after restoring their true and regular value in the addition, be astonished at the incorrectness of their answer.

Chance is a nickname for Providence.

Economists are surgeons... who operate beautifully on the dead and torment the living.

Every day I add to the list of things I refuse to discuss. The wiser the man, the longer the list.

Few people are prepared to use their reason without fear or favor, or bold enough to apply it relentlessly to every moral, political and social issue: to kings and ministers, to men in high places... And if we don't, we're doomed to remain mediocre.

Good taste, tact, and propriety have more in common than men of letters affect to believe. Tact is good taste applied to bearing and conduct, and propriety is good taste applied to conversation.

Having lots of ideas doesn't mean you're clever, any more than having lots of soldiers means you're a good general.

High society is a poor play, a bad, boring opera, made slightly better by its staging, costumes and scenery.

I believe that illusions are necessary to man, yet live without illusion; I believe that the passions are more profitable than reason, and yet no longer know what passion is.

I once read that there's nothing worse for everyone concerned than a reign that's lasted too long. I've also heard that God is eternal.

I only study the things I like; I apply my mind only to matters that interest me. They'll be useful- or useless- to me or to others in due course, I'll be given- or not given- the opportunity of benefiting from what I've learned. In any case, I'll have enjoyed the inestimable advantage of doing things I like doing and following my own inclinations.

I've destroyed my passions, rather like a violent man who, finding he can't control his horse, kills it.

In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are.

In the world you have three sorts of friends: your friends who love you, your friends who do not care about you and your friends who hate you.

It is safe to wager that every public idea and every accepted convention is sheer foolishness, because it has suited the majority.

Love is like epidemic diseases. The more one fears it, the more likely one is to contract it.

Love, a pleasant folly; ambition, a serious stupidity.

Middle-class women who entertain the hope or fancy of being something in the world, lose Nature's happiness and miss Society's. They are the most unfortunate creatures I have known.

Money is the greatest concern for small characters, but is nothing but the smallest for great characters.

Most social institutions seem to be designed to keep man in a state of intellectual and emotional mediocrity that makes him more fit to govern or be governed.

My whole life is woven of threads which are in blatant contrast to my principles.

Nature didn't tell me 'Don't be poor'; and certainly didn't say: 'Get rich'; but she did shout: 'Always be independent!'

People are always annoyed by men of letters who retreat from the world; they expect them to continue to show interest in society even though they gain little benefit from it. They would like to force them be present when lots are being drawn in a lottery for which they have no tickets.

Petty souls are more susceptible to ambition than great ones, just as straw or thatched cottages burn more easily than palaces.

Poets, orators, even philosophes, say the same things about fame we were told as boys to encourage us to win prizes. What they tell children to make them prefer being praised to eating jam tarts is the same idea constantly drummed into us to encourage us to sacrifice our real interests in the hope of being praised by our contemporaries or by posterity.

Poverty puts crime at a discount.

Public opinion reigns in society because stupidity reigns amongst the stupid.

Running a house should be left to innkeepers.

Society is not, as is commonly supposed, the development of nature, but rather her dismantling and entire recasting. It is a second building made from the ruins of the first.

Stubbornness equals character roughly as lust equals love.

The art of the parenthesis is one of the great secrets of eloquence in Society.

The most completely wasted of all days is that in which we have not laughed.

The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed.

The only thing that stops God from sending another flood is that the first one was useless.

The only thing that stops God sending a second Flood is that the first one was useless.

The public is governed as it reasons; its own prerogative is foolish speech and that of its governors is foolish action.

The things you know best are: first, those you know intuitively; second, those you've learned from experience; third, those you've learned not from but through books and the ideas they've inspired in you; and finally, those you've learned in books and from your teachers.

There are girls who manage to sell themselves, whom no one would take as gifts.

There are more fools than wise men, and even in a wise man there is more folly than wisdom.

There are well-dressed foolish ideas just as there are well-dressed fools.

There is a kind of harmful modesty which... sometimes affects men of superior character to their detriment by keeping them in a state of mediocrity. I am reminded of the remark that a certain gentleman of acknowledged eminence once made at luncheon to some persons of the Court, 'How bitterly I regret the time I wasted merely to learn how superior I am to all of you!'

Unfortunately for mankind- and perhaps fortunately for tyrants- the poor and downtrodden lack the instinct or pride of the elephant, who refuses to breed in captivity.

Categories: Nicolas Chamfort, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Robert Bloch

Published Saturday, April 04, 2015 @ 6:44 PM EDT
Apr 04 2015

Robert Albert Bloch (April 5, 1917 – September 23, 1994) was a prolific American fiction writer, primarily of crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock. He wrote that "Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk," (a quote borrowed by Stephen King and often misattributed to him). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A boy's best friend is his mother.

A foolish man tells a woman to stop talking, but a wise man tells her that her mouth is extremely beautiful when her lips are closed.

Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.

Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings.

Funny how we take it for granted that we know all there is to know about another person, just because we see them frequently or because of some strong emotional tie.

Horror is the removal of masks.

How can we be sure that our smug conceptions of reality actually exist? To one man in a million dreadful knowledge is revealed, and the rest of us remain mercifully ignorant.

Hutchison's Law: Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction.

I always carry a pistol when I go (to the New York Public Library). Never did trust those stone lions.

I haven't had this much fun since the rats ate my baby sister.

I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times.

Life is only a bedtime story before a long, long sleep.

Magic- that's just a label, you know. Completely meaningless. It wasn't so very long ago that people were saying that electricity was magic.

Mothers sometimes are overly possessive, but not all children allow themselves to be possessed.

So I had this problem- work or starve. So I thought I'd combine the two and decided to become a writer.

So much for modern science and its wonderful discoveries that just about everything can kill you.

The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.

There's nothing to this telepathy business. It's all in the mind.

We all go a little mad sometimes.

We're all not quite as sane as we pretend to be.


(April 5 is also the birthday of Booker T. Washington, Thomas Hobbes, and Bette Davis.)

Categories: Psycho, Quotes of the day, Robert Bloch

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Quotes of the day: William Henry Harrison

Published Friday, April 03, 2015 @ 3:44 PM EDT
Apr 03 2015

William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was the ninth President of the United States (1841), an American military officer and politician, and the last President born as a British subject. He was also the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when inaugurated, the oldest president to take office until Ronald Reagan in 1981. Harrison died on his 32nd day in office of complications from pneumonia, serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. His death sparked a brief constitutional crisis, but its resolution settled many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until the passage of the 25th Amendment in 1967. He was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, who was the 23rd President, from 1889 to 1893. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A decent and manly examination of the acts of government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.

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

I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.

I proceed to state in as summary a manner as I can my opinion of the sources of the evils which have been so extensively complained of.... Some of the former are unquestionably to be found in the defects of the Constitution; others, in my judgment, are attributable to a misconstruction of some of its provisions. Of the former is the eligibility of the same individual to a second term of the Presidency.

If parties in a republic are necessary to secure a degree of vigilance sufficient to keep the public functionaries within the bounds of law and duty, at that point their usefulness ends. Beyond that they become destructive of public virtue, the parent of a spirit antagonist to that of liberty, and eventually its inevitable conqueror.

Our citizens must be content with the exercise of the powers with which the Constitution clothes them.

Sir, I wish to understand the true principles of the Government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.

The broad foundation upon which our Constitution rests being the people-a breath of theirs having made, as a breath can unmake, change, or modify it-it can be assigned to none of the great divisions of government but to that of democracy.

The chains of military despotism, once fastened upon a nation, ages might pass away before they could be shaken off.

The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.

The people are the best guardians of their own rights and it is the duty of their executive to abstain from interfering in or thwarting the sacred exercise of the lawmaking functions of their government.

The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.

The prudent capitalist will never adventure his capital... if there exists a state of uncertainty as to whether the Government will repeal tomorrow what it has enacted today.

There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.

Times change, and we change with them.


(April 4 is also the birthday of Maya Angelou.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Henry Harrison

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Quotes of the day: Herb Caen

Published Thursday, April 02, 2015 @ 5:02 PM EDT
Apr 02 2015

Herbert Eugene "Herb" Caen (April 3, 1916 – February 2, 1997) was a San Francisco journalist whose daily column of local goings-on and insider gossip, social and political happenings, painful puns and offbeat anecdotes— "a continuous love letter to San Francisco"— appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 60 years (excepting a brief defection to the San Francisco Examiner), and made him a household name throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A cable car may be the last surviving piece of public transportation that is still fun to ride.

A city is a crazy concrete jungle whose people at the end of each day somehow make a small step ahead against terrible odds.

A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.

A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.

All American cars are basically Chevrolets.

Americans are pragmatic, relatively uncomplicated, hearty and given to broad humor.

Cockroaches and socialites are the only things that can stay up all night and eat anything.

I have a memory like an elephant. I remember every elephant I've ever met.

I ride Muni to get closer to The People, who I wish would get closer to deodorants.

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

Isn't it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?

Logic is no answer to passion.

Martinis are like breasts, one isn't enough, and three is too many.

New Yorkers are stuck in a gloomy mucilage of mutual commiseration.

Satire of satire tends to be self-canceling, and deliberate shock tactics soon lose their ability to shock, especially when they're too deliberate.

Spring training! One of the nicest two-word phrases in the language, along with 'check enclosed,' 'open bar,' and 'class dismissed.'

The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever.

The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.

The world of Manhattan is small and tightly knit, and the man on top retains a certain humility. He knows how far and fast he can fall by looking at the guy across the street. The view from the $250,000 apartment covers a lot of ground, most of it condemned.

There are more of them than us.

When a place advertises itself as 'World Famous,' you may be sure it isn't.


(April 3 is also the birthday of George Herbert and Washington Irving.)

Categories: Herb Caen, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Émile Zola

Published Wednesday, April 01, 2015 @ 3:44 PM EDT
Apr 01 2015

Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (April 2, 1840 – September 29, 1902) was a French writer, the most well- known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'accuse. Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902 (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A god of kindness would be charitable to all. Your god of wrath and punishment is but a monstrous phantasy...It is not necessary that one should humble oneself to deserve assistance, it is sufficient that one should suffer.

Anyone who promises to change everything for you all at once is either a fool or a rogue!

Bah! What does it matter? Well, there's nothing hereafter. We are even madder than the fools who kill themselves for a woman. When the earth splits to pieces in space like a dry walnut, our works won't add one atom to its dust.

Civilization will not attain perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.

Did not one spend the first half of one's days in dreams of happiness and the second half in regrets and terrors?

Everything is only a dream.

Have you ever reflected that posterity may not be the faultless dispenser of justice that we dream of?

I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don't care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity. I am at ease in my generation.

I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul.

If I cannot overwhelm with my quality, I will overwhelm with my quantity.

If people can just love each other a little bit, they can be so happy.

If something's just, I'll let myself be hacked to bits for it.

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud!

If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.

One forges one's style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.

Perfection is such a nuisance that I often regret having cured myself of using tobacco.

Sin ought to be something exquisite, my dear boy.

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.

The day is not far off when one ordinary carrot may be pregnant with revolution.

The past was but the cemetery of our illusions: one simply stubbed one's toes on the gravestones.

The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it.

There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.

When you have a sorrow that is too great it leaves no room for any other.


(April 2 is also the birthday of Casanova and Kenneth Tynan.)

Categories: Émile Zola, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Abraham Maslow

Published Tuesday, March 31, 2015 @ 4:22 PM EDT
Mar 31 2015

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self- actualization. Maslow was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a "bag of symptoms." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.

But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.

Classic economic theory, based as it is on an inadequate theory of human motivation, could be revolutionized by accepting the reality of higher human needs, including the impulse to self actualization and the love for the highest values.

Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.

Education is learning to grow, learning what to grow toward, learning what is good and bad, learning what is desirable and undesirable, learning what to choose and what not to choose.

Human beings seem to be far more autonomous and self-governed than modern psychological theory allows for.

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I'd still swim. And I'd despise the one who gave up.

If swindling pays, then it will not stop. The definition of the good society is one in which virtue pays. I can now add a slight variation on this; you cannot have a good society unless virtue pays.nded.

If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.

If you tell me you have a personality problem, I am not certain until I know you better whether to say "Good" or "I'm sorry". It depends on the reasons. And these, it seems, may be bad reasons, or they may be good reasons.

Laugh at what you hold sacred, and still hold it sacred.

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.

One of the goals of education should be to teach that life is precious.

One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities.

Personality problems may sometimes be loud protests against the crushing of one's psychological bones, of one's true inner nature.

Secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communication threaten all the basic needs.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

The best product should be bought, the best man should be rewarded more. Interfering factors which befuddle this triumph of virtue, justice, truth, and efficiency, etc., should be kept to an absolute minimum or should approach zero as a limit.

The fact is that people are good, Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.

The good or healthy society would then be defined as one that permitted people's highest purposes to emerge by satisfying all their basic needs.

The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.

The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy. The study of self-actualizing people must be the basis for a more universal science of psychology.

We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves.

We may define therapy as a search for value.

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.


(April 1 is also the birthday of Otto von Bismarck.)

Categories: Abraham Maslow, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Marge Piercy

Published Monday, March 30, 2015 @ 7:02 PM EDT
Mar 30 2015

Marge Piercy (b. March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of Gone to Soldiers, a New York Times Best Seller and a sweeping historical novel set during World War II. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.

Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.

Doorways are sacred to women for we are the doorways of life and we must choose what comes in and what goes out.

Economy is the bone, politics is the flesh,
watch who they beat and who they eat.

I said, I like my life. If I have to give it back, if they take it from me, let me only not feel I wasted any, let me not feel I forgot to love anyone I meant to love, that I forgot to give what I held in my hands, that I forgot to do some little piece of the work that wanted to come through.

If what we change does not change us, we are playing with blocks.

It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover.

If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.

Love as if you liked yourself, and it may happen.

My idea of Hell is to be young again.

My strength and my weakness are twins in the same womb.

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have.

Remember that every son had a mother whose beloved son he was, and every woman had a mother whose beloved son she wasn't.

Shared laughter is erotic too.

Sleeping together is a euphemism for people, but tantamount to marriage with cats.

The powerful don't make revolutions.

The will to be totally rational is the will to be made out of glass and steel: and to use others as if they were glass and steel.

This life is a war we are not yet winning for our daughters' children. Don't do your enemies' work for them. Finish your own.

We are trying to live as if we were an experiment conducted by the future.

We don't want the melting pot where everybody ends up with thin gruel. We want diversity, for strangeness breeds richness.

What a richly colored strong warm coat is woven when love is the warp and work is the woof.


(March 31 is also the birthday of Barney Frank.)

Categories: Marge Piercy, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Alistair Cooke

Published Sunday, March 29, 2015 @ 6:15 PM EDT
Mar 29 2015

Alfred Alistair Cooke KBE (November 20, 1908 - March 30, 2004) was a British/American journalist, television personality and broadcaster. Outside his journalistic output, which included Letter from America and Alistair Cooke's America, he was well known in the United States as the host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to 1992. After holding the job for 22 years, and having worked in television for 42 years, Cooke retired in 1992, although he continued to present Letter from America until shortly before his death. He was the father of author and folk singer John Byrne Cooke. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A first rate businessman is- saving some ghastly character flaw- always a success, but a successful man is not necessarily first rate.

A professional is someone who can do his best when he doesn't feel like it.

A wise old talks producer came to me and said, 'Cooke, a word in your ear. Could I give you a bit of advice?' I said, 'of course.' He said, 'don't get too popular... or they'll drop you.

All Presidents start out to run a crusade but after a couple of years they find they are running something less heroic and much more intractable: namely the presidency. The people are well cured by then of election fever, during which they think they are choosing Moses. In the third year, they look on the man as a sinner and a bumbler and begin to poke around for rumors of another Messiah.

As always, the British especially shudder at the latest American vulgarity, and then they embrace it with enthusiasm two years later.

Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence.

Every sport pretends to a literature, but people don't believe it of any other sport but their own.

Golf is an open exhibition of overweening ambition, courage deflated by stupidity, skill soured by a whiff of arrogance.

In America the race is on between its decadence and its vitality, and it has plenty of both.

In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly, that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.

It used to be said that you had to know what was happening in America because it gave us a glimpse of our future. Today, the rest of America, and after that Europe, had better heed what happens in California, for it already reveals the type of civilization that is in store for all of us.

Las Vegas is Everyman's cut-rate Babylon. Not far away there is, or was, a roadside lunch counter and over it a sign proclaiming in three words that a Roman emperor's orgy is now a democratic institution. 'Topless Pizza Lunch.'

Man has an incurable habit of not fulfilling the prophecies of his fellow men.

New York is the biggest collection of villages in the world.

People in America, when listening to radio, like to lean forward. People in Britain like to lean back.

People, when they first come to America, whether as travelers or settlers, become aware of a new and agreeable feeling: that the whole country is their oyster.

There is now no gap between the battlefield and the memoirs.

Washington's birthday is as close to a secular Christmas as any Christian country dare come this side of blasphemy.

When Americans are sorely troubled, they turn for official inspiration not to the Quran or Bible but to the colonial scriptures, to the sayings of the Founding Fathers, most of all to the speeches of (George) Washington.


(March 30 is also the birthday of Sean O'Casey.)

Categories: Alistair Cooke, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Sam Walton

Published Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 7:38 PM EDT
Mar 28 2015

Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam's Club. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All of us profit from being corrected- if we're corrected in a positive way.

All that hullabaloo about somebody's net worth is just stupid, and it's made my life a lot more complex and difficult.

Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.

Capital isn't scarce; vision is.

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures.

Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.

Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage.

Do it. Try it. Fix it.

Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

Exceed your customer's expectations. If you do, they'll come back over and over. Give them what they want- and a little more.

Give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.

High expectations are the key to everything.

I don't know what would have happened to Wal-Mart if we had laid low and never stirred up the competition. My guess is that we would have remained a strictly regional operator.

I got into retailing because I wanted a real job.

I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they've been.

I learned early on that one of the secrets of campus leadership was the simplest thing of all: speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you. I would always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them I would call them by name, but even if I didn't I would still speak to them.

I learned this early on in the variety business: You've got to give folks responsibility, you've got to trust them, and then you've got to check on them.

I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment.

I've never been one to dwell on reverses.

If you love your work, you'll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you- like a fever.

If you want a successful business, your people must feel that you are working for them- not that they are working for you.

If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you're taking care of the people in the stores. That's the most important single ingredient of Wal-Mart's success.

Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.

In the beginning, I was so chintzy I really didn't pay my employees well.

Individuals don’t win, teams do.

Information is power, and the gain you get from empowering your associates more than offsets the risk of informing your competitor

It's just paper-all I own is a pickup truck and a little Wal-Mart stock.

Keep everybody guessing as to what your next trick is going to be.

Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up.

Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity.

Many people just wait around for something to 'turn up.' They might start with their sleeves.

Money and ownership alone aren’t enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score.

Most of us don't invent ideas. We take the best ideas from someone else.

Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well- timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune.

One person seeking glory doesn't accomplish very much.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.

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.

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom.

The folks on the front lines- the ones who actually talk to the customer- are the only ones who really know what’s going on out there.

The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say.

The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them.

The way management treats associates is exactly how the associates will treat the customers.

There is only one boss- the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.

We let folks know we're interested in them and that they're vital to us. cause they are.

We're all working together; that's the secret.

What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce?

You can learn from everybody.

You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you're too inefficient.

You can make a positive out of the most negative if you work at it hard enough.

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Quotes of the day: Daniel Dennett

Published Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 5:01 PM EDT
Mar 27 2015

Daniel Clement Dennett III (b. March 28, 1942) is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A faith, like a species, must evolve or go extinct when the environment changes.

A philosopher is someone who says, 'We know it's possible in practice; we're trying to work out if it's possible in principle!'

An inert historical fact is any fact about a perfectly ordinary arrangement of matter in the world at some point in the past that is no longer discernible, a fact that has left no footprints at all in the world today.

Animals are not just herbivores or carnivores. They are, in the nice coinage of the psychologist George Miller, informavores.

Are zombies possible? They're not just possible, they're actual. We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious- not in the systematically mysterious way that supports such doctrines as epiphenomenalism.

Consider flipping a coin, for instance. Why do we do it? To take away the burden of having to find a reason for choosing A over B. We like to have reasons for what we do, but sometimes nothing sufficiently persuasive comes to mind, and we recognize that we have to decide soon, so we concoct a little gadget, an external thing that will make the decision for us. But if the decision is about something momentous, like whether to go to war, or marry, or confess, anything like flipping a coin would be just too, well, flippant.

Every human mind you've ever looked at... is a product not just of natural selection but of cultural redesign of enormous proportions.

Experience teaches... that there is no such thing as a thought experiment so clearly presented that no philosopher can misinterpret it.

Go ahead and believe in God, if you like, but don't imagine that you have been given any grounds for such a belief by science.

I think religion for many people is some sort of moral viagra.

In spite of ferocious differences of opinion about other moral issues, there seems to be something approaching consensus that it is cruel and malicious to interfere with the life-enhancing illusions of others- unless those illusions are themselves the cause of of even greater ills.

Minds are in limited supply, and each mind has a limited capacity for memes, and hence there is considerable competition among memes for entry in as many minds as possible. This competition is the major selective force in the memosphere, and, just as in the biosphere, the challenge has been met with great ingenuity. For instance, whatever virtues (from our perspective) the following memes have, they have in common the property of having phenotypic expressions that tend to make their own replication more likely by disabling or preempting the environmental forces that would tend to extinguish them: the meme for faith, which discourages the exercise of the sort of critical judgment that might decide that the idea of faith was, all things considered a dangerous idea; the meme for tolerance or free speech; the meme of including in a chain letter a warning about the terrible fates of those who have broken the chain in the past; the conspiracy theory meme, which has a built-in response to the objection that there is no good evidence of a conspiracy: 'Of course not- that's how powerful the conspiracy is!' Some of these memes are 'good' perhaps and others 'bad'; what they have in common is a phenotypic effect that systematically tends to disable the selective forces arrayed against them. Other things being equal, population memetics predicts that conspiracy theory memes will persist quite independently of their truth, and the meme for faith is apt to secure its own survival, and that of the religious memes that ride piggyback on it, in even the most rationalistic environments. Indeed, the meme for faith exhibits frequency-dependent fitness: it flourishes best when it is outnumbered by rationalistic memes; in an environment with few skeptics, the meme for faith tends to fade from disuse.

New discoveries may conceivably lead to dramatic, even 'revolutionary' shifts in the Darwinian theory, but the hope that it will be 'refuted' by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as the hope that we will return to a geocentric vision and discard Copernicus.

Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.

Philosophers' Syndrome: mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity.

Political correctness, in the extreme versions worthy of the name, is antithetical to almost all surprising advances in thought.

Scientists are just as vulnerable to wishful thinking, just as likely to be tempted by base motives, just as venal and gullible and forgetful as the rest of humankind.

Thanks to technology, what almost anybody can do has been multiplied a thousandfold, and our moral understanding about what we ought to do hasn't kept pace.

The Darwinian Revolution is both a scientific and a philosophical revolution, and neither revolution could have occurred without the other.

The distinction between responsible moral agents and beings with diminished or no responsibility is coherent, real, and important.

The earth has grown a nervous system, and it's us.

The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain any more so it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure.

The methods of science aren't foolproof, but they are indefinitely perfectible.

The mind is the effect, not the cause.

The only meaning of life worth caring about is one that can withstand our best efforts to examine it.

There is much to be gained from communication if it is craftily doled out- enough truth to keep one's credibility high but enough falsehood to keep one's options open. (This is the first point of wisdom in the game of poker: he who never bluffs never wins; he who always bluffs always loses.)

Unpredictability is in general a fine protective feature, which should never be squandered but always spent wisely.

We almost all want a world in which love, justice, freedom, and peace are all present, as much as possible, but if we had to give up one of these, it wouldn't- and shouldn't- be love.

We used to think that secrecy was perhaps the greatest enemy of democracy, and as long as there was no suppression or censorship, people could be trusted to make the informed decisions that would preserve our free society, but we have learned in recent years that the techniques of misinformation and misdirection have become so refined that, even in an open society, a cleverly directed flood of misinformation can overwhelm the truth, even though the truth is out there, uncensored, quietly available to anyone who can find it.

Wherever there is a conscious mind, there is a point of view.

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Quotes of the day: Quentin Tarantino

Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 7:40 PM EDT
Mar 26 2015

Quentin Tarantino (b. March 27, 1963) grew up loving movies more than school. In his early 20s, he got a job at the Video Archives, where he wrote the scripts for True Romance and Natural Born Killers. His directorial debut came with 1992's Reservoir Dogs, but he received wide critical and commercial acclaim with Pulp Fiction (1994), which earned more than $108 million at the box office- the first independent film to do so. He has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and the Palme d'Or, and has been nominated for an Emmy and a Grammy. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time in 2005m and filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich has called him "the single most influential director of his generation." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any time of the day is a good time for pie.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

CGI has fully ruined car crashes. Because how can you be impressed with them now? When you watch them in the '70s, it was real cars, real metal, real blasts. They're really doing it and risking their lives.

A dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

Every movie is a genre movie.

Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast!
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

I don't believe in elitism. I don't think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience.

I don't make movies for America. I make movies for planet Earth. America is just another market.

I like it when somebody tells me a story, and I actually really feel that that's becoming like a lost art in American cinema.

I loved history because to me, history was like watching a movie.

I steal from every single movie ever made. If people don't like that, then tough tills, don't go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal, they don't do homages.

I was kind of excited about going to jail the first time and I learned some great dialogue.

I write movies about mavericks, about people who break rules, and I don't like movies about people who are pulverised for being mavericks.

If my answers frighten you... then you should cease asking scary questions.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

If you had to stop and think what some idiot might do after seeing the movie, you'd never do anything.

If you just love movies enough, you can make a good one.

L.A. is so big that if you don't actually live in Hollywood, you might as well be from a different planet.

Movies and music go hand in hand. When I'm writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I'm going to play for the opening sequence.

Movies are not about the weekend that they're released, and in the grand scheme of things, that's probably the most unimportant time of a film's life.

Something stopped me in school a little bit. Anything that I'm not interested in, I can't even feign interest.

Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red 'S,' that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears- the glasses, the business suit- that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
(dialogue, "Kill Bill: Vol. 2")

Sure, Kill Bill's a violent movie. But it's a Tarantino movie. You don't go to see Metallica and ask the f*ckers to turn the music down.

The good ideas will survive.

To me, torture would be watching sports on television.

Violence is a form of cinematic entertainment.

When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'

Categories: Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Viktor Frankl

Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ 9:18 PM EDT
Mar 25 2015

Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. (March 26, 1905 - September 2, 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy". His best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death- Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say "Yes" to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A human being is a deciding being.

A life of short duration... could be so rich in joy and love that it could contain more meaning than a life lasting eighty years.

A man who could not see the end of his 'provisional existence' was not able to aim at an ultimate goal in life.

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.

At any moment, man must decide, for better or for worse, what will be the monument of his existence.

At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as to punished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.

At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal's behavior is embedded and by which it is secured. Such security, like paradise, is closed to man forever; man has to make choices... No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people tell him to do (totalitarianism).

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lays our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.

Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.

Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone's task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of...

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.

For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.

For too long a time- for half a century, in fact- psychiatry tried to interpret the human mind merely as a mechanism, and consequently the therapy of mental disease merely in terms of technique. I believe this dream has been dreamt out. What now begins to loom on the horizon is not psychologized medicine but rather those of human psychiatry.

For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.

Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.

Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.

Human potential at its best is to transform a tragedy into a personal triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.

I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.

In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.

It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future.

It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.

It is this spiritual freedom- which cannot be taken away- that makes life meaningful and purposeful.

Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.

Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved.

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.

Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.

Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.

Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining.

Man is originally characterized by his 'search for meaning' rather than his 'search for himself.' The more he forgets himself- giving himself to a cause or another person- the more human he is. And the more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself the more he really becomes himself.

No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.

Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.

Sunday neurosis... that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.

The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment.

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

The more one forgets himself- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love- the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.

The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. 'Life' does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life's tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man's destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simple to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.

To suffer unecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.

Ultimate meaning necessarily exceeds and surpasses the finite intellectual capacities of man... What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms. Logos is deeper than logic.

What is to give light must endure burning.

When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.


(March 26 is also the birthday of Leonard Nimoy and Joseph Campbell.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Viktor Frankl

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Quotes of the day: Flannery O'Connor

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 7:37 PM EDT
Mar 24 2015

Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, she wrote two novels, 32 short stories, and many reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. O'Connor's Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was named the "Best of the National Book Awards" by internet visitors in 2009. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.

At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.

(Ayn Rand) makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.

Conviction without experience makes for harshness.

Doctors always think anybody doing something they aren't is a quack; also they think all patients are idiots.

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.

Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.

Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge.

I don't have to run from anything because I don't believe in anything.

I love a lot of people, understand none of them...

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth.

If you don't hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.

In the first place you can be so absolutely honest and so absolutely wrong at the same time that I think it is better to be a combination of cautious and polite.

It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes.

It's easier to bleed than sweat...

Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.

People without hope not only don't write novels, but what is more to the point, they don't read them.

She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.

Sickness is more instructive than a long trip to Europe.

The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode.

The Southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence.

The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience.

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.

Total nonretention has kept my education from being a burden to me.

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

We are now living in an age which doubts both fact and value. It is the life of this age that we wish to see and judge.

When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.

Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.

Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it... In yourself right now is all the place you've got.

You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.

Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.


(March 25 is also the birthday of Gloria Steinem.)

Categories: Flannery O'Connor, Quotes of the day

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