Quotes of the day: Booth Tarkington

Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015 @ 5:51 PM EDT
Jul 28 2015

Newton Booth Tarkington (July 29, 1869 – May 19, 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist. A Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of the most popular novelists of his time, he wrote The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He briefly attended Purdue University and went on to study at Princeton. In the early 1900s, he served in the Indiana House of Representatives. His best-known work, Alice Adams- the tale of a lower-middle-class woman's struggle to find a suitable husband- won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and was a distant relative of Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth. He was the third writer, after William Faulkner and John Updike, to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.

At twenty-one or twenty-two so many things appear solid and permanent and terrible which forty sees are nothing but disappearing miasma. Forty can't tell twenty about this; that's the pity of it! Twenty can find out only by getting to be forty.

Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.

Destiny has a constant passion for the incongruous.

Gossip is never fatal until it is denied.

I mean the things that we have and that we think are so solid- they're like smoke, and time is like the sky that the smoke disappears into. You know how wreath of smoke goes up from a chimney, and seems all thick and black and busy against the sky, as if it were going to do such important things and last forever, and you see it getting thinner and thinner-and then, in such a little while, it isn't there at all; nothing is left but the sky, and the sky keeps on being just the same forever.

I suppose about the only good in pretending is the fun we get out of fooling ourselves that we fool somebody.

I've lived long enough to know that circumstances can beat the best of us.

In the days before deathly contrivances hustled them through their lives, and when they had no telephones- another ancient vacancy profoundly responsible for leisure- they had time for everything: time to think, to talk, time to read, time to wait for a lady!

It is love in old age, no longer blind, that is true love. For the love's highest intensity doesn't necessarily mean it's highest quality.

Nobody has a good name in a bad mouth. Nobody has a good name in a silly mouth either.

One of the hardest conditions of boyhood is the almost continuous strain put upon the powers of invention by the constant and harassing necessity for explanations of every natural act.

Some day the laws of glamour must be discovered, because they are so important that the world would be wiser now if Sir Isaac Newton had been hit on the head, not by an apple, but by a young lady.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously.

There aren't any old times. When times are gone they're not old, they're dead! There aren't any times but new times!

There is a fertile stretch of flat lands in Indiana where unagarian Eastern travelers, glancing from car windows, shudder and return their eyes to interior upholstery, preferring even the swaying comparisons of a Pullman to the monotony without.

They lacked style, but also lacked pretentiousness, and whatever does not pretend at all has style enough.

Thirteen is embarrassed by the beginnings of a new colthood; the child becomes a youth. But twelve is the very top of boyhood.

Youth cannot imagine romance apart from youth. That is why the roles of the heroes and heroines of plays are given by the managers to the most youthful actors they can find among the competent.


(July 29 is also the birthday of Alexis de Tocqueville, Don Marquis, and Wil Wheaton.)

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Quotes of the day: Jim Davis

Published Monday, July 27, 2015 @ 12:50 PM EDT
Jul 27 2015

James Robert "Jim" Davis (b. July 28, 1945) is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the comic strips Garfield and U.S. Acres (aka Orson's Farm), the former of which has been published since 1978 and has since become the world's most widely syndicated comic strip. Davis's other comics work includes Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat and a strip about Mr. Potato Head. Davis has written (or in some cases co-written) all of the Emmy Award- winning or nominated Garfield TV specials and was one of the producers behind the Garfield & Friends TV show which aired on CBS from 1988 to 1994. Davis is the writer and executive producer of a trilogy of CGI-direct-to-video feature films about Garfield, as well as one of the executive producers and the creator for the new CGI- animated TV series The Garfield Show. He continues to work on the strip. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice... or terrify, all depending upon how we conduct ourselves today.

Clasping your hands together means you are serious. Clasping them around someone else's throat means you are very serious.

Cute rots the intellect.

Don't eat fruits or nuts. You are what you eat.

Good times are ahead! Or behind. Because they sure aren’t here.

He who fills His pockets with the Rocks of Misdeeds shall surely sink in the River of Good Fortune.

I have a fear of letting my mind wander. I'm afraid it might not come back.

I'll rise, but I won’t shine.

If you are patient... and wait long enough... Nothing will happen.

In order to be 'in charge,' you need someone to be in charge of.

It's amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn't know what one can't do.

Life is a food chain, and it's better to be the diner than the dinner.

Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you're in it, but the longer you stay, the more wrinkled you get.

People who have simple pleasures should be admired... and then executed.

The meek shall inherit squat.

There is never a need to outrun anything you can outwit.

Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.


(July 28 is also the birthday of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.)

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Quotes of the day: Leo Durocher

Published Sunday, July 26, 2015 @ 1:15 PM EDT
Jul 26 2015

Leo Ernest Durocher (July 27, 1905 – October 7, 1991), nicknamed Leo the Lip, was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder. Upon his retirement, he ranked fifth all-time among managers with 2,009 career victories, second only to John McGraw in National League history. Durocher still ranks tenth in career wins by a manager. A controversial and outspoken character, Durocher had a stormy career dogged by clashes with authority, umpires (his 95 career ejections as a manager trailed only McGraw when he retired, and still rank fourth on the all-time list), and the press. Durocher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As long as I've got a chance to beat you I'm going to take it.

Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand.

God watches over drunks and third baseman.

How you play the game is for college ball. When you're playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters.

I believe in rules. Sure I do. If there weren't any rules, how could you break them?

I've never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes.

If you don't win, you're going to be fired. If you do win, you've only put off the day you're going to be fired.

Nice guys finish last.

Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot.

Show me a good sportsman and I'll show you a player I'm looking to trade.

Today a pitcher gets fined if the umpire thinks he threw at a batter. In the olden days, the umpire didn't have to take any courses in mind reading. The pitcher told you he was going to throw at you.

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

Win any way you can as long as you can get away with it.

You argue with the umpire because there is nothing else you can do about it.

You don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.


(July 27 is also the birthday of Hilaire Belloc.)

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Quotes of the day: William Jennings Bryan

Published Saturday, July 25, 2015 @ 1:06 PM EDT
Jul 25 2015

William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 - July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician, and a dominant force in the populist wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as the Party's candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served two terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Nebraska and was United States Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1915), resigning because of his pacifist position on World War I. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a strong advocate of popular democracy, and an enemy of the banks and their gold standard. He demanded "Free Silver" because it reduced power attributed to money and put more money in the hands of the people. He was a peace advocate, a supporter of Prohibition, and an opponent of Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds. With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was one of the best-known orators and lecturers of the era. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man unwilling to bear his share of the burden of the government is unworthy to enjoy its blessings.

And who can suffer injury by just taxation, impartial laws and the application of the Jeffersonian doctrine of equal rights to all and special privileges to none? Only those whose accumulations are stained with dishonesty and whose immoral methods have given them a distorted view of business, society and government. Accumulating by conscious frauds more money than they can use upon themselves, wisely distribute or safely leave to their children, these denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw a light upon their crimes.

Appearance too often takes the place of reality- the stamp of the coin is there, and the glitter of the gold, but, after all, it is but a worthless wash.

Behold a republic standing erect while empires all around are bowed beneath the weight of their own armaments- a republic whose flag is loved while other flags are only feared.

Character is the entity, the individuality of the person, shining from every window of the soul, either as a beam of purity, or as a clouded ray that betrays the impurity within.

Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.

Eloquent speech is not from lip to ear, but rather from heart to heart.

If we delight in gossip, and are not content unless each neighbor is laid upon the dissecting table, we form a character unenviable indeed, and must be willing to bear the contempt of all the truly good, while we roll our bit of scandal as a sweet morsel under the tongue.

In this, our land, we are called upon to give but little in return for the advantages which we receive. Shall we give that little grudgingly?

Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority.

Next to the ministry I know of no more noble profession than the law. The object aimed at is justice, equal and exact, and if it does not reach that end at once it is because the stream is diverted by selfishness or checked by ignorance. Its principles ennoble and its practice elevates.

No one can earn a million dollars honestly.

None so little enjoy themselves, and are such burdens to themselves, as those who have nothing to do. Only the active have the true relish of life.

Our definition of patriotism is often too narrow. Shall the lover of his country measure his loyalty only by his service as a soldier?

Patriotism calls for the faithful and conscientious performance of all of the duties of citizenship, in small matters as well as great, at home as well as upon the tented field.

Plutocracy is abhorrent to a republic; it is more despotic than monarchy, more heartless than aristocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in the hour of its calamity.

Sham is carried into every department of life, and we are being corrupted by show and surface. We are too apt to judge people by what they have, rather than by what they are; we have too few Hamlets who are bold enough to proclaim, 'I know not seem!'

Success is brought by continued labor and continued watchfulness. We must struggle on, not for one moment hesitate, nor take one backward step.

The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.

The poor man who takes property by force is called a thief, but the creditor who can by legislation make a debtor pay a dollar twice as large as he borrowed is lauded as the friend of a sound currency. The man who wants the people to destroy the Government is an anarchist, but the man who wants the Government to destroy the people is a patriot.

The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.

There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests up on them.

Two people in a conversation amount to four people talking. The four are what one person says, what he really wanted to say, what his listener heard, and what he thought he heard.

You cannot judge a man's life by the success of a moment, by the victory of an hour, or even by the results of a year. You must view his life as a whole.


(July 26 is also the birthday of Kenneth Tynan, Stanley Kubrick, and Carl Jung.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; William Jennings Bryan

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Quotes of the day: Elias Canetti

Published Friday, July 24, 2015 @ 4:47 PM EDT
Jul 24 2015

Elias Canetti (July 25, 1905 – August 14, 1994) was a German language author, born in Bulgaria, and later a British citizen. He was a modernist novelist, playwright, memoirist, and non-fiction writer. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981, "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power" (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A mind, lean in its own language. In others, it gets fat.

Ambition is the death of thought.

Everything you rejected and pushed aside- take it up again.

Happiness is that ridiculous life goal of illiterates.

I hate judgments that only crush and don't transform.

I repulse death with all my strength. If I accepted it, I would be a murderer.

Ideally, you should use only words which you have filled with new meaning.

If one has lived long enough, there is danger of succumbing to the word 'God' merely because it was always there.

It amazes me how a person to whom literature means anything can take it up as an object of study.

Life experience does not amount to very much and could be learned from novels alone, e.g., from Balzac, without any help from life.

One needs time to free oneself of wrong convictions. If it happens too suddenly, they go on festering.

One should tell oneself how fruitful misunderstandings are. One shouldn't despise them. One of the wisest people was a collector of misunderstandings.

One who obeys himself suffocates as surely as one who obeys others.

One who, alone, would be unconquerable. But he weakens himself with allegiances.

Relearn astonishment, stop grasping for knowledge, lose the habit of the past.

Say the most personal thing, say it, nothing else matters, don't be ashamed, the generalities can be found in the newspaper.

The story of your youth must not turn into a catalog of what became important in your later life. It must also contain the dissipation, the failure, and the waste.

There is something impure in the laments about the dangers of our time, as if they could serve to excuse our personal failure.

You don't have to know a philosopher's every syllable to know why he rubs you the wrong way. You may know it best after a few of his sentences, and less and less well after that. The important thing is to see his web and move away before you tear it.

You keep taking note of whatever confirms your ideas- better to write down what refutes and weakens them!

You need the rhetoric of others, the aversion it inspires, in order to find the way out of your own.


(July 25 is also the birthday of Arthur Balfour and Eric Hoffer.)

Categories: Elias Canetti; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Amelia Earhart

Published Thursday, July 23, 2015 @ 12:31 PM EDT
Jul 23 2015

Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and help inspire others with her love for aviation. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

Anticipation, I suppose, sometimes exceeds realization.

Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense.

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.

Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.

I want to do it because I want to do it.

In my life I had come to realize that when things were going very well indeed it was just the time to anticipate trouble.

It is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.

Obviously I faced the possibility of not returning when first I considered going. Once faced and settled there really wasn't any good reason to refer to it.

Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.

Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one's appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.

The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.

There is so much that must be done in a civilized barbarism like war.

Women must pay for everything. They do get more glory than men for comparable feats, but, they also get more notoriety when they crash.

Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others.

Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.


(July 24 is also the birthday of Alexandre Dumas and Zelda Fitzgerald.)

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Quotes of the day: M.H. Abrams

Published Wednesday, July 22, 2015 @ 3:30 PM EDT
Jul 22 2015

Meyer Howard "Mike" Abrams (July 23, 1912 – April 21, 2015), usually cited as M.H. Abrams, was an American literary critic, known for works on romanticism, in particular his book The Mirror and the Lamp. Under Abrams' editorship, the Norton Anthology of English Literature became the standard text for undergraduate survey courses across the U.S. and a major trendsetter in literary canon formation. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All students are capable of growth. Some of them seem to be very slow to begin with and it's probably not their fault, nor do I think it's a matter of genetics. It's a matter of what has happened in their lives before. They are all capable of growing, but they will not grow unless you interest them, captivate them in some way, and then make them reach out. Then they will finally enjoy reaching out.

Hard work makes easy reading or, at least, easier reading.

I think most of the things I published have been published out of desperation, not because they were perfected.

I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, which may just be the suggestive, vague identification of something that you have to come back to and rewrite. At first, students tend to freeze at the first effort. The breakthrough comes when they realize that they can make it better — can identify what their purposes were and realize better ways to achieve those purposes. That is the important thing in teaching students to write: not to be frozen in their first effort.

If you learn one thing from having lived through decades of changing views, it is that all predictions are necessarily false.

If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem.

It's a pleasure that you don't outgrow the anthology.

It's amazing how, age after age, in country after country, and in all languages, Shakespeare emerges as incomparable.

Key metaphors help determine what and how we perceive and how we think about our perceptions.

Life without literature is a life reduced to penury. It expands you in every way. It illuminates what you're doing. It shows you possibilities you haven't thought of. It enables you to live the lives of other people than yourself. It broadens you, it makes you more human. It makes life enjoyable.

One of the joys of teaching with the anthology is to watch the excitement grow as students, who may think the past dull and irrelevant, find how fresh and new and powerful are the kinds of writings that are hundreds of years old.

We are human, and nothing is more interesting to us than humanity.

We are human, and nothing is more interesting to us than humanity. The appeal of literature is that it is so thoroughly a human thing — by, for and about human beings. If you lose that focus, you obviate the source of the power and permanence of literature.

When something startlingly new comes up, young people, especially, seize it. You can't complain about that.


(July 23 is also the birthday of Anthony Kennedy and Raymond Chandler.)

Categories: M.H. Abrams; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Amy Vanderbilt

Published Tuesday, July 21, 2015 @ 2:56 PM EDT
Jul 21 2015

Amy Vanderbilt (July 22, 1908 – December 27, 1974) was an American authority on etiquette. In 1952 she published the best-selling book Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette. The book, later retitled Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette, has been updated and is still in circulation. The most recent edition was edited by Nancy Tuckerman and Nancy Dunnan. Its longtime popularity has led to it being considered a standard of etiquette writing. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Breakfast is the one meal at which it is permissible to read the paper.

Ceremony is-really a protection, too, in times of emotional involvement, particularly at death. If we have a social formula to guide us and do not have to extemporize, we feel better able to handle life.

Do not smoke without asking permission or sit so near (as in a train) that the smoke might annoy.

Do not speak of repulsive matters at table.

Everyone knows that a man can marry even if he reaches the age of 102, is penniless, and has all his facilities gone. There is always some woman willing to take a chance on him.

Good manners have much to do with the emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them.

I am a journalist in the field of etiquette. I try to find out what the most genteel people regularly do, what traditions they have discarded, what compromises they have made.

In Hollywood, not to have an analyst is virtually an admission of failure ...

One face to the world, another at home- makes for misery.

Only a great fool or a great genius is likely to flout all social grace with impunity, and neither one, doing so, makes the most comfortable companion.

Parents must get across the idea that "I love you always, but sometimes I do not love your behavior."

The best-dressed women I know pay very little attention to the picayune aspects of fashion, but they have a sound understanding of style.

The modern rule is that every woman should be her own chaperone.

We must learn which ceremonies may be breached occasionally at our convenience and which ones may never be if we are to live pleasantly with our fellow man.

When we learn to give thanks, we are learning to concentrate not on the bad things, but on the good things in our lives.


(July 22 is also the birthday of Albert Brooks.)

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Quotes of the day: Paul Wellstone

Published Monday, July 20, 2015 @ 4:57 PM EDT
Jul 20 2015

Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 - October 25, 2002) was an American academic and politician who represented Minnesota in the United States Senate from 1991 until he was killed in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota in 2002. A member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, Wellstone was a leading spokesman for the progressive wing of the national Democratic Party. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.

Above and beyond the question of how to grow the economy there is a legitimate concern about how to grow the quality of our lives.

As free citizens in a political democracy, we have a responsibility to be interested and involved in the affairs of the human community, be it at the local or the global level.

Education and democracy have the same goal: the fullest possible development of human capabilities.

I dare to imagine a country where every child I hold in my hands, are all God's children, regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of whether they're boy or girl, regardless of religion, regardless of rich or poor, that every child I hold in my hands, will have the same chance to reach her full potential or his full potential. That is the goodness of our country. That is the essence of the American dream.

I don't think politics has anything to do with left, right, or center. It has to do with trying to do right by people.

If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.

In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.

It is the belief that extremes and excesses of inequality must be reduced so that each person is free to fully develop his or her full potential. This is why we take precious time out of our lives and give it to politics.

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.

Our aims in political activism are not, and should not be, to create a perfect utopia. What we seek is more simply to improve the quality of human life while at the same time respecting the natural environment which sustains it: 'Not a heaven on earth but a better earth on earth.'

Our politics are our deepest form of expression: they mirror our past experiences and reflect our dreams and aspirations for the future. (Untitled and undated essay)

Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning.

Politics is not just about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people's lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice.

Politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.

Sometimes, the only realists are the dreamers.

Successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision.

Successful organizing is not built on self-interest but rather on dignity and a sense of purpose.

The American polity is infected with a serious imbalance of power between elites and masses, a power which is the principal threat to our democracy.

The future will belong to those who have passion and are willing to work hard to make our country better.

The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

The idea of democracy has been stripped of it moral imperatives and come to denote hollowness and hypocrisy.

The only way to change is to vote. People are responsible.

The people of this country, not special interest big money, should be the source of all political power.

There is a major ingredient missing from our perception of how changes are brought about; that ingredient is power.

This is no time for timidity.

We all do better when we all do better.

We can and must move U.S. politics forward by means of committed participation.

We can remake the world daily.

We must remember that for many, many women, work does not represent liberation, modernization, or market success. Most women are not upper income professionals and certainly not executives of large corporations and banks; most women work in the expanding low-wage service sector of our economy.

What the poor, the weak, and the inarticulate desperately require is power, organization, and a sense of identity and purpose, not rarefied advice of political scientists.

When too many Americans don't vote or participate, some see apathy and despair. I see disappointment and even outrage. And I believe that out of this frustration can come hope and action.


(July 21 is also the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, Marshall McLuhan, and Robin Williams.)

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Quotes of the day: Petrarch

Published Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 5:27 PM EDT
Jul 19 2015

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar and poet in Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism". In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio, and, to a lesser extent, Dante Alighieri. Petrarch would be later endorsed as a model for Italian style by the Accademia della Crusca. Petrarch's sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the "Dark Ages." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good death does honor to a whole life.

Books have led some to learning and others to madness, when they swallow more than they can digest.

Five enemies of peace inhabit with us- avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.

How difficult it is to save the bark of reputation from the rocks of ignorance.

How fortune brings to earth the over-sure!

I have acted contrary to my sentiments and inclination; throughout our whole lives we do what we never intended, and what we proposed to do, we leave undone.

I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and commiserated the universal instability of human conduct.

It is better to will the good than to know the truth.

It is more honorable to be raised to a throne than to be born to one. Fortune bestows the one, merit obtains the other.

Man has no greater enemy than himself.

Rarely do great beauty and great virtue dwell together.

Sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure.

Suspicion is the cancer of friendship.

The aged love what is practical while impetuous youth longs only for what is dazzling.

There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.

There is no lighter burden, nor more agreeable, than a pen.

To be able to say how much you love is to love but little.

Who naught suspects is easily deceived.

Who overrefines his argument brings himself to grief.


(July 20 is also the birthday of Frantz Fanon.)

Categories: Petrarch; Quotes of the day

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