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Quotes of the day: George Savile

Published Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 6:31 PM EST
Nov 10 2014

George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax PC FRS (November 11, 1633 – April 5, 1695) was an English statesman, writer, and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660, and in the House of Lords after he was raised to the peerage in 1668. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A husband without faults is a dangerous observer.

A little learning misleadeth, and a great deal often stupifieth the understanding.

A man may dwell so long upon a thought, that it may take him prisoner.

A man that should call every thing by its right name, would hardly pass the streets without being knock'd down as a common enemy.

A man who is master of patience, is master of everything else.

A very great memory often forgetteth how much time is lost by repeating things of no use.

Anger is never without an argument, but seldom with a good one.

He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.

Hope is generally a wrong guide, though it is very good company by the way. it brusheth through hedge and ditch till it cometh to a great leap, and there it is apt to fall and break its bones.

If men considered how many things there are that riches cannot buy, they would not be so fond of them.

If men would think how often their own words are thrown at their heads, they would less often let them go out of their mouths.

If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place.

It is a general mistake to think the men we like are good for every thing, and those we do not, good for nothing.

It is ill-manners to silence a fool, and cruelty to let him go on.

It is not a reproach but a compliment to learning, to say, that great scholars are less fit for business; since the truth is, business is so much a lower thing than learning, that a man used to the last cannot easily bring his stomach down to the first.

Laws are generally not understood by three sorts of persons, viz. by those who make them, by those who execute them, and by those who suffer, if they break them.

Men make it such a point of honour to be fit for business that they forget to examine whether business is fit for a man.

Men take more pains to hide than to mend themselves.

Men who borrow their opinions can never repay their debts. they are beggars by nature, and can therefore never get a stock to grow rich upon.

Mispending a man's time is a kind of self-homicide, it is making life to be of no use.

Most men make little other use of their speech than to give evidence against their own understanding.

Most mens' anger about religion is as if two men should quarrel for a lady they neither of them care for.

Nothing hath an uglier look to us than reason, when it is not of our side.

Nothing is less forgiven than setting patterns men have no mind to follow.

Nothing would more contribute to make a man wise, than to have always an enemy in his view.

Our nature hardly allows us to have enough of anything without having too much.

Popularity is a crime from the moment it is sought; it is only a virtue where men have it whether they will or no.

Some mens memory is like a box, where a man should mingle his jewels with his old shoes.

Suspicion seldom wanteth food to keep it up in health and vigour. it feedeth upon every thing it seeth, and is not curious in its diet.

The best qualification of a prophet is to have a good memory.

The best way to suppose what may come, is to remember what is past.

The first mistake belonging to business is the going into it.

The sight of a drunkard is a better sermon against that vice than the best that was ever preached on that subject.

The vanity of teaching doth oft tempt a man to forget that he is a blockhead.

They who are of opinion that money will do every thing, may very well be suspected to do every thing for money.

When the people contend for their liberty, they seldom get any thing by their victory but new masters.

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Childhood Amnesia

Published Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 12:53 AM EST
Nov 10 2014

This article on childhood amnesia made me think about my own earliest memories.

The most primal ones are just fragments, flashes of images and sound to which I can't attach specific dates or locations.

I believe I do remember my second birthday: September 11, 1956. At least I think it was my second birthday; there was a cake and candles and people singing, and Elvis was playing on the radio- "Hound Dog," a song my grandmother liked and often sang to me. It was at the top of the charts in the fall of that year.

There was Mister Peepers, a big white German Shepherd my dad brought home. The dog was named after the Wally Cox character from the 1952-1956 television series. He was huge, friendly, exuberant, and had the unfortunate habit of knocking me over. Repeatedly. Think Calvin and Hobbes.

I remember crying- not from the collisions, but when my grandmother yelled at my father that a 50 pound "puppy" was not an appropriate pet for someone my age living in an apartment in the city.

Mr. Peepers was relocated to a relative of my cousins'. We visited him once on something like a farm- it was a long drive, and there were lots of fields and woods. Having spent my life to that point in downtown Homestead, it made an indelible impression. I could run around with other children, play hide and seek, get a Pepsi from the big ice-filled tub and drink it right out of the bottle.

I mimicked the older kids and picked ripe blueberries. Speaking of indelible impressions- I gathered them in my white t-shirt, which turned an amazing shade of purple. I thought it was neat; my father was not as impressed. He made me take it off, and he tossed it, explaining to a group of laughing adults that my grandmother would kill him if she saw the stain.

I also sustained my first sunburn, and remember lying in bed while my grandmother slathered me with Noxzema. The summertime equivalent of Vicks Vapo-Rub, these two ubiquitous 1950s home remedies are probably responsible for my lifetime dislike of the aromas of camphor and eucalyptus. As she forced the smelly cream into my toasted epidermis, she yelled at my Dad. "I told you not to let him run around without a shirt on. Where's his shirt? Where are his shoes? ... What. In. The. Name. Of. Jesus!? ... Why does this child have blueberries in his hair?!"

I know I wasn't in school then, and I'm guessing by my general mobility and improved motor skills- I don't recall being flattened by Mr. Peepers on this occasion- that this was July or August of 1957. Again, Elvis helps with the dating: one of the kids had a teddy bear, and I remember Elvis singing about it. "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" was the number one song on the radio for most of July and August that year, the months for picking blueberries.

My grandmother ran a boarding house and I would play under a table in the living room while her boarders watched TV. One program stuck out in my memory, but only vague details. It was by Alfred Hitchcock; there was a woman at the top of a flight of steps; and she said, "Oh, good," which elicited gales of laughter from the adults which continued until the commercial break.

Thanks to the marvels of the Internet, I was able to find the program:

It was the first episode of the television series Suspicion, entitled "Four O'Clock," directed by Alfred Hitchcock and broadcast on September 30, 1957 on WIIC Channel 11, which had just gone on the air on September 1.

Suspicion aired at 10 pm- kind of late for a three year old. But I also have fond memories of watching What's My Line and Candid Camera and listening to Ed and Wendy King's Party Line on KDKA Radio. I don't think my grandparents ever made a big deal out of when I went to bed; at least I have no traumatic memories surrounding bedtime. I don't know if that demonstrates a lack of parenting skills or the early recognition and tacit acceptance of the bizarre circadian rhythm I maintain to this day.

There are several Christmases in the late 50s of which I have black and white photos, but, honestly, my original memories of them are undoubtedly affected by the snapshots.

I remember my first day of kindergarten, which was probably August 30, 1959; Khrushchev visiting Mesta Machine in West Homestead on September 24, 1959; the Pirates winning the World Series on October 13, 1960; and the election of President Kennedy on November 8, 1960 and his inauguration on January 20, 1961. My grandfather was a rather reserved, stoic person. He was also a Democratic committeeman. His excitement over Kennedy's win was therefore quite memorable.

From that point on, my memory is fairly intact. I recall the names of all of my teachers, and about 90% of the kids in all the class photos.

My "adult" memory- that contiguous chain of chronological recollections tied to times and events which extend to the present- began on November 22, 1963.

I was nine years old then, around the time researchers say our brains lock in the childhood recollections we'll carry through the rest of our lives- the point where our "mature" memory begins functioning. Perhaps. But until then, I really hadn't paid much attention to what was going on in the world. After Kennedy's assassination I began noting and filing memories in an orderly fashion, instead of just throwing them in the pile of passed (and past) occurrences.

Just don't ask me what I had for breakfast.

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