Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

The 2006 Quotations

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

Quotes for the week of December 31, 2006 - For the New Year

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." - Bill Vaughan

"New Year's Day is every man's birthday." - Charles Lamb

"New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions." - Mark Twain

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." - Mark Twain

"The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows." - George William Curtis

"Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year's resolution." - Jay Leno

"Happiness is too many things these days for anyone to wish it on anyone lightly. So let's just wish each other a bileless New Year and leave it at that" - Judith Crist

"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." - James Agate

"It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't have regrets." - William Thomas

"The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears." - W.H. Auden

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. - P.J. O'Rourke

"We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves." - Lynn Hall, Where Have All the Tigers Gone?, 1989

EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced. - Ambrose Bierce

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams

"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." - Dan Stanford

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C. S. Lewis

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan Watts

"Arrange whatever pieces come your way." - Virginia Woolf

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope." - Alexandre Dumas

"Be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed." - Jason Kravitz

Quotes for the week of December 24, 2006 - Be Nice. Be Kind.

Advice for Christmas weekend. Be nice. Be kind.

"It's not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts." - Addison Walker

"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth

"We all like stories that make us cry. It's so nice to feel sad when you've nothing in particular to feel sad about." - Anne Sullivan

"One of the worst things about life is not how nasty the nasty people are. You know that already. It is how nasty the nice people can be." - Anthony Dymoke Powell

"The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others." - Doug Larson

"It's amazing how nice people are to you when they know you're going away." - Michael Arlen

"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind." - Henry James

"In this world, there is nothing softer or thinner than water. But to compel the hard and unyielding, it has no equal. That the weak overcomes the strong, that the hard gives way to the gentle - this everyone knows. Yet no one asks accordingly." - Lao-Tse

"Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be kind to unkind people - they need it the most." - Ashleigh Brilliant

"It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'try to be a little kinder.'" - Aldous Huxley

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true." - Robert Brault

"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble." - Rudyard Kipling

"Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." - Samuel Johnson

"If we cannot be clever, we can always be kind." - Alfred Fripp

"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl." - H.L. Mencken

"If you step on people in this life, you're going to come back as a cockroach." - Willie Davis

"I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worth while?" Death thought about it. "Cats," he said eventually, "Cats are nice." - Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

Quotes for the week of December 17, 2006 - On Listening

"Most people need a good listening to." - Maria Galenza

"I can't help thinking that this would be a better world if everyone would listen to me." - Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts (Charles Shultz)

"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." - Winnie the Pooh (Alan Alexander Milne)

"If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut." - Albert Einstein

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." - Andre Gide

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with." - Kenneth A. Wells

"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also." - Igor Stravinsky

"No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why." - Mignon McLaughlin

"Listening is the only way to entertain some folks." - Kin Hubbard

"There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves." - Albert Guinon

"I'll not listen to reason. Reason always means what someone else has to say." - Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

"Lenin could listen so intently that he exhausted the speaker." - Isaiah Berlin

"No man ever listened himself out of a job." - Calvin Coolidge

"Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening." - Dorothy Sarnoff

"Listen. Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn't hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor." - Hugh Elliott

"A good listener is a good talker with a sore throat." - Katharine Whitehorn

"A good listener is usually thinking about something else." - Kin Hubbard

"Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter because nobody listens." - Nick Diamos

"Heaven, n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

"Don't LOOK at anything in a physics lab. Don't TASTE anything in a chemistry lab. Don't SMELL anything in a biology lab. Don't TOUCH anything in a medical lab. And, most importantly, don't LISTEN to anything in a philosophy department." - Bill Lye

"Women like silent men. They think they're listening." - Marcel Archard

"There are two types of people - those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'" - Frederick L Collins

Quotes for the week of December 10, 2006 - Denial and Delusion

QUOD VIDES PERISSE PERDITUM DUCAS - Catullus ("What you see is lost, set down as lost.")

"One popular human strategy for dealing with difficulty is autosuggestion: when something nasty pops up, you convince yourself it is not there, or you convince yourself it is pleasant rather than unpleasant. The Buddha's tactic is quite the reverse. Rather than hide it or disguise it, the Buddha's teaching urges you to examine it to death. Buddhism advises you not to implant feelings that you don't really have or avoid feelings that you do have. If you are miserable you are miserable; that is the reality, that is what is happening, so confront that. Look it square in the eye without flinching. When you are having a bad time, examine that experience, observe it mindfully, study the phenomenon and learn its mechanics. The way out of a trap is to study the trap itself, learn how it is built. You do this by taking the thing apart piece by piece. The trap can't trap you if it has been taken to pieces. The result is freedom." - Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

"It's not denial. I'm just selective about the reality I accept." - Bill Watterson

"Delay is the deadliest form of denial." C. Northcote Parkinson

"How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him." - Frank Herbert

"The first step in the risk management process is to acknowledge the reality of risk. Denial is a common tactic that substitutes deliberate ignorance for thoughtful planning. - Charles Tremper

"Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd." -  Annie Besant (English social reformer, sometime Fabian socialist, theosophist, and Indian independence leader, 1847-1933)

"I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it." - Garrison Keillor

"At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man's power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events; and that it is therefore better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second." - Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

"The great law of denial belongs to the powerful forces of life, whether the case be one of coolish baked beans, or an unrequited affection. - Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

"Many people have delusions of grandeur but you're deluded by triviality." - Eugene Ionesco, Exit the King

"There is nothing more fatal to a man whose business is to think than to have learned the art of regaling his mind with ... airy gratifications. Other vices or follies are restrained by fear, reformed by admonition, or rejected by the conviction which the comparison of our conduct with that of others may in time produce. But this invisible riot of the mind, this secret prodigality of being, is secure from detection and fearless of reproach. The dreamer retires to his apartments, shuts out the cares and interruptions of mankind, and abandons himself to his own fancy; new worlds rise up before him, one image is followed by another, and a long succession of delights dances around him. He is at last called back to life by nature or by custom; and enters peevish into society, because he cannot model it to his own will." Samuel Johnson, Rambler, Number 89 (January 22, 1751)

"However we may labor for our own deception, truth, though unwelcome, will sometimes intrude upon the mind." - Samuel Johnson, Idler, Number 80 (October 27, 1759)

"It is a common delusion that you can make things better by talking about them." - Rose Macaulay

"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it." - Lily Tomlin

Quotes for the week of December 3, 2006 - December Arrives

"I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood." - Bill Watterson

"Too bad Lassie didn't know how to ice skate, because then if she was in Holland on vacation in winter and someone said 'Lassie, go skate for help,' she could do it." - Jack Handy

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." - Rogers Hornsby

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." - Andrew Wyeth

"There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can't think what to do with the long winter evenings." - Quentin Crisp

"There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes." - Emily Dickinson

"A moment, and its glory was no more. The sun went down beneath the long dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy city, wall heaped on wall, and battlement on battlement; the light was all withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the stream forgot to smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of winter dwelt on everything." - Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit

"It was one of those chilly and empty afternoons in early winter, when the daylight is silver rather than gold and pewter rather than silver." - G. K. Chesterton, The Wisdom of Father Brown

"The last day of the old year was one of those bright, cold, dazzling winter days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and command our admiration but never our love." -  Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm, Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm." - Ezra Pound

"Winter is nature's way of saying, 'Up yours.'" - Robert Byrne

"Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer." - Plutarch, Moralia

"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." - Sinclair Lewis

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." - Aaron Rose

"The purpose of life is to fight maturity." - Dick Werthimer

"The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball." - Doug Larson

"A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water." - Carl Reiner

Quotes for the week of November 26, 2006 - Thanksgiving is So Over

"Persons thankful for little things are certain to be the ones with much to be thankful for." - Frank A. Clark 

"Having listened to people for a long time, I believe many of us should be thankful not to be shot." - Leston Havens

"Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." - Mark Twain

"Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"I have strong doubts that the first Thanksgiving even remotely resembled the 'history' I was told in second grade.  But considering that (when it comes to holidays) mainstream America's traditions tend to be over-eating, shopping, or getting drunk, I suppose it's a miracle that the concept of giving thanks even surfaces at all. - Ellen Orleans

"Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments." - Mark Twain

"I feel a very unusual sensation - if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude." - Benjamin Disraeli

"Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive." - Edward Gibbon

"Gratitude - the meanest and most snivelling attribute in the world." - Dorothy Parker

"Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs. - Joseph Stalin

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues." [Gratus animus est una virtus non solum maxima, sed etiam mater virtutum onmium reliquarum] - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero), Oratio Pro Cnoeo Plancio (XXXIII)

"He is ungrateful who denies that he has received a kindness which has been bestowed upon him; he is ungrateful who conceals it; he is ungrateful who makes no return for it; most ungrateful of all is he who forgets it. [Ingratus est, qui beneficium accepisse se negat, quod accepit: ingratus est, qui dissimulat; ingratus, qui non reddit; ingratissimus omnium, qui oblitus est.]  - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), De Beneficiis (III, 1)

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

"It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation." - Roberto Benigni

"When I'm not thanked at all I'm thanked enough." - Henry Fielding

"Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance. - Jose Ortega Gasset

"One of the effects of a safe and civilized life is an immense oversensitiveness which makes all the primary emotions somewhat disgusting. Generosity is as painful as meanness, gratitude as hateful as ingratitude." - George Orwell

"No favor can win gratitude from a cat." - Jean de La Fontaine

Quotes for the week of November 19, 2006 - Things Change

"In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." - Al Rogers

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan Watts

"'One and one make two' assumes that the changes in the shift of circumstance are unimportant. But it is impossible for us to analyze this notion of unimportant change. - Alfred North Whitehead

"Change lays not her hand upon truth." - Algernon Swinburne

"The things that have come into being change continually. The man with a good memory remembers nothing because he forgets nothing. - Augusto Roa Bastos

"Change is one thing, progress is another. 'Change' is scientific, 'progress' is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy. - Bertrand Russell 

"Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast. If a man habituated to a narrow circle of cares and pleasures, out of which he seldom travels, step beyond it, though for never so brief a space, his departure from the monotonous scene on which he has been an actor of importance would seem to be the signal for instant confusion. ... The mine which Time has slowly dug beneath familiar objects is sprung in an instant; and what was rock before, becomes but sand and dust." - Charles Dickens

"If you don't pay attention to the periphery, the periphery changes and the first thing you know the periphery is the center." - Dean Rusk

"What's the use of a good quotation if you can't change it?" - Doctor Who 

"Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." - Doug Larson

"If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?" - Robert Anthony

"All change is not growth; all movement is not forward. - Ellen Glasgow 

"Men make the mistake of thinking that because women can't see the sense in violence, they must be passive creatures. It's just not true. In one important way, at least, men are the passive sex. Given a choice, they will always opt for the status quo. They hate change of any kind, and they fight against it constantly. On the other hand, what women want is stability, which when you stop to think about it is a very different animal." - Eric Lustbader, The Kaisho

"Money is always there but the pockets change." - Gertrude Stein

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay." - Harold Wilson

"I soon found out you can't change the world. The best you can do is to learn to live with it." - Henry Miller

"What I possess I would gladly retain. Change amuses the mind, yet scarcely profits." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense." - Joseph Addison

"People change and forget to tell each other." - Lillian Hellman

"We are restless because of incessant change, but we would be frightened if change were stopped. " - Lyman L. Bryson

"I don't think that a leader can control to any great extent his destiny. Very seldom can he step in and change the situation if the forces of history are running in another direction." - Richard Nixon   

"A man will never change his mind if he have no mind to change.' - Richard Whately

"Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true? Cling to it long enough and it will turn true again, for so it goes. Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor." - Robert Frost  

"Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before." - Samuel Johnson

"Men are always sincere. They change sincerities, that's all." - Tristan Bernard  

"People who are easily shocked should be shocked more often." - Mae West

Quotes for the week of November 12, 2006 - On Elections

RABBLE, n. In a republic, those who exercise a supreme authority tempered by fraudulent elections. The rabble is like the sacred Simurgh, of Arabian fable - omnipotent on condition that it do nothing. - Ambrose Bierce

"Our elections are free - it's in the results where eventually we pay." - Bill Stern

"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." - George Bernard Shaw

"An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry." - George Eliot  

"Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates." - Gore Vidal

"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." - H. L. Mencken

"In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character." - P. J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores

"Win or lose, we go shopping after the election." - Imelda Marcos

"You will expect me to discuss the late election. Well, as nearly as I can learn, we did not have enough votes on our side." - Herbert Hoover

"The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed." - G. K. Chesterton

"Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them." - Lily Tomlin

"The Roman government gave them bread and circuses. Today we give them bread and elections." - Will Durant

"A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected." - Carl Sandburg

"The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

"Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest. If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win." - Dan Quayle

"Vote for the man who promises least. He'll be the least disappointing." - Bernard Baruch

"If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side." - Orson Scott Card

"The voters have spoken - the bastards!" - Morris

"Those that know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories." - Polybius

"The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass all the time." - Jim "Catfish" Hunter

"If you can keep your head about you when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation." - Jean Kerr

"When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less." - Paul Brown

"Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans." - Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund North, Patton, 1970

Quotes for the week of November 5, 2006 - Busted! (On Hypocrisy)

"An atheist is but a mad, ridiculous derider of piety, but a hypocrite makes a sober jest of God and religion; he finds it easier to be upon his knees than to rise to a good action." - Alexander Pope

    OCCIDENT, n. The world lying west (or east) of the Orient. Largely inhabited by Christians, powerful sub-tribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call "war" and "commerce."

    POLITENESS, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.

    HYPOCRITE, n. One who, profession virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises.

    "Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo."

     - Ambrose Bierce

"A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy" - Benjamin Disraeli

"Hypocrisy is homage paid by vice to virtue." - Duc de La Rochefoucauld

"Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"As witnesses not of our intentions but of our conduct, we can be true or false, and the hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." - Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (1963)

"Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite." - Jean Kerr

"For neither man nor angel can discern Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks Invisible, except to God alone." - John Milton, Paradise Lost

"Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.  We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Friendship," Essays, 1841

"That which we call sin in others is experiment for us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience," Essays, 1844

"Yes, Sir, no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures." - Samuel Johnson

"Pay attention to minute particulars. Take care of the little ones. Generalization and abstraction are The plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave." - William Blake

"Hypocrisy and distortion are passing currents under the name of religion." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised." - Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

"Hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue." - Moliere

"We are not hypocrites in our sleep." - William Hazlitt

"Great hypocrites are the real atheists." - Francis Bacon

"An ounce of hypocracy is worth a pound of ambition."  - Michael Korda

"Hypocrisy is the lubricant of society." - David Hull

"Where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste." - George Bernard Shaw

"I don't never have any trouble in regulating my own conduct, but to keep other folks' straight is what bothers me." - Josh Billings

"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits." - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar for 1894

"Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction than it is." - Rebecca West, The Strange Necessity, 1928

"Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

"Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it put more simply - never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

"How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say." - Oscar Wilde

"We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity." - Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Quotes for the week of October 29, 2006 - How Things Work

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." - Alexis de Tocqueville 

Boundary: n. in political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other. - Ambrose Bierce 

"A marriage without conflicts is almost as inconceivable as a nation without crises." - Andre Maurois 

"Every nation ridicules other nations - and all are right." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"And I say that Your Highnesses ought not to consent that any foreigner does business or sets foot here, except Christian Catholics since this was the end and the beginning of the enterprise, that it should be for the enhancement and glory of the Christian religion, nor should anyone who is not a good Christian come to these parts. Here may be found the first suggestion of the exclusive colonial policy that Spain and other nations followed." - Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage, November 27, 1492

"As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism. The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves." - Daniel J. Boorstin 

"The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations." - David Friedman

"By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation. - Edmund Burke

"I do not know the American gentleman, god forgive me for putting two such words together." - Charles Dickens

"The first panacea for a misguided nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." - Ernest Hemingway, Notes on the Next War

"If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots." - Napoleon Bonaparte   

"America, my country, is almost a continent and hardly yet a nation." - Ezra Pound, Patria Mia

"The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history." - George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

"You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements." - George Norman Douglas, South Wind (1917)

"A statesman is a politician who places himself at the service of the nation. A politician is a statesman who places the nation at his service." - Georges Pompidou

"Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs." - Henry David Thoreau, "Economy," Walden

"A conservative young man has wound up his life before it was unreeled. We expect old men to be conservative but when a nation's young men are so, its funeral bell is already rung." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The destiny of any nation, at any given time, depends on the opinions of its young men under five-and-twenty." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." - Hunter S. Thompson

"Dining is the privilege of civilization. The nation which knows how to dine has learnt the leading lesson of progress." - Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management

"I sometimes I find myself thinking, rather wistfully, about Lao Tzu's famous dictum: 'Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish.' All around me I see something very different, let us say - a number of angry dwarfs trying to grill a whale." - William Carlos William, The American Grain (The Discovery of the Indies)

"When Nations grow Old, The Arts grow Cold And Commerce settles on every Tree." - William Blake   

"The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong." - Winston Churchill

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is." - Chuck Reid

Quotes for the week of October 22, 2006 - Making Adjustments

"Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world." - R. D. Laing

"COMPROMISE, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due." - Ambrose Bierce

"Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem." - Eric Hoffer

"Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations." - Herbert Spencer

"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order." - Alfred Whitehead

"Approach each new problem not with a view of finding what you hope will be there, but to get the truth, the realities that must be grappled with. You may not like what you find. In that case you are entitled to try to change it. But do not deceive yourself as to what you do find to be the facts of the situation." - Bernard Baruch

"Some people change their ways when they see the light; others when they feel the heat." - Caroline Schroeder 

"At the present time, the alternative is not between change or no change, but between change for the better and change for the worse." - Clifford Hugh Douglas

"If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?" - Dr. Robert Anthony

"Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, 'Light, bearing on the starboard bow.' 'Is it steady or moving astern?' the captain called out. Lookout replied, 'Steady, captain,' which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. The captain then called to the signalman, 'Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.' Back came the signal, 'Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.' The captain said, 'Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees. 'I'm a seaman second class," came the reply. 'You had better change course 20 degrees.' By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, 'Send, I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.' Back came the flashing light, 'I'm a lighthouse.' We changed course. - Frank Koch

"If we want everything to remain as it is, it will be necessary for everything to change." - Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay." - Harold Wilson

"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going." - Irwin Corey

"Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense." - Joseph Addison

"People change and forget to tell each other." - Lillian Hellman

"If I could live my life over again, there is one thing I would change. I would want to be able to eat less." - Luciano Pavarotti

"It is well for people who think to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean. For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while." - Luther Burbank

"Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two." - Octavio Paz

"People talk of fundamentals and superlatives and then make some changes of detail." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before." - Samuel Johnson

"Men are always sincere. They change sincerities, that's all." - Tristan Bernard

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." - W. Edwards Deming

"The pessimist complains about the wind; The optimist expects it to change; The realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult." - E. B. White

"People who are easily shocked should be shocked more often." - Mae West

Quotes for the week of October 15, 2006 - All These Troubles!

"The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives when you least expect it." - Arnold H. Glasow 

"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." - Benjamin Franklin

"What they could do with 'round here is a good war. What else can you expect with peace running wild all over the place? You know what the trouble with peace is? No organization." - Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children (1941)

"In trouble to be troubl'd / Is to have your trouble doubl'd." - Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, The Farther Adventures

"There is always a comforting thought in time of trouble when it is not our trouble." - Don Marquis 

"The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate. - Doug Larson

"Don't complain to others about your troubles. Half of them don't care and the other half are glad." - Emmett Smith

"I often regret having come into this petty world; not that I hate the world. No, I love the world. I love high society and even the demimonde, since I'm a sort of demimondaine myself. But what have I come to do on this Earth, which is so earthly and so earthy? Do I have duties to perform here? Have I come here to carry out a mission - a commission? Have I been sent here to amuse myself?  To enjoy myself a little? To forget the miseries of a beyond, which I no longer remember? Am I not unwelcome here? What should I say to all these questions? Thinking, almost from the moment of my arrival, that I was doing some good down here, I began to play a few musical airs which I myself had invented. All my troubles stemmed from there." - Erik Satie

"I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and - I can't remember what the third thing is." - Fred Allen

"Well, if I can be of any help at all, you are in worse trouble than I thought." - Lily Tomlin

"The trouble isn't that there are too many fools, but that the lightning isn't distributed right." - Mark Twain

"Genius is a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble." - Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

"Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important." - T.S. Eliot

"When I look back on all the worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened." - Winston Churchill

"The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so; at other times he thinks about other things." - Bertrand Russell

"I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time." - Charlie Brown

"We experience moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic." - Cullen Hightower

"Love looks forward, hate looks back - anxiety has eyes all over its head." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook (1960)

"I do not think necessity is the mother of invention - invention, in my opinion, arise directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble." - Agatha Christie

Quotes for the week of October 8, 2006 - It's All a Matter of Character

"Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is; the tree is the real thing." - Abraham Lincoln 

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." - Albert Einstein 

"To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character." - Alexander Hamilton

"I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad immoral character: like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America." - Benjamin Franklin 

"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." - Norman Schwarzkopf

"The test of your character is what it takes to stop you." - Bob Jones

"A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents." - Georg Lichtenberg

"Adversity attracts the man of character. He seeks out the bitter joy of responsibility." - Charles de Gaulle 

"Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted." - Alfred Adler 

  • DISSEMBLE, v.i. To put a clean shirt upon the character.
  • RIDICULE, n. Words designed to show that the person of whom they are uttered is devoid of the dignity of character distinguishing him who utters them.  - Ambrose Bierce

"If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny." - Andre Maurois

"Every generation, no matter how paltry its character, thinks itself much wiser than the one immediately preceding it, let alone those that are more remote." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character-building value of privation for the poor." - John Galbraith 

"On hearing Tonya Harding proclaim herself 'the Charles Barkley of figure skating,' my initial response was to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized that I had no character." - Charles Barkley

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." - Heywood Hale Broun 

"Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries." - James Michener 

"You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jelly beans." - Ronald Reagan

"Being unable to reason is not a positive character trait outside religion." - Dewey Henize

"I am accounted by some people as a good man. How cheap that character is acquired! Pay your debts, don't borrow money, nor twist your kitten's neck off, nor disturb a congregation, etc., your business is done. I know things of myself which would make every friend I have fly me as a plague patient." - Charles Lamb

"No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked. All other goodness is generally nothing but indolence or impotence of will." - Duc de La Rochefoucauld

"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character." - Oscar Levant

"No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time." - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would have thus been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." - Charles Darwin

"Few women and fewer men have enough character to be idle." - E. V. Lucas 

"Be your character what it will, it will be known; and nobody will take it upon your word." - Lord Chesterfield Stanhope

"It is a very common failing, never to be pleased with our fortune nor displeased with our character." - Marquise Magdeleine Sable, Maxims and Various Thoughts (Maximes et penses diverses), 1678

"The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he is born. "- William Inge

Quotes for the week of October 1, 2006 - The Problem with the Facts

"The fact that logic cannot satisfy us awakens an almost insatiable hunger for the irrational."  - A. N. Wilson 

"Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that he sometimes has to eat them." - Adlai Stevenson

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley   

"Most people don't know or don't accept the fact that if they had no thoughts they would be happy." - Anthony Damiani 

"My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I'm right." - Ashleigh Brilliant 

"Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false." - Bertrand Russell

"The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment." - Celia Green

"There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts." - Duc de La Rochefoucauld 

"It's a fact the whole world knows, that Pobbles are happier without their toes." - Edward Lear

"The truth is more important than the facts." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." - George Bernard Shaw

"Prejudice is a great time saver. It enables you to form opinions without bothering to get the facts." - George Santayana

"Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts." - Henry Adams 

"Most of the arguments to which I am a party fall somewhat short of being impressive, owing to the fact that neither I nor my opponent knows what we are talking about." - Robert Charles Benchley 

"Never give up and never face the facts." - Ruth Gordon 

"It is very comforting to believe that leaders who do terrible things are, in fact, mad. That way, all we have to do is make sure we don't put psychotics in high places and we've got the problem solved." - Tom Wolfe

"It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true." - Gore Vidal

"It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year." - Truman Capote

"A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective." - Edward Teller

"A 'fact' merely marks the point where we have agreed to let investigation cease." - Bliss Carman

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation." - H.H. Munro

"To treat your facts with imagination is one thing, to imagine your facts is another." - John Burroughs

Quotes for the week of September 24, 2006 - Insults, Diplomacy, and Visiting Foreign Lands (for Hugo Chavez)

"The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." - Sigmund Freud

"Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river." - Cordell Hull

"Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong." - Rousseau

"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally." - Oscar Wilde

"If you can't ignore an insult, top it; if you can't top it, laugh it off; and if you can't laugh it off, it's probably deserved." - J. Russell Lynes

"Never insult anyone by accident." - Robert A. Heinlein

"You will find that silence or very gentle words are the most exquisite revenge for insult." - Judge Hall

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." - Franklin P. Jones 

"Persecution is the first law of society because it is always easier to suppress criticism than to meet it." - Howard Mumford Jones 

"If we have any criticism of our leaders, we invite Satan into our lives and beliefs." - Ezra Taft Benson 

"Never criticize a man until you've run a mile in his shoes. That way, if he doesn't like what you have to say, it'll be okay because you'll be a mile away and you'll have his shoes." - Robin Evans   

"I'm not intending to imply insult or judgment here but I am curious to know in order to be able to respond to your posts in an appropriate manner, so please forgive what appears to be, but in fact is not intended as, an insulting question: Are you stupid?" - Melinda Shore

  • DIPLOMACY, n. Lying in state, or the patriotic art of lying for one's country.
  • MINISTER, n. An agent of a higher power with a lower responsibility. In diplomacy, an officer sent into a foreign country as the visible embodiment of his sovereign's hostility.
  • ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.

- Ambrose Bierce

"Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way." - Daniele Vare

"Diplomacy means the art of nearly deceiving all your friends, but not quite deceiving all your enemies." - Kofi Abrefa Busia   

"I've come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version." - Don DeLillo

"Travelers never think that they are the foreigners." - Mason Cooley

"Only very rarely are foreigners or first-generation immigrants allowed to be nice people in American films. Those with an accent are bad guys." - Max von Sydow

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." - Herman Melville

"Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness."  - Ray Bradbury

Quotes for the week of September 17, 2006 - A Simple Matter of Trust

Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted. - Alfred Adler

It is unfortunate, considering that enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to speak the truth. - Arthur James Balfour, Letter to Mrs. Drew, 1918

Political demagoguery is, to some extent, a problem in our country. The particular form this demagoguery takes is only a passing phase, and when our current dragons and inner phantoms have been laid to rest, the eternal demagogue will arise anew. He will accuse others of conspiracy in order to prove his own importance. He will try to intimidate those who are neither so iron-fisted nor so hotheaded as he, and temporarily he will drag some people into the web of his delusions. Perhaps he will even wear a mantle of martyrdom to arouse the tears of the weak-hearted. With his emotionalism and suspicion, he will shatter the trust of citizens in one another. - Joost Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing

Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power. - Charles Colton

No one is fit to be trusted with power.  No one. Any man who has lived at all knows the follies and wickedness he's capable of. If he does not know it, he is not fit to govern others. And if he does know it, he knows also that neither he nor any man ought to be allowed to decide a single human fate. - Sir Charles Percy Snow, The Light and the Dark (1961)

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. - Friedrich Nietzsche 

I distrust the incommunicable; it is the source of all violence. - Jean-Paul Sartre 

You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold. - George Bernard Shaw

Of course, trusting the government with your privacy is like having a Peeping Tom install your window blinds. - John Perry Barlow

I distrust Great Men. They produce a desert of uniformity around them and often a pool of blood too, and I always feel a little man's pleasure when they come a cropper. - E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, "What I Believe" (1951)

Trust everybody, but cut the cards. - Finley Peter Dunne

I don't really trust a sane person. - Lyle Alzado 

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. - Benjamin Spock 

Those who trust us educate us. - George Eliot 

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. - Samuel Johnson 

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. - Gertrude Jekyll 

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow. - Henry David Thoreau 

Seek simplicity, and distrust it. - Alfred North Whitehead

The distrust of wit is the beginning of tyranny. - Edward Abbey 

The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust. - Samuel Butler

Quotes for the week of September 10, 2006 - History and Truth and All That

To correct a natural indifference I was placed half-way between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all was well under the sun, and the sun taught me that history wasn't everything. - Albert Camus

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. - Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays, 1959

  • HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
  • MYTHOLOGY, n. The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later. - Ambrose Bierce

History not used is nothing, for all intellectual life is action, like practical life, and if you don't use the stuff - well, it might as well be dead. - Arnold Joseph Toynbee  

History does not repeat itself. Historians repeat each other. - Arthur James Balfour

Blood alone moves the wheels of history. - Benito Mussolini, speech, December 13, 1914

Assassination has never changed the history of the world. - Benjamin Disraeli, speech, May, 1865

History abhors determinism but cannot tolerate chance. - Bernard de Voto, The Course of Empire, 1952

I found, one day in school, a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history of the human race. - Bertrand Russell, Education and the Social Order

People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history. - Dan Quayle

If anyone wants to understand the course of man on earth, he must consider the fact of the long pause, three million years on the level of savagery, ten thousand years on the level of dependence on the fruits of hand labor, and a hundred or a hundred and fifty years of sudden sharp rise. One hundred or 150 years is the time included in what we call progress in man's history. - E. Parmalee Prentice 

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know. - Harry Truman

To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. It is a very serious task, young man, and possibly a tragic one. - Hermann Hesse 

For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pondscum. - J. W. Schopf

But history, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in. … I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome. - Jane Austen, Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey (1817)

Might does not make right; it only makes history. - Jim Fiebig  

Any movement in history which attempts to perpetuate itself, becomes reactionary. - Josip Broz Tito 

History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided. - Konrad Adenauer

Skillful and refined cookery has always been a feature of the most glamorous epochs in history. - Lucien Tendret  

Political history is largely an account of mass violence and of the expenditure of vast resources to cope with mythical fears and hopes. - Marian Wright Edelman, Politics as Symbolic Action

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice. - Mark Twain

We don't know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don't understand our name at all; we don't know its history, and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity. We merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it, as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration. - Milan Kundera  

Strange when you come to think of it, that of all the countless folk who have lived before our time on this planet not one is known in history for in legend as having died of laughter. - Sir Max Beerbohm

History has a Nemesis for every sin. - Theodor Mommsen

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. - Will Durant 

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. - Woody Allen 

Based on what you know about him in history books, what do you think Abraham Lincoln would be doing if he were alive today? 1. Writing his memoirs of the Civil War. 2. Advising the President. 3. Desperately clawing at the inside of his coffin. - David Letterman

Quotes for the week of September 3, 2006 - Stupidity

The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. - Albert Einstein

Unhappiness does make people look stupid. - Anatole France

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. - William James

Once the decision has been made, close your ear even to the best counter argument: sign of a strong character. Thus an occasional will to stupidity. - Friedrich Nietzsche 

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal. - Leo Tolstoy

The man who is clever and industrious is suited to high staff appointments; use can be made of a man who is stupid and lazy; the man who is clever and lazy is suited for the highest command, he has the nerve to deal with all situations; but the man who is stupid and industrious is a danger and must be dismissed immediately. - Baron von Hammerstein-Equoard 

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward - Bill Davidsen

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it. - Dame Edith Sitwell

I only require three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid. - Dorothy Parker

Every creative act is a sudden cessation of stupidity. - Edward Herbert Land

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say that there's more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe. - Frank Zappa 

The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing. - Gamel Abdel Nasser 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

- George Bernard Shaw 

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. - Gustave Flaubert

It's possible to fight intolerance, stupidity and fanaticism when they come separately. When you get all three together it's probably wiser to get out, if only to preserve your sanity. - P. D. James

If you say something stupid and no one disagrees, then you know that you're the boss. - Philip Simborg 

It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful. - Anton LaVey

Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider! - George Carlin

Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn't misuse it. - Pope John Paul II

Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff. - Mariah Carey

We are growing serious, and, let me tell you, that's the very next step to being dull. - Joseph Addison, The Drummer (Act IV, Scene 6)

Quotes for the week of August 27, 2006 - Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It is the theory that decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein 

ADVICE: n. to seek another's approval of a course already decided upon.

CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on.

DECIDE, v.i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.

RECONSIDER, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made.

- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

It is time for writers to admit that nothing in this world makes sense. Only fools and charlatans think they know and understand everything. The stupider they are, the wider they conceive their horizons to be. And if an artist decides to declare that he understands nothing of what he sees - this in itself constitutes a considerable clarity in the realm of thought, and a great step forward. - Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - to Alexei Suvorin, May 30, 1888

A decision is the action an executive must take when he has information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself. - Arthur Radford

What's real in politics is what the voters decide is real. - Ben J. Wattenberg

Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is blissfully ignorant. - John Simon

"Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from knowing there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about them. Amen." That's it. It's what you pray silently inside yourself anyway, so you might as well have it out in the open. "Lord, Lord, Lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. Amen." And that's it. Most of the trouble people get into in life comes from leaving out that last part. - Douglas Noel Adams, Mostly Harmless

Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant. - Henri Queuille

About eleven o'clock we were out in the street walking along, and an American lady said, "How is it, Dr. Suzuki? We spend the evening asking you questions and nothing is decided." Dr. Suzuki smiled and said, "That's why I love philosophy: no one wins." - John Cage

It is better to stir up a question without deciding it, than to decide it without stirring it up. It is better to debate a question without deciding it than to decide it without debating it. - Joseph Joubert 

A weak man has doubts before a decision; a strong man has them afterwards. - Karl Kraus 

I was a-trembling because I'd got to decide forever betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied for a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself, "All right, then I'll go to hell." - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Ever notice that "what the hell" is always the right decision? - Marilyn Monroe

If someone tells you he is going to make "a realistic decision," you immediately understand that he is going to do something bad. - Mary McCarthy

Remember, you can think for yourself, or just surrender your mind. It's your call, but don't expect me to pay your bills if you decide to surrender. - Professor Zen

Whenever I make a bum decision, I just go out and make another. - Harry Truman

A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one. - Rita Mae Brown

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter." - Lewis Carroll

When choosing between two evils, always choose the one you haven't tried yet. - Mae West

Sullivan's Law: When given the choice between two alternatives, always pick the third! - Patrick H. Sullivan

Some books on the shelf here in Hollywood...

All previous quotations can be found at The Just Above Sunset Archive of Useful, Pithy Observations.  When you click on that link the archive page will open in a new window.  That page will eventually be converted to the new format.  It is quite extensive and readers who use Internet Explorer should use the "find" function to locate a particular author or key words - from the top menu use EDIT > FIND (on this page)

[The 2006 Quotations]

Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik