“Credulity is man’s weakness, but the child’s strength.
Charles Lamb (Elia in the cross word puzzles) 1775 - 1834
Nothing succeeds like success.
Alexander Dumas (elder) 1802 - 1870
To give an accurate and exhaustive account of that period would need a far less brilliant pen than mine.
Max Beerbohn 1872 - 1956
The optimist declares that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that it is true.
James Branch Cabell 1879 - 1958
Oh Boy! This is one of my all time favorites. How could it be improved on? There is a certain solipsism about the “best of all possible worlds” that has been applied correctly to refute the argument that the perfection of nature proves the existence of God. But this so sweetly turns it all on it’s head, and is cynical too! Are we seeing a pattern here? They are MY favorite quotes.
I get more cynical every day, but it’s never enough.
Now I am the wiser; for I know that there is not any memory with less satisfaction in it than the memory of some temptation we resisted.
James Branch Cabell
If we resisted, we regret the missed opportunity, if we satisfied the temptation, we may still regret that we did. Sometimes, you just can’t win. This next Cabell quote comes from Jurgen and the scene is a gentleman fondling the sweet young flesh of his mistress:
Worm’s meat! This is the destined food, do what you will, of small white worms. This by and by will be a struggling pale corruption, like seething milk.
Why do I like this? I don’t know. It’s an interesting seduction technique, similar to “we may all be dead tomorrow, so why not?” But mostly, I like the imagery. It has truth. I believe in the adage:
Mother Nature always bats last.
I recall a rabbit that the cat released in the house only to die behind the refrigerator.... You had to be there to appreciate it. So back to biology. I wish that there was a way to put some Larsen cartoons in here; he certainly made some profound observations. We’ll be content with an Aldo Leopold:
The land is one organism. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.
This is the one that set my nose to the grindstone with respect to my experience with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and our illustrious Secretary of Natural Resources, Becky Dunlop. Becky was the James Watt (we don’t need to preserve nature, Jesus is coming at the millennium) protégé that George Allen found under a rock somewhere. Becky, was put in charge of the Natural Resources of Virginia. She didn’t believe in Evolution, much less a universe older thant 6600 years (or whatever) Ah! I just found it (among other interesting things) - And I enjoyed my research into the Scopes trial while looking for it. "I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.” - Franklin P. Adams) As calculated by some “Biblical Scholar”, the age of the Universe is calculated from October 23, 4004 BC. To her, coal was a “renewable resource” since God had “POOF” made it all on the third or fourth day or whatever. Now, I’ve got nothing against letting people believe whatever they want. But you don’t put the guy on the street shouting at God in charge of policy either. Oh, man it was hard those four years. Becky didn’t believe in acid precipitation (it interfered with God fearing Christian business people maximizing their profits, and those Capitalistic profits are as dear to the Christian heart as the Gospels... so Pat Robertson tells us). Stop me, the nightmare is over. There will always be what appear to be insurmountable obstacles and powerful forces to oppose.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.
The rest of these quotes have been selected by me without the aide of Bartlett. They’ve been gleaned mostly from my own reading and it may not be possible to reference them as easily as those that have preceeded. I also have to drop most of the birth and death dates. Most of the authors are still living as of this writing but I don’t necessarily know which ones.
We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot 1888 - 1965
The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.
Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger.
Gordon R. Dickson
Compared to what? From now on whenever anyone says something to me, that’s what I’m going to say. - Lucy
Let me make myself perfectly clear...
Richard Milhouse Nixon
You knew what was coming every time Dick said this. Later, at the funeral of Charles De Gaulle:
This is a great day for France!
You have to wonder how those “idiom sensitive” translators handled that. Then again, there is that “French language” thing. I used to have a copy of a letter sent to Jaques Chirac, President of France from the Prime Minister of New Zealand. It was a wonderful send up of the French neuroses about their culture and language. It was a hoot. I think I saw it in Harper's.
If Lincoln were alive today, he’d roll over in his grave.
Maybe we should not have humored them... When they asked to live on reservations. Maybe we should have said, “No come join us. Be citizens along with the rest of us."
Ronald Reagon [speaking of Native Americans]
That one takes my breath away. Just because he had Aldzhimers, doesn’t mean he wasn’t an idiot as well. More Reagonisms:
[Malapropism repeated nine times in one speech, early in his administration]
The United States has much to offer the third world war.
This kind of weapon [thermonuclear] can’t help but have an effect on the population as a whole.
There is today in the US as much forest as there was when Washington was at Valley Forge.
When you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all.
I don’t believe a tree is a tree and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
Which is it Ron? Man, this can get depressing, this was the president of the United States and he’s still revered as a Great Man.! Was it I who asked if we ever remember quotes we don’t like? I didn’t think to ask why we like them. Certainly, anything that makes those you don’t respect less powerful should be remembered and quoted. You can quote me.
America’s lands may be ravaged as a result of the actions of the environmentalists.
James Watt taught Becky Dunlop the appointee of George Allen as Secretary of Natural Resources of Virginia, my former boss, everything she knows:
[exposure to dioxin] is usually not disabling, but may be fatal.
Dow Chemical Spokesperson
On a lighter note, thank God we’ve got Yogi Berra:
A nickel ain’t worth a dime any more.
It’s like deja vu all over again.
Nobody goes there anymore it’s too crowded.
You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.
The similarities between me and my father are different.
That’s what you think, Dale.
I believe that we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy. But that could change.
John Stuart Mill would have noted:
Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people... it is true that most stupid people are conservative.
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
Someone once told me that if you have to swallow a toad, it’s best not to look at it too long. If you have to swallow two toads, it’s best to swallow the biggest one first. If you have to swallow more than two, you need to reevaluate what you’re doing.
Some quotes are worth repeating.
B. Keith Fowler (commenting on these quotes I put on the bulletin board.)
When a man falls into his anecdotage, it’s a sign for him to retire.
It’s time for me to retire from quoting quotes, so I’ll list some of my own adages. They’re not likely to become part of our collective consciousness or mental short cuts, but they seemed appropriate when I coined them.
Forget truth and beauty; for most people happiness is having someone else to blame.
Everything takes two hands except for those things that take three.
Bureaucracy will make liars of us all.
When you’re really, really, mad at something, you beat the piss out of it with your binoculars.
A person’s self satisfaction is proportional to his ignorance.
I’ve lived my life so far with long periods of consummate self-satisfied smugness (You’ve figured this out from this essay), but it’s been punctuated with episodes of abject humility (when reality reared its ugly head). I’ve certainly learned more from my errors than my successes. So like Socrates, I accept the fact of my ignorance; I just try to forget it now and again. So ignorance of ignorance is bliss. It sure worked for George W. Bush.
The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages may be preserved by quotation.
Compiled by R. W. Bolgiano, December, 2000
Edited; January, 2010