Quote Collection

Sundry quotes and bits of lyrics that I feel compelled to share with you

  • The search for the mot juste is not a pedantic fad but a vital necessity. Words are our precision tools. Imprecision engenders ambiguity and hours are wasted in removing verbal misunderstandings before the argument of substance can begin. (Anonymous civil servant; from the Roget's Thesaurus Web page)

  • I don't mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don't understand. (Sir Edward Appleton)

  • You are as many a person as the languages you speak. (Armenian proverb)

  • No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible. (W.H. Auden)

  • I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal. (Jane Austen)

  • Owning a Mac is like owning a car with the hood welded shut. (David Barts, in alt.sysadmin.recovery)

  • That's what hell must be like, small chat to the babbling of Lethe about the good old days when we wished we were dead. (Samuel Beckett)

  • Etiquette is getting sleepy in company and not showing it. (H. Maxwell Berston)

  • Like golden apples in silver settings are words spoken at the proper time. (Proverbs 25:11)

  • LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary)

  • Tradition is the illusion of permanence. (Harry Block--Woody Allen--Deconstructing Harry)

  • Sex education will encourage kids to have sex? No way. I had 4 years of algebra and I never do math. These guys say they're against abortion because birth is a miracle. Popcorn is a miracle, too, if you don't know how it's done. (Elayne Boosler)

  • We have conquered language, and soon we will conquer the world, for now there is no one we cannot communicate with. (The Brain, from "Pinky and the Brain")

  • I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. (A. Whitney Brown)

  • Charm is a way of getting the answer "yes" without asking a clear question. (Albert Camus)

  • Any kind of love is fine. It's your hate you have to watch. (Margaret Cho)

  • Poetry is indispensable--if I only knew what for. (Jean Cocteau)

  • If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything. (Confucius)

  • Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous. (Confucius)

  • Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. (Rich Cook)

  • I was always too stubborn to ever be governed by enforced insanity. (Bob Dylan, Up to Me)

  • Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything. (Bob Dylan)

    1. How does one measure the height of a building using a barometer?
    1. Drop the barometer off the building onto someone's head, killing them outright. Wait for the next day's papers and read the part where it says "A man (39) was killed yesterday when a scientist (26) dropped a barometer from the top of an [x] foot building". (Dr. N.C. Eastmond, nce@liverpool.ac.uk, in sci.physics)

  • Every so often I contemplate suicide merely to remind myself of my complete lack of interest in it as a solution to anything at all. (Nora Ephron, Heartburn)

  • Show me a woman who cries when the trees lose their leaves in autumn and I'll show you a real asshole. (Nora Ephron, Heartburn)

  • Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Susan Ertz)

  • I like children. If they're properly cooked. (W.C. Fields)

  • Fifth Law of Applied Terror: If you are given an open-book exam, you will forget your book.
    Corollary: If you are given a take-home exam, you will forget where you live.

  • "Chance" is the pseudonym of God when He did not wish to sign. (Anatole France)

  • Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. (Ed Gardner)

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (heard from Kelsey Grammer)

  • It ought to be plain how little you gain
    By getting excited and vexed.
    You'll always be late for the previous train,
    And always on time for the next. (P. Hein)

  • A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. (Robert A. Heinlein)

  • I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex. (Katharine Hepburn)

  • An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise. (Victor Hugo)

  • A people without a language is a people without a soul. (Irish proverb)

  • For best results: Wash in cold water separately, hang dry and iron with warm iron. For not-so-good results: Drag behind car through puddles, blow-dry on roof-rack. (instructions on a Korean-made shirt)

  • Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true. (Samuel Johnson)

  • French class questionnaire: Why are you taking French instead of some other language?
    Me: Because I've spoken it for 33% of my life and it's too late to turn back now.

  • One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. (A. A. Milne)

  • Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person. (E. Watts Mumford)

  • My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, "How was that drive-by shooting?" You don't care how it was, you're lucky to get out alive. (Angela Chase, My So-Called Life)

  • I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.' (Bob Newhart)

  • A cardinal rule of talking is that there's no reason not to carry on a cheerful and engaging conversation just because you're alone in the room. (P. J. O'Rourke)

  • Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
    A medley of extemporanea;
    And love is a thing that will never go wrong;
    And I am Marie of Roumania. (Dorothy Parker)

  • One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. (Plato)

  • There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. (John W. Raper)

  • Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain. (Schiller, The Maid of Orleans)

  • The real problem isn't whether machines think, but whether people do. (B. F. Skinner)

  • When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. (Jonathan Swift)

  • "I wish life was not so short", he thought. "Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road)

  • Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love. (Turkish proverb)

  • Planes and trains and boats and buses characteristically evoke a common attitude of blue, unless you have a suitcase and a ticket and a passport and the cargo that they're carrying is you. (Tom Waits, Foreign Affair)

  • And the things you can't remember tell the things you can't forget that history puts a saint in every dream. (Tom Waits, Time)

  • Don't you know there ain't no devil? There's just God when He's drunk. (Tom Waits)

  • Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. (Tom Waits)

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

    Go back to my home page
    Last edited on 3 January 2006 by N. S. Heath.
    E-mail nora@heathens.co.nz
    Border background by N. S. Heath; may be used with permission.