- Statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is suggestive but what they conceal is vital.
- Living well is the best revenge.
- Virtue, among other definitions, may thus be defined: an action against the will.
- Faith is that quality which enables us to believe what we know to be untrue.
- Here lies a poor woman who always was tired,
- Life is a sexually transmited disease.
- To err is human but to really foul things up requires a computer.
- There was a young lady named Bright,
- He's a born-again Christian. The trouble is, he suffered brain damage during rebirth.
- Beneath this smooth stone by the bone of his bone
- It has been said that there are seven essential
requisites for going to law:
Samuel Hopkins ADAMS
With the exception of lawyers, there is no profession which considers itself above the law so widely as the medical profession.
ADAMS, Franklin P., NODS AND BECKS, 1944.
The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.
ANTRIM, Minna, NAKED TRUGH AND VEILED ALLUSIONS, 1902.
Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.
AUGUSTINE, Book Four of the CITY OF GOD
[A conversation between Alexander the Great and a pirate he had
The most essential mental quality for a free people, whose liberty is to be progressive, permanent and on a large scale, is much stupidity.
It is a good idea to 'shop around' before you settle on a doctor. Ask about the condition of his Mercedes. Ask about the competence of his mechanic. Don't be shy! After all, you're paying for it.
You made one mistake. You married me. (Last words to his wife, Beatrice)
BELLOW, Saul, 1980
Take our politicians: they're a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches as the first prize.
BERENSON, Bernard, NOTEBOOK, 1982.
Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
BERLIN, Isaiah, Sir, quoted in THE TIMES, 1981.
When a man speaks of the need for realism one may be sure that this is always the prelude to some bloody deed.
All of us are mad. If it weren't for the fact that every one of us is slightly abnormal, there wouldn't be any point in giving each person a separate name.
Brain, n. An apparatus with which we think that we think.
BRECHT, Bertolt, 'Hollywood' in COLLECTED POEMS 1913-1956, 1976.
When the leaders speak of peace
It is well said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.
A lawyer is a learned gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself.
Christian ethics are seldom found save in the philosophy of some unbeliever.
William B. CASTLE
An expert is a man who tells you a simple thing in a confused way in such a fashion as to make you think the confusion is your own fault.
Bunyan spent a year in prison, Coleridge was a drug addict, Poe was an alcoholic, Marlowe was killed by a man he was trying to stab, Pope took a large sum of money to keep a woman's name out of a vicious satire and then wrote it so that she could be recognized anyway, Chatterton killed himself, Somerset Maugham was so unhappy in his final thirty years that he longed for death... do you still want to be a writer?
CHAMFORT, Nicolas, CHARACTERS AND ANECDOTES, 1771.
The only thing that stops God sending a second Flood is that the first one was useless.
CHAMFORT, Nicolas, quoted in A CYNIC'S BREVIARY by J.R.Solly, 1925
The success of many books is due to the affinity between the mediocrity of the author's ideas and those of the public.
It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty.
CHESTERTON, G.K., heretics, 1905.
Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
CHISHOLM, Brock, Dr., quoted in LADIES' HOME JOURNAL, 1949.
Conscience is what your mother told you before you were six years old.
COCKBURN, Alexander, (MORE)MAGAZINE, 1974.
The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.
Stanley N. COHEN
Nature is that lovely lady to whom we owe polio, leprosy, smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer.
COMPUTER AGE: Remember When...Computer was something on TV from a science fiction show.
A window was something you hated to clean.
And ram was the cousin of a goat.
MEG was the name of my girlfriend and GIG was your middle finger upright,
Now they all mean different things and that really Mega bytes.
An application was for employment,
a program was a TV show,
a cursor used profanity,
a keyboard was a piano.
Memory was something that you lost with age,
a CD was a bank account,
and if you had a 3 1/2 inch floppy,
you hoped nobody found out.
Compress was something you did to the garbage,
not something you did to a file,
and if you unzipped anything in public you'd be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire,
Hard Drive was a long trip on the road,
a mouse pad was where a mouse lived,
and a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife,
paste you did with glue,
a web was a spider's home,
and a virus was the flu.
I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper,
and the memory in my head,
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash,
but when it happens they wish they were dead.
CONNALLY, Cyril, JOURNAL AND MEMOIR, ed.D.Pryce-Jones, 1983.
- The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet.
- English Law: where there are two alternatives: one intelligent, one stupid; one attractive, one vulgar; one noble, one ape-like; one serious and sincere, one undignified and false; one far-sighted, one short; EVERYBODY will INVARIABLY choose the latter.
President and Mrs. Coolidge, visiting a government
farm, were taken around on separate tours.
Life was a funny thing that occurred on the way to the grave.
Peter DE VRIES
The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, "Thou shalt not kill," is so monstrously,immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long.
The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
DISRAELI, Benjamin, CONINGSBY, 1844.
Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.
DOCQUIER, L., qtd in REFLECTIONS ON THE ART OF LIFE by J.R.Solly, 1902
The animals are not as stupid as one thinks - they have neither doctors nor lawyers.
War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
FEIBLEMAN, James K., UNDERSTANDING PHILOSOPHY, 1973.
A myth is a religion in which no-one any longer believes.
FRANCE, Antole, CRAINQUEBILLE, 1901
Justice is the sanction of established injustice.
Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.
A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get into the office.
I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Richard Le GALLIENNE
Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founders' than any other agency in the world.
There is nothing so absurd or ridiculous that has not at some time been said by some philosopher.
GRAFFITI, Vietnam, 1960s, 1970s.
We are the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful.
Ulysses S. Grant
There is nothing more I should do to it now, and therefore I am not likely to be more ready to go than at this moment. (Last words)
HARRIS, Sydney J.
You may be sure that when a man begins to call himself a realist he is preparing to do something that he is secretly ashamed of doing.
HOFFER, Eric, THE PASSIONATE STATE OF MIND, 1954.
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
"I'm so worried,"
HUTCHINS, Robert Maynard
- When Hutchins was dean of Yale Law School, he had
a brief conversation with William Howard Taft, then Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court.
- The death of democracy is not likely to be assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and undernourishment.
HUXLEY, Aldous, COLLECTED ESSAYS, 1959.
That men do not learn very much from history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
- You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.
We tolerate shapes in human beings that would horrify us if we saw them in a horse.
IONESCO, Eugene, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE, 1974.
In the name of religion, one tortures, persecutes, builds pyres. In the guise of ideologies, one massacres, tortures and kills. In the name of justice one punishes...in the name of love of one's country or of one's race hates other countries, despises them, massacres them. In the name of equality and brotherhood there is suppression and torture. There is nothing in common between the means and the end, the means go far beyond the end...ideologies and religion... are the alibis of the means.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
JOHNSON, Samuel, Dr., THE RASSELAS, 1759.
Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality: they discourse like angels but they live like men.
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
Physicians think they do a lot for a patient when they give his disease a name.
Anybody who is 25 or 30 years old has physical scars from all sorts of things, from tuberculosis to polio. It's the same with the mind.
KOESTLER, Arthur, OBSERVER, 1968.
If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of his history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction. Murder within the species on an individual or collective scale is a phenomenon unknown in the whole animal kingdom, except for man, and a few varieties of ants and rats.
KRUTCH, Joseph Wood
Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.
LA GRANGE, Marquis de, PENSEES, 1872.
When we ask advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.
LAING, R.D., THE POLITICS OF EXPERIENCE, 1967.
Society highly values its normal men. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.
In an act that amazed the audience, a dog sat onstage and played several tunes on a piano. As the audience applauded, a larger dog came onstage, forced the smaller dog from its stool, and led it into the wings. Backstage, the trainer told the theater manager, "That's his mother. She wants him to give up music and go to law school."
LE BERQUIER, Edouard, PENSEES DES AUTRES.
It is only the learned who care to learn, the ignorant who prefer to teach.
Life is a sewer. What you take out depends on what you put into it.
The four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence, and obsolescence.
LIPPMANN, Walter, 1966.
We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy's side of the front is always propaganda and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace.
LOIS, George, THE ART OF ADVERTISING, 1977.
The business world worships mediocrity. Officially we revere free enterprise, initiative and individuality. Unofficially we fear it.
LOWELL, James Russell, MY STUDY WINDOWS, 1871.
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: that you are dreadfully like other people.
McLAUGHLIN, Mignon, THE NEUROTIC'S NOTEBOOK, 1963.
Every society honours its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
MAISTRE, Joseph de, LETTER, 1811.
Every country has the government it deserves.
The more conscious a philosopher is of the weak spots of his theory, the more certain he is to speak with an air of final authority.
MAULDIN, Bill, quoted in LOOSE TALK, ed.L.Botts, 1980.
'Peace' is when nobody's shooting. A 'just peace' is when our side gets what it wants.
William J. MAYO
Specialist: a man who knows more and more about less and less.
To die for an idea - it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true.
MENCKEN, H.L., MINORITY REPORT, 1956.
Metaphysics is almost always an attempt to prove the incredible by an appeal to the unintelligible.
MENCKEN, H.L., MINORITY REPORT, 1956.
- We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
- God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.
MENCKEN, H.L., A BOOK OF BURLESQUES, 1920.
Alimony - the ransom that the happy pay to the devil.
MENCKEN, H.L., SENTENTIAE, 1916.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
- Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.
Did you hear what the white rat said to the other white rat? 'I've got that psychologist so well trained that every time I ring the bell he brings me something to eat.'
MIZNER, Wilson, quoted in H.L.MENCKEN'S DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS, 1942
I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.
Henri de MONTHERLANT, in Ultimate Insult
Religion is the venereal disease of mankind.
MURPHY'S LAW OF RESEARCH
Enough research will tend to support your theory (quoted in Murphy's Law by A.Bloch, 1979).
Benito MUSSOLINI (1904)
The history of saints is mainly the history of insane people.
NATHAN, George Jean
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
NIETZSCHE, Friedrich Wilhelm
- The preponderance of pain over pleasure is the cause of our fictitious morality and religion.
- A casual stroll through the lunatic asylums shows that faith does not prove anything.
- I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
ORWELL, George (Eric Blair), THE SPORTING SPIRIT, 1945.
Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.
- The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'Cheque Enclosed'.
- While a book reviewer for the New Yorker, Dorothy
Parker went on her honeymoon. Her editor, Harold Ross, began
pressuring her for her belated copy. She replied,
PENN, William, 1693.
Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.
Once (says an Author; where I need not say)
'PRIVATE EYE', magazine, 1978.
History repeats itself - the first time as tragi-comedy, the second time as bedroom farce.
A priest sees people at their best, a lawyer at their worst, but a doctor sees them as they really are.
Try to be forgotten. Go live in the country. Stay in mourning for two years, then remarry, but choose somebody decent. (Last words to his wife, Natalya)
ROGERS, Will, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF WILL ROGERS, 1949.
You can't say civilisation don't advance...for in every war they kill you a new way.
ROSTAND, Jean, THOUGHTS OF A BIOLOGIST, 1955.
Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill all and you are a God.
The first man to fence in a piece of land saying 'This is mine' and who found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.
So little done, so much to do.(last words)
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists - that is why they invented hell.
RUSSELL, Bertrand, SCEPTICAL ESSAYS, 1928.
We have, in fact, two kinds of morality side by side; one which we preach but do not practise, and another which we practise but seldom preach.
RUSSELL, Bertrand, THE CONQUEST OF HAPPINESS, 1930.
There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it, the other that you can boast about it.
RUSSELL, Bertrand, MARRIAGE AND MORALS, 1929.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd. Indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
RUSSELL, Bertrand, MYSTICISM AND LOGIC, 'A Free Man's Worship'
Organic Life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance.
SANTAYANA, George, THE CRIME OF GALILEO.
The working of great institutions is mainly the result of a vast mass of routine, petty malice, self interest, carelessness and sheer mistake. Only a residual fraction is thought.
SCHULBERG, Budd, WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN, 1941.
Living with a conscience is like driving a car with the brakes on.
SEEGER, Pete, quoted in LOOSE TALK, ed.L.Botts, 1980.
Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
SHAW, George Bernard, CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA, 1901.
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
SICA, Vittorio de, OBSERVER, 1961.
Moral indignation is in most cases 2 percent moral, 48 percent indignation and 50 percent envy.
SIEGFRIED, Andre, INEDIT.
A well governed people are generally a people who do not think much.
SIEGFRIED, Andre, QUELQUES MAXIMES, 1943.
Do you want to injure someone's reputation? Don't speak ill of him, speak too well.
Laws are like spiders' webs which, if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape.
Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.
STEWART, Ian & COHEN, Jack, FIGMENTS OF REALITY, Cambridge UP, 1997, 5
A woman scientist had been working for some time with a chimpanzee teaching it to carry out various tasks such as opening a box and rewarding it with fruit. One day, after a session with the chimpanzee, she came into the coffee room half laughing and half crying, obviously very emotional. Her colleagues, a little alarmed, finally managed to get out of her what had happened. She had decided to leave the laboratory area temporarily, and had undone the bolt on the door -- whereupon the chimpanzee had solemnly handed her a stick of celery.
We don't call it sin today, we call it self-expression.
To be patriotic, hate all nations but your own; to be religious, all sects but your own; to be moral, all pretences but your own.
When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in confederacy against him.
SZASZ, Thomas, THE SECOND SIN
If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
TALLEYRAND, Charles-Maurice de
Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts.
THATCHER, Margaret, quoted in the SPECTATOR, 1980.
No-one would remember the Good Smaritan if he had only had good intentions. He had money as well.
THOMPSON, Hunter S., FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, 1972.
America...just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
TOMALIN, Nicolas, STOP THE PRESS, I WANT TO GET ON.
The only qualities for real success in journalism are ratlike cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability. The capacity to steal other people's ideas and phrases...is also invaluable.
We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.
TRILLING, Lionel, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE, 1962.
Immature artists imitate, mature artists steal.
TRUMAN, Harry S., 1958.
It's a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours.
TWAIN, Mark (Samuel Clemens), THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LITERATURE, 1900.
A classic is something that everyone wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
TURNER, Lana, 1980.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
TWAIN, Mark(Samuel Clemens), NOTEBOOKS, 1935.
The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.
USTINOV, Peter, EVERYBODY'S MAGAZINE, 1957.
The habit of religion is oppressive, an easy way out of thought.
VEECK, Bill, 1965.
A hustler is a man who will talk you into giving him a free ride and make it seem as if he is doing you a great favour.
VIDAL, Gore, EVENING STANDARD, 1981.
For certain people, after fifty, litigation takes the place of sex.
VO DONG GIANG, TIME MAGAZINE, 1978.
Do not fear when your enemies criticise you. Beware when they applaud.
VOLTAIRE(Francois Marie Arouet)
- Animals have these advantages over man: they have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no-one starts law suits over their wills.
- Religion is the source of all imaginable follies and disturbances; it is the parent of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind.
VOLTAIRE(Francois Marie Arouet), CANDIDE, 1759.
When he who hears doesn't understand him who speaks, and when he who speaks doesn't know what he himself means - that is philosophy.
WHITE, Edmund, NEW TIMES MAGAZINE, 1979.
Someone once remarked that in adolescence pornography is a substitute for sex, whereas in adulthood sex is a substitute for pornography.
WILDE, Oscar, THE CRITIC AS ARTIST, 1891.
There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
WOLF, Charles, Jr., quoted in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1976.
Those who don't study the past will repeat its errors; those who do study it will find other ways to err.
WYATT, Woodrow, SUNDAY TIMES, 1973.
Politicians who wish to succeed must be prepared to dissemble, at times to lie. All deceit is bad. In politics some deceit or moral dishonesty is the oil without which the machinery would not work.