Favorite Quotes

Some of My Favorite Quotes:

"Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal."
Arthur C. Clarke
"Sometimes I think little is learned from success except maybe a greater fear of failure."
Ed Zwick
“It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.”
J.R.R. Tolkien
“It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.”
Albert Einstein
"He who is dying of thirst should not demand his drink comes in a golden cup."
Horace, Satires, 1.2.
"Deorum iniuriae dis curae". Let the gods deal with what offends them. In response to calls to charge people with sacrilege.
Roman Emperor Tiberius
"If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid."
"The study of history lies at the foundation of all sound military conclusions and practice."
Alfred Thayer Mahan
Truth is treason in the empire of lies.
attributed to Ron Paul or George Orwell
"You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing!"
General William T. Sherman, on the eve of the American Civil War. Sad that most wars start with the belief, "We'll whip 'em good, and be back by Christmas". They have no idea of the horrors that await them and their families.
"Iluvatar's [The creator of Middle Earth] intervention does not remove the significance of the choices made by the Children of Iluvatar, but in many ways it can redeem those choices, Or; to put it in another way, the characters are responsible only for their own choices and not for the outcome of those choices; they are responsible for the means, while the ends are in Iluvatar hands."
Matthew Diekerson, Following Gandalf
"One must face the fact: the power of evil in the world is not finally resistible by incarnate creatures, however good... It is possible for the good, even the saintly, to be subjected to a power of evil which is too great for them to overcome - in themselves."
JRR Tolkien, Letters 191 and 192
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940, addressing the British on the struggle yet to come with Nazi Germany.
“It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”
Thucydides in History of the Peloponnesian War. The term "Thucydides's Trap" comes from this quote where an existing power goes to war against a rising power just so the newcomer will not overtake the existing power.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
John F. Kennedy, 1962
"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
Albert Einstein
There are only two basic reasons to believe in democracy: because we have confidence in human nature, or because we don't.
C. S. Lewis
" ... in war anything is better than indecision. We must decide. If I am wrong, we shall soon find it out and can do the other thing. But not to decide wastes both time and money, and may ruin everything.'"
Ulysses S. Grant
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence."
Charles Bukowski
"It is only worth discussing what is in our power."
"Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy."
Isaac Newton
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Theodore Parker
"The gambling impulse is very strong in people [to trade stocks]... It creates its own reality for a while, and nobody tells you when the clock is going to strike 12 and it all turns to pumpkins and mice."
Warren Buffet
"It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine."
PG Wodehouse
"Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say."
Andy Stanley
"We’re not doubting that God will do the best for us; we’re wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
C.S. Lewis
"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control."
"We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.
E.O. Wilson, Biologist
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
Ripley in the movie Aliens II. Sometimes you have to work extra hard just to be sure.
"If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid."
"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
attributed to Sinclair Lewis
"You are more likely to find the truth in the cross examination than you are in the initial testimony."
Cicero (The Orator, 2.56)
"Anyone can steer the ship when the sea is calm."
Publilius Syrus (Moral Sayings, 358)
"Pale death, impartial, walks his round; calling at cottage gate and palace portal."
Horace (Odes, 1.4)

"Had I a hundred tongues and throat of bronze
  The woes of captives I could not relate
Or ev’n recount the names of all the slain."
Virgil on the sack of Rome in 410 that was caused by the stupidity of Emperor Honorius.
"It is not without sadness that we shall bid adieu to the Constitution of 1875. It made France a free country. It died less from its imperfections than from the fault of men who were charged with guarding it and making it work."
Senator Boivin-Champeaux after the French had been defeated by the Germans in WWII and the old constitution was removed and a new one formed by Marshal Petain and Prime Mister Laval in the image of the fascist states.
"Stop quoting laws to men with swords!"
Pompey the Great speaking to Roman civilians who questioned the legality of his actions.
"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.""
Francis Chan
"It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating change. The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new."
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
"Loyalty to organizations and movements has always tended over time to take the place of loyalty to the person of Christ."
Francis Schaeffer
"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings."
Ann Landers
“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one's community back from the path of sin.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"We are the ones we have been waiting for."
Alice Walker
"The great advantage about telling the truth is that nobody ever believes it."
Dorothy L. Sayers
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"You may reasonably expect a man to walk a tightrope safely for ten minutes; it would be unreasonable to do so without accident for two hundred years."
Bertrand Russell writing about nuclear safety
"Any idiot can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands."
"We interrupt each other's conversation to try and fill the vacuum of our self-worth with other's approval, or failing that, at least to gain their attention."
Mitch Fincher
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge."
"When you continually criticize a child, they don't stop loving you; they stop loving themselves."
"You are free to chose, but not free from the consequences of your choices."
"I don't count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That's when I start counting, because then it really counts. That's what makes you a champion."
Muhammad Ali
"Give instructions only to those people who seek knowledge after they have discovered their ignorance."
"Just because one side is wrong doesn't mean the other side is right."
"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
Samuel Johnson
"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."
Isaac Asimov
"Why, my son, do you so long for Ambition, that worst of deities? Oh, do not; the goddess is unjust; many are the homes and cities once prosperous that she has entered and left to the ruin of her worshippers."
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Napoleon Bonaparte
"Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal."
Friedrich Nietzsche
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' "
-Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)
"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
-L.P. Hartley, writer (1895-1972)
"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
Dale Carnegie
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
John Milton, Paradise Lost
"It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it."
"Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”
Tom Hiddleston
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
Howard Aiken
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Greek Proverb
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
Incorrectly attributed to Winnie the Pooh, but it is something he would say.
"The past is never dead, it's not even passed."
William Faulkner
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply."
Steven R. Covey
"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
- C.S. Lewis
"Fear is the greatest salesman."
Robert Klein
"It is a most agreeable spectacle for a Roman soldier when he sees a general eating common bread in public, or sleeping on a simple pallet, or taking a hand in the construction of some trench or palisade. For they have not so much admiration for those leaders who share honor and riches with them as for those who take part in their toils and dangers".
Plutarch on the leadership style of Gauis Marius
"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news."
A. J. Liebling (1904 – 1963), Journalist
"You have your sword, I have my tricks. We play with the toys the Gods give us."
Odysseus to Achilles in the movie "Troy".
"We live in a stage of politics, where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the results of their enforcement."
William Howard Taft (1857-1930)
"No Government can be long secure without a formidable opposition."
- Benjamin Disraeli
"Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. Hardly anyone does that, and it's incredibly helpful."
Elon Musk, TED, February 2013
Physics formulas are compression algorithms for reality.
Elon Musk 2020
"Forecasting is like driving a car blindfolded with help from someone looking out the rear window."
"We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness."
Thich Nhat Hanh
"I like rudeness a great deal better than flattery."
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)
"Never try to walk across a river just because it has an average depth of four feet."
Martin Friedman
"Nobody since Newton has been able to use geometrical methods to the same extent for the like purposes; and as we read the Principia we feel as when we are in an ancient armory where the weapons are of gigantic size; and as we look at them we marvel what manner of man he was who could use as a weapon what we can scarcely lift as a burden."
William Whewell (1794-1866) commenting on Newton's work that used arcane geometric arguments, like the Greeks, instead of algebraic.
"When you are hunting elephants, don't get distracted chasing rabbits."
T. Boone Pickens
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939)
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
- T.S. Eliot
"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings."
Ann Landers

Why, man, he [Caesar] doth bestride the narrow world
Like a colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates;
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene III
"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it."
George Orwell
"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."
Carl von Clausewitz
"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."
-Naguib Mahfouz, writer, Nobel laureate (1911-2006)
"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born."
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
― Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked
"Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
"Not forgiving someone is like you drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die."
–Anne Lemott
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
"The only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good."
Warren Buffett
"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind ... let it be something good."
"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
"The number one job of a leader is to protect the truth."
Roy Spence of GDS&M
"Where your talents and the needs of the world intersect is your purpose."
Roy Spence of GDS&M
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
-Henri Nouwen
"The Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil."
Former Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani (NYT “The Breaking Point, Aug 21, 2005)
"In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."
― Edward Gibbon in 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'.
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
― John Adams
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."
― Friedrich von Hayek
"The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present."
Barbara De Angelis
Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
 drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
 and drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744), An Essay on Criticism, 1709
"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded."
F. A. Hayek
"I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others."
Ben Franklin on the Constitution and growing wiser as we age
"Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many."
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
"We must get over wanting to be needed - this is the hardest of all temptations to resist."
C.S. Lewis
"Being right too soon is socially unacceptable. "
R. Heinlein
"Done is better than perfect."
2 yr old just made me wish I was 2 again: "I had a dream I was walking down the street and didn't have to hold anyone's hand".
kelly oxford
"Every 'Yes' you say is a 'No' to something else."
"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul."
Marilyn Monroe
"Paul McCartney once told me to never name-drop."
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
"The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years."
Thomas Jefferson
"Either some Caesar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth; with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from without and that your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country by your own institutions."
- Lord Macaulay, 1857 writing about the United States giving voting rights to everyone
"Adventure is just bad planning."
Roald Amundsen
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
Thomas Jefferson
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Thomas Jefferson, 1802
"The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage."
Japanese Emperor Hirohito after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, announcing in an understated manner Japan's surrender to the Allies.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself by now and then finding a smooth pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
Sir Isaac Newton
"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
John F Kennedy.
"Put aside the Ranger, become who you were born to be."
Elrond to Aragorn in the movie version of Lord of the Rings.
"No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind."
Miguel de Cervantes, novelist (1547-1616)
Clarke's 1st law of prediction: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong."
"Brains first and then hard work."
"I don't want to have to kill you, but I will."
Agent Jack Bauer, 24
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
Leo Tolstoy
"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
Albert Camus
People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will NEVER forget the way you made them feel.
Maya Angelou
"Never attribute malice to that which can be explained by simple incompetence."
"Bad choices lead to limited future options."
"Fincher's First Observation on Nature's Compassion: The Old Folks home for a zebra is the stomach of a hyena."
Mitch Fincher
"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."
John Wanamaker, 19th-century U.S. department store pioneer
"The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none."
"No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
Albert Einstein
"...it was customary among men to overstate the virtues of their own country."
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
"There is no royal road to Geometry."
Euclid of Alexander (365 - 300 BC) in response to King Ptolemy about an easy way to learn mathematics
"For the introducer [of change] has all those who benefit from the old orders as enemies, and he has lukewarm defenders in all those who might benefit from the new orders."
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince 1513
"No greater mistake can be made than to think that our institutions are fixed or may not be changed for the worse. ... Increasing prosperity tends to breed indifference and to corrupt moral soundness. Glaring inequalities in condition create discontent and strain the democratic relation. The vicious are the willing, and the ignorant are unconscious instruments of political artifice. Selfishness and demagoguery take advantage of liberty. The selfish hand constantly seeks to control government, and every increase of governmental power, even to meet just needs, furnishes opportunity for abuse and stimulates the effort to bend it to improper uses. ... The peril of this nation is not in any foreign foe! We, the people, are its power, its peril, and its hope!"
Charles Evans Hughes, jurist and statesman (11 Apr 1862-1948)
Let a hundred flowers blossom,
and let a hundred schools of thought contend.
Mao Tse-tung (great sound bite, but he didn't mean it)
"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power, the greater it will be."
Thomas Jefferson
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
Plato (427 BC-347 BC)
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
Thomas Jefferson

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."
"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."
Ronald Reagan
Of course it was! The bite is always the biggest fish. There is something very charming-something of which the cynic knows nothing at all-about this propensity of ours to attribute superlative qualities to the unrealized. It is a species of philosophic chivalry. It is a courtesy that we extend to the unknown. We do not know whether the joys that never visited us were really great or small, so we gallantly allow them the benefit of the doubt. The geese that came waddling over the hill are geese, all of them, and as geese we write them down; but the geese that never came over the hill are swans every one, and no swans that we have fed beside the lake glided hither and thither half as gracefully.
Mushrooms on the Moor, by Frank W. Boreham

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed
Alfred Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850. (Arthur Henry Hallam)
"There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement."
Lord Kelvin, 1900, addressing physicists at the British Association for the Advancement of Science
"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
Albert Einstein
"Successful businesses measure and count things. I think that's a safe assumption on top of which we can drop the following hypothesis: unsuccessful business either measure nothing, the wrong things, too many things, or finally, they measure the right things but they don't communicate the measurements efficiently."
Dick Costolo
"We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts, have their root in Greece."
Percy Bysshe Shelley English poet (1792 - 1822)
"The same sun that melts the wax can harden clay."
"How Can We See That Far"
"One cannot step twice in the same river. "
Heraclitus (ca. 540 - ca. 480 BCE)
"Our biggest cost is not power, or servers, or people. It's lack of utilization. It dominates all other costs. "
Jeff Bezos
"The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."
G.W.F. Hegel (1770 - 1831)
"Truth, when we are fortunate enough to find it, is like bad-tasting medicine. It rarely comes as a pleasant surprise, because if it surprises us, it means we've been denying it for some time and have a lot of beliefs based on falsehood. It's hard to give up those beliefs."
"There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new..."
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
Bertrand Russell
"The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies."
Robert Conquest's Second Law of Politics
"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
Samuel Johnson
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."
George Washington
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. "
Jonathan Swift, "Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting"
"Gehazi traded being a prophet for money and leprosy."
Dr. Matt Cassady
"It is possible to commit no mistakes -- and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is 'life'."
Patrick Stewart as Capt. Picard in "Star Trek The Next Generation", episode "Peak Performance"
"If you make a means an end, it will enslave you and then destroy you."
Dr. Matt Cassady
"American Christians tend to confuse America with the New Israel, instead of with Babylon."
--Whitehorse Inn
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, Four Quartets: "Little Gidding"
"We are dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. We see thus more and further than they do, not because our sight is more acute or our height taller, but because they lift us into the air and elevate us with all their gigantic height."
Bernard de Chartres, died 1125, quoted by Isaac Newton
"IT people are like construction contractors. They would rather build a road than worry about where it goes."
Paraphrased from Robert Townsend, American business writer and former President, Avis rent-a-car,Inc.
"We have considered ourselves of too much importance in the scale of nations. It has led us into great errors. Instead of yielding to circumstances which human power cannot control, we have imagined that our own destiny and that of other nations was in our hands, to be regulated as we thought proper."
Virginia Federalist Daniel Sheffey on the eve of the war of 1812 from The War of 1812 A Forgotten Conflict by Donald Hickey p300
(In the War of 1812, the White House is burned and the USA is fortunate to get a stalemate from the war).
"We all know that electric blankets can't give us love, but on a very, very cold night, it's really hard to tell the difference."
random musing by Mitch Fincher
"Join the company of lions rather than assume the lead among foxes."
The Talmud
"I think the problem with Spartan society ... is it achieved virtue by removing temptation, so once you put the Spartans in cities like Ephesus or Miltous and Ionia where there's decadence available, they just don't know how to handle it and they go berserk. And so Spartan kings and officers were always being recalled for discipline because they get involved with bribery and debauchery etc..."
-- Kenneth Harl, Lecture 11 of the "Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor"
"The better part of one's life consists of friendship."
Abraham Lincoln
"Never assume the other guy will never do something you would never do."
-Willie Mays quoted by Donald Rumsfeld.
"The worst mistake is to have the best ladder and the wrong wall."
-Donald Rumsfeld.
"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
"They also serve who only stand and wait."
John Milton, poet (1608-1674)
"Y'know, evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, but you can't let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspaper of justice! Bad dog! Bad dog! And you don't do it for money. No! You do it for love! You know, I've learned something this week -- on justice and on friendship, there is no price. But there are established credit limits."
The Tick
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is."
Chuck Reid
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."
-Steven Wright, comedian (1955- )
"Striving to better, oft we mar what's well."
-William Shakespeare, "King Lear "
"No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does."
-La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."
-Josh Billings
"There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking."
-Theodore Rubin quoted in wordsmith.org
Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, "Alas! Must I rock the baby? wash its diapers? make its bed? smell its stench? stay at nights with it? take care of it when it cries? heal its rashes and sores? and on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? do this and do that? and endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?"
What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.
Its says, "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight."
Martin Luther quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in The Shaping of a Christian Family,p87
"I flee who chases me, and chase who flees me."
Ovid on romance
"Who pardons the bad, injures the good."
Blue Wave/QWK v2.12
"The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me..."
Martin Luther
"Out, out brief candle!
Life is but a walking shadow,
a poor player that struts and frets his hour
upon stage and then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
signifying nothing"
Shakespeare, Macbeth

Just once I would like to hear a minister and bridegroom say something like..
Reverend: " ..and Mike what token of your love do you give to Jennifer?"
Mike: " A small glass giraffe."
Reverend: "Glass traditionally has signified purity, like the pure love that you have for Jennifer, and the giraffe signifies a far sighted protection of one ..."
Mitch Fincher
"The clarity of the new Beatles CD is incredible. Nothing like the old LP's we had. I guess the Beatles weren't talking to me after all."
Attributed to Charles Manson.
"The Nature section? It's under Science, up against the wall."
Actually overheard at Bookstop.
"Often our feelings lie beneath the surface,
Hidden by the smiles we wear upon our faces;
emotions are concealed,
we bear our sorrows on our own,
Grownups only cry when they're alone."
Noel Richards, quoted by Sheila Walsh in Never Give It Up
"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."
Marshall McLuhan.
"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance with out death."
John F. Kennedy.
"Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else."
Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions
Marin Luther wrote,
Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, "Alas! Must I rock the baby? wash its diapers? make its bed? smell its stench? stay at nights with it? take care of it when it cries? heal its rashes and sores? and on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? do this and do that? and endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?" What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. Its says, "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight."
Elisabeth Elliot The Shaping of a Christian Family,p87
"Our church is a collection of hurting people."
Dick Dodge in Tuesday Night talk May 1985
"Be careful, you are a man who makes people afraid and that's dangerous."
"Well, it's what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid."
Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter"

"I know its 110 degrees in Phoenix, but its a dry heat and it doesn't feel so hot."
"pssst... You know Polish jokes are really Aggie jokes except they change the character."
"I wish I'd kept playing the piano."
"I'm not real good with names, faces yes, but not names."
"I'm not good at estimating crowds."
"Its not even Thanksgiving and stores are already showing the Christmas stuff!"
"Well, its OK because, you know, you're eating for two now."
My favorite pet peeves of trite sayings
Mitch's tips for women:
For dissuading a strange gentleman upon introduction,
"Why that's my boyfriend's name!"
To scare off a man, 14 simple words and you'll never hear from him again:
"I love you, I want to marry you, I want to bear your children."
To politely tell a man, you'd rather not dance with him:
"I'd love to dance with you, but the voices inside my head say not to."
"While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, another is busy making mistakes and becoming superior."
Henry C. Link
"I hate quotations."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve."
Tom Landry
"Simplicity is the natural result of profound thought."
"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us... and our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
The late Centauri Emperor, Babylon 5
If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary works in Braille.
"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."
"Is it not better to aim your spear at the moon and strike only an eagle, than to aim your spear at the eagle, and strike only a rock?"
"The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness."
the character Annie Savoy in the film Bull Durham
"It is in vain to hope to please all alike. Let a man stand with his face in what direction he will, he must necessarily turn his back on one half of the world."
George Dennison Prentice
"Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments of its opposers."
William Penn
"Whatever we build in this life is composed of a million bricks."
Jim Huddleston
* Q: What is an experienced Emacs user? * A: A person who wishes that the terminal had pedals.
"He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Jim Elliot
"You miss 100% of the shots you never take."
Wayne Gretzky
"Only the paranoid survive."
Andy Groves, Intel CEO
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."
Roy Batty, from the movie Bladerunner
"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."
"Despair is the mentor of change."
Tom Parker
"Maturity is the ability to be yourself around your family."
Tom Parker
"Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick any two."
Erwin Frand, IR&D Editorial, Late '70s.
"I don't know what synchronicity means - but its the third time I've heard it this week."
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Shakespeare, Hamlet
"Politics is not about finding the best solution, its finding one that the least people complain about."
NPR, Health Care Discussion.
"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it
flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."
Attributed to Nietzsche
"Outside of a dog, books are a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Mark Twain ?
"Your arguments are sound--all sound."
"As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error."
" Those who cannot fly most enjoy clipping wings."
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
Abraham Lincoln
" Time is Nature's method of keeping us from bumping into ourselves."
"It's not the bullet that kills you, it's the hole."
Laurie Anderson
As you now are I once was As I now am You will be prepare for death and follow me.
During High School in Abilene, I came across this epitaph. It really struck me at the time, little did I realize, this was a common epitaph during the middle ages.
from a tombstone in Abilene TX
"Our potential grows with the realization of our potential."
David Porterfield.
"Goldbach's conjecture: Every even integer n greater than two is the sum of two primes."
"The odd Goldbach conjecture: Every odd integer greater than five is the sum of three primes."
"Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."
- Lord Chesterfield
"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem."
- Economist Milton Friedman
"To have a good political party, you need a strong opposition."
-London Cab Driver, 2002
"Well done is better than well said."
-Benjamin Franklin
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they came to success when they gave up."
-Thomas Edison
"He's just not a very good girlfriend!"
He who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever.”
Chinese proverb
"Give what you have. It may be better than you dare to think."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
"One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered."
-Michael J. Fox

Some of my favorite words (mostly from http://wordsmith.org/awad/):
sed.u.lous \'sej-*-l*s\ aj [L sedulus, fr. sedulo sincerely, diligently, fr. se without]+ dolus guile - more at IDIOT, TALE : diligent in application or pursuit : ASSIDUOUS - sed.u.lous.ly av
Sis.y.phe.an or Si.syph.i.an \.sis-i-'fe--*n\ \sis-'if-e--*n\ aj : of, relating to, or suggestive of the labors of Sisyphus
1895 KIDD, Soc. Evol. ix. 245 "Do we only see therein humanity condemned to an aimless Sisyphean labour?"
Sisyphus, the name of a king of Corinth, whose punishment in Hades was to roll a heavy stone up a hill; as he reached the top, the stone rolled down again.
cwm \'ku:m\ n [W, valley] : CIRQUE (only word in English without vowels).
sciolist (SAI-uh-list) noun One who engages in pretentious display of superficial knowledge.
abio.gen.e.sis n [NL, fr. a- + bio- + L genesis] (1870): the supposed spontaneous origination of living organisms directly from lifeless matter -- abi.og.e.nist n
at.a.vism \'at-*-.viz-*m\ n : appearance in an individual of a remotely ancestral character; also : such an individual or character -- at.a.vis.tic \.at-*-'vis-tik\ adj
syn.ec.do.che \s*-'nek-d*-(.)ke-\ \.sin-.ek-'da:k-ik\ \-'da:k-i-k*l\ \-i-k(*-)le-\ n [L, fr. Gk synekdoche-, fr. syn- + ekdoche- sense, inte]rpretation, fr. ekdechesthai to receive, understand, fr. ex from + dechesthai to receive; akin to Gk dokein to seem good - more at EX-, DECENT : a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as the smiling year for spring), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as willow for bat) - syn.ec.doch.ic aj
welt.schmerz \'velt-.shme(*)rts\ n [G, fr. welt world + schmerz pain] often cap 1: mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state 2: a mood of sentimental sadness
log.or.rhea \.lo.g-*-'re--*, .la:g-\ \-'re--ik\ n [NL] : excessive and often incoherent talkativeness - log.or.rhe.ic aj
eti.ol.o.gy \.e_-t-e_--'a_:l-*-je_-\ n : CAUSE, ORIGIN; also : the study of causes -- eti.o.log.ic \.e_-t-e_--*-'la_:j-ik\ adj
pro.te.an \'pro-t-e--*n, pro--'te--\ aj 1: of or resembling Proteus : VARIABLE 2: readily assuming different shapes or roles
syzygy (SIZ-uh-jee) noun Astronomy. Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.
hemidemisemiquaver A sixty-fourth note. ETYMOLOGY: From Greek hemi- (half) + French demi- (half) + Latin semi- (half) + quaver (an eighth note), from Middle English quaveren (to shake or tremble). Earliest documented use: 1853.
misoneism (mis-uh-NEE-izm) noun Hatred or fear of change or innovation.
tabula rasa (TAB-yuh-luh RAH-sa, -za) noun, plural tabulae rasae (TAB-yuh-lee RA-see, -ze) 1. The mind before it receives the impressions gained from experience. The unformed, featureless mind in the philosophy of John Locke. 2. A need or an opportunity to start from the beginning.
retronym (RE-truh-nim) noun A term, such as acoustic guitar, coined in modification of the original referent that was used alone, such as guitar, to distinguish it from a later contrastive development, such as electric guitar.
hobson's choice A choice without an alternative; the thing offered or nothing. Note: It is said to have had its origin in the name of one Hobson, at Cambridge, England, who rented horses, and required every customer to take the horse which stood next the stable door or none.
Morpheus (MOR-fee-uhs, -fyoos), noun 1. A son of Hypnos and the god of dreams. 2. In the arms of Morpheus: asleep. [Middle English from Latin from Greek morphe + Latin -eus; coined by Ovid, with allusion to the forms seen in dreams.]
pangram (PAN-gram, -gruhm, PANG-) noun A sentence that makes use of all the letters of the alphabet. [From Greek pan- (all) + -gram (something written).]
Many typists know "The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog" as a thirty-three-letter sentence that employs every letter in the alphabet at least once. Another one:
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. (thirty-two letters)
trichotillomania MEANING: noun: A compulsion to pull out one's hair. ETYMOLOGY: From Greek tricho- (hair) + tillein (to pluck, pull out) + -mania (excessive enthusiasm or craze). A related word is trichology (the word for the study and treatment of hair and its disorders).
capitol (KAP-i-tol) noun

A building or complex of buildings in which a state legislature meets.
[Middle English Capitol, Jupiter's temple in Rome, from Old French capitole, from Latin Capitolium after Capitolinus, Capitoline, the hill on which Jupiter's temple stood, perhaps akin to, caput, head.]

cancrine (KANG-krin) adjective 1. Reading the same backwards as forwards, palindromic. For example, "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama." (letter cancrine) "So patient a doctor to doctor a patient so!" (word cancrine) 2. Crab-like. [From Latin cancr- (stem of cancer) cancer + -ine.]

Quotes from my students at Texas A & M, 1986-1989

"The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more."

"You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more"
                                     Nov 6, 1962
"Why would anyone need a computer of their own?"
                     Ken Olsen, President and Founder of DEC, 1974
"I am not a potted plant!"
"It was more important for our children to have parents who have done what
they felt they had to do, even if it cost us our lives..."

Response of a person who aided Jews escape Nazi Europe when asked why they
risked their lives and the possibility of making their children orphans. 

Be reasonable, do it MY way!
"Go ahead.  But I'll take my chances in the shuttle."
"I understand, Eve."
                    -Chance Gardner
 Be not weary of doing  little things for the love of God, who regards not
the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.
                                                   Brother Lawrence
"This should be good for our business.  Getting sued by DEC is a sign of
arrival in the DEC market."

John Stadler, President Clearpoint Inc., a maker of DEC-compatible memories,
on hearing that DEC was starting legal action for copyright infringement.
Many workmen
Built a huge ball of masonry
Upon a mountain-top.
Then they went to the valley below,
And turned to behold their work.
"It is grand," they said;
They loved the thing.

Of a sudden it moved:
It came upon them swiftly;
It crushed them all to blood.
But some had opportunity to squeal.

                          -Stephen Crane
"Things should be make as simple as possible - but not simpler."
                              -Albert Einstein

"The greatest part of what we say and do is really unnecessary,  If a
man takes this to heart,  He will have more leisure and less
                                 -Marcus Aurelius (c. 121-180)


"There is a great man who makes every man feel small.  But the real
great man is the man who makes every man feel great."

                               -G.K. Chesterton ( 1874-1936)


"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down."
                             Lily Tomlin


"These are the days of miracles and wonders."
                      -Paul Simon, Boy in the Bubble

"Don't you understand? when you give up your dream - you die. "
                           Nick Hurley, Flash Dance

" If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for,
He isn't fit to live."
                 Martin Luther King, June 23 1963
" I just want to do God's will.  And He's allowed me to go to the
mountain,  And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land... So
I'm happy tonight.  I'm not worried about anything.  I'm not fearing
any man."
   Martin Luther King, April 3, 1968, the evening before his assassination
" I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit
down together at the table of brotherhood ... I have a dream that my four
little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be
judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their
character. "
               Martin Luther King, Aug 28, 1963
"Very clever dish."
          Long Duck Long, after tasting Quiche for the first time
          from the movie, 16 Candles
"Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then."

           humbly accepting a compliment on an endeavor
"One learns more from defeat than from victory."
                  Samuel Eliot Morison, WWII historian.
"It's easier to get forgiveness than permission."
                      Grace Hopper
                      one of the authors of COBOL and the concept of a compiler
Woody Allen's got this great new idea.  He is going to take the recent movies
and by a complex, computer-aided process convert movies like Star Wars to
a more artistic Black and White version.
"We will fight them on the beaches of Miami Vice.
 We will fight them on the sidewalks of Dallas.
 We will fight them on the Knots Landing stage.
 We will nev nev nev never surrender.

 And if the rating system lasts for a thousand years, men will say this
 was Max Headroom's finest hour."

 Max Headroom's last words on the incredible series, Max Headroom.
"A man with no forgiveness in his heart is in a punishment worse than death."
                                       Pat, 'Karate Kid II'
"It's easier to fall into the gutter than to get back out"
                                         -Philip Marlowe
"A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men."
"Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than a
child that lost a dog yesterday."
                        -Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
"An organized minority, obeying a single impulse, is irresistible against an
unorganized majority.  A hundred men acting uniformly in concert, with a common
understanding, will triumph over a thousand men who are not in accord and can
be dealt with one by one."
"I had grown up among engineers, and I could remember the engineers of the
twenties very well indeed: their open, shining intellects, their free and
gentle humor, their agility and breadth of thought, the ease with which they
shifted from one engineering field to another, and, for that matter, from
technology to social concerns and art.  Then, too, they personified good
manners and delicacy of taste; well-bred speech that flowed evenly and was free
of uncultured words; one of them might play a musical instrument, another
dabble in painting; and their faces always bore a spiritual imprint."
                  -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

"Teaching is too vital an occupation to be left to the lazy or greedy or
                     -Eliot Wigginton, Sometimes a Shining Moment
"Do everything without complaining or arguing."
                              -Philippians 2.14
"One who always agrees with me is a fool."
                                 Dr. Glendon Johnson
"All the science, I don't understand -
It's just my job five days a week"
                               Elton John, 'Rocket Man'
"Be careful. you are a man who makes people afraid and that's dangerous."
"Well, it's what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid."
                            Clint Eastwood, High Plains Drifter
"Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors
looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses.
He is completely, dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times,
since he never gets to see or hear anything else."
                        Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, Workmans Calendar
"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
Ideas have endurance without death."
                      John F. Kennedy, Workman 86 Calendar
"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
- John Barrymore

Other Random Stuff:
> I wonder what human plan in history has lasted the longest.
I heard a tale about King's College, Cambridge, (founded AD 1441) c 1950.
It became general knowledge that the College was to cut down some of
their magnificent elm trees, and there was much opposition to this
among the general public.  Letters were written to the local paper
accusing the College authorities of vandalism.  The Bursar replied, a
week later, along the following lines:
"The life expectancy of an elm is about 600 years.  It is therefore
our policy to cut down and replant one third of the elms every 200 
--  Ken Moore


When Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, his will left some money at
interest to be given to the city of Philadelphia after 200 years.
When the 200 years expired in 1990, the city got $6 million.

"If I am a son of God, nothing but God will satisfy my soul; no amount
of comfort, no amount of ease, no amount of pleasure, will give me
peace or rest. If I had the full cup of all the world's joys held up
to me, and could drain it to the dregs, I should still remain thirsty
if I had not God." - G. A. Studdert Kennedy, The Wicket Gate (1923)