Words of Wisdom

John Adams

Government is instituted for the common good, for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. [1776]

Jacques le Blanc

I do not like this word "bomb." It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding.

George W. Bush

The problem for the French is that they have no word for 'entrepreneur'.

Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods.

I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don't always agree with them.

Winston Churchill

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.

Calvin Coolidge

When more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results.

Dwight Eisenhower

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 not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

George Gobel

If it weren't for electricity we'd all be watching television by candlelight.

Hermann Goering

The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and then denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Fran Lebowitz

Food is an important part of a balanced diet.

Jack Pickersgill

Conservative governments are like the mumps: they're something you have to endure once in your lifetime, but when it's over, you don't want it again.

Dan Quayle

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

We are not ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.

Mother Teresa

I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot . . . I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.

Ted Turner

If I sold all my liabilities, I wouldn't own anything. My wife's a liability, my kids are liabilities, and I haven't sold them.

Wall Street Journal, 1907

The time may come when the telephone will be a walking companion, will be carried in the pocket like a note book, and while walking the crowded avenue or by the shaded brook, or lying on the sands of the sea, one may be able to communicate with princes and command the work of multitudes thousands of miles away.


Sir Thomas Beecham

[Interrupting a rehearsal to address a cellist:]   Madam, you have god's gift to mankind between your legs, and all you can do is scratch it.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Swans sing before they die — 'twere no bad thing,
Did certain persons die before they sing.

Eugene Field

[Reviewing King Lear:]   He played the King as though under momentary apprehension that someone else was about to play the Ace.

Moses Hadas

This book fills a much-needed gap.

Samuel Johnson

[At a violin concert:]   Difficult do you call it, Sir? I wish it were impossible.

Your manuscript is both good and original. However, that which is good is not original, and that which is original is not good.

Father Nicholas Malebranche

[Reviewing Newton's "Opticks"]   Though Mr. Newton is no physicist, his book is very interesting and useful for anyone with good training in physics; he is also an excellent mathematician.

Groucho Marx

I was so long writing my review that I never got around to reading the book.

Dorothy Parker

She ran the whole gamut of emotions from A to B.

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

I was too fucking busy and vice versa.

Giacomo Rossini

Wagner has lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour.

George Bernard Shaw

[Discussing the phrase "To be or not to be" in the style of a music critic:]   Shakespeare, dispensing with the customary exordium, announces his subject at once in the infinitive, in which mood it is presently repeated after a short connecting passage in which, brief as it is, we recognize the alternative and negative forms on which so much of the significance of repetition depends. Here we reach a colon: and a pointed pository phrase, in which the accent falls decisively on the relative pronoun, brings us to the first full stop.

Mark Twain

This is the kind of book that, once you put it down, it is impossible to pick it up.



Louis Brandeis

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

Archbishop Helder Camara

When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist.

Tyler Cower

Beethoven and Michelangelo, who sold their artworks for profit, were entrepreneurs and capitalists.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought.

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.

It is a well known and very important fact that America's founding fathers did not like taxation without representation. It is a lesser known and equally important fact that they did not much like taxation with representation.

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

Economic stimulation that works through the increased outlays to the affluent has, inevitably, an aspect of soundness and sanity that is lacking in expenditure on behalf of the undeserving poor. (Money: when it came, where it went (1975).

John Maynard Keynes

Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.

Nothing can preserve the integrity of contact between individuals, except a discretionary authority in the state to revise what has become intolerable. The powers of uninterrupted usury are too great. If the accretions of vested interests were to grow without mitigation for many generations, half the population would be no better than slaves to the other half.

Abraham Lincoln

[In a letter of 1864] I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of the few and the Republic is destroyed.

John McDougall (President of the National Research Council of Canada)

Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value.

Napoleon III

This vice [smoking] brings in one hundred million francs in taxes every year. I will certainly forbid it at once — as soon as you can name a virtue that brings in as much revenue.

Adam Smith

The vile maxim of capitalism is everything for ourselves and nothing for anyone else.

[The state is] responsible for erecting and maintaining those public institutions and those public works, which though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature, that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it, therefore, cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain.

People of the same trade seldom meet together but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some diversion to raise prices.

Stephen Yeo

We've been doubling sales [of Wyse terminals] every 18 months. However, when you start from zero, it takes a long while.


James S. Brown

[Computer engineering student at the University of Alberta, writing in IEEE Computer magazine.] Nevertheless, I find that the most engaging lectures are still chalk-and-talk presentations by crusty old souls who have a contagious passion for their subjects, some of whom consider "multimedia" to consist of using more than one color of chalk.

Monte Clark

[Former coach of the Detroit Lions football team:] The key to this whole business is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.

Albert Einstein

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Benjamin Franklin

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Gail Godwin

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.


And seek for truth in the groves of Academe.

Clark Kerr

[President of the University of California:] I find that the three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni, and parking for the faculty.

John Lombardi, President, Univedsity of Florida

We have taken the great leap forward and said, 'Let's pretend we're a corporation'. [1997]

Horace Mann

A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron.

H.L. Mencken

Some boys go to college and eventually succeed in getting out. Others go to college and never succeed in getting out. The latter are called professors.

Wilson Mizner

Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

Mark Twain

Universities are full of knowledge: the freshmen bring a little in, the seniors take none away . . . the knowledge accumulates. [A similar remark is attributed to Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard 1869-1909.]

William Butler Yeats

Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.

  Computer Stuff

Seymour Cray

[On being informed that Apple had bought a Cray to help them design the next Mac:]   I just bought a Mac to help me design the next Cray.

Brian Kernighan

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.

Donald Knuth

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.

Let us change our traditional attitude to the construction of programs. Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to do, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do.

I decry the current tendency to seek patents on algorithms. There are better ways to earn a living than to prevent other people from making use of one's contributions to computer science.

The most important thing in the programming language is the name. A language will not succeed without a good name. I have recently invented a very good name and now I am looking for a suitable language.

Doug Larson

Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.

Bruce Leverett

But, in our enthusiasm, we could not resist carrying out a complete overhaul of the system, during which weaknesses were exposed, analysed, and replaced with new weaknesses.

Ada Lovelace (1815-52)

In almost every computation a great variety of arrangements for the succession of the processes is possible, and various considerations must influence the selections amongst them for the purposes of a calculating engine. One essential object is to choose that arrangement which shall tend to reduce to a minimum the time necessary for completing the calculation.

Roger Needham

Good research is done with a shovel, not with tweezers: you should find an area where you can get a lot out of it fast.

Of course, there's a tendency, because it's a young person's subject, to re-invent the wheel at frequent intervals. People have said that computing is a fast-moving subject but what they mean is that the wheel of re-incarnation goes faster.

Alan Perlis

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.

Alexander Pope

I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.

Tony Sale

[Colossus was built to decipher German codes during World War II.]   Colossus is so fast and parallel that a modern PC programmed to do the same code-breaking task takes as long as Colossus to achieve a result!

Christopher Strachey

It is impossible to foresee the consequences of being clever, so you try to avoid it whenever you can.

Bjarne Stroustrup

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.

There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.

If you think it's simple, then you have misunderstood the problem.

C++ is designed to allow you to express ideas, but if you don't have ideas or don't have any clue about how to express them, C++ doesn't offer much help.

USA F33615-84-C-0102

In addition to determining the incremental improvement to penetrativity of the penetrator with the penetration aid incorporated, over the penetrativity of the baseline U.S. penetrator, this assessment shall include consideration of penetration aid costs as described under task 1, availability, penetrator modifications required, and technical risk.

Jerry Weinberg

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

David J. Wheeler

Any problem in computer science can be solved with another layer of indirection. [This is often called the First Law of Computing. It is less well-known that Wheeler completed the quotation with "But that usually will create another problem".]

Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes.

Eugene Wigner

[On being shown the numerical output generated by an large computer simulation]   It's nice the know the computer understands the situation, but I would like to understand it too.

Maurice Wilkes

I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs. [Personal note: my first course in computing was given by Wilkes in 1962.]

  Failure of the Imagination

The following quotations are prophecies by various people. Although they look pretty silly today — which is why I quote them — they are not intended as examples of stupidity. Instead, they show how even the most intelligent people can lack imagination when they try to look into the future.

Decca Executive

We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out. [Thus were the Beatles rejected by Decca Records.]

Lee De Forest

While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.

Charles H. Duell (US Office of Patents)

Everything that can be invented has been invented. [1899] [Nice quote, but apocryphal.]

Bill Gates

640K ought to be enough for anybody.

Ken Olsen

There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.

Sir William Preece

[Preece, Chief Engineer of the British Post Office, was asked whether he thought that the telephone would catch on in England.] No, sir. The Americans may have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.

Popular Mechanics

Computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh no more than 1.5 tons. (March, 1949)

David Sarnoff

[Radio has] no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?

Edward Tenner

The graphics elevator lurched upwards again. This time the new dimension is multimedia, which means adding sound and fury to the smoke and mirrors.

Thomas Watson

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.


Cars will be useful, but only within cities. There are no roads in the countryside.

The telephone is a wonderful invention. I can foresee the day when there will be one in every city. (Mayor of Detroit??)

  Science and Mathematics


In inventing a model we may assume what we wish, but should avoid impossibilities.

Errett Bishop

(Read Kronecker first.) Mathematics belongs to man, not to God. We are not interested in properties of the positive integers that have no descriptive meaning for finite man. When a man proves a positive integer to exist, he should know how to find it. If God has mathematics of his own that needs to be done, let him do it himself.

Lord Dunsany

Logic, like whiskey, loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large quantities.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.

What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

What I'm really interested in is whether God could have made the world in a different way: that is, whether the necessity of logical simplicity leaves any freedom at all.

Galileo Galilei

In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

Among the great men who have philosophized about [the action of the tides], the one who surprised me most is Kepler. He was a person of independent genius, [but he] became interested in the action of the moon on the water, and in other occult phenomena, and similar childishness.

Heinrich Hertz

One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulas have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers, that we get more out of them than was originally put into them.

Arend Heyting

If really the formalization of language is the trend of science, then intuitionistic mathematics does not belng to science in this sense of the word. It is rather a phenomenon of life, a natural activity of man.

David Hilbert

[The Gottingen faculty asked (with respect to Emmy Noether): "How can it be allowed that a woman become a Privatdozent? Having become a privatdozent, she can become a professor and a member of the Sentate? Is it permitted that a woman enter the Senate? Hilbert replied:]

I do not see that the sex of the candidate is an argument against her admission as a Privatdozent. After all, the Senate is not a bathhouse.

Johannes Kepler

I measured the skies
Now the shadows I measure
Skybound was the mind
Earthbound the body rests.

Leopold Kronecker

God made the positive integers; all else is the work of man. (See Bishop.)

Isaac Newton

That one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of any thing else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man, who has in philosophical matters a compentent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it.

Leigh Page

The rotating armatures of every generator and every motor in this age of electricity are steadily proclaiming the truth of the relativity theory to all who have ears to hear.

James Joseph Sylvester

A mathematical idea should not be petrified in a formalised axiomatic setting, but should be considered instead as flowing as a river.

Eugene Wigner

We are in a position similar to that of a man who was provided with a bunch of keys and who, having several doors to open, always hit the right key on the first or second trial.

Jan Willems

The two main charcteristics required for research programs ... are collaboration and excellence. The collaboration idea is based on the belief that if you tie 2 bricks together, they will float, and if you tie 20 bricks together, they will fly.


Some say the pope is the greatest cardinal. But others insist this cannot be so, as every pope has a successor.

Dean to Chair of the Physics Department: Why do I always have to give you guys so much money, for laboratories and expensive equipment and stuff. Why couldn't you be like the Math Department — all they need is money for pencils, paper, and waste baskets. Or even better, like the Philosophy Department — they don't even need waste baskets.


D. R. Benson

I simply can't understand why swimsuits are in such demand. They're soggy and damp, bind like a clamp, and hold about three pounds of sand!!!

The Puritan often will brood
On how horrid it is to be nude;
The absence of clothing
He views with such loathing
That the naked truth strikes him as lewd.

Robyn Davidson

By now I was utterly deprogrammed. I walked along naked usually, clothes being not only putrid but unnecessary. My skin had been baked a deep terra-cotta brown and was the constituency of harness leather. The sun no longer penetrated it. I retained my hat.

John Donne

Full nakedness! All joyes are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth'd must be
To taste whole joyes.

Colin Fletcher

By walking naked you gain far more than coolness. You feel an unexpected sense of freedom from restraint. An uplifting and almost delirious sense of simplicity. In this new simplicity you soon find that you have become, in a new and surer sense, and integral part of the simple, complex world you are walking through. And then you are really walking.

Eduardo Galeano

The church says: The body is a sin. Science says: The body is a machine. Advertising says: The body is a business. The body says: I am a fiesta.

Martha Graham

The body says what words cannot.

Horatio Greenough

In nakedness I behold the majesty of the essential instead of the trappings of pretension.

William Hazlitt

The Princess Borghese, Bonaparte's sister, who was no saint, sat to Canova as a reclining Venus, and being asked if she did not feel a little uncomfortable, replied, "No. There was a fire in the room."

Erik Holm

He who seeks Nakedness, seeks the Truth. He who fears Truth, fears Nakedness.

Richard Hongisto

We need to be protected from theft and violence, not nude people.


Dance, Lalla, with nothing on
but air. Sing, Lalla,
Wearing the sky.
Look at this glowing day! What clothes
could be so beautiful or
more sacred?

[Lalla lived in Kashmir in the 13th century.]

Janet Lembke

Bare skin is the one and only right criterion for receiving water's gracious acceptance or any acceptance whatsoever from that element. But Pliny also seems to say something more: Stripping off not caution but the stale, crusty garments of preconception, peeling sensibly down to raw, new nakedness, is the only way to enter and be properly embraced by the world.

Truth is, most of us contain a splashing, giggling, squealing child who knows without thinking that bare skin and water go together as wings go with air, roots with earth, and the phoenix with incendiary sun. And innocence belongs to us as it did to ancient Greek athletes, who never wore clothes for their footraces or boxing matches but rather oiled themselves until their nude bodies glistened in the sunlight.

Elle MacPherson

I've always found it very difficult to understand the laws as far as nudity in America — how some things are pornographic and some things are not pornographic. It's against the law to go topless on the beach, but you can go buy a gun. That just seems so absurd to me.

Robert McNamara

I like to run down to the beach and have a little swim in the nude in the morning.

Katherine Mansfield

How idiotic civilization is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?


What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful that the garment with which it is clothed?

[On being asked by Pope Paul IV to censor the nudity in the Sisinte Chapel.] Tell the Pope that this is a small matter and it can easily be made suitable; let him make the world a suitable place and the painting will soon follow suit.

Helen Mirren

I'm a naturist at heart. I love being on beaches where everyone is naked. Ugly young people, beautiful old people, whatever. It's so unsexual and so liberating....

Marilyn Monroe

It's not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.

What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.


Man is the sole animal whose nudities offend his own companions, and the only one who, in his natural actions, withdraws and hides himself from his own kind.

David Niven

The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping and showing off his shortcomings.

Julia Roberts

I wouldn't do nudity in films. For me, personally... To act with my clothes on is a performance; to act with my clothes off is a documentary.

David Shapiro

I believe that sitting naked across from your adversary in a steam room makes negotiations more productive.

Angelius Silesius

What is outside yourself does not convey much worth;
Clothes do not make the man, the saddle not the horse.

Hunter Thompson

I wanted to take off all my clothes and never wear them again. [The Rum Diaries]

Mark Twain

Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity — these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing. They are not ashamed.

Adam and Eve entered the world naked and unashamed — naked and pure-minded. And no descendant of theirs has ever entered it otherwise. All have entered it naked, unashamed, and clean in mind. They entered it modest. They had to acquire immodesty in the soiled mind, there was no other way to get it. ... The convention mis-called "modesty" has no standard, and cannot have one, because it is opposed to nature and reason and is therefore an artificiality and subject to anyone's whim — anyone's diseased caprice.

Shelley Winters

I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience.

  Sex and Marriage

Woody Allen

Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

Pietro Aretino

[Writing about the penis in 1537.] It would seem to me that such a thing, given to us by nature to preserve the species, should be worn around the neck as a pendant and as a brooch on hats, since it is the conduit from which gushes rivers of people, and the ambrosia which the world drinks on feast days.

Lynn Lavner

There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL.

Steve Jobs

My girlfriend always laughs during sex — no matter what she's reading.

H.L. Mencken

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry.

David Niven

I wonder why it is, that young men are always cautioned against bad girls. Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against.

Franz Schubert

There are eight girls in the house in which I am living, and practically all of them are good looking. You can realize that I am kept busy.


By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Rod Stewart

Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house.

(Cf. Marriage is like a hurricane: it begins with a lot of blowing and sucking and, when it's all over, you've lost the house. — Anon.)

Sharon Stone

Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.

Robin Williams

See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.


Johann Sebastian Bach

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.

Alexander Graham Bell

Leave the beaten path and dive into the woods.

Werner von Braun

It was very successful, but it fell on the wrong planet.

Johannes Brahms

Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.

Noam Chomsky

Interviewed by Michael Hastings for Newsweek: The Bush administration has succeeded in making the United States one of the most feared and hated countries in the world. The talent of these guys is unbelievable. They have even succeeded at alienating Canada. I mean, that takes genius, literally.


There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.


One must love life before loving its meaning ... yes, and when the love of life disappears, no meaning can console us.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the councils of government, we must guard against unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Antoine de St. Exupery

In anything at all, perfection if finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped to it's nakedness.

Paul Feyerabend

The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.

Clement Freud

If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking, and loving, you don't actually live longer: it just seems longer.

Josef Haydn

Rules are my very humble, obedient servants.

I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original.

Paul Klee

Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.

Robert Koehler

War commands debate on its own terms. Read or listen to the mainstream coverage: It conveys the details of war in a context devoid of moral intelligence. Yet for ordinary humanity, wars can never be "won." They can only be ended and, ultimately, transcended.

Andrew Lang

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts — for support rather than illumination.

Jerome Lawrence

A neurotic builds a castle in the air.
A psychotic lives in it.
A psychiatrist collects the rent.

Colman McCarthy

[14 September 2001:] In the past 20 years, we have bombed Libya, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia. There are two things about those countries — all are poor countries, and the majority are people of dark colored skin. . . . Within the week, we will be bombing somebody somewhere. This is what [Bush's father] did, this is what Clinton did.

C. Wright Mills

People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. [The Power Elite]

To accept opinions is to gain the good solid feeling of being correct without having to think. [The Power Elite]

Dorothy Parker

[On being asked whether she had enjoyed a cocktail party:]   Enjoyed it! One more drink and I'd have been under the host.

If all the young ladies who attended the Yale promenade dance were laid from end to end, no one would be surprised.


An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.

Greg Ruggerio

It is legal [in the USA] to purchase a fully assembled Uzi machine gun but it's not legal to purchase a fully assembled low-watt radio transmitter.

Donald Rumsfeld

I believe what I said yesterday. I don't know what I said, but I know what I think and I assume it's what I said.

We do know of certain knowledge that [Osama bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.

Goodness, I know I shouldn't say I don't think so, although that's what I think.

The message is that there are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things that we do not know we don't know. And each year we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns."

Bertrand Russell

The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.

Religion may in most of its forms be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the government.

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.

Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.

Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the 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.

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

As I think about acts of integrity and grace, I realise there is nothing in my knowledge to compare to Frege's dedication to truth. His entire life's work was on the verge of completion, much of his work has been ignored to the benefit of men infinitely less capable, his second volume was about to be published, and upon finding that his fundamental assumption was in error, he responded with intellectual pleasure, clearly submerging any feelings of personal disappointment. It was almost superhuman, and a telling indication of that which men are capable if their dedication is to creative work and knowledge instead of cruder efforts to dominate and be known.

J. Fulton Sheen

The big print giveth, and the fine print taketh away.

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

Jonathan Swift

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

Mark Twain

Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of other persons.

The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them.

When in doubt, tell the truth.

The human race has one really good weapon, and that is laughter.

To be good is noble, but to teach others to be good is nobler — and less trouble.

Gore Vidal

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent.


Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.

This is what Voltaire actually said. The editor of his letters, C.S. Tallentyre, distorted this statement into the familiar platitude: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

Oscar Wilde

The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.

Konrad Wolff

Musical children generally have a direct approach to Mozart's music, being able to enjoy it completely, as far as their understanding goes. Later on, when they hear his works again, they feel that after all they did not understand this music quite as well as they do now. And as long as the development of our mind and our soul continues, this experience repeats itself. We shall always be led to believe, when listening to Mozart, that we have grasped his music entirely, and shall always be undeceived the next time we listen to it. This music not only seems to be, but actually is complete at any stage of our receptive capacities; and as these capacities increase after new inner experience, we may find that these experiences, too, are included in Mozart's music.

Darryl Zanuck

If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, then both are useless.

Choosing a font

Most people know The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Here are a few more: