Quotations: The Harvest of a Quiet Eye

This is a collection of my favorite quotations which I ran across mostly while surfing the web. As books, I particularly like the Oxford Book of Aphorisms and the more general Yale Book of Quotations.

Computers & Technology

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
- Pablo Picasso

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future (1962)

Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.
- Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions (1988)

The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in. We're computer professionals. We cause accidents.
- Nathaniel S. Borenstein

In a few minutes a computer can make a mistake so great that it would take many men many months to equal it.
- Merle L. Meacham

To make a machine that will be proud of us.
- Thinking Machines' motto

On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"
- Charles Babbage

There are three kinds of death in this world: there's heart death, there's brain death, and there's being off the network.
- Guy Almes

While modern technology has given people powerful new communication tools, it apparently can do nothing to alter the fact that many people have nothing useful to say.
- Lee Gomes

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

The most important thing in a 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.
- Donald Knuth

This is a crude version of a more advanced utility that has never been written.
- X-Window xwud(1) man page

Science & Research

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
[Knowledge is power.]
- Sir Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacræ: De Hæresibus (1597)

Wir müssen wissen. Wir werden wissen.
[We must know. We will know.]
- David Hilbert, Epitaph

Science is the refusal to believe on the basis of hope.
- Charles Percy Snow

It is still an unending source of surprise for me how a few scribbles on a blackboard or on a piece of paper can change the course of human affairs.
- Stanislaw Ulam

What is now proved was once only imagin'd.
- William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600)

There is nothing new under the sun, but there are a lot of old things we don't know.
- Ambrose Bierce

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.
- Harry Emerson Fosdick

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
- Voltaire

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein

Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.
- Wernher von Braun

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
- Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (1925)

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.
- Charles Babbage

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
- Walt Disney

Nothing is impossible to the man who does not have to do it himself.

You see things; and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say "Why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw, Back to Methuselah (1921)

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative.
- Charles Percy Snow

I'm sorry to say that the subject I most disliked was mathematics. I have thought about it. I think the reason was that mathematics leaves no room for argument. If you made a mistake, that was all there was to it.
- Malcolm X

Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. "Immortality" may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean.
- Godfrey H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology (1940)

The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with facts for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.
- Ernest Renan, Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse (1883)

The wonder of science is not in the answers it provides but in the questions it uncovers. For every miracle it finally explains, ten thousand more miracles come into being.
- John Pielmeier, Agnes of God (1978)

The fellow who thinks he knows it all is especially annoying to those of us who do.
- Harold Coffin

The empiricist thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing.
- George Santayana

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
- Albert von Szent-Györgyi, The Scientist Speculates: An Anthology of Partly-Baked Ideas

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" ("I found it!") but rather "Hmmm... that's funny..."
- Isaac Asimov

A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.
- Westheimer's Discovery

The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
- Frank Herbert

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
- Thomas Alva Edison

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
- Albert Einstein, What I Believe

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
- Voltaire

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much closer to the truth. The basis of modern invention is science, and science is almost wholly the outgrowth of pleasurable intellectual curiosity.
- Alfred North Whitehead

Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.
- Richard Feynman

It is disconcerting to reflect on the number of students we have flunked for not knowing what we later found to be untrue.

Results! Why man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
- Albert Einstein

Truth decays into beauty, while beauty soon becomes merely charm. Charm ends up as strangeness, and even that doesn't last, but up and down are forever.
- The Laws of Physics

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: By the Roadside (1855)


Do or do not. There is no "try".
- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

[A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.]
- 老子 (Lao Zi), 道德經 (Dào Dé Jīng)

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.
- Ursula K. LeGuin

No matter where you go, there you are.
- Buckaroo Banzai

Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.
[Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.]
- Antonio Machado

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anaïs Nin

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
- Betty Smith

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, Little Gidding (1942)

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series: Art (1841)

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.
- Patrick Overton, Faith

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
- Henry Adams

Chance favors only the prepared mind.
- Louis Pasteur

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
- Tom Robbins

Love, Sex & Women

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Il y a des gens qui n’auraient jamais été amoureux s’ils n’avaient jamais entendu parler de l’amour.
[People would never fall in love if they had not heard love talked about.]
- François La Rochefoucauld

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
- Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H. (1850)

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.
- Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

Was she so loved because her eyes were so beautiful or were her eyes so beautiful because she was so loved?
- Anzia Yezierska

We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
- Sam Keen

Laissons les jolies femmes aux hommes sans imagination.
[Let us leave pretty women to men without imagination.]
- Marcel Proust, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu - Albertine Disparue (1925)

On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
[It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.]
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince (1943)

If you want something very, very badly, let it go free. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. If it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with.
- Jesse Lair

Hold tenderly that which you cherish, for it is precious and a tight grip may crush it. Do not let fear of dropping it cause you to hold it too tightly: the chances are, it's holding you, too.
- Bob Alberti

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
- Mother Teresa

It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.
- William Makepeace Thackeray

To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.
- Anna Louise Strong

It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.
- Voltaire

Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. "Yes" is the answer.
- Swami X

Sex is dirty only when it's done right.
- Woody Allen

When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned: do not have sex with the authorities.
- Matt Groening, Basic Sex Facts for Today's Youngfolk

I can resist everything except temptation.
- Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)

Lead me not into temptation, I can find it all by myself.
- Lari White, Lead Me Not

Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy.
- Henry Kissinger

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
- George Levinger

The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.
- Peter De Vries

Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades, but to be married to someone who makes you laugh every day, that's a real treat!
- Joanne Woodward

To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girlfriends.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether to kiss a girl, always give her the benefit of the doubt.

I used to kiss her on the lips, but it's all over now.

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
- Groucho Marx

Life & Death

"Life is very strange" said Jeremy.
"Compared with what?" replied the spider.
- Norman Moss, Men who play God (1968)

Life is complex. It has real and imaginary components.
- Tom Potter

Life is what happens while you are making other plans.
- John Lennon

May you live all the days of your life.
- Jonathan Swift

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
- Anatole France

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

The cost of living hasn't affected it's popularity.

The principle of maximum diversity operates both at the physical and at the mental level. It says that the laws of nature and the initial conditions are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible. As a result, life is possible but not too easy. Always when things are dull, something new turns up to challenge us and to stop us from settling into a rut. Examples of things which make life difficult are all around us: comet impacts, ice ages, weapons, plagues, nuclear fission, computers, sex, sin and death. Not all challenges can be overcome, and so we have tragedy. Maximum diversity often leads to maximum stress. In the end we survive, but only by the skin of our teeth.
- Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions (1988)

Living right doesn't make you live longer, it just seems longer.

I must confess, I was born at a very early age.
- Groucho Marx

The supreme irony of life is hardly anyone ever gets out of it alive.
- Robert A. Heinlein, Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)

After I'm dead, I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.
- Cato the Elder

Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its pupils.
- Hector-Louis Berlioz

If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.
- George Burns (1896-1996)

A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
- Josef Stalin

No one on his deathbed ever said, "I wish I had spent more time on my business."
- Paul E. Tsongas

Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
- Mark Twain

Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, most do.
- Bertrand Russell

The hypochondriac's epitaph: "NOW will you believe me?"


Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
- Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1990)

Learn from the errors of others. You won't live long enough to commit them all.
- Hyman G. Rickover

We made too many wrong mistakes.
- Yogi Berra

Planning replaces coincidence with error.

Some people like my advice so much that they frame it up on the wall instead of using it.
- Gordon R. Dickson

I always knew that looking back at my tears would make me laugh, but I never thought that looking back at my laughter would make me cry.
- Cat Stevens

Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
- Eric Hoffer

No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.
- Heraklit

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
- Alexander Graham Bell

There is no such thing as a self-made man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.
- George Matthew Adams

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Maud Muller


Ist der Mensch nur ein Fehlgriff Gottes? Oder Gott nur ein Fehlgriff des Menschen?
[Is man one of God's blunders, or is God one of man's blunders?]
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Götzen-Dämmerung (1888)

Überzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit als Lügen.
[Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.]
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (1878)

An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard only one side of the case. God has written all the books.
- Samuel Butler

In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he Him.
- Jethro Tull, Aqualung

If triangles had a god, he'd have three sides.
- Yiddish proverb

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. so I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well... are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?" He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?" He said, "Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.
- Emo Phillips

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light." And there was still nothing, but everybody could see it.
- Dave Thomas

I considered atheism, but there weren't enough holidays.

Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing them?
- Jules Feiffer

Napoleon Bonaparte: "You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe."
Pierre-Simon Laplace: "Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis."
Joseph-Louis Lagrange: "Ah, but that is a fine hypothesis. It explains so many things."


Television: A medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well done.
- Ernie Kovacs

Every once in a while a film comes along. This is such a film.
- MAD Magazine

The crimes we are about to depict have been specially committed for this program.

KRQR, home of the million dollar guarantee. You give us a million dollars, we'll play any song you want. Guaranteed.
- Slogan of KRQR, a California radio station

Nobody believes the official spokesman, but everybody trusts an unidentified source.
- Ron Nessen.

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.
- Jerry Seinfeld

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

This book fills a much-needed gap.
- Moses Hadas

I have read your book and much like it.
- Moses Hadas

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
- Groucho Marx

I wrote a few children's books - not on purpose.
- Steven Wright

I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.
- Fred Allen

I don't care what is written about me as long as it isn't true.
- Dorothy Parker

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
- Tom Clancy


The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.
- Joe Ancis

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
- Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978)

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Mankind. Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.
- Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
- Sir Francis Bacon

Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.
- Dykstra's law

We are here to help others, but what the others are here for I cannot say.
- W. H. Auden

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
- Henry W. Longfellow

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
- Ann Landers

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
- Mark Twain

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
- Lily Tomlin


In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
- Dan Quayle

And what is more, I agree with everything I have just said.
- Piet Koornhoff

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on.
- Samuel Goldwyn

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
- English Professor, Ohio University

It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite.
- Sam Levenson

I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must have been from you.
- Ashleigh Brilliant

Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?
- Clarence Seward Darrow

People often mistake what I say for what I am thinking.
- Idi Amin Dada

If we use words, there is a very grave danger they will be misinterpreted.
- H. R. Haldeman

When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.
- Humpty Dumpty, in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (1871)

Think all you speak, but speak not all you think.

No, no, I'm not saying anything of the kind. In fact, I'm very consciously avoiding saying anything.
- Alexander Haig

Before I speak, I am master of the words; after, the word is master of me.
- Solomon Ibn Gabirol


The word "politics" is derived from the word "poly" meaning "many" and the word "ticks" meaning "blood sucking parasites".
- Larry Hardiman

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
- Henry Kissinger

Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.
- George Burns

If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.
- Paul Beatty

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
- H. L. Mencken

Democracy is a government where you can say what you think even if you don't think.

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.
- Sir Winston Churchill, House of Commons, Nov. 11, 1947

Anarchy may not be the best form of government, but it's better than no government at all.

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's exactly the opposite.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

All extremes are error. The reverse of error is not truth, but error still. Truth lies between extremes.
- Cecil

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
- Giordano Bruno

If a million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
- Anatole France

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
- Bertrand Russell

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
- Groucho Marx

When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.
- Samuel Goldwyn

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
- Abraham Lincoln

Power corrupts, but we need electricity.

Why should we put ourselves out of our way to serve posterity? For what has posterity ever done for us?
- Sir Boyle Roche

Solution of two of the world's biggest problems: Feed the homeless to the hungry.

We have only one person to blame, and that's each other.
- Barry Beck

The streets are safe in Philadelphia, it's only the people that make them unsafe.
- Frank Rizzo, former mayor of Philadelphia

I deserve respect for the things I didn't do.
- Dan Quayle

We are not ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.
- Dan Quayle

The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.
- George Stephanopolous, former White House spokesman, on Larry King Live

The President doesn't want any yes-men and yes-women around him. When he says no, we all say no.
- Elizabeth Dole, assistant to Ronald Reagan

In the fall of 1972 President Nixon announced that the rate of increase of inflation was decreasing. This was the first time a sitting president used the third derivative to advance his case for reelection.
- Hugo Rossi, "Mathematics is an Edifice, Not a Toolbox" in Notices of the AMS, vol. 43, no. 10, Oct. 1996

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can't Swim.
- Lyndon B. Johnson

The police are not here to create disorder. They're here to preserve disorder.
- Richard M. Daley at the Democratic National Convention (1968)

My fellow Americans, I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.
- Ronald Reagan before a radio broadcast, not realizing the microphone was already on

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
- Abraham Lincoln

If Lincoln were alive today, he'd roll over in his grave.
- Gerald Ford

I want to make sure everybody who has a job wants a job.
- George Bush

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Any clod can have the facts. Having opinions is an art.
- Charles McCabe

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.
- Senator Everett Dirksen

I could never make out what those damned dots meant.
- Lord Randolph Churchill, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, regarding decimal points


Only the dead have seen the end of war.
- George Santayana, Soliloquies in England, Soliloquy #25 "Tipperary" (1922)

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they'd never expect it.
- Jack Handey

No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards dying for their country.
- George Smith Patton

There are very few personal problems which cannot be solved by the suitable application of high explosives.

The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.
- George Orwell

War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
- Bertrand Russell

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

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
- Hanlon's Razor

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty one... I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.
- J. Robert Oppenheimer at the first nuclear explosion "Trinity" (1945), recalling the Bhagavad-Gita

Now we're all sons of bitches.
- Kenneth Bainbridge at the first nuclear explosion "Trinity" (1945)

All we're seeing is the negative side of nuclear war.
- Barry Goldwater

They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
- General John Sedgwick, last words at the Battle of Spottsylvania (1864)

Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Kuwait.
- A. Whitney Brown

While I write this letter, I have a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other.
- Sir Boyle Roche

I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.
- Ed Begley, Jr.

Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy.
- Aristotle


There are two rules for success: 1. Never tell everything you know.
- Roger H. Lincoln

Don't keep a negative attitude, such as "I will not succeed, I will not succeed." Instead, keep a positive attitude: "I will fail. I will fail."

If at first you don't succeed, try a little ardor.

If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average.
- M. H. Alderson

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you.

If at first you don't succeed, you may be at your level of incompetence.
- Laurence J. Peter

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

If at first you don't succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.
- Bill Lyon

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your thing.
- Warren Miller

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.
- W. C. Fields

If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment.
- Harry F. Banks

Whether you think that you can or that you can't, you're usually right.
- Henry Ford

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.
- Jean Giradoux

It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.
- Darrin Weinberg


Miscellaneous is always the largest category.
- Joel Rosenberg, The Warrior Lives (1988)

Deep down, I'm pretty superficial.
- Ava Gardner

The message so far has been: don't panic. As the crisis goes on, and its impact worsens, the message is: start panicking a little.

I concluded from the beginning that this would be the end; and I am right, for it is not half over yet.
- Sir Boyle Roche

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.
- Jackie Mason

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
- Chinese Proverb

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
- James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion (1926)

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you'll get what you need.
- Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get What You Want (1969)

If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
- W. Somerset Maugham

It is bad luck to be superstitious.
- Andrew W. Mathis

The climate of Bombay is such that its inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you.
- David Letterman

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.
- A. Whitney Brown

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?
- Harper's Magazine correspondence section (Nov. 1997)

Q: How do you attract a vegetarian?
A: Make a noise like a wounded vegetable.

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you!
- Tommy Smothers

A lady came up to me on the street and pointed to my suede jacket. "You know a cow was murdered for that jacket?" she sneered. I replied in a psychotic tone, "I didn't know there were any witnesses. Now I'll have to kill you too."
- Jake Johannsen

I know that this defies the law of gravity, but, you see, I never studied law.
- Bugs Bunny

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
- Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)

Perfection is our goal. Excellence will be tolerated.
- TQM Motto of the International Association of Business Communicators

When I was young, all I wanted was to be ruler of the universe. Now that isn't enough.
- Alex P. Keaton, Family Ties

I do nothing that a man of unlimited funds, superb physical endurance and maximum scientific knowledge could not do.
- Batman

The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.
- Franklin P. Jones

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.
- F. H. Bradley

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
- Eric Hoffer

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
- Henry W. Longfellow

I had a great idea this morning, but I didn't like it.
- Samuel Goldwyn

Any man who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.
- Samuel Goldwyn

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.
- Yogi Berra

Tom Seaver: "What time is it?"
Yogi Berra: "You mean now?"

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
- Mark Twain

I think it would be totally inappropriate for me to even contemplate what I am thinking about.
- Donald F. Mazankowski

Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.
- Sam Levenson

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Book I (1954)

I am a peripheral visionary. I can see the future, but only way off to the side.
- Steven Wright

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.
- Steven Wright

Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.
- Steven Wright

I have the world's largest collection of sea shells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world...perhaps you've seen it.
- Steven Wright

I used to be a proofreader for a skywriting company.
- Steven Wright

Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.
- Steven Wright

Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates...
When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, "Do I know you?"
- Steven Wright

Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
- William Somerset Maugham

A witty saying proves nothing.
- Voltaire