This file from Adra, http://www.mhada.info.


Collected by

Martha Adams

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The following text items are quotes I've collected over past decades. I've included attributions where I have them. If you can offer correction to what you find here, please email about it to me.

A good quote starts two or more different perceptions at once. (See S. Freud, Wit and its relation to the unconscious.) It may provide a good text handle for a vague idea; it may refine and sharpen the idea. Here is my prized personal treasure which I believe may prove useful to others.

I've set these quotes in a semirandom order. Quotes near the top are there because I see relevance to current realities. To express the character of goings-on in Washington DC, for instance. And some are at the bottom of the list because they're otherwise interesting so I placed them where they are easy to find. The ones in-between are there because as I accumulated these and moved them around, that's where they wound up.

To put across a very strong message, try understating it. Here's a nice quote for benefit of those who haven't figured out our Terran environment always changes, sooner or later, one way or another. This quote is based upon a comment by Herbert Stein:

"Things that can't go on forever, probably won't."

And seen recently as a Linux system boot message,

"What George Washington did for us was to throw out the British, so we wouldn't have a fat, insensitive government running the country. Nice try, George." -- D.J. on KSFO/KYA (no date given).

* * *

(Note for political activists!) "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that firemen generally use water." -- ??

"...The innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions." -- N. Machiavelli.

"...To boldly go and stay where none have stayed before." -- Charles Longway at Mars Con 12.

"Faith is not an option." -- Martha Adams paraphrases a Gene Kranz book title.

"Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation." -- Johnny Hart.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers.

"The reason the dinosaurs aren't here today, is they didn't have a space program." -- Larry Niven.

"When in question; when in doubt ...stop, think, then go ahead." -- George Chamberlain.

"Obvious excess does not prove all aspects erroneous." -- Martha Adams.

"Reactions were overwhelmingly favorable, except among people with some grasp of the subject." -- ??

"Give me six lines by the best of men, and I will find in it some thing to hang him." -- Attrib. Cardinal Richelieu, French Inquisition.

"Some successes are simply not survivable. Retirement is one of these." -- Martha Adams.

"You won't discover Truth by averaging opinions." -- ??

"Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing til it gets there." -- Josh Billings.

"To find if a man is a gentleman, ask him nicely." -- Josh Billings.

"To make a man invisible, lend him money." -- Josh Billings.

"Who nobody knows, nobody is." -- Martha Adams.

"Think globally, act locally." Hippie saying, 1970's.

"In the Force if Yoda's so strong, construct a sentence with words in the proper order why can't he?" -- ??

"The man who sets out to carry a cat by its tail learns something that will always be useful and which never will grow dim or doubtful." -- Mark Twain.

"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back." -- ??.

"You cannot cross a chasm in two easy leaps." -- ??

"If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs, maybe you just don't understand the situation." -- ??

"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.

"Sherry [Thomas Sheridan] is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of stupidity, sir, is not in nature." -- Samuel Johnson.

"She is descended from a long line that her mother listened to." -- Gypsy Rose Lee.

"When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp." Hippie saying, 1970's.

"I know you believe you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize, what you heard was not what I meant." Hippie saying, 1970's.

"It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem." -- ??

"Those who do not do politics will be done in by politics." -- French proverb.

"Those who make democracy impossible, will make revolution inevitable." -- John Kennedy, 1961.

"He is a moderate man, and he has much to be moderate about." -- Winston Churchill.

"Political TV commercials prove one thing: some candidates can tell you all their good points and qualifications in just 30 seconds." -- ??

"Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life." -- Eric Hoffer.

"Join in the new game that's sweeping the country. It's called 'Bureaucracy.' Everybody stands in a circle. The first person to do anything loses." -- ??

"I do hate sums. There is no mistake greater than to call arithmetic an exact science. There are permutations and aberrations discernable to minds entirely noble like mine; subtle variations which ordinary accountants fail to discover; hidden laws of number which it requires a mind like mine to perceive. For instance, if you add a sum from the bottom up, and then again from the top down, the result is always different." -- Mrs La Touche (19th Cent.).

"I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated." -- Poul Anderson.

"Several weeks work in the laboratory can frequently save an hour or two in the library." -- ?? (Seen in MIT Math Dept).

"If you sit down at a poker game and don't see a sucker, get up. You're the sucker." -- ??.

"Whenever I see anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." -- A. Lincoln.

"The exception proves the rule" is a bastardization of the original Latin phrase, "exceptio probat regulum" (from memory), which means "the exception puts the rule to the test of proof." -- J. Michael Straczynski.

"This show is probably my one real chance to leave a mark that I passed this way, so it has to be as good as I can humanly make it. And nothing will ever get in the way of that." -- J. Michael Straczynski re B5.

"Chicken Little only has to be right once. -- ??"

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men." -- Tolkein, FOTR, Bk III, Ch. 2.

"Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse." -- Jawaharlal Nehru.

"There is always an easier way to do it. When looking directly at the easy way, especially for long periods, you will not see it." -- Iles law.

"I can remember when a good politician had to be 75% ability and 25% actor, but I can well see the day when the reverse could be true." -- Harry Truman.

"Stupidity got us into this mess -- why can't it get us out?" -- ??

"When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers." -- Wall Street Journal.

     One disk to rule them all,
     One disk to bind them.
     One disk to hold the files
     And in the darkness, grind 'em.       -- ??

"About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends." -- Herbert Hoover.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." -- Philip Dick.

"If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking." -- Lyndon Baines Johnson.

"How come you never see a headline like 'Psychic Wins Lottery'"? -- Jay Leno.

"Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other." -- Benjamin Franklin.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke.

"Any technology that is distinguishable from magic is not sufficiently advanced." -- Gregory Benford.

"There are no physicists in the hottest part of Hell, because the existence of a "hottest part" implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of Hell comfortably cool. This is obviously impossible." -- Richard Davisson.

     The net of law is spread so wide,
     No sinner from its sweep may hide.
     Its meshes are so fine and strong,
     They take in every child of wrong.
     O wondrous web of mystery!
     Big fish alone escape from thee!      -- James Jeffrey Roche.

"You look like a million dollars. All green and wrinkled." -- ??

"Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away." -- ??

"A Severe Strain on the Credulity. As a method of sending a missile to the higher, and even to the highest parts of the Earth's atmospheric envelope, Professor Goddard's rocket is a practicable and therefore a promising device. It is when one considers the multiple-charge rocket as a traveler to the moon that one begins to doubt ... for after the rocket quits the air and really starts on its journey, its flight would be neither accelerated nor maintained by the explosion of the charges it then might have left. Professor Goddard, with his "chair" in Clark College and countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to re-action, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react ... Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." -- New York Times editorial, 1920.

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