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The quotes on this page fall into three main categories:
The fact that I put a quote on this page doesn't necessarily mean I agree with the sentiment expressed therein! (People have asked...)
I've tried to link to relevant web-sites whenever possible (as time permits). Actors, actresses, film writers and films are linked to entries in the Internet Movie Database. Musicians, albums and songs are linked to entries in the All Music Guide. Literary writers and their works are linked to entries at Amazon.com. Other people (statesmen, etc.) are linked to searches for their names at Google.
Note: The IMDb and AMG have recently changed the format of their URLs. I hope the links below actually work for you; if not, let me know.
A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
- Wall Street Journal, 08 Sep 1977 [ODMQ]
Some day science may have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race commit suicide, by blowing up the world.
- letter dated 11 Apr 1862 [ODMQ]
After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for posterity.
- Fables in Slang, 1900 [ODMQ]
Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
- 1972 film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex [ODMQ]
Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.
- New Yorker, ``My Philosophy'', 27 Dec 1969 [ODMQ]
Black is beautiful.
- 1960's civil rights slogan, cited in Newsweek, 11 Jul 1966 [ODMQ]
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
- title of book by Simone Signoret [ODMQ]
I do not mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don't understand.
- Observer, 28 Aug 1955 [ODMQ]
I'm as pure as the driven slush.
- Saturday Evening Post, 12 Apr 1947 [ODMQ]
Cocaine habit-forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I've been using it for years.
- Brendan Gill's Tallulah, 1952 [ODMQ]
To me old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
- Newsweek, 29 Aug 1955 [ODMQ]
The significance of man is that he is insignificant and is aware of it.
- Progress and Power, 1936 [ODMQ]
We could have saved sixpence. We saved fivepence. (Pause) But at what cost?
- All That Fall, 1957 [ODMQ]
A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it.
- H. Proctor-Gregg's Beecham Remembered, 1976 [ODMQ]
[The harpsichord] sounds like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof.
- Harold Atkins and Archie Newman's Beecham Stories, 1978 [ODMQ]
You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.
- Zuleika Dobson, 1911 [ODMQ]
I am a sundial, and I make a botch
Of what is done much better by a watch.
- ``On a Sundial'', in second edition of Sonnets and Verse, 1938 [ODMQ]
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
- Getting On, Act I, 1972 [ODMQ]
Your feet's too big,
Don't want you 'cause your feet's too big,
Mad at you 'cause your feet's too big,
Hates you 'cause your feet's too big.
- 1936 song ``Your Feet's Too Big'' [ODMQ]
When people say, ``You're breaking my heart,'' they do in fact usually mean that you're breaking their genitals.
- Spectator, 31 May 1986 [ODMQ]
Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
- Cynic's Word Book, 1906 [ODMQ]
Peace, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
- Devil's Dictionary, 1911 [ODMQ]
I do not object to people looking at their watches when I am speaking. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make certain they are still going.
- Observer, 30 Oct 1960 [ODMQ]
All right, Mr. de Mille, I'm ready for my close-up now.
- 1950 film Sunset Boulevard; often misquoted as ``I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. de Mille.'' [ODMQ]
Ninotchka: ``Why should you carry other people's bags?'' Porter: ``Well, that's my business, Madame.'' Ninotchka: ``That's no business. That's social injustice.'' Porter: ``That depends on the tip.''
- 1939 film Ninotchka [ODMQ]
The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.
- Aphorisms, 1930 [ODMQ]
[This film] is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable.
- banning Jean Cocteau's 1929 film The Seashell and the Clergyman [ODMQ]
Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
- Washington Post, 18 Jul 1973 [ODMQ]
There is enough in the world for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.
- Remaking the World, 1947 [ODMQ]
There is a phrase which seems in itself somewhat self-evident, which is often used to account for a good deal -- that ``war is war''. But when you come to ask about it, then you are told that the war now going on is not war.
- Daily News, 15 Jun 1901 [ODMQ]
I am fond of children (except boys).
- in a letter to Kathleen Eschwege; from The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, by S. D. Collingwood [ODQ]
Yet what are all such gaieties to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
x² + 7x + 53
- Four Riddles; in case you're wondering, the given quadratic equation has no real solution; the two complex solutions are -21/6 ± i × sqrt(1335)/6 [ODQ]
Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
- Tremendous Trifles, 1909 [ODMQ]
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.
- What's Wrong with the World, 1910 [ODMQ]
Journalism largely consists of saying ``Lord Jones Dead'' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
- Wisdom of Father Brown, 1914 [ODMQ]
The notion ``grammatical'' cannot be identified with ``meaningful'' or ``significant'' in any semantic sense. Sentences (1) and (2) are equally nonsensical, but... only the former is grammatical.(1) Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.
(2) Furiously sleep ideas green colourless.
- Syntactic Structures, 1957 [ODMQ]
I remember, when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's circus, which contained an axhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the programme which I most desired to see was the one described as ``The Boneless Wonder''. My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing for my youthful eyes, and I have waited 50 years to see the boneless wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench.
- Hansard, 28 Jan 1931, col. 1021, referring to Ramsey MacDonald [ODMQ]
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
- radio talk, 01 Oct 1939 [ODMQ]
The empires of the future are empires of the mind.
- speech at Harvard, 06 Sep 1943 [ODMQ]
This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.
- on reading a sentence that was awkwardly constructed so as to avoid ending with a preposition; reported by Ernest Gowers in Plain Words, 1948 [ODMQ]
If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.
- New Yorker, 09 Aug 1969 [ODMQ]
Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead.
- according to Cockburn, the winner of a newspaper competition for the dullest headline [ODMQ]
All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.
- Enemies of Promise, 1938, ch. 16 [ODMQ]
The opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.
- Washington Post, 03 Jun 1978 (but see also this entry in the Columbia World of Quotations) [ODMQ]
Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.
- Private Lives, Act III, 1930 [ODMQ]
The Dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for.
- How to Become Extinct, 1941, p. 163 [ODMQ]
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could be President. I'm beginning to believe it.
- in Irving Stone's Clarence Darrow for the Defence, 1941 [ODMQ]
How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?
- in Ernest Mignon's Les Mots du Général, 1962; original in French [ODMQ]
They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.
[Wordsmith.org's A.Word.A.Day mailing list]
Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you had worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.
- Sign of Four, 1890, ch. 1 [ODMQ]
I have too much respect for the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world.
- Le désert de Bièvres, 1937; original in French [ODMQ]
What is hell?
Hell is oneself,
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.
- Cocktail Party, 1950 [ODMQ]
If she can stand it, I can. Play it!
- Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957); often misquoted as ``Play it again, Sam.'' [ODMQ]
Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.
- Casablanca, 1942; words spoken by Claude Rains (1889-1967) [ODMQ]
Someone has somewhere commented on the fact that millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
- Anger in the Sky, 1943, p. 137 [ODMQ]
Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable.
- 1930 film Hell's Angels; spoken by Jean Harlow [ODMQ]
A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk's leap toward immortality.
- Any Number Can Play, 1957, p. 105 [ODMQ]
The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. ... If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.
- Paris Review, Spring 1956, p. 30 [ODMQ]
I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake -- which I also keep handy.
- in Corey Ford's Time of Laughter, 1970, p. 182 [ODMQ]
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
- Esquire, Feb 1936, ``The Crack-Up'' [ODMQ]
Old soldiers never die,
They simply fade away.
- 1920 song copyrighted by Foley, but possibly a folk song from WWI [ODMQ] [XREF]
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a Government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.
- speech, 09 Aug 1974 [ODMQ]
If the Government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.
- in John F. Parker's If Elected, 1960, p. 193 [ODMQ]
The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ``What does a woman want?''
- letter to Marie Bonaparte; in Ernest Jones' Sigmund Freud: Life and Work, 1955, vol. 2, pt. 3, ch. 16 [ODMQ]
Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relations with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists, and that's all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.
- The Women's Room, 1977, bk. 5, ch. 19 [ODMQ]
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
- In the Clearing, 1962, ``Cluster of Faith'' [ODMQ]
You mean apart from my own?
- when asked how many husbands she'd had; in K. Edward's I Wish I'd Said That, 1976, p. 75 [ODMQ]
History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other.
- Supers and Supermen, 1920, ``Some Historians'' [ODMQ]
Englishwomen's shoes look as if they were made by someone who had often heard shoes described but had never seen any.
- With Malice Toward Some, 1938, pt. 2, p. 107 [ODMQ]
What do you mean, funny? Funny-peculiar or funny-ha-ha?
- The Housemaster, Act III, 1936 [ODQ]
No. You see there are portions of the human anatomy which would keep swinging after the music had finished.
- on being asked whether the fashion for nudity would extend to dance; in Elizabeth Salter's Helpmann, 1978, ch. 21 [ODMQ]
The broad mass of a nation... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.
- Mein Kampf (My Struggle), 1925, vol. 1, ch. 10; original in German [ODMQ]
It all depends on what you mean by...
- frequent opening to replies on the BBC radio program The Brains Trust [ODMQ]
With eyes that looked like ice on fire.
- song ``Nikita'' from the album Ice on Fire
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
- Ms., Mar 1973, p. 89 [ODMQ]
When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we were saying they were.
- speech at the White House, 27 May 1961 [ODMQ]
'Tisn't beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It's just It. Some women'll stay in a man's memory if they once walked down the street.
- Traffics and Discoveries, 1904, ``Mrs. Bathurst'' [ODMQ]
It is stupid of modern civilization to have given up believing in the devil, when he is the only explanation of it.
- Let Dons Delight, 1939, ch. 8 [ODMQ]
If we want things to stay as they are, some things will have to change.
- The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), 1957, p. 33; original in Italian [ODMQ]
True happiness is a two-person job.
The same costume will be
Indecent ... 10 years before its time Shameless ... 5 years before its time Outré (daring) ... 1 year before its time Smart Dowdy ... 1 year after its time Hideous ... 10 years after its time Ridiculous ... 20 years after its time Amusing ... 30 years after its time Quaint ... 50 years after its time Charming ... 70 years after its time Romantic ... 100 years after its time Beautiful ... 150 years after its time
- Taste and Fashion, 1937 [ODMQ]
It is true that liberty is precious -- so precious that it must be rationed.
- in Sidney and Beatrice Webb's Soviet Communism, 1936 [ODMQ]
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.
- in David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man, 1963 [ODMQ]
He had sufficient conscience to bother him, but not sufficient to keep him straight.
- speaking of Ramsay MacDonald; in A. J. Sylvester's Life with Lloyd George, 1975, p. 216 [ODMQ]
Women do not find it difficult nowadays to behave like men, but they often find it extremely difficult to behave like gentlemen.
- Literature in My Time, 1933 [ODMQ]
So they were married -- to be the more together --
And found they were never again so much together,
Divided by the morning tea,
By the evening paper,
By children and tradesmen's bills.
- Plant and Phantom, 1941 [ODMQ]
It is a fact that a man's dying is more the survivors' affair than his own.
- The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg), 1924; original in German [ODMQ]
You're not drunk if you can lie of the floor without holding on.
- in Paul Dickson's Official Rules, 1978, p. 112 [ODMQ]
This is not so strange when you reflect that from the earliest times the old have rubbed it into the young that they are wiser than they, and before the young had discovered what nonsense this was they were old too, and it profited them to carry on the imposture.
- Cakes and Ale, 1930, ch. 11 [ODMQ]
The definition of a specialist as one who ``knows more and more about less and less'' is good and true.
- Modern Hospital, Sep 1938, p. 69 [ODMQ]
When women kiss it always reminds one of prize-fighters shaking hands.
- Crestomathy, 1949 [ODMQ]
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
- Crestomathy, 1949 [ODMQ]
Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
- Crestomathy, 1949 [ODMQ]
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.
- Notebooks, 1956 [ODMQ]
An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one.
- How to Be an Alien, 1946, p. 44 [ODMQ]
Isn't it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?
- Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926 [ODQ]
I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.
- Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926 [ODQ]
Oh, the humanity!
- on seeing the German zeppelin Hindenburg burst into flames over a New Jersey airfield, 06 May 1937, while experimenting with field recording techniques for WLS Radio, Chicago; note that hearing the quote in context makes it sound like he might have actually said, ``All the humanity and all the passengers...''; listen to the recording and judge for yourself [various online sources; see links provided]
I'm not going to rearrange the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.
- President Ford's campaign manager, on whether he planned any change of strategy after Ford lost five of six primaries [ODMQ]
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta...
- Lolita, 1950
God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed; Give us the courage to change what should be changed; Give us the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
- in Richard Wightman Fox's Reinhold Niebuhr, 1985; said to have been originally published in 1951 [ODMQ]
When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.
- Congressional Record, 14 Oct 1968, p. 31636 [ODMQ]
``Hello,'' he lied.
- title of a book by Obst [Amazon.com]
Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.
- on his thoughts after witnessing the first atomic bomb explosion; quoting from ancient Hindu scripture
In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.
- lecture at MIT, 25 Nov 1947 [ODMQ]
The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.
- Montreal Medical Journal, Sep 1902, p.696 [ODMQ]
How do they know?
- reaction to the death of President Calvin Coolidge in 1933 [ODMQ]
If all the girls attending it [the Yale Prom] were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised.
- from Alexander Woollcott's While Rome Burns, 1934 [ODQ] [ODMQ]
By the time you say you're his,
Shivering and sighing
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying --
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
- Not So Deep as a Well, 1937 [ODMQ]
One more drink and I'd have been under the host.
- in Howard Teichmann's George S. Kaufman, 1972 [ODMQ]
Look at me. Worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.
- Monkey Business, 1931 [ODMQ]
The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck is probably the day they start making vacuum cleaners.
- this is apparently the original form of this quote, which seems to have first appeared on Usenet on 27 Apr 1998 in the sig of Paul Tomblin
The author's conviction on this day of New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music.
- ABC of Reading, 1934 [ODMQ]
How the hell can a person
Go to work in the morning,
Come home in the evening,
And have nothing to say?
- song ``Angel from Montgomery'', as performed by Bonnie Raitt on the album The Bonnie Raitt Collection
[I]t has been said that the highest praise of God consists in the denial of Him by the atheist, who finds creation so perfect that it can dispense with a creator.
- Le côté de Guermantes, 1921 [ODMQ]
A woman is like a teabag -- only in hot water do you realise how strong she is.
- British newspaper The Observer, 29 Mar 1981; Ralph Levy brings it to my attention that this quote is sometimes attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, among others, but I have yet to find confirmation for this in a published source [ODMQ]
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
- at a conference in Los Angeles, 02 Mar 1977, in Bill Adler's Reagan Wit [ODMQ]
My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.
- said during a radio microphone test, 11 Aug 1984 [ODMQ]
My boyfriend calls me ``princess'', but I think of myself more along the lines of ``monkey'' and ``retard''.
[``The Alicia Silverstone WWW Page'', apparently now called the Alicia Silverstone Web Site]
boy, n: A noise with dirt on it.
Never the rose without the prick.
- song ``Guiding Light'', as performed by Television on the album Marquee Moon
Ah, the composition of a tragedy requires testicles.
- on being asked why no woman had ever written a tolerable tragedy, reported in a letter from Lord Byron to John Murray, 02 Apr 1817 [ODQ]
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
- Song of Myself, 1855
Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.
- commonly attributed to him, as established by a web-search [thanks to ``Ewaffle'' for the attribution]
God gave men both a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run them one at a time.
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Section: Donald Lancon Jr / Other stuff
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