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Did they really mean that???

(107 entries, updated September, 2007)

This is a collection of things that, given another chance, the speaker might not have said, or at least might have said differently. We are all, of course, prone to blurting out things without thinking at least once in a while.

It also includes numerous examples of things that, well, lose something in the translation. With increasing globalization, local peoples around the world try earnestly to make their services or venues accessible to all. (The exception perhaps is the U.S., where we are too arrogant to bother translating much of anything).

Then there is the wide world of sports, where athletes and sports media alike are thrust into speaking situations essential for their personal marketing or extending their carreers at the insistence of their agents. I also suspect I am not alone in my wish that sports announcers would simply announce the game and othewise keep quiet. 'Color commentary' has mutated into talking head shows with more staging and unnecessary glitz than anthing else on television.

So please find below a treasury of ignorance, malapropism, misunderstanding and mistake.

(Please note that Yogi Berra's entries are actually intentional - a matter of personal style.)

     --Steve


    - A -
  1. So long as any amount shall remain unpaid under this note, the Borrower covenants and promises to that Bank that the borrower will not permit or suffer to exist any of the following conditions: death of the borrower.
      -- American Security Bank loan agreement

  2. We're not afraid of challenges. It's like we always say: if you want to go out in the rain, be prepared to get burned.
      -- Anonymous Brazillian Soccer Player

  3. How to store your baby walker: First, remove baby.
      -- Anonymous Manufacturer

  4. Traffic is very heavy at the moment, so if you are thinking of leaving now, you'd better set off a few minutes earlier.
      -- Anonymous Traffic Report

  5. This is no longer a slum neighborhood. I haven't heard of a Cubs fan being shot in a long time.
      -- Anonymous Wrigley Field Neighbor, Chicago, IL

  6. We are unable to announce the weather. We depend on weather reports from the airport, which is closed, due to weather. Whether we will be able to give you a weather report tomorrow will depend on the weather.
      -- Arab News report

    - B -
  7. Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly.
      -- Batman Costume warning label

  8. Sure the body count in this movie bothers me, but what are you gonna do? It's what everybody likes. At least its not an awful body count--it's a fun body count.
      -- Bonnie Bedelia, actress, regarding the movie Die Harder

  9. Well, I used to look like this when I was young and now I still do.
      -- Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager

  10. Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
      -- Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager

  11. The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.
      -- Yogi Berra, baseball catcher, manager

  12. It was pretty good. Even the music was nice.
      -- Yogi Berra, after attending an opera

  13. Congratulstions on breaking my record. I always thought the record would stand until it was broken.
      -- Yogi Berra, to Johnny Bench

  14. What good is the moon if you can't buy or sell it?
      -- Ivan Boesky, inside stock trader

  15. I think "immoral" is probably the wrong word to use...I prefer the word "unethical."
      -- Ivan Boesky, inside stock trader

  16. The Minutemen are not tall in terms of height.
      -- Dan Bonner, CBS sportscaster, during a UMass basketball game

  17. The private enterprise system indicates that some people have higher incomes than others.
      -- Gerry Brown, California governor

  18. Our strength is that we don't have any weaknesses. Our weakness is that we don't have any real strengths.
      -- Frank Broyles, college football coach

  19. All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting you endorse it.
      -- George Bush, US President

  20. It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another.
      -- George Bush, US President

  21. I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions --but I don't always agree with them.
      -- George Bush, US President

    - C -
  22. Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points they almost always win.
      -- Doug Collins, basketball commentator

  23. I wanted all my ducks in a row so if we did get into a posture we could pretty much slam-dunk this thing and put it to bed.
      -- Lee Cooke, mayor of Austin, TX, abusing cliches

  24. To forcibly remove a politician from office, one has to meet a much higher standard of dishonesty.
      -- Michael Cooney, Santa Barbara attorney

    - D -
  25. We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement.
      -- Richard J. Daley, Chicago Mayor

  26. Not only is he ambidextrous, but he can throw with either hand.
      -- Duffy Daugherty , football coach and sports analyst`

  27. Ordinary rape and murder just doesn't make it anymore. It's much better to have ultra-violence, chainsaw massacres, X-rated Draculas, and continents sinking into the sea with the entire population lost, at the very least.
      -- Jon Davidson, advertising executive at New World Pictures, on what makes a good movie

  28. Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.
      -- Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

  29. I find it interesting how we get carried away by the dogma a-la-mode.
      -- Lincoln Diaz-Ballart, US representative from Florida

  30. We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads.
      -- Vlade Divac, NBA basketball player

  31. Life is very important to Americans.
      -- Bob Dole, U.S. Senator from Kansas

    - E -
  32. To move cabin, push button of the wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press the number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by natural order. Button retaining pressed position shows received command
      -- Elevator Instructions, Madrid, Spain

  33. We apologize for the error in last week's paper in which we stated that Mr Arnold Dogbody was a defective in the police force. We meant, of course, that Mr Dogbody is a detective in the police farce.
      -- Correction Notice in the Ely Standard, a British newspaper

    - F -
  34. If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record.
      -- Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

    - G -
  35. It was not my class of people. There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor.
      -- Zsa Zsa Gabor, on the jury used in her assault trial

  36. The only reason we're 7-0 is because we've won all seven of our games.
      -- David Garcia, baseball team manager

  37. Go see it and see for yourself why you shouldn't go see it.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  38. Keep a stiff upper chin.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  39. This book has too much plot and not enough story.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  40. You've got to take the sour with the bitter.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  41. We're overpaying him but he's worth it..
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  42. Don't pay any attention to the critics--don't even ignore them.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  43. I don't think anyone should write his autobiography until after he's dead.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  44. If you don't dissagree with me, how will I know I'm right?
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  45. A bachelor's life is no life for a single man.
      -- Samuel Goldwyn

  46. Why only twelve?
      -- Samuel Goldwyn, while filming The Last Supper, (attributed)

  47. Here lies Jan Smith, wife of Thomas Smith, marble Cutter. This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute to her memory and a specimen of his work. Monuments of this same style are two hundred and fifty dollars.
      -- Gravestone Inscription

  48. Please deposit your valuables in the management.
      -- Guangdong Victory Hotel instruction Card, Guangdong, China

  49. Sometimes they write what I say and not what I mean.
      -- Pedro Guerrero, baseball player, on reporters

    - H -
  50. Teeth extracted by the latest methodists.
      -- Hong Kong dental advertisement

    - I -
  51. We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?
      -- Lee Iacocca

  52. Secretaries for openings in college administrative areas. Good typing, word processing helpful. Able to interfere with faculty, staff, and students.
      -- Irondequoit, NY want-ad

  53. Passive activity income does not include the following: Income for an activity that is not a passive activity.
      -- IRS form 8583, Passive Activity Loss Limitation

  54. You will find it a distinct help if you know and look as if you know what you are doing.
      -- IRS Training Manual for tax auditors

  55. Please provide the date of your death.
      -- from an IRS letter

    - J -
  56. If people get a kick out of running down pedestrians, you have to let them do it.
      -- Paul Jacobs, marketing director for a video game company

  57. Cheered by their words with an altogether more positive attitude to boxing...I found myself recalling the words of Marlin Brando in On the Waterfront, "I could have been a bartender."
      -- Look Japan magazine article

  58. Four people were killed, one seriously, and eight more received slight injuries.
      -- Japan Times article

    - K -
  59. All of the Mets' road wins against Los Angeles this year have been at Dodger Stadium.
      -- Ralph Kiner, NY Sportscaster

  60. Most of my cliches aren't original.
      -- Chuck Knox, NFL football coach

    - L -
  61. He was probably our greatest living painter -- until he died.
      -- LBC British Television News

  62. I want to thank each and every one of you for having extinguished yourselves this session.
      -- Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House

  63. And now, will y'all stand and be recognized?
      -- Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House, to a group of people in wheelchairs on Disability Day

  64. This is unparalyzed in the state's history.
      -- Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House

    - M -
  65. Mattie's Restaurant and Yogurt Palace, "An alternative to Good Eating"
      -- Restaurant Business Card from Decatur, Texas

  66. The people don't take baths and they don't speak English. No golf courses, no room service. Who needs it?
      -- Jim McMahon, NFL football quarterback, on Europe

  67. People say I'm extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage?
      -- Imelda Marcos , one-time Phillippine first lady, and owner of 3,000 pairs of shoes

  68. If ever there was a case of clearer evidence than this of persons acting in concert together, this case is that case!
      -- Sir R. Megarry

  69. Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little.
      -- MGM summary of a screen test by some guy named Fred Astaire

  70. No one wants to say the sky is falling, but in this instance I am afraid the emperor has no clothes. Despite Herculean efforts by the Council and Council staff, we are still only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.
      -- Charles Millard, NYC councilman, in a press release

  71. All you have to do is go down to the bottom of your swimming pool and hold your breath.
      -- David Miller, US DOE spokesperson, on protecting yourself from nuclear radiation

  72. You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
      -- sign in a Moscow Hotel

    - N -
  73. I was under medication when I made the decision to burn the tapes.
      -- Richard Nixon, US President

  74. I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version.
      -- Colonel Oliver North, from his Iran-Contra testimony

  75. Ladies are requested not to have children at the bar.
      -- sign in a Norwegian cocktail lounge

    - O -
  76. We've been working on the basics because, basically, we've been having trouble with the basics.
      -- Bob Ojeda, baseball pitcher

  77. It is beyond my apprehension.
      -- Danny Ozark, baseball team manager, regarding his team's losing streak

    - P -
  78. We are sorry to announce that Mr Albert Brown has been quite unwell, owing to his recent death, and is taking a short holiday to recover.
      -- Parish Magazine

  79. I didn't know Onward Christian Soldiers was a Christian song.
      -- Aggie Pate, at a non-denominational mayor's breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas

  80. This planet is our home. If we destroy the planet, we've destroyed our home, so it is fundamentally important.
      -- H. Ross Perot

  81. These people haven't seen the last of my face. If I go down, I'm going down standing up.
      -- Chuck Person, NBA Basketball player

  82. Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl.
      -- Bill Peterson, football coach

    - Q -
  83. The Lybian army is capable of destroying America and breaking its nose.
      -- Muammar Qaddafi

  84. Space is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite.
      -- Dan Quayle, US VP, head of the Space Council

  85. Hawaii is a unique state. It is a small state. It is a state that is by itself. It is a --it is different from the other 49 states. Well, all states are different, but it's got a particularly unique situation.
      -- Dan Quayle, US VP

    - R -
  86. And now the sequence of events in no particular order.
      -- Dan Rather, television news anchor

  87. Seafood brought in by customers will not be entertained.
      -- Restaurant sign in Langkawi, Malaysia

  88. At present there are such goings-on that everything is at a standstill.
      -- Sir Boyle Roche

  89. P.S. If you do not receive this, of course it must have been miscarried; therefore I beg you to write and let me know.
      -- Sir Boyle Roche

    - S -
  90. Order you summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.
      -- Sign in a tailor's shop

  91. Is forbidden to steal towels, please. If you are not person to do such is please not to read notice.
      -- Sign in a Tokyo hotel

  92. I have nothing to say, and I'll only say it once.
      -- Floyd Smith, NHL Hockey coach

  93. Be sure and put some of those neutrons on it.
      -- Mike Smith, Baseball pitcher, ordering a salad at a restaurant

  94. It's got lots of installation.
      -- Mike Smith, Baseball pitcher, describing his new coat

  95. There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
      -- article in Soviet Weekly

  96. You don't tell us how to stage the news, and we don't tell you how to report it.
      -- Larry Speakes, press secretary for President George Bush, addressing the media

  97. Was it you or your brother who was killed in the war?
      -- Reverand William Spooner, of Oxford, England (for whom the 'Spoonerism' is named)

  98. The team has come along slow but fast.
      -- Casey Stengel, baseball player, Mets manager

  99. There comes a time in every man's life and I've had many of them.
      -- Casey Stengel, baseball player, Mets manager

    - T -
  100. We are not without accomplishment. We have managed to distribute poverty equally.
      -- Nguyen Co Thatch, Vietnamese foreign minister

  101. The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.
      -- Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback and sports analyst

  102. Fiction writing is great. You can make up almost anything.
      -- Ivana Trump, upon finishing her first novel

    - U -
  103. Q: What should I do if I find a rock in a bag of potatoes?
    A: Simply return the rock to your grocer, who will give you the rock's weight in potatoes.
      -- from a USDA booklet, titled How to Buy Potatoes

    - V -
    - W -
  104. I've read about foreign policy and studied -- I know the number of continents.
      -- George Wallace, 1968 presidential campaign

  105. We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.
      -- Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor

  106. Well, that was a cliff-dweller.
      -- Wes Westrum, baseball coach, about a close game

    - X -
    - Y -
  107. I'm the consul for information, but I don't have any information.
      -- Ofra Ben Yaacoe, Israeli Consul, Chicago

    - Z -

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